The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review. Olympus continues to innovate.


The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review. Olympus continues to innovate.

By Steve Huff

Below is my 1st look video on the E-M5 II, take a look!

February 18th 2015. I have reviewed almost all major Olympus mirrorless releases here since the original E-P1 that started it all. Ever since there have been cameras like the E-P2, E-P3, E-P5, E-Pl1, E-PL2 and so on. Then came the OM-D series and the E-M5 and then the “Pro” OM-D, the fantastic E-M1 (which I still own and use). I have loved all of the Olympus mirrorless cameras I have reviewed but WOW have they come a LONG way since the original E-P1 PEN! That camera was revolutionary for its time but looking back it was slow as molasses, had horrible high ISO performance and lacked in so many ways in comparison to todays Olympus cameras. Again, for the time it was great..for today, those old 1st PEN cameras are nothing like what we have today from Olympus, and what we do have today is quite amazing when you really dig into the cameras like the new E-M5II.


Olympus has continued to innovate and create new technology in cameras while keeping the cameras small, fast, great looking, AS WELL as keeping them performing in Image Quality to the level of an APS-C sensor camera. Yes, there is nothing at all lacking when it comes to image quality, color, or pop when using good lenses. It also does not hurt to have the most amazing lens selection available as well as exclusive features such as Live Time, Live Composite, Advanced 5 Axis IS, and more. I have always said, the LENSES are the heart of ANY system, and for this system there is NO shortage of amazing glass.

The E-M5 II is fast, discreet, quiet, and provides fantastic IQ. The image below is an out of camera JPEG shot with the Panasonic Nocticron (my fave M 4/3 lens ever) under mixed indoor lighting. Sharp, creamy, and perfect color and AWB.


I have written hundreds of reviews for cameras, lenses, bags, straps, accessories and all things photographic. For the life of this website, now going on seven years (Geez, where has the time gone), I have talked a ton about Olympus, Leica, Sony, Ricoh, Zeiss, Voigtlander and many others. I sometimes look back at reviews and remember which cameras were special to me, and which ones I had the best experiences with. Cameras like the Leica M 240, the Sony A7s and A7II, the Olympus E-M1 and E-P5, the Fuji many great cameras over the years and each year I ask myself…“How can it get better”? Seriously people, today we have so many cameras capable of jaw dropping quality. If we went back in time to 1984 with an E-M5 II or E-M1, photographers back then would FREAK OUT at what can be done.

With image quality peaking, camera companies are starting to look into other improvements such as improved high ISO quality, better video, better image stabilization, and a better usability experience. No other company leads this INNOVATION better than Olympus, and right behind them are Sony.

But remember! Olympus has created some of the best tech in cameras ever. EVER!

Olympus were the 1st ones ever with DUST SHAKING tech to clean sensors of dust automatically. They were 1st with 5 Axis IS and have just improved it to an incredible level in the new E-M5II. They were the 1st with LIVE VIEW in the Evolt E-330 back in the day! Yes, the 1st with LIVE VIEW and they were 1st and are still the only ones with “Live Composite”, an amazing feature that takes all guesswork out of astrophotography and long exposure work. Olympus keeps pushing new technology and for this reason they may be my overall favorite camera company. They are like the “Apple” of cameras.

Some would think that Sony or Leica is my favorite camera company but they are just behind Olympus. Anytime I shoot with a new Olympus camera I am wowed again and again. I mean, the lenses are stellar, 2nd only to Leica M glass IMO. Small, built well, and performance that exceeds the price point, Olympus has it going in in the Micro 4/3 lens world with so many fast primes that focus fast, look great and feel great. They are also small (with the exception of the new 40-150 2.8 pro, which is larger). Hand held low light shooting is a breeze with the latest Olympus cameras due to the amazing Image Stabilization inside. There really is NOTHING like it, not even in pro DSLR land.

The 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom in the Crystal Caves – click image for larger.


The SUPERB Olympus 17 1.8, at 1.8. I prefer this lens to the Panasonic/Leica 15 1.7 for color, pop and overall rendering. Click image for larger!


In the early days of Micro 4/3 there were so many naysayers..“the sensor size is too small” – “you can not get shallow depth of field” – “noise levels are too high” – “can’t compete with APS-C” – yada yada yada. All of these statements had some truth to them in the very early days..E-P1, E-P2..yea, they were slow, had awful low light ability and were crippled when compared to something like a Nikon D300 of the day, but today it is an entirely different story, big time. 

Today, just as I said with the E-M1 launch, the E-M1 and now E-M5II, for me, beat ANY APS-C camera made today for usability, build, speed, features, lenses, color and IQ. There is not one APS-C camera made today that I would take over an E-M1 or E-M5II. None. No Fuji, no Sony, no Leica. When I shoot with the E-M1 I have nothing but joy and happiness as it just works. It does the job and it always delivers the results I love. In many ways, it beats some full frame cameras as well because it is consistent and reliable with almost ANY of the lenses you mount.

Now with super lenses like the Panasonic Nocticron, the Olympus 40-150 2.8 and the Olympus 75 1.8 this is a SERIOUS system capable of beautiful results.

So how has the new E-M5II upped the game over the original E-M5? In MANY ways, but the real question is…“Is it now better than the flagship E-M1”? I own both and have used both extensively so I will tell you my opinion in this review about that! Keep reading!

The E-M5 II with the 40-150 Pro Zoom at 2.8 – this lens is a masterpiece. JPEG. The colors, the bokeh and the detail this lens provides is just incredible. 


The Panasonic Nocticron at f/1.2 – This is a GORGEOUS lens and has no faults. 


The new E-M5 II vs the old E-M5..what’s the story?

I loved the original E-M5 and owned it until the E-M1 arrived. I have owned the E-M1 ever since launch and even bought the silver model when it was released and let go of my black one. It’s a gorgeous camera I love and adore for the reasons I already explained. Extremely tough and well made, extremely fast, extremely capable with the 5 Axis and beautiful lens selections…so much to like. But what about those who have the original E-M5..and still love it? Should they upgrade to the new Mark II version?

The new Mark II E-M5 has a more advanced top panel with metal dials instead of plastic. 


Well, all I can do is tell you my opinion, and my opinion is that YES, the Mark II is a very worthy upgrade in almost all areas!

Here are the top 11 improvements off the top of my head, the ones that I really noticed from the Mark I…

1. Better build and feel. Grip is nicer and controls are more solid. Metal dials and a very nice and somewhat retro look. (Not to the level of the E-M1)

2. Still weather sealed. (though not to the level of the E-M1)

3. New side out swivel LCD makes shooting much more enjoyable IMO. (I prefer this to the E-M1)

4. The new 5 Axis IS is SPECTACULAR! Not sure how they did it, but they did it. It really excels with video. (Beats the E-M1 5 Axis)

5. New video options including 24, 30, 60 FPS. The video looks so good. (Better video than the E-M1)

6. The EVF is now the same large size as the E-M1. (which means an E-M1 MKII should be even larger when that one comes out)

7. Auto Focus is faster and FPS is faster as well. Overall, a much quicker camera. (Faster than the E-M1 in all but continuous AF)

8. Low light ability is now equal to the E-M1 which was slightly better than the E-M5I..high ISO up to 25,600.

9. It has Live composite and Live time that the E-M1 and E-M10 have. These are amazing features. 

10. Silent shutter option for total silence with 1/16,000 shutter speed. (E-M1 does not and will not have the Silent Shutter)

11. New High Res 40 Megapixel shot mode (Tripod is needed with NOTHING moving in the frame, E-M1 will not have this nor does it)

So for $1099, this camera will come as a body only and will NOT come with a Kit Lens. I think Olympus realizes that Kit Lenses are lackluster and do not really show what the cameras are capable of. When you throw a nice prime or pro zoom on these cameras they SHINE and give you APS-C or greater quality. Just browse through the images in this review or my E-M1 review or my E-M5 Mark I review and you will see that just because these cameras uses a smaller sensor than the APS-C and Full Frame cameras, the rendering of the images is spectacular from color to sharpness to pop (due to the sharpness).

ALL images here? OOC JPEGS. NO Raws yet as I am waiting for Adobe to release the update with this camera.The JPEGS from the E-M5II are fantastic. 

Panasonic 15 1.7 on the E-M5II – click any image for larger and better view


Olympus 17 1.8 on the E-M5II


Panasonic Nocticron 45.2 f/1.2 at 1.2


So with all of that out-of-the-way, it is obvious when using the new Mark II that the camera has matured since the Mark I, which is now three years old. My review of the original Mark I is HERE and as you can see, I loved it then..but I love it even more now in Mark II form, and I have been used to the E-M1 flagship for 1 1/2 years now. Many have been e-mailing me “what camera should I get? The E-M1 or the E-M5II”? That is a tough one, and I will tell you why…

The E-M5 II and the 40-150 f/2.8 – tweaked this JPEG by lowering the brightness to make the color pop


The E-M5 II or the Pro E-M1?

This is a tough question but when I was in Bermuda with Olympus I was using the new Mark II and thinking “why would anyone want the E-M1 with the E-M5 II having newer tech and features”? The more I used the 5 Mark II I was asking this question. Here, in a small well-built package I had amazing performance and speed, a great image stabilization in the world, the larger EVF of the E-M1, a swivel out to the left LCD, better video capabilities and even a silent shutter and new 40MP High Res shot mode. When I came back home and pulled out my E-M1 I shot both side by side and then I realized why I still slightly prefer my E-M1.

The E-M1 is built better, feels better and I prefer the control layout. 

The E-M1 has a sturdier pro level shutter, will last longer.

The E-M1 is freeze proof and shock proof, better weather sealing than the EM5 Mark II. 

The E-M1 is slightly larger, fitting into my hand perfectly without adding a grip.

The E-M1, for me, provides slightly better IQ with sharper and richer files. Not sure why, but this is the case. It’s slight but there.

A video showing the E-M1 and E-M5Ii side by side…

For me, I just enjoyed using the E-M1 a bit more, but I have a feeling a new E-M1 Mark II will be out within a year and I will bet you that it will not only have the new features of the 5 Mark II, but newer features exclusive to the new model. Just a guess but Olympus will HAVE To do this as the new E-M5 II will start eating into the E-M1 sales because of what it offers for less money. For most, the E-M5 Mark II, at $300 less cost than the E-M1 while offering more, will be the favorite choice. Truth be told, if buying from scratch I would choose the E-M5 II over the E-M1. Having the E-M1, I would not sell to go to the 5II. For me, owning both is the answer. 😉 The 5II makes a perfect complement to the E-M1 as a 2nd body as you get the best of both worlds.

An E-M1 shot with the 12mm f/2 Olympus prime


At the end of the day, for those who are just now jumping to Micro 4/3 I will 100% recommend the E-M5 II as the camera to go for over any other Olympus or Panasonic. It’s a no brainer really. For those asking me if they should sell their E-M1 for the E-M5II, no, I would wait for the E-M1 Mark II. For those wanting to sell the E-M5 Mark I for the II, I would say GO FOR IT. It’s a definite upgrade. You can quote me on that 😉


The Olympus E-M1, E-M10, E-M5 II and the E-P5 Pen have features called “Live Time”, “Live Bulb” and “Live Composite” and I feel many owners of these cameras NEVER use these features or even know they exist. If you have one of these cameras and have not yet used these features, I urge you to give it a try as amazing things can be shot using them, and, the best part…it is a blast to use and shoot using these modes.

Last week a buddy of mine, Alex McClure who is also an Olympus trailblazer, took me out to the AZ Desert to shoot some long exposures and do some light painting with the new E-M5 II and my E-M1. He went over his preferred setting and gave me a tutorial on how to shoot star trails..and it was a blast.


For long exposures, Live Composite is phenomenal. We set up our cameras to shoot on a tripod and I plopped on my Panasonic 8mm Fisheye to the E-M5II and set the camera for Live Composite (set it to Manual mode by choosing M on the control dial and turn to the left until you see LIVE COMPOSITE). I set the camera to ISO 1000 and we set it for 20 second exposures. When you take the 1st shot, it will expose for your subject and nail the exposure. The camera will then tell you it is ready to take the composite shot. Press the shutter again and in our case, it started taking 20 second exposures and stacking them automatically IN the camera until we stopped, which was around 40 minutes later. The camera shows you the progress in real-time on the LCD, so no more guessing when you need to stop the exposure! This is HUGE for astro shooters!

Because the 1st shot exposed the scene and our cactus, the 2nd press of the shutter allowed the camera to ONLY LOOK for NEW LIGHT, which in this case were the stars in the black sky. So even with 40 minutes of exposure, the cactus never overexposed and the camera only saw the star trails, and recorded that to the final image.

E-M5 II, 40 minutes of 20 second exposures stacked in camera to create this 100% out of camera JPEG. Amazing, foolproof and the best part? The camera shows you the updates in real time on the camera LCD so you know when you want to shut it off..when you shot is exactly how you want it. No more guessing games. Panasonic 8mm fisheye was used (review here)


LIVE TIME – Real time exposure allows you TOTAL control over your long exposures

Live Time is similar to Live Composite except that it does not take an initial image with perfect exposure. Live  Time allows you to do long exposures or light painting while viewing in real time what your images is turning out to be. Sort of like when you used to develop actually film prints in the see it exposing in real time. Set it up on a tripod, press the shutter and start the exposure..when it looks perfect, press the shutter again to close down the shutter.


The image above was taken with the E-M1 as my E-M5 II was on the tripod for 40 minutes taking the Cactus shot above. Still works the same way on both cameras. I stood there and Alex McClure pressed the shutter, ran over to me with some lights and “drew” the light behind me. He ran back to the camera and shut off the exposure. Was VERY cool. This is an OOC JPEG. How amazing is this? No other camera can do what the Olympus does in this regard. It is built into the camera and is basically a one button press and done. What you see is what you get.

Below: Spinning Steel Wool with Live Time – E-M1


E-M5 II Live Time on the Beach in Bermuda



Sony has an app or two that can do similar things, but A: It’s an app that must be added to the camera and B: It is a bit clunky in use and C: It is not as easily implemented nor does it work quite the same way. Other than that, no one else does this. With Olympus it is as EASY as pressing the button and watching the exposure come to life right before your eyes.

Many buy the E-M1, E-M10 or E-M5II just for this feature alone as it works so well and is very easy to use.

The Speed of the E-M5 II

The new E-M5II is faster than the old Mark I for sure, and is up there with the E-M1 when it comes to AF speed. In fact, I was told the only area where the E-M1 excels with AF speed is in continuous AF, which the E-M1 has the edge with. Still, I had no issues with the C-Af of the E-M5 II as you can see in this Dolphin it for larger.


Overall, in my 2-3 weeks of shooting with the camera I have not had ANY Af issues, whatsoever. In low light it focused and was accurate and in good light it was instant. Olympus also claims to  have the least shutter lag of any mirrorless camera made today in the new E-M5 II.

It’s fast, it is smooth and it is quiet. The physical shutter is damped and smooth but it also has the ability to shoot in SILENT mode when you want 100% stealth. I still prefer the physical shutter but many will enjoy the total silence which also allows you to bump the shutter to 1/16,000 s.

The 40-150 Pro Zoom..


The Panasonic Nocticron at f/1.2


The Panasonic Nocticron at f/1.2


Five Axis Improved yet AGAIN! 


The new E-M5II has a new improved 5 Axis Image Stabilization that must be used and seen to be appreciated. It beats the 5 Axis in the original MK I E-M5, it beats the even better 5 Axis in the E-M1 and beats the 5 Axis in the Sony A7II handily. I have never seen anything like it. I have tested the limits and found it is easy to take 1 second handheld shots if you wanted to. I pushed it to 2 seconds and while the shot was not usable, it was not nearly as bad as you would think. It was taken in the DARK, and is a TWO SECOND hand held exposure..take a look! TWO SECONDS!


My favorite way to appreciate the new 5 Axis though is for VIDEO. Attach any lens to the E-M5 II and your video will look silky smooth and professional, like it was shot on a massive rig with stabilization. Hand Held video will never be the same. In fact, I will be using the E-M5 II for video production in 2015 due to the superb video quality I can get out of it. It’s quite special.

40 Megapixel High Res Shot Mode

Another new feature of the E-M5 II is the new High Res Shot mode. It is VERY limited though and when I first heard about it I was excited, but as I used it I was less excited because before you can use this mode and get good results with it, you need to have the camera mounted on a secure tripod, you need your subject to be 100% motion free as ANY movement, even from wind, will mess up the photo..and YOU NEED A PRO lens. I shot some side by side with the 12mm f/2 prime at f/4 and was disappointed. I then used the 40-150 Pro 2.8 Zoom and saw the difference better, but again, where and when you can use this mode will be VERY limited.

At the end of the day though, it works and will indeed give you a 104 Megabyte RAW file and a 40 MP image from the 16 MP sensor. The E-M5II does this all in camera without any work needed in post. There is even a RAW converter plug in for lightrroom and photoshop that will process the massive RAW files (which is what I used for the test shots).

Below are two examples. Click the image below  to see a larger size and true 100% crops from each file. 1st on the left, the standard 16MP out of camera shot from the E-M5II. On the right, the high res shot from the E-M5 II. You will see differences if you click on the image and look closer. Lens used? The Olympus 12mm f/2.

