Olympus OM-D EM1-II User Review

Olympus OM-D EM1-II : The best Olympus M43 camera yet

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review Image

Recently I decided to take the plunge and buy Olympus’s “Pro” focussed high-end micro four third (M43) mirrorless camera, the Olympus OM-D EM1-II, a camera that promises to set new standards for the micro four third system as a whole and a logical companion for my clutch of M.Zuiko “Pro” Zoom lenses (ie 12-10mm f4) and larger M.Zuiko prime lenses (ie M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As an owner of the OM-D EM5-II the EM1-II didn’t hold too many surprises, I knew it was a very good camera anyway as every on-line review bar none heaped praise upon it but the £1800 (ish) price tag meant it was a serious investement.

So worth it?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Yeap, every penny. The OM-D EM1-II has easily lived up to its growing reputation, its  a fast, responsive, wonderfully handling pseudo “mini” high-end DSLR that proves once and for all that mirrorless CSC’s and in particular Olympus’s M43 system can more than hold their own against very stiff competition from the likes of thee Nikon D500, the Canon 7D-II and Fuji X-T2.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The new 20mp M43 sensor is a definate improvement on the 16mp unit in my EM5-II offering a tad bit more obvious resolution and I’d say maybe a 1/3 stop high-ISO improvement, while the EVF is joy to use, and to say the EM1-II is a speed demon is a bit of an understatement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The slightly bigger body and more pronounced hand-grip of the EM1-II over my EM5-II 5 means its a far better balanced camera when paired with my M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-100mm f4 lenses. The larger body also allows for better button placement which in turn aids handling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To say the EM1-II is feature rich and posses a highly configurably interface is another understatement, I defy anyone not to be able to set the camera up to suit their personal preferences.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The presence of a new higher capacity battery is a another great upgrade that users will greatly appreciate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Features like in-camera HDR, High-Res capture, 4K video and a host of in-camera filter selections simply add to the cameras overall appeal.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

So any moans?

Yes a couple. I’d still prefer a more resolute EVF (the new Panasonic GH5 has set the standard here). Equally the articulated rear screen could also probably do with a resolution upgrade.

Also personally I’d love to see built-in GPS / tagging as well as a small built-in flash although in fairness the supplied detachable small tilting and swivelling flash unit is pretty good.

And yes Olympus seem to relish on producing unbelievably long complicated menus, which means the camera requires a fair bit of  intial effort in order to set it up as one wishes.

But lets be frank the moans are hardly deal breakers are they?

All in all the new Olympus OM-D EM1-II is a cracking camera, well deserving of it “Pro” tag and although not cheap, personally I don’t consider it hugely over priced.

Should  EM1 users upgrade?

Well I reckon that depends on two factors, namely what lenses do you own and if you have a requirement for the EM1-II’s amazing shooting speed and AF performance. If you have M43 telephoto lenses especially the likes of the M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8n and M.Zuiko 300mm f4 and shoot sport or wildlife the EM1-II is a logical step up.

So there you have it, the Olympus OM-D EM1-II, Olympus’s best micro four third camera yet.

Mark Baynham (May 2017)

 

Panasonic-Leica DG 8-18mm f2.8-4 Wide Zoom

News image

The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH is a new high-end ultra-wide angle zoom lens for the Micro Four Thirds system (M43) of interchangeable lens cameras from Panasonic and Olympus. Offering a useful and versatile effective focal range of 16-36mm in 35mm terms, the new Panasonic 8-18mm lens also boasts fast and silent auto-focusing and weather sealing.

So how does the new lens perform?

Well Online review site Photography Blog UK conducted a full review and concluded:

“The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-16mm f/2.8-4.0 ASPH ultra-wide-angle zoom offers a classic focal range of 16-36mm in a small and lightweight package, backed-up by outstanding image quality throughout the focal range and impressively fast and silent autofocusing. It’s just a little soft wide-open at 18mm, where it’s best used stopped down for the best results, there’s some predictable barrel distortion at 8mm, and it is susceptible to flare when shooting directly into the sun, but otherwise it delivers fantastic sharpness at all focal lengths, even at the edges of the frame.

This lens is small and lightweight considering the zoom range on offer. It’s also very fast to focus and silent too, making it well-suited to candid stills and particularly video work, making it a perfect partner for the G80 camera that we tested it with. Build quality is very good, perhaps to be expected given the premium price-tag, and the fact that this lens is weatherproof is the icing on an already rich cake”.

May 2017

Sony FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM

Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine recently contained a full review of Sony’s new high end full frame FE 70-200mm f2.8 GM OSS mid telephoto lens designed to work with Sony’s Alpha 7 mirrorless cameras and Sony’s new a9 mirrorless camera.

Sony FE 70-200mm F2.8 GM OSS Review Image

Whilst far from cheap AP’s verdict on the lens was pretty conclusive, I quote:

“By any measure this is an impressive optic, particularly as its performance here has been evaluated against a 42MP sensor”

The lens won a 5 Star Gold Award

May 2017

Panasonic-Leica 8-18mm f2.8-4

Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 Asph

The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. is a new wide zoom for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Equivalent to a 16-36mm lens in a 35mm system, the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH. covers a variety of photographic genres and shooting situations, from interiors and landscapes to environmental portraiture and street photography. The non-rotating 67mm filter thread allows users to mount a variety of creative filters such as polarisers and ND grads. Comprising 15 elements in 10 groups, the lens system features an aspherical ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens, three aspherical lenses, two ED lenses and an UHR (Ultra High Refractive Index) lens. The use of these lenses effectively suppress spherical distortion or chromatic aberration to achieve high resolution and contrast from centre to corners. The Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 ASPH.

News image

From Ephotozine : Verdict

“The Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 Asph. is a pleasure to use, but the greatest pleasure is arguably in the outstanding sharpness, giving a real punch to images. The pleasure extends to enjoying fine engineering as well, because there is the high quality of the construction and finish to enjoy for its own sake.

In summary, a lens that lives up to its Leica tag and should serve very well for many years of use”!

Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 Asph Pros

  • Outstanding sharpness
  • Low distortion
  • Low CA
  • Fast and silent AF
  • High contrast for punchy results
  • Dust and splash proof

Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4 Asph Cons

  • Can be susceptible to flare
  • Fairly expensive

April 2015

Panasonic Lumix GX800

Panasonic GX800 : Small, compromised but it has its place

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX800 Review Image

From Amateur Photographer (AP) Magazine

“With the Lumix GX800 Panasonic has taken the main imaging components of its higher-end models from last year and squeezed them into a really compact pocketable form.

The result is one of the smallest interchangeable-lens models we;ve seen recently, and with the 12-32mm pancake zoom it’ll happily slip into a large pocket or a small bag.

The Four Thirds sensoir gives very decent image quality too, just as long as you keep an eye on exposure and white balance.

For those interested in video, its thye smallest interchangeable -lens camera that can record 4K at a decent frame rate of 30fps.

Its an interesting alternative for anyone considering an enthusiast compact especially for existing Micro Four Third users who already own some lenses”.

April 2017