Thursday, February 05, 2015

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3, with exception of 40MP High Res Shot which were straight out of camera JPEG (Super Fine)
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

Almost three years ago, Olympus shook the photography world when they introduced their first OM-D camera, the E-M5 (2012), which gained favourably positive reception,  It was the gamechanger, the first Mirrorless Compact System Camera to be taken seriously by photography enthusiasts and even professional photographers alike, with the first E-M5 delivering blazing fast autofocus performance, world's first and still most amazing 5-Axis Image Stabilization system built into the camera, admirable image quality output rivalling even the best APS-C DSLRs at the same time, yet having all that in a super small and compact camera body, which is ruggedly built and weather sealed. E-M5 was the camera that ticked all the right checkboxes for what a photographer desired. It was no surprise that much hype has been built up to the coming of the successor model for the E-M5.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is officially launched today.  



For the past few days, I have had the opportunity to bring the E-M5 Mark II out for a spin around Kuala Lumpur. I have taken tonnes of photographs, and this time, even video clips with the E-M5 Mark II, and I have compiled the images and videos into this blog entry, sharing my experience and feedback using the camera. If you are new to this blog, I adhere strongly to my photography gear review style which is user-experience approach and mostly non-technical. 



The following are the highlights of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II in a glance:

1) World's Most Advanced and Powerful 5-Axis Image Stabilization
Olympus was the first to introduce the 5-Axis Image Stabilization system into mainstream consumer photography products, and now the 5-Axis IS has been improved further. 

2) Compact, Weather-Sealed Camera 
Splashproof, Dustproof and Freezeproof down to -10 Degrees Celsius)

3) OM-D Movie 
Ability to shoot smooth cinematic quality video by hand-holding, made possible by the powerful 5-Axis Image Stabilization system. Also, the video recording has improved in terms of quality output, with better flexibilities (1080p with 60 frames per second, All-Intra recording, multiple frame rates 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p selectable, full manual exposure adjustments during video recording, fully articulated swivel LCD screen, focus peaking during video, and many more)

4) 40MP High Resolution Shot
The E-M5 Mark II has a built in 16MP native image sensor, with the capability of being shifted by the 5-Axis IS mechanism to shoot multiple shots, all then combined into a true singular high resolution 40MP image. 

5) Inheritence of almost all flagship OM-D E-M1's main features
Large Electronic Viewfinder, Super Fast AF with touch shutter, Mechanical shutter speed 1/8000sec fastest, Truepic 7 image processing engine, Built in WiFi capabilities etc

6) New and Improved Features
Full electronic shutter (selectable mechanical, full electronic, or first curtain electronic), higher shutter speed of 1/16,000sec maximum when using full electronic shutter, improved focus peaking implementation

For full specifications kindly refer to official Olympus page here. 

In this blog review, I shall be discussing primarily on the improvements of the 5-Axis Image Stabilization system, the OM-D Movie, shooting clips hand-held in full HD 1080p at 60 frames per second, general shooting experience and image output (AF speed, camera handling, high ISO performance, camera operations, etc) and the 40MP high resolution shot. 


5-AXIS IMAGE STABILIZATION: THE WORLD'S MOST POWERFUL

For someone who has experienced and regularly used a camera with the 5-Axis Image Stabilization built in, it is difficult for me to use any other camera without one! I know this may sound exaggerated but the image stabilization system has become an integral part of producing high quality image output. With the exception of studio and landscape photographers that fully utilizes the stability of a tripod (or any other type of photography that rests the camera on tripod), I, like many photographers out there shoot 99% of my shots with the camera hand-held. At critical situations, even the slightest hand-shake may cause slight image softness which would render the final image useless, or not as optimally sharp and detailed as it could have been. To me, it has become crucial that a reliable image stabilization system is a must-have, that I can shoot most of my shots without worrying too much about camera or hand-shake. 

Unfortunately, there really is no practical way, or even quantifiable method to justify the usefulness or effectiveness of having a 5-Axis image stabilization system. CIPA standards which we have been referring to as a guide on how effective (how many stops of stabilization) image stabilization system is, were only valid for 2-Axis stabilization tests. In real world shooting conditions, when camera movement can occur in every single direction, the 3 other non-stabilized axis may reduce the effectiveness of the 2-Axis Image Stabilization system only. The simple truth is, there is no way to effectively test how the Olympus 5-Axis Image Stabilization system performs. 

My own ultimate test for Image Stabilization system is by shooting insect macro with high magnification factor. In my macro shooting session, I use one my right hand to hold the camera with a macro lens mounted on it, while my left hand holds the external flash, which is controlled and fired wirelessly off camera. For full technical description of how my macro techniques work, kindly read my blog entry here. 

Why shooting macro, you ask? 
Because, nothing is more difficult in hand-held shooting than trying to steady your shot of a full 1:1 real size magnification factor of a tiny insect, and worse, doing that single-handedly. Even a slight 1mm movement of camera at any direction, your image will be out of focus. 


60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/100sec, F8, ISO200   Flash Fired Wirelessly Off Camera

60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/125sec, F11, ISO200  FULL 1:1 Magnification  Flash Fired Wirelessly Off Camera

60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/125sec, F8, ISO200   Flash Fired Wirelessly Off Camera

60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/250sec, F13, ISO200   Flash Fired Wirelessly Off Camera

60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/125sec, F8, ISO200   Flash Fired Wirelessly Off Camera

60mm F2.8 Macro, 1/250sec, F13, ISO320   Full 1:1 Magnification Ratio, 
Flash Fired Wirelessly Off Camera


One instant improvement that I noticed when I was shooting insect macro with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II was the huge improvement in the Electronic Viewfinder stabilized view. When the shutter button was pressed half-way down, the image stabilization kicks in for live preview before the shot is taken. This stabilized view has been very useful for macro shooting, and is a huge bonus in aiding to frame the shot. Though the predecessors E-M1 and E-M5 (2012 version) had the 5-Axis Image Stabilization as well, the stabilized view on the older models were still shaky when shooting with higher magnification factors, and especially evident at full 1:1 magnification when using the 60mm F2.8 Macro. However, it was smooth and really steady on the new E-M5 Mark II, and this was surely a huge welcome when doing intense high magnification macro shooting. The added bonus of having better stabilized electronic viewfinder view is the better ability to judge the focusing, when shooting in manual focus. Even the slightest movement can render the image out of focus (movement towards and away from the subject, which is not part of the 5-Axis IS). Hence the stabilized view allowed me to judge the focusing much more accurately. 

To think that the stabilized view worked on the 60mm F2.8 macro, I expected it to benefit longer focal lengths as well. It really did, as anticipated, as I tested the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens, shooting at full 150mm. The stabilized view is much smoother and steadier in comparison to the older cameras (E-M1, and the 2012 E-M5). 

On my limited shooting experience with the E-M5 Mark II, I dare say that the 5-Axis Image Stabilization does stabilize the shots up to full  5 stops, when I am shooting below 100mm focal lengths. I do find that at longer focal lengths, especially shooting at full 150mm on the 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens, I could get away with about 3-4 stops of stabilization, which is very respectable. Confidently, at 50mm or wider, I have no issues in slowing down the shutter speed even to half a second, shooting hand-held! 

If you have handled an E-M1 or E-M5 (2012 version) before, you will definitely notice the difference of the 5-Axis IS, as you are shooting with it. Besides the improved experience of better steadied view in the electronic viewfinder, the final image quality will gain about at least one stop advantage over the OM-D predecessors.

