Feb 042015
 

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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II! Hands On 1st look & Video!

Man, doing camera reviews is a TOUGH job. Here I am in beautiful Bermuda with other colleagues testing out the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. The follow up to the HUGELY successful E-M5 (My review of the original E-M5 is HERE). For the past couple of years I wondered how Olympus could top themselves after the E-M1. I mean, what else can they do? The E-M5 and E-M1 (E-M1 review is HERE) are superb cameras for the Micro 4/3 format, and IMO, the best there is for this system. When I was asked to come do a test of the camera for two solid days in Bermuda, I could not pass it up. ;)

I also learned about the new PRO 8MM F/1.8 Fisheye they are coming out with this year as well as the “Olympus Air” and the new 14-150 “kit” zoom that is now weather sealed. Also, Firmware 3.0 for the E-M1 which should be out in the next 2-3 weeks. Good stuff!

All images in this 1st look report are OOC JPEGs with either the 12-40 Pro or 40-150 Pro Zoom Lenses. Click them for larger. 

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OFFICIAL…

“CENTER VALLEY, Pa., February 5, 2015 — Olympus introduces an exceptional high-resolution still and advanced motion picture hybrid with the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II®. This advanced interchangeable-lens camera features a compact dustproof, splashproof body, with a familiar, premium design. Packed with 5-axis image stabilization, a 40-megapixel high-resolution shot mode, sophisticated, stunning HD video, integrated Wi-Fi® and a variable-angle 3-inch touchscreen, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II makes it easy to get the shot you need, every time. The easy-to-use 2.36 million dot, super-large, high-definition electronic viewfinder has a field of view of 100%, and a viewfinder magnification of 1.48x. The camera is equipped with Adaptive Brightness Technology, which automatically adjusts the backlight brightness in accordance with environmental lighting. The new LV Boost II*1 is convenient for shooting stars, and Creative Control provides complete freedom of control over color, tone, focus, and aspect ratio.”

Today was day one with the camera. That is it. ONE day. I had  the 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom and the 40-150 Pro Zoom to shoot with it and of course I only shot JPEG as there is no software to process RAW files as of yet. So remember, all images here are 1st look images, all JPEG and out of camera.

My 1st Look Video on the Olympus E-M5 II with my thoughts and some quick video samples (nothing fancy here)

With that said, here is the real lowdown, the real scoop..the real deal after only one day with the E-M5.

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Well, IT IS GORGEOUS and an AMAZING update to the old E-M5, and here is why:

40 MP High Res Shot

Olympus said  that with this mode you will meet or exceed full frame detail. Yes, you can get a 40MP file from the 16MP sensor using this new exclusive mode on the E-M5 II. You will need a tripod and a good lens to take advantage of it but from what I understand the detail is stunning in this mode and I have sen samples. I will be testing this mode TOMORROW but once again it is Olympus pushing tech and INNOVATING as they have done for years. Remember, they were 1st with 5 Axis..they were 1st with a Swivel LCD (E-330 back in the day) and they were 1st with a mirror less weather proof, freeze proof, shock proof body in the E-M1. They are also the ONLY camera today with the exclusive LIVE TIME and LIVE COMPOSITE MODES, which are FANTASTIC.

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Here is what Olympus says about 40 MP High Res Shot:

“The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II takes high-resolution imaging to a whole new level. In addition to the exceptional 16-megapixel stills you’ve come to expect from OM-D, the E-M5 Mark II captures 40-megapixel images*2 using an innovative pixel-shift technique that is facilitated by the voice-coil motor IS unit. The 40-Megapixel High-Res Shot mode captures eight sequential images, moving the sensor by 0.5-pixel steps between each shot. Then, the E-M5 Mark II compiles those images to produce a super-high resolution shot that rivals those captured with a 40-megapixel full-frame camera.

