After decades, Olympus is retiring its brand name (at least with cameras and lenses). They’ll now be known as OM System. But as a kind of swan song, they’ve reached back into their impressive photographic history to launch a new camera bearing the old “Olympus” branding: the OM-1.
Olympus is now OM System
In 2020-21, the photography business of iconic camera brand Olympus was spun off and sold. The core remaining Olympus brand is focusing on medical and scientific products. The camera and photography side was then rebranded as OM System, with the first cameras and lenses under that brand coming out at the end of 2021.
It’s not the first time that they’ve used OM-1. The original was a film SLR way back when (apparently launched in 1972). And it’s a camera I have a particular soft spot for: it was my first SLR and one that I used for several years when I was first dipping my feet into photography.
There’s a lot to like about this new, digital version of the OM-1, and I’ve really enjoyed shooting with it. It’s small and very portable. It’s weatherproofed. It has an impressive set of features. There’s a respectable range of lenses to choose from. And it’s just plain fun to shoot with. Overall, it’s well worth a look if you’re after a high-quality camera to take with you on your travels and aren’t already locked into the Nikon/Canon/Sony universes.
I’m referring to this camera here as the Olympus OM-1, in part because it carries the Olympus name right there on the front of the camera. But it’s also referred to as the OM System OM-1. As a technical matter, the company that makes it is actually now known as OM System. The Olympus brand is now focused on medical and scientific products, and it seems likely that the OM-1 will be the last new camera to carry the iconic name.
Photos Taken with an Olympus OM-1
Here’s a selection of sample images I’ve taken with the OM-1. (I’ve also posted a set of photos focusing specifically on high ISO in low-light shooting).
I’ve tried to include a range of different scenes and shooting situations, with an emphasis on everyday travel-style shots. And I’ve deliberately not done anything fancy with these. They were originally shot in RAW but have had only the lightest touches of processing in Lightroom (mostly a slight bump in contrast and maybe a little in the exposure setting). But since the point here is to get a sense of the camera’s performance, I didn’t want to overshadow it with too much processing. I haven’t applied any extra noise reduction, sharpening, optical corrections, or enhancement filters or presets.
You can click on each image for a full-size version.
Optical Correction Tools
I deliberately haven’t applied extensive corrections to these images. And the general rule of thumb in photography is that it’s better to get the shot right at the time of capture rather than trying to fix it after. That’s a great aspiration, but it’s not always possible to do if you’re bumping up against limitations or flaws in gear, conditions, or technique.
But it’s worth mentioning that there are some excellent tools available to help address common issues with lenses, such as distortion, chromatic aberration, and lens vignetting when editing the images. All-round image processing apps like Lightroom Classic and Capture One have solid tools built in already that often cater to specific lens profiles (or you can make your own).
Some more specialized tools can take it even further. DxO, in particular, sets the gold standard.Their software is built on the foundation of their incredibly deep archive of data from their extensive lab testing of the optical performance of lenses and cameras. But there are some other excellent specialized tools available. These are well worth a look (and have free trials):
DxO Pure RAW (for a suite of automatic RAW file corrections enhancement)
I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »
I take photos and travel. I do it for a living. Seven continents. Dozens of countries. Up mountains. Under water. And a bunch of places in between. Based in Washington DC.
All posts and reviews on this site are written by me. And I only review gear with which I have personal hands-on experience. More.