Olympus OM-D EM1 II Review
Online review site Ephotozine has published its complete Olynpus OM-D EM1 II review and once again like everyone else they conclude that the EM1 II Powerhouse is a winner, all be it an expensive one.
Olympus OMD EM1 II Key Features:
- 20 megapixel Micro Four Thirds CMOS sensor
- 5-axis Sync IS – sensor and lens based IS for 6.5 stops
- 200,000 shutter life rating
- 15fps continuous shooting with mechanical shutter
- 18fps continuous shooting in raw with C-AF (Silent mode)
- 60fps continuous shooting in raw with fixed AF (Silent mode)
- 121 AF points (all-cross type) covering 75% vertically, 80% horizontal
- TruePix VIII – double quad-core image processor
- 3inch vari-angle touch-screen, 1037K dots
- 2360K dot, high-speed (120fps, 6ms) electronic viewfinder, 0.74x magnification
- ISO200 – ISO25600, Low (ISO64) also available
- Updated menu system (see below)
- New battery with fast charging, and 1720mAh rating
- Improved noise performance by 1 stop
- 50mp / 25mp high-res shot mode
- HDR in-camera, Live Time, Live Composite shooting
- Dual SD card slots – UHS-II (slot 1)
- USB3 Type C connection, Wi-Fi
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Verdict
“If you want the fastest possible camera then the high price of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II may be justified, as it is, without doubt, an excellent camera, capable of producing excellent images. For those that need or want high-speed shooting, the E-M1 II offers the ability to shoot up to 60fps at full resolution, and offers a Pro-Capture mode to shoot before and after pressing the shutter release button. This gives you even more chance to get shots you would have otherwise missed, giving you a potential edge over other photographers. It also gives you the added disadvantage of having hundreds of shots to go through, as with other cameras capable of shooting hundreds of shots in quick succession.
However, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the first professional solution to offer 60fps, full-resolution raw-shooting, with up to 49 shots possible. You can take more continuous shots when shooting at lower speeds, and by using JPEG instead of raw. It’s also the fastest stills camera in it’s class, with only the new Panasonic GH5 coming close, offering 6K photo at 30fps with a resolution of 18 megapixels.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II offers excellent handling, with a well-designed camera body with numerous external controls and button. The camera supports UHS-II cards (slot 1 only), is weather-sealed, offers an excellent electronic viewfinder (EVF), and a very good vari-angle touch-screen.
The sensor gives 5.5 stops of image stabilisation when used with the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens, or up to 6.5 stops when used with the new 12-100mm lens. This aids both stills photography, as well as video recording, making it possible to record images that would normally need a tripod, as well as record professional looking video without the need to invest additional money in a stabilisation system.
Olympus has been working on the menu system, and we have been asking for this for a while now, so we welcome the news, but we can’t help but feel that they have taken 2 steps forward and 1 step back (or the other way round). The custom settings menu has now been organised into different sections, but the colour coding is now missing, and the layout of options and controls is still as much a mess as it was on previous cameras. There’s built-in help, but this doesn’t always help, and Olympus are a long long way off implementing a menu system as easy to use and navigate as found on cameras like the new Panasonic GH5
You’re also going to need to customise the camera to get it setup so you can quickly access your favourite settings and controls, although thankfully the camera gives numerous customisable buttons and dials.
Olympus has a history of improving cameras over time with firmware updates, with the E-M1 Mark II already this good, we can’t wait to see what future firmware updates will bring. Hopefully, some updates will improve the menu system as well.
Without doubt the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II offers an impressive array of features*, including excellent image quality, a unique 50mp shooting mode, Cine 4K video, excellent 5-axis image stabilisation, up to 60fps continuous shooting, dual SD card slots, weather-sealing, access to a wide variety of Micro Four Thirds lenses, a high resolution electronic viewfinder (EVF), a tilting touch-screen, improved battery life, and more. However, it’s up to you whether you have the budget to spend this much on a camera. If you do, then we think it’s well worth the money.
For those that want to shoot high speed, then the Olympus is excellent, producing excellent image quality, with great JPEG images straight from the camera as well. You can get more out of processing the raw files yourself, but for the most part you shouldn’t need to with this camera, and that will be extremely useful when you’ve got hundred or thousands of images to go through”.
I’ve read half a dozen OMD EM1 II reviews so far and they have all concluded that not only is the Olympus’s new Micro Four Third (M43) flagship model currently the best M43 model available but that its a top-end pro focussed camera period.
The new Panasonic Lumix GH5 will trump (by some margin) the EM1 II’s video capacity and maybe offer similar or near identical image performance but I doubt it will be able to match the EM1 II’s overall perfomance and in doing so I’d guess the EM1 II ends up being a more rewarding user experience?
However there is still room for some minor improvements / tweaks.
I’d love the OM-D EM1 II to possess the Panasonic GH5’s new high resolution EVF (ie 3680 k-dot) after all it was rumoured that the new EM1 II it would have a more resolute EVF but alas no. The camera still lacks a % battery indicator, WHY. It still lacks a physical AF toggle on the rear ( a very useful feature), Auto ISO remains very basic and the menu system is still typical Olympus, ie extremely comprehensive but cluttered and sometimes confusing but in truth these are relatively minor moans.
All things considered the Olympus OM-D EM1 II is one hell of a camera regardless of its cropped sensor and probably worth its high retail price.
Mark Baynham (January 2017)