There’s always that one person on your gift list who sends you into a pit of despair every time you attempt to shop for him. Whether it's his enigmatic tastes or an Amazon addiction that renders a wishlist useless, he's impossible to buy gifts for. And while you want to say "screw it" and buy him a pair socks, you'll do no such thing. It’s a catch-22. You won’t stand for any old gift precisely because you love him so darn much.

So what do you get that dude in your life who’s so difficult to shop for? A camera — it’s the gift that can’t go wrong. Whether it be your dad, nephew, brother or bro, it’s something they can use time and again. A gift that keeps on giving, if you will.

Take the Olympus OM-D E-M1. It’s is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that’s lighter and smaller than a DSLR, but has all the functional prowess a serious shooter could want.

Its magnesium alloy is what gives this camera its sturdiness. The EM-1 is a perfect medium when it comes to size. It’s not so lightweight that you feel you might snap it in half, but it’s not as heavy or bulky as a DSLR (for a quick comparison, it’s about half as thick as an entry-level DSLR). You can easily carry and shoot with one hand. Its ergonomic shape makes this especially doable.

Performance is where this camera shines. What really makes for a better shooting experience? My answer would be photo quality and speed. When it comes to image quality, you’ll want to look at the camera’s sensor and processor. The EM-1 comes with a 16.3 megapixel sensor for high resolution and a TruePic VII image processor that gives this camera its quick shooting power and sharp photos. How quick is it? It can shoot 10 frames in a single second. The autofocus also moves at impressive speed thanks to its “Dual Fast” autofocus — dual fast meaning it uses both contrast and phase detecting autofocus.


What makes the EM-1 stand out are three great features that Olympus has used to step up their game: image stabilization, completely customizable controls, and clever WiFi applications.

The camera’s 5-axis image stabilization will compensate for all kinds of camera shake. It’s built into the body, so no matter what lens you use, you know you can get decent stabilization. A particularly fantastic plus are the EM-1’s customizable controls. The camera comes with eight controls — buttons and dials that you can assign functions to and do so easily via a function lever. Why would a photographer want to be able to do this? It makes adjusting settings intuitive, giving you all the more control over your shooting.

The WiFi built into the camera works with an app that lets you actually control your camera with your phone. You can use your phone as a live viewfinder, control camera settings and set off the shutter — handy for taking group shots or self-portraits. A world free of bathroom selfies is a world we all want to live in. WiFi will also let you share photos between your camera and phone and geotag photos, too. What’s rad about these WiFi capabilities is that it makes the EM-1 extra versatile — wherever you are on the photo skill scale, amateur or Ansel Adams status, you can use this camera to its max potential.


The takeaway? In terms of image quality, it’s Olympus’ best to date, interchangeable lenses give you just as much creative freedom as a DSLR, and customizable controls give it awesome usability. This camera might just be the gift to crack the dude that’s hard to shop for code.

Cross off at least one difficult dude from your gift list by visiting Olympus here.

Lisbeth Ortega is a writer based out of San Francisco. She was head editor at Photojojo from 2010 to 2013. Her speciality is cameras, mobile photography, and tech. She waits years to develop film.