Bang for the Buck: Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Review
Let's go into more detail about some of the E-M10's most compelling new and updated features.
5-axis image stabilization
|The E-M10 II corrects for pitch (1), yaw (2), horizontal and vertical translation (3/4) and rotation (5) by moving its sensor.|
The image stabilization system on the E-M10 II has been updated to 5-axis, meaning that it corrects for pitch, yaw, rotation, and horizontal/vertical translation. While the number of axes is the same on the E-M5 Mark II, it's not the exact same system, possibly due to space reasons. The E-M10 II's IS performance isn't as robust as its big brother, offering four stops of shake reduction compared to five (using the CIPA standard).
Below is a video that shows you how well the two different IS modes (sensor shift only, sensor-shift + digital) work in movie mode (there's a real world example later in this review).
There are no real surprises here. The best results come from sensor shift + digital IS though, as you can see, the field-of-view is cropped.
AF targeting pad
A feature new to Olympus cameras is 'AF targeting pad', which has been on several of Panasonic's recent mirrorless cameras, where it's called Touchpad AF. With your eye to the viewfinder you can use your finger on the touchscreen LCD to move the focus point around. It's a handy feature that lets you keep a firm grip on the camera instead of having to move your hand to use the four-way controller. There are 800 points from which you can select via the touchscreen or four-way controller.
The original E-M10 did not have a full electronic shutter, though a first-curtain e-shutter was added via a firmware update. The E-M10 II has a fully electronic shutter, allowing for a top shutter speed of 1/16000 sec and completely silent shooting.
There's another situation in which the e-shutter comes in handy. Something called 'shutter shock' - blurring caused by vibrations of the shutter mechanism - is a minor issue on the E-M10 II when using the mechanical shutter at speeds between 1/60 and 1/200 sec. Turning on the anti-shock feature, which uses an electronic first-curtain shutter, reduces the shake. The best option is to use the full electronic shutter, which completely eliminates the issue. There are times where you don't want to use it, though, mainly when shooting in artificial light at shutter speeds about 1/250 sec, where banding can occur.
The E-M10 II has the latest iteration of the company's Wi-Fi system. It offers two levels of access: a private connection for the owner and one for guests. If enabled, the 'One-Time' guest mode allows friends to connect to the camera, even if they don't have the Olympus app, but only gives them access to images that have been specifically selected on the camera.
Using the O.I.Share app (available for both iOS and Android) you can establish a private connection, with the option to use the QR code on the back of the camera to transfer the connection details to your phone, rather than having to type them in.
|In this view of the Android version of Oi.Share you can see the 'buttons' for drive mode, touch AF, shutter release, and image playback.
Tapping on the exposure, ISO, and white balance data near the bottom of the screen lets you quickly adjust these settings.
Once this has been done, it's relatively easy to reconnect to the camera: press the on-screen Wi-Fi button in playback mode or select it from the menu, then open the app on your smart device (Apple's security means that iOS users will have to manually connect to the camera's Wi-Fi, too).
Connecting with the app also gives you the chance to remotely control the camera, which gives a moderate degree of access to different camera settings.
Unfortunately, Olympus' Auto ISO implementation is rather simplistic. You can set minimum and maximum ISOs for the algorithm, but that's about it. There's no dedicated control over the minimum shutter speed the camera will allow before increasing ISO. The camera does take into account focal length used when determining this minimum shutter speed itself, but there's no way for the user to bias this algorithm. Given the far more programmable Auto ISO implementations we see in cameras from Nikon, and now Sony and Canon, it'd be nice to see the feature updated in Olympus cameras.
Note you can kind of hack your way around the lack of a minimum shutter speed option by changing the 'Flash Slow Limit' setting in Custom Menu F2. This determines the slowest shutter speed the camera will use when using a flash, but also affects the Auto ISO behavior. The camera will hike up the ISO setting when it hits either 1/Equivalent Focal Length or the Flash Slow Limit speed: whichever is faster. It would be a lot clearer if you could just explicitly choose a minimum shutter speed.
Also missing: exposure compensation with Auto ISO in M mode, which is becoming a standard on most cameras today.
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