A tripod and a high-resolution M.ZUIKO® DIGITAL PRO or M.ZUIKO Premium lens are recommended to use the 40-Megapixel High-Res Shot mode, which captures eight shots over a period of one second. Another two seconds are required to compile the final image. Images can be captured at up to f/8 with a shutter speed of up to eight seconds and a sensitivity of up to ISO 1600. When shooting in RAW+JPEG mode, the camera will save a 40M JPEG file, a 64M RAW (ORF) file and a 16M RAW (ORI) file. 64M RAW images may be processed using Photoshop CS4 and later with a required plug-in.”

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The new improved 5-Axis IS. 

This is new and upgraded and works SO AMAZINGLY WELL. It beats the 5 Axis in the Sony A7II, E-P5, E-M5 Mark I and the E-M1. Olympus briefed us and told us it is their best Image Stabilization system to date. This new improved 5 Axis is so amazing with video and photos. One guy here took a handheld shot at 1.2 seconds and it looked damn good on his LCD! Crazy. Olympus claims 5 Stops of performance. I was seeing unreal performance with this E-M5II 5 Axis..can not wait to test it more.

1st image was using “Live Time” where you can see your exposure happening in real-time, perfect for night exposures. The image below was shot at ISO 1600 at night, and I let LiveTime go until the exposure was right where I wanted it. 

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…and “Live Composite” which is quite special and unique to Olympus. Basically the camera takes TWO shots. The 1st one determines the exposure for the shot..the 2nd shot just leaves the shutter open for up to SIX HOURS looking for NEW light. When it sees the new light it adds it to the images, without affecting your original exposure. This would be amazing for night-time shooting but you do need a tripod of course.

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Here is the Lowdown from Olympus on the 5 Axis in the E-M5 II:

“The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II’s in-body 5-axis VCM image stabilization system offers unprecedented performance. The camera’s 16-megapixel sensor shifts horizontally, vertically and on the X (pitch), Y (yaw) and Z (roll) axes in order to provide 5.0 EV steps of compensation performance. The OM-D E-M5 Mark II can capture sharp images at shutter speeds as low as 1/4-second without the use of a tripod. Sensor shift on the X and Y axes can also assist when photographing close-up subjects. Image stabilization extends to the 3-inch, 1.04M-dot rear vari-angle touchscreen and the 2.36M-dot electronic viewfinder (1.48x magnification), providing a full image stabilization preview when the shutter button is pressed halfway.”

Electronic Silent Shutter capable of 1/16,000 S

The new silent shutter is superb and capable of 1/16,000 of a second shutter speeds and 11 FPS continuous shooting. If you prefer to use the physical shutter you are limited to 1/8000s and 10 FPS shooting, which exceeds the E-M1 and past E-M5 regardless. The silent shutter is just that..silent.

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OM-D Movie – They now are getting much better with video

“The OM-D E-M5 Mark II’s advanced video features enable photographers to capture cinema-quality movies from the palm of their hand. The camera’s 5-axis image stabilization compensates for even the slightest movement, allowing the camera to capture stable footage without the use of a sophisticated and expensive stabilization rig, or even a tripod, letting users shoot in environments where adding heavy equipment may not be practical. The mechanical IS unit can also work in concert with Electronic Stabilization if desired.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II captures 1080p video at up to a 60p frame rate with up to 77 Mbps high bit-rate recording possible at the 30p setting. Additionally, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II supports 50p, 30p (29.97p), 25p and 24p (23.98p) frame rates, making it easy to blend footage captured using other camera systems. An integrated microphone jack supports external audio input, while a headphone jack positioned in the HLD-8G External Grip enables real-time audio monitoring. Focus Peaking with four color choices (red, yellow, black and white) as well as three selectable intensities for optimal manual focus results. Settings can be adjusted while recording using the 3-inch touchscreen, including AF-point selection, exposure, electronic zoom and Movie Tele-converter, microphone sensitivity, headphone volume and art effects. Additionally, OM-D Movie supports time code settings and connection to an external HDMI® monitor during recording. You can also add an Olympus PCM recorder for high-quality audio capture.

