Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Camera Body Only, 20.4 mega pixel with 3-Inch LCD, Black
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by David Thorpe
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is an advanced system of innovative technology and features designed to forever change your photography: up to 18 frames per second sequential shooting with precision C-AF Tracking, 121 Cross-Type On-Chip Phase Detection AF points, up to 5.5 shutter speed steps of compensation with powerful in-body image stabilization, plus a 50MP High-Res Shot Mode. It’s all enclosed in a lightweight magnesium alloy weatherproof body. Paired with the superior resolution of Olympus M.Zuiko PRO lenses, the E-M1 Mark II will deliver brilliant imagery that’s coveted by professionals everywhere.
Most helpful customer reviews
46 of 48 people found the following review helpful.
Early impressions are excellent
I'm an Oly E-M10 Mk I shooter, so this is a huge upgrade. These are only preliminary impressions, which I'll edit as time goes by with longer term tests. Currently testing some of the more vaunted features with my 12-40 F/2.8 Pro lens while waiting on the 12-100 to be in stock somewhere. I'm writing from a perspective of a somewhat experienced photographer. Not a master by any means, but I shoot in manual, raw, and do a lot of OCF work, mostly portraits. It may also amuse you to read my older camera reviews and see my, er, growth (?) as a photographer over the years. :) Onto the review!
The exterior is very solid. The grip is much, much improved. There's no gap between my fingers and the grip like there was with the M10, and I know with the M1-I. Everything feels more solid too. I know it's weather sealed, and have seen many reviews and videos of early, promo shooters in Iceland, dropping their body & lens in freezing water with no ill effects. The M10 always felt a bit flimsy to me, and in fact have had some parts come off/fall apart (eye piece, hot shoe plate). All the flaps for the battery, SD Cards (2! Thank you, Olympus!), USB 3 (and type C), mic & headphone (again, thank you , Olympus!) jacks have a good feel to them, as is the fully articulated (3rd thanks!) LCD screen. Only potential downside is if you have the mic and/or headphones plugged in, you won't be able to flip the screen over for selfie-mode on the fly.
Fair IQ tests will have to wait, since I don't have a raw converter yet (still on LR 5.7, LR CC has early support, no lens correction as of this writing). DxO Mark had some tests done, and it looks like a tiny increase in high ISO quality over the M1-I, nothing huge, but going from 16 MP to 20 MP will net you a bit more resolution. Maybe a bit more noise if you pixel peep, but if you compare, say, an 8x10 to 8x10, you'll find a better overall image. But I'm not too worried about high ISO shoots, because...
The stability is a giant leap over my M10, since it only had 3-axis IBIS. I can't say for sure how much better the M1-II is over the M1-I, but I did some 1 sec hand held exposures at 12mm no problem. (Edit: I've now pulled off an 8 sec (!!!) hand-held shot with my 25mm 1.8, while leaning against a doorframe). I've seen on YouTube a 10sec(!) and a 20sec(!!) hand held exposures with just the body braced against a wall. That latter was paired with the 12-100mm F/4, which gives you an extra stop of stability, but even with a "mere" 5.5 stops of stability, you should be able to get a 12mm, 1 sec exposure for still scenes just by following the reciprocal rule. That is frankly mind blowing. So maybe if you're shooting action in low light, you'll miss having a FF camera, but for still scenes or even portraits, I don't think you'll have issues with image quality.
The menu system is, well, it's Olympus. If you're used to previous Oly models, you'll be able to figure things out. The controls are fairly instinctive (again, for Oly shooters) and very customizable--far more than the M10. Some people complain about the mode dial lock, but I absolutely love it, since I rarely take it out of M, but sometimes I'll brush the dial by accident and then wonder why I can't set my shutter or aperture properly. I do have to get used to the power switch being in a new location. New battery is huge. Should last most people a day easily.I got a spare anyway.
I'll next update this review when I get a fully supported raw converter, and also when I can pair it with the 12-100mm for the added stability, especially for video shooting, but I'm expecting very good things. There's also a ton of action photography features I need to test, including the ludicrous 60 FPS shooting and the Pro Capture mode where it starts buffering when you press the shutter 1/2 way down. I'm planning on an ice skating shoot in late January (2017), so stay tuned. For now, my initial findings are:
Solid, weather sealed exterior
Ridiculous stability, makes up for the need for high ISO shooting for many situations
Dual SD slots
Video-friendliness: 4K, mic & headphone jacks, fully articulating LCD
Tons of excellent Olympus glass with which to pair, and now some combined lens stability too, Really looking forward to testing the 12-100mm F/4 and the 25mm F/1.2 (no lens stability though).
18 FPS with C-AF, 60(!) w/S-AF, all in raw.
Bigger, better battery. Faster charging too.