What is the biggest change between the old and new Image Stabilization mechanism you may ask? I was told that the gyro sensors used to detect the movements on 5 different axis were replaced with newer and more superior parts, with better sensitivities, responding significantly quicker, thus the Image Stabilization mechanism can react more efficiently based on the faster feedback of the new gyro sensors. 

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/100sec, F8, ISO200 at 150mm Full Zoom

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/30sec, F2.8, ISO200 at 150mm Full Zoom (effective 3-4 stops stabilized)

14-150mm II,  1/2sec, F18, ISO200, 31mm (effective 5 stops stabilized)


14-150mm II,  1/25sec, F8, ISO200, 150mm (effective 3-4 stops stabilized)

14-150mm II,  1/4sec, F5.5, ISO200, 47mm (effective 4-5 stops stabilized)

So the above images show how the 5-Axis Image Stabilization in the E-M5 Mark II performs in shooting stills. How about video recording? Yes, the 5-Axis IS works in video shooting as well, and this shall be covered in the following OM-D Movie feature discussion. 

OM-D MOVIE

When I first heard of OM-D Movie, honestly I thought there would be a movie about OM-D, like, literally. Then when I found out that it was actually a feature on the camera, I thought it was like a magic button on the camera that you can press to automatically improve the movie recording quality, or to a certain extent, benefit the overall shooting experience of video quality. I was wrong in both assumptions. 

The OM-D Movie actually refers to the ability of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II to produce a clean, smooth, stabilized video output, with cinematic quality, just simply by shooting with the camera hand-held, without the aid of external stabilization equipment or rigs. 

Typically, film makers will use some sort of video stabilizers, may it be a simple tripod or monopod, or sliders, jibs and even larger gyro-stabilized huge rigs. All the external stabilization systems are usually large, heavy, takes time and can be cumbersome to set up, and will restrict movement and flexibility of recording. Another not-so-fun fact, the better the stabilization system is, the higher the price you have to pay, and the stabilization equipment alone can cost several times more expensive than the cameras and lenses combined for a video shoot. 

Olympus implemented the 5-Axis gyro based stabilizer, not strapping them around the camera, instead, placing it around the image sensor inside the camera, hence effectively we have a built in gyro-stabilization system. 

I have recorded and compiled a video clip of random things that I come across in a course of a day out with the E-M5 Mark II, and please do bear in mind that I am almost a complete noob when it comes to film making, or cinematography. My knowledge in this alien field is considered non-existent. I think most of you can do a much better job in recording a good video than me. So why bother shooting a video instead? Well, simply because I want to see for myself what the fuss is all that OM-D Movie is all about. I want to experience myself how the 5-Axis image stabilization works in video. 

OM-D E-M5 Mark II Video Recording Test: 5-Axis Image Stabilization



Technical Info: all clips recorded in full HD 1080p60, hand-held only, C-AF engaged all the time with AF point selectable by touching the LCD screen, metering set to multi-pattern/evaluative, shooting in either Programme mode or Aperture priority mode. 

Honestly, I am very impressed with the stabilized video output. Zooming in to full 150mm when I was recording with the M.Zuiko 14-150mm II lens, the video came out smooth and steady, quite an amazing feat. To go further than that, I enabled the digital teleconveter which allowed me to shoot the moon and reveal all the craters! Yes, the shot was a little shaky (due to full zoom +digital teleconverter) but still very usable. On wide angle shooting, there was no issue, even when I did the 350 degrees pan around Jackie, I was actually walking very, very fast, and it was recorded in full 60p. In fact, the whole video was recorded in 60p. Yes, guys, Olympus has been listening all along, now you have selectable 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p to satisfy your video recording options. 

For a video noob like myself, I rely heavily on Programme exposure as well as Continuous Autofocus all the time. The only time I used Aperture priority and forced the F-number to F1.8 widest was when I recorded Jackie shooting with his E-M1. The exposure was always reliable even in tricky situations, and changes very responsively in changes of lighting conditions. The autofocus was very reliable too, gradually changes from one focus point to another. All the controls can be changed while recording, such as Full Manual controls of shutter speed and aperture, ISO, AF points, etc. The controls can be done mostly through the touch LCD screen, which is convenient. 

I will not comment further on the video recording part, and I do understand that there has been a huge step up for Olympus in the game of video in the E-M5 Mark II. I shall let the real experts do the rest of the talking. 


GENERAL COMMENTS ON SHOOTING WITH OM-D E-M5 Mark II 

I have been to quite a few places and shot many photographs with the E-M5 Mark II.I have tested the E-M5 Mark II in many shooting conditions, low light, moving subjects, people, etc. 

Camera Build and Handling



The camera build is very solid in construction, it felt even more solid than the original E-M5. I like the many improvements of button placements and well as physical dials and button changes. The power switch is now no longer location at the awkward bottom right corner of the camera, it is now at the top left of the camera resting together with the mode dial. I like how the main twin control dials are now spaced further apart and are made larger, with rough texture to add friction against the finger skin. There are now six customizable Function (Fn) buttons that you can assign to your desired settings. Overall the layout is cleaner and more organized than the previous E-M5. 

In terms of camera handling I still feel that E-M1 nails the comfort of handling perfectly. For this E-M5 Mark II, I highly recommend that you add the HLD-8G (just the horizontal camera grip, with the battery pack optional). The added grip helps a lot in stabilizing the camera, with much beefier hand grip. This will be especially crucial if you intend to use larger lenses such as the M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8 or the 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens.  I have used the E-M5 Mark 2 all day long and I do not feel any discomfort or difficulty. In fact, it was much more fun and easier to handle than the E-M10 or E-M5 (2012 version). 



14-150mm II, 1/2000sec, F5.6, ISO200, 90mm


14-150mm II, 1/500sec, F5.5, ISO200, 90mm

14-150mm II, 1/1600sec, F5.6, ISO200, 58mm

45mm F1.8, 1/400sec, F1.8, ISO200
Say hi to Anna Wong

45mm F1.8, 1/400sec, F1.8, ISO200

45mm F1.8, 1/500sec, F1.8, ISO200

14-140mm II., 1/250sec, F5.5, ISO12,800

100% Crop from previous image


On the whole, the image quality is something very similar to what to be expected from OM-D E-M1 and E-M10. The camera uses the same 16MP image sensor and similar processing engine, Truepic 7, thus I do not see any jump when it comes to image quality. Even if there was any difference or improvements, it was not noticeable to me, and I regard as negligible.

This is not necessarily a bad thing, considering I am still happy with what the E-M1 or E-M10 is capable of. Image quality is very good, with great amount of fine detail, and good control of noise when shooting high ISO. Olympus color has always been a strong point, rendering true to life colors, and very pleasing skin tones. 

Focusing was blazing fast, and super accurate just as expected from E-M1. I did not test the Continuous AF when shooting stills, as I have always relied on the Single-AF, which never failed me, even when shooting moving objects. I acknowledge that the fully articulated swivel screen benefits video shooting more, allowing shooting from difficult angles, but I personally now prefer the flip up and down screen of the older E-M1/E-M10, mainly due to the ability to do high angle and low angle shots using the LCD live view much quicker. This applies solely on street shooting related approach in photography. 

Shutter sound is different, and I like it a lot.  The mechanical shutter sound is somewhat more refined, and silent, in comparison to the E-M1 or E-M10. Of course now, there is an option to use full electronic shutter (with limitation of flash use being disabled, but the highest shutter speed is 1/16,000sec). I set the shutter to electronic first curtain, you know, just in case someone complains of "shutter shock" which I have personally not encountered so far. It is the kind of shutter sound that keeps you wanting to hear more as you click along. 

