Well done, Samsung! Great to see such innovation and performance.
That said, it's not much of a looker. It could almost be mistaken for any old DSLR with that 1990's retro styling.
pkosewski: Ah... the "eyes are sharp" thing.I looked at some shots in the gallery. We are talking about DoF of 2-3 meters. It's not really about nailing focus as getting something in focus or being totally lost. Players are isolated very well...As such, 20% rate of "being totally lost" is quite a lot. Especially at 5 fps.
I'm pointing this out because Olympus is planning to release the 300/4 and600mm FF equivalent is not exactly a general-purpose lens. With this quality of focusing I don't think it will win over many nature photographers...
@Pkosweski: "Depth of field" comes down to "does it look sharp". When we estimate it mathematically, we need to take into account the size of the image output and how close the viewer is looking at it.
Most DoF-calculators on the web defaults to the common film standards of postcard-sized images, but for enthusiasts making digital images it's more reasonable to think in large high-definition displays or large print outs. In these cases, the DoF is smaller.
When I look at the images in the gallery on my display, I see focus drop off a lot faster than the 2-3 meters you were claiming.
Claiming we're dealing with a DoF of 2-3 meters is wildly overstated, unless you're talking about watching the images with a tiny output size.
Thank you for a interesting and thoughtful review. I bought the E-M5ii two weeks ago, trading in my original E-M5 in the process.
For me, the major upgrade is ergonomics. Better camera controls (the 2x2 dials works wonders), the larger and better viewfinder that adjusts brightness so I can shoot with both eyes open, and the powerful and easy-to-use wireless "tethering". For me the improved ergonomics makes the camera easier, faster and more pleasurable to use than the original camera (which I also enjoyed using). The addition of live composite mode to the ingenious live time/bulb-modes is also very good, and the list goes on...
This is maybe underrated by a portion of this site's readership as there is, justifiably, a lot of focus on pushing the envelope of high resolution, DR and SNR. While the improvements on the mark I in these areas maybe marginal, it still holds its own against most of the competition, and it's now more effortless to actually realize the full power of the thing
Mateus1: No AF-Back button???
What is AF EV sensitivity? Hope not poor 0EV.
Just to clarify, there IS a back focus button. As it is Olympus, just about anything you can imagine can be mapped to what ever button you prefer, and making the AEL/AFL-button act as a back focus button is simple.
rebel99: i wanted this camera for travel and landscape but the files (16mp) are to small and won't cut it! i really like the quality of olympus but maybe the next generation with larger sensor! on the other hand, the new amsung with new NX-1 has a killer 28mp sensor that is perfect but i am not quite sure of the lens offerings! like i have commented before, the M4/3 cameras have a couple more generation to be ready for show time! until then, i'll stick with my clunky canon 1Dx and 1dmk4 cameras :-( the new canon announced 5Ds/r cameras supposed to have 53mp sensor, perfect for landscape photography ;-) and i have a big load of "L" lenses to go with it. but the announced price is ~ $4000.00, yuk... ;-( we'll see!
I would think it very hard to find the ideal camera for both landscape and travel photography. I'd say that something similar to the E-M5ii would be top of the list for travel photography, but for landscape, you should probably look closer at medium format (or larger) cameras rather than clunky yet small format dslrs like your Canons.
Jon Porter: "Auto ISO sensitivity selection is available in all modes except M. ISO sensitivity is fixed at ISO200 in mode M."
Really, Olympus? You have the gall to introduce a camera in 2015 with crippled auto ISO? Pass.
agnost: Go into the Custom Menu, Section E: Look for "ISO-Auto". Change it from "P/A/S" to "All".
Anastigmat: The 4/3 sensor was invented when sensors were very expensive. The smaller 4/3 sensor cost a lot less than APS-C sensors so it allowed 4/3 format manufacturers a much higher profit margin. Nowadays there is hardly any difference in cost between an APS-C and a 4/3 sensor. Even FF sensors are fast becoming commodity priced. That puts 4/3 format cameras at a disadvantage because they are destined to be low volume compared to the APS-C models, and the low volume forces the makers to raise prices above APS-C models. That means a smaller, noisier sensor must be sold at a higher price than a larger sensors with more pixels. For this reason, the 4/3 format is doomed, in much the same way that half frame 35mm film cameras were doomed.