Right click the images and “open in a new tab or window” to see larger size and 100% crops. 


If you opened up the above image and looked at the 100% crops you will indeed see more detail in the 40MP high res mode. This shot was taken with a brand new Olympus 12mm f/2 lens, stopped down to f/4. This was shot with a tripod and is one scene in which you can take advantage of this new feature. The E-M1 will NOT be getting this feature but I expect it will make it to the E-M2 or E-M1 Mark II, whenever they camera comes out (I expect a year).

Here is one more where I used the sharpest Olympus lens I know of, the 40-150 f/2.8 zoom. It is on another level in sharpness and color from the 12mm f/2, and is probably the best lens of this type I have ever used in my life. Smaller than the Nikon and Canon 70-200 2.8 lenses, but sharper, crisper, more pop, better bokeh and better made. If I were a telephoto guy THIS WOULD be mine.

So using a great Olympus lens… let us see if there is a larger difference between standard and high res mode…

Click image for larger view and 100% crops. 


How about one with a shot with the E-M5II in standard 16mp mode, one in 40Mp High Res and one from the E-M1 in Standard mode with the same lens? The high res shot is the only one from RAW. 


To me, the most detail is coming from the E-M1 in standard mode! I have been finding the IQ from my E-M1 to be slightly more detailed and sharper than what is coming from the E-M5II. One reason why the E-M1 is still the “Pro Flagship”.

For me, this mode is something I would rarely use. If I were a daytime landscape guy I can see this being used but for most of what I shoot, this would not be needed. The cool thing is that it is here if you want it and it will end up being on the next version of the E-M1..of course.

All of the other stuff. High ISO, Art Filters, Etc

Because the E-M5 II is not a brand new model line, and is a continuation of the OMD itself, much of what I have written in the past about the previous models would be repeated here if I wrote about them again. So just to be clear, this E-M5 II has all of the art filter effects and extra features that the previous models have. It also has the same high ISO performance as the E-M1, so look to that review for my ISO tests.  This E-M5II does NOT have an AA filter so it is like the E-M1 in this regard (The Mark I had an AA filter).




The Pros and Cons of the E-M5 II


  1. Small size, solid build. Improves on the build of the E-M5 Mark I
  2. Faster AF than the Mark I
  3. Better 5 Axis than the Mark I and E-M1! Best in the world.
  4. New metal control dials feel better in use
  5. Slight redesign feels better in the hand
  6. New swivel to the left LCD is great in use
  7. New video modes make this the best OM-D for video yet.
  8. High Res 40MP Mode will be useful for some
  9. EVF now E-M1 sized!
  10. Literally no lag
  11. All of the art modes are still here and better than ever!
  12. Live Time and Live Composite modes are incredibly good.
  13. Lens selection is the best in the mirrorless world.
  14. Improved high ISO from the Mark I, now equals the E-M1
  15. Overall, best mirrorless camera around for versatility and usability and features.
  16. Meets or exceeds APS-C cameras.
  17. Buttons are assignable to however you want them
  18. Price is only $1099 and you get A LOT for your money here!
  19. Has a mic input for video use.
  20. Silent shutter with 1/16,000 second capability.
  21. In camera KEYSTONE correction (works so good, and easy to use – like tilt shift, but in camera controllable)


  1. I am getting slightly better IQ (sharpness) from my E-M1 using the same lenses
  2. Camera seems small, may be too small for some hands
  3. High ISO still can’t compete with full frame and some APS-C
  4. Menu may be getting too packed with features, making it confusing for some new users.
  5. As always, Micro 4/3 will not offer you the shallow DOF control of a full frame sensor.





My conclusion on the Olympus E-M5 II

First of all, if you have not seen my E-M5 Mark I review or the Olympus E-M1 review, I urge you to take a a look. Those reviews go over more of the older features of the camera and I did not want to rehash things such as art filters, etc.

The new E-M5II is the latest camera in the Olympus Micro 4/3 lineup and it is quite a powerhouse. Olympus has “done it again” and not sure how they keep innovating but they do. No other camera company thinks of new ideas quite like Olympus. From the Live Time features to the 5 Axis IS to the speed and build, the E-M5II is revolutionary in many ways. For me, no DSLR could take the place of the E-M5 II or my E-M1. None. With todays technology these little cameras offer MORE for LESS and in the case of the E-M5 II and E-M1, also offer superb build and feel and speed.


Olympus has been committed to their system for years and they show no signs of slowing down. The new 40-150 f/2.8 Pro lens is a masterpiece in design, build and quality. The 12-40 f/2.8 zoom is the best of its kind and all of the fast primes are jewels in the world of lenses. Today, Micro 4/3 lacks in nothing besides ultimate low light high ISO work and super shallow DOF. If you want full frame .95 DOF you will not get it in a Micro 4/3 camera but at the same time, you will get detail and pop all day long and with lenses like the 40-150 and Nocticron, there is plenty of creamy Bokeh to go around.

The next two shots were with the 40-150 f/2.8 wide open…



I have owned the E-M5 and E-M1 and still own the E-M1. It is one of my favorite cameras of all time, and still performs just as well today as it did when it was released. Did the E-M5 II overtake my E-M1? Well, no. I still love my E-M1 a bit more due to the body design, feel, and extra pro build. I also seem to get a bit more snap from my E-M1 images. Other than that the E-M5 II is a powerhouse of features and function. Video, 5 Axis, High Res mode, the new Swivel out LCD, the larger EVF (same as E-M1), Live Exposure modes, the colors and fast AF make it one heck of a bargain in the mirrorless world. Today no one can say Micro 4/3 lacks when compared to other mirrorless cameras because they do not. Anyone who says they do, well, they never gave an E-M1 or E-M5II a serious shot with some great lenses. Once you really use one of these, learn it and shoot with some of the glass that is already legendary, you will fall in love. They are not only powerful, intuitive and beautiful but they put out pro level image quality.



Most of you here know I love Olympus and Micro 4/3. They just feel “right”, especially the Olympus creations. For me, my fave cameras these days are from Sony and Olympus and I see no signs of that changing anytime soon. I have used so many cameras and lenses over the years you can say that I am jaded. I use the favorites that I have tested over the years and one thing has remained constant for me..there has always been an Olympus Micro 4/3 camera on hand at my house. Started with the original 4/3 E-1, then E-3, the the Micro 4/3 E-P1, then E-P2, then E-P3, E-P5, E-M5, E-M1 and now the E-M5II.

With each release they get better and better and while the sensor performance has sort of peaked (for now), they are now doing things that make using the cameras so much more fun and BETTER. Features no one else has. Shoot a video on the new E-M5II and you will be amazed at the new 5 Axis. Shoot a night long exposure with Live Composite and be blown away. Shoot exotic lenses like the Nocticron or 75 1.8 or 40-150 2.8 and look at the detail, color and richness. When I look at images in this review I see amazing color, fantastic details and an organic quality to the files that tell me YES, this is a fantastic camera that should please ANYONE. When I go back to my Fuji X-T1 review the images they lack “life”. When I go back to my recent A7II review I see rich files and gorgeous IQ, but in a different way from the E-M5Ii images. That is the difference between full frame and Micro 4/3, a certain creamy richness with plenty of shallow DOF.

What the E-M5II offers is some serious snap, crackle and pop. By that I mean crisp files (snap), bold gorgeous color (crackle) and great edge definition of your subject (pop). Just as beautiful as full frame but in its own way. Two different styles which is why I own a full frame and Micro 4/3 system.

1st two shots below, Nocticron at 1.2. Third shot was with the Olympus 17 1.8 at 1.8




So once again I will say BRAVO to Olympus for pushing the envelope yet again. Offering us a fantastic and highly capable camera at a good price.

I HIGHLY recommend the new E-M5 II without hesitation and if you want to see what lenses I like, read THIS article which I just updated. 

Two shots below were with the Olympus 17 1.8




You can order the new Olympus E-M5 II from the highly recommended and trusted vendors below. They get my best ratings! Use my links below and you will AUTOMATICALLY help this website move on and grow AND you will get the best deal! 

1. B&H Photo – Olympus E-M5 Mark II Pages (Black or Silver)

2. Amazon – Olympus E-M5 Mark II Page (Black or Silver)

3. – Olympus E-M5 Mark II page.

Buy the new 40-150 f/2.8 Pro Zoom Lens – Amazon, B&H, PopFlash

Two more with the Olympus 17 1.8 (my review of that lens is HERE)




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  1. Hi Steve, I have a em5, what do you recommend me? Upgrade to em5ii or em1. I don’t have the money for em1ii, thanks!

    • Hi
      I have owned both cameras. I prefer the handling of the EM1 and would choose it if I was mostly interested in stills. The camera has a couple of advantages for stills and no downside. For video, definitely choose the 5 mk2, It allows for higher quality and, via its add-on grip gives you headphone out, critical for effective video work. Both are terrific cameras with an extraordinary selection of available lenses at very comfortable prices.

  2. Steve I know of no other reviewer, commentator, professional user etc who employs the word, “joy”, which is really what it is all about, unless taking pro photos is not your thing. The EM5 mk2 is a “joy” to use, the right size and feel and lovely images even with inexpensive and tiny lenses like the 45 1.8, a diamond in the rough that produces exquisite bokeh just like the big boys. Just sayin’

  3. Hi Steve

    Was just wondering if the em5ii is still competitive with the aps-c cameras for IQ and dynamic range now in mid 2017?

    • I think so, 100%. There is no camera made today that has bad dynamic range or would cause highlight blowouts when exposed properly. Today we no longer need to worry about dynamic range. That’s my opinion after using them all.

      • Thanks Steve. And would this camera match the 24mp mirrorless cameras like the a6300 and xt2 for image quality when it has pro lenses on it? (At reasonable ISOs of course)

        • Yes, even the MK1 does that. This camera can match any APS-C camera for IQ, color, and even DR in real world images. In fact, take and EM1 MKII and 12-100 and pit it against any APS-C in all but really low light and I would say the EM1 MKII images will have am ore pleasing look due to the Olympus color. Sharpness is a non issue, DR is a non issue. For build, speed, joy of use and lens quality and size I know of no APS-C that beats the EM1 MKII. For me anyway. Everyone has their own preferences. Some like Fuji, some like Panasonic, Some like Sony, Some like Leica, etc.

          • Hey Steve. My new em5ii arrived today..the jpegs just don’t seem to pop quite as much as my em5 mk1 did..were the default modes like ienhance, natural and vivid the ones you used for your review pics? Did you do any extra tweaks? Thanks 🙂

          • Hey Shane, I always shoot RAW for the most part, so I do only small tweaks during the RAW conversion (Contrast, etc). The MKII will pop just as much as the MKI, but if you shoot JPEG just adjust the color profiles you like to get it where you want. I’d suggest shooting RAW but Vivid JPEG or standard with the contrast boosted up a notch or two should do it as well.

          • Sounds like those APS-C must be doing a horrible job if the last generation tiny MFT sensor cam can already match its IQ ( DR/color). I heard some similar claims for the APS-C vs FF, and in own eyes, they are not close.

            Ok, I don’t believe this comment will get ” approved” and published here anyway.

      • There is no camera made today has bad DR, only have camera with better and better DR, Micro 4/3 is not among them.

  4. Steve
    I will one day send money. All my work is for charities so it takes time. In any case your enthusiasm for the 5 MK2 convinced me to go that way, more with video in mind. The quality is superb, part because of the 77mps and the processor but also very much the lenses. I have 7-14, 17, 25 Panny, 45, 75 and 12-40 zoom with two bodies. Love it/them.

    The great news, rarely discussed, goes to video sound. We all know that Canons have terrible pre-amps, so many folk use outside recorders, an irritating solution. The 5 MK2 produces OUTSTANDING sound with my Sony 77B lav or Rode Rodelink wireless or Rode NTG4 shotgun. The sound is rich, clean and full and better than my Sony X70 camcorder. I don’t see this info in any reports so I thought folks would like to know. The audio goes straight into Premiere Pro, needs nothing.

    I believe these cameras are fabulous and I came to them through Fugi XT-1 and Sony 6300 set-ups, both flawed in a number of ways.

    Thanks for your great, enthusiastic work.


  5. Good day Steve / any experts…I currently own a Sony Nex-3N and am looking to finally upgrade…
    What would you recommend between the Sony Alpha6300 (or new 6500), Olympus omd em5 mark ii , or omd em10 mark ii. I typically shoot kids, landscape, and street. I upgrade less frequently than other photographers so would want to have the body for some time. Thank you!

    • Well, what is the budget? If under $1000 I would look at the A6500, or the Olympus E-M5II or Pen F if you can swing it. You can also rent a camera or two from lensrentals to see which you prefer. Tough call as a camera is a personal choice.

  6. Hi, I have to decide whether to buy a OMD EM5 mkII, I have read several reviews, including yours, very interesting. But I care about 2 things, first the failure lcd commented on some strings:
    and second, the sensitivity of autofocus 0EV (low light), against for example GX GX8 or 80 Panasonic: -4ev.
    I could clarify these points to make my decision?
    Thank you and congratulations on your work.

    Excuse my English…

  7. I want to comment something more specific about this camera. Olympus has at last put a swivelling LCD display on this camera. Some people prefere the older design as faster to use. I do very much prefere this swivelling design because I can turn the display into the camera and I don’t risk to scratch it. I do usually very seldom use the LCD except when I want to inspect a picture more carefully afterwards and taking pictures i akward positions. One of the great advantages with “mirrorless” is that you get a confirmation in the viewfinder of the picture after you have pressed the shutter. It’s also possible to use the EVF for most settings except when you need the touch screen function (I rather use the thumb button). Another benefit is that I can now avoid to smear the screen with my nose! The LCD screen is centered a bit left of the viewfinder so this is a greater advantage for me as a “left eye viewer” compared to most people that has a dominant right eye.

  8. Thank you for this review! This is in almost all aspects a completely new camera and should have another name than Mark II. It took a long time for me to understand this. It is probably the best compact camera today “to always carry with you” if you want high image quality. Especially combined with the much underrated m.Zuiko 17mm f1.8!

  9. Nice review, Steve. I just picked up the E-M5 MkII after shooting with the original ever since it was released. (I also have the E-P5.) So far, I’m loving it, and find it an overall good upgrade to the original. Live Comp was one of the new features I’m looking forward to using more often.

    Just a comment about a “con” for MFT cameras, the lack of DOF control. While it’s true that you can’t get as shallow a DOF with MFT compared to larger sensors, that can also be a “pro” for some situations. The larger DOF with the same exposure makes it easier to grab focus for objects moving under low light conditions. So, while it’s a “con” in some situations, it’s a “pro” in others. Like everything else in life, it’s a trade off.

    Anyway, thanks for the website and keep up the good work.

  10. Hi Steve, thanks for this excellent review. I recently sold my Canon 70D and was looking for lighter and possibly better options. So now the dilemma – EM1 with new firmware vs. EM5 ii vs EM10 ii. The base price for the body of EM1 and EM5ii is currently the same ~1099 EUR in Europe. EM1 is also offering a free battery grip while EM5ii is offering a 100 EUR cash back. EM10 ii is priced significantly lower at 599 EUR and also offering an additional 100 EUR cash back. So, what makes sense? For me superior IQ and fast autofocus in continuous AF is important as i frequently photograph my super active child. While EM1 /EM5 ii ticks all boxes, the idea of saving 500 EUR with EM10 ii and buying a superior lens seems so attractive…

    • My fave Olympus right now is the PEN-F. After that, the E-M1. Then the E-M5II and then the E-M10 II. My advice is do not skimp on the lens by buying a cheap kit zoom or lower end zoom. It will make all the difference no matter the body you choose. Can’t go wrong with the E-M1.

      • True, that’s the idea – 1-2 good primes, irrespective of body. Just that EM1 and EM5-II are equally priced and that makes choosing a bit tricky. Is the video from EM5-II significantly better than from EM1? I guess it will be easier once I test them out in the shop.

        • This is interesting to me. Very. I have the OMD EM5 II and it is a joy! But I am going the OTHER way soon. I’m going back to the Sony A7 series. (A7R II in fact) because I have solved my main concerns regarding the Sony.

          I HAD the 1st iteration of the A7. Liked it a lot. But I was unhappy with the lenses as they kept getting bigger and bigger. Not the concept I sold my Nikon D600 for.

          A solution I THINK. I have purchased the Techart Pro adapter and will be getting Leica or other smaller lenses.

          We’ll see how this will work.

          Mean time…I have nice setup with OM-D E-M5 II for sale. Anybody want a nice camera and lenses?

          • what is ur main concern bro?
            i stuck with unlovely color from sony, so i use olympus more than sony,
            but i still concider sony for its bokeh at 50mm (better to me)

          • Round-n-round…

            In early July I bought the A7RII and Techart adapter and a couple lenses. WAS NOT impressed with the look nor the hassle. Then in August purchased Sony 55mm lens. Supposed to be the end all…
            Didn’t like the build–at all. Decided–again–that the Sony A7 series is just not for me. Sold the camera and now have Canon 6D. Much better. Maybe just me but images seem cleaner. Controls are more intuitive, menu makes more sense. Lenses are more in line with camera size. And…there are more lenses from more manufactures.

