Sony a7 Vs E-m1 – Detailed Comparison

Are you in the market for an upgrade from your entry-level or Semi-pro camera? Or are you just looking for a change and aren’t sure what to go for? If you are in any of these categories, then this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison article is the place to be right now.

Without a doubt, these are two pro-level mirrorless cameras. The Sony a7 is a full frame sensor camera, while the E-m1 – which is from Olympus – is a four-third sensor camera.

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Now, this article is a long one as it contains a lot of details on the features we’ll be comparing.

We understand that there is a possibility that you might not have the luxury of time to go through all the details in this article. So, if you need to make a very quick decision, quickly glance through the comparison overview section down to the comparison table for a quick decision.

Let’s get this review started.

By the way, want to see how a Sony a7 stacks up to a Nikon? Click here to read our comparison review of the Sony a7 vs Nikon D5300.

Comparison Overview – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Where Both Cameras Get It Right – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Firstly, these two cameras have a wireless feature that allows them connect to the internet for easy sharing of files.

They also share a tilting articulated LCD screen with very high screen resolution in common.

Framing and composing of images should not be a problem with any of the cameras in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison article as they both have electronic viewfinders.

Furthermore, the two cameras offer you extra light enhancement with the external flash shoe that allows you to attach an external flash to the body of the camera.

These cameras also have an external microphone port, environmental sealing, and AE bracketing.

Lastly, they both feature RAW support, offering you fantastic image quality.

Where The Sony a7 Does It Better – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

First off, the sensor resolution of this camera is higher than that of the E-m1. The Sony a7 has more focus points in this Sony a7 vs E-m1.

Also, between the two cameras in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison, the Sony a7 is the camera with a lighter weight.

This camera also has a headphone port, NFC connectivity, and is compatible with smartphone remote control.

Other features where this camera does better include the color depth, dynamic range, and LCD screen resolution.

Finally, the Sony a7 has a larger pixel area of the two cameras.

Where the E-m1 Does It Better – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

The first thing that really puts this camera in front is its built-in image stabilization feature which the Sony a7 lacks.

Also, the E-m1 has a touch screen LCD screen which makes navigation much easier.

In continuous shooting mode, this camera takes double the number of frames the Sony a7 shoots per second.

The battery life of this camera is also longer.

Finally, the E-m1 records in timelapse, and has the focus stacking and bracketing features – two features that cannot be found on the Sony a7.

Where Both Cameras Get It Wrong – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

They both lack a built-in flash.

Our Opinion Of The Price/Value Ratio – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

For pro-level cameras and the features these two cameras offer, it is safe to say that the price tag placed on these two cameras are pretty budget-friendly.

The two cameras in comparison cost under a thousand dollars. However, the E-m1 costs higher by some hundreds of dollars.

Now, for our opinion on which offers better value for your money.

Looking at the prices of these cameras and comparing that to the features they both offer, we are inclined to go with the Sony a7, seeing as they both offer just about the same features.

Nonetheless, the E-m1 also has its strengths and might even mean more value for you considering your personal needs in comparison to the a7. Stay with us to find out.

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Comparative Brand Strengths – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

The cameras in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison are from two very popular names in the industry; Sony and Olympus.

Sony is a large brand in the camera industry and beyond.

It’s currently the world’s largest maker of mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. Apart from that, when it comes to cameras in general Sony comes in second place in the world list of biggest camera brands.

Olympus, on the other hand, is a strict optics company. This company was also known to be reprography.

Olympus as a camera brand is known for its four-thirds sensor system for their DSLR cameras and is currently the world’s largest makers of four-third lenses.

Comparison Table – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

 

Sony a7

E-m1

Weight 474 grams 497 grams
Built-in Image Stabilization Sensor-shift None
Max Sensor Resolution 26 megapixels 16 megapixels
Number Of Focus Points 117 81
LCD Screen Resolution 1.230k dots 1.037k dots
Headphone Port Yes No
Touchscreen LCD No Yes
Continuous Shooting 5 frames per second 10 frames per second
Battery Life 340 shots 350 shots
Timelapse Recording With optional application Yes
Viewfinder Resolution 2359k dots 2360k dots
Focus Bracketing No Yes
Focus Stacking No Yes
Near Field Communication Yes No
Smartphone Remote Control Yes No
Sensor Pixel Area 35.65µm2 14.12 µm2
Color Depth 24.8 23.0
Dynamic Range 14.2 12.7
AE Bracketing Range ±5EV ±2EV
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What Situation Is Each Camera Best For – Sony a7 Vs E-m1?

