The Sony RX1r meets the Olympus E-M1 in Iceland by Chris Bakker

The Sony RX1r meets the Olympus E-M1 in Iceland

By Chris Bakker

My website –

Hi Steve and readers of!

My name is Chris Bakker, a free time photographer from the Netherlands. I began to do photography around Christmas of 2012. I started off with a Sony RX100 by taking photos from all kinds of subjects what surrounded me and It didn’t took me long to really get caught by the beauty of photography . Right from the start I tried to read as many (e)books on photography as I could, follow on a daily basis the online forums and practice the acquired knowledge in the field. I am also a frequent reader of this site and let me tell you this site has giving me so much that I thought it would be time to give a little bit of my contribution in return.

Because I was so into photography I decided in the summer of 2013 to trade in my trusty RX100 for his bigger brother the RX1r. This indeed is a magical powerhouse and capable of delivering some stunning photo’s. This camera has got me even more into photography. Later that year, in November the Olympus OMD E-M1 came out and because I wanted to do different things in photography which needed faster auto focus and different focal length than 35mm, I decided to buy the E-M1 alongside my beloved RX1r and step into the world of micro 4/3.  I can say I have no regrets at all. This camera is so well designed and thought out, it works so well, it just makes you want to go out and shoot.

I often attend workshops and like to learn from the pros. So when the opportunity came by to go to Iceland for 11 days with a pro landscape photographer from the Netherlands, to learn in the field, I decided to go. So on February the 22 I went off to Iceland to return 11 days later home with an overwhelming experience by the beauty of Iceland. Not only did I came home with a lot of photos but also with a lot of acquired knowledge and practical experience.

So l’ll stop the twaddle, let’s get to the photo’s!

E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8


E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8


Kirkjufellsfoss – E-M1 Oly 12mm f2.0


Going to Iceland in the winter takes some planning in advance. Although the temperature is about 30 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t too cold the wind can be really extreme. And the combination of those two makes it cold. Proper clothing, like multi layers, warm hand cloves and a fur cap is not a luxury. A good windbreaker can be a rain suit. Because of the hard wind, I can advise to take a big and sturdy tripod with you. I have come to situations where I definitely had to hold on to my MEFOTO Globetrotter tripod preventing it from falling over. A tripod can allow you to shoot at times of day when the light is unlike any other. If you want to shoot at sunrise or sunset, and you want to keep the ISO down, you need that long exposure. when you want to work with HDR you need a tripod for sure. Light is everything, don’t miss some of the best light of the day because you didn’t want to carry a tripod. What also comes in handy is to wear knee-pads. The ground is often stony and wet.

Snaefellsjoekull – RX1r


E-M1 Oly 12mm f2.0


Brúarfoss – E-M1 Oly 12mm f2.0


Shining stones in river – E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8


While I was out making photos in the field I did quite often use my filters. There are many people that think in digital photography you don’t need filters anymore. Many think that this is also possible in post processing. When you need a slower shutter speed to blur motion, like with waterfalls, or polarizing light to reduce glare, do it with filters. Filters still enable an aesthetic that’s not possible through simple post-production, and in some cases not possible at all, even in Photoshop. Everybody has his own way of working but we people often work in sequence. We start off with 1 go to 2 than react to 3 to get to 4 or so. While this is a quite similar process as in post-production, like Lightroom, it is also a good process at point of capture. When experimenting with filters in the field you see the result immediately and that gives you the change to react to it. So it can definitely be a good thing for creativity. I used mostly a 3 stop ND filter from Singh-Ray and a Big stopper from Hoya the NX400. In a few occasions I used graduated and reverse grad filters, mostly at sunrise or sunset. For Polarizer’s, Singh-Ray Color Combo and the Gold ‘n Blue.