            We’ll see. Nikon and Canon are feeling the pinch right now because of the overall trend away from real cameras. But I like the setup of the 6D.

  11. I love your review and the omd system , still shoot the Em 5 mark 1 but with great pleasure. Have had the pleasure to hold and shoot the 300 mm f4 for 10 min and must say olympus really out dit themselves. Great quality very vast and shootable with 1/10 th of a sec a real delight. Looking forward to your review about it.

  12. Steve, awesome info and website. I sit her contemplating on moving to the Olympus 4/3s system. I have shot professionally for many years. As I age (49) and not shooting sports anymore, the 4/3s system really interests me. I like the size and image quality as well as the Olympus system. I will continue to shoot portraits, fashion, a few weddings and architecture professionally as well as family and landscape for fun. My questions are: my thoughts are to purchase the om-d5 w/kit lens for $449 to learn the system and this body will become a backup body, sell some Canon equip, then purchase the om-d5ii and prime lenses. Are the om-d5 and om-d5ii fairly close in performance to use in this situation. Would like to hear your thoughts.


  13. Just imagine where digital photography would be if full frame was persued by Oly……in light of where Micro 4/3 has been developed to today….

  14. Hi Steve, all of your mirrorless camera reviews are incredibly helpful. I have ongoing hand/wrist problems being made worse by my heavy Canon gear; I need to get into a lighter weight system as soon as I can. Based on everything I’ve read and your excellent reviews, I may pick up the E-M5 II as a main body, and then if Olympus releases the E-M1 II sometime in the first half of the year, an older mark I model as a backup. Although I really don’t need a lot of bells & whistles, as I shoot all manual & raw most of the time.

    As I’ve evolved in my photography, I’ve been doing more prime than zoom shooting lately, but I’m impressed by the quality of the f/2.8 Olympus zooms. Do you think primes still have an edge over zooms for the 4/3rd models, or are they just all equally excellent?

    Thanks much and I will use your links when I’m ready to buy!

    • I feel the primes still have the edge mostly. Depends on the lens. The 7-14 is amazing, the tele pro zoom is amazing, and on par with primes. I still feel primes beat the 12-40 2.8 pro zoom though.

  15. Steve, with the Firmware update for the OM-D E-M1 does your opinion of the difference gap change from your February review? In other-words, did the Firmware update bring things to the table for the M1 to make it shine a bit more over the M5ii? Thanks a bunch.

  16. Hi steve thank you for your reviews just charging battery for my new em5ii ,sorry if someone has asked this already are you aware of/ has Olympus commented on reported issues of lcd failure on this camera ,obviously taking into account the trolls ,

    • Never had an LCD issue with mine and never heard of anyone having issues (emails to me). I do not read other sites these days for various reasons (time, not wanting to be swayed for upcoming reviews, etc) so never heard of this so called issue.

  17. Hi Steve I note you mention the EM1 is freezeproof and waterproof to a higher level than EM5 MK II but on the Olympus site says EM5 MKII is too. Have I missed something?

    EM5 MKII specified as below:


    A durable rugged magnesium alloy construction body won’t let you down in harshest of environments or during the toughest assignments. The most effective dust reduction system in the industry lets you change lenses in dusty locations without worry
    Temperature-10 ~ +40℃ (when in operation) / -20 ~ +60℃ (when stored)

    Humidity30 – 90% (when in operation) / 10 – 90% (when stored)

    Dimensions 123.7mm(W) × 85mm(H) × 44.5mm(D)

    WeightApprox. 469g (with BLN-1 battery and Memory card)
    Approx. 417g (body only)

    Dust, Splash and Freezeproof ConstructionOperation down to 14 degrees Fahrenheit

    Automatic OperationFunctions every time the camera is turned on.

  18. Ok folks. I keep thinking it MIGHT be time to upgrade my Pen E-P2. This is a pretty compelling review. A few questions.

    Q1: Anyone want to encourage or discourage upgrade??

    Q2: From this review, I think the debate is EM-5ii vs. EM-1. **Would anyone argue that the Pen E-P5 should be in the debate list?**

    Q3: Money is (always) an object. Is there any way for me to get a little money for my E-P2? Where? Ebay? Pawn shop?

  19. Hi Steve,

    Quick question, when you talked about keystone correction, is it applicable to all lens? Thanks.

  20. HI Steve,

    Just got my OMD EM5m2 Titanium Edition yesterday, the camera looks classy and elegant. A bit curious though, when I started using the camera, I can hear a noise coming from the three holes near the thumb grip. Not too loud, but I was wondering if this is normal? Thank you.

  21. Steve,
    Now that OMD EM10 mark 2 is out, is it still ok to consider EM5 Mark 2? Considering most of the specs of the EM5 MII is also on the new released camera.

    • 5II is still superior to the new 10. The 10 is the starter range, 5II is mid and 1 series is the flagship. The 10 will be smallest, then 5, then 1.

      • Hi Steve,

        Thanks fot the advice. Just got my EM5 Mark2 titanium LE. 🙂 The unit looks so classy and elegant. Upon using, I notice that there is a sound coming from the three holes near the thumb grip everytime I make half press on the shutter key. Is this normal? Thanks.

  22. 1st, before I talk about the OMD EM-5MKII, let me ensure all of you that Paris was ALL IT WAS MADE OUT TO BE. And then some.

    I mentioned in an earlier post that I had learned some things—and I did.

    Of course Your Mileage May Vary but I actually only used 2 lenses the whole time. This included 8 days in Paris, with a side trip to London. The 12-40 Olympus was absolutely the best day in/day out. It was the easiest to carry, and with the focal length combined with f/2.8 it proved to be the most versatile.

    My bag also contained the Olympus 45mm prime, the Panasonic 35-100mm, and the Rokinon 7.5 fisheye. I thought I would need some bit of telephoto but the Panasonic NEVER LEFT THE HOTEL (same for the 45mm) My whole reason for getting the Olympus in the beginning was smaller size, smaller lenses.

    The Rokinon was good in spots and easy as it could ride in my wife’s purse or in my pocket, but the workhorse was the 12-40 Oly. Just Great!

    Spent a lot of money, and now have a better understanding of Paris. Therefore, I’m accepting donations for a return trip!

    (How do I upload photos?)

  23. Steve, I understand that the EM-5 II has only contrast detection focus and that the EM-1 with phase detection focus is better for birds in flight. What’s your take on this? Thanks Rich

  24. Now that this has been out a while, does the original comparison to the EM-1 hold up? I went from Nikon to Fujifilm (2 X-T1, X-Pro1 and X100s) then to Olympus (2 EM-1). If we’re now sure the EM-5MKII isn’t quite as rugged as the EM-1, I’ll leave it be. But, if there are advantages discovered over time that outweigh the fact that the MKII may need a little more care, let’s talk about those with an update from Mr. Huff or other MKII users. I plan on picking up a third body that will be shared with family members and go in my kit from time to time.

    On the earlier Fujifilm comparisons, I don’t see much IQ difference. I vacated the X-T1 and X-Pro1 because I require weather sealing for EDC and the Fujis weren’t inspiring much confidence in that regard. I’m also a telephoto junky and the upcoming 300 F4 m43 is an affordable dream.

  25. Great review of an awesome camera. I just bought it as a complement to my Nikon d7100 which I use mainly for working dogs photography.
    The tilted display offers new great perspective for taking pictures from below. The IQ is great and I am amazed at the color rendering. I am very impressed by the builing quality of the 12-40mm 2.8 lens.
    I am also very impressed by the autofocus. I think it’s very fast! Of course, it is not a camera for action photography.
    Even if you can apply the effects later with postprocessing software, I love the art filters and the fact that for each filter you have 2-3 different settings. This camera is a computer!
    Anyway, I am very happy with it and can’t wait to test it on my city trips to come.

  26. Hello, I’m looking for some advice, as I read the review (great) and all the comments and found it very useful but still have doubts… I own an old reflex, Sony alpha A700, wich I don’t use so often due to its size, but I still carry it with the “Zeiss” 16-80 f3.5-4.5 zoom when travelling. I’m using a Ricoh GR for casual shotting and I love it, only finding myself begging for a EFV and more focusing speed when the light is not very good.
    The thing is, I want to replace the A700 with a smaller camera that won’t let me thinking “The A700 did that much better” when I use it (e.g. autofocus speed, low light). So, do you people think I will miss the Sony if I buy this Oly M5 II? If it depends on the lens, I will make an effort and take it with the 12-40 f2.8… The problem is I can’t try the Oly to compare side by side, so any comments would be appreciated.
    I want to shoot RAW+JPEG and B&W like I do with the Ricoh GR, if possible, and to use jpegs directly out of the camera, using RAW as a backup and to do some Lightroom with the better pictures or with those I would prefer with color or need to be post-proccessed. I plan to use the camara for travelling, but also to carry it in my bag with a small prime like the Panasonic 15mm or the Oly 17mm, plus the Oly 45mm, and take pictures of people, kids, and whatever 😉

    Thanks a lot!

    • TBH, these kinds of questions are a personal matter. Features and specs wise the EM5mkII is a phenomenal camera. Compare it to an approaching 10 year old camera, on paper its a no brainer. As to answer the question, will you miss anything about the a700? No one here could really tell you unless they were you lol. What part of the world are you in? Because 100% of this becomes easy if you just rent the camera for a few days and test it out for yourself. and are both reputable online sites that will ship the camera to your door to use for a few days or weeks as you prefer. I personally believe that bonding with your tools is a big part of photography. Specs and Features only tell half the story.

      But if I was a betting man it sounds like the EM5mkII would be a great compact and capable camera that would not leave you wanting. However a big part of its appeal is its video capabilities. If that is not important to you, the EM1 or original EM5 might be of interest to you. Good luck!

      • You’re right, thanks. Here in Spain you can try some Olympus but have to go to an official store, and the ones that have the EM5 mk II are really far away from my home. So I will try the EM10, that is nearer, and I’ll have an idea of what to expect from the EM5. The EM10 was in my list (with the Sony a6000 and the Fuji x-t10, by the way), but the EM5 has some things I really like, as the electronic shutter (and speed) or the better EFV, and from what I have read, it will be a bit better in more ways. Don’t really need it weatherproofed, but why not?
        Thank you, I’ll keep reading.

  27. Just returned form Paris. As far as the 5 MKII. I learned a lot and now can critique.

    I’ll check back in and give the details

  28. Steve – I started with the E-M10, then upgraded to the E-M5II. I am very happy in many respects but do have an issue with the C-AF which pulses in and out of focus when used. I find this very disconcerting so headed to the internet forums for an answer as I couldn’t believe this was normal. It seems it is and I have tried various AF settings to try and overcome the behaviour.

    I decided to acquire an E-M1 and having used it for a few days don’t find the same problem when using C-AF. I recognise you have spent a lot more time using these cameras, am I doing something wrong?

    • Well, I never ever use C-AF with any camera, ever. Only for testing. When I tested the CAF of the 5II it was faster for me than the E-M1 I also had on hand at the same time. I had no issues with it at all during my tests.

  29. Steve – thank you for your thorough review which enabled me to purchase the E-M5 Mk ii with 12-40 Pro lens with confidence. It checks all of the boxes for me for taking photos of the monsoon season “wildness” here in Sedona. The camera handling, responsiveness, and imaging is fantastic for me.

    I received the newly-released Fotodiox grip for the Mk ii today. It fits great on the camera with an open port on bottom for battery access without removing it, and it looks better than the OEM add-on grip. Extra finger and bottom plate depth help my XL hands get a stronger and more balanced grip, too. Thanks again for your review!

  30. great review. thanks! been in a bit of a dilemma.. im interested in this camera but as you said, “I think Olympus realizes that Kit Lenses are lackluster and do not really show what the cameras are capable of. When you throw a nice prime or pro zoom on these cameras they SHINE and give you APS-C or greater quality. ” the camera with a pro lens is the same price as a sony A7ii which ive not been able to decide based on all the pros and cons… so assuming i want to spend that kind of money, which is a better investment? i have several uses. video interviews (moving subject and still), photographing artwork, and street photography, so needs to be a multipurpose cam and lens for my budget… on the other hand, if I were to get a lesser lens, are there any zooms u recommends as being up to par to maximize the cameras potential as much as possible but keep it more affordable?

  31. Well, the “focus point” is almost here. Going to Paris next week. Very Excited!!

    This is one of the main reasons I made the switch to the OMD E5II—weight, compactness, quickness.

    Hope to take some real good shots of the architectural wonders. I think I’ll take the 12-40mm, the 35-100 2.8 Panny, and my 7.5 Rokinon that has been returned to the fold. I figure I’ll need the fisheye for some interior shots in close quarters. I have the 45mm Oly but I’ll leave it home. I think.

    Any thoughts from those who have been? Special situations I should look for?



  32. Thanks Steve for the great reviews, it has help me decide to move one of my DSLR bodies to M4/3s, and i have just ordered the 5MKII. Mirrorless may make me totally move over, looking at the lovely Sony A7 cameras models!

    Looking forward to this great camera, and the weight of it!

    Cheers from Australia.

  33. You prefer the e-m1 over the new m5ii for iq –
    I understand the m1 has a panasonic sensor, both m5 models have a sony sensor? Can you confirm?

  34. Thanks for all the info. I was on the fence about getting the EM5II. I have read almost everything about that and the EM1. I went into my local camera store and felt both. I love the feel of the EM1 much better and we put the 40-150 2.8 on. I just went OMG. I loved the feel. I do wildlife, birds, Lighthouses and my Grandchildren. Sometimes landscapes. Since I tend to do a lot of cropping. I am going to wait and see if the EM2 will come out and jump on it. I have the D7100 and the Nikon 80-400 which is the best combo I have to date and hope for 24 MP. It is killing me to carry it so its time to downsize, but I dont want to sacrifice what I have now. My D90 had 16mp and I went to D7100 which has 24 and when I crop there is a difference. I will keep watching your site
    Thanks Fran D.

  35. Does it have the “Pro” setting as well? I need that P setting as I understand it the preferred setting for professionals over manual, aperture, or shutter preferred setting……….

  36. Hi Steve, Thanks for the review. Currently i am using a EP5 amongst other cameras after reading your thoughts on it on your wonderful site. But i am now intrigued by the EM5II but have heard elsewhere that the low light capabilities in term of quality of the file is not as good as the EP5. This is import an to me as i don’t use flash and am out on the streets a lot after dark or at the end of the day. Do you find this to be true? Obviously the EM5II has a great deal to offer on other features and the integrated EVF is a bonus but is it worth the upgrade . Thanks

  37. After reading this review decided to give it a go and bought E-M5II. Already had Sony A6000 with few prime lenses, but idea of having sealed camera with a nice zoom was very tempting. At this stage I think I’ll sell A6000 and stick with E-M5II. I’m really happy with it.
    Thank you Steve for a nice review!

  38. Steve (or others) thanks for the review. I’m a Nikon FF owner, and just received a OM-D EM-5 mk II as a gift. I’m really excited about it, but have yet to even charge the battery.

    One thing I’ve read is that some people are put-off by overly complex controls with the Olympus. I’ve also read that folks use custom set up (ie function button assignment?) to help overcome this. Do you have any best practices on how to set up the camera to ease usage? I tend to shoot in RAW though do switch to JPEG for some shapshots, either A or S, and fiddle around a lot with shutter speed, aperture, WB, and exposure comp, etc. Nothing too esoteric.


    • Ill put my 1 cents in as Ive used Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic and Sony in the past and currently. The EM5mkII has deep menus with lots of features, some of which not found in any other system. However setup is a breeze. Olympus makes good decisions on button layout and controls as a default so you should have no problem getting up and running and shooting quickly. Buttons can be altered to accommodate ‘almost’ any revision you may want/need (with some exceptions here and there). Of course there will be a learning curve coming from another system but for the most part I rarely find myself needing to go any deeper then the quick menu and manual dials and controls. If you want to be even more comfortable there are a few youtube videos out there that talk about the various deeper features and some ideas on how to customize the layout should you choose to do so. To put some perspective, out of the systems I have used I find Olympus to have one of the better experiences when it comes to accessing your essential features of the camera.

      • Well,
        I’ve had my Olympus OMD E5II for about 2 months now and I can finally make a few comments.

        The camera is great! I find that I like having it in my hands much more often than previous cameras. That I believe is due to the size and weight of it. Much less likely to leave it at home or in my car. When I first seen it up-close, it was almost like a toy! Great size.

        Also, I’m not sure what others are complaining about regarding menus, controls and the like (on other forums, and sites), but it is pretty intuitive for my liking. As I may have mentioned I have owned a couple of Nikon’s, couple of Canon’s, Minolta’s and the Sony A7 {and that is only the DSLR side. + many newer super zooms from the above companies}. I don’t find the menu tough, intimidating or otherwise.

        My first purchase along with the camera body was a 17mm, and 45mm. The 17mm didn’t excite me at all and I took it back tto the store within 7 days. It just seemed blah to me. The replacement for the 17mm was/is the 12-40 2.8 from Olympus. Very Nice! Sharpe, warm and just a bit exciting. Nice.