Battery life is something that I am not able to report at this moment. I was shooting BOTH videos and stills concurrently within the same day, and I get mixed results. Nevertheless I shall be shooting with the E-M5 Mark II again this weekend and I shall fully exhaust the batteries on still shooting only to see how power hungry this E-M5 Mark II really is. 

The highlight of the past few days was the Thaipusam festival, happening at Batu Caves, visited by 1.7 million people (number correct in 2014). 

I went out of the house at 2am to Batu Caves on 3rd February, shooting all the way till morning and we left the area by 10am. After a quick breakfast I arrived home after 1pm. I slept like a dead log for 5 hours straight after that. A public holiday well spent if you ask me. 

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/400sec, F2.8, ISO1250, at 150mm full zoom

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/125sec, F2.8, ISO3200, at 67mm

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/800sec, F2.8, ISO320, at 100mm 

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/640sec, F2.8, ISO320, at 125mm 

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/3200sec, F2.8, ISO400, at 150mm full zoom

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/1250sec, F2.8, ISO2500, at 150mm full zoom

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/4000sec, F2.8, ISO2500, at 150mm full zoom

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/3200sec, F2.8, ISO400, at 150mm full zoom

 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/1250sec, F2.8, ISO800, at 150mm full zoom

 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/500sec, F2.8, ISO500, at 150mm full zoom

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/250sec, F2.8, ISO250, at 150mm full zoom

 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/320sec, F2.8, ISO250, at 150mm full zoom

 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/80sec, F2.8, ISO250, at 95mm 

45mm F1.8, 1/640sec, F1.8, ISO500


40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/1600sec, F2.8, ISO1600, at 110mm

40-150mm F2.8 PRO, 1/1250sec, F2.8, ISO400, at 120mm

45mm F1.8, 1/160sec, F2.8, ISO4000

45mm F1.8, 1/160sec, F2.8, ISO4000

40MP HIGH RESOLUTION SHOT

The final item I am covering in this blog review of the E-M5 Mark II, is the new feature 40MP high resolution shot. 

The rumor sites have been over-hyping this particular one feature, which honestly, after using it for a while, I can safely conclude that it is not supposed to be key highlight of the E-M5 Mark II. 

Allow me to explain. The E-M5 Mark II is NOT a 40MP camera, Olympus never claims it that way. The E-M5 Mark II is still officially displayed as a 16MP camera. You will find that through the menu settings, the 40MP High Res Shot is quite buried deep inside the menu system, and people who are not aware of such new feature might not even know it exists if no one tells that person. The 40MP High Res Shot was not placed there as a competition to higher megapixel camera models, and it does not serve to bridge the gap of the megapixel wars. 

However, it would be completely foolish to turn away and say that there is completely no benefit of using a higher megapixel camera. More pixels do result in better quality larger prints, and allowing you to capture and retain higher amount of fine details in the singular image file. There are advantages that a high resolution image can bring, but that really is never the focus on the E-M5 Mark II. Therefore, that 40MP high res shot was implemented as an option for OM-D users who sometimes find themselves needing that extra bit more of pixels for whatever applications that may require more pixels than 16MP. 

So how does the Olympus 40MP High Res Shot in the E-M5 Mark II work? It was all in that amazing  5-Axis Image Stabilization system. When the 40MP High Res Shot is engaged, the image sensor is shifted by the 5-Axis stabilizer by a distance of half a pixel, in all directions. 8 separate photographs are taken in a span of about 2 seconds (could be longer if you use slower shutter speed) and then all the images are merged into one, singular, high resolution 40MP image. This is NOT an interpolation technique, and the 40MP resiolution is true 40MP resolution. 

The whole process of capturing 8 images by shifting the sensor and then combining into a single 40MP sounds technical and complicated, but in real life practice, all it takes was just ONE CLICK of a shutter button for all that to happen. It was easy to use!

40MP High Res Shot
45mm F1.8, 1/13sec, F8, ISO200

100% crop from previous image

40MP High Res Shot
45mm F1.8, 1/15sec, F7.1, ISO200

100% Crop of Previous Image

40MP High Res Shot
45mm F1.8, 1/20sec, F8, ISO200

100% crop from previous image


To avoid any confusion, all 40MP samples were taken with JPEG Super Fine setting, straight out of the camera, with completely no further post processing. 

There, I provided you with full resolution sample images of all three images shown above, for your full pixel peeping pleasures. 

Before we go on and jump in to say this 40MP is the best trick that ever happened, kindly take note of the following technical shooting restrictions:
1) Tripod use is Mandatory. And you need a sturdy one too. 
2) Shutter speed slowest = 8sec
3) Aperture smallest limit = F8
4) ISO limit = 1600 highest
5) Flash sync limited to 1/20sec (due to the use of electronic shutter)
6) All Olympus unique features are disabled: HDR, Time Lapse, Highlight & Shadow, Art Filters, Live Bulb, etc. 
7) No subject movement (not even the slightest). Moving leafs, water, will result in imperfect image output (pixels do not match at areas with movement)

Kindly take note that this 40MP High Res Shot is not something that can be used in many photography conditions. You are restricted to tripod use, and shooting objects that are completely stationary. 

I will explore more about the strengths and weaknesses of the 40MP high resolution shot, perhaps in my coming review extensions on this blog. 

CONCLUSION

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II actually feels like an E-M1 being forced into an E-M5 body, with added many high in demand improvements and added features. The electronic veifinder (EVF), the blazing flast AF, the image quality as well as all the strengths of E-M1 are found in the E-M5 mark II. 

Yet, the improvements to the 5-Axis Image Stabilization was evident, and a huge welcome, especially when it comes to video recording. Video shooting in the E-M5 Mark II has also improved significantly, fulfilling requests from Olympus users such as multiple framerate options, improved video quality output, better flexibility and controls, and focus peaking implemented in video shooting. 40MP High Res Shot was a a useful addition, in situations when 16MP is just not enough, though the photographer must be aware of and be able to work around the list of limitations. 

On the whole I do feel that many photographers and film makers will find this OM-D E-M5 Mark II to be an interesting camera solution, if it does not completely replace your system, it is not difficult to find a reason to fit one in that spare corner of your camera bag, as a secondary camera. After all, it is offering many unique features, capabilities and solutions to practical photography that many other cameras do not have. 

No cameras are perfect. I do have my own complains, but nothing major so far. I am still very new to this E-M5 Mark II and I shall shoot extensively with it with whatever chance I can find to do so. 

What do I wish the OM-D E-M5 Mark II could have been better?

1) Battery life
I have been complaining about the battery life for almost every single camera review of Olympus, and I will continue to complain, as a voice of a photographer who does use the camera for serious shooting assignment and purposes. I have mentioned that I may need to shoot again this weekend to verify how good or bad the battery life is (stills only, no video). However, I can generally estimate that it did not fare any better than E-M1 or the older E-M5 (2012 version). I want to be able to shoot about 1000 shots before the camera battery indicator starts blinking "low". Currently, with any Olympus cameras, you can get about less than half of my expectation. And I do not like the idea of carrying too many batteries with me for a full day shoot. 

2) 4K Video
Many arguments will arise, for Olympus not having the 4K video shooting option. It is also true that the world currently is NOT ready for 4K video just yet, and we do not see much benefit of having 4K video when 95% or more of the consumers do not even have a viewing screen to support 4K at its full glory. Nonetheless, we all know that technology is progressing very fast and who knows, within a few years you and I will be reading this blog entry in a 4k computer monitor, or even a 4K smartphone screen. Perhaps there are many practical reasons why 4K is not implemented yet, and the emphasis on the importance and usefulness of having a powerful image stabilization is a valid argument.