Skógafoss – RX1r


Northern Lights near Vik – RX1r


Vik Beach – E-M1 pana 35-100f2.8


Skaftafell Icecave Vatnajökull – RX1r


Skaftafell Icecave Vatnajökull – E-M1 Oly 12mm f2.0


Sunset JÖKULSÁRLÓN Beach – E-M1 Oly 12mm f2.0


Sunrise JÖKULSÁRLÓN Beach – RX1r


What really fascinates me is that you can learn infinitely, it’s an ongoing process. Photography has become an essential part of my life. It’s so much fun, it’s a way of living. I hope you enjoy watching these photos as much as I did making them.

Chris Bakker

A few more…

Sunrise JÖKULSÁRLÓN Beach – RX1r


Jökulsárlón Lake – E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8


Jökulsárlón Lake – E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8


E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8


Vik Beach – RX1r


Old Turf Farm House – RX1r


Icelandic Horse – E-M1 pana 35-100 f2.8



  1. 8. Ringling Museum and the Ca’ d’Zan Sarasota is a circus town, founded in part by the Ringling Brothers. Visitors can enjoy the palatial Ringling Museum, with its galleries of European art and a statue of David in the courtyard. Visitors can also schedule to visit the Ringling Home next door to the museum, the Ca’ d’Zan.

  2. Thanks for sharing those great shots. I am buying a new camera and considering both of those. I prefer the shots taken with the RX1 but since I am on my sailboat a lot, the weatherproofing and speed of the Em-1 is attractive. Also keeping an eye on used M9 prices.

  3. Lovely pictures. Totally agree on the ease of use and sheer fun of the Em-1. No doubt a lot the fun, the speed and responsiveness, is because the camera makes the most of the smaller format, smaller file sizes, more depth of field etc etc.

    It is a shame that the Oly can’t get close to the Sony for pure image quality, if that were possible we would really, truly have it all. On the other hand, it would be very hard to make a camera with full frame as snappy and fast as the Oly, simply because the glass is larger and heavier, the file sizes much larger, etc etc.

    But if there must be compromises, then the Em-1 is certainly a good compromise.

  4. Hi Chris, Thank you for sharing a great set of travel photos. The OMD is a very versatile camera. However, recently I moved from the OMD to the Sony A7 with a array of legacy lenses because of the vastly improve dynamic range of the latter.
    Do you prefer the look of the pictures from the Sony or the OMD?

  5. I watched the movie ‘The secret life of Walter Mitty’ last night and the scenes from Iceland were astonishing. Just looks like an absolutely beautiful place to go shoot. I even checked out the flight prices. These images are convincing me even more to just go and check this wonderful looking place for myself. Thanks for the post.

  6. Some excellent pictures in the album, Chris, congratulations! I cannot wait to discover Iceland myself whenever I get that chance.
    As for the gear, I didn’t even bother reading what was shot with which, if a photo stands out, it will do it on its own independently on the camera used, and if it doesn’t no medium format could have helped.

    • Thanks, go to Iceland Gonzalo it’s an overwhelming experience ….. nature like no other!

  7. New rule: No one should be allowed to use the word “trusty” to describe a camera that they haven’t owned for a bare minimum of 5 years. As in, “I’ve taken thousands of photos around my back yard with my trusty x7000s Mk III that I bought a week ago last Sunday,” heard on pretty much any camera forum anywhere.

    Just messin’. Nice work.

    • I once had a “trusty” D700. I lent it and some primes to a fashion photographer twice for a weekend. That upped the clicks by 4000… And it never failed. So that’s trusty. I sold it after three and a half years and got a D800. That’s also trusty, For instance in the sense that you can, even after adjustment of the body, trust the left AF points to trip you every now and then.

      My FM2n, that I’ve had for almost 25 years and still use, is really trusty.

      Ahh, the joy of using quality stuff for a long time, instead of jumping on the next best thing every year.

  8. Iceland is also wonderful in the summer 🙂
    I agree with all that the Sony pictures have a different quality, smoothness to them
    Nice post and nice photos, some of them (mostly the Sony for me) are excellent!
    Next trip Norway ?