Price. Only you can determine if this camera is "worth it". To me, yes, absolutely. but $2K USD is a lot of money.
For this price, you may honestly expect better high ISO performance.
Base ISO is 200. There's extended, but I really wanted a 100 or even 64 base ISO.
Only 1 SD slot is UHS-II.
Kinda bad placement for the mic/headphone jacks for the articulating LCD.
Can't reuse old battery.
This is probably THE flagship micro 4/3 camera body, with maybe an edge for video to the Panasonic GH series, but for stills, or even combining stills & video, the M1-II is the new king. Whether M4/3 works for you is a different story, and way too long to write about here.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
I love this camera!
This is not a formal review but comments about this camera from my own perspective and needs. Each person has their own wants and needs for what they want to do with a camera and how they want to do it. So first up about me... I can shoot what I want when I want, and although I sell my work it hardly pays for itself. I usually don't know what I want to shoot so I like to use a walkaround lens that can cover most of what I might want to shoot. I don't like lens changing so I often walk around with two cameras, either different type (maybe IR) or different lense types (e.g., long zoom and walkaround). I hate tripods. I don't do sports photography. I will not buy old-style DSLR cameras -- I love electronic viewfinders and hate flipping mirrors.
My cameras before I bought this one were Olympus OMD EM-5, Sony A77, Panasonic G1 converted to infrared. I didn't "need" a camera but was looking. I don't want full frame (lens size, weight, and cost). Sony has recently spent most of their efforts on full frame and so far I don't like their crop sensor cameras plus I'd have to buy all new lenses for any new Sony camera. I was more and more using the Olympus day to day. It is lighter than the Sony and did what I wanted to do.
In an idea world, what would I want? low noise and image stabilization. Partly because I hate tripods but also because there are lots of places you either can't take tripods or they would not be convenient or welcome. I talk about monopods and have one but I don't use that either very much...
I also like features and customization. Also weather sealing and sturdiness are nice because I don't baby my cameras...
This is not a formal review but comments about this camera from my own perspective and needs. There are lots of formal reviews available now and you can read the specs yourself.
I love this camera primarily because of its marvelous image stabilization. I can hold at least 2 seconds with this camera. I've taken photos that I absoutely could not take without a tripod with my other cameras (Sony A77 and Olympus OMD EM-5). Also the noise levels are lower than the other cameras and the noise is easier to handle in noise reduction programs. This will allow me to shoot at higher ISO than I have previously felt comfortable with using.
I like the feel of it. It has a better grip than the EM-5. Yes it is larger and heavier, but well, you can't have everything in one camera. I like customization and this camera is excellent for that. Many buttons can be set to whatever you want. All you have to do is remember what you did... It also has three custom modes which you can set and put on the mode dial. (That is one less than the EM-1 Mark I.)
There are a couple of things I am disappointed in. One is the loss of scene mode. Apparently Olympus claims this is a "professional" camera and no professional would use scene modes. However, professionals will use ART modes? They have them already programmed because they are in the EM-1 Mark I and my EM5 and they could be an option for the ART mode dial position since they are out of dial space. Why do I care? Primarily for the multi-shot functions such as panorama and night shots. I do use both of those on my Sony.
It does have autoHDR but it is limited to ISO 200 (you can set the ISO for Sony's autoHDR). Admittedly you can get away with a lot with this camera because of its marvelous IS. I was experimenting with various things in a church and selected autoHDR and pressed the button. As soon as I did I realized I was in trouble because of the slowness of the clicking. So I was very pleasantly surprised when I got home that it came out fine despite the long shutter speeds. And I wasn't even particularly trying to stabilize myself at the time because I had no idea that setting would not choose a suitable ISO.
If you want to take multiple shots for HDR in post, options are very easy to get to with the standard button assignments.
I love to watch and photograph birds but have not been serious about it because of the required equipment (weight, price, size, required tripod). I may now try harder with birds with this camera. Especially using the new "pro capture" mode. In this mode the camera starts buffering images when you half-press the shutter. When you press the shutter fully it saves the last ones it stored plus starts taking more if you keep pressing the shutter. Much better chance to get just what you want, rather than what happened after...
I've not yet tried focus bracketing but I can see that could be very useful to me in landscape photograhy. It also supports focus stacking ( combined in the camera) but I don't currently have a lens supported for this feature. I have not tried the high res mode except to see if it worked...
The price? You have to decide for yourself. I'm very pleased with my purchase.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful.
I got the Right Camera for the Job
By Al Mandhari
I am a bird photographer and need a handheld camera setup that will allow me to move quickly to capture my fast moving targets with high quality. This camera did not disappoint. I am waiting for the Autofocus tracking firmware update to make it the best bird photography camera in the world. I hope Olympus lives up to its promise to do this firmware update.