3) Continuous AF with Tracking performance in Still Shooting
The continuous AF with tracking performance of the E-M5 Mark II is not as good as the E-M1, and this is not a surprise considering E-M1 has phase-detect AF sensors, which the E-M5 Mark II lacks. Although I personally do think that the E-M1 is doing generally well in Continuous AF with tracking, I also acknowledge that it does fall short when put side by side in comparison with some competitors. Perhaps the E-M5 Mark II was never intended to be targeted to photographers who rely heavily on C-AF performance, but hey, we do want this restriction to be crossed off completely! 



I will pick up the E-M5 Mark II again, and do a full day shutter therapy this weekend. I will do my best to push out a review extension after that shooting session. 

I am sure you have many questions, and perhaps requests on features or items of the camera to be tested. If it is not too inconvenient, I would love to try them out and report back here in my next blog review extension entry. Do leave your questions and comments below. I may be slow to reply this time (as I am extremely occupied with work, we are having huge events all day long in Olympus Malaysia here currently, and I am fully involved), I will do my best to get back to you beautiful people the soonest I can. 



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174 comments :

  1. Hi Robin.
    Thank you for sharing this awesome gear and it's review. It's a very tempting gear.
    John Ragai

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind support John!

      Delete
    2. Thank you so much for all of this beautiful sharing! I may be receiving the E-M5 ii and I am wondering which lenses you may recommend? I love close up macro shots of flowers, insects, etc, as well as birds in flight. I love all of your shots; especially the 60 macros as well as the 40-150 shots ;-) If I were to get a prime lense and a zoom lens, which would you recommend? I recently heard of the 75-300 4.0 as well. Thanks again for all that you do!

      Delete
  2. Thank you very much and look forward to further review 40MPa resolution and use in practice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I shall explore the 40MP high resolution shot more of course!

      Delete
  3. Nice short review.

    While I don't miss the 40Mpix mode, I do miss the 25/30/50fps options for my E-M1. As it is unusable 70% of the world countries as they have 50Hz electricity grid and lights flicker 50 times in a second. So 30fps in E-M1 is useless in 70% of the world countries.
    Those are my only things that I wish Olympus would bring in new E-M1 firmware in the future.

    I am still sad as I have read that E-M5 Mark II does have updated TruePIc VII and it highly means no codecs to E-M1.

    I will never buy E-M5 II (never say ever never) as I don't like the fully articulated screen. I love tilt screens in E-M5 and E-M1 and really wish future E-M1 Mark II will have same display (it can come little further from the body so EVF isn't blocking top edge).
    But what I have always found stupid looking is that some people have these large stability rigs on DSLR or Video cameras. It is like something isn't matching when the camera is small and rig is huge.
    And now that is perfectly solved by Olympus, you don't look stupid when recording video and you get far better stabilization! Olympus will sell these like crazy!

    Did you get any concerns about the articulated screen revealing your actions in street photography? As it after all doubles the camera size.

    I wait to get time and change to try E-M5 II in my hands, as I shoot couple months a year macros and I have found similar problem that 60mm f/2.8 Macro does mistake the E-M1 IBIS. As when handheld and laying on grass, the IBIS stabilize compared to it disabled, but suddenly it goes crazy and starts shaking up/down. Never get anything like that with other objectives. And to fix it I need to shake camera, to avoid it, I need to shake the camera to keep it steady. LOL. Thank you Olympus, to get steady shots, now I need to shake my camera! And it is harder than trying to keep it steady! :D


    ps. I do share your experience with Olympus IBIS, it has inserted bad habits to me and when ever I use any other camera (there really isn't need for others than E-M1) or I disable IBIS, I don't even think about trying to steady the camera and shots are ruined. Olympus 5-axis IBIS has deleted the "shutter speed freeze the camera motion" from my thoughts and shutter speed is there only to freeze or give flow to the subject. I have not been the cause for motion blur since E-M1. Thank you Olympus for that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it has become an important implementation of more serious video capable cameras to have multiple frame rate selections. So yes, it is not a surprise for Olympus to fully introduce this into the new E-M5 mark II.

      E-M1 was never meant to be used for anything video-emphasized purposes. It is, an all rounder, great performer as a photography tool.

      Yes, for street shooting, I do prefer the flip up and down screen, rather than a swivel screen.

      Delete
    2. The Swivel is great for selfie :))

      Delete
    3. Which is my last photo on this blog!!

      Delete
  4. Thanks - that was a quick turnaround after the presentation. ;-)
    Would have liked the comparison of that 40-Mpix-Mode vs. 16 in the same situation - or will you post it in another review-article?

    Regards
    Frank

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Frank, I initially wanted to do such a comparison between the native 16MP vs 40MP, but then I do not think it is a very practical thing to do because I would be comparing apples to oranges. We already know the advantage of having higher resolution.

      Delete
  5. How are you using flash with the 40MP test if it takes 2 seconds to capture the 8 exposures?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is an option to set the interval between each of the 8 shots taken. Say your flash may require 2 seconds recharge time for a certain set power level, hence you can set 2 seconds delay after each shot, for the flash to recycle and fire again. So the total time required would be 8 frames x (2seconds + shutter speed).

      Delete
    2. Food shooters (to name one example) will like this a lot. You can go on location with a small, convenient outfit that won't disrupt a restaurant, but still get files big enough to use on large point-of-sale displays and other demanding media.

      Delete
    3. Great point Ranger 9. But do bear in mind that tripod is a necessity!

      Delete
    4. I often use a tabletop tripod made for a spotting scope. It's very sturdy and has threaded knobs for fine adjustment of tilt and angle. Will look forward to trying out this feature!

      Delete
  6. your blog posts especially those on new products are always very poisoning !!!! It's poisonous !!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. My E-M1 is jealous...and needs a bigger battery and a rear display I can hide.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dont be jealous. E-M1 is still the big bad flagship camera for Olympus.

      Delete
    2. Having the E-M1 and the GH4 makes things mostly complete. I just need two more hands, so that I can work both at the same time.

      Delete
  8. Hi Robin,
    It's great that you've posted such a wide ranging coverage so promptly. I would be interested to see how the 40MP would work for portraits - if people could sit still enough for old fashioned plate film cameras then most people could remain still enough for a couple of seconds - provided they haven't had too many coffees!
    What do think about the price for the MkII compared to E-M1?
    Regards, Mark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have tried the 40MP high resolution shot on a human. It is impossible. Trust me, impossible.

      At the introductory price point, the E-M5 is much lower than the E-M1.

      Delete
  9. Ahem. Leang Lui who? Hope to catch up in a couple of weeks. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Coming home for Chinese New Year?

      Delete
    2. Yes. :-) Have to look in on my mum and sis. Hope to catch up

      Delete
    3. Yes. :-) Have to look in on my mum and sis. Hope to catch up

      Delete
  10. Hi Robin, nice review as always! Can't wait to get my hands on the Mark II. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have a feeling you will love it!

      Delete
  11. The announcement of the EE-1 dot sight was a complete and very welcome surprise to me. You haven't maybe had the opportunity to try it out? I can now see myself actually doing BIF with the 300/2.8 and the EC-20...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a sample of the EE-1 here in Malaysia, but nope I have not given it a try. Perhaps one fine day I shall be finding a use to shoot with it and blog about it.

      Delete
    2. Hope you will. Also, there seems to be some confusion about the EE-1. Some sources claim it only works on the E-M5 MKII, other claim it works in any camera that has a hot shoe. I think the second alternative makes more sense (and I can see LOTS of canikon photographers buy it if it does), but do you know?

