Olympus OM-D EM1 II : As good as Micro Four Thirds (m43) gets.
Dpreview has posted the first really detailed full in-depth review of Olympus’s Pro-Enthusiast focussed high end Micro Four Third ( M43) camera, the Olympus OM-D EM1 II.
Olympus has high hopes for its new flagship mirrorless micro four third model and this is reflected not only in its specs but also it retail cost which has raised a few eyebrows in the micro four third world ( mine included).
As a current OM-D EM5 II owner / user and having ditched my Canon gear for a clutch of m.Zuiko “Pro” lenses I have had my fingers crossed hoping that Olympus hasn’t been over confident when it comes to some of its claims for its new flagship camera.
Well having read Dpreview’s report it would seem most of my fears have been well and truly put to bed because the new EM1 II not only looks like the best M43 camera yet but a fantastic camera period.
As good as a FujiFilm X-T2 ( probably the best overall mirrorless camera at the moment), well Dpreview has given the OM-D EM1 II a “Gold” award and that award is not easily won.
Here’s some choice quotes from Dpreview.
“To say that Olympus has topped itself with the E-M1 Mark II is an understatement. The company told us that this camera was overdeveloped, and it shows”.
” While its outer changes aren’t going to surprise anyone, it is pretty surprising just how far of a leap forward the E-M1 II makes compared to its predecessor.”
“One of the E-M1 Mark II’s biggest selling points is its in-body 5-axis image stabilization system, which is rated to 5.5 stops using the CIPA standard. If you’re using the Olympus 12-100mm F4 lens, that number rises to an incredible 6.5 stops (a figure Olympus says is now limited by the rotation of the Earth)”.
“The AF system is one of the best we’ve seen on a mirrorless camera and DCI 4K video quality is superb. As with its predecessor, build quality is impeccable”.
And Dpreview’s conclusion:
” The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is Olympus’ most ambitious camera yet and it blows away its peers in terms of raw speed – and it’s no slouch when it comes to photo and video quality, AF performance and build quality. The Mark II is customizable to the point where it’s overwhelming, so it’s not for everyone. It’s may also be a budget-stretcher for a lot of people. Aside from those and a few other quirks, the E-M1 II is an interchangeable lens camera to be reckoned with”.
Dpreview’s Pro’s / Con’s
- Market-leading image stabilization for both still and video shooting
- Hybrid AF system is quick and generally tracks subjects well
- Weather-sealed body is sturdy and has well-placed buttons and dials
- Incredibly customizable
- New 20MP sensor increases resolution without impacting noise levels
- High bitrate UHD and DCI 4K video
- Continuous shooting at 60 fps (single AF) and 18 fps (continuous AF)
- Dual SD memory card slots
- Above average battery life
- High Res Shot mode offers extra detail and improved handling of motion
- USB 3 (Type C) jack
- Clever articulating external flash included
- Noise reduction in JPEGs a little strong
- UHD 4K not as detailed as DCI; 1080p video is soft
- Subject tracking can be unreliable during burst shooting
- Customization options can be overwhelming
- Placement of I/O ports can impede LCD rotation
- Menu system is a step back from previous models
- Highest frame rates with electronic shutter may result in rolling shutter effect
- Only one SD card slot supports high-speed UHS-II media
- Cannot enter playback mode while buffer being cleared
Gold Award 85%
First I won’t compare the OM-D EM1 II to any full frame mirrorless cameras like the Sony A7 series as some people have on various blogs. Although whilst it costs the same as some full frame models to my mind that’s simple an unrealistic comparison. The Micro Four Third system was never intended to compete with full frame cameras, so why compare them.
No, I’d be much more inclined to compare the new Olympus flagship model to models like the Fuji X-T2 ( with an APS-C sensor), Sony’s A6500 (another APS-C mirrorless camera), Panasonic’s G80 & GX8 and even Olympus’s own EM5 II (all m43 cameras).
And when I read Dpreviews in-depth analysis its apparant that the EM1 II smashes all other M43 camera, pretty much walks all over the Sony A6500 in most aspects and when all things are considered probably even takes the Fuji’s X-T2’s crown as top dog in the cropped sensor mirrorless world.
Its so clearly good, very, very good and as a result I am now far less likely to pass comment on its cost, because its a class act and lets face it class has never come cheap?
Buy the Olympus OM-D EM1 II and some of the sublime M.Zuiko “Pro” lenses or some of the wonderful m43 prime lenses and you’ll have a high performing combination that’s for most shooters in most situations is hard to beat.
Is it a “Pro” camera? Yes it is, and so finally the Micro Third system has comes of age.
Mark Baynham ( November 2016)