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The Olympus OM-1 is back! This computational camera is a pro powerhouse

Olympus OM-1
(Image credit: OM Digital Solutions)

OM Digital Solutions has announced the Olympus OM-1 – a computational photography focused camera that can shoot bursts at up to 120fps, capture 4K 60p ProRes Raw video, is the world's first camera to feature Cross Quad Pixel AF and the world's only system camera to boast IP53 weather sealing.

The Olympus OM-1 (opens in new tab) marks the end of an era for the brand, as it will be the last camera that will ever feature the Olympus name; all future cameras will bear the OM System badge. In fact, this is technically called the OM System OM-1– and it seems that the nomenclature going forward will follow this structure. However, with this being the 50th anniversary of the release of the original OM-1 film camera, the Olympus name is having one last hurrah.

• Hands on: Olympus OM-1 review (opens in new tab)

At the same time, though, this new flagship camera represents the dawn of a new era for the Olympus lineage. The OM-1 takes all the advantages of the Micro Four Thirds format and doubles down on them – while smoothing the rough edges that were formerly weaknesses of the smaller sensor standard. 

The heart of the Olympus OM-1 is a brand new, stacked, backside illuminated, 20.4MP Live MOS sensor. The stacked construction enables ridiculously fast readout speeds, enabling the camera to shoot stills at up to 120fps in single AF, and up to 50fps with continuous AF. 

If you're disappointed that the camera doesn't shatter the traditional 20MP ceiling of the Micro Four Thirds format, it's not the issue you might think. Not only can the OM-1 shoot 80MP images thanks to the pixel-shift High Res Shot mode when mounted on a tripod, it can also capture 50MP via handheld High Res Shot – and the latter mode is over twice as fast (taking just five seconds between shots) and far more reliable than seen in previous Olympus cameras.

(Image credit: OM Digital Solutions)

That's thanks to the new stacked sensor combined with the new image processor, which also powers the ferocious autofocus system. Thanks to new AI Detect deep learning AF (opens in new tab) and the quad pixel sensor, the OM-1 is three times faster and three times better at recognizing and tracking cars, planes, birds, canines and felines.

The historical disadvantage when it comes to low light performance has also been addressed by the new technology, with OM Digital promising that the new sensor is capable of "35mm equivalent sensor performance". That's backed up by an increased ISO range of 200-102,400, along with a claimed 2-stop improvement in noise performance and a 1-stop boost to dynamic range.

The computational cleverness continues in the form of improved Live ND filters (a software-powered alternative to the best neutral density filters (opens in new tab)), which now go up to 6EV, along with handheld Live Composite mode (a truly awesome tool for light painting, as shown in this video (opens in new tab)), and in-camera focus stacking that now processes 15 images in just 5 seconds. 

In terms of video, the Olympus OM-1 can record 4K up to 60p at 10-bit H.265 internally, and up to 12-bit ProRes Raw externally, while 1080p can be captured up to 240p – and an HLG video picture mode is offered for HDR capture.

Another huge improvement is the shoring up of the already industry leading weather sealing, which is now rated at a monstrous IP53 (when paired with compatible lenses, such as the new OM System M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro II (opens in new tab)). And speaking of industry leading, the OM-1 is capable of up to 8 stops of image stabilization (again with compatible lenses, while it offers 7 stops of compensation as standard thanks to its in-body image stabilization).

The Olympus OM-1 will be available from early March, priced at $2,199.99 / £1,999.99 / AU$3,299. Click here (opens in new tab) for our hands-on review, including sample images.

Pre-order the Olympus OM-1 at Adorama (US) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Olympus OM-1 at B&H (US)
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Pre-order the Olympus OM-1 at Park Cameras (UK)
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Pre-order the Olympus OM-1 at Wex (UK)
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Pre-order the Olympus OM-1 at Ted's Cameras (AU) (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Best Olympus lenses (opens in new tab)
Best Micro Four Thirds lenses
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Best professional cameras
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Best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.