Photographers can take advantage of the OM-D’s popular Art Filters while in Movie Capture mode. Users can select from Pop Art, Soft Focus, Pale and Light Color, Light Tone, Grainy Film, Pin Hole, Diorama, Cross Process, Gentle Sepia, Dramatic Tone, Key Line and Watercolor while capturing video. A Movie Tele-converter lets users touch an area on the screen to enlarge it without losing image quality, while the Clips tool enables short clip capture, allowing users to combine footage and effects directly on the camera for instant sharing.”

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I am only one day in with this new camera and I am really enjoying it. From the quick and fast AF (faster than the E-M5 and E-M1 from what I can tell) , the new side swivel LCD which is FANTASTIC in use and the improved 5 Axis IS and Video. I will be testing the new 40MP High Res Shot tomorrow but I can see the possibilities with it for sure. The E-M % Mark II will not ship with a lens as it will be body only for $1099. It will come with a very cool new flash that not only rotates side to side but up and down as well. I was able to handle this little dynamo and it was very cool, not your typical bundled flash (though it is small).

I love Olympus..always have ever since the good old film days, and then again with the original 4/3 E-1. They always have something special and unique about their cameras and they ALWAYS innovate and bring us new features, including superb firmware updates for the E-M1.

So far so good and I have only been shooting OOC JPEG in NEUTRAL color mode…for ONE day.

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This camera easily outclasses the older E-M1 Mark I and IMO even outshines the E-M1 for less money. Next to the E-M1 the E-M5 II is smaller but feels just as good, is a bit faster, can shoot faster FPS, has better 5 Axis IS and video, and so on.

My full review will be up by the end of Feb 2015, so be sure to check back as I am sure I will be posting updates over the next few days and weeks, including a test of the new 40MP High Res Mode. We have a full day of shooting tomorrow as well so I am excited to see what I can squeeze out of the camera.

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So far, so good! GO GO GO Olympus!

PRE ORDER THE E-M5 II

You can PRE ORDER the E-M5 Mark II at B&H Photo using the link below. The camera will be shipping by the end of this month, Feb 2015.

B&H PHOTO: PRE-ORDER THE E-M5 II HERE IN SILVER!

B&H PHOTO: PRE-ORDER IN BLACK!

AMAZON: PRE ORDER IN SILVER

AMAZON: PRE ORDER IN BLACK

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More from Olympus on the new and exciting E-M5 Mark II

Exceptional Performance
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II pairs a redesigned16-megapixel Live-MOS Micro Four Thirds® sensor with the Olympus TruePic™ VII processor, enabling brilliant image quality in bright and low-light conditions alike. The 1/8000 mechanical shutter allows photographers to shoot using a large aperture for maximum bokeh, even in bright, daylight conditions. Users can capture RAW images at up to 10 fps with S-AF, or 5 fps with C-AF tracking enabled. An Anti-shock mode utilizes electronic first-curtain shutter to reduce shutter shock during sequential shooting, and a new Silent mode enables a full-time 1/16000 second electronic shutter, eliminating the mechanical shutter noise entirely for absolutely silent shooting. The 81-point Fast AF provides an expanded focus area, with unparalleled speed, while Small Target AF allows users to focus on small areas across the entire frame.

Ultimate Connectivity
The OM-D E-M5 Mark II includes integrated Wi-Fi, enabling remote shooting, geotagging and easy image sharing using the Olympus Image Share app on an Android® or iOS® smartphone or tablet. Photographers can use the Olympus Image Share app to apply Art Filters. Users can also start and stop movie recording using a wirelessly connected smartphone, or with the RM-UC1 Remote Cable Release. Studio photographers can take advantage of Olympus Capture support, enabling complete control of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II from a connected Mac® or PC.