        I am also very much enjoying the 45mm. Very quick focus.

        Then I purchased a 7.5 Rokinon fisheye. I knew it was manual and didn’t have a problem with that. After all I had a 85mm Rokinon and used it on the Sony A7—good, smooth and accurate focus. However, the Sony allowed me to use focus assist even on a 3rd party lens. And THAT made a huge difference. The OMD E5II would not allow focus assist with the Rokinon therefore, made it tough to “see” what I was really looking at. Boxed it up and sent it back—next day.

        I turned around and purchased the Panasonic 35-100mm 2.8. ~~~~

        The Panasonic and the Olympus lenses are both high quality, both are sharp and show great detail, and both are enjoyable to use. But there are some slight differences.
        I find that the Olympus (12-40), is a bit more accurate and a slight bit quicker on the autofocus. I think it is my best 4/3 lens so far. Well built, it has a quality feel.
        The Panasonic (35-100) seems just a bit warmer. I think the colors of the Panasonic show more expression and bring more life to the photo. Again this lens is well built and feels high quality.

        Stay tuned, more to come.

        • You make a good point about 3rd party MF lenses. On the A7 I find the focus zoom feature to work great as you can Zoom with a double press of a custom set button and then come out of zoom with a half-press of the shutter button. I have gotten into such a rhythm with it that I can focus rather quickly when using that feature. The Peaking also seems to engage easier or rather, automatically when needed.

          With the EM5II, the zoom feature does not clear with a half press of the shutter so you need to press the button a 3rd time (or 4th?) to return to a regular view. I have the Zoom and Peaking set to custom buttons when using MF lenses. The peaking also seems to need to be manually turned on when you want it as opposed to engaging automatically. Or at least the way I have it set which is identical to the way I have it set on the A7.

          So I tend to agree, that the A7 handles MF 3rd party lenses a bit more naturally or intuitively one might say. At least from my experience.

          • You can change from the setup the behavior how the EM5II releases the magnification. So the release can be used like in Sony (half press shutter button). But it’s true that Sony (I used to own NEX6) handles the 3rd party lenses better than EM5II.

            One annoying thing what I just noticed in magnification is that spot metering mode doesn’t work in it. Good way to test this is try to take photo from the moon. In normal view moon looks great but when I try to adjust the focus with my 200mm manual lens in magnification mode the exposure of the moon pops up and it’s just impossible to focus in it.

          • Hi Lansipaltta,

            Hmmmm. A very curious post! But befor I say anything, I’ll try TONIGHT to do the moon. I have the Panasonic 35-100, so I’m guessing @ 100 will do the trick.

            We’ll see.

  39. I recently purchased the e-m5 mark 2 together with the PL 25mm f1.4 lens and the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Zoom lens. I’m very interested in getting a wider angle lens with fast AF for both photo and video taking since my main subjects in my photos are usually my children who can never stay still for a photo. I’ve read a lot of reviews on the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Zoom lens which would be a versatile lens to add to my collection. However, I feel like this might be too big to use as an everyday lens since I need something more compact when traveling with the kids. As such, I’m currently debating between the Olympus 12mm f2 and the PL 15mm f1.7. I like the Olympus because of the focal length (I use the Canon 24mm f1.4L lens on my full frame camera. But I also like the f1.7 of the PL lens. I find myselfa sometimes needing to take photos in low light situations such as family dinners at restaurants where a wider angle would be useful. I would really appreciate it if you could give me some advise as to which lens would be better suited to my lens collection. I would also like to get your opinion as to which is a better lens in general.

  40. OK, folks here’s what’s going on: this is 2015 almost everything is a small computer. Almost everything!

    That means our lenses and of course the camera itself. So when you attach the lenses and especially when you change lenses you are requesting the super small systems to effect switching and modify setups. Notice all the contact points on the back of the lens and on the lens mount on the camera? Sometimes to execute that algorithm it takes a short moment.

    This is akin to making changes with your home theater. Your receiver does some switching. Occasionally you watch a Blu-ray, sometimes you watch a downloaded movie, and other times you watch cable TV. Well, in those instances, there’s switching between the various components. Sometimes you can even hear it. Same thing here—just in a much smaller package

    In reality, the whole thing is a miracle in this Olympus OMD E5 II is fantastic! ☺

  41. Hi Steve, thanks for the great review. I could not resist and went get one for myself after reading! The camera is a really nice upgrade to the original EM5. I enjoy using it. After playing around for days, there is one thing that I noticed, is that there is a delay waking up the system with some lenses. I found a slight delay with the oly 17mm 1.8 prime, really serious delay with my panasonic 14mm 2.5, but not so much with the only pro 12-40 2.8. Did you experience anything like that? Or may be I just got a lemon?

    • I never noticed any start up lags but then again, a second start up does not bother me. Now if it were a 5-10 second startup there would be an issue.

      • I can count to 3 before I can take a shot with the EM5mkII with any lens. The EM1 is near instant but I think that came after a FW update. Some say it may be the card you use, but I have 3 of the same cards all 32gb so I cannot test that theory.

        Im not complaining but its a little bit of a let-down being that they advertise less then a second in startup time so I assumed it would be like the EM1. Maybe we can see an improvement in a future FW release?

        Steve, do you see the same? I can say that I have discussions with at least 3 other users with the same 3 sec delay. Should we be concerned?

  42. Hi Steve,

    Your reviews are brilliant so many thanks for all your hard work. I bought my m5 mk-1 last year based on your reviews and am very tempted with the mk-2 but it hinges on one query. Due to a different sensor I understand that the M5mk-1 has much less noise on long exposures than the M1. Do you know if the mk-2 is as good as the mk-1 for noise on long exposures?


      • Thanks for the quick reply Steve. When I was looking at the M1 1 there were articles online saying that it was dreadful compared with the M5, so I was just worried that the M5 II would be an issue. Really tempted to get the M5 ii now 🙂


        • Hi Steve,

          Sorry forgot to ask one more thing…. When you set your presets for different scenarios, i.e. ‘myset-1’ is my basic shooting, ‘myset-2’ is my long exposure using big stopper, can you somehow rename ‘myset-1’ and ‘2’ to a phrase that actually means something, i.e. ‘my basic’ and ‘big stopper’ ???

  43. First I have to say, that this is really good preview and you got very interesting webpages here.

    I have read these Mark II previews like mad and finally I decided to bought my own OM-D E-M5 Mark II. My earlier camera was Sony NEX-6 and the main reason that I changed to OM-D was that great lens collection that Sony E-mount doesn’t got.

    Because I’m new with Olympus and OM-D here’s lot to learn (huge step from NEX, aargh 🙂 ) and especially the menu structure looked first like nightmare 😀 One particular issue is very confusing and I doesn’t understand should it really work that way (which is pretty weird) or is it somekind of bug in firmware. The thing what I’m confused is the LiveView (in back monitor and EVF) operation in underexposured situations. Example in Shutter Priority -mode (S) when I use locked ISO (like ISO 400) and I set the shutter speed way too fast that image will be definitely underexposured. The LiveView shows the properly exposured image (exposure compensation is 0.0) and only the aperture value blinks for mark that it should be wider. Looks that LiveView always shows the image what is set in Exposure Compensation. This problem can produced also in A-mode, but in Manual-mode where exposure compensation can’t be used the LiveView show like it should and taken picture is same as in LiveView. In my old camera (NEX6) the LiveView always shoved the real image (also in A and S -mode) and that’s why I frightened when I took some test shots in love light conditions and then looked those dark images which looked LiveView just perfect (didn’t noticed the blinking A). I have also set all LiveBoost options to Off, so the problem wan’t be there.

    How the other OM-D models (E-M1, E.M5 mark I and E.M10) handle this kind of situation or am I missing something from setting or do I have to live with this 🙁 ?

    PS. I just noticed that this also happens in other end. When I overexposure the image in A or S -mode.

  44. why I can’t get live comosite mode from my EM5 Mark II? I follow the instruction manual, exactly step by step in the M mode, I can only finr live bulb and live time mode.

  45. Hi Steve

    Great review. I purchased EM5 Mark II with 12-10 pro few days ago, it’s a great setup. But there is one thing i couldn’t figure out, I COULD NOT configure my camera to shut in live composite mode by following the instruction manual. I can only get Live BULB/TIME.

  46. Fully agree with Steve H. on the OMD M43 system, and I have no doubt that the OMD5II is everythinghe says it is.

    But Steve is also giving us Joe’s the straight scoop on where to spend our money It’s about the glass people. If you own an OMD – any OMD – your are better off putting $800 out on the 12-40 F2.8 pro lens before buying a new camera body. If you have the 12-40, get the 40-150 F2.8.

    Steve H. has the skills to make use of the OMD EM5 II but for most of us… any OMD will deliver the goods. The limiting factors will be 1. the skills of the shooter, and 2. the quality of the glass.

    Also, and FYI for about $200 you can buy the 2.4MP EVF-4 to look through — that’s a great use of money too. Slap that baby, onto an OMD EM%, as I have, and I promise you will enter photographer heaven.

  47. Dear Steve,

    I know you are a big fan of the Olympus system,
    I looking for a new camera and leaning towards the e-m5 ii, before its announcement I was looking at the fujifilm x-t1. What would your recommendation be and why?


  48. Kurt you are correct. You cannot adjust EV+/- in Manual mode with Auto ISO on. If you want the camera to make ISO decisions but still use EV+/- you will need to be in either Aperture priority, Shutter Priority or Program.

    Im not sure if I have ever come into a scenario where I want to set the A and S but still have the camera making calculations that need exposure compensation other then using a flash. But when using a flash the camera already knows what SS to set so shooting in Aperture mode is fine and gives you the exposure compensations you would need. If I did come to this rare occasion you are referring to, I would just shoot RAW and adjust my exposure in post. Olympus is phenomenal at WB and Exposure within the camera so results are going to be great. If I wanted more finite control in the moment of shooting, I might use spot metering or the BRACKET feature in burst mode to cover my bases.

    To be honest, I think you will be able to find several ways around this issue while getting great results in the end.

  49. I am surprised there is no mention in the review or in the comments about limitations on the Auto-ISO function. For situations in which there is low and varied light, I would like to be able to set my aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation and then let the camera calculate the fourth “light collecting variable”, the ISO. But I have read that is you are in manual mode, you cannot use exposure compensation with Auto-ISO. To you guys who have and are using the camera….do you have any thoughts and experience with the using the Auto-ISO function when you have selected aperture, shutter speed, and exposure compensation?

    • Yes, you can. Under default setting, you can’t. You have to enabled auto iso in the menu. You can even set compensation and iso will follow.

      • My new M-5 MkII is due to arrive today. All of the online reviews I’ve read say you cannot do this, so I was encouraged to receive your reply. I may come back to you Derrick Pang after reading the manual and trying to do as you’ve suggested.

  50. Nice work on the EM5 ii review-
    I presently have a gx7 that I feel is simply fantastic. The autofocus even in low light never dissapoints. Never thought I would care about shooting video until I used the gx7 and now I am hooked on video. I am not a professional and I don’t get into camera stats too deeply. My question is: how does the mkii stack up against the gx7 from a video standpoint and does it focus as well or better.

    I would consider buying the mkii and parting with the gx7 for its rugged construction and weather sealing but I don’t want to lose the video.

    Thank you for your feedback.

  51. Steve,
    Your preview of the Mark II was the clincher for me. I got one to augment my two E-M1 bodies. After 2 years of dithering around in micro four-thirds, I had settled upon Oly and sold off my GH3 and GH4. I am shooting exclusively with these three Oly bodies and Fuji XT1 and X-Pro1. About half of my shooting is as a volunteer for the local college, shooting Division 1 sports. The Mark II can’t focus as well as the E-M1 in those sports where there is less predictability, but it makes up for that with all the video I will ever need, and HANDHELD. That’s important when you don’t have assistants and a crew. My Google Plus posts contain bunches of shots from this winter, and most of those are shot with the Oly m4:3 gear; public is free to look and comment.

    • Thanks Pier-Yves for the video. BUT–you didn’t let us know which is which! I’ll say this: The second half of the video looked SHARP!!

  52. Took me 3 years, but finally decided to get the E-M5 MkII. Got it with the 45mm 1.8. My plan is to stick with primes and just use a premium compact when I want a zoom. Looked at everything out there, but went with this for the small size, lens selection, and price.

    I like it. Still getting used to it. The menu system is a big adjustment from my Nikons. I can see why pros want to just stick with one tried-and-true system, because going back and forth between different cameras with different menu systems will try your patience. Took me like 4 hours just to figure out how to change the ISO, but it’s all just what you get used to I guess.

    • Hi Kevin. As a Nikon user looking to move to mirrorless as well, as a sharpness and detail fanatic, I’d be VERY interested in hearing your thoughts on how the EM5II files compare to your Nikon files, in terms of sharpness…especially in light of Steve Huff’s comment about the EM-1 getting slightly better sharpness. If you could also cc: me at, it would be most appreciated! Thank you sir.

      • I’m definitely very happy with the sharpness of the EM5II and the 45 f/1.8 lens. The images look darn good to me, even at 100%, and I’m just as satisfied, if not more so, than what I get out of my Nikon D600 and 25-85mm and 16-35mm lenses.

        For the absolute highest quality and sharpness then I suppose you need everything – the highest resolution camera, the most expensive lenses, the sturdiest tripod, studio lighting, your own printer, etc. But for anything normal viewed on today’s monitors or printed to reasonable sizes, I don’t see how anyone could be disappointed with what this camera and lens puts out for the size, weight, and price.

        A long time ago I took a workshop with Howard Bond. I remember him telling us about someone he knew who wasn’t happy with anything other than contact prints made from an 11×14 view camera!! So everyone has their own standards and you’ll have to judge for yourself, but for me, it’s as good or better than anything else I own, and so much lighter and convenient.

  53. Steve gives the good answer…

    And not to say he’s not honest. I don’t run a blog though so it’s easy. I’m going with the Olympus.

    My Sony A7 is on the way out. Sure, it started small but we’re still talking big on the lenses, and then Sony finally comes out with new ones for much $$$ !!

    I’ll have the Olympus by the end of the month. Less weight. More lenses NOW, reasonable prices, and image quality>>>GOOD ENOUGH.

    • Sony is being careful to ensure that lenses for its FE/A7 series is top quality.
      This is the right thing to do.

      • Certainly some thoughtful discussion. Begs me to ask ME: how often will I be printing larger than 8X10???

        We’ll see. Don’t want to go the way of some new wave in the audio world. Some out there think phone music and cheap ear buds are music–GOOD ENOUGH. Never really experienced actual high fidelity.

        So I’ll have to see. Right now I’m smitten by the Oly OM. E5II

    • Hi MJ.
      For most folks, I agree about m4/3 image quality being “GOOD ENOUGH”. However, for those of us who need to print large (24×36 posters), I’m afraid that “GOOD ENOUGH” isn’t!
      While I certainly praise the Oly System for its ergonomics, build quality, lenses, speed, etc., perhaps I’m just “old school”, but no matter how good the 4/3 sensor is today, the laws of physics still rule, and in my 35 years in photography, I’ve always found that image quality is inversely related to enlargement. In other words, the less an image (digital or film) is enlarged, the better the overall image quality of the enlargement. If someone proves me wrong, I’d be glad to jump into the Oly System! That said, I’m researching the Fuji XT-1 and the Sony A7II. I currently shoot a Nikon D5300 with some very sharp Nikkors, but mainly want a mirrorless system to avoid potential issues with AF Adjustment, which is obviously unnecessary in the mirrorless world! Thank you.

      • I have a print LARGE than that on my wall from my E-M1 and it is GORGEOUS from color to detail to just having a beauty about it. SO yes, it is good enough, more than.

        • Very interesting, Steve! That’s certainly potentially good news, but I admit to being a stubborn, picky stickler for image sharpness and fine detail, and would love to see the image file from which you made that enlargement. Of course, I also realize that print “quality” is a subjective value, as well, and I try to keep an open mind when evaluating such things. That said though, unless I see it with my own eyes, I still think that, all else being equal, a larger sensor would produce a higher quality enlargement in terms of sheer image detail. (Though I like the potential of the EM-5 II’s “High Resolution” mode, realizing the subject movement limitations.) But again, I need to research my options. Thanks for the reply!

  54. Very simple question ;): If you had to choose between this camera and Sony a7 mkII, which would you choose

    • Not an easy answer. For me, they do different things. My A7Ii and A7s give me the FF look and feel, the Olympus gives me the speed, response, IS, ease of use and still beautiful results. I use both but will depend on what you want out of a camera.

  55. Hi Steve, could you please tell me where I can find the Photoshop Plugin for converting Hig-Res RAW-Files? Could you post a download link here? Thanx a lot!!

  56. Steve, you say the 40-150mm lens is the sharpest you have used on this system
    How does it compare to the 75mm f1.8 and Nocticron 25mm ?
    and what other lenses would you recommend for super sharp ?

