Thoughts on the Newly Released Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Thoughts on the Newly Released Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II




Photo courtesy of Olympus

Olympus recently released an update to their flagship mirrorless camera, the new OM-D EM 5 Mark II. It’s been eagerly awaited by Olympus fans – let’s take a look at some of the new features and see how it stacks up.

In a hands-on field test the guys from The Camera Store (in Calgary, Canada) put the camera through its paces. See their thoughts in this video as the try out:

  • The new High Res mode for making large files
  • Image stabilization
  • High ISO settings
  • Video mode

Some other new features include:

  • Improved 5-axis image stabilization
  • Rotating and tilting screen
  • Electronic silent shutter to maximum 1/16,000th of a second
  • 10 fps burst mode
  • A new optional tilting/rotating clip-on flash
  • WiFi
  • Mic jack for video input

Photo courtesy of Olympus

For more of an overview of some of these and more, check out this video by Olympus themselves (hosts name is Rich).

I had the pleasure of using the OM-D E-M5 original for 2 months in Nicaragua after my Fuji X-T1 had some issues and had to be sent back to Canada. A friend was nice enough to loan me her Olympus and I have to say I was really impressed with it. I’m happy with the Fuji now (they replaced the motherboard) but I’m kind of interested in giving this puppy a test drive. If it’s that much better than the first edition it could blow my socks off.

So have you considered this camera? Do you have the original and are ready for an upgrade?

What are your thoughts? Is this a real improvement or just an update for the sake of launching an update? At what point do you say, “Okay I gotta have that!”?

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Darlene Hildebrandt is an educator who teaches aspiring amateurs and hobbyists how to improve their skills through articles on her site Digital Photo Mentor, online photography classes, and travel tours to exotic places like Morocco and India. To help you at whatever level you're at she has two email mini-courses. Sign up for her free beginner OR portrait photography email mini-course here. Or get both, no charge!

  • @photogoofer

    What’s up with Mr. Muttonchops in the Olympus video! Not a good look. Camera looks interesting though. I wonder how well the focus tracks for fast moving sports.

  • Eric

    @photogoofer, I suspect the tracking for fast moving sports will still not be the strongest feature of this camera.
    For me the E-M5 Mk II will be a great upgrade from the Olympus PEN E-PL5. I’ve been waiting for this model because I wanted a camera almost as small as the E-PL5, but with weather and dust sealing (bad experiences with beach sand), a built-in viewfinder, more buttons, Wifi remote control, and a new processor with fine details processing 2 (FDP2). It’s a nice surprise that the stabilization has also been improved and that the video features have received a serious upgrade. This is definitely not an update for the sake of an update.

  • I own two Olympus EM1 cameras and use them for weddings. They are terrific. The EM1 is the flagship, by the way, not the EM5. The strength is the system of lenses, light weight and fully customizable camera bodies. No, the focus tracking cannot compete in the sports arena with many FF DSLR’s. However, if you are a portrait or event shooter, I recommend these bodies (and especially the fantastic and bountiful number of lenses) wholeheartedly.

    I cn get. Very shallow depth of field with this system as well. Maybe, not quite as shallow as FF, but close. Also, no need to step down as the images re super sharp wide open usually. Oh, and the IBIS is SO GOOD, that one cn often handhold at unheard of shutter speeds like 2 seconds. I have done it down to 1/15th, but many users are reporting 2 second handheld sharp shots with EM5 2. Exciting times!!

  • I don’t understand why so many people get obsessed with focus tracking being capable for high speed sports. Are there that many photographers shooting sporting events? The focus tracking is anything other than point and shoots are fine for street, landscape, and portraiture.

    I’d argue that m43s like the EM5 are actually better for landscape shots (the most common I see photogs doing). Fast focus speeds, great image stabilization, weather-sealing, ideal DoF for hyperfocal shots at wide apertures to limit diffraction, and portable to take on a 8 mile hike to a remote spot.

  • Fobok

    I would /so/ love one of these. I have an old PL2 and pretty much all of my frustrations with it are solved by this camera. Unfortunately, the price is pretty much beyond me at the moment.

  • Edmund

    What happened to pre-focus for sports events? Just manual focus and wait for the action to happen.

  • I bought my EM5 around the time the EM1 was released and I hemmed and hawwed over buying the expensive but fancy EM1 or a refurbished EM5 as it was my first new camera in six years. I bought the EM5 (the refurbished $700 camera versus the new $1400 camera made it a fairly easy choice based on cost in the end) I’ve been very happy with my EM5 in the last year but was disappointed by its very lackluster video recording – no advanced control during recording and a very poor bitrate where raw video looked like it had already gone through the YouTube compression wringer.

