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Author Topic: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?  (Read 725 times)

Dan Wells

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Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« on: January 17, 2019, 02:49:55 pm »

I'm asking for an Olympus-shooting friend who just might be interested in the new body... It has a built-in battery grip that looks like it is meant to hold a big 10.8 volt battery like the D5 and 1Dx mk II use. Its speed suggests that it might benefit from higher voltage, and it would be better protected from voltage drop in cold weather, so I'd assumed that was what it's doing.

I recently noticed in some specs on the rumor sites that it uses the same BCH-1 batteries as the E-M1 mk II! It has room for three of them as far as I can see (two in the vertical grip, one in the standard handgrip), although I have no idea how you'd change the one in the handgrip if you can't take the vertical grip off? Does it only use one battery in that big body? Does it take two in the vertical grip?

If it takes two batteries, is it a standard 7.2-7.4 volt camera, using the dual batteries for extra life? Or is it actually running at 14+ volts for extra speed? If it's 14+ volts, it's likely to be the highest-power standard still camera ever (or at least in many years - some motor drives from the film era were quite high voltage). Some Fuji and Nikon cameras with boost modes that only work with the grip attached may be using higher voltage, but that's optional - they can also run at 7+ volts and use the grip for extra life.

There are two implications to how the battery is designed - the most important one is battery life. If it's only using a single BCH-1, it will probably have lousy battery life.  the E-M1 mk II is rated for 440 shots and often gets somewhat more, but the E-M1x probably has hungrier motors. It's likely to have the X-H1 problem (or Sony full-frame before they introduced the new battery) - the battery was designed for a smaller and less hungry camera, and runs out very quickly. Both Fuji and Sony had room for a bigger battery, but decided to keep using a small one that people already had, beyond where it made sense - Sony has since fixed this.

If it uses two batteries, but runs at 7.2-7.4 volts, it's likely to have very good battery life (something like 800 shots on its two batteries).  That won't be as good as it could have had with one larger battery - the tray that holds the batteries will take up space and weight that could have been actual battery. It will probably drain the batteries in succession, so you'll be able to change one at a time and possibly run it with one battery slot empty - handy if you have only one spare left.

If it's using two batteries in parallel for 14+ volts, it will have decent life (~600-700 shots is a guess), but the photographer will need to change both batteries at once when it runs out.

The last (and best) possibility is that it has two power options. It might come with a big 10.8 volt battery that gives it well over 1000 shots, but also include a tray for one or two BCH-1 batteries (350-400 shots apiece) so photographers can keep using what they have at the cost of some top speed.

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Dan Wells

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2019, 02:17:16 pm »

I just found (in a leaked spec on PhotoRumors - reliability unclear - they say it was leaked on Weibo, and they don't say whether it was translated by a human or Google) a truly extraordinary battery life estimate... Up to 2580 images on two batteries. Here's the actual wording from PhotoRumors:

Capture up to 2,580 images before having to recharge. Featuring USB Power Delivery (USB-PD) from up to 100 W power sources, both batteries in the camera body can be fully charged in approximately two hours


1.) It's not clear how this was measured - if it's 2580 images under anything close to CIPA conditions, it's unprecedented for a mirrorless camera, even taking the two batteries into account. It's essentially equivalent to or better than the best DSLRs other than the "big-battery" 1Dx and 5D families. Something like a 5DIV or a D850 is in the vicinity of 1000 images (CIPA rating) on one similarly sized battery. If it's under very different conditions, all bets are off. People have gotten as many as 900 shots out of a Nikon Z7 (CIPA rated for 330) under ideal conditions.

2.) It was in the same spec (not just on the same sheet, but in the same bullet point) as a sentence saying that the camera could attach USB-C Power Delivery power banks. It's unclear enough that I'm not completely certain the 2580 shot estimate is limited to the camera's internal batteries - could it include a power bank as well?