    Many thanks

    • The 40-150 is a tad more WOW than the 75 but the Nocticron is a 42.5mm which = 85mm equivalent. All are fantastic and all have different uses. Me, Id take the Nocticron and call it a day as I rarely use telephoto.

      • Dear steve, May I ask your advice on the C-AF performance using the 12-40mm F2.8 lens on em5 ii and em1? It is know that em1 has pdaf and better c-af. However, I am unsure if the pdaf is only being used when using 43 lenses for the em1? Therefore, if using m43 lenses, i wonder the C-AF performance should be similar? Hope you can clear my doubts

  57. Dear steve, May I ask your advice on the C-AF performance using the 12-40mm F2.8 lens on em5 ii and em1? It is know that em1 has pdaf and better c-af. However, I am unsure if the pdaf is only being used when using 43 lenses for the em1? Therefore, if using m43 lenses, i wonder the C-AF performance should be similar? Hope you can clear my doubts

  58. Steve
    Is it make sense to buy the em5II now instead of waiting the next version of em1? I already have the M240 plus the A7s and A7II all based on your recommendations. I am thinking have a olympus body with the lens that you tested because I am impressed with your results.

  59. Hi Steve, thanx for your review! I bought my OM-D E-M5 Mark II last week and took some first test shots in RAW mode only. Now I’m trying to find the “Photoshop plugin” every blogger mentions, but I can’t find a download link. So, where can I get a software that allows me to convert a High-Res RAW image into a 40 MPx JPG file? I tried the Olympus View 3 Version 1.4.2 and Adobe Camera RAW 8.7.1 – Shooting highres RAW with the E-M5 Mark II seems to be frustraitng these days… Have fun!

  60. Hello Steve,
    one more question, please. If the EM5 II does have the same sensor as the EM1, could Olympus add the phase detection focusing via firmware in some future? What do You think about that?

  61. Wow!

    Just back from my favorite local camera store and I’m amazed. I called to see if the OM-D E5II was in and it is.

    This is one of those “the pictures don’t tell the whole story” deals. After reading about the camera for the better part of 2 months and staring at numerous pics I was still not ready for what I saw—first hand. A lot smaller than I thought. GREAT !!

    Looked at the black and silver too. Gotta go with the silver. New retro.

    Olympus put some serious work into the camera from just the aesthetics alone. Quality, quality and more quality. Seeing and feeling it in a 3 dimensional way completely sealed the deal for me.

    The viewfinder is bright and large. The controls are all writhing a finger’s reach. And the shutter is so snappy. I’m impressed.

    It’ll be mine by the end of March!

  62. Hi Steve,

    Really enjoyed reading this review, up to the point of considering getting one for myself.
    Really like A6000 that I have now but lack of weather sealing and half-a-decent zoom lense made me look for alternatives.
    May I ask – can you compare weather sealing of A7II and E-M5II ? Are they +- the same?
    Kind regards

  63. Very enjoyable review, comments & discussion here. A subject I didn’t see discussed was the useability of 4/3rd lenses on the EM-1. My understanding was that the EM-1 uses a different sensor than both EM-5s which allows phase detection focus as well as contrast detection while the EM-5s have have only contrast detection. I use the 50-200 F2.8 to 3.5 on the EM-1 which provides good results, fast & accurate focus, & like the 40-150 f2.8 is too big……….guess you can’t have everything. I also have both the 12-40 & the 12-50 m4/3 lens……& not mentioned is that fabulous little macro button of the 12-50.

  64. Steve,
    Thank you for this review. I am currently in the process of going back to the mirrorless market. I first started out using the NEX-5N and then I needed something a little more “pro” so I ended up with the a77 and now I’m using an a99. I mainly do landscape photography and with that said, what I’m in the market for is a high megapixel camera and the Olympus e-m5ii with it’s high resolution mode is definitely a head turner. With that said, I had a question surrounding how the Olympus M-E5ii handles the 8 shots that are taken in high res mode.

    For sunrise and/or sunset landscape shots with natural lighting being on a the darker side, all cameras will usually have a delay (up to several seconds) before actually taking the shot. With that said, if the E-M5ii takes 8 shots to produce the high res photo, will that camera require more time in order to produce the 1 high res photo? For example, if the Nikon D810 takes 5 seconds to take a shot of mountain, will it take the Olympus E-M5ii 40 seconds (or longer) in order to take and produce the 1 high res 40 megapixel photo (8 shots x 5 seconds = 40 seconds)? If this is the case, can I say that for landscape shots that require a delayed shutter to produce one photo on a non-eM5ii, the E-M5ii on the other hand for the high res mode will take a photo using a similar that is similar to a “multiple exposure shot” except in this case, the exposure is constant. But the E-M5ii will still blend the 8 delayed shots together producing one photo. So if the Nikon D810 shoes 5 seconds of streaming clouds, for the E-M5ii, it would show 40 seconds of streaming clouds essentially making the photo produced on the Nikon completely different in comparison. Does that make sense? If so, this may be an issue as trying to get a high resolution shot on an E-M5ii I would need to account for all 8 shots and how that would affect the overall intended look of my shot.

  65. Hey Steve, just wanted to give everyone an update from my Amazon pre-order. It seems they updated my arrival date from March 3rd to Feb 26th!!! Only for the black version however. Silver seems to not be available to ship until the 27th. Amazon is currently showing only 1 in stock.

  66. Thanks for another great article, Steve.

    I had the Em-5I but sold it because the viewfinder was squinty and gave me headaches. I bought the 25-50 kit lens, which I would not do again, and the 15mm body cap lens. I eBayed that setup and replaced it with an X100s, which I do love ( has a few photos posted from each camera). I need an interchangeable-lens option though, and I’m shooting more video these days.

    I made the drive from San Jose to Palo Alto this morning, with the intention of picking my favorite camera-pushers’ brains on the matter. No surprise, since they’re tight with Olympus, they already have the E-M5II in stock. I’ve just come home with my new, silver EM5-II and 24-80 Pro lens ($200 rebate when purchased with the camera): I’m charging batteries as I write this. I’ll probably pick up the 17mm 1.8 Olympus next. Oh. and the 15mm body cap lens, which is just too much fun not to have.

    I’m torn between the Panasonic 100-300 and the Olympus 40-150: my twin daughters are in their school district’s jazz band ( ) and I want to be able to photo and video the concerts even when I can’t get close to the stage.

    My X100s probably will go on the block so I can pick up the 17mm without undue delay.

      • Thanks, Steve. The constant f/2.8 is a big plus for the Olympus, and I don’t often need anything past the 150mm long end.

        Error in my original post: I wrote about the Olympus “25-50 kit lens,” which should have read “12-50 kit lens.” Just in case anyone wonders what I was talking about.

  67. Hello Steve, sorry, I have another question,,,,
    is it possible to review/play the taken photos via the evf and not only with rear-display?

  68. Hi Seve! I imagined your post with first E-M5 Mk2 impressions would make waves… But not on the scale I saw on one of the forums I usually stop by, one about until now I tought quite high…
    They were speaking about the camera, opinions went by quite harmlessly, then a reader started what I call “Operation Crucify the Evil Man”.
    He said that hearing of your first-impression post about the E-M5 MkII he went to your site and checked out the post and he couldn’t believe the amount of crappy images you took for your so called mini reviews: 2 days in Bermuda and just shots of blurry dolphins and the staff! He also hate how you generalize with straight out-of-camera images, wthout even bothering to process them to see what the cameras are capable of. He thinks you are a complete disgrace to the community but probably the manufacturers seem to be enamored on how you seems to rave about EVERY camera that’s released…
    Then another one added, “do you really think if a company flies mediocre bloggers and even more mediocre photographers to Bermuda for a product launch, all expenses paid, those mediocre bloggers and even more mediocre photographers are going to write a review with any negative points?”
    Many others joined cheerfuly the onslaught, adding that everyone knows that Olympus is stealthy threathing everyone has the intention of pointing out the “obivious shortcomings” of its cameras and giving favours to “sellouts”…
    Someone even said that he just can’t take you seriously anymore, you proved that your knowledge of photography itself, and technique, is less comprehensive of what you think, and this becomes an issue when you’re blatantly mistaken about something and then insist on arguing that you’re right…
    What disturbed me very much is the fact that the site manager allowed what are not personal opinions but personal ATTACKS, without deleting them.
    I know you are a too much positive person to be bothered by this amount of malevolence, but for me, I’m done with what is becoming another troll cesspool…
    Keep up with the good work!

    • Lol, all that tells me? I am doing many things right. I have dealt with people like this for 7 years, and one thing remains constant…people like that are A: Jealous. B: Miserable and C: are full of negativity and hate. I just look at where I am, where they are and smile 🙂 Nothing like that EVER bothers me as it is someone who just spews hate for the reasons above. They live a miserable life, hate it and love to attack others to build themselves up. It’s all about positivity my friend, which is my lifelong secret as to why I am so happy with my LIFE. All aspects of it. Be positive, be kind to all and ENJOY life. 🙂 Thanks!

  69. Steve , I would love you to include a Nikon D750 in the next test. With the new 35 1.8 theres not a great deal of weight difference between that and the Sony or the Fuji with 4/5 batteries that you would need for a full days shoot.
    Personally I think the Nikon would knock the socks of these.
    All the best.

  70. Hi Steve,

    Bravo! Great review. I especially liked the comparison of the EM-5ii and the EM-1 and that you actually preferred the handling and features of the EM-1. This tells me you are not being biased or just hyping the latest camera for the referral link money.

    The video side still has a long way to go before it can beat the Panasonic GH4. I keep hoping (praying) that Olympus jumps into video because of their amazing image stabilization. Until then, I will have to keep the GH4 for video and the EM-1 for stills… 🙂

      • The comparison between E-M5 II and GH4 + 12-35mm with OIS was amazing, OM-D clearly beating the OIS.

        But have You compared E-M1 and GH4 by handling? As I have found that E-M1 as body beats GH4 and it is my experience, but I would like to hear your opinion about that, as so many claims that GH4 is the fastest body to use, what I can’t agree or get anyone I know to agree either.

  71. Between original EM5 and EM5 mark II and EM1:

    Original EM5 does have Live Time feature Live Time is not exclusive to EM1 and EM5 mark II. Perhaps it is more advanced on EM1/EM5M2 but the basic feature that Steve talks about here is present on EM5 mark I and works like charm.

    Original EM5 costs $599 brand new right now. I just bought a slightly used EM5 for $320 over a photo forum. EM5 mark II costs over $1000. That is a big difference.

    I’ve owned EM5 and EM1. I do not believe that single AF acquisition speed of EM1 is better than that of EM5 mark I. If anything it felt opposite. Continuous AF of course EM1 is better as it has PDAF on sensor. Can’t talk about EM5II as I have not tried it.

    As far as image quality and low light performance, DXO site rates EM5 Mark 1 better in low light than EM1 (although the difference is not big). EM5 Mark 2 is not tested yet. In general I found the image quality difference between EM5 mark 1 and EM1 to be a wash.

    The bottom line is I think EM5 mark 1 remains a bargain right now for what is a very capable camera, that should be considered by those who does not want to spend over $1000 on a new model. for the price difference, buy Olympus 17/1.8 and 45/1.8 lenses.

    • Live time is on the E-M5, E-P5, E-M1 and E-M5II. Live COMPOSITE is NOT on the E-M5 Mark I. The new 5 Axis is not on the E-M5 I, the E-M1 EVF is not on the Mark I, the body of the Mark II is built better and has better sealing. The E-M5II has faster AF and faster continuous shooting. The Mark II has loads of improvements from LCD, video capabilities and much more. It is indeed a very nice upgrade – also does better at high ISO and out of the box JPEGS as it has a better sensor as well. Yes, the original is a deal and is still a great camera but usually it is wiser to get the best you can get for your money to avoid regret. Buy once instead of twice and then losing money. I see so many buy the lower priced models only to sell weeks latter as they regretted going with the latest. But if your budget is $600 it is tough to beat the original E-M5.

  72. Hello Steve, thank you for the very informative videos and nice photos.
    I want you to ask a question, or please you to test something:
    Is the aperture Ring of the PanaLeica lenses now working on the E-M5 MKII ?

    Best wishes martin

  73. I sold my E-M5 (Mk. I) because of some ergonomic issues I couldn’t ignore. One of them was the tendency of the eyepiece rubber to fall off at random intervals. Each replacement seemed to last less time than its predecessor. Having to keep replacement eyecups on hand was tedious and needlessly expensive (because it shouldn’t have been happening). Is this still going on? I’d really like to get back to the Oly.

  74. Hi Steve.
    Thank you for the review. I am a former Pentax shooter who moved to Sony (A7) last year. I tried Fuji but couldn’t connect. I recently swapped out my A7 for the A7ii, for IBIS and for the improved flair handling of the improved sensor coating. The thing is, I am realizing that it is bigger, especially with lenses other than my favorite FE 35mm 2.8, than I would prefer for general carry around. From an image quality and usability perspective, how would you compare and contrast the EM5ii and the A6000. P.S. – excluding weather sealing, IBIS, and “features” that a camera either has or doesn’t. Thank you!

  75. Very nice review Steve…

    I am a novice photographer with a GX1, Panny 20mm 1.7 and Oly 45mm 1.8 looking to upgrade my camera with something that will provide the “best bang for my buck”. I think the EM5II seems like a logical choice but I also have noticed that the GX-7 has been marked down in price significantly. Any comments on whether or not the EM5II is worth the extra cost? (I have read both reviews but am having a difficult time making up my mind).



  76. Hi Steve – Really interesting comments re Olympus OMD EM-5 Mark 2 and for m43 in general. I have been using a Nikon D300s with mediocre lenses (due to cost), but finding it difficult to carry all that gear. I pretty much try and shoot anything – though with young family, opportunities tend to arise from days out with them. So I have been looking foe something smaller. I went for the Nikon V1 – some good strengths image quality against my D300s just did not cut it and the controls were quirky – it be polite.

    Do you have a view on how the new Oly would fare in terms of Dynamic range, noise and IQ? I think the only would allow me to get better lenses too -correct?

  77. Hi, Steve, I love this web site. A littel off topick but not too much. Do Ou think that keeping a Nikon 1 plus the allt the best lenses make sense compared to the investing into a Olympus 43 ? You were quite a fan 2 years back so I went that way. I can see the Oly is much better but dumping one for another is costly. So is Nikon 1 still worth it? Thanks!

  78. Hi there. Good review. Good review man. What happen when you turn off the back LCD on the OMD EM5ii? Is it black but still on as the OMD1 unfortunatelly, or is it really off and saving power? Thx!

      • When did that chance on E-M1? I have 3.0 and still the 1.4 was rear LCD is on when I disable auto switch and take the EVF in use.

  79. Thanks Steve. Im really surprised that you think the the EM-5 MKII had a lower IQ overall from the EM1. Everywhere I can see direct comparisons in controlled environments suggest the EM5 is slightly sharper then the EM1. Do you think this was an AF issue? Or possibly a firmware issue with your test model?

  80. Dear Steve,
    couple of weeks ago I was asking for your advise…coming from 4 years experience with Fuji X100 (bad focusing speed…) and Fuji X100s (never got into love with its Xtrans sensor…)
    …for the first time I was to skip into the FF world with Nikon D750 (but I just do not like how those cameras look like nowadays…)
    Then have come Sony A7 mark II…better one?
    I was decided…
    …well…then at last…I was just to buy Sony A7s (because of its low light and video capabilities and better appearance to my eyes…but the price too high!…)

    Then friend of mine who owns Olympus EM1 pointed at the new coming OM5 mark II…and I have just fell in love, period.
    This real silver beauty is in my order list now with the 17/1,7 lens to start with.
    I can’t wait, I love the size, the body and lens quality, photography results…its sort of magic (your and others experience have helped me a lot, thank you very much)!

    I still have got some old Nikon analogue bodies, lenses, so no worried about the FF for a while. I will give the Olymp a try, I can always sell it and skip to something else…

    Thank you Steve for how you deal with the cameras and help other people with their sometimes complicated minds 🙂

    PS. Still I think a person behind the camera is the one who makes a good photographs, any camera is just a tool (even though it can help a lot).

  81. Hi Steve, great review as always. I am considering below 3 cameras for baby photos and travelling.

    E-PL7 body
    RX100 mark III
    Canon G7X

    I want a camera that is light weight and easy to selfie with my wife and baby, which one would you recommend in my case? If I go for E-PL7, which lenses is good for my case?

    Thanks a lot.

  82. Hey Steve,
    Congrats about another awesome review! I’m always inspired by your work and your honest real life reviews. Having reviewed both the sony a6000 and the new omd em5 how would compare the two regarding image quality and high iso performance. I ‘m trying to decide between the sony a6000 + 16-70mm f4.0 and the mod em5ii + 12-40 f2.8.

    Thank you,

    • As I said, I prefer the E-M1 to any APS-C camera, period. I own an A6000, but I much prefer the E-M1 and E-M5II to it for many, feel, design, features, 5 axis, lens choice, speed, and on and on and on.