Portability and Build
The OM-D E-M5 Mark II features a dustproof, splashproof body, that, when properly sealed and paired with select M.ZUIKO DIGITAL lenses, can even be used in the rain. Olympus’ renowned Supersonic Wave Filter technology uses super high speed frequency movement to “shake” any dust or debris off the sensor, eliminating dust marks that irreparably spoil images. Two body colors are available: a luxurious black with texture casting, and a bright, gorgeous silver. The camera includes machined metal dials, an extended grip and a lowered center of gravity that makes the OM-D E-M5 Mark II comfortable to hold in a variety of positions. The camera (body only) weighs just 417 grams, or 14.7 ounces, making it one of the lightest models in its class.

Accessories
The OM-D E-M5 Mark II includes a dustproof and splashproof bundled flash, the FL-LM3, with Guide Number 9 (at ISO 100) and tilt and swivel positioning, enabling users to light subjects directly or by bouncing the flash off of a ceiling or wall.

The HLD-8 is a dustproof and splashproof power battery holder for exclusive use with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, which enhances both the camera grip and power supply. The HLD-8G Non-powered Grip pairs a substantial camera grip with a headphone jack for monitoring audio during video capture, and an HLD-6P Power Grip, which can attach directly to the camera or to the HLD-8G, provides additional battery power for extended shoots. Because the grip (HLD-8G) and battery holder (HLD-6P) can be separated, the grip can be used alone when necessary. The HLD-6P battery holder is the same as the HLD-6 which was previously designed for the OM-D E-M5. The ECG-2 Metal External Grip can be attached to and removed from a tripod easily, and includes a battery pass-through for changing batteries without removing the grip.

An EE-1 External Dot Sight, which is compatible with any camera with a hot shoe, makes it easier to frame subjects during super-telephoto shooting An EP-16 Large Eyecup is also available, which blocks sunlight, making the electronic viewfinder easier to use. A redesigned version of the OM-D E-M5’s popular full-cover case, which includes a body cover and removable front cover, is also available as the CS-46 FBC Leather Cover and Body Jacket. The PT-EP13 Dedicated Underwater Case can be used at depths of up to 45 meters, and is designed specifically for the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. The case is equipped with a pick-up viewfinder and can be used with the cameras bundled FL-LM3 flash, along with a variety of lenses.

U.S. Pricing and Availability
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II will be available in February 2015.
Estimated Street Price
$1,099.99 Body only in Black or Silver

  96 Responses to “Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II! Hands On 1st look & Video!”

  1. I’d like to know if its possible to play with the shutter speed for video to create zombie styling or dreamy movement. Any suggestion of setting? Thanks

  2. Just got my E-M5 MII. Yes, this is one little beast of a camera. Short of handling, it is better than my OM-1. Well, you cant have everything in the same package. What I like is that with the pancake lens, it is easier to take with you anywhere.

    And the image stabilization is amazing. Good work Olympus.

    (No, I am not going to complaint about mind wrenching setup menus… *sic* )

  3. Re Shutter Shock. To my knowledge this did not have any noticeable impact on my photography with the EM-5 mark I. Now, with my new Mk II there is an option for what seems to be a genuine 0 sec anti shock feature – utilising the electronic first curtain. So, whilst this might not actually be necessary in most if not all of my photography there seems to be no downside to just leaving it on all the time. Does this seem right to you?

    Re EVF info display options. With custom display set to show highlight/shadow and ISO set to Auto, the ISO is shown in the VF as a shot is taken – just as it is in the “image only” info view. However, if ISO is set to anything other than auto then the ISO does not show in VF when taking a photo (though it does appear while exposure setting changes are made) if a custom info view is active. In contrast , if using the image only info view, the ISO still shows just as it does when set to Auto. This was the same with the mk 1 and I had hoped this had been “fixed” in the mk II as I like to be reminded of the ISO setting as I focus and shoot, but prefer to use the highlight/shadow view as a default. It seems I still can’t have both (unless ISO is set to auto as mentioned). Am I missing something or doing something wrong? If I am right, can you think of a good reason for this behaviour , or is it more likely oversight on Olympus’ part?