      Delete
    3. I understand that the EE-1 is only for E-M5 mark II.

      Delete
  12. Now I just wish Olympus would release an official 12v charger so I could charge the E-M1 on the road, or with solar panels...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just wish their battery capacity is much larger!

      Delete
    2. Sure. But DSLR owners, with their batteries that last for weeks, can get 12v chargers, but I can't get one for my battery-eating E-M1. This September I spent three days in the Amazon, without electricity. That required five batteries and careful planning. Now, here in Sweden, we have a national park called Sarek, which has no roads and reportedly takes a week to cross on foot. Wonder how many batteries I'd have to bring if I wanted to cross it...

      Delete
    3. Bring 30 batteries with you!! Kidding. I understand the difficulties. I do have friends who spend a week in the rainforest shooting wildlife and I sometimes do wonder how many batteries they have for their OM-D cameras. I may have to just ask that question the next time i see them.

      Delete
    4. would a small 12v power inverter work?

      Delete
    5. Rasmus, I can assure you that you can get 12VDC chargers for Olympus batteries as I have one I use in the car by hähnel.

      Delete
  13. Hello Robin
    Thanks a lot for your review!! And also congrats to your images, you have some very nice shots in this review!
    Could you maybe also do a review of the new 14-150mm II lens versus the 40-150mm F/4.0-5.6 R ?
    Since the 14-150 II is weather sealed (and the 40-150 is not), I would love to know how the both compare in terms of image quality, especially in the range of 80-150.
    Such a review would be awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Personally I find both lenses, 14-150mm as well as the 40-150mm to perform considerably well. You would be difficult to spot much differences between them. However, if image quality is the main priority, 40-150mm F2.8 Pro is a huge step up. If budget is a concern, then prime lenses are the way to go without breaking an arm or leg.

      Delete
    2. Hi Robin!
      Thanks a lot for your reply! Well, 40-150 2.8 is out of my budget :)
      I own the 40-150 5.6 R and like it's sharpness and performance. I don't shoot that much tele, so it's fine.
      BUT the lens is not weather sealed... So, I consider the 14-150 II to replace my 40-150 5.6 R... would you say they are optically the same?

      Delete
    3. I would consider getting some awesome prime lenses, especially the F1.8 primes, instead of replacing the 40-150mm. Prime lenses are great additions to your gear and will allow you to do more, creating shallow depth of field, and achieving even greater image quality. You can shoot better in low light too.

      Delete
    4. Actually I do have some of these nice primes.
      But they are all not in the tele range, right?
      What I need is a nice weathersealed tele up to 150mm, but NOT the 40-150 2.8 since I can't afford it.
      The 40-150mm 5.6 R is fine in terms of quality, but like I said, not weathersealed. The new 14-150 II is. So... that's why I wonder how these two compare in terms of sharpness, distortion, etc. in the about 80 - 150 range :)

      Delete
    5. I have shied away from doing comparisons. Too much work and sometimes the results are not really conclusive. I will do a review on that 14-150mm lens but maybe not that soon though

      Delete
  14. Hi Robin. Nice review! I am a owner of the original E-M5 and quite happy. What I miss is tethered shooting. Is that possible with the E-M5 II? And is an upgrade to the E-M5 II worth it overall?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd like to know about tethering as well. Does the E-M5 II have it, or does this remain an E-M1 exclusive?

      I admit that relatively few photographers need tethering, but those who do need it need it a lot.

      Delete
    2. Good news Patrick and Ranger 9. Olympus Capture, which allows tethered shooting with full control over the camera, is also supported by the E-M5 Mark II.

      Delete
  15. Thanks for all the effort you put into the review, Robin. Your pics, as always are stunning, and that 40-150mm lens looks fantastic. Videographers would like the new camera's fold-out screen. For me, mainly taking stills, though, the fold-out screen would deter me from owning one, and I'd hope and pray and hold thumbs and cross my toes that Olympus don't do this to a future upgrade of E-M1. You don't mention it here, but I do think that the E-M1 was already a fair step up from the 2012 E-M5 in the 5-axis stabilisation area. What I'm really hoping for in a future E-M1 is quicker/more effective continuous AF. Really we need a big step closer to pro-DSLR's in this area, and then we'll see more (e.g. sports / birds-in-flight) photographers considering Olympus. Would be interested to see whether this camera is any better, in that area, than the previous one(s).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Derek. I agree with you that the swivel screen may not be very helpful when it comes to shooting on the streets for me, About the performance of the camera in any areas, do not worry, I have a strong feeling that Olympus is listening, and they are doing their best to push out improved features and capabilities in newer cameras. After all, the reason why OM-D was such a huge success was due to the camera ticking all the right boxes of consumer expectations.

      Delete
    2. I like the swivel screen as it adds a degree of protection when carrying the camera. Had to replace one impact cracked EM5 screen already.

      Delete
  16. I am sorry I could not reply the comments sooner. I am still at work now and after work I will immediately reply all comments. Do bear with my super busy timetable as we at Olympus Malaysia had our official launch event today as well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Now, finally an Olympus with 25p and 50p video. 4k isn't yet in the broad market, I am still selling only 35 % Blu-ray, the rest ist DVD. A clean Full HD is what most will be happy with. At least I would be.
    Awesome photography, Robin. Sure among your best work I have seen from you - if not the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the compliments Rolf, appreciate it.
      Indeed, you are right, 4K is the future, but it is not ready for now.

      Delete
  18. OMG. Another poisonous temptation review from Robin *Run*

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Robin, thanks so much for the helpful review. I wonder if you could answer a very specific question for me: Does the 40MP mode work in combination with the full electronic shutter ( silent) mode?
    Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In contradiction to your statement (as I have already mentioned as well) the 40MP High Res Shot can only be used in full electronic shutter mode.

      Delete
  20. Great camera ... great review ... again ...
    High rest mode would be excellent for still life ... can it be used with studio strobes ?
    I know I am pushing my luck but can the high rest mode be used without a tripod ?
    I suppose they cannot guarantee consistent results ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words.
      Yes, you can use studio strobes, but bear in mind of the limitation of 1/20sec flash sync, which can be quite a nuisance.
      You MUST use a tripod, as I mentioned it is MANDATORY

      Delete
  21. Does it use the same battery as the E-M5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it does. Same as E-M5 and E-M1

      Delete
    2. Thanks Oliver for the answer. Yes, same battery.

      Delete
    3. Unfortunately it does not eat the same battery as our E-PL7, and it does eat batteries.
      When shooting wildlife, I burst (pardon). That produces a lot of completely useless pictures and hopefully a couple of good ones. I can easily get through three batteries enjoying a day out with the E-M5ii, that's why I now have four batteries for it.

      Delete
  22. Please test the quick sleep feature and let us know how it improves the battery life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Will keep this in the checklist

      Delete
    2. I find it goes to sleep all too easily and needs a couple of good prods to wake it up; it's a bit like me then. I'm happy wasting a battery to keep it alert.

      Delete
    3. That's very strange, my last post has jumped a day ahead, it's 19:00 on 30/03/2015 here (18:00 UTC)

      Delete
  23. thanks, shots with 40-150 are awesome!

    ReplyDelete
  24. oh my oh my... this is a perfect 2nd body...
    feature rich camera...
    Olympus has done it again...

    Thanks robin for the very vert hard work of testing it out for us....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Robert!

      Delete
  25. I'm sold, based on the quality of your sample images. Now all I need is to hit the lottery so that i can afford the lenses you've demonstrated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loterry! I need to hit one too. I want thet 40-150mm F2.8 lens for myself.

