2019 Buying Guide: Best cameras under $1500
Published Mar 14, 2019 | dpreview staff
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II
16MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor | In-body image stabilization | 1080/60p video
What we like:
- Very good image quality with good dynamic range and color
- Extensive, customizable external controls
- Excellent image stabilization system
What we don't:
- Resolution lags beyond contemporary standards
- Complex menu system can be overwhelming
- Video output lacking in fine detail
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 II might appear to be relatively unchanged compared to its predecessor, still offering a 