The problem is that ISO *by definition* behaves in this way, but from a practical point of view, the ISO 200 on M43 is effectively ISO 800 on FF, when considering FoV, scene luminance, shutter time, DoF and noise. And, personally, that's absolutely fine by me. The lack of an equivalent to ISO 200 or 100 on FF is something I'll happily trade for the portability and inconspicuousness of the system.
nerd2: "Better image stabilization is better than just more pixels"
Just EVERY company out there provides optical stabilization with similar level of performance (4-5 stops of stabilization). And the stabilization technology only gets better over time - unlike m43 system which cannot provide "just more pixels" due to its sensor size limitation.
al_in_philly: I've been using (and loving) the E-M5 since it came out. I almost bought the E-M1 but I couldn't justify paying more than $1000 for the evolutionary advances which that model provided over the original E-M5. I am feeling like that once again: I'm impressed with what I'm reading about the E-M5II, but are those changes worth another $1100 (and even more with the handgrip!)? I'm left waiting once again, hoping that the next E-M1 will have enough real-world advantages over the original E-M5 to warrant the $1300-1500 which that camera will run. That said, I'm keeping my fingers crossed--do you hear me Olympus?
I plan to upgrade and trade in my E-M5 for the E-M5ii. The larger viewfinder, one stop better IBIS and the wireless "tethering" are worthwhile upgrades for me. I had considered the E-M1, but I wanted to keep the camera small as that is my main reason for choosing M43 over other formats.
Also, the new video frame rates makes it much more useful for me since I live in the non-US/non-Japan part of the world and thereby have 50 Hz artificial lighting. As well as the other improvements for the casual videographer.
I also like the look of the new physical user interface, and some of the improvements the more powerful processor brings with it.
I don't like the fact that it's slightly heavier, or that it gets fewer shots per charge (though that may be partly because of the new flash?), but at least I can reuse the batteries from the old one as well as the battery pack, even if I need to exchange the landscape grip.
Raist3d: Richard, something is not quite right with this explanation of the high res mode. We were just discussing that over the m43rds forum and the point was brought forward.
Think about it- if you are capturing full color in a spatial position, that gives you an original "Foveon X3" type file of 16MP. If you shift a bit to then do the 4-position dance again, that at best gives you another 16 MP file. So the total is really 32MP, not 64MP, or even 40 MP.
My guess here is that Olympus is doing a clever analysis that gives them the near full color data and bump up to 40 MP. Makes even more sense why it's 40 MP and not 64 MP. The 64 MP file does not seem to me would be full spatial resolution. It also keeps color moire at bay.
The premises are wrong, Anastigmat. It isn't complicated to transfer R&D from one sensor size to another, and there is no reason why M43 should be behind or ahead in technology compared to other similarly-sized formats, like 135 or APS-C.
Also, while I agree that low volume may drive up prices, the cost of making each sensor is still going to be cheaper for smaller sensors. Smaller sensors means more sensors per wafer, and less risk of imperfections ruining an individual sensor.
Macx: This may sound like a strange request, but could you show us the bottom of the camera? I'm not a weirdo, but one of the small niggles I have with the Mark 1 is that (unless you use the landscape grip) the tripod mount is a bit off set from the sensor-lens axis.
Thanks a lot, both :)
Seems they've sorted out that problem as well.
stevo23: Looking at the Imaging Resource comparison and other samples, I can only conclude that while you're apparently getting a 40Mp file, you're NOT getting the resolution of a 40Mp camera - nowhere close.
I'm looking at the studio comparison in this review. DPR switched them, btw, because the first they put up were bad, so you may only have seen the old ones. Please take a look at how the Olympus outresolves the Nikon in the line pairs per mm targets, and how the Olympus doesn't show moire on the amber/teal and red/blue targets. And finally please look at how the Nikon shows false colours in the monochrome engraving and the Olympus doesn't.
I'd be happy to concede that the "Hi-Res" process is a niche application, but saying that they are garbage and that you could spot them a mile away comes across as incredible in the face the images provided by DPR in this preview. Perhaps you could point me to images that show the inferiority of the Olympus as clearly as you imply?
Also, I still believe you're wrong that the Hi-Res process is as undemanding on the lens as a normal 16 Mp shot. In order for the system to create a 40 Mp image, the optics needs to resolve for that resolution as well.
