Table of Contents
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has long been considered the most capable member of the company’s Micro Four Thirds lineup. It was the first camera produced by the firm to have focus peaking, an antialiasing filter-less sensor, phase detection autofocus, and more excellent frame rates.
However, in the three years since its initial release, rival cameras dominate the market. For example, the Panasonic Lumix GH4 has established itself as a leader in the video industry. In addition, Sony has impressed us with the A6000-line’s laser-quick autofocus and introduced the A7 range of full-frame mirrorless cameras. Both of these developments have helped the company maintain its position as a market leader. Then there’s Fujifilm, which, along with the X-T2, is our go-to choice for the best mirrorless camera available today.
Olympus is trying to level the playing field with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II release. The result is a newly redesigned camera that has a sensor with a more excellent resolution of 20.4 megapixels, a vastly improved 121-point cross-type AF system, and increased in-body image stabilization, in addition to the ability to record 4K video and Olympus’ most excellent video-shooting features to date.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Features
Since its introduction in the Pen-F, Olympus’ brand-new 20.4-megapixel image sensor has made its way into the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Olympus has modified the image sensor for enhanced noise reduction, and it now has 121 cross-type AF on-chip phase-detection points scattered across the whole frame. Even though the resolution has remained the same, Olympus has made these improvements.
The manufacturer asserts that the autofocus technology is entirely new and has been programmed with a new algorithm optimized for improved tracking. However, when it comes to the autofocus, we discover that the Mark II is even more accurate and faster than before – and speed is the best word to use to characterize the new E-M1.
The electronic viewfinder (EVF) now has a more excellent resolution of 2.36 million dots and can display up to 120 frames per second with a latency of only five milliseconds. This improved viewfinder works nicely with the shutter latency, which has been decreased by thirty percent, and with the new ProCapture mode that Olympus developed to capture split-second moments.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Build Quality
At first appearance, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II appears to be virtually indistinguishable from its forerunner. The appearance of the camera has seen almost minor alteration, except for a slightly elevated chassis and mode dial. In addition, Olympus has maintained practically the same ergonomics on its flagship camera, in contrast to the Mark II versions of the E-M5 and E-M10, which both had significantly reworked grips and dials.
The E-M1 Mark II is noticeably bulkier than the original E-M1, which measured 130.4 x 93.5 x 63.1mm and weighed 497g. The E-M1 Mark II measures 134.1 x 68.9 x 90.9mm (W x D x H) and weighs 544g with the battery and memory card included. While the appearances are very similar, the E-M1 Mark II is larger and heavier than the Mark I.
When shooting with the E-M1 Mark II for an entire day, the additional weight of the camera does not become a problem, even though its size has increased. We also favor the beefed-up dimensions of the new E-M1 since it is better able to accept bigger Micro Four Thirds lenses, such as the M, which was released not too long ago. Both the Zuiko 25mm f/1.2 and the M. Zuiko 12-100mm f/4.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Autofocus
Olympus has equipped the E-M1 Mark II with its most advanced and comprehensive autos system. It has 121 focus points and can identify subjects using either contrast or Phase.
On paper, this may not seem as spectacular as the autofocus (AF) system found on other mirrorless camera systems, such as the Sony A6500 (425 phase-detection and 169 contrast-detection points) or even the Fujifilm X-T2 (153 phase-detection and 153 contrast-detection points) (169 phase-detection and 156 contrast-detection).
However, remember that the sensor used in cameras with a Micro Four-Thirds format is noticeably smaller while resolving a more significant depth of field, regardless of how wide your aperture is set. These two elements make it simpler for cameras using this format to locate a focus.
Regarding focusing, Olympus cameras have historically been among the quickest on the market, but the Mark II appears to be far faster. When a topic moves irregularly around the screen, it might not be easy to keep track of it, even when it’s pretty easy to do otherwise. The fact that both types of AF detection are present for the entirety of the frame contributes to the AF’s improved performance in low-light conditions.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Performance
Olympus is turning up the temperature with the extraordinary performance of the E-M1 Mark II’s rapid shooting mode. It will be possible for photographers to capture up to 60 frames per second with the autofocus and exposure compensation locked or 18 frames per second with the autofocus and compensation tracking continuously.
Olympus has also included a Pro Capture option in its cameras to assist consumers in capturing those crucial moments. When you partially press the shutter button, the new functionality will configure the camera to start buffering a stream of images immediately. After taking your picture, the camera will save all of the frames you had taken together with the 14 structures captured before fully activating the shutter.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Image Quality
The resolution increases are noticeable, while the colors pop with a natural appearance, and there is plenty of dynamic range in play even in our JPEGs. Olympus’ new 20.4-megapixel sensor has already shown itself in the Pen-F, and now it is even better in the E-M1 Mark II. We go so far as to claim that the picture quality of Mark II’s files appears to be on par with that of Fujifilm’s new 24.3MP sensor, which is included in the X-T2 and the X-Pro2.
This review will be updated as soon as possible to include support for the OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s Camera RAW files, but it was not yet possible to do so at the time of this writing.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Specs
|5184 x 3888
|Image ratio w h
|Sensor photo detectors
|Four Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm)
|sRGB, Adobe RGB
|Color filter array
|Primary color filter
|Auto, 200-25600 (expands down to 64)
|Boosted ISO (minimum)
|White balance presets
|Custom white balance
|Yes (4 slots)
|CIPA image stabilization rating
|JPEG (Exif 2.3)Raw (Olympus ORF)
|Optics & Focus
|Contrast Detect (sensor) Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive view
|Autofocus assist lamp
|Number of focus points
|Micro Four Thirds
|Focal length multiplier
|1.48× (0.74× 35mm equiv.)
|Minimum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)
|ProgramShutter priorityAperture priorityManual
|No (FL-LM3 external flash included)
|9.10 m (at ISO 100)
|Yes (via hot shoe or flash sync port)
|Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(2nd curtain), Manual
|Flash X sync speed
|Yes (2 or 12 secs, custom)
|±5 (at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
|±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
|4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 237 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 24p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 24p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
|Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots
|USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
|Yes (wired or via smartphone)
|BLH-1 lithium-ion battery & charger
|Battery Life (CIPA)
|Weight (inc. batteries)
|574 g (1.27 lb / 20.25 oz)
|134 x 91 x 67 mm (5.28 x 3.58 x 2.64″)
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Verdict
This is by far the most remarkable and feature-packed camera that Olympus has produced. There’s something for everyone with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, whether you’re a filmmaker, a sports photographer, or a working professional looking to branch out into commercial work.
The original OM-D E-M1 could only compete as a flagship model within its line of cameras, as opposed to competing with other manufacturers’ cameras. Still, the Mark II was designed to take the spotlight away from its competitors.
Olympus has demonstrated that its video capabilities are on par with those of industry leaders like Sony and Panasonic. Meanwhile, the newly developed sensor with 20,4 megapixels shows that the Micro Four Thirds format can still create and advance.