Olympus E-1 vs YI M1
The Olympus E-1 and the YI M1 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in June 2003 and September 2016. The E-1 is a DSLR, while the M1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera. Both cameras are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. The Olympus has a resolution of 4.9 megapixels, whereas the YI provides 20.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus E-1 and the YI M1? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-1 and the YI M1. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The M1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the E-1 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the YI M1 is considerably smaller (50 percent) than the Olympus E-1. Moreover, the M1 is substantially lighter (62 percent) than the E-1. It is worth mentioning in this context that the E-1 is splash and dust resistant, while the M1 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-1) and the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog (M1). Mirrorless cameras, such as the M1, have moreover the advantage that they can use many lenses from other systems via adapters, as they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance.
The power pack in the M1 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Olympus E-1||141 mm||104 mm||81 mm||738 g||750||Y||Jun 2003||1,699||ebay.com|
|2.||YI M1||114 mm||64 mm||34 mm||281 g||450||n||Sep 2016||349||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||110 mm||64 mm||40 mm||300 g||250||n||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||117 mm||67 mm||40 mm||339 g||410||n||Aug 2016||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica Digilux 3||146 mm||87 mm||77 mm||606 g||750||n||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||98 mm||60 mm||32 mm||231 g||250||n||Apr 2015||399||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-5||142 mm||117 mm||75 mm||873 g||750||Y||Sep 2010||1,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-3||142 mm||116 mm||75 mm||876 g||750||Y||Oct 2007||1,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-330||140 mm||87 mm||72 mm||637 g||750||n||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-300||147 mm||85 mm||64 mm||624 g||750||n||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||269 g||210||n||Jan 2017||549||amazon.com|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||107 mm||65 mm||33 mm||266 g||230||n||Jan 2015||499||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The M1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 79 percent) than the E-1, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
While the two cameras under review share the same sensor size, the M1 offers a higher resolution of 20.2 megapixels, compared with 4.9 MP of the E-1. This megapixels advantage translates into a 103 percent gain in linear resolution. On the other hand, these sensor specs imply that the M1 has a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.34μm versus 6.78μm for the E-1). However, it should be noted that the M1 is much more recent (by 13 years and 2 months) than the E-1, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that compensate for the smaller pixel size.
The resolution advantage of the YI M1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the M1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 19.4 inches or 65.8 x 49.4 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 15.6 inches or 52.7 x 39.5 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 13 inches or 43.9 x 32.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-1 are 12.8 x 9.6 inches or 32.5 x 24.4 cm for good quality, 10.2 x 7.7 inches or 26 x 19.5 cm for very good quality, and 8.5 x 6.4 inches or 21.7 x 16.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Olympus E-1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the YI M1 are ISO 100 to ISO 25600 (no boost).
In terms of underlying technology, the E-1 is build around a CCD sensor, while the M1 uses a CMOS imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-1||Four Thirds||4.9||2560||1920||none||20.0||9.7||-145||44|
|2.||YI M1||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|7.||Leica Digilux 3||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||21.0||10.6||127||53|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||1-inch||20.7||5568||3712||4K/15p||21.1||12.0||479||65|
|10.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|12.||Olympus E-5||Four Thirds||12.2||4032||3024||720/30p||21.6||10.5||519||56|
|13.||Olympus E-3||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.6||10.5||571||56|
|14.||Olympus E-330||Four Thirds||7.4||3136||2352||none||20.8||10.4||73||52|
|15.||Olympus E-300||Four Thirds||8.0||3264||2448||none||20.4||10.1||-40||48|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||23.2||13.3||586||73|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60p||22.7||12.3||874||70|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The M1 indeed provides for movie recording, while the E-1 does not. The highest resolution format that the M1 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the E-1 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the M1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-1 and YI M1 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-1||optical||Y||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||n||n|
|2.||YI M1||none||n||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5/s||n||n|
|4.||Canon SX730||none||n||3.0 / 922||tilting||n||1/3200s||5.9/s||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Leica Digilux 3||optical||n||2.5 / 207||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||none||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||60.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|12.||Olympus E-5||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-3||optical||Y||2.5 / 230||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-330||optical||n||2.5 / 215||tilting||n||1/4000s||3.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Olympus E-300||optical||n||1.8 / 134||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5/s||Y||n|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||10.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/500s||5.8/s||Y||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One feature that is present on the E-1, but is missing on the M1 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The YI M1 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The E-1 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or xD Picture cards, while the M1 uses SDXC cards. The E-1 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the M1 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus E-1 and YI M1 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-1||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|2.||YI M1||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|4.||Canon SX730||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Leica Digilux 3||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|10.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-5||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-3||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-330||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Olympus E-300||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||-||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the M1 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the E-1 does not provide wifi capability.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-1 (unlike the M1) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the E-1 and the M1 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The E-1 was replaced by the Olympus E-3, while the M1 does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the E-1 and M1 can be found, respectively, in the Olympus E-1 Manual (free pdf) or the online YI M1 Manual.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-1 better than the YI M1 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus E-1:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (750 versus 450) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in June 2003).
Reasons to prefer the YI M1:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (20.2 vs 4.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 103%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 134k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (114x64mm vs 141x104mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 457g or 62 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can use many non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (79 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 13 years and 2 months of technical progress since the E-1 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the M1 is the clear winner of the contest (15 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-1 and the YI M1 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-1 or the M1 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Olympus E-1||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jun 2003||1,699||ebay.com|
|2.||YI M1||..||..||..||69/100||..||..||Sep 2016||349||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 6D Mark II||4/5||+||4/5||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999||amazon.com|
|4.||Canon SX730||..||+||..||..||4/5||4/5||Apr 2017||399||ebay.com|
|5.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699||ebay.com|
|6.||Fujifilm X-A3||..||..||..||74/100||4.5/5||4/5||Aug 2016||399||ebay.com|
|7.||Leica Digilux 3||..||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2006||1,499||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999||amazon.com|
|9.||Nikon 1 J5||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2015||399||ebay.com|
|10.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|11.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499||ebay.com|
|12.||Olympus E-5||4/5||..||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,699||ebay.com|
|13.||Olympus E-3||..||88/100||..||+ +||o||4/5||Oct 2007||1,699||ebay.com|
|14.||Olympus E-330||..||..||..||+||o||..||Jan 2006||999||ebay.com|
|15.||Olympus E-300||..||..||..||+||o||4.5/5||Sep 2004||799||ebay.com|
|16.||Panasonic GX850||..||+||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||549||amazon.com|
|17.||Panasonic GF7||4/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||499||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
Specifications: Olympus E-1 vs YI M1
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Olympus E-1||YI M1|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||June 2003||September 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1,699||USD 349|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-1||YI M1|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||4.9 Megapixels||20.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||2560 x 1920 pixels||5184 x 3888 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.78 μm||3.34 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.19 MP/cm2||8.96 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 800 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 3,200 ISO||no Enhancement|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-1||YI M1|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||no viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||1.8inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||134k dots||1040k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||no Touchscreen||Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-1||YI M1|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/4000s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||5 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-1||YI M1|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||no Bluetooth||Bluetooth built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-1||YI M1|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||750 shots per charge||450 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
141 x 104 x 81 mm
(5.6 x 4.1 x 3.2 in)
114 x 64 x 34 mm
(4.5 x 2.5 x 1.3 in)
|Camera Weight||738 g (26.0 oz)||281 g (9.9 oz)|
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