      Delete
  26. Robin,
    two questions:
    * it's also the BLN-1 battery?
    * Can you provide a picture in HiResMode with a "moving content"?
    would be pleasant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it's the BLN-1 as well, like E-M5 (original) and E-M1. So no change on that.
      Moving content in HiResShot mode blur very quickly. It only works on tripod with non (or VERY slow) moving subjects.

      Delete
    2. Oliver replying to Oliver. I must be seeing things.
      Yes, same batteries, BLN-1. And no, high res mode only works for completely still subjects.

      Delete
  27. Thanks Robin, for a thorough look at this new release from Olympus. Excellent images, as usual!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Does Olympus Capture work with the E-M5II, particularly can can the high res mode be operated from within the capture software?
    The new high res mode, Olympus capture and a large high res colour corrected monitor would be my perfect setup for my macro photography.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the Olympus Capture fully works with the Olympus Capture. I am not too sure the high res mode can be used the high res mode. I personally have not tried it myself, but it is a good question indeed, great for macro as you mentioned!

      Delete
  29. Great article Robin. Can you tell me please why you shoot RAW then convert to JPEG? Why not just shoot JPEG? Doesn't Olympus Viewer do the same conversion process as the camera?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The real reason is to protect myself. From time to time I have been accused of using "other" cameras to shoot and then modify the EXIF data. If I have the original RAW file I can protect myself from such ridiculous claims.

      Delete
    2. I do know this sounds ridiculous and I am paranoid, but believe me it has happened before!

      Delete
  30. I think this may be a second posting of the same comment; can't find the first posting.

    First, thanks for all your hard work in bringing this information to US! I have been relying on your thoughts since I decided to sell everything Canon and go with the EM-5. I do confess that for the moment I am using Pana lenses with my 5 and 1.

    The silent feature, finally!!, is the biggie for me. Have to decided whether to go with the 5II or wait for the 1 II which I am reasonably sure would also - finally!! - be silent too.

    Probably time to sell the Pana lenses and get the the Oly Pro lenses; then add to that the 7-14 and the 300 and you control the World!!

    Cheers,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olympus' main strength is in the lenses! Do give Olympus lens a try, I recommend 75mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8 to start. Amazing lenses. And yes, I am looking forward to their new 7-14mm and 300mm.

      Delete
  31. Hi Robin,

    Thank you for the review, it was very informative. I did have a question for you about the buttons. On the original EM-5, they felt "mushy" and not nearly as nice on the EM-1. How do you find the buttons on the EM-5 MK-2?

    - Michael

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The button feel more solid now and easier to press. They still have a little bit of rubbery feel when you press them (weather sealing rubber) but since the buttons are much larger and better spaced out now, it is easier to push them.

      Delete
  32. Hi Robin,

    Do you know if the old EM5 grip work with the new model?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The old battery pack, HLD-6P works with the new HLD-8G. For the horizontal/landscape grip portion you need the new HLD-8G.

      Delete
  33. Showing those macro photos *with flash* as examples of IBIS performance, is either disingenuous or deliberately deceptive. You could have had IBIS turned off and they would have looked the same, because the flash unit is exposing the image in less than 1/10,000th sec.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. No, Grant, you not entirely right in this one. Shooting 1:1 macro (you should try it) at F11, ISO200, 1/125sec under shadowy leaf, you get BLACK screen. Why ISO200? to get the best possible image quality, and F11 or narrower to get sufficient depth of field, and believe me the lighting was never perfect, usually under shadowy areas. You need flash to fill in the light. It was not deceptive, it was necessary. You will understand this when you do shoot extreme full magnification macro on insects.
      at 1:1 magnifiation, even with a movement of 1mm (shake on any direction) will render the image blur.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for your reply, Robin, but I have to insist my case. You are right of course that without flash it would be black. My main point is that you cannot use a flash exposure to prove how good the IBIS is working. The flash is super-quick. The images would have looked no less sharp with IBIS off, using flash exposure. Try it.

      I realise now that you were not being deceptive, but genuinely overlooked the fact that flash photos are no proof of good IBIS, so I apologise for suggesting it. But your review really needs that section replaced with some other evidence of the IBIS performance. cheers

      Delete
    4. Dear Grant, even with flash I CAN get blurry images due to shake. Believe me. I have shot countless macro shots. When you are going in all to full magnification even that 1mm movement is so significant that you can render the image completely blur. I've shot many blur images with flash even before the 5-axis IS was introduced

      Delete
    5. Since without the flash the image would be black, the flash is providing all the light and that is for a very short duration. The short flash duration would suggest to me that camera shake during the flash pop would not register. However, shake between deciding to take the picture and the flash pop could render the image out of focus. Perhaps IBIS helps with that portion of the shot. I know it also helps with the composition since it steadies the image while you compose. So I believe that stabilization does aid macro photography even though it probably does nothing during the actual flash pop.

      Delete
  34. Hi Robin,

    Thanks very much for your informative reviews. Can you explain a little more about the electronic shutter? With it fully set, can you get all speeds plus the highest 1/16000, completely silent operation, and no risk of shutter shock? Is the only down side the 1/20 flash sync and lack of audio confirmation that you've taken the shot? What is the advantage of the second curtain mechanical shutter? It seems odd that the flash sync is cut but I guess this stuff is not intuitive.

    Thanks,
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, we can use the electronic shutter at all shutter speeds, even all the way up to the 1/16,000sec. It is completely silent. And there is no risk of shutter shock, because no mechanical shutter was used. The second curtain mechanical shutter allows for two important factors: long exposure noise reduction (dark frame) and use of flash. There was a mistake in my blog (rectified now), no flash use is possible with the full electronic shutter mode.

      Delete
    2. Thanks very much Robin. While we can read the specs they don't give the pros and cons that you provide. Thanks.

      Delete
  35. Hi Robin,

    Another question. Does the HDMI out work continuously, i.e., can I hook it up to my monitor to see what I'm shooting? I have the original E-M5 which only allowed HDMI on playback so it could not be used to see what was been shot. Also I'm not familiar with the latest WiFi enhancements but I gather that it would allow the E-M5 II to do tethered shooting. Is that right?

    Thanks again,
    Steve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Steve, yes, the HDMI out does work continuously. I have just tried it yesterday! And Olympus Capture is fully compatible with E-M5 Mark 2 for tethered shooting via USB cable.

      Delete
    2. Robin, thanks again, Steve

      Delete
  36. Seems like there were some judder-type artifacts on some of the horizontal pans in the video. (Or is it just my Youtube bandwidth?) Does the 5-axis system have a setting that helps ignore horizontal movement?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dont think theres any way to disable any of the axis while in video. But I am sure this option can be made available through firmware tweak.

      Delete
  37. Hi Robin,
    If we compare OMD EM5 Mark2 with OMD EM1, which one is better ? Some online websites are quoting both with same price !!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I dont think those two cameras are the same to compare, it is like orange vs apple. E-M1 still have superior handling and better overall ergonomics, and has PDAF sensor which helps continuous AF with tracking in still shooting. Also, E-M1 has much faster burst rate. E-M5 has many new features indeed, and the video recording has been improved significantly. It all comes down to what you do with your camera.

      Delete
  38. hi robin, i am seriously uncertain of whether i should upgrade my olympus ep3 to omd em5 mark ii , any idea? If I were to upgrade it to epl7, it wouldnt be much of a changes i guess....but the em5 mark ii is a little too pricey for normal photographer like me and yet i love travelling and take awesome pic, but not a pro ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PEN and OM-D are very different cameras. PEN cameras are designed to be small and light, hence you are not expected to use external flash or mounting on large lenses on it much. OM-D on the other hand suits photographers who are more serious in getting results, hence better handling, has electronic viewfinder and of course weather sealed (except E-M10). E-M5 Mark II is a huge jump from E-P3. If you find yourself being restricted by E-P3 surely either E-PL7 or E-M5 Mark 2 will give you a huge improvement. Which one is for you, is your own choice to make.