  4. Hi.
    I have a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3K, but I want to change to the new Olympus camera. My question is, can I still use this equipment on the OM-D E-M5 ll?
    – Panasonic DMW-FL220E Blitz
    – Panasonic Lumix G Vario 20 mm
    – Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-42mm
    – Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm
    – Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm

    Thanks!

  5. I use it for video, worked smoth! here our first production:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n473T16nYmc&spfreload=10

  6. Can the e-m5 ii take stills while recording video without breaking the video into segments? My Sony camcorder can, and I find this very useful.

  7. Hi Steve – cool (p)review.

    Not sure if any other commenters have mentioned this, but your a7s can do the same type of “Live Time” and “Live Compsite” view as the EM family if you get the “Light Trail” app from the Sony PlayMemories website (think it works on a7s and a5100 only – not a7, a7r or even a7II). A friend of mine has the LiveView app on his a7s and says it is great for night-time lightpaintinig and long exposures.

  8. Hmmmm, what a dilemma. I want to switch from a Canon 600D without sacrificing quality, but do I go for the E5 mk2 without built in flash but with the vari-angle screen or go for the OMD10 with the built in flash and spend the price difference on lenses. Is the E5 sensor that much better than the one in the OM10?

  9. I have large hands. How does EM5 II compare to my original EM 5?

  10. Decisions. Decisions. Thanks steve. I bought a Leica 109 recently and it’s an amazing camera but really found by the time I had it in a case I may as well carry the sturdy em-1 with a prime. Selling that now and think that the em-5 mk2 compactness will suit even better. Just need to get the grip for the 5 for the larger lens. All this thinking is hurting my head, but that’s the fun isn’t it.
    Thanks for a great site. All the best.

  11. Any 40mp samples to show?

    • I will in my review. I want to shoot them RAW and am waiting on the RAW processing to do this. The JPEGS show a nice difference in resolution but the RAW will be even better.

      • Do I take it Olympus Viewer 3 doesn’t yet support processing the 64 MPx Hi-Res RAW files?

        • I got the answer from Olympus Tech Support: No, as of mid-March ’15, Viewer 3 does not support processing the RAW high res files, however soon they plan to upgrade to a 64-bit version that does. Note that we’ll need a 64-bit computer to use it (I would have to upgrade my computer, too!). Can’t get away from that forced obsolescence.

  12. Hi Steve. I love my em1. Would you say there is enough difference to warrant changing to the em5 mk2. I recently bought the 40-150. Will that seem a be large for the em5. Thanks

    • Well, probably not. I would not sell an E-M1 to buy the EM5II as I like the beefier EM1 body at times. BUT I love the swivel LCD of the II, the new 5 Axis and new video quality. Hmmmm. That’s a tough one now that I think about it. The new E-M1 firmware 3.0 is coming so Id keep the E-M1 and ADD a 5II if possible. :)

    • You might want to wait for an EM1 MkII upgrade. Judging from Oly’s 2-year interval for upgrading the EM5, that could be by the end of this year. Remember the EM1 has PDAF as well as CDAF, so it’s better for legacy FT lenses. Expect other improvements in the next flagship EM1 (possibly 4K video?).

  13. I have been waiting to buy an EM1 but delayed to see how the EM5mkii would be. For me coming from the big old Nikon Dslr set up and wanting to switch to m4/3 instead of full frame, my main concern is avoiding the use of flash. How does the mkii compare to the EM1 for low light ? I think the mkii looks a bit odd with the dual grips which I would be getting. Thanks in advance

  14. Thanks for the review, Steve. The camera looks great.
    For someone getting back into photography, do you think this is a good camera to get in comparison to the previous model, even when getting the older model would be 400USD less?

  15. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for the initial review! really nice
    I see you didn’t have long to use the camera, but how would you say it compares to the Sony A7II?
    Was planning to buy a camera for general usage but low light is also important to me
    Thanks in advance!
    Jeff

    • I will talk about that in my review in two weeks. I have the camera with me at home now so will be using it for the next few weeks.