If the leaked number is real and measured under CIPA conditions, the E-M1x is almost exactly three times as efficient as the E-M1 mk II (440 shots on one battery, so 880 on two). That seems like a difficult efficiency gain to realize in one generation - it's somewhat more than the gain from the original EOS 5D (400 shots) to the 5D mk IV (900 shots on a 25% higher capacity battery. Maybe Olympus HAS done that?

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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2019, 11:03:48 am »

We will find out this week.  I regularly get over 850 shots to a battery if not more under normal shooting conditions.  To shoot tethered with live view active all day, all I need is two batteries.  It’s amazing that even under those conditions the em1 mk2 battery gets great life in the real world. 

I assume a tray of some sort pops out of the vertical grip portion on the em1x.  Maybe the camera is more efficient.  Who knows.  I’m looking forward to this camera if the rumors are accurate.  USB recharge will be amazing for those of us that do astrophotography.  We can hook the camera up to the power bank running the scope or mount for instance and go all night. 

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BJL

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CIPA battery life measure is a poor fit for rapid shooting scenarios
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2019, 01:25:17 pm »

The CIPA battery life measure seems to be oriented to casual “snapshot” usage, with the screen or EVF on for long periods between shots and so that screen preview dominating battery usage; it seems to greatly underestimated shots per charge when one is shooting frequently, as with sports/action, and/or have the camera set to sleep rather quickly when idle, or are prompt to turn off the preview manually when appropriate. The Z7 “CIPA vs real world” illustrates this.

UPDATE: I found the definition: http://www.cipa.jp/std/documents/e/DC-002_e.pdf
In short: one short each 30 seconds, "color monitor" on between shots, and if there are two monitors (EVF & rear screen?) the more power hungry one is used—see items 2.16 and 2.20

So for example, 360 shots could mainly mean that the battery supports about 3 hours of EVF/LCD on-time.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2019, 01:39:43 pm by BJL »
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John Camp

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2019, 09:24:48 pm »


So for example, 360 shots could mainly mean that the battery supports about 3 hours of EVF/LCD on-time.

Interesting. Nice piece of research.
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Dan Wells

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2019, 05:53:53 pm »

The full specs just leaked on 43rumors, and nothing bad, but nothing groundbreaking. The version 43rumors has looks Google translated, so my apologies if I mis-interpreted anything from Google gibberish, especially about external power... I hope that isn't the actual English version of the press release  :)

Here are the power specs...

870 shots on two batteries (CIPA) - almost exactly the same as the E-M1 mk II, which is 440 on 1

2580 shots on two batteries under unspecified low power test conditions (probably similar to how people get 900 shots out of a Z7)

Will run on either 1 or 2 batteries (no mention of whether some fast modes require the second battery, so not clear if it can use them in parallel for higher voltage).

Charges batteries in-camera from either an Olympus AC adapter or USB-C - charges with power off.

Also seems to power the camera from USB-C (apparently without charging).

Here are some other interesting specs:

18 fps, 20 mp (widely publicized)

About the same width and depth as a D850, although significantly taller.

Within a SD card of exactly the weight of a D850.

World's best image stabilization - they claim an extra stop above the already rock-steady E-M1 mk II. The best performance (per Olympus) is on the 12-100 mm lens at 100 mm (they're claiming ~1 second, by my count)

50 MP high-res mode handheld (80 MP on tripod)

Built-in "neutral density filter" with five settings - this appears to be a computational effect, not any sort of reduction in light reaching the sensor.

Has twice as much video bandwidth in Cinema 4K (4096 by 2160) as in regular 4K. Cinema 4K is a GH5 like bitrate.

The EVF is good, but not one of the most modern "super EVFs" - 2.36 million dots (like a Fuji X-T2 or E-M1 mk II), while some modern Sonys, the Nikon Z series and the newest Fujis use 3.7 million.

