Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark ii Announced & My Initial Thoughts

It's Photokina 2016 and Olympus has just made its announcement on its new flagship OM-D line camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark ii. I watched the live feed video and wow! I am very impressed! (My initial thoughts after the jump.)

The following is the official recording by Olympus Europa - Olympus Photokina Press Event LIVE from Cologne, Germany.

Note: I have included the video-link fast-forwarded to start 17 minutes into the recording.

[00:00] When the announcement starts.
[00:50] Olympus Head of Imaging Business Unit, Mr. Michael Handa, talks about the development and vision of the imaging business for photographers.
[10:00] Olympus Europa OMD Brand Manager, Mr. Ali Kiani, talks about the specifications of the E-M1 ii .
[21:15] Olympus Pro lens Line-up

Source: Screen Captured from Olympus America


  • Up to 18 frames per second sequential shooting with C-AF Tracking. 
  • 121 Cross-Type On-Chip Phase Detection AF points. 
  • Up to 5.5 shutter speed steps of compensation with 5-axis in-body image stabilization. 
  • 50MP High-Res Shot Mode. 
  • 600 grams lightweight magnesium alloy weatherproof body. 
  • Fully-Articulating 3.0” Touch Monitor
  • Pro Capture feature
  • New Battery
  • New Sensor
  • New EVF
  • Double-card slots

My initial thoughts

I think it's very impressive ! I can't wait to get my hands on one to try it out! :D

It has all the bells and whistles that I've always wanted in a light weight camera system.

The 15-18 fps sequential shots is a bonus but I am afraid it may shorten the shutter life (like what I suspect happened to my EM5).

Better performing Continuous AF is a big welcome. The C-AF on the EM5 doesn't work well at all without any phase detection sensor, although the normal S-AF works beautifully especially with the touch screen.

Up to 5.5 stops compensation! I may not need a tripod anymore! :P

50MP high res. mode is something that I am curious about. I wonder if it's possible handheld?

A light-weight body / system is what I love since the EM5 (425g), but I think the new EM1 Mk2 is a little heavier, almost the same weight as my Sony a7 ii (556g).

A fully-articulating screen is very useful for the difficult angles.

The Pro Capture feature is nice to have if it can be toggled with a customized button. I don't want 14 photos taken every time I half-press the shutter button!

A new battery is a good welcome since Olympus promises better battery life, hence more shots. However, this means my existing batteries cannot be used and I will be using a different charger.

Olympus claims that the new sensor performs better in terms of noise (by 1 f/stop) and dynamic range. This we will need to see later.

The EVF runs at 120 fps frame rate with a 6ms reaction time. That's all technical to me, but Mr. Ali says that photographers may mistaken it for an optical viewfinder, with no lag to the naked eye. That's great!

Dual card slots may not be a must for everyone, but I find being able to backup a copy of my photos into a two cards is always safer than one. Especially if you are shooting for someone, like a wedding reception. Losing those kind of photos can be devastating for the newly weds. If you don't shoot professionally, you may not need the second slot at all.

My OM-D EM5 has "aged"

The OM-D EM-1 Mark 2 announcement came at a time when my EM5's time is due.

I have been holding onto my OM-D EM5 for 4 years now. When the 1st EM1 came out it didn't impress me much. I have always thought that it's for the four-third pros migrating to the micro four thirds system.

Two years ago (2014), the EM5 started to give me issues. The first being the battery contacts, and the second being a dead shutter.

I have had numerous visits to the Olympus Service center in Kuala Lumpur. No complaints about the service except the return trips, some money spent and loss of confidence in the camera.

This year, the shaking eyelet prompted me to use an alternative camera for my recent trip to Bangkok. I gave up going to the service center this round. I will just try to fix it myself.

Looking foward

Hopefully it will be launched in Malaysia soon and I should be getting myself a unit !

UPDATE: It seems that Olympus Malaysia has extended its promotional offer for the E-M1. It comes with 2 years warranty, and a free Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens!

With firmware v4.0, the EM1 is like a new camera anyway. It's feature rich if compared to Olympus' forgotten child, the EM5. Imagine the last firmware for EM5 was v2.2 !

I may as well get this offer set and get the Mark ii later on when the price settles down. :D

Key Specs

Source: Screen Captured from Olympus America

More information here:

Matt Granger sharing his video at Photokina here:

Mathieu from Mirrorless Lessons:

Mathieu clarifies some of the uncertainties mentioned during the initial announcement. He talks about:

  • Continuous shooting speed and autofocus
  • Rolling shutter with electronic shutter/silent mode
  • Pro Capture AF
  • New and improved autofocus / manual focus settings
  • 4K video
  • Electronic viewfinder
  • Exposure compensation for Auto ISO in Manual shooting mode
  • Menu system
  • Time synchronisation and new mobile app
  • New BLH-1 battery vs old BLN-1 battery
  • Pro support

Alessandro Carpentiero's Preview sharing at Photokina:

ePhotozine spoke to Olympus Imaging Global Marketing Manager Toshiyuki Terada, and European Marketing Manager Mark Thackara about the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II:

  • no handheld high-resolution feature yet
  • higher dynamic range compared with 7Dii and X-T1 at ISO200
  • 1 stop noise performance improvement over the E-M1
  • the image stabilisation system has been improved, with up to 6.5 stops, when used with the new Olympus PRO 12-100mm f/4 IS lens
  • All micro four thirds lenses and Four Thirds lenses (when used with an adapter) will also benefit from the quicker focus system.
  • Price will be slightly higher than the EM1

Olympus Official Press Release:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 ii microsite at Get Olympus America:

What do you think?

No comments:

Post a Comment