    • Jeff, I would consider Sony A7S if high ISO is so important to your style of shooting. The camera size is almost the same but you’ll get a full frame camera with outstanding low light performance

      • The size of the A7s is quite a bit larger but for high ISO there is no contest. A7s is the king. I shoot at 80k iso sometimes with the Sony. My max with E-M1 (same performance as E-M5II) is 10k ISO. (See my Nocticron review for high ISO samples with Micro 4/3, and my A7s review for high ISO samples of that camera).

        Size wise the Sony is quite a bit bigger, heavier but still nothing like a DSLR. The EM5II is SMALL but VERY sturdy and “finished” feeling.

        The Sony works great with third party legacy manual focus lenses, the Olympus CAN use them but the crop factor makes then unusable for me.

        The E-M5II can do MANY things the Sony Can not and the 5 Axis in the E-M5 allows me to shoot 1 second exposures that are sharp..2 sec IS possible but you lose sharpness. The E-M5II is very fun to use, very capable, and has wonderful color. The Sony A7s is full frame so you get that look that goes along with it, but at the same time it is a much slower camera in operation than the E-M5II.

        At the end of the day though, if shooting mostly very high ISO (past 6400) go Sony A7s. If staying around 1600-3200, the E-M5II is great.

  16. Dear Steve,
    thank you for your quick review! Very interesting camera.
    BTW, I have a OMD EM5 partly because of your reviews here, and I really love it.
    I would see a point in updating, if the new MkII would improve a lot on the continuous AF reformance vs. MkI. Do you see an improvement there?
    All the best
    Martin

  17. Just great. I had finally talked myself into switching allegiances and upgrading to the Sony A7ii from my Nikon D7000 DSLR, and this comes out. I have an Olympus E-PM2 as my knock-around backup camera (got it for $199 w/kit lens), and LOVE it. In fact, I use it way more than my D7000. So the question now is, do I stay in the Olympus family with this amazing new tech–and keep my investment in the M43 system and lenses–or do I go all the way to the A7ii? Decisions, decisions.

  18. Steve, do you think alternative hand grips for the “old” E-M5 (for example the one from Really Right Stuff”) will fit to the E-M5 II?

  19. Steve: Thank you for your time in always putting all these together. I know I and a lot of other people appreciate it. I know this is about the E-M5 mark II (which looks very nice) but since you were with Olympus, I wondered if you got any sense if the E-M1 would get any video improvements in the upcoming firmware update. While 60p and all that would be nice (and those 4k rumors back in the fall…) I would honestly be completely happy if it could just shoot 24p (and 25p for all our PAL friends) so I could match it up with my other footage. I know you’re mostly not a video guy but still would be curious if you got any impression about whether the only option to get this feature is to buy an E-M5 mkII or if we might see it in the E-M1. Thanks!

  20. Interesting, the high res shot sounds very similar to anti-aliasing from gaming video cards, except in computer games it is used to improve image quality without increasing resolution. I wonder whether 40MP is actually required to see an improvement in image quality.

  21. Another reviewer (who seemed to be in Bermuda, as well) said that the flash sync is 1/20 for the electronic shutter and is not recommended. I haven’t been able to find anything about the max shutter speed for the e-shutter. Max on the Panasonics is 1s.

    • I still much prefer the standard shutter, it is velvety smooth and quiet as it is. Pound for Pound the EM5II kills Any Panasonic. Video with the GH4 was shown next to the EM5 II and wowzers… This is a technological marvel. Live Composite is BRILLIANT, Live Time is genius, the 40MP high res is beautiful but you must use a tripod. I took a 2 second handheld shot and it was sharp due to the new 5 Axis. Touch screen LCD, side swivel, beautiful large EVF, metal dials and solid build, weather proof, and a small yet not too small size. Retro good looks (silver is beautiful) and a new 8mm 1.8 fisheye on the way along with the amazing other lenses in the lineup..well, this camera is going to be a huge hit. It should be. There is NOTHING like it out there. Yes, I love my A7II and all but the possibilities with this for some shooters will push it to the top of the heap.