      • I own A6000 + lenses and I very pleased with the image quality. I was just about to switch to Olympus for all the advantages mentioned plus the care and respect for all owners. Getting “real” firmware updates and owing an all time classic camera model that doesn’t disappear make the owner feel that he owns a valuable product that is getting better.
        I haven’t changed (yet) as I realized the the new E-M5 MII, lacks phase detection and is capable of shooting at fast burst rate only with locked focus on the first shot. Alternatively it can ONLY shoot with continous focus at half rate when compared to A6000 which is 5fps and that with contract detection. Isn’t that quite outdated since contrast detection and locked focus at burst rate were 2 of the 3 flaws of NEX7 (the other one was noise at higher ISO).
        I think I will have to wait until the end of the year when the E-M1 MarkII will probably be launched. Getting the E-M5markII may bring back bad memories with focus issues and 5fps seem too low now thati know.
        Your thoughts?

  83. Hi Steve,

    Great Review! 🙂 Would like to get some opinions from you. Was thinking of between the a7ii or the em-5 mkii. Just started out and wanted to look at which one to go with a full frame (a7ii) or a Micro 4/3 (em-5 mkii). Which one do you suggest that I go with.

    • That would be a choice for you to make. Read reviews of both and decide. All you lose from the A&Ii to the E-M1 or E-M5II is the ability to get really crazy shallow DOF and a tad but of high ISO capability. I top off the Micro 4/3 bodies at around 6400. The Sony can probably get you a bit more at high ISO (A7II). What you gain is smaller size, faster speed, more lens choice ,smaller lenses, and features not on the full frame Sony. Both are gorgeous cameras and both can be quite rewarding. Neither is “better” than the other in IQ, both are fantastic but different.

      • Steve as I have written on this forum before, your reviews and your site here are about my most favorite place to visit on the net, PERIOD, REALLY. However, & maybe I’m blind as a bat 🙂 I’ve owned the original EM5, the EM1, and currently own the GM5 as to Micro Four which I absolutely LOVE!! The GM5 is a very unique SMALL camera and since you DO have a smaller sensor in it, as in Micro Four, I feel with the GM5 Micro Four, finally it truly makes sense, as the IQ is fantastic vs it’s size, actually JUST fantastic vs ANY sized sensor. But I also own the A7II, HAD the A7S, I don’t see how you can say the IQ of ANY Micro Four cam is even close to the IQ of the A7 bodies. You mention seems the only big plus on the Sony Full Frames are greater DOF. Well of course you are correct, but even if DOF was exactly the same, I see tons of 3d pop, a certain film like quality too most of the time from the A7 bodies and full frame in general. Micro Four? Always seems Flat, MEH, to me no mater how much Bokeh one manages to squeeze out of the shot. Really nice color though on the Olys especially the EM1, real sharp pictures, of course depends upon the lens and all but IQ? Yikes, I don’t have a single EM1 picture that is even close in overall IQ to even a random A7II pic or A7S or my RX1R for that matter. Different animal IMO. This is the first time I can’t really agree with you. I am ONLY talking IQ. Also I can only really speak for the EM1 as I owned it a long while. I totally agree with all your other positives of M/4 vs the Sony FF bodies, but NOPE not IQ, not dynamic range, no where near as good on higher ISO. I hate That Dx.You know site, but the FF sensors vs any M/4 are not even close re: high iso and other photographic criteria. I know the beauty of your site and reviews are “real world shooting”so as to Dx. and their sensor tests, just sayin! only cause it agrees with my eyes in this particular case. Again JUST my opinion. Anyway, thanks for this awesome review haha, now that I just disagreed with your IQ part of it vs FF…SORRY! 🙂 Sol.

  84. I probably missed it, but among all those reasons why EM-5 owners should drop another $1200 on the new model because of all the minor feature changes, I missed where the image output of the new model is at all noticeably better than that of the existing model.

    • Again,

      what is new over the EM5 Version 1?

      New 5 Axis is much better than previous 5 Axis in the E-M5 (which is worse than the E-M1 as well). This is the third version of 5 Axis, best yet.
      New Silent shutter and 1/16,000 shutter speed if you want it
      10FPS shooting
      MUCH better video quality and capability
      Swivel OUT LCD
      The EVF of the E-M1, which is much larger
      Live Composite Mode added
      The sensor of the E-M1, not the same old E-M5 sensor
      No AA filter, like the E-M1
      Improved high ISO over Mark 1
      Better weather sealing over Mark I
      Faster Af, now just as speedy as the E-M1 but a bit behind the E-M1 in CAF, still faster than the Mark I
      Now dials are metal and control scheme has been improved

      There is more but I will stop here… there are loads of improvements from the Mark I in all from IQ, high ISO, AF, Usability. Image Stabilization, EVF, Sensor, Quality of Build, Controls, etc. A worthy upgrade 100%

  85. Okay, I am getting the original EM for around 420 U.S dollars for a mint camera coz it wasn’t camera enough for the owner and he is getting the MK2.

  86. Hi Steve,
    Thanks for a great review, amazing how the quick the tech is changing these days.
    Was just wondering, how does the picture quality compare to the Sony A7 II and is the low light performance much different?

  87. I don’t know if this is a taboo question or not, but I’m curious to know either what the settings on your camera are or whatever useful tips you have to get you those great-looking OOC jpegs. I have an E-M1 and all the usual suspects for lenses, but I always notice that lack-of-contrast “haze” in my photos and I always have to go into Lightroom and do some contrast tweaking before my photos “pop” in colour like yours do above.

    • I think for the most part I had it set to either Vivid or Natural. Nothing special. Then I resized them to 1800 pixels for the review. Thats about it.

  88. Thank you for the review. Can you help me with a comparison: I am currently shooting the Sony A6000, usually with the 35mm stabilized 1.8. It has fast CAF in low light, as well as good separation from background (for a 50mm equivalent). I love the color of the Olympus, but I spend a lot of time chasing kids around, and I am scared to sell the A6000. What would you do?

  89. Finally!
    Now the reviews and comparisons are really rolling in on the new Olympus and I’m loving it. Going to get this camera and—because I’m learning to have no allegiance or loalty—I’m going to sell my Sony A7.
    From the vaunted full frame to u4/3’s?? Yes.
    I’ve been reading as much as I could. I checked back on some of my older photos. Almost all were taken with an APS sized sensor. Nikon D70, Canon 40D, Sony a55, and many point-n-shoot types. Great photos.
    In addition to the Sony A7, I’ve also owned the Canon 5DMK II, and the Nikon D600. I thought I wanted these so much. But they didn’t add to my fun or exuberance.
    Took me a while but now I realize I want small. And from what I have seen and read—the photos will be GOOD ENOUGH.
    This is a great time in the photo equipment world.

  90. steve, or anyone else who would know for certain . . . . does the mark 2 allow the swivel LCD to be but in the same postition (perpendicular to the camera body) without it being put out to the side of the body . . . as to say in the same postion as it is on the mark 1 or omd or pen bodies ?

    • It will never happen for one reason. Olympus are HEAVILY invested in Micro 4/3. To create a full frame would mean an ALL NEW body, sensor design, internals and most importantly all new lenses. Micro 4/3 lenses can not more can they ever be used as full frame lenses so Olympus would have to create an all new system, all new name, all new lenses. This would take many years, and loads of cash. They are all about small size, speed, high performance, ruggedness. Moving to full frame would mean larger bodies, lenses, slower AF, etc.

      Will never happen. As it is, it does many things better than full frame as it is. It would not be too much of an improvement, in some ways a downgrade. (speed, lenses, size, higher cost, etc)

  91. Steve, another great review. Honestly, it just seems like Oly simply improved/iterated on existing features and added a few gimmicks that 99% of its users will probably never use. In that respect, yes it’s the “Apple” of cameras 😉 You know add a few gimmicks and tell the world is revolutionary and innovative. What I didn’t get from the review was how did it improve the camera in terms of “shareability”. Sure all the technical improvements will wow current users and camera/photo enthusiasts, but what about attracting new users or the casual photographer? If I took a pic of something cool, how can I share it instantly instead of waiting to get home and hook up a wire to it? What’s to stop users from simply pulling out their smartphones snap a pic and share it instantly with the world? Sure it may have wifi and nfc capabilities, but how has that improved? If at all? That was not covered in your review. How useable is the app now? System cameras aren’t just the body and lens anymore. It’s also about software.

    • Not at all. The new 5 Axis is incredible. Quite a bit better than previous incarnations. The new swivel out LCD is better IMO as is the larger EVF and faster AF speed. It is much better than the Mark I E-M5 in every way. The app is super fast and easy to use, I went over it in my E-M1 review and it works just the same here. I can have all images from my E-M5 Ii or E-M1 on my iPhone within seconds. I can share those images in social media within a minute or two. Easy as pie to use and hook up. The app has no issues at all. No wires needed.

      • Right. Thanks for the reply. It really does seem they just improved upon what’s already there. Slightly disappointed as it took them 3 yrs to push out, in my view, minor iterative improvements. I’m sure its a great camera but I expected something different. Plus the fact that they did not incorporate the pdaf tech is another reason why its disappointing and done on purpose to force you to buy the EM1. For the money they are asking for, I’m expecting the kitchen sink thrown in and this holding back of features is not cool. Did they improve their sharing app? I think thats quite important and relevant info and improvements that they should have made.

        • Again,

          what is new over the EM5 Version 1?

          New 5 Axis is much better than previous 5 Axis in the E-M5 (which is worse than the E-M1 as well). This is the third version of 5 Axis, best yet.
          New Silent shutter and 1/16,000 shutter speed if you want it
          10FPS shooting
          MUCH better video quality and capability
          Swivel OUT LCD
          The EVF of the E-M1, which is much larger
          Live Composite Mode added
          The sensor of the E-M1, not the same old E-M5 sensor
          No AA filter, like the E-M1
          Improved high ISO over Mark 1
          Better weather sealing over Mark I
          Faster Af, now just as speedy as the E-M1 but a bit behind the E-M1 in CAF, still faster than the Mark I
          Now dials are metal and control scheme has been improved

          There is more but I will stop here… there are loads of improvements from the Mark I in all from IQ, high ISO, AF, Usability. Image Stabilization, EVF, Sensor, Quality of Build, Controls, etc. A worthy upgrade 100%. The thing is, it has the kitchen sink thrown in..not sure what you would expect from their middle of the road camera 😉

  92. Dear Steve,
    thank you so much for yet another brilliant review! One question: Would you agree that the new swivel display is inappropriate for street photography? Today guys from Olympus visited my local store and showed the OM-D range with the new M5II. I liked it a lot, but I am afraid the new swivel display is wrong for me. My main interest is street photography, where I don’t want to draw much attention. My doubts:
    – The swivel display makes the camera’s silhouette nearly twice as large and arouses attention.
    – It is uncomfortable big when being in tightly moving crowd.
    – IMHO it is uncomfortable to hold the camera with the display out on the left, it’s in the way of my left hand.
    – The swivel to the left puts my look off the lense’s optical axis.
    – The time it needs to open potentially steals the decisive fraction of a second when the magical moment is there.

    I write all this as a PEN user accustomed to the simple centered display of a PEN. I very much would like to hear your opinion on my concerns.

    Best regards from Germany!


    • Hello Martin, thank you!

      As for street shooting and the new EM5II..I think it makes no difference for street shooting. You can always leave the LCD on the back and not swivel..but for street I am not one who sneaks shots of anyone, nor do I ever shoot street like that. If you have ANY camera, people will see you with a camera. Pulling out the LCD to the left will not make this any more of a fact 😉 I found it in NO WAY to be uncomfortable in use but I would mainly use the EVF anyway, or leave the LCD in its normal place. I would only swivel it out to the left if I need to do so for whatever reason. It is not mandatory to swivel it out to use it. Not sure why you feel it has to be swiveled out? For me, I prefer it to the standard out down swivel.

      • Wow, thanks for your fast reply! I mostly use my PEN like a hooded reflex screen camera (‘Lichtschachtsucher’ in German). I hold in front of my stomach, elbows to my rib cage and look below on the folded out display. My friends say this gives my pictures an own ‘from below’ signature look, a special perspective different from our common view, a bit like children seeing the world new and strange.

        I noticed, people around me are more at ease with being photographed like this. Don’t know why this is so, but many people being watched through an EVF by a photographer with a camera in front of his face become self-conscious.

        Important point about sneaking shots from other people. Yes, street photographers should be concerned about ethics. I don’t have a real solution yet. When I take a picture in the middle of the city, there are dozens of people in the picture and I can’t ask all of them. Sometimes I ask single people if I may photograph them. Usually they then start posing and the moment is gone. Is there a manifesto about ethics in street photography?

        Thanks for your thoughts!

        • I think that the reversable display makes the MKII a bit more “analog-looking” and a bit more unobtrusive same as the, for me(!) more stredged retro-look and the smaller evf-hood.

  93. Very nice review Steve, like most of yours!!

    Would you post a comment/review on the Panaleica 15mm f1.7?
    I have the Lumix 20mm f1.7 and I love it, but I want something a bit wider so I’m doubting between the zuiko 17mm f1.8 and the Panaleica 15mm. Most of the people that tried both showed their love for the Panaleica, so I got a bit surprise when you mentioned that you prefer the zuiko. Would you mind to comment a bit about these three lenses?

    • I prefer the Olympus 17 1.8. The Panasonic is nice but it looks exactly like your 20, just in a 15. I did not feel it was worth the premium price or “Leica” badge as it renders the same as the 20 IMO. The 17, for me, is slightly better made, has the AF/MF clutch, has a nice metal hood, and for my tastes, renders slightly less digital yet is bitingly sharp, with nice colors. If you LOVE the Panasonic rendering (higher contrast and slightly different color) then you will love the 15 1.7. Both are fantastic, but for my money I prefer the Olympus by a bit.

      • You are right, the money they ask for the Panaleica is what keeps me away from it. I am glad to hear the Olympus is such a good alternative. I read too many comments moaning due to its lack of sharpness, probably because too much pixel-peeping. Definitely I want something wider and with less purple fringing than the 20mm, so I will give a try to the Olympus. Thanks a lot, and keep the good work. Your website rocks!!

  94. Thanks for the review, Steve. You’re tempting me with these cameras, you know. 😉 I actually had no idea about Live Composite (not surprisingly, as I don’t own an OM-D camera!). Currently I use Sony cameras, and of course Sony makes a great system.

    So when I look at the whole package (and not just a few elements) I shake my head when I see so many people overlook cameras like these and go for DSLRs (probably because their friends egg them on and they don’t know how rich the market is). Unless you have very specific needs, why on Earth would you choose a DSLR?

    I suppose people like to look as if they ‘mean business’ so the beefcake DSLRs fill that gap. Of course I like variety, but it is cameras like this that ought to be selling in the millions.

    Cameras like the E-M5 are authentic digital cameras. They are what digital cameras wanted to be all this time – and not a 35mm camera with a sensor where the film used to live.

    The only cameras that are really tempting me away from film (not that it has to be an either-or choice, anyway) are the OM-D and A7 series. Okay and maybe the Leica M and T… 🙂

  95. Oh. I forgot: Very informative and extensive review (as always). And very nice photographs to go along with it.

  96. I jumped train from Olympus to Fuji because of the Fuji’s better image quality. The Fujis offer better DR, far better color and better sharpness than the EM1 which I could test extensively. Especially in less than perfect light (as you put it) the Fuji colors are much much better than Olympus.

  97. Steve, Thank you for your review. This is wonderful! I saw a lot of discussion on fuji and olympus here and would like to chip in. I have used m43 format since ep1 days and continue to do so. And because of you, I already own the em5 mk2. I had the fuji xt1, Sony a7, and nikon d600, but sold them all. I currently retain 2 systems, leica m240 and will buy the a7ii for m glass and the m43 system for lightweight and quick shooting experience.

    I have compared the iq and dr for the above systems in real world use. I handhold the cameras and shoot a Gundam model, focusing one at front and also focusing one at the back. Results can be seen below:

    What the results tell me is event though the FF and Fuji may have better iso, I can shoot at much lower shutter speed with my em5 mk1 (not 2, this was done a while back). I can achieve 3 stops better with the Oly. As from the photos, you can see the fuji and Sony and Leica are blurred due to hand movements. The fuji (people say I can achieve better conversion with other work flows) jpegs converted from lightroom were mushy. Look at the gundam at the edge, and even when focused, the details are gone. I generally like the fuji color when the light is there but I can really achieve with what I want in pp. The Oly ultimately provides me the most flexible shooting experience.

    As for DR, I see FF giving me much better files. I love how the leica m240 renders with the 50mm f2. The Sony a7 can’t focus in low light. The af lens are lacking. If I were to use the large zoom, I many as well go back to Nikon. The experience of shooting an M made me stay with Leica and possibly buying an a7mk2 to let me shoot with 2 bodies and 2 leica lens.

    I currently use the omd em5 mk2 together with 2 gm1. I normally equip a gm1 with a 15mm f1.7 (a wonderful lens), another with 25mm 1.4, and a 35mm to 100mm f2.8 for my omd. The omd is the workhorse that get the most used. But the m43 format is small enough and flexible enough to allow me to carry 3 cameras when I am on a trip. And I don’t have to switch lens while taking care of my kid. Ultimately, we have to choose our priorities. We may argue over the capabilities of the sensor, but it is the entire package that makes the camera. Oly delivers the package, and the ibis changes how you shoot. And the glasses in the m43 format are excellent and comprehensive.

    Here are my photos, and most of them are shot with the m43 system:

    • Lightroom is well known to not be optimal to convert Fuji Xtrans raws. And if you are comparing the first support Adobe did of Xtrans, that’s downright horrible. This is not the potential of the sensor.

      You can use now the latest Lightroom to convert Fuji Xtrans with some reasonable success *IF* you select the detail slider all the way to 100%. On a Bayer sensor camera this typically tends to add a lot of grainy noise. On the XTrans it adds more detail. This was uncovered by a landscape Xtrans photographer on the web.

      However, the optimal converters are still Capture One (latest) and Iridient Digital, but at least Lightroom conversions don’t have to be as horrible as they used to.

  98. Different strokes for different folks. I love the dials on the Fuji X-T1 and I can’t get that on any Oly.

    • Sure you can. The E-M1 has loads of them. Dial for aperture, shutter speed, exposure compensation, exposure choice, custom buttons for anything you need including ISO, etc. It’s all there and the body feels MUCH nicer than any Fuji body and offers so much more in almost every area. (IS, Feel, Build, Function, Features, Video, etc) – guess its time for me to do a side by side shootout in all lighting conditions – X-T1 vs E-M1 – off to rent an X-T1 now for this. Should be fun. 😉

      • Steve, thanks for doing the side-by-side! I know a lot of readers will like this test. As for the dials, if I can’t glance at them with the camera turned off and know what the settings are, then it doesn’t pass muster for me. Unlabeled dials are only marginally better than settings on an LCD screen.

      • May as well throw the E-M5MKII into the mix. After all, it is the currant hot product and deserves it’s 15 minutes…don’t you think?

      • Steve- you have the dials in the Olympus but what you can’t do is set the camera to those settings with the camera off, or know at a glance- the camera off, what the settings are. You can do that in the Fuji X-Pro1/XE-1/2 and X-T1 (including the ISO in this one).

        I will say- if you are going to do your side by side with X-T1 then keep in mind:
        – Fuji has 3 DR settings- DR100, DR200 and DR400 for moving the dynamic range window for the JPEGS. The Olympus doesn’t have this.
        – Remember to use Capture One (latest) or Iridient Digital to convert Fuji Xtrans RAW files- otherwise you won’t get the maximum detail that Xtrans promises.
        – If you find the JPEGS “flat” you can always set higher contrast in highlight and shadows for the JPEGS. Those options exist right there.
        – If you want to make the color “more Olympus like” – select Pro Neg High for film simulation. If you want to simulate- well, classic known Fujifilm use Soft for Astia, Velvia for Velvia, Standard for Pro-Via.

        • Olympus has similar DR settings but will not use them as they are artificial. When using the 400 on the Fuji the files are extra flat and do not look good. Same as with the Olympus. All they do is a quasi HDR look and no camera gets this right. I will not use Capture One, a program that 6% of shooters use. I will use what 94% of us use as that is much more relevant. I am well aware of how to set contrast to make an image pop but I will be dealing with out of camera quality – RAW and JPEG. Will also do a few with some PP. What it comes down to is usability, build, features, IQ, THE WHOLE CAMERA. Not just IQ. Getting there is half the fun and if a camera makes it tough to get from point A to point B then IMO it is not fun. At all. Funny how Fuji users always have these stipulations that make you run through several hoops to get an acceptable image. I am not looking for “Olympus Like” color from Fuji, I will be looking for “Fuji Color” which is what the comparison will be about as well – the different signatures of the files. Again, I am well aware of the Fuji color modes. I have used Fuji cameras since the old S2 Pro. I only write about the ones I like.

          • I will be interested to see how you get trough that promise 😉
            Hopefully it can be seen in next few months or at least later this year.

            I was over year ago decision making process between E-M1 and X-T1 and A7. I read many reviews as yours, tried to find small details.
            Then I walked to store and rented all three with equal optics. Shot same situation with same settings, then spend two hours with one of them in same locations and then returned cameras. That day cost 127€ to me. Then I had about 150 frames from each camera. It was question to choose software to process files. I had difficulties with Fuji but, it wasn’t problem.

            Finally it came to pure image quality that was won by Olympus. Colors, sharpness, contrast, noise! And exposure range!

            Then it was about bodies, even today nothing beats E-M1. Love every aspect in that body. Fast, logical and just “mental”.

            Then I reviewed possibilities, WiFi was important and Olympus didn’t have video then. But I made leap of faith and still missing WiFi remote shooting without aircard.

            I wanted to love Sony, really did. Wanted to love Fuji as the idea of physical film camera dials was….. So film!
            But neither one touched (and still doesnt) the speed E-M1 gave.
            Even today I have not used a single as fast operated camera, this from over 20 years photography career.
            Every day when I take E-M1 in hand, it blows my mind how it becomes part of my thoughts.

            It isn’t a perfect camera, like there still is EVF problem in technology to black out in high continues shooting, but E-M1 got update to have at least focus point visible all the time.
            The camera needs a fast card so it doesn’t hold back settings when writing to card.
            The Video mode side menu and some functions inaccessible from there is weird.

            But overall, best camera. And as well I find ISO 3200-6400 (6400 is extension so software boost from 3200) great, and often I shoot those in bright daylight with ND filter as the noise looks so damn good!
            When I want film look, it is that! To me High ISO shooting isn’t about clean image but fast shutter speed or deep depth of field.

            Unlike you, I don’t like E-M5 II hinged display, used Canon long time ago one holiday summer (S2) and it was enough to find out it was on the way all the time.

            To me quality and speed are important. That I can just raise camera and get the shot before moment is gone. I used only M mode, never any semi-auto for exposure. And Olympus E-M1 is faaaaast.

  99. Steve,
    I’m intrigued by this beast. On the comparison with Fuji Xt1, i rented one for two days. Thought i was going to love it with the external controls and all the hype it had received. But it left me flat. I thought the focus was slow and uncertain. And the colors were…different, and that flat look you describe. I was left wondering how did this ever get so hyped?! The website “The wandering Lenseman” guy is a longer time olympus (and nikon) user and recently tested a fuji, thinking he too would fall in love with it. But in the end, he said he preferred the olympus. I take my hat off to you for telling it how you see it.

  100. One can always pick this or that feature to justify why one camera is better “right now” than others. In this respect it depends on what kind of photos you want to shoot. Why get a camera to shoot stars at night when you’ll never do that. So, the search for the single, best all-around camera is futile, but a fun discussion because it illuminates the strengths and weakness and what’s missing. What cinches the deal for Olympus, however, are the quality and size of the lenses. These alone are worth investing in and using as long as the company will continue to upgrade and improve the camera over time. This what Olympus is doing. The images you’ve shown here with the new 40-15mm zoom lens just make the case over again. Will the m4/3 sensors continue to improve as well? Why not. And it’s not a tiny sensor if there’s a bunch smaller that are also producing good images for the size. What still puzzles me when I consider other cameras as backups or just for fun, it why the other companies are not producing as many very hight quality lenses as Olympus is doing? To me that stops the deal. And the larger sensor automatically gives you larger lenses.

    • I was debating the A7ii, E-m1, and X-T1 a couple months ago. I rented an X-T1 for a week and was about to rent the E-M1 and pro lens when I realized I would have spent $300 on rental fees at that point. I went back to the local camera store, fondled the E-M1 body again, for a while and then I asked to see some lenses. I don’t have drawers full of legacy lenses to adapt to a mirrorless system. The first lens they put in my hand was the 17 f1.8. So solid and pretty! And then they slid back the focusing ring and showed me the distance scale. And then I went home with a new E-M1, 12-40 pro, and the 17. I think you nailed it with your lens comment, they are gorgeous in all aspects, build quality, image quality, shooting wide open, size, etc.

  101. Olympus wasn’t being innovative with the articulated screen on their E-330 in 2006. Sony had it on their R1 of 2005, but Canon beat them all to it with the G1 introduced in 2000. I recall reading that Canon had this patented, possibly, and may explain why it wasn’t used by other manufacturers for some years.

    • Actually they were…but I was mistaken. It was the worlds first LIVE VIEW camera, the E330. So yes, Oly had the 1st live view camera in the E-330. Innovation.

    • TerryB- Olympus had first live view for an interchangeable lens DSLR camera in the e-330. Nobody else at the time had it. Ironically, Olympus didn’t initially seem to know what to do with it, being able to market it better only later on after release.

      I remember dpreview calling it “A solution looking for a problem” (Phil Askey) but he recanted. One of the best uses I saw was a guy (National Geographic? forgot) that took a shot of a helicopter doing some maneuvers or something outside of a lighthouse. The lighthouse had a tiny window and he put the camera to focus at the helicopter framing with the live view.

      • Ricardo, yes, you are quite right. Olympus along with Panasonic developed the 4/3 system, as you know, and live view was a feature on the first to market Olympus E330, followed by the Panasonic L1. Checking back on dpreview, whilst the Panasonic was released after the Olympus, its implementation of live view fell behind that of the Olympus.

        However, it would seem that the first really practical, and better implementation of live view in a dslr, had to await the Panasonic LC10. I used one of these and still have it. The problem, for me at least, with a 4/3 dslr was the pokey viewfinder image, and this wasn’t much helped by the viewfinder magnifier.

  102. Currently we have omd e-m10 and i am thinking to upgrade. Question is 5 mark II or e-m1?

    Would like to have better feeling how much better is e-m1 with AF-C and what will new FW upgrade brings.

    Thanks for great review and thoughts!

    Take care,

  103. Thanks for a great review Steve! I got the EM5 mark I two years ago, after reading your review of it, and I love it! After this review and your videos I really want to get my hands on the EM5II… For me the EM5 form factor is preferred over the EM1 ergonomics as I want to go as compact as possible. Most often I use the 17mm or 45mm primes. Sadly I can’t spend as much as I want on gear (wife…) so now I have a tough choice between the EM5II, the 75mm or the 12-40 2.8 🙂 Any thoughts on that is appreciated!

    • I have the same situation with you bro.. (on choice due to wife!).. But for me I have to say I’m more inclined towards the new MK2 over 12-40mm as i have ton of lens buried in my closet. Guess the 12-50 will have to make do for the weather-sealed. But then again this all could change in a snap!

  104. Great review. I’m looking forward to the EM5II updates making their way into the EM1mkII, the build and handling is top notch on the EM1 and the PADF would be really handy shooting with the improved video specs.

    Quick question – any plans to review the Samsung NX1? Seems like its a real contender to the APS-c crown and because of the 4k/15fps/BSI sensor some are labeling it a game changer.

    Thanks and keep up the great work.

  105. Your reviews always feel alive.
    Red flamingo is a stunner.

    Radiation from EVF held so close to eyes
    made me ditch all digital cameras with EVF.

    Hopefully upcoming EP has EM5ii goodies.

  106. Steve,
    Thank you for another wonderful post and all you do to help inform your fellow photographers. I’m currently a Nikon D810, D4s and D750 shooter along with a Hasselblad that I use in the studio. However, I’m very tempted to join the mirrorless contingency, not to replace my current gear, but to supplement it. I’m intrigued by the size and features of the new Olympus but I was wondering how they fair with low light and dynamic range using such as small sensor. I was thinking of acquiring one for concert photography (love the size of the new body and the 40 – 150 2.8 lens, what a perfect combination for concerts). However, I’m concerned about having enough dynamic range and low light performance as I typically need to push my ISO up to 3200 with my Nikons when shooting concerts. I’m also looking at the Sony a7’s but I’m waiting to see what they will do next. Any feedback regarding possible concert photography with this setup would be most appreciated.

    • DR is fantastic. Not up to the full frame level of course but easily matches APS-C. If you are used to a D810, you will lose out on HIGH ISO capability and a little DR. If the E-M1 or E-M5II is bought as an addition you will find that you ay enjoy shooting it more than your others. See below for a DR comparison (its older but shows that M 4/3 beats many others)

      I have shot my E-M1 up to ISO 10k with usable results but usually stick with 3200-6400 max. The A7s is a low light MONSTER with usability up to ISO 80k for me. BUT we rarely need ISO 80k, if ever 🙂

    • I use a Nikon DF and also have an Olympus EM10 (same sensor as in the EM5). Nothing comes close to full frame sensors such as the D4 sensor (DF) when it comes to low light photography. However, with the in camera image stabilization, you don’t need to be shooting at higher iso’s all the time with the EM cameras. Olympus makes a great product. They are most of all very innovative.

  107. Thanks for well done review with lots of explanations and sample photos. I have my EM-5 Mark II on order as well as the PRO 12-40 F2.8 and 40-150 F2.8. The lens I am waiting to see is the 7-14 F2.8 PRO. If it matches or exceeds the quality of the Panasonic 7-14 F4, it will be mine. I’ll be looking for one good fast Prime but haven’t decided which I really want or can afford. Torn between the 75 F1.8 and the 42.5 F1.2 but that decision will have to wait a little while anyway. The improved video capabilities (and what an improvement) are also of interest.

    Weather resistance is important to me as I will be retiring to the Philippines with a 6 month long Monsoon season plus the occasional (cough, cough) tropical storms and typhoons. I enjoy photographing a lot of historical sites, landscapes and architecture so I think the 40mp feature will see a good amount of use, despite its limitations. One of my goals will be to re-photograph Intramuros (walled city), Corregidor island (WWII monument) and the Manila American Cemetary (WWII monument) with some serious gear, from there I’ll be doing everything from celebrations to under ground rivers, beaches, sunsets, people, culture, etc. Retirement leaves all options on the table so I don’t anticipate ever being bored. I would need a few lifetimes to cover all of that amazing country. (7,107 islands, approx. 2000 of which are inhabited.) The size and weight of the Olympus system is ideal for what I want to do. And yes, their top shelf optics are second to none.

  108. Olympus were also the first to implement LIVE VIEW on a DSLR and Pixel Mapping, this feature is great, back when people with popular Canon an Nikon cameras had to send their beloved equipment and all I had to do was go into the menu and push a button and problem fixed. Priceless… literally LOL!

  109. You mention that the E-M1 is a tad sharper. Presumably due to the lack of AA filter. To me however, it looks as though the E-M5II is doing a better job with the JPEG sharpening? Not necessarily sharper than the E-M1, just more pleasing to the eye?

    • I have noticed since the days of the 4/3rds system, Olympus always gave an “extra” to the image quality of the top tier of the line vs the lower tiers. Even the E-30 vs the E-3- the E-3 still had a “something” that made it pop a bit more in some ways.

      I am a bit disappointed the difference exists between the EM5 and EM1 tier, but that’s the way it is with the prices and tiers you are buying. I think the photos Steve is showing here still look pretty good. Would like to see some 100%’s though.

  110. Great review Steve!

    I have Nikon Df with 50mm lens (special edition) and in the near future I can’t add any more lenses, I am stuck with this 50mm lens. This is why decided to sell it and buy M5 Mark II with 12-40mm Pro lens but now I am confused 🙂 M5 Mark II or M1? I can’t wait for M1 Mark II for one more year and its dilemma now for me to choose. 😀

    • Up to you. If you want a slightly beefier body, more weather sealing and protection, shock proof body, freeze proof, and a longer lasting shutter, go for the E-M1. The 5 Axis inside the 1 is fantastic, and 2nd best to the new one. All you lose out on is the high res shot, new 5 axis and swivel to the left LCD.

  111. Thoughts on the Battery? Didn’t see any update, is that still an issue with these cameras? 300ish shots?

    • EM5II is rated to 450 shots. I shot that 40 minute exposure and had the LCD on the entire 40 minutes and then shot a full day the next day. Had 50% battery left after all of that.

      • Hi Steve,

        I’ve seen battery life specs being reported officially at 310 shots CIPA, and 750 shots with the power saving mode turned on. I have no idea what that power saving mode does.

      • That’s good to hear. All other sources seem to point to a CIPA Rating of 310 shots. Is that a different rating or maybe a preproduction model?

  112. “..have features called “Live Time”, “Live Bulb” and “Live Composite” ”

    Steve, can these features work with RAW shooting also? I would imagine probably not but if they do that would be pretty rad.


  113. I really can’t agree that what Olympus has is just the same as best APS-C. Not in ISO, and not in Dynamic Range. And Olympus doesn’t even have 14-bit RAW (yet).

    That’s not to say it’s not good, but these superlatives seem to throw perspective out of the window. I say this as someone examining an EM-1, someone who pre-ordered the OMD EM5 MKII and who has an X-E1.

    I even remember some of the very shots you post to prove the ISO point Steve, that clearly have more noise than what I am seeing with Fuji, and yes, I am taking into account the Fuji ISO over step.

    Anyhow, it’s all about pros and cons. The Olympus will be smaller overall and the Fuji will tend to be bigger overall. And each camera has its own advantages.

    I have two particular scenarios in mind when I get my Olympus EM5 MKII I am going to try, and two levels of image quality I am seeking in those scenarios. If it works, I am selling most of what I have and buying more lenses. Good thing I still have my entire 4/3rds lens system so I can start with that. If it doesn’t, it goes back- but that shouldn’t mean I think it’s bad at all.

    Thanks for the review, it adds more data of what the camera can do.

    • Well, I just speak the truth from my experience, and I have used ALL cameras..I do not write about ALL of them, only what I truly love and would use. But I have not seen ANYTHING from Fuji that can hold a candle to the E-M1 or E-M5 II. I am talking the whole package, and these two cameras have gobs of Dynamic Range, more than I get from any Fuji, which blows out highlights easily in harsh sunlight. Again, I have used them all and spend my own money on my personal cameras. I do not own any Fuji’s for a reason..that reason is because I find them lacking in build, features, focus accuracy as well as dynamic range and flat images in anything but good light. The high ISO of the Fuji system is awful..mushy, odd colors, flat and icky. For me, the kind of high ISO is from Sony (A7s, RX1, etc) and Nikon. Everyone else is good at high ISO but not amazing. I can shoot the E-M1 at ISO 10,000 with usable results but tend to max out at 6400, and I am talking in low light/night.

      No issues with noise, and I turn off NR on every camera I use for REAL ISO results.

      When it comes to the whole package, nothing touches the E-M1 or E-M5Ii, not from Fuji, Sony, one.

      Fuji can not touch the 5 Axis in the E-M5Ii or E-M1
      Fuji Can not touch the Olympus lens quality/build/size/speed/feel
      Fuji can not come close to the body build of the E-M1
      Fuji can not come close to video performance of the E-M5II or E-M1
      Fuji can not come close to the speed of the E-M1 and E-M5
      Fuji does not have the lens availability of Micro 4/3 (90% of which are amazing lenses)
      Fuji can not come close to long exposure capabilities of the E-M1, E-M10, E-m5II

      Fuji X-T1 beats the E-M1 in the following ways, for me..

      EVF size (Fuji is larger)

      Thats about it. I prefer the Olympus colors, rendering, etc. The Fuji CAN put out a beautiful file..if you use the right lens and have that perfect light. Otherwise it falls a bit flat in IQ. But get the lighting right and the lens right and it’s one of the best for IQ. Unfortunately, 95% of what we shoot is never in perfect lighting.

      • Steve, I get that you like the Olympus system….you’ve stated so from the beginning and seem to love every camera they put out. That said, I don’t agree with some of your comments about the Fuji cameras. For starters, as anyone who actually owns an X-Pro1/E1/etc can tell you the dynamic range from the files is excellent. I’ve shot an X-Pro1 for 3 yrs and while it has MANY issues, dynamic range and image quality in general is not one of them.

        I think it’s pretty amazing the quality of image Olympus pumps out of a 4/3 sensor but at the end of the day they will ALWAYS be limited by that tiny sensor. The fact is, if they would have chosen an APS-C sensor they would still have all the same processing etc but even better image quality. As you know larger sensor equals better image quality, take a look at the Sony A7 series.

        To me the only reason to buy the Olympus system is for the tiny size…but for me that is a negative, not a positive. Personally the size/weight of a leica M is perfect, and while my X-Pro1 feels too ‘light’ in my opinion the size is perfect.

        • I have also shot with ALL Fuji cameras extensively. If you read my X-T1 review I give it a ton of love, but also expose its weaknesses. Here is a challenge…come here to Phx AZ in they summer and shoot with me. I will shoot the E-M1 and you shoot a Fuji..we will shoot in some of the harshest sun in the USA. Then see if you can recover those Fuji won’t be able to. The E-M1 will be fine.

          But I am not the only one to say this:

          or this

          The X-Pro 1 is clunky, slow, and lacking in every way over something like an E-M1 – as I said, design, build, video, speed, accuracy, IS, and lenses, DR and IQ are all things I prefer on the E-M1 over any Fuji. I am not alone in this thought but everyone has their own personal likes. My opinions come from using everything extensively. I spend my money on the good stuff and I am in the lucky position to try it all before I buy. I chose Olympus and Sony for 2014 and so far in 2015 as I feel they offer the best of the lot.

          • Steve, several other reviewers do note the Fuji is better at high ISO and dynamic range. I will be more than up to the challenge of bringing an X-T1 and shooting it side to side with you with the E-M1 🙂

            I need time though but maybe we could get together within a year. I will also do my own test when I get the MKII and publish the raw files for all to see (vs an X-E1 no less). If I was wrong, I will admit it 🙂

          • Well, I do not read other reviews but can say they are wrong. Look at those who MEASURED it (X Pro 1 vs E-M1 or E-M5 DR) – Oly has greater DR. 🙂

          • Look at those who measured it? From RAW? Who 🙂 It’s unfortunate we don’t have DXo here, but it sure gives a good reference vs a K-5. Given I do have a K-5 and the X-E1, I think I can make my own call 🙂

          • I’ll bring my X-T1 and take you up on the desert Pepsi challenge this summer! But only if I can also bring my Land Cruiser and do some offroading with you 🙂

            I tend to agree with your reviews, but I’ve currently chosen Fuji over MFT primarily because of better IQ and higher ISO performance, IMHO… I will also argue about the glass; there may be a greater quantity of glass for the MFT system, but Fuji has some great quality…primes are fantastic and on par with MFT, and the new Fuji 16-55 2.8 is ex-cell-ent!!… Anywho, differing opinions are what make a market… And I was serious about that offroading!

          • You guys also need to recruit a doctor to treat you for the heatstroke you are going to get finding out who has the biggest, er, dynamic range. Phx in the summer time. No thank you!

          • Oversaturated colors and high ISO because lack of IS are NOT better IQ, with the right Settings and glases Oly outperforms Fuji in ANY way.

            The Magier can only put the spell on you, as long as you belive in AND repeating esotheric many times dont make them truth.

          • I wasn’t talking about the usability of the camera, I was speaking to image quality…trust me I am well aware of how slow and clunky an X-Pro is. That said, I feel the X-Pro has always gotten a bad rap for performance…to me it’s a different kind of camera, I use it the way I used my M8. No one buys a Leica M for speed and I feel the same way about the Fuji; it isn’t a good choice for your only camera.

            All I know is the image quality from my Fuji files are at least as good as my old 5D2, and in my opinion the DR is better . I can’t speak to your sunny Arizona shooting as I live in the rainy Pacific Northwest:) That said, DR and image quality from the camera have never been an issue for me, and in my opinion the Fuji lenses are as good or better than anything else on the market.

            I guess it says something about the choices we have in cameras these days that we can argue over such pedantic differences in image quality:)

      • Hello Steve- for some reason the reply button is not working so I have to reply here.

        I am glad you are passionate and you like the Olympus a lot. I will be the first to agree they do have advantages over the Fuji current systems- and as I said, I did preorder an MKii EM5.

        But comments like “Fuji doesn’t have the DR” – I am sorry man but I have to eye such conclusion with such suspicion. The Fuji sensor is most likely a Sony APS-C with the Xtrans filter on top of fit. This sensor is well known to have *vast* dynamic range, and if you are telling me you are burning highlights with the Fuji that just tells me that you didn’t set the DR mode properly- or you a not shooting RAW, exposing to the right and recover from its vast shadow range. Theory of being a Sony or not- I have seen better range with the Fuji than with the EM1 files. Keep in mind the Fuji files are also now 14-bit RAW’s which help with dynamic range and color gradation.

        At high ISO the Fuji beats the EM1. This doesn’t mean you can’t do a good shot with the Em1 at high ISO. But really, I don’t understand this. I will have to agree to disagree with you. Since I will most likely own both X-E1 and EM5 MKII at the same time at least for a week, I will just shoot raw in both and post the results.

        Let’s keep in mind also the Fuji Xtrans does require optimal use of a good raw converter for it. Capture One and Iridient lead here. LightRoom latest turns out it’s not so bad after a good article by a landscape photographer that explained and showed how moving the “Detail” slider in lightroom all the way to the right benefits Xtrans in a way that it does not benefit typical Bayer. I tried it, and now I find LR suitable for converting Fuji files also.

        Anyhow, thanks for reading. I will just agree to disagree on these points. I do agree with yo the Olympus’s do present certain advantages over the Fuji. I just think both have their set of pros and cons and it depends what you are looking for.

        • As am un curable GAS patient who, unfortunately, also spends his own money on too many camera (systems) I fully agree with you. The IQ the small mft sensor produces is surprisingly good, but no match to the Fuji. DR and shadow recovery of the Fuji are clearly superior. The best non FF sensor is in the inexpensive Sony a6000, beating mft by quite a margin in DR.
          Now both, a X-T1 and E-M1 are boxed in my closet and ready to sell as Sony with its A7x spoiled the party and makes files produced by anything else compact (Nikon FF beats Sony imho but it`s not compact) look and feel lacking. If Fuji left the X-trans idea and used the 24MP aps-c Sony sensor in a X-T2, the excellent lenses an manual controls would make me stay with the system.

        • Ok, I think some unbiased commentary is needed in this discussion. I own an E-M10 and E-M1 and have owned an X100 and X-E2. The truth about this discussion is that yes, Olympus is noisier at high ISO’s, but retains better detail and contrast. The noise is also rendered in a very acceptable manner.

          As for Fuji, they inflate stated ISO values and consistently overstate ISO for any given shutterspeed/aperture combination. In other words, when you are 6400 ISO with FUJI, you are actually shooting at what would be ISO 4000 on an Olympus or Sony camera for the same shutterspeed/aperture combination. I’ve tested this in the past and the results are consistent. Fuji overstates it’s ISO by at least 2/3. I challenge FUJI to take me to task on this matter.

          So? Well, that means that your Fuji is not really shooting at the same stated ISO as the competition. It drives me crazy to see these tests that claim that FUJI competes with full frame cameras at High ISO’s and outclasses all other APS-C cameras. It is also so very disappointing to see how many “pros” and professional reviewers miss this critical point when comparing Fuji High ISO performance to the competition.

          Bottom line, the comments are mostly correct on both sides. Steve is right, Fuji images are soft at high ISO’s and they lack contrast, but that’s part of the recipe for creating the perception of high ISO performance. When Fuji images are adjusted to account for these variables, the images are comparable to other APS-C cameras and even cameras like the E-M1.

          Let me be clear. I believe that Fuji takes great high ISO images, but they are just different in rendering and no better or worse than the competition. Fuji Raw files do have less color noise at high ISO’s, but that has more to do with noise reduction applied to Raw’s in camera than any actual sensor advantage.

          Fuji owners should be happy that they own a camera system that is capable of producing some stunning images. Olympus owners should feel the same way. Know your camera’s true performance and it will reward you with excellence under the right conditions. Become a photographer….not a fan-boy/girl.

    • I dont think the dynamic range is good compared to best aps-c or any modern full frame camera. But i would not expect it to be. Same is true for color. The colors are not to blame, they are even better than what comes out of the Fuji X Series i think. I still have a problem with the colors it does NOT show (look at the Skin tones for example) ! To my eyes the color palette is limited. i understand that some of this is due to the fact that you shot in JPeg mode but i can see it in developed RAW files as well. I still think it is an amazing camera but not if best IQ is what you are after.

      • The DR is equal to or better than most APS-C. This is not opinion, it is fact. Look it up. It can to match full frame, and I have always said this but it meets or exceeds APS-C in DR, color, etc.

        • If this is true, than the harshness of color transition (missing color tones) makes the images look like lacking DR. Anyhow, IQ is great just not as great as people wants to make it. the competetors dont need to close their factories 🙂

          • great review anyhow steve. thanks.
            i agree that there is so much to like about this camera. i only disagree on pure IQ. looking up figureds from labs is not my style. paper is patient. i judge from what i see. like you do.

  114. Steve, thanks for the review.

    Can you please also comment on the new 14-150 f4-5.6 II? Have you had a chance to use it much? I especially wonder it compares to the other “kit” type lenses from Olympus. Not sure I can ever justify the cost and heft of the 40-150 f2.8 for myself.

    • I have one here, for a “kit” zoom it is nice but too slow for my tastes (aperture wise). Nice size, decent build, and now weather sealed. I will try to use it over the next few days.

  115. Awesome review and as review your talent and care regarding the images themselves puts you ahead of the pack (apologies for fanboy commentary). I for one appreciate your passion for this product line, makes the review feel more like you are speaking from the heart and directly to me.

    As I mentioned in another recent comment, I just acquired a small M4/3rds camera after not having one for several years. Incredibly impressive and I’m sure the M5II would blow it away in terms of IQ and functionality.

    To jump in with the M5II or wait for the M1II, that is the question!

  116. OK Steve, I understand that this EM5 MII is an amazing camera, and that you still prefer the EM-1 for build and slightly better sharpness. I admit to being intrigued by the High Resolution Mode, especially for studio product photography. You’ve also reviewed the Fuji System, so my question is whether the High Resolution Mode of the EM-5 MII would eclipse the Fuji XT-1 (with one of Fuji’s own stellar primes) in terms of sharpness and detail, AND which system’s files would retain that detail when printed large (24×36)? Thanks as always for a super review!

    • The standard Oly images beat the X-T1 for my tastes, High res not required. I have a 20X40 print from the old E-P3 that is stunning. I have a print from my E-M1 that is gorgeous. Micro 4/3, today, is capable of anything you need really. Color, pop, detail, speed, build, unique features, design, looks, feel, control, lenses, etc.But I much prefer the IQ from an E-M1 or EM5II over any Fuji.

      • Wow, Steve, that’s quite interesting! I admit that my slight skepticism is due to the fact that I have a 12×18 custom print made from an older Panny G2 (with the excellent Panny 20mm f/1.7 pancake) that did not retain the sharpness and detail that was present in the file. Granted, I realize it’s older technology, but it’s still from the same size 4/3 sensor! I guess I’m still trying to justify the significant cost outlay for a new system. (Though I do like the build and ergonomics of the EM-1, not to mention the available quality optics!) I shall continue my research. Thanks again sir.

        • I also have a 20X30 from the old Nikon D2h (4 MP) and its beautiful. It’s all about the lenses. Get a couple of good ones and you will have no issues. Stay away from kit zooms and old zooms and use some of the new HQ lenses. Lenses like the 12-40, 42.5 1.2, 40-150 2.8, 25 1.4, etc. I will do an article soon on prints, sizes and show some of mine from various cameras and sensors..

      • Fuji Xtrans have a rubbed out look feel to them I should know I had the Xt1 for me the EM1 has better sharpness and detail and very manageable files.

        • Greetings.
          I would like some clarification on the statement that Fuji files have a “rubbed out look to them”, as I’m not sure if this means “less detail”. Also, a direct image comparison similar to the image comparomoter on the imaging-resource site might be helpful to illustrate that so-called “rubbed out look”, as compared to the Oly files.
          I agree with the posters who praised the Fuji optics, as I’ve used some of their large format lenses that were simply superb. Thanks for this informative and entertaining review!

          • Sure just down load them from Dpreview and take a look for yourself. Don’t view them on the site but download them and view in photoshop or what have you. Check it out at 3200 Em1 vs Xt1. I’m not saying the smudgy look it gives is bad it’s just a different look. I like Fuji and if they put out EM1 copy with bayer (non trans) count me in. Lenses did have a cheap feel to them. Here is a nice example with the best lenses

          • That is because whoever shot that Olympus shot had NR ON – Turn it off and you will get sharp crisp results even at 6400 (as I have shown here) I NEVER use NR but sadly Fuji is one of the only companies that do not let you turn it off which is why their files are smudge city at higher ISO. Even with the NR on and the Olympus using ISO 1600 it looks much better than that Fuji shot at ISO 400 (which has a weird skin tone). Pump that X-T1 to 1600 and you will see some smudge. Take the NR off on the Olympus and it will be sharp as a tac.

          • Sharp as a tack, more noisy and less dof, than any Fuji camera.

            Say what you will about “preferring” Olympus over any FujiX camera, but the Image Quality of the Xtrans sensors beats any M43 camera, Any.

            Oh, and let’s not go there with high iso. Noise shows up at iso400 with M43 cameras.

            And you talk about smudge? What about Olympus and their over-sharpened files?

            Here’s some proof:


  117. For a couple of years now I’ve been going to the PDN Photo Plus expo in NYC and every time I keep gravitating to the Olympus booth to play with their cameras. As a traditional Leica and Nikon shooter, I can’t help but think that there is an Olympus in my near future, which will most likely coincide with the release of the E-M1 successor (to replace my large Nikon gear). Totally agree with your assessment that in today’s camera world, companies like Olympus/Sony are where technological excitement exists, not to mention all the other factors like portability, size, and ease of use. The E-M5II is a good sign of great things to come.

  118. When the E-1 first came out over a decade ago, the 4/3rds format was pretty-well dismissed as being under-specified and Olympus could have decided to abandon the format, but I suppose due to the spectacular track record of their chief designer Yoshihisa Maitini, they decided to stick to their guns on this format, from which evolved the m4/3rds cameras. I bought one of these, adding pretty-soon after it’s availability in the UK, the 7-14mm ultra-superwide zoom. That lens I am now using on my E-M1, whilst the E-1. I’m still awaiting Steve’s review of the 7-14mm, (via the 4/3rds to m4/3rds adaptor) …. Maybe someone in the US, could loan him one?

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