    But seeing the features for the EM5 Mark II I immediately preordered one for the following improvements over the original EM5:
    1) Improved video quality – 77mbps 1080p video are various frame rates will be very welcome.
    2) Focus Peaking – now I’ll be able to use legacy and use manual focus lenses much faster as an alternative to using an old filter trick that some EM5 users share.

    3) Focus Peaking in video – A feature that wasn’t available in the flagship EM1 will make manual focus work in video much much easier.
    4) More function buttons – a vast improvement over the EM5’s two oddly-placed buttons
    5) 40mp photo mode – I’ll definitely be using this mode for my grander static photos
    6) Wifi Enabled – Hopefully I’ll be able to use Geotagging with my phone while taking photos when out exploring
    7) Improved IBIS
    8) Longer continuous shooting – With the fastest card I could get my hands on the EM5 didn’t support the card’s very high write speed, so when shooting raw my EM5 was its own bottleneck when shooting continuously at 9fps – Olympus claims with my card the 9fps will be infinite while the EM5 was limited to around 14 photos before the buffer was filled.

    Very excited to get my hands on it.

  • Ton

    I’m Dutch, sorry for any mistakes in the spelling. I’m not a professional, 51, into photography since I was 14 and still, day in day out, looking for my best picture…

    Ever since the Pana G1 came out I’m onto M43. When the M5 came out I loved and bought it immediately and, to be honest, am still discovering features I did not know it had (life time bulb for instance, recently discovered, really great fun). But: I really missed Pana’s swivel-display, it gave SO much extra opportunities, be it the angle low or high, left or right, the screen (quasi auto-)protection and a lot of comfort on a tripod.

    Then came the M1 and there were some great improvements: viewfinder, more direct controls etc . but not a swivel-display. However, it could not do the M5-trick: be small and portable one time, be big with the grip another time. So, although an update/improvement over the M5, the M1’s standard integrated grip simply made it too big for me. And now there’s the M5-MkII:

    Swivel display (yes, finally!!!)
    M1 viewfinder (Great, Grand)
    Small! Cameleon…
    40M resolution for stills, I hate to pixel-peep, can’t help I do so nevertheless
    Improved IBIS
    Ofcourse, some improvements on the sensor and AF. To me lesser issues.
    My wife can carry it in her purse, great issue 😉
    I’m on the waiting list. To me it sounds/looks/smells like the ultimate camera.
    Just my two cents, euro’s rather…
    Small reminder: eyes, brains and imagination take pictures, not camera’s

  • Ron Lawrence

    I’ve no interest in video, but all the other improvements are just what I was waiting for. Articulating screen, better IBIS, better button layout, better IBIS….did I say that? Now if I can just get a couple of the Pro lenses.

  • LOL not sure – it’s his style I guess!

  • I have the EM-5 and love it. The one new feature I would want would be ISO of 100 or even 50. Did they add a lower number or does it still start at 200?

  • The Olympus OM-D E-M1 is my primary camera (in the past I used the Canon 60D and Canon 5D Mark 3). I also own an original Olympus OM-D EM-5 and I’m still waiting for the MK 2 to show up in the mail. The whole system made me a believer after realizing how much IBIS changed how I manuvered and packed my gear. I’m excited to use the new system in the MK2 as well as the much needed new video modes and codec options. I’m actually really happy that they finally added a flip out screen. I also enjoy using my older OM prime lenses on the camera since the IBIS system can aid them so long as you remember to enter the focal lenght into the image stabilization option before use.

  • Owen Fidler

    I have the original EM-5 and am happy with it. My major gripes have been the tiny buttons and the poor wheel placement, and majorly the lack of a jack for a microphone – so glad that’s in!

  • lostinafog

    Mine came with some wonky power issue. Turned on, then off after a few minutes and wouldn’t restart. Removing battery and SD card, and putting them back in helped once, then not again. Sent it back for replacement. I was so excited to play with it! Hopefully the replacement unit comes soon. I added the Pro 40-150mm lens and in my of-so-brief time with them together it was wonderful…

  • Lee Xiong Nancyloveslee

    darlene this article says thoughts on the New Olympus OMD em5 mark II but there are no thoughts in the article. It just points us to a video from The Camera Store guys.

  • Kristine7845
  • logan powell

    Love taking pictures but don’t know what camera to choose. See for additional information.

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