      • WOW, I’d love to see that 2-second handhels shot.

      • I totally agree that the EM-5 II looks great! (And very very tempting!) My main interest in the e-shutter is for time-lapse without putting excess wear on the mechanical shutter. With my G5 I also seem to get more shots per battery with the e-shutter as there is no mechanical work being done.

        I always appreciate that you tell it like you see it, Steve!

  22. That drive through Bermuda, I’m taking that was handheld -wow! So smooth!!

  23. I currently have the Pen 5, would you trade it in the MKII and for what reasons?

    I’d consider the trade-in for weatherproofing reasons and the built in viewfinder. I miss the viewfinder from my 7D as I don’t like carrying the VF4 around. They’re both electronic, are there millisecond differences from an optical viewfinder like the 7D vs these electronic viewfinders? I definitely notice it when i’m trying to take photos with the live view.

  24. Steve will the new high resolution aspect be suitable for photographing paintings to make lage prints, I was going to sell all my Olympus gear and go Sony A7ii. I will be using strobe wireless flash so would this work on the Em5ii or would studio lights work if wireless flash not suitable.
    Your thoughts or comments from others appreciated.

  25. IMO mediocre IQ for $2000 kit.
    the same as was 3 years ago.

  26. I’ve never owned one of the Olympus cameras, but came close – and obviously image quality is incredible. My question to Olympus though, now that Sony has proven a full frame sensor is possible in a compact camera body – why are they clinging to an APS-C sensor and trying to squeeze 40mp onto it? Compact mirrorless full frame technology is at least two years old now, and we know Sony has new full frame releases that will be announced very soon … it seems to me that Olympus is being left behind.

    • This would mean giving up all current lenses and starting from the scratch. That would be the end of Olympus, as people who invested in m4/3 primes would not forgive and follow.
      One also has to remember what always made Olympus different : smaller, lighter bodies with usually high quality glass and design. This was the idea behind the original film Pen (already half frame) the original film OMD, their mju compact cameras and their digital failures and successes. This is why Olympus is respected (especially in Japan), and I do admire them for being coherent and doing everything technically possible to overcome the core limits of the m4/3 system (fast primes, incredible 5 axes IS, and now this). The sensor size will always remain their Achilles heel (and in some cases, advantage) over APSC or FF. But on the other hand, they are the only ones to keep their whole mirrorless system small (with follower Panasonic) and keep innovating.

  27. Purchased! :)

  28. http://www.popflash.com/olympus/

    We also have them for preorder at PopFlash.Com

  29. Very interesting camera. Looking forward to more impressions.

    I know Steve doesn’t like evaluate cameras from a purely technical standpoint, but I’d like to know how the images compare to the original em5. Any noticeable improvement in noise at various ISO’s, dynamic range or any differences in rendering either positive or negative?

  30. how’s the noise for long exposure with NR turned off? that’s my BIGGEST gripe with EM1!!

  31. I understand you’re pleased with the CDAF, but I’m disappointed there’s no PDAF on a camera that expensive. Didn’t want to intrude too much on the E-M1 so they don’t include something we know they can do and do well. I don’t like that philosophy.

    Otherwise I think it sounds neat. I want to see a photo-off between the 40 MP this can put out vesus an a7r and a D810 (and that new 5D thing from Canon). Bring on the pixel peepers! But maybe not from Steve, that’s not how he rolls.

  32. Does the frame rate drop even further than 5fps in c-af with the image stabilisation? Also wondering the same with the e-m1’s new firmware update for 9fps with c-af. Thanks

  33. Silent shutter sounds great for street photography. Is it possible to remotely tivate it by phone or similar?

  34. Nice and fast for action I guess, but the IQ is rather poor from m43 compared to larger sensors. (I have had the E m1 and use a E m10 at work). Lense size is great… Can m43 lenses be fitted in any way for the A7 series? Would cropped images compare in IQ with m43?

