Firmware update: Olympus E-M1X gets bird AF along with Raw video

Published Nov 17, 2020 | dpreview staff

Olympus has announced a firmware update that will enhance the capabilities of its flagship E-M1X sports camera. Some of the features will be cascaded down to the E-M1 III, E-M1 II and E-M5 III.

Exclusive to the E-M1X is ‘Bird detection AF’, which expands the camera’s AI-trained subject recognition system. Bird AF will focus on the eyes of birds, or their bodies if the eye isn’t visible. This subject-aware AF can be used in conjunction with the camera’s Pro Capture pre-buffering mode, to increase your chances of getting the perfect birding shot.

Both the E-M1X and E-M1 III will gain the ability to output Raw video data streams that can be encoded as ProRes RAW if the cameras are connected to an Atomos Ninja V external recorder. The output is 12-bit with Olympus saying it allows ‘exposure adjustment,’ which we’re hoping means the resulting ProRes RAW footage will be compatible with a full range of post-shot adjustments.

These two cameras will also gain a ‘Focus Indicator Display’ mode that provides a focus guide, based on phase-detection distance information, when manually focusing.

In addition, the E-M1X, E-M1 III, E-M1 II and E-M5 III will all receive an update to improve the image stabilization performance while shooting video. The company explicitly mentions panning, which suggests it will be better at distinguishing between accidental and intentional camera movement. Finally, the firmware will provide all four cameras with the ability to use focus-stacking mode with the new 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens.

Press release

FIRMWARE VERSION 2.0 FOR THE OLYMPUS OM-D® E-M1X

Introducing Bird Detection for Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus

Center Valley, PA, November 17, 2020 – Olympus is pleased to announce the latest firmware upgrade for the Olympus OM-D E-M1X mirrorless camera, Version 2.0. Scheduled for release on December 2, 2020, this new version of firmware adds Bird Detection to Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus, an AI-based deep learning technology. With this new function, the camera automatically prioritizes detection of a bird’s eye, for focusing and tracking, so the photographer can concentrate on composing images and capturing the moment. The new firmware also includes various functional improvements, such as RAW video data output to support professional video production. Additional firmware upgrades are available for the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, E-M1 Mark II and E-M5 Mark III. All available updates can be accessed at: https://getolympus.com/firmware.

OM-D E-M1X Firmware Version 2.0 with Bird Detection

Bird detection has been added to Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus, and can recognize a variety of birds of all sizes. When using this version of firmware, the camera focuses primarily on the bird’s eye and switches to detect and track the bird’s head or body if its eye is not detected. This feature performs well even in birds’ natural habitats, where trees, plants and other obstructions tend to come between photographer and subject, allowing the photographer to concentrate on framing. This functionality can be used in conjunction with Pro Capture, which is also a popular feature for photographing birds. Pro Capture mode virtually eliminates shutter lag and reaction time by recording sequential frames before the shutter release is pressed fully, and ensures the camera never misses decisive moments, as when a bird takes flight or captures its prey. Birds are detected across the entire AF coverage area when shooting with all M.Zuiko® Digital lenses, inclusive of super telephoto zoom lenses. The functionality works even at the periphery of the screen, offering a greater level of freedom for framing.

RAW Video Data Output to the Atomos Ninja V HDR Monitor Recorder

4K 30P/25P/24P and Cinema 4K 24P video recorded on the OM-D E-M1X can be output as 12-bit RAW data and recorded in ProRes RAW format on the Atomos Ninja V HDR monitor recorder, enabling advanced professional video production post-processing tasks, such as adjusting exposure and color grading of recorded footage. The latest firmware for the Atomos Ninja V HDR Monitor Recorder will be required to enable this support. The firmware can be accessed here: https://www.atomos.com/firmware/ninja-v .

Focus Stacking Support for the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Lens

With this firmware, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO supports in-camera Focus Stacking, bringing the total to 11[i] compatible lenses.

Improved Video Image Stabilization Performance

The video image stabilization algorithm has been updated for natural recording with minimal shake, even when panning.

Supports Focus Indicator Display

This feature makes it possible to quickly check the focusing direction and approximate focus position during manual focusing.

OM-D E-M1X, OM-D E-M1 Mark III, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and OM-D E-M5 Mark III Firmware Upgrades

Firmware Version 1.2 for the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, Version 3.4 for the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and Version 1.3 for the OM-D E-M5 Mark III will be released simultaneously with firmware Version 2.0 for the OM-D E-M1X on December 2, 2020. Visit the following website for further details: https://getolympus.com/firmware.

Firmware Upgrade Compatibility Table

E-M1X

Firmware Ver.2.0

E-M1 Mark III Firmware Ver.1.2

E-M1 Mark II Firmware Ver.3.4

E-M5 Mark III Firmware Ver.1.3

1. Bird detection

Yes

No

No

No

2. RAW video data output

Yes

Yes

No

No

3. Lens that supports Focus Stacking added

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

4. Improved video image stabilization

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

5. Supports focus indicator display

Yes

Yes

No

No

Pricing, Configurations, Availability & Specifications

Olympus Firmware Upgrade Version 2.0, along with the other firmware upgrade versions mentioned here within are available free of charge on the Olympus website beginning on December 2, 2020.

[i] OM-D E-M1X Focus Stacking compatible lenses:

M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 Fisheye PRO / ED 30mm F3.5 Macro / ED 60mm F2.8 Macro /

ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO / ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO / ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO /

ED 12-45mm F4.0 PRO / ED 40-150mm F2.8 PRO / ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO /

ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS / ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO