Ramblings at 1:30 AM. Micro 4/3 and the new Olympus EM1 MKII



Ramblings at 1:30 AM. Micro 4/3 and the new Olympus EM1 MKII

I have used many cameras in my days, from the time I was a kid to my teen years and into my adult life. I have used the very 1st digital cameras, many film cameras, the most expensive digital cameras, medium format cameras and the latest tech comes through my hands on a regular basis. I have written on these pages for eight years now, my thoughts and experiences with these cameras and this blog is known worldwide and has had over 134 Million views total to date. Way beyond what I ever imagined when I started it, so thanks to all who visit here, truly.

I love what I do, and it shows when I review a camera that excites me, a camera that motivates me to use it and a camera that is truly fantastic.

Many of you know how it works here. I review the cameras I truly love and skip over the ones that do not do anything for me. Been like that since the inception of this site, and will never change. While I could make a ton of money and boost traffic by writing and reviewing ALL cameras and pushing Fuji or whatever, I do not base my reviews on how much money it can bring in (probably not wise of me as a business man) but base them on heart, soul and exactly how I feel about a camera (or anything I review for that matter).

Over the years, as I said, I have used them all and what I write on these pages are my 100% honest, truthful feelings when I do the review. It is my passion after all. Of course, time moves on, and years later I will not feel the same about a camera as I did when it launched..as tech improves, and cameras get better and better. Imagine reading a review of an old old Nikon D100 and then a D500. The D500 will be miles ahead of the old aging D100 and while the 100 was good for its time, today it..well..sucks. 😉

Today we have all kinds of options when it comes to digital cameras. Phone cameras,  1″ sensors, Micro 4/3, APS-C , APS-H, Full Frame and beyond. They are all good today though as camera tech has matured to the point where it is tough to buy a bad camera. But there are some out there that are extraordinary when they are launched, for their time. Cameras like the Leica M9, the Fuji X100, the Sony A7RII, Sony RX1, Leica SL, Leica Q, Olympus E-M1, Nikon D700 and others were all amazing at the time they were launched, and some still are. They all offered the photographer something different and yes, choice is good, as it is always a personal thing.

APS-C and Full Frame have remained pretty steady for the last couple of years, improving with each update as new tech is developed. (Though the new Sony 6500 is an absolute speed demon and truly an advanced APS-C camera). Micro 4/3 has not had a truly “pro” built camera since the E-M1 years ago. But….

…Today Micro 4/3 is delivering some serious goods from bodies to lenses, and here at the end of 2016 it better than ever, not only with the E-M1 MKII but the new lenses, from Panasonic and Olympus both. But man, I have to gush on here a bit as these new Olympus lenses are something else. I expected the new 12-100 f/4 to be “meh” but it impressed me with its incredible detail retrieval, its color performance and contrast as well as across the frame performance. It can focus so close, to 1cm. It offers the same quality from 12-100, wide open to stopped down. It’s a cracking lens that delivers the goods in every way. It even ups the ante on the IS and merges with the 5 AXIS IS in the camera body to create the best IS ever. Some here testing the camera were able to do a 2 second shot handheld. That is incredible.

Primes? The new 25 1.2 is a marvel. If you read Neil Buchan Grants post here a while back on this lens, you would realize he LOVED IT. Here is a quote from Neil’s write up:

“It’s so good, I’m selling my Leica SL and all of my Leica lenses the second I can get one of these 25mm’s to keep! Of course, its bokeh is not quite as diffuse as the 50mm Summilux on a full frame sensor, you can’t change the laws of physics. I know this lens is optically the equivalent of a 50mm f2.4 lens on a full frame sensor. But I can tell you now, from my perspective the results are just as beautiful and expressive and they ooze quality in the same way the 50mm summilux does. When you further combine the fact that this is an autofocus lens which makes use of the Olympus eye recognition system and their in-body stabilisation system, you have a lens that is so much more useable, quick and accurate”

Now many would read that and think “Yea right” or “He is just trying to sell lenses”..but I assure you that what Neil says is spot on. After using this lens myself, well..I can say that it has a magical quality that when exploited can create jaw dropping gorgeous images with some of the best Bokeh and gentle subject separation I have seen. It is nothing like the older 45 1.8 or 75 1.8 when it comes to the way the lens draws, it is something special when you get it right. In fact,  it reminds me VERY much of a Leica lens, and there is enough shallow DOF one could want, and the DOF seems more shallow wide open than what I get from a Leica 50 2.4 Summarit, and I actually prefer the IQ from the Oly lens as well. This is a special lens, and it is a big deal for Micro 4/3 users.  A normal 50mm equivalent with some of the best Bokeh I have ever seen. Also, the lens is not huge like some have said. It is not heavy. It is f/1.2 though, and will be larger than a 25 1.8 but you will also get the extra speed, and IQ. One way I can describe it is that when shooting the 25 1.8 the files look more digital and sterile when side by side with the f/1.2. When using the new 25 1.2 they look ethereal at times, magical at others and the 3D separation is amazing. This is a MUST OWN lens for any M 4/3 user who loves fast primes and shallow DOF.

The fact is, Micro 4/3 is killing it with the new Olympus (and even the latest Panasonic GX85 and GX8 are fantastic). But the E-M1 MKII is the next level for M4/3, and when reviews hit soon I suspect the huge majority will be singing its praises.

As for me, I just reviewed the images I shot with this new camera and the new lenses over the past few days here in Iceland. Even viewing on my old Macbook Pro, I am seeing images that I am so happy with and while this system is better than I am, what I am seeing are images better than ANY M 4/3 review I have ever done when it comes to quality.  Even low light is improved, and low light AF is so much better than before. Speed and response is fantastic and the build and feel is pro all the way. No cheap feel here, at all, anywhere. This camera could shoot sports, action, wildlife, portraits, weddings or whatever you want and it would deliver the goods.

While it is not perfect (A Leica SL EVF would have made it very close), it is probably the most advanced camera I have ever used or tested. In fact, I know it is. Again, I have used them all so when I say this I mean it. I even did some ISO tests and was very surprised to see a 12,800 ISO shot, with Noise Reduction off..looking crisp, mostly clean, and with no color fading. Usable for sure.

When I step back and look at the system today, I am seeing a system that is as solid as any out there. With the new lenses from Olympus AND Panasonic bringing IQ to the next level for this system to the new EM1 MKII body, I am excited for the future of the format. While some will never get into M 4/3 because they have a “bigger is better” frame of mind, I feel many more will be jumping in with these new releases once the review floodgates open. Many journalists here are thinking of ways to save up to buy one, and me, I will buy one 100% without question because I have seen it, used it and know what it can do.

With that said, do not expect the quality of a Medium Format camera but expect fantastic quality in images with AMAZING quality and features everywhere else (weather proof build, usability, speed, reaction time, and all the features this camera has), that tops mostly all other cameras I have used.

So my friends, believe it when I say that Micro 4/3 has come a long way since the early days and yes, it is here to stay. I love the fact that today we have so many choices, and while for some it may be hard to decide, we can not say that we are not free to express our creativity as we have a myriad of tools to choose from to do just that. Wether that is with medium format, or a Leica Noctilux and M or an iPhone 7, today is a great time to be a photographer, hobbyist or enthusiast.

I have said many times, Olympus, Sony and Fuji are leading the way with tech and advancements in mirrorless technology, and IMO more so than Nikon and Canon who deliver much of the same old same old (though the Nikon D500 is a heck of a camera).

While Micro 4/3 can not deliver the all out Dynamic Range and high ISO of something like a Sony A7S or A7RII, it is getting close and of all the shots I took while here, DR was NEVER an issue. While Micro 4/3 can not deliver shallow DOF like a full frame sensor can, it is getting a little closer with lenses like the 25 f/1.2 and Nocticron and delivers plenty for most.

IQ is not the be all end all though of a camera, as the new E-M1II offers so much..so much that others do not. But to read all about it, check back on 11/2 for my 1st part report which will contain 60+ images and many many words from my heart direct to you. When something comes along that is truly great, it excites and motivates me and the new EM1 MKII has done just that. Hell, it motivated me enough to sit and write this at 1:30 AM while in my Hotel room in Iceland. 😉

Oh, BTW, the image at the top is of the EM1 II with the extra grip, which I would not buy or want (but some love these grips). Without the grip the camera is smaller than any DSLR, and take away the lens hood from the new lenses and the system is still very compact, especially for what it delivers and offers the photographer who chooses to use it.

Enjoy your weekend everyone!






  1. Relative to cell phones – most all new sensor breakthrough technologies will come out of the cell phone space, because that is where the research money is – and small sensor size is critical there. Small sensor iq tomorrow will surpass today’s full frame and next week’s will surpass current med format. There will always be some who stick to full frame, just like some are currently using med format, but until ergonomics constrain size reduction – smaller sensors and lenses will be the pathway of the future.

  2. Hi Steve, I have the OM1 and the three pro lenses 40-150mm f4.012-40mm f2.8 Pro and 300mm f4. I have enjoyed my camera for a few years but have been very disappointed with the ISO and noise at anything above 400. Also the speed of the AF. I have been borrowing the Nikon d500 and 70-200 f4 and 80-400mm. I love the high buffer and speed of this body. Do you think the new olympus omd m1 mark ii will be a match. I am trying to decide which to buy next. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Frances

    • Frances. I have D500 70-200 F2.8 VR11 and also just took delivery of OMD EM1 MK11, already have the pro lenses being a M1 and pen f owner. Olympus M1 MK11 is astonishing in may ways but not a match for the nailed on tack sharp focus of every frame from the d500. I’m talking purely about tracking. D500 is just crazy good with a moving subject. I shoot dogs running and the D500 just does not miss. If I had never used the d500 and only compared the M1 MK11 to the M1 I’d be doing cartwheels with joy. It is good, IQ is far better than I expected and HiRes mode for still subjects actually is like medium format. But if we are just talking tracking…D500 is another league. In some ways I wish Olympus had concentrated on nailing tracking with fewer frames per second rather than being fixated on crazy high numbers of frames per second. If they are not sharp its pointless.

  3. Thanks Steve, between the EMII and the new 6500 my GAS is back again! I just don’t think I need all the camera in the EMII even though I might convince myself that I do. I like speed though. I love the files from my EM1. I will wait to see what you think.

  4. I think Olympus lenses are just getting better snd better. Love my EM5 but I want to put a word in for the Panasonic G series. I have the G7 but borrowed a G85 ..and I thik it is the most underated series of cameras .
    Now with no low bypass filter
    5 axis is
    Good viewfinder
    It feels better in the hand to me than the Olympus and it is more more logically set out …a bargain.

  5. Well, Steve, if YOU (subtext: of all people!) can think of selling LEICA (subtext: of all cameras!) to buy an Olympus, it must be good. Sha’n’t be going MFT myself, but I look forward to the pleasure of reading your review.

    • Well, that 25 f/1.2 is a stunner. Truly. It delivers a beautiful rendering wide open like no lens I have seen besides Leica. Just received notice from Amazon that mine arrives Wednesday!

  6. I presently shoot with three cameras. Olympus EM1, Panasonic GX8 and Nikon D810. The Nikon is mainly for landscapes. My issue with both the Pana and the Oly are two fold. First, the focus spot on both cameras moves about as if there is a spirit within the camera doing it. It drives me nuts when I ma in the field shooting wildlife with my Pana 100-400mm lens. A related issue is that to change from single spot focus to area focus requires opening menus on both cameras, a total pain when your in the field. I would like to be able to set a Fn button to switch focus points and once switched , have the focus spot remain centered on the screen. The second issue is that both cameras have Fn buttons that are too easily pushed when you pick up the camera. A guard rail, a ridge, around the buttons would be a big help. Are these issues fixed on the new EM1? In comparison, the controls on the Nikon just seem far better thought out and they do not change on functionality their own.

    • On current E-M1, press any button on the directional pad so that you get to focus point selection. Then press Info. Now you can use the up and down buttons to change focus area size and left and right buttons to change face detection settings. Confirm with OK or with half press of shutter button.

      • Yes, I could do what you say, but by then the subject is usually long gone. I use my m43 for wildlife and birds. Usually while walking local trails or riding a bike along the shore. Yesterday was a good case in point. I had the GX8 with the Pana 100-400 lens and while walking, I had set the camera to multi point auto focus. As I approached a tree, about 30 yards away was a bird in the tree that I wanted to photograph. I snapped several shots before the bird took off an not one was in focus. Every shot was focused on something around the bird, branches, leaves and so on. A simple one button push changing the focus point from multi to one would have been useful. If I have to take my eye away from the viewfinder to operate the camera, the picture would be lost.

        • There’s also a way to do exactly what you want using Fn buttons. Go to menu Button/Dial/Lever –> Button Function. Select for example Fn1 and cycle the options until you get to […] Home. This function toggles the AF to home position. Assign this function to Fn1 and go back to the menu.

          Next go to menu AF/MF and cycle down until you see […] Set home. Here you can choose the home position and AF area type that will be selected when Fn1 is pressed. I have this set to the 3×3 grid at the center of frame. Now when I press Fn1, no matter what AF area or AF position I had before, it will be reset to 3×3 grid at center of frame. Press Fn1 again and it will return to the previous setting. Very handy.

          I hope this helps.

          • Thank you ever so much. YES, IT WORK!!! I can now move with one button between single focus spot and a 3×3 matrix. And it seems that the focus spot (s) are not moving all over the screen anymore.. Now How can I set this up on my GX8 to do the same thing? Any thoughts?

        • An additional tip came to mind. There’s a way to quickly change AF mode between two modes using the 2×2 lever. In Button/Dial/Lever, change Lever Function to mode 5. In this mode, the 2×2 lever changes between two AF modes. In practice, it remembers what AF mode you were in when the lever was in position 1 or position 2. For example, with the lever in position 1, select S-AF. Then toggle the lever to position 2 and select C-AF. Now when you toggle it back to position 1 you will get S-AF again and in position 2 you will get C-AF.

          It is a true shame that the Olympus menus are such a mess that useful features like this are pretty hard to find and they are not that well covered in the manual.

          • Good suggestion.I will try that later today. Your point about the manual is on target. I spent days trying to configure various options but the manual was of little or no use. A couple of web sites were helpful but I no longer recall which ones.

  7. The real downer for me with the new EM1 is the move from Oly to a sideways articulating screen.

    I really hate those things. The tilt /swivel screen on the Fuji XT and Sony range are all much better.

    Having to turn the screen to the left and view away from the axis of the lens is really unnatural feeling.

    Probably a deal breaker for me.

      • Wont work for me. I like to shoot a lot of music gigs and cycling too. I often use the EVF to hold the camera high above me or down low to get a cool perspective with a wide angle. To do this i need a simple effective flip screen just like that on the old EM1.

        With a fully articulated screen it sticks out to the side and is a PITA to use. I just know it will drive me crazy and I will end up throwing the camera in a river or something out of frustration !

        I regard those flippy-flappy sticky-out screens as a complete abomination.

        Sony, Fuji all have superior solution.

        This is a big deal for me. I am very, very disappointed. Its almost certainly a deal breaker and could force me to abandon Olympus.

        • That’s funny, I’m always cursing my Sony and Fuji cameras because I can’t rotate them around and flip them closed when the camera is not in use. When setting up interviews I like to see what the shot and lighting will look like before the subject is on cam. I have to use an external monitor for that right now.

          To each his/her own. I wish everyone had fully articulating screens and that’s part of the reason I’m considering the EM1II.

          If its really $2000, then I’m out.

  8. Hi Steve,

    Placed a pre-order in Australia a few days after the anouncement at Photokina. Can’t wait to get my hands on this bad boy.

    I was an early adopter of the Sony mirrorless FF system having purchased the Sony A7r as soon as it was available in October 2013. Never saw the need to update to the Mark 2 and thought I’d wait for the third iteration.

    I’m now convinced however that the A9 / A7rIII will be released at a price point that will challenge the resolve of may non-professionals. Not to mention the price (and size) of the top of the range glass.

    Decided to jump into the Olympus system, which although still expensive, seems to represent a far better value. I can also buy a few Pro lenses for less than the price of one Sony GM lens. I understand you gets what you pay for but as a non-professional, I think this is a sound decision.

    Particulalry interested to see how the Oly handles the noise in long-exposures.

    Best, Steve.

  9. I like my EM1… these are bargains these days, you can get a used EM1 for $450 on various forums these days. I have other cameras including Nikon DSLRs D500 and D800 and I’ve owned most mirrorless cameras released in the last 5-6 years. I shot landscape shots at twilight and blue hour with EM1 alongside my Nikon D500. I rarely shoot EM1 at anything above ISO200-800 so the low light noise on this camera does not bother me. What bothers me is limited DR especially little room to recover detail in the shadow…..and what is there in the shadows is not impressive at all. Recovery in highlights is not great either. Especially after using Sony sensors in Nikon, Fuji and Sony’s own cameras. I hope Olympus used a Sony 20MP sensor on EM1 Mark 2 that has more DR.

  10. “IQ is not the be all end all though of a camera…”

    Perhaps not for hobbyists, but it has to be if you’re making a living with it.

    Olympus is pouring a lot of impressive technology into the OM-D series, and now pro-level speed as well. Combined with the Zuiko lenses, it’s a very capable system.

    What they need now [and the whole industry needs this, frankly], is next-gen sensor technology to expand DR and high ISO performance. That will benefit the smaller sensors the most, I think. Sensor capability as you push the limits is really the only remaining weakness with m4/3 that I can see.

    IMHO the whole “shallow DOF” thing is massively overrated, and it’s actually a very tiny percentage of imagery that requires it. Photojournalism doesn’t need it. Product photography doesn’t need it. And not all portraiture benefits from it, either.

    • And the IQ of this camera is worthy of anyone using it for pro reasons and making money. The IQ is FANTASTIC. Good enough for just about ANY situation. IQ is not a weakness. DR is great as well, not one blow out or issue. If there is one weakness, it is you can not shoot in the dark at ISO 100k.

      • I’ll be very surprised if you can get great results in low light at ISO 6400, either. VERY surprised.

        Not to be argumentative, but if we’re having a BS-free conversation… 😉

      • A major ‘weakness ‘ could be , for many at least, the initial launch price as predicted to date!
        Too high, and enthusiasm could be seriously dented leading to holding back for quite a while .

        Ultimately the market will decide , as Olympus can ill afford to have their undoubtedly great new body and lenses stumble in sales with real and perceived price /value /affordability issues .

  11. Hi Steve,
    I use my EM1 mainly for underwater and vacation and the images pop, have great color and are really sharp.
    The main difference I see compared to larger formats is contrast. m43 images seem to “pop” but I sometimes miss the subtile and fine transitions in tones. I assume it is the limited dynamic range which leads companies to tweak profiles towards more contrast the smaller the sensor.
    One thing I really love its Oly colors, I prefer them over Fuji x-trans every day.

  12. Steve, you allude briefly to the Sony 6500 and its great speed and larger sensor than the Olympus EMI MKII. I also note from the specs that the Sony 6500 and the Olympus EMI MKII weigh about the same amount and are about the same size. I’ve been using an old NEX 7 but am ready to upgrade. When you do your review of the 6500, I’d really like to see some direct comparisons with the Olympus as I think I’ll be deciding between the two. Thanks for your thoughts.

    • The 6500 is smaller, thinner and feels much less substantial. It’s not a pro built camera so the EM1 II feels like a solid pro camera, the 6500 feels like the 6300 and 6000. Id take the EM1 over the 6500 personally, no contest for me. Two entirely different cameras. The Olympus is much more advanced, but has the smaller sensor. So I think this choice for some will come down to sensors size.

  13. Hi Steve Huff,
    Great input sa usual.
    I am somewhat surprised at how m43 is growing. I have an em5 Mk I myself. But I bought into m43 be cause of the size/ weight advantage. Now cameras are getting bigger and lenses too. People seem to be happy about it. But a Sony A7 is not much bigger. Lenses are bigger but for short FL this is not a major problem. And prices are growing as well. A 50/1.4 is not more expensive than these new fast primes. And you can find tons of these second hand.
    So I like my Oly but I am not convinced about my next purchases. I have no GAS so I can live with any system for a while.

  14. Steve I’ve read your blog back to when the EM1 was camera of the year. Bought one and went through all the primes 75mm down. Also got my wife OMD 10. AND 12 TO 50MM MACRO F5.6 LENS SHE LOVES. NOW I HAVE 12 TO 40 PRO F2.8 AND pan/Leica 25mm f1.4 and $99 40mm to 150mm R. I shoot flowers, landscapes, people and food. No animals, no sports, no action. If I upgrade what should be on top of my list : Pen F (I print B&W ON EPSON P600), EM1 MKII, 25mm f1.2 or 12-100mm f4.0 IF I can only do 1. Of course I can always sit tight on what I have. I never use a tripod. Found the 75mm to long no matter how great it was. But 200mm effective might be nice for some landscapes. Is there a great 7 or 8mm prime lens out there? F4 would be fine. Doubt I’d use the wonderful.pro fisheye enough to justify it. Enjoy the rest of your trip. Looking forward to review soon.
    I notice a lot of reviews where new lens is on Pen F plus grip.

  15. I’d like to know how good the E-M1 Mark II is for sports photography, specifically athletics — sprinters running at me etc. Sometimes I want to switch focus from one athlete to another, and sometimes I want to keep focus on one athlete. I always want to acquire focus quickly. Canon publish detailed advice on setting up their 1DX for various sports scenarios, so here’s hoping Olympus or independent reviewers can do the same for the Mark II. Given the Mark II has 121 cross-type AF points and plenty of processing power, all this should be possible, should it not?

    • Thanks. Another scenario that I and the current E-M1 struggle with is the shot put athlete as he/she spins around at high speed. I could be at fault here, but it will be interesting to test the Mark II. The other problem I have is using face detection for candid shots of athletes after a race, to capture their emotional responses while they move around congratulating each other etc. The current E-M1 is often not quick enough. I read somewhere that Panasonic face/eye detection is quicker.

    • Olympus has a new way to assist the tracking.

      E-M1 II is using the gyroscopes in the camera to measure on what direction the camera is being moved on (pointed) so it knows “Photographer is panning to right, so lets focus on the subjects on the right or moving to right”.

      Then the tracking system knows what subject to track and selects the AF points so the focus system can continually focus the tracked target.

      This in theory should help that when you are following one athlete and then you move quickly to another on next line, camera notices it by your motion for camera and switches to that athlete. And if you keep camera steady following one, tracking system will ignore everything that comes from right or left as they ain’t stationary like one you are tracking.

  16. I thought you would be also using the new Olympus E-PL8 during your trip to Iceland to see how a pocket camera works in such rigorous enviromment conditions.

    • Nope, I do not own one and there were none to be seen or found. A trip to Iceland is Flagship worthy, and the EM1 II is the new Flagship pro camera. The E-PL8 is not weather sealed like the MII, it would not have fared well

  17. Damn you look pretty excited for this guy… as I am! How would you considered this camera for landscape photography (my main interest) and how would you compare it with Fuji or FF Sony in this regard? I am really undecided about which system would be the best as a long-term investment overall. Thanks so much for keeping us updated 😉

    • Actually, most people do not like the Fuji because of how it handles landscapes and green. They have a hard time getting the details they want. I’ve not experienced this first hand as I gave up on Fuji a long time ago and only shoot Nikon and Olympus. Although – if the AF system on the Mk II can past my muster for the sports I shoot – I might finally divest myself from Nikon for professional use and go all Olympus – only keeping my Nikon Df.

      • Plenty of photogs producing gorgeous landscape work with Fuji. The detail issue is actually a non-issue if one knows how to correctly process X-Trans files … doubly so with the X-Pro2 and X-T2.

        But frankly, any of these cameras can produce great landscapes if one knows their gear and what they’re doing. Heck, you can use the current Olympus cameras with a nodal head and stitch several images together to get a great, high res file.

    • I heard many different opinion about Fuji colors… What really matter to me is dynamic range and overall IQ. Thank you all for reporting your take on these cameras but I’m still not convinced about one or the other. I mean is the Fuji IQ enough better in comparison to the loss of build quality and features? We are talking about landscape photogrpahy. Ah, and we have a gooseberry named Sony A7 series… Open question to everyone since I think many are undecided about these two guys 😉

      • It’s the lens that count the most after all post processing can’t fix a poor lens. 7 to 14mm f2.8 pro zoom on water sealed body with IBIS hard to beat. No tripod to carry around. Love the flip down LCD too.

      • As someone who owned a EM1 with all the pro glass I sold everything off and went with a Fuji XPro2 with the fuji 16mm f1.4,35mm f2 and the new 23mm f2. ( nice compact system) Don’t get me wrong I loved the EM1 but the image quality out of the Fuji is far superior. I found the images were more grainy especially if cropped in. I had come from a Canon 6D FF and the image quality of my Olympus Em1 sucked compared to my Canon. But now I can honestly say my Fuji XPro2 is almost on par as the Canon FF. But dollar for dollar one should look at the new Panasonic G85 if considering a micro 4/3rds setup.

  18. Hi Steve, can see you are excited about this camera. Did you do any astro work and long exposures as a weakness of the E-M1 Mk1 with it’s Panasonic sensor was noise with the E-M5 Mk1 being cleaner. I understand the E-M1 Mk2 has a Sony sensor so this may explain the improvement in High ISO and hopefully it has addressed the noise which I understand was related to the on sensor phase detection. As Iceland is famed for it’s Northern Lights I hope you witnessed and also took some long exposures of them. Looking forward to seeing some actual images next Wednesday. Best, Martin

  19. Thanks Steve, sounds very tempted!!! Maybe I’ll order 12-100mm and take it with me for my trip to Asia after Christmas. And leave A7ii at home.

  20. Will you also review the X-T2 at a later date. X-T1 and E-M1 were targetting the same market and so are their successors I may guess. With m43 filling the one long standing gap of ultrafast primes (now a 12mm f1.4, 25mm f1.2 and a 42.5mm f1.2) I am really interested in returning to the system I once left for the imo better fast prome choices of the Fuji. But having smaller high quality zooms, fast primes and now potentially the mirrorless camera with the most sophisticated AF I can see myself reinvesting in m43. If only to shoot both systems side by side. So please Steve. A comparison reciew would be really interesting.

      • Great to hear. Looking forward to it. Fuji and Olympus both have added features to their flagship cameras in the past years. So I guess both will be good investments for years to come. Still interested to see where they differ.

  21. If this Oly E-M1 Mark II is that great, I wonder when Olympus will bring the E-M5 Mark III and E-M10 Mark III since nobody will buy the current models with new much greater stuff around the corner, speaking for those who think the E-M1 Mark II is too big and too expensive or do not need such a speed damon.

    • I wouldn’t expect anything until Summer of 2017 most likely. Give the E-M1II enough time to sell. Even then I can’t see all of the features making it’s way into the lower bodies, such as Pro Capture mode.

    • E-M1 II is the flagship for next 3-4 years. E-M5 III or E-M10 III will not bring anything that is compromising its features or capabilities.

      So what you can see, is slight improvements like E-M5 III to get 20Mpix Sony sensor and same video capabilities, but that is it. You don’t get same C-AF performance because missing PDAF, but you might get the same tracking capability if it does make any sense really.
      Then E-M5 III will not get the same buffer as E-M1 II has and likely E-M5 III will be many ways just a slight upgrade like E-M10 II was to E-M10.

      E-M10 III might be something special like get the EVF from E-M1 and E-M5 II so it is larger and then get some of the other features.

      But what you see now on E-M1 II, will be the top model and with best features for next few years. And now when E-M1 III is already in design and research, you can only bet that when it comes out in few years it will be even more awesome than any other OM-D together.

  22. Sounds like something worth to read…
    I’ve been so close to go for a Fuji, but it never felt that perfect like my EM1, and I didn’t find something that is really improving handling and quality of my nocticron at a affordable price – so far.

    Adding a 25 1.2 to my setup could be the end of my struggling between systems.

  23. Steve Everybody

    Carry RAW GINGER.
    Slightest sign of SNIFFLES, SORE THROAT :
    immediately CHEW GINGER :

  24. Steve, thanks for saying, “While Micro 4/3 can not deliver shallow DOF like a full frame sensor can, it is getting a little closer with lenses like the 25 f/1.2 and Nocticron and delivers plenty for most.”

    This clarifies a comment I made in your last post that generated some disagreement.

    I just wish manufacturers would label their lenses in 35mm equivalency. People think they’re buying a 12-100 f/4 when in fact they’re getting a 24-200 f/8 in terms of field of view and ability to render shallow depth of field in the micro4/3 system.

    I have no doubt this Olympus sets a new high standard, but it still confuses consumers to label incorrectly.

    • I don’t really see why everything would need to be labeled in terms of 35mm equivalency. The lens is actually a 12-100mm f/4, so that’s how it’s labeled. If you really have the desire, you can figure out how that compares to lenses for 1″, APS-C, APS-H, 35mm, medium format, or large format cameras. Most photographers are too busy taking photos to really care about that. If it’s an awesome lens and fits on my camera, that’s all I really need to know.

    • Then those labels would be total and pure lies.

      100mm means that there is a actual focal length of 100 millimeters. It isn’t 200mm as it would mean the focal length is 200mm.

      And aperture ratio is as well just a mathematical ratio that is calculated from the actual focal length divided by the aperture opening in millimeters and that is the ratio.

      If in your math in school was F, then I can understand that you fall for the equivalency theories.
      As some might say 100 = 200 because teacher drawed a 2x larger size on the wall, but if someone say 1+1=2, then 1+1 isn’t 4.

      If you want to know the rendering quality, you need to know actual focal length and aperture diameter.

      Lets take example 12-100mm f/4 zoom.

      At 12mm f/4 means the aperture is 3mm by diameter.
      At 100mm f/4 means the aperture is 25mm by diameter.

      Now, you have aperture diameter and with a basic simple geometry you will know that the blur that lens is capable, is only 3mm at 12mm or 25mm at 100mm.

      Now if you compare that to example 75mm f/1.8 wide open. It is 75 / 1.8 = 41.66mm so lets say 42mm for argument sake.

      Now you can do a valid comparison, how much difference there is between 25mm and 42mm? 1.68x
      Meaning the 75mm f/1.8 wide open will render 1.68x larger blur.
      Or in geometrical manner, 75mm f/1.8 is capable to render image from the focal plane to sensor details to be recognizable when they are max 42mm or larger. So if you have a 30mm size detail between focal point and sensor, you will not recognize it by any means.

      Now you can calculate the blur in the size by geometry. Next is to learn the field of view calculations.

      100mm vs 75mm = 1.333

      It means that 100mm will have 33% larger background magnification when the subject at the focal plane is magnified to same size. If you didn’t get that, lets make it simple and clear.
      You have a person headshot framed on same size (magnified) with 100mm and 75mm. The 100mm requires you to stand 1.33x further from the subject than 75mm does. This 33% change in distance to subject, changes the perspective so much that the same background is now 33% larger on 100mm than it is with 75mm.

      Now we have values like 1.33x difference at background and 1.68x blur difference. What can you do with those values? I let you to figure it out, as it is you who should learn that those values in focal length and aperture ratio are not changeable because some FF fans think they are.

      And once you figure that out, you start to do more complex photography than just shoot some test charts or cats, you learn that in astrophotography, macro photography, studio lighting, speed relation to sensor sizes and megapixels all becomes impossible or a lot more difficult if you try to “equivalence” everything instead calculate everything with a actual values.

      The equivalency really must be a American thing, because they so much love not to understand why it is stupid to use values like “feet, nautical mile, fahrenheit, inches, ounces” etc instead SI system that allows you to calculate everything easily and quickly from volumes to distances to weights to energy etc.

      Thats why 25mm f/1.2 is 25mm and f/1.2 and not anything else. The focal length or aperture diameter are physical ones, and doesn’t change at all based what sensor size is behind the lens.

      • Thanks Steve hope this puts all the equivalence BS to bed but bet it doesn’t. I have 70 grad school credits in physics, math, engineering and 9 US Patents have been shooting for 63 years without ever doing these calculations. I just shoot: did 4×5 Hassy MF both Nikon and Canon FF and C size. But at 78 I love the mirror less EM1. may trade some stuff for new f4 zoom. Waiting for reviews. Is it as good as Buchan claimed – a bag full of primes.

    • Without this f-stop cheating, Olympus would have been long out of business.

      Either way, 35mm equivalencies are useless and here is why.

      Statement 1: I would take f/2.8 full frame any day over f/1.4 M43.

      Larger sensors have a larger IQ gain that the equivalence would suggest. This became clear to me the minute I compared the Sony Zeiss 35/2.8 to M43 glass. The image quality of the 35/2.8 is so much better than from any f/1.4 M43 lens.

      Statement 2: Crop is not reach.

      People will say a 300mm M43 lens is “equivalent” to a 600mm lens. This is just not true: you can crop a full frame 300mm just the same. In fact, I have found that 2x crops from a full frame image still look better than M43 images.

      This the reality:

      1. Subject separation is a function of the absolute aperture, which is relative aperture multiplied by the focal length. Longer focal lengths = more subject separation.

      2. Light gathering is a function of relative aperture multiplied by sensor size (diagonal). This is easily proven by looking at it backwards: if you crop an image in half you discard half the light.

      • If what all of you say is true and 35mm equivalency makes no difference, then there is no reason at all to use anything other than a cell phone to take photos, except perhaps for longer focal length lenses. Sell all your cameras and just use your phone.

        Of course we all know there are reasons to choose full frame 35mm systems.

        If you’re completely happy with micro 4/3, then stick with it and be happy.

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