The OM System OM1 Has Greatly Improved Continuous AF

With firmware 1.2 coming to the OM System OM1, we decided to update our review. The OM System OM1 still has our Editor’s Choice Award due to the versatility, computational photography, and build quality it delivers. What’s more, it recently had a boost to the continuous autofocusing abilities. So we figured we’d test it out. 

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Here’s the updated copy within our OM System OM1 review for your convenience; be sure to check out the entire review if you’re considering making a purchase. This section can be found specifically under the Bird AF heading of the review.

Update July 2022

According to the OM System website, here are the new changes that came with the firmware updates. Mind you, firmware 1.1 can’t be done using the OI share app. You have to do it through OM Workspace.

OM-1 Version 1.2
C-AF performance is improved for still image shooting.
Stability of movie shooting is improved.

OM-1 Version 1.1
Improved stability of operations when shooting while utilizing the EVF.
Stability of connection with ATOMOS products has been improved.

Considering that we’re a photography website, we’re going to skip the stuff around video production. So instead, photographers got better stability and improved C-AF. I used the new firmware update and tested it doing bird photography. Here are my thoughts and notes:

  • It’s better for sure, but it degrades a bit when scene detection modes are on. Granted, Bird AF is pretty essential technology for a camera like this.
  • OM System lets you prioritize either the spot you tell it to focus on or the scene detection. And the scene detection for birds isn’t that great unless the bird is taking up 1/4 of the photo if they’re in shadows. An example of this is birds hiding in trees. But if they’re in full sunlight it’s a different story. The camera just needs to see the head to detect that it’s a bird.
  • Eye detection for birds is still not the best compared to Canon. Right after using this, I tried the Canon EOS R7, which did a much better job.
  • In C-AF with the 2x teleconverter and the 40-150mm f2.8, I was able to track birds in flight pretty easily when setting the autofocus to the whole area of the frame or to a large area in the center. The images aren’t incredibly sharp, but I blame that on the teleconverter. I’ve never got photos with it that I’m very satisfied with.

So overall, the C-AF ability has improved. And I’m glad to know that my earlier critiques of it were looked at seriously. Would I use this in the forest or for serious bird photography? Totally! But I also really prefer other lenses. The camera does a great job otherwise. And it’s still the lightest and smallest system in the hand that you can use for birding.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.