Sony a7

E-m1

First of all, this camera has a large full frame sensor and a high sensor resolution. These two features alone place it on the invite list of any party you are throwing.   Be it portrait, landscape, or street photography this camera will do perfectly fine.  

This camera also has a quite compact body, so, if you need something to fit into your bag for your travels or daily, it is also a great choice.
As for the E-m1, it might not be as multipurpose as the Sony a7. However, this camera packs quite a punch for shooting street photography.  

It has a built-in image stabilization feature, a viewfinder, and face detection focus, all of which are basic requirements for any camera you want to place on this field.  

Also, this camera would do a very fine job of shooting sports.  

It comes with fast shutter speed and fantastic performance in continuous shooting mode, both of which are important features for shooting sports photography.
The only thing to note about this camera is that it doesn’t have image stabilization, therefore, you are restricted to using a tripod stand more often than you might enjoy. Now, this camera has a pretty thick body (compared to other compact mirrorless cameras), so, you might want to think twice about packing it for your daily work.
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This brings us to the end of the comparison overview. If you’re ready to go in-depth, then come along.

Common Features – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Wi-Fi Connectivity

This feature allows the camera to connect to the internet and share files with other devices. With this feature, you can also share files straight to social media networks for your family and friends to see.

So, let us take for example you need images transferred to your computer at home. For a camera that has Wi-Fi connectivity, all you have to do is get the camera connected to the internet and have the location where the files will be saved on the computer preset.

This way, you have absolutely nothing to worry about as the files will be safe and sound right where you need them. This saves the photographer the stress of having to carry the computer around all the time, or having to always carry a USB chord.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is a tool that the photographer looks through to frame the image on the scene before shooting. Framing with the viewfinder is usually easier and more comfortable, because, the hands are closer to the body when using the viewfinder – this allows for better stability.

The Sony a7 and E-m1 both have electronic viewfinders.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is basically a small LCD screen. This viewfinder type is most commonly found on mirrorless cameras, typically because it doesn’t require a mirror mechanism to function.

The sensor simply records the view of the scene, and then electronically project it to the EVF, and that’s all. One thing to note about the EVF though, is that it is known to be battery consuming.

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Articulating Screen

The articulating screen is a feature that is unique to the LCD screen of the camera. The LCD screen of a camera can be very important and useful for your work, especially in situations where it is difficult to use the viewfinder for framing purposes.

The cameras in our comparison for today both have a tilting articulating screen. So, the screen moves around but about just one axis, tilting slightly upwards and downwards.

External Flash Shoe

The external flash shoe is a feature that allows you attach an external flash to the body of the camera. An external flash is a light enhancement tool that is very useful for shooting under very poorly lit conditions.

Now, in some cameras, there is a built-in flash, which is also good. However, the built-in flash might not be able to properly solve every light enhancement issue you face, ergo external flashes.

Also, if you also plan to do flash photography, then this feature is essential for your work.

RAW Support

RAW support offers the photographer the highest image quality that can be shot by the camera.

RAW is actually a file format for saving images. In cameras, there are two basic formats that files are saved in, the first is JPEG, while the other RAW.

Just as the name rightly says, RAW is the untouched format of the image. That is, the exact detail the image had when it was shot is the exact way it will be saved.

This quality the images have is what makes them so large in size. This doesn’t mean that images shot in JPEG have poor quality, however, RAW is better and the best.

Face Detection Focus

Face detection focus helps the camera detect human faces in the scene and focus on them.

This feature uses the noticeable features of the human face to find the face on the scene. When the face is found, the camera then locks down on the face in order to keep it in focus.

This feature ensures that the face on the scene remains the main subject in the image by adjusting the focus to whatever position the subject moves to in the scene.

This feature is especially useful when shooting portraits of children who find it hard to maintain a particular position.

Microphone Port

If you intend to also shoot video with your camera, then this feature is essential for your work. The microphone port allows you to connect an external microphone to the camera.

Most cameras are usually designed with internal microphones. These internal microphones are generally okay. However, when used in environments where there is a lot of background noise, videos recorded with the internal microphone will have very noisy audio.

This is what makes the external microphone a very tool.

With an external microphone connected, the camera records only sound from the direction the mic is pointed at, amplifying that particular sound, and leaving out every other sound in the background.

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Video Resolution

The video resolution of a camera determines the size of screen that videos shot by the camera can be displayed on.

If the screen size exceeds the video resolution, the video will lose its quality and appear blurry.

The video resolution is the number of horizontal lines a video has from top to bottom of the screen. It is measured in pixels.

