Frankly, the OM5II is probably the best camera that I've used in four decades. Only the original OM-1, the OM-4Ti and perhaps the Nikon F80 come close in terms of functionality, portability and overall pleasure-to-use. It is probably true that it is difficult to ensure the peak of skilled individually-adjusted finishing and assembly that the very best optics require outside of countries like Japan and Germany and the US. (I also use astronomical telescopes and eyepieces, with which this ia also the case. However, camera production seems to have become a highly automated and standardized process which companies like Nikon and Canon have also done and contracted out to a variety of other countries.
Bravo Olympus, for a very pleasant surprise.
While it is true that the user-interface and menu-system would certainly benefit from a significant work-over, and that a way of adding such features to the original |OM-5 would be wonderful, Olympus does seem to have really worked to provide owners with just about every improvement doable by software with the existing electronics and mechanical systems.
And they have, at least, very much included the EM-1 in the process.
The problem is, in fact, real.
As a former employment counselor for immigrant professionals, I have come to know a dozen+ pros from all over the world. Those *without* neck & shoulder problems are in the minority: big, fit usually younge guys. (This is a major reason that belts and vests, sling bags and more elaborate solutions as Katas convertible backpack-sling, Thinktank's rotating bags have become so popular.)
What matters is the weight, balance and bulk of the all the parts of - and the total package of - the kit needed to do a particular "shoot" or combination of shoots. While this may mean an 11"x14" view camera and tripod for Clyde Butcher, many great photographs as well as countless reviews and user reports demonstrate that mFT cameras and lenses from Olympus and pansonic (and the mirrorless offerings srom Sony and Samsung) can indeed do the job,
Olympus has has its problems. It has also long produced smaller, lighter camera kit much needed by many.
Prairie Pal: How hard can it be to design an endoscope? It's basically a GoPro attached to a rubber hose.
Really...so are you ready to be subjected to certain embarrassing and very uncomfortable medical procedures with a GoPro at the end of a rubber hose? I prefer to insist on the latest in miniaturization technology for same. There's a reason Olympus leads in Endoscopy.
rgump12: some of the comments here read like you guys are straight from 1959 middle america or something! "of course ff is the endpoint we should ALL aspire to, etc" ?! Are you serious?? The ignorance, to be saying what you happen to think the whole damn world should want because you Think so! The best part of it is that so many people who say things like this are the most dreary of image makers. After seeing Ray Metzker's half frame camera images of people on the beach, are you going to tell him that he Should aspire to some other type/size/whatever of camera?? Do you think that Kertesz blew it, because he really should have Moved Up to a Rolleiflex instead of one of those little film Leica cameras?? There are many people who might do well to move Up to a pinhole camera from their D800 to really get the kind of image they cannot with the FF Nikon. Is some company paying you to talk like that?? People who think like this Today are an embarrassment.
Cameras are tools for image making. W. Eugene Smith was fired from his first real job (Newsweek) because he used 35mm cameras and that publication considered inferior-quality toys. Many of his great photographs could never have been taken with other than his discrete little contax and leica cameras. This is also why one Iraq combat photographer insisted on using several little Olympus C5050Z P&S cameras rather than "pro" dslrs (you could run much faster with them!).Clyde Butcher (like Ansel Adams before him) does indeed need big cameras for the work he does. Sebastiao Salgado needed weathrproof, Canon 1D's for the images he shot in hellish near-polar cold, ocean gales and steaming jungles in order to eventually make the big GENESIS museum d prints and book.
Most,photographers - and many pros - would be better served by smaller, lighter equipment that they will be able to afford build a fuller system with, and also carry with them on a regular basis, and even travel with.
DavinaG: It is funny how many "photographers" focus so much time arguing the technology and so little time capturing the art. The great photographers in history had a fraction of the toolbox we have and still inspire us. The camera used and enjoyed is the best tool for the job.
The point is that the great photographers of the previous century were able to take timeless pictures with equipment whose image - making ability - resolution, light sensitivity, colour-rendering ability, etcetera - was far inferior to even a mid range modern camera.
villagranvicent: For a medium format user full frame starts at 6x4.5cm... For a large format user full frame starts at 10x12.5cms, so which one is full frame? Agree with DavinaG, we spend too much time reviewing new gear instead of going out and taking pictures with whatever camera we have. At the end a bad photographer will create bad pictures not matter the camera and the other way around.
Because scissors are much easier to carry ;-)!
Dellis12: Time-honored argument...I started in film, shot 2 1/4, 645 along with 35mm as a pro. Switched to digital, went from APS-C to full frame. Got rid of my 5DIIs and 6 L-series lenses several months ago in favor of an OMD-EM1, knowing full well the "limitations" of the sensor and DOF. The reason was simple. I shoot mostly street and pointing a 4-lb black box either freaked out my subjects or enraged them. It's a different era. I've shot some of my best images ever with the Oly. The kit w/4 lenses is about 10 lbs, not 40. And given that I print no larger than 13x19, no image loss whatsoever. Point is that tools are just that. You've got to find a set that either inspires you to better work or makes it easier. Preferably both. Unless you're a pro shooting billboards, all of it is fantastic.
A year and a half ago I was in Rio di Janeiro and managed to shoot many worthwhile discrete and also many "surprised-but-delighted-to-have-my-picture-taken" pictures of interesting people and situations because I could slip two cameras with lenses (an Olympus OMD-5 and a PL-5 into and out of a discrete little Domke F5XC bag which also gave me instant access to 3 other lenses. T%here is no way I could have done that as effectively - or as safely (on the back streets of Rio!).