      Delete
  39. Seriously, this makes me want to sell all my Nikon gear and invest in Olympus! They're churning out some great stuff and deserve more market share really. I only have an old EPM1 and it's a breath of fresh air.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh my the E-M5 Mark II is a huge world of difference in coimparison to the E-PM1! I would not recommend selling off Nikon. Just get one E-M5 Mark II as a companion. I am sure your bag has a small corner for the E-M5 Mark II and perhaps 2 lenses.

      Delete
  40. With the High Res....do you get a Raw as well as JPEG file recorded? Does the camera also record a 16MP file of a single shot in the 8 series or is it only the 8 shot merged file?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi William, just like normal shooting you can record RAW + JPEG. However, you do not get the 8 photos individually, you only get the final 40MP JPEG or 64MP RAW files.

      Delete
    2. How do I set it to RAW for the 64MP RAW file? All the camera is giving me is 40MP JPEG, despite shooting on manual in RAW only mode.

      Much thanks,
      Brandon Neubert

      Delete
  41. Great review. Very impressed with EM5 MK II video stabilization. Is it the first Olympus camera to use 5-axis for video? What about 5 axis in EM1? I thought EM1 has 5 axis for both still and video.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olympus already had 5-Axis IS for video in E-M5 and E-M1, but the 5-Axis in E-M5 Mark II shows a huge improvement.

      Delete
  42. Great "part I" review, and fantastic images. The festival shots are incredible. I should like this camera very much, Robin. My birthday is coming right up (in September)... ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words. Happy Birthday in advance!

      Delete
  43. Robin, is the Hi-Res Composite function able to use on milky way shot?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As written in the limitations, you only have 8 seconds shutter speed longest and ISO1600.

      Delete
  44. Hi Robin,
    thanks for the great review. This Hi-res mode looks very interesting and I cannot wait to try it for product photography. How usable would it be for landscape/cityscape? It would be very interesting to see a test picture of a landscape or cityscape with slowly moving clouds or trees and see what kind of artefacts appear. The now em5 mmii would be a killer backpacking landscape camera when coupled with the pana 7-14mm f/4 or the new olympus 7-14mm f/2.8 (and a tiny tripod).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please read my review extension, which is updated now.

      Delete
  45. Hi Robin
    Thanks again for another very informative review.
    May I please ask about you about one or two things I couldn't get sorted out:

    - Is the sensor the same as the one from E-M5 (2012) or the one of the E-M1? IF it is the same as the E-M1, is there phase AF support for the MF lenses?
    - did I understand right, that 40MP is not available in Bulb Mode?
    - did you have a chance to test the "External Dot Sight" accessory?
    - does the elsewhere reported "Approximately 5 steps brighter LV Boost" (than OM-D E-M5) also apply to the display or soley to the view finder?

    Thanks
    mige0


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi mige0,

      We do not have the information of the image sensor, but if I were to guess (my own opinion, not official from Olympus), it should be the same with the older E-M5. No Phase Detect AF capability like the E-M1. By the way the Phase Detect AF is not for manual focus use, but for Four Thirds DSLR lenses.
      No, live bulb, live time and live composite are not available for 40MP high resolution mode.
      We do have one sample but I rarely shoot things that move very fast.
      The live view boost now has TWO options, 1) what you get from any Olympus camera now, bright display without being affected by exposure settings, not showing live preview of WYSIWYG, or 2) in extreme darkness, the camera will boost the live view as much as possible, at the expense of frame rate. You get choppy view, but you do see and can compose clearly in near darkness.

      Delete
    2. Thanks a lot Robin for clarification and keep the good work going!
      Love you pictures!

      Delete
  46. I'll ask if no one else will - what happened to Olympus completely shunning Ming Thein?! Seems like it's caused quite the stir with his latest article....are companies afraid of reviews with negative commentary from the photographer testing their equipment?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christian,
      We are not shunning him, and Ming Thein remains a good friend of mine. Yes I have read the latest article from him. and I am fully aware of what has happened that led him to write that article. I cannot comment on Olympus Malaysia's behalf on this blog, and I shall not comment further. But I do respect him as a great photographer and a fellow blogger.

      Delete
  47. hi robin.....another great review. i'm wondering how the mark 2 fares doing long exposures with NR off. that's my biggest complaint with my EM-1. the original EM-5 performed MUCH better. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mel,
      I do not do much long exposure photography. I am sure other reviewers will cover this.

      Delete
  48. Or Thaipusam!!
    It's good sample for testing.
    I am now living in Singapore, so I also went to the festival.
    And dust and drip proofing is very good for tropical user!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People often underestimate the importance of having weather sealed camera!

      Delete
  49. Thank you Robin, for yet another great review!
    Very informative and "real world experience" based – just the way it should be. :)

    One question: since the 40MP mode is restricted to f/8 (or bigger) apertures – will it still work with adapted manual lenses? I use an old but amazing Tokina 90mm/2.5 macro lens on my original E-M5 and while I often contemplate the 60mm/2.8 (mainly for size and weight reduction), buying the E-M5-II would move that purchase even longer into the future. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not even sure if the E-M5 Mark II would work with manual lenses, I will have to check on that but unfortunately all E-M5 Mark II samples is out at the moment. I shall have to come back with the answer a bit later.

      Delete
  50. Robin, I was watching your pictures and did not believe that is possible
    when photographing sensitivity ISO 3200 and 6400. But here I bought the
    Olympus E-PL7 and found, that shooting with a sensitivity of 3200 real!.
    https://vk.com/photo289418829_360110319
    https://pp.vk.me/c624626/v624626829/1b490/jVA7RhvKLd8.jpg
    https://pp.vk.me/c624626/v624626829/1b487/jeHzmjRweHs.jpg

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  51. Robin, thank you for another great blog post. I'm a Nikon D810, D4s and D750 shooter along with a Hasselblad 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 sharpness of the lens on the 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 features and size of the new body and the 40 - 300 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. Any feedback regarding possible concert photography with this setup and dynamic range/ISO performance would be most appreciated.

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    1. If you are asking these questions it means you have not read my review extension to the E-M5 Mark II. Kindly read it here, it covers all your questions: http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2015/02/olympus-om-d-e-m5-mark-ii-review_10.html

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  53. Hi Robin, what a great blog! sure will visit more often :-)

    Just got this new toy last Saturday and still playing around... a big jump from Nikon :-D

    Mind to share a basic/other settings to take slow shutter with handheld? Tried 1 second handheld but seems blurry (layered)... activated the "S-IS1" and also tried the "S-IS AUTO"... or thats not possible? :-P

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  54. Hi robin, does the em5 mk ii has AA filter?

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  55. Kung Hei Fat Choi Robin!

    It was the recent launch of this camera that made me think of you, and how long it's been since I had time to enjoy your blog. It's good to be back after a long project that almost completely devoured me, and finally read your excellent review here. Not surprisingly, yet still lovely, is the fact that your work is still of outstanding quality. Bravo, Robin!

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  56. good review Robin! especially the high ISO...if was helpful!

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  57. Fantastic review accompanied by fantastic images. I love your work. I just purchased this camera 3 days ago, still trying to maneuver through the menu settings. :) This was very helpful.