The camera is creating an image from a grid of 64 Mp, when shooting in Hi-Res mode. That is the native resolution of the image that is then downscaled into the 40 Mp finished image. The 40 Mp is what the lens needs to resolve. There is no essential difference between doing it by using a digital scan back, shifting the sensor array like the Olympus, or from a normal stationary sensor array.
Take a look at the difference between the false coloration and moiré visible in the samples from the 36 Mp Nikon compared to the 40 Mp output from the Olympus in this very review. There you can see the better colours and resolution this approach allows.
Would I rather have the 40 Mp as the default (and ideally with the sensor shift to get better colour information or even higher resolution)? Yes. It would be enormously more practical. But for the niche stuff like still life or architecture, it seems to me to be working excellently.
Kwick1: Brand new sensor? According to Robin Wong of Olympus, it's exactly the same as the E-M1 and all of that similar generation. Face it, micro-four thirds is stuck in a rut until that sensor is improved.
It's important to note that diffraction isn't a cliff you suddenly drive off, it's an effect that is present even at the widest of apertures and gradually and slowly becomes more noticeable. The concept of the "diffraction limit" is misleading people: Better optics and higher pixel counts will provide increasingly better resolution, even beyond whatever arbitrary "diffraction limit" website calculators will tell you.
This may sound like a strange request, but could you show us the bottom of the camera? I'm not a weirdo, but one of the small niggles I have with the Mark 1 is that (unless you use the landscape grip) the tripod mount is a bit off set from the sensor-lens axis.
ptox: And as for all the stuck-in-the-past claims of MFT's inferiority to modern APSC cameras -- yes, yes, DXO gives the sensors a score of 7 or 8 below the latest from Nikon, and yes, there's more shadow noise than the very best from Fuji .. but what does that mean in terms of appreciation for the final product, especially when it's from the hands and eyes of a skilled photographer?
Very little at all.
Just consider that MFT today is superior in virtually every IQ respect (and certainly in operational speed and features) to every 35mm pro DSLR from around the time of the 5D Mark 1 and earlier -- ages ago in technological terms, granted, but how many professional photos were taken with that equipment, published across the globe, and enjoyed by millions of viewers?
MFT surpasses the output of those cameras, yet somehow still hasn't reached the special bar required by the more critical in this community?
Whether the current M43 handles better or worse than other sensors in low light comes down to how you think about "low light". We've been schooled into thinking low light as "high ISO" situations, but the "ISO" we use is a rather academical and artificial construct that's been allowed to hang on, because that's what we were used to using when we brought film at the store.
If we instead base our thinking on shutter time, aperture size (not f-number) and the light from the scene we're shooting, it reveals that the advantage the larger formats have for "low light" is that they have lenses with larger apertures. The sensors themselves are not particularly better one way or the other for "low light" (if we're looking at roughly the same generation of sensors, and roughly the same amount of pixels; more pixels gives a little more noise in this case).
Instead, the sensor matters at the "high light"-scenarios. A bigger sensor can record more light in a single exposure, than a smaller one.
Somewhere close, I'd say. Looking at the samples, you get much better colour resolution and less moiré from fine textures from the Olympus than from the Bayer interpolated cameras, but for the broader strokes, the native 40 Mp cameras have the edge. Maybe it has to do a bit with the optical resolution of the lenses used?
Anyway, the real disadvantage is that it needs multiple (electronic) exposures and a tripod, which obviously makes it much less practical. I wonder how fast Olympus could make the process if the target resolution was 16 Mp. I'd imagine that would only need 3 electronic exposures to capture R, G and B for every image pixel.
tags: Honestly... NO NATIVE ISO 100. I've been waiting for olympus to do that for years. If the trick ISO 100 expansion works well... I will get it but landscape shooters really like having LOW ISO. The 40mp mode needs a tripod anyway so no ISO 100 is just silly
I agree that it would be handy, but it's hardly a deal breaker for me: You get a 1/16000 shutter time for those very bright situations.
Don't be fooled into thinking that a native ISO 100 would always be more noise-free than a native ISO 200 camera. As technology is today, the only way Olympus (or whomever manufactured the sensor) could make a a lower base ISO is by making it less efficient at capturing light, in effect putting a ND filter over the sensor.
Also, keep in mind that Olympus are often rather conservative with their ISO numbering, having a "better safe than sorry" approach to exposure. If it's like its predecessor, you can shoot it at something close to ISO 125, bearing in mind that it leaves very little or no leeway with regards to accidental overexposure by the user.