  9. Erg fraaie foto’s Chris! Next trip to the Netherlands I may fly Iceland Air and spend a couple of days in beautiful Iceland.

  10. Some photos are impressive some are not. Anyway all together comprise a travel portfolio. What that does not really gives me a click is the cameras used. Do you really believe that with any other camera at hand you could have done less? I do not think so. I really cannot understand that kind of gear praise that takes place at this side. It seems that many photographers try to get some credit by just posting the details of their cameras used, that they happen to be popular within the community. Allow me to say that here is not a classroom to get a bravo because of your gear. It is a place to get the criticism and the credit on the merits of your photos. So I think. Therefore feel free to express yourself without the gear jumbo mambo.
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Photographer at Large
    Athens, Greece

    • What a ridiculous, even pompous, comment. The photographer is not seeking credit for using particular gear, merely expressing his enjoyment in using it; is that OK with you?

      Some readers want to look at images, some are interested the gear that was used, most I suspect are interested in both.

      Most good cameras could take most of the photos? Probably, but certainly a point and shoot could not. The point is finding a camera that strikes a balance between enjoyment in use and ouput.

      You are entitled to your opinion on the images of course, and I too liked some more than others. But please dont state it as fact, particularly when you cant be bothered to say which is which. Most other similar comments preferred the RXI images, so did I, which makes a counter argument to your assertion that equipment is irrelevant. That said, to me, the best images from either camera are very good and I enjoyed the post.

      • But come on, Chris has already been into photography since Christmas 2012. Could he not do any better after all this practicing he has been doing?

        Love this work and clearly someone with a lot of passion and a keen eye. If all travel portfolios would be as good as this, the world would definitely be a much better place. Ga zo door, Chris! We genieten.

      • Nonsense, Damoo. The article is primarily about the gear, as stated in the title! The photographs are very nice, but this article is first about comparing two cameras. It invites commentary on the equipment. If it wasn’t about the gear, why would you emphasize what cameras were used?

  11. Excellent images from both cameras but the Sony is not only sharper (as expected) but has great tones.

  12. Fantastic images …., thanks for sharing … I have just bought the OMD EM-1 to supplement my Leica M9 and Canon 5D2 … no regrets at all !! I love the camera …

    EM1 is amazing bit of kit …


  13. Great post Chris. I am right there with you. I have traded all my Nikon full frame gear in over the last six months and shoot exclusively with the EM1. Just love everything about it.

    • I found out in the field, when I use my EM1, that photographers who use DSLR equipment are really surprised in a positive way about the EM1….. they just don’t expect all “the good” that this camera brings to the table.

  14. All are wonderful images of a region that is so photo rich.
    I would agree that the RX1r pics stand out,
    Warm, rich and sharp,
    But the Oly is close, though i do not like the 12mm lens on it,
    The 12mm is a cold lens with blue emphasis which you can clearly see in the ice and snow pics.
    A Zeiss lens on the Oly or the 15mm Heliar would have closed the gap.

  15. These are all lovely images. But on a technical level there’s no contest. The Sony blows away the E-M1. The dynamic range and optical characteristics of the Oly are no match for Sony’s full frame sensor and Zeiss glass.

    • You are totally right. I mean the sheer ignorance to shoot photos with a inferior system (proven by the gods of photography “DxOmark” ) and enjoy doing that, is unheard of. Have this naive photographer shot any charts before posting this beautiful pictures? I guess not. Well he should have known better. Photography stands in chart shooting and pixel peep, that’s how I found my perfect camera Epson V750-M.

  16. I really enjoyed your shots Chris–one great image followed by still another inspirational image–I am grabbing my E-M1 and heading out!! Right now!! You have a good eye!!

    • That would not be a hard thing to do Mark, the E-M1 is so much fun to shoot and work with!

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