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  59. First I have to say, that this isreally good preview and you got very interesting blog 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 the especially the menu structure looked first like nightmare :D 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 (monitor anf 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's in the taken picture. In my old camera (NEX6) the LiveView always shoved the real image 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 or am I missing something from setting?

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

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  60. I posted this on Robin's FB site; I want to get as many opinions as practicable since I have the EM-1 and am contemplating buying the 5 II:

    Em-1 and Em5 II
    12-40 and 40-150 Pro f/2.8
    If you are carrying this gear are there specific circumstances/shooting conditions when you would use the the 1 instead of the 5II and vice versa?
    If you already have the EM-1, would you add the 5II or wait for the 1II? Why?
    I'm asking because I haven't been able to sell the em-1.
    In Australia the 12-40 is $861 and the 5II is $1200; together they are $1950 making the 5II $1100AUD = $836USD. B&H = $1100; hard to pass the Australian package.
    Real world situations; 1 or 5II:
    Moving subjects, e.g., birds in flight, running animals and children
    Low light
    Macro
    Street
    Nighttime and long exposure
    ???

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  61. Robin,

    I have a E-M5 Mark II. I'm using my OM 28mm F3.5 lens with a Fotodiox adapter on my camera. For some reason I don't get focus peaking, neither on the EVF or LCD screen.

    Thanks

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    1. FYI, the focus peaking feature is already turned on. MF Assist -> Peaking -> On

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    2. never mind, I got some answers from other forums. It turns out that even though with peaking turned on, I need to assign a function button in order to activate it.

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    3. I had the same problem until I realized that you need to map it to a button. Not a big deal... I use the button that is near the front of the camera down in the grip and set the peaking colors to red. Much better than the limited peaking color options in the E-M1!

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  62. Robin,

    I love this camera and I have a hard time deciding to use it or the E-M1 when I go out for some casual shooting. I record video on the E-M5 II with a lot of OM glass (135 f/2.8, 50 1.4, 35 f/2). I'm only experiencing one minor annoyance with the camera... Whenever I record video, I noticed that the light meter is missing from the on screen display. I checked through the menus and didn't see anything obvious in the screen settings... It seems the only way I can keep the meter on screen is by opening the ISO menu to see if I'm over or under exposed before I hit record. Is there a better way of going about this? I know that I can use a different mode entirely like M mode which keeps the meter on screen but it makes framing tricky since it crops in once I hit record.

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  63. Robin, do you know why Olympus limited the following functionality (compared to EM5)?
    Though I'm very pleased with the mark ii edition, I was disappointed by this limitation.

    Zoom frame AF/zoom AF (Super Spot AF) with Four Thirds Lens:

    Cautions
    • When you are using a Four Thirds system lens, the AF will not operate with during zoom
    display.

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  64. Hi Robin. I have a big doubt that i want to clear in a few days ... I am thinking about to purchase my first oly (i ve just sold my Canon SLR). I am between M1 or M5M2 + 14-150 II both hace similar prices. Whats the best option? Best Regards !

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  65. Hi Robin!

    Thanks for the great review!

    I have a few questions. At the moment, I'm using a Panasonic G6 and think about buying an Olympus camera. I think the EM5MII is a great camera but I don't know if it's worth to wait for the EM1MII which should get released in the end of the next year. Maybe you can tell me what you think about that. I know the grip of the EM1 is better, but I could buy the handgrip and everything should be good. I don't need 4K recording and I don't think I will need a 20 MP sensor (would be nice to have, but... not that important) that the EM1MII will most likely have.

    The main reason to change to Olympus is, because I mainly use Olympus primes and want to do better pictures in lowlight and hope that 5-axis IBIS should help me doing so.

    Last question: is that f2.8 kit lense worth the money, if I already have the 17, 25 and 45 mm primes by Olympus?

    Thanks in advance,
    Torsten

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  66. Hi bro Robin,
    I want to know your opinion about fuji XT1 compare to OMD M5 mark 2 ?
    I need recommendation which one i must buy if I have the budget..
    Thanks.

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  67. Terima Kasih.., Sangat Bermanfaat Sekali. Oya, saya punya banyak sekali koleksi Emban Perak | Emban Alpaka | Emban Cincin | Emban Akik | Emban Titanium | Batu Combong | Cincin Perak | Cincin Akik | Gagang Cincin | Terima Kasih atas Kunjungannya. Salam Persaudaraan dari saya.

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  68. Hi Robin, many thanks for the review, very thorough and precise and informative, can i please ask what tripod you may recommend when using this camera, not just for the Hi-Res shooting mode but in general use too, i have at the moment the battery grip attached to the camera but in the market to get a new tripod, definitely thinking of a new carbon model, i live in the uk, cheers :-)

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  69. Hi Robin. Only one thing, Please, speak with Olympus. We, the users of E-M5 II need the update "Focus Stacking Mode" (OM-D E-M1 only in next firmware for Novembre). It's so less work in computer if our camera can do that.

    Rregards

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  70. Hi Robin.

    I just picked up the original E-M5 at a killer price. 600 shutter activations only, and $345 at a camera store. Amazing.

    I love it, and have found that I can get 1000+ shots per battery (I run out of 16 Gb card before battery) by completely turning off the rear screen, and only using the viewfinder. I never like to use the screen in any case, so this is no hardship.

    Give that a try and see if it improves your battery life.

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  71. Here is another deal with all your needs. You should visit the link where you will get special discount.
    Canon Dealers in UK

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  72. It's such an awesome camera, I can't say that it's less than any other good Nikon or Canon DSLR, because performance wise it's too good. But I don't know why it's not in for selling than the Nikon and Canon, You can check this one here Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Body Only Mirrorless Digital Camera its price is just £ 670.00 but still I have a big stock over there. Why people prefer other DSLR cameras than this one even it's more better than any other camera?

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  73. Hello Robin,

    Thanlk you for the very clear review. I had the opportunity for testing this camera myself during a month just before the summerholidays. I managed to by me one myselfe and bought some pro lenses after that.
    But I have a question which I can't figure out myselfe.
    Is it possible to make folders in the camera? I want to use that for specific photographic occasions e.g. each day a new folder, or hiking to and on the vulcano on Tenerife in an folder.
    Etc, you know what I want I gues.
    Hope to read your answer soon.
    Thank you Robin, I am an follower :D

    Raymond

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  74. Hi Robin, great pics. Are you shooting using P mode or something else? Wow, the colors really pop out. Makes me want to go to KL

    Regards
    Ray

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  75. Hi, I love to read your reviews and see your pictures! It's so helpful that it helped me choose the EM-5 mark2. My question is : how do you get such good results with your shots at low speeds? I'm struggling to get sharp shots at speed slower than 1/100 of a second. Even with my 12-40 at 12mm and 1/15 it's not sharp. My stabilization seems to work when looking throw the viewfinder, but not when I look at the final image... I'm a bit disappointed about that... Please let me know what you think!

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  76. Admiring the time and effort you put into your and detailed information you offer!..
    selfie apps

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  77. Dear Robin,

    I have my doubts of buying my self now this camera or wait that there will be a 4K video option in a future model,can give some advice.

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  78. Hey Robin not sure if you're still replying to told posts but I was wondering if you would be able to do a post about your general Olympus settings for photography. Your photos have a really nice tone and coloration and I would love to know what you set your settings to! For me, I find it confusing between the i-enhanced and natural setting.

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  79. I saw a video review of the EM5 Mark II and although the reviewer spoke highly of the overall build quality, he said the dials were poor quality implying that they would break. What are your impressions about the controls of the EM5 MII and the EM1 also? Your review was the best I've seen so far. Far more detailed and informative. Thanks

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