  35. Does the electronic shutter support flash sync speeds faster than 1/250 sec?

  36. Regarding the shutter, what would be the downside of using the electronic shutter vs the mechanical? The extra speed of the electronic could be very useful, so why bother using the mechanical at all? I’m sure there must be a good reason, but what is it?

  37. Wow! Very exciting camera roll-out indeed and that new 40-150 looks wicked good too.

  38. Dear Steeve, I bought the em5 thanks to your reviews ( and to much primes ) and I’m delighted with it. When the em5 II was announced , I was hoping (dreaming) that the 40mp mode could work handheld with a fast enough shutter speed and steady subject , without the tripod… Maybe you could give it a try tomorrow ?

    Being stuck in Bermuda for work, so much devotion !

    • Hi Steve,
      I second that. Would it be possible to try the 40mp mode hand held? A crazy idea, I know, but after all, you’re the all-time king of crazy camera comparaisons ; -)

  39. I like what I’ hearing. I think Olympus real competition is really themselves. There previous EM1 and even the EM5 still kills it in terms of overall performance. With the price coming down on those bodies, it’s going to take a bit of finesse to get users to pony up.

  40. So is this still positioned ‘below’ the M-1? Meaning, will we expect to see a M-1 update next to advance it w/ things like the new stabilization, etc… Is the M-5 the ‘middle’ of the line?

    • The E-M5 II is the middle but to be honest, it has more advancements than the E-M1 now. But the E-M1 is still considered the PRO tool.

      • Steve, can the Fn buttons on the E-M5II be set up to mirror those on the E-M1? For example, one Fn button for AF Mode/Metering mode once pressed to set with dials, then another to HDR/Drive Mode, etc.? If so I’d be tempted to buy this over the E-M1, at the moment.

        I must say, this seems an amazing camera. I can’t wait to see the E-M1 Mark II. Wow.

  41. Oh man, the 5-axis war is on. Was about to go Sony a7 mark ii… Might have to wait.

  42. Steve, can the MKII focus fast on the older classic Four Thirds lenses?

  43. Great stuff, but I’ll stick with my EM5 for now. Love how they’re pushing the envelope, too. Really digging the Live Composite feature as well. My next Oly purchase would require an entirely new type of ‘organic’ sensor technology.

  44. This looks amazing. Was about to buy an E-M1, but with the dissapointing lack of update to video features (particularly PAL framerates) in the new firmware I’m not sure I can justify it over the new E-M5II. A Shame, as I still prefer the ergonomics of the E-M1, although I do prefer the looks of the E-M5II.

    Any indication yet of how good *low light* AF-S is compared to the E-M1?

    • Seems good. I would love to hear about the low light performance.

      • With 5 stops of stabilization, it can’t be too shabby :)

        • huh? let me rephrase that. Hi iso performance.

        • stabilization is very useful when you shoot STEADY objects and is essentially useless when shooting people and anything in motion. You just cannot stabilize people dancing :) or even seating at a table and taking with some level of gesticulation. Therefore to make portraiture type of photography in natural (so do not use a flash) and yet low light you need to use a capable , high ISO camera and preferable fast glass (but now the DOF aspects shall be considered more)

  45. The Olympus Live Composite sounds exactly what Pentax users have already in their composite modes. (On Pentax, the composite mode would be the “Bright” setting, and it works by layering each photo and keeping only the brightest pixel in a series of photos). Great to use for cloud streaking or car light trails. (works great on the 645z). Pretty cool that Olympus has it now.

  46. Good Morning Steve!

    Fine first look – both video and writing. Looking forward to your final review…and what a pity it has to be the Bermudas!
    ;-)

    kind regards,
    Michael S.

  47. Glad to see they stuck around the $1000-wish price point. The EM1 was a little too much for what it was.

  48. Dear Steve,
    How does the Mark II compare with E-m1?

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