Olympus E-M1 Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent performance overall for a compact system camera.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

~0.8 second

Time it takes to turn on and capture a shot.

Shutdown

~0.6 second

How long it takes camera to turn off before you can remove the memory card.

Buffer clearing time

13 seconds after 50 large/super fine JPEGs*

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card.

16 seconds after 50 RAW files*
26 seconds after 34 RAW + LSF JPEG files*
*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Startup time including taking a shot was quite fast for a CSC, at well under a second. With a fast 95MB/s UHS-I SDHC card, the E-M1's buffer clearing times were quite good given the generous buffer depths.


Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.4 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

~3 seconds

Time to display a large/super fine JPEG file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

~0.6 second

Time to display a large/superfine JPEG file already on the memory card.

Mode switching was quite fast, except for Record to Play which was quite slow.


Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode

0.139 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (All AF timing performed with the new 12-40mm f/2.8 lens at about 30mm unless otherwise noted.)

Full Autofocus,
Multi-area AF mode

0.138 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting.

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode

0.193 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting. (With Olympus 14-42mm II R lens.)

Full Autofocus,
Single-area AF mode
Auto Flash Enabled

0.269 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture, with the lens already at the proper focal distance setting, TTL Auto flash enabled.

Manual Focus

0.068 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused
Release Lag-time
= Normal

0.047 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Prefocused
Release Lag-time
= Short

0.047 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

The Olympus E-M1's full-autofocus shutter lag in single-area AF mode (center AF position) was only 0.139 second when tested with the new 12-40mm f/2.8 lens. That's incredibly fast for a compact system camera and faster than most DSLRs as well. To see how much the lens makes a difference and to compare to the E-M5, we also tested with the 14-42mm R II lens. With it, shutter lag increased to 0.193s, but that's still faster than the E-M5's 0.236s result with the same lens.

In 81-point "All Targets" AF mode, shutter lag was essentially the same as center AF mode, at 0.138 second. Full autofocus shutter lag increased to 0.269 second with the flash enabled, to account for the additional delay for the preflash metering, however that's still quite fast.

When manually focused, the E-M1's shutter lag time was only 0.068 second, also very fast. The E-M1's prefocused shutter lag time of 0.047 second was very quick.

An option to reduce shutter lag is available, however it often did not make a measurable difference in our tests and sometimes actually increased lag slightly.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.


Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.47 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.47 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 2 seconds to clear*.

Single Shot mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.54 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots, 9 seconds to clear*.

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous H Mode
Large/Super Fine JPEG

0.10 second (9.90 frames per second);
50 frames total;
13 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 50 shot buffer capacity.

Continuous H Mode
RAW

0.10 second (9.90 frames per second);
50 frames total;
16 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 50 shot buffer capacity.

Continuous H Mode
RAW + LSF JPEG

0.10 second (9.90 frames per second);
34 frames total;
26 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 34 shot buffer capacity.

Flash Recycling

4.9 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were quite good for a CSC, at about 0.5 seconds per shot no matter the type of file.

Continuous H mode performance was excellent, at around 9.9 frames per second with any file type. We must point out that I.S. must be disabled, and focus, exposure and white balance are fixed at the first frame of a burst in this mode. There is also a "low speed" mode rated at up to 6.5 fps which supports continuous AF and exposure, however we didn't test that mode.

Buffer depths were excellent, at 50 frames for large/super fine JPEGs or RAW files, and 34 frames for RAW+JPEGs. Note that our test target for this was designed to be difficult to compress, so JPEG burst lengths should be longer with typical subjects. Buffer clearing time was also quite good considering the deep buffers, ranging from 13 seconds after a burst of 50 JPEGs, to 26 seconds after a burst of 34 RAW+JPEG frames.

Flash recycle time was a little slow with the bundled flash, though, at an average of 4.9 seconds after full power discharge. Larger flash units with their own power source would do much better.


Download Speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

12,092 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Download speeds were quite fast, quick enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader. (Note that this test was performed with a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec UHS-I SDHC card: Slower cards would likely show slower transfer times.)


Bottom line, the Olympus E-M1's performance is generally excellent, and faster on almost all fronts compared to the E-M5, with much deeper buffers as well.

Battery

Battery Life
Average battery life for a CSC.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Still Capture,
(IS on, CIPA standard)
350

The Olympus E-M1 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and charger. The rated 350 shots per charge (Olympus makes no distinction between using the EVF or LCD monitor) is about average for a compact system camera, but well below the capacity of most DSLRs with their optical viewfinders. We recommend getting a second battery for your E-M1 if you plan any extended outings, and consider purchasing the HLD-7 power grip to increase battery life to about 680 shots.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on a fully-charged rechargeable battery), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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