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I spent a week in Iceland with the OM SYSTEM OM-1 and this is what I learned

Tom Ormerod
(Image credit: Tom Ormerod)

I recently had the pleasure of embarking on a road trip with my fellow OM SYSTEM Ambassador, Moises Cugat. OM SYSTEM wanted us to put the new OM1 System OM-1 (opens in new tab) camera and some of the latest lenses through their paces, and we thought – what better way to do it than a 2000km adventure around Iceland.

Rather than regurgitating a diary of our trip or complex spec sheets (the latter of which can be found online), I thought I would concentrate on some useful real-world takeaways that I found when using the OM1 System OM-1. 

These can be applied to most landscape/adventure/travel photography trips using the latest OM SYSTEM kit, and range from its epic waterproofing that saw me shooting under a waterfall, to how incredibly lightweight my kitbag was when hiking with the camera and three Pro lenses.

Landscape photographer Tom Ormerod uses the OM-1 in Iceland

(Image credit: Tom Ormerod)

1. The need for a tripod is redundant (almost)

Olympus, and now OM SYSTEM, have a long history of leading the way with “In Body Image Stabilization” (IBIS).  Just when I thought this couldn't get any better…it did! With the OM-1 I could shoot at 2 seconds (and more!) handheld and be confident that the number of keepers increased significantly (I would say about 80%+ at 2 seconds).

There are of course some situations where the tripod is still needed, such as very long exposures, and as a landscape photographer, I do still choose to use a tripod at times to help compose a shot when I want to wait for the right moment. However, I learned that it really is no longer a necessity, especially on longer hikes when any weight reduction is a bonus.

Landscape photographer Tom Ormerod uses the OM-1 in Iceland

(Image credit: Tom Ormerod)

2. Weatherproofing and durability is ace

At home I spend a lot of time around the coast, so weatherproofing has always been important to me in a camera (sand and saltwater are not known for their regenerative qualities for complex electronic devices!). However, with the changeable conditions when traveling (especially in Iceland) this becomes vital if you want to keep shooting and not worry about the elements.

On one hike we started in full sun hiking up a very dusty mountain, had to cross an unbridged river and ended with a hailstorm in a lava field. The OM-1 remained clipped to my rucksack strap at all times without any concern, ready to go (p.s. never forget a waterproof in Iceland – although your kit may perform perfectly, if you get wet and cold your performance will certainly decline!).

Landscape photographer Tom Ormerod uses the OM-1 in Iceland

(Image credit: Tom Ormerod)

3. Computational photography isn't just a nice to have

The OM-1 is packed with clever computational photography algorithms, including Starry Sky Auto Focus, a special autofocus for night time photography to Live ND which simulates the use of traditional neutral density (ND) filters with no loss of image quality or color cast. 

You can add this to the Handheld/Tripod High Resolution shooting (50MP/80MP RAW files) plus all the in-camera focus stacking and HDR modes. The OM-1 is as clever and fast as it is solid and light. Love it or hate it, cameras are increasingly powerful computers. I for one no longer want to be without these advances which means I can spend more time shooting.

4. Reduced weight is everything

The m.Zuiko Pro lenses are just ace when used in conjunction with the OM-1. During this trip I almost exclusively used the three newest Pro f/4 lenses: the 8-25mm f/4 Pro (opens in new tab), 12-45 mm f/4 Pro (opens in new tab) and 40-150mm f/4 Pro. 

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They are sharp, light, metal bodied and weather sealed. The total weight of the camera and these three lenses is 1700g, so even on an extended hike I can still comfortably carry my mini drone, layers, water and of course, snacks. 

Landscape photographer Tom Ormerod uses the OM-1 in Iceland

(Image credit: Tom Ormerod)

5. Charging on the go

The battery life of the OM-1 is fantastic. Powered by a new battery, it's good for a quoted 520 shots per charge.

With USB-C power/charging I could easily recharge the camera on the go, and I also took a 45W power delivery battery pack with me that charges my camera, drone, phone and even my laptop. Don't forget that if you're traveling somewhere sunny, the best solar chargers (opens in new tab) can come in handy.

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Tom Ormerod
Tom Ormerod

Tom Ormerod is a UK landscape photographer, mentor and workshop leader based on the south coast of England. He's also an official OM SYSTEM Ambassador, and knows his way around an Olympus (now OM SYSTEM) camera. Tom is passionate about astrophotography, seascapes and using drones to capture aerial views.

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