For the cameras in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison, they both share the same video resolution. They shoot videos in the full high definition resolution of 1080p.

This resolution has 1080 lines stacked on each other from top to bottom that are 1920 pixels wide. This video resolution is restricted to high-end HD televisions, monitors and computer screens.

Environmental Sealing

To keep the weather elements out, the environmental sealing feature is added to the body of the camera. This sealing made of rubber and silicon materials is usually placed in positions that could be points of entrance for these elements.

Now, it is important to note that environmental sealing on a camera is very different from the camera being water-resistant or water-proof. So, you want to be careful.

AE Bracketing

AE bracketing is a short form of Auto Exposure Bracketing. Auto Exposure bracketing is a feature that takes multiple images simultaneously at different exposure settings.

When faced with tricky lighting conditions, the biggest issue for the photographer is usually the exposure setting that would work best to get a perfectly exposed image.

Now, instead of manually trying out different exposure settings one at a time and possibly missing a perfect shot, the AE bracketing feature is programmed to do all the work. All you have to do is push the shutter button.

This time, when you the picture is taken, you have them at different exposure settings and you can make your choice.

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Unique Features – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Headphone Port

In the previous section, we talked about a feature that offers you good audio with the videos shot by camera. This feature here is another that is a plus for better audio.

In this case, headphones is help you monitor your audio as you record shoot. So, if there will be a need to retake or make adjustments these can be done.

Near Field Communication (NFC)

When it comes to cameras, the NFC connection allows the camera to connect and share with smartphones.

It does not require internet connection to function.

Once contact is made, connection is also made. With this connection, you can now perform various functions – including file sharing.

Smartphone Remote Control

The smartphone remote control allows you operate the camera remotely from another location with the use of a smartphone.

What makes this feature so interesting is that you really don’t have to spend any extra cash beyond your budget on any remote control tools – as you most likely already own a smartphone.

The reason remote control devices were created in the first place is that the photographer is unable to be in the scene being shot for various reasons. This means that they might be able to see the scene being shot, however, with the smartphone remote control, you have a preview of the scene being shot using your smartphone.

This preview feature is one that a lot of other and older remote control tools lack.

Image Stabilization

One of the most – if not the most – scary nightmares that photographers hate to have is turning out with blurry images which are usually caused by involuntary camera shakes.

This is why image stabilization is important and there are different kinds.

In our comparison though, only the E-m1 has an image stabilization feature built-in  known as the sensor-shift image stabilization.

The sensor-shift image stabilization functions with electrical actuators that move the sensor of the camera around the image plane. When the camera detects any form of shake or motion, it calculates the speed and direction of the motion to move the sensor.

This movement keeps the camera sensor stationary in relation to the image being projected by the lens.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of the image stabilization has its limits also. Image stabilization will only function properly when the camera experiences a very slight motion, any severe shove would make this feature pretty much useless.

Touch Screen

In the world of technological devices, the touch screen feature is one that has really evolved from generation to generation.

And now, even some camera brands have decided to add this touch screen features to their new cameras.

The touch screen feature makes it easier to navigate menus, perform different functions, and even do some editing on the camera by just pinching, swiping and touching.

Looking at the LCD screen of the two cameras in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison, only the E-m1 has an LCD touchscreen.

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Timelapse Recording

Timelapse recording is a creative shooting technique that manipulates time. When shooting in timelapse, processes that would normally take hours, weeks, or days, in reality, would appear to happen in a matter of seconds.

How exactly does this work? Videos shot with this technique are shot at a more spread out or longer frame rate than it will be displayed. So, when this video is then played back the events in the video then seem to happen faster than normal.

This shooting technique is commonly used in shooting sunsets/sunrise, flowers blooming, or even weather change.

This feature is also unique to the E-m1 in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison.

Focus Stacking and Bracketing

Focus stacking/bracketing is an image processing technique that improves the focusing on images. What this feature does is to take different shots at different focus distances, then, combine these images to produce one greater depth of field.

So, if you have individual images that have a shallow depth of field, the focus stacking feature becomes very helpful to get that very dramatic depth of field.

This feature can only be found in the E-m1 in this Sony a7 vs E-m1 comparison article.