IPX-1 weather resistance - the first time I've seen any camera company claim an IPX rating.  Looking at the IPX-1 specs, the Olympus E-M1 original and mk II, Nikon D850, Z series and D5 (plus predecessors), Fuji X-T2, X-T3 and X-H1, Pentax (most of them) and Canon 1D/1Ds/1Dx series are all close to meeting it... It's basically heavy rain falling vertically for 10 minutes, and none of the above should have any problem.

As far as I can tell, an interesting, but extremely niche camera... Unless they've made huge improvements to dynamic range (and have a perfect stitching algorithm), the 50 MP multi-shot will be far inferior to any number of smaller, lighter 40+ MP cameras with FF or beyond sensors. It's actually larger and heavier than the GFX 50R or the X1D (although the lenses are much smaller than medium format lenses). The Olympus PRO lenses are large and heavy enough that it's going to be bigger and heavier than a Z7 (including lenses) until you reach significant telephoto focal lengths, and even there the Nikon PF lenses will keep it close.

One practical application I can see is mid-range sports photography (willing to accept significant size, weight and cost, but not a 1Dx or a D5). It has fast AF and an extremely high frame rate, and its overall responsiveness should be superb.  The problem is the Sony A9 (with all of the above plus a superior sensor 4x the size) at around the same price when on sale. Right now, the A9 is back up to $4500, leaving a bit of room for Olympus, but will Sony drop it back down to $3500 for the next promotion? Once it's been $3500, there's little reason to think it'll stay $4500.

The application where Olympus has everything else beat is anything where image stabilization exceeds all other considerations. If you're shooting video under absurd conditions (while skiing, etc.), the "gimbal included" E-M1x is going to be very interesting.

It'll probably also grab some E-M1 mkII owners, although many will wait for a mkIII that is closer to what they have in size and cost.



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John Camp

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2019, 07:28:14 pm »

Need a new thread with a more relevant title for this discussion.
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Lightsmith

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2019, 05:50:44 pm »

Olympus did its shooters a favor and made it so the E-M1X camera holds two of the same battery that is use in the E-M1 Mk II camera. No need for an additional charger and set of batteries with the new camera.

Battery life is going to depend a great deal on how much the rear display is used (I have not been able to find if it can be turned off completely as with my DSLR cameras), whether GPS location tracking is continuous, whether Wifi is used for remote control of the camera with a smartphone, and Bluetooth usage.

Only with the E-M1X and the Canon 1D X Mk II have the manufactures provided built-in GPS with their pro cameras. Nikon does not provide it with its D500, D850, or D5 cameras.

The ability to fine tune the autofocus sensor configuration is a big leap forward for wildlife and sports shooters though it will take time to determine which settings will yield the best results.

A nifty feature is the ND filtering function. The camera actually merges an image taken at a slow shutter speed to create a blurring of water and an image taken at a high shutter speed to have a sharp background and you can see the effect in the viewfinder and make adjustment prior to releasing the shutter. There is an element of rocket science in how this is done in the camera.
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Does anybody know how the E-M1x batteries are going to work?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2019, 08:10:01 am »

Yes, the rear display can be turned off.  In fact, it can even be rotated closed so it’s not even visible.  There are several different powering options and ways for the camera to power save base on how you prefer to use the camera.  Battery life should be great.  I haven’t even gotten to the second battery in the tray yet in normal use. 

As for gps, Olympus provides an app, oi track, which can do a lot more with logging and gps tagging which can be useful to many people out there.  I know some people that shoot Olympus because it is small and easy to take on their field studies.   They are biologists.  The new features of measurements and gps, the logging, and tracking features will be very welcome.  Haven’t seen how all that affects batter yet. 

Live ND doesn’t actually take a slow shutter shot at all. (Unless you are using slow shutter speeds)  It takes a series of shots in a very rapid succession and merges them in a way that the motion is simulated.  People have been doing this in photoshop for a while.  The fact that the camera does it, and does it well in camera is excellent.  And you get a raw shot.  I have used this even for people and car motion blur in shots.  Works great.  It is much more than just a waterfalls in daylight feature.
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Tony
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