Discovering the OM System OM-1 Camera: A Comprehensive Guide

The OM System OM-1 is a classic camera that still holds up today despite being introduced in the 1970s. This comprehensive guide dives into the features, specifications, and history of the OM-1, as well as tips for using and maintaining this beloved camera.

Written by Victor Chan | Updated: Mon May 01 2023

OM System OM-1 article cover photo

Key Features

Feb 15 2022


20 megapixels


BrandOM System
Sensor TypeFour Thirds
SensorStacked BSI Live MOS Sensor

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Overview of the System OM-1

If you're a fan of vintage cameras or growing your photography collection, you've probably heard about the OM System OM-1. This iconic camera was introduced by Olympus in 1972 and quickly became popular with both amateurs and professionals. Despite its age, the OM-1 is still highly sought after today and boasts an impressive set of features. In this guide, we'll explore what makes the OM-1 so special and offer tips for using and maintaining this classic camera. Whether you're a nostalgia collector or a photography enthusiast, learning about the OM-1 is sure to pique your interest.

OM System System OM-1 Pros and Cons

Now, we will look more closely at our review of the OM System System OM-1 camera. We will see what it can do and compare it to other cameras like it. We will tell you what's good about it and what's not so good. This way, you'll know if it's the camera for you!


Excellent image quality
High reliability and durability
Precise manual focus system
Large and bright viewfinder
Compatible with a wide range of lenses
Highly rated by professional photographers


Heavy and bulky body
Limited automation features
Manual exposure control can be challenging for beginners
No built-in flash
May require additional accessories for certain shooting situations
Limited availability of replacement parts and repairs

Build and Construction

Body and dimensions

OM System System OM-1

Weather sealed
Dimensions135 x 92 x 73mm

Weather Sealing

The OM System System OM-1 camera is equipped with environmental seals that make it resistant to weather, preventing water and dust from entering the camera. If you enjoy outdoor photography and need a camera that can handle extreme conditions, the System OM-1 is an excellent choice.

Design and Handling

Main design features

View FinderElectronic
Screen TypeFully Articulated
Screen Resolution1,620k dots
Body typeSLR-style mirrorless

Suitable for:

PhotographyAbove Avg.
VideographyAbove Avg.
TravelAbove Avg.

LCD Screen

This camera has a fully articulated 3.00" screen, with a display resolution of 1,620k dots. This makes the OM System System OM-1 very suitable for those looking for a vlogging camera as you can view yourself while shooting selfies. The camera also features a touch screen, which adds to its ease of use.


System OM-1 includes a electronic viewfinder with 5,760k dots of resolution with a coverage of 100% and a magnification of 0.83x. This feature enhances the camera's suitability for outdoor photography in bright conditions.

Image Quality

OM System System OM-1 has a 20MP sized Stacked BSI Live MOS Sensor sensor. You can shoot at maximum resolution of 20 pixels. OM System System OM-1 has a native ISO range of 200 - 25600 which can be boosted to 80 - 102400. It can also save files in RAW format which gives you a wider room for post processing.

Key Features

Feb 15 2022


200 - 25600

ISO Range

SensorFour Thirds
Extended ISO80 - 102400
Max resolution5184 x 3888 pixels

DXO Sensor Scores


not tested

Color Depth

not tested

Dynamic Range

not tested

Low Light ISO

not tested

DXO mark sensor scores

The DXOmark rankings indicate that the OM System System OM-1 camera has excellent color depth performance, which refers to the number of colors the sensor can distinguish. Additionally, its dynamic range is also excellent, allowing it to retain high amounts of details in both bright and dark areas of a scene. The camera's low light ISO performance is excellent, which is an important factor to consider if you plan to use it in dimly lit indoor environments or at night. Overall the image quality of the System OM-1 is excellent

Crop Factor

Camera crop factor (or focal length multiplier) refers to how a camera's sensor size affects the apparent field of view of a lens. Crop factor is determined by comparing the size of a camera's sensor to that of a full-frame sensor, which is a standard reference size for camera sensors.

Size comparison

Medium FormatFull FrameAPS-C (Sony, Nikon)

Crop factor calculator

Crop factor


Full frame equivalent


This camera: Four Thirds



Connectivity, storage, battery

StorageDual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II on first slot)
Battery Life520 shots
Battery ModelBLX-1
Wireless Connectivity


The OM System System OM-1 supports Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II on first slot) with 2 slots for storage. Having dual SD card slots on the OM System System OM-1 is highly advantageous as it mitigates the risk of losing footage due to memory card malfunctions. This feature is particularly beneficial for wedding photography and other professional settings.


The OM System System OM-1 uses the BLX-1 model of battery pack. This is rated for 520 shots shots which is high. If you intend to take photos or record videos for an extended period, it might be a good idea to bring along additional batteries.

Photography Features


The OM System System OM-1 does not have a built-in flash, but it does offer a flash shoe that allows you to attach external flashes. This provides more versatility in your lighting choices.


The OM System System OM-1 boasts a maximum mechanical shutter speed of 1/8000s, which is ideal for shooting fast-moving subjects in bright environments, such as in sports photography. Faster shutter speeds enable you to freeze the action and capture every detail, making it easier to get the perfect shot.

With a continuous mechanical shutter speed of 10.0 fps or an electronic shutter speed of 120.0 fps, this camera is not capable of capturing the perfect moment more easily, making it not as suited for wedding, sports, and wildlife photography. Higher shutter speeds make it easier to capture fast-paced action, ensuring that you never miss the perfect shot.


The OM System System OM-1 includes two autofocus (AF) systems: contrast detection and phase detection, with 1053 number of focus points.

While contrast detection is generally more accurate and precise, phase detection autofocus is faster and more effective in most situations, particularly when photographing moving subjects.

Phase detection autofocus works by dividing the incoming light into pairs and then analyzing how they intersect on the camera's sensor. This method allows the camera to determine not only if a subject is in focus but also the direction and distance needed to adjust the focus to achieve perfect sharpness.

On the other hand, contrast detection autofocus works by analyzing the contrast of an image and adjusting the focus until the highest contrast is detected. While this method is very accurate, it can be slow, especially in low light conditions or when photographing moving subjects.

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What is the sensor size of the OM System System OM-1?

The OM System System OM-1 features a Stacked BSI Live MOS Sensor sensor

Is the OM System System OM-1 weather sealed?

Yes the System OM-1 does have weather sealing.

When was the OM System System OM-1 announced?

The OM System System OM-1 was announced on Feb 15 2022

Does the OM System System OM-1 have in-body image stabilization?

Yes the System OM-1 does have in-body image stabilization that can compensate for camera shake, making it easier to shoot handheld in low light conditions.

What is the ISO range of the OM System System OM-1?

The System OM-1 has a native ISO range of 200-25600, which can be expanded to ISO 80-102400 for even greater sensitivity in low light conditions.

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