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Unique Pros – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Pros Of The Sony a7 – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

  • The Sony a7 has a higher sensor resolution and, therefore, provides better image quality and larger potential print size.
  • Also, focusing with this camera will be very flexible as it has a lot of focus points.
  • Although the LCD screen of the two cameras in comparison have high screen resolutions, the LCD screen of the Sony a7 has a higher resolution.
  • Furthermore, this camera is lighter in weight than the E-m1.
  • Also, for monitoring the audio of your video while shooting, this camera has a headphone port that allows you to connect a headphone to the camera.
  • This camera has a slightly higher color depth. This feature is what determines the amount of color detail the camera can produce.
  • Also, the Sony a7 has a wider dynamic range than the E-m1.
  • The sensor pixel area of the Sony a7 is much larger than that of the Em1.
  • Finally, this camera has two interesting wireless features that cannot be found on the E-m1. They are the NFC connection and Smartphone remote control features.

Pros Of The E-m1 – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

  • First off, the E-m1 has a built-in image stabilization feature.
  • Also, the LCD screen of this camera is touch sensitive.
  • In continuous shooting mode, this camera shoots more frames per second than the Sony a7.
  • Furthermore, this camera lasts more shots per single charge than the Sony a7.
  • Also, this camera has an in-built timelapse recording feature.
  • Finally, the focus stacking and bracketing feature on this camera provides you with better depth of field images.
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Unique Cons – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Cons Of The Sony a7 – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

  • The major con of this camera is its lack of image stabilization. It might be necessary to always shoot with a tripod stand.

Cons Of The E-m1 – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

  • For the Em-1, its big con is its not being compatible with smartphone remote control. All remote control functions have to be performed with other methods.

Common Pros – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

 

Sony a7

E-m1

Wireless Connectivity This feature allows the camera connect to the internet for file sharing purposes. Same as the Sony a7.
Articulating Screen This feature means that the LCD screen of the camera can move in different directions. The LCD of this camera tilts slightly upwards and downwards. Same as the Sony a7.
External Flash Shoe This feature makes the camera compatible with an external flash for light enhancement and flash photography purposes. Same as the Sony a7.
Viewfinder This is a very essential to for proper composure and framing of the image being shot. Same as the Sony a7.
RAW Support The file format that saves the exact detail shot by the camera. Same as the Sony a7.
Face Detection Focus This feature helps keep faces in a scene in focus. This ensures they remain as the main subject in the image. Same as the Sony a7.
Microphone Port This feature offers you high-quality audio with the videos recorded by the camera. Same as the Sony a7.
Environmental Sealing This protects the camera from the entrance of weather elements that could damage the camera. Same as the Sony a7.
AE Bracketing This feature is very useful for shooting under very tough lighting conditions. Same as the Sony a7.
   Get the Sony a7 now! Get the E-m1 now!
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Common Cons – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

 

Sony a7

E-m1

No Built-in Flash This is a light enhancement feature that is designed as a part of the camera. The Sony a7 lacks this feature. Same as the Sony a7.
Low Battery Life This camera has a very short battery life. Same as the Sony a7. However, this camera last more shots per single charge.

What Users Think About Both Cameras – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Sony a7 E-m1
A lot of users are generally impressed.  

For what users note to be very interesting features, we have its size and weight, image quality and viewfinder.  

Then, users are also pretty impressed with the way the buttons and dials on this camera are arranged, being very easily accessible.
For the E-m1, users are very impressed with the low-light capabilities of this camera.  

Users also love the compactness of this camera.

Plus, images are satisfyingly sharp according. A lot of users place this camera side-by-side top DLSRs and seem to prefer it.
The major complaints that arose about this camera were about the battery life. Most advise that you always carry extra batteries.

Also, users aren’t very happy with the prices of the lenses compatible with the Sony a7 not being very budget-friendly.
Users complain about the cost of the lenses of this camera being pretty expensive.
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Our Take – Sony a7 Vs E-m1

Sony a7

E-m1

The Sony a7 is definitely a camera designed to steal the hearts of photographers and enthusiasts at large.  

First of all, being a full-frame sensor camera and comparing that fact with its size and weight, this camera is just a joy to have and work with.  

Then, couple that with the other mind-blowing features that this camera offers, this camera makes it hard not to take a second look.
The E-m1 is also a camera that we can’t overlook. The amazing features it has made it one camera that you’d love to put on your list.  



The competition it also put up against the Sony a7 in this comparison article made this quite an interesting read.   Also, when it comes to some specific shooting situations, this camera performs like a beast, and that’s why we love it.
However, there are a few features that this camera misses out on that make it “imperfect”.  

Still, it would be very unfair to now look at what it lacks and ignore the ones it has that make it such a lovable camera.
It is of course normal, that no matter how impressive a camera is, there will always be one or two areas that could use a form of improvement or the other.  

That is the exact case with the E-m1. However, this camera is still a great camera.
You agree? Then,  Get the Sony a7 now! You think so too? Then, Get the E-m1 now!
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