People do, very much, react to the size and form of cameras and lenses. So do thieves and muggers. And also airlines, with whom I've learned that it is indeed wise to have room (and weight allowance!) for a few other carry-on items in addition to photo stuff.
To me, there has long been something of an inherent absurdity in freighting what was designed to be a compact, carry-along-anywhere camera with huge bodies and lenses. And even-more to preserving that initial, double cine-frame format as sensors have evolved to the point where a micro Four Thirds or similarly-sized sensor can consistently equal or better the image quality to that was delivered by 35mm film cameras at their peak.
There are a very few who require the now-equal-to-what-medium -format-used-to-deliver output of such cameras. Sebastião Salgado's huge, magnificent images come to mind. So do the large and beautiful skyscapes o0f "Volcanoman" Brad Lewis, one of which hangs on our wall.
However, for the vast majority of photographers, "FF" is at best a questionable investment that becomes increasingly so as one grows older or less interested in hauling more than ten pounds of equipment.
(unknown member): Lightroom 6???
Lightroom has been their concession to those who insist on the right to own software. They are very likely waiting for us to give up and start renting.
erichK: I no longer have any interest inn Adobe and its products because I am unwilling to enter into ongoing indentured servitude with them.
There will always be some of us who refuse to bow to the dictates of huge, monopolistic corporations. Their strategy of crushing competition has always been essentially the same.They tend to drive real innovation to the margins until they disintegrate from their very failure to respond to technological change because of their obsessive need to control and limit it. Kodak was a prime example.
I no longer have any interest inn Adobe and its products because I am unwilling to enter into ongoing indentured servitude with them.
erichK: Looks like a great carry-around camera, except for one thing: the 24-70 zoom range is just too short at the long end to really be useful.
Each to his or her own. I simply find that a take- along camera is much more useful if it goes to 120mm or especially 135mm (35mm equivalent).
I love the 24-120mm range Nikon seems to have pioneered, as the faster and closer-focussing 12-60 Olympus FT equivaent, and generally find say their mFT 12-40 much less useful as a walkabout lens. and I like walking!
Looks like a great carry-around camera, except for one thing: the 24-70 zoom range is just too short at the long end to really be useful.
The most important factor is Adobe's violation of their assurance that they would not compel Lightroom users to become captives of their "bleed-every-month" subscription system.
A very good reason to look elsewhere that this moster corporation for software. And an opportunbity for *real* innovators.
I looked at the pictures and groaned: mostly a set of competently framed and exposed, often over-processed visual clichés. It is gratifying to note that others here, too, recognized this.
The message seems to be that if you use Sony, then you can take pretty pictures like this, too. And the Chinese professional model is, for me, the kicker! Good for him that he's found a way to enter Moss's profession, though likely at a more modest level of remuneration!
mpgxsvcd: The "PROs" seem to far outweigh the "CONS".
The cons -except for the so-so video- are mostly minor irritants which one finds with almost any camera. I don't like the little plastic flaps over the I/O of the EM-1 or EM-5 or even the bigger one on the E-3/5, for example. The pros, though, are big things that cause me to like - and use - my OM-D's and lenses more every day.
mpgxsvcd: The E-PM2 seems to stack up well against this camera when you consider the price. The E-PM2 can be had for less than $400 with two lenses. The E-M10 has wireless and some other really nice features. However, it is much more expensive as well.
It's likely perfectly possible to use and get good pictures out of the PM-2, which a real bargain, as I found to be the case with the PL-5. BUT as an advanced photographer, you get a lot more convenient and complete control over a really wide set of options with the OM-D series, and also more ergonomic handling with larger lenses.
Steven Wandy: Very interesting - but what is the difference in this patent's abilities and what they implemented in the EM10? Sounds like the same thing.
I think that what you are referring to on the EM-10 is likely the same "Live Time" or "Live Bulb" technology mentioned in the above article. That is, a mechanical and software process of building up the image by stacking a series of shots, that has, in itself long been used in astrophotography BUT with the additional control of being able to view the image after each new exposure has been added, and to stop the process at will.
The big difference is that this still uses a uniform level of sensitivity and reading of all photosites (pixels), while the patent seems to be for a way of actually varying these for different areas of the image, presumably mapped by the intensity of light hitting them, and controllable by the user.
erichK: What a boring group of Japanese corporate patriarchs! Even more excruciating than the Sigma, Fujifilm and Sony mughshots of aging male corporate types that have recently appeared here. And we saw a similar bunch of old boys scrambling to cover up the idiocies of their corporate hierarchy at Olympus a couple of years ago. ( A couple even had to give up their corporate sinecures!)
Guess that Japanese corporate leadership is closed to any real innovators, and of course absolutely to women. No wonder their economy remains on the skids: they shut out more than half the people who could really find a way forward!
Mostly agree. And it seems to especially be a problem of Japanese corporations (and society), though I don't know if Korea is any better. Apparently Maitani, the designer of the Olympus Pen, then the OM series, was overjoyed to note women using his Pen. Had not expected it, but included in his design objectives for later cameras. There are some very talented women photographers out there, and they are not looking for pink cameras. There are also talented women in business. As already mentioned, they do bring some special things to companies prepared to enlist and listen to them, (And, at the risk of causing offence all around, I can't resist mentioning that they do tend to look a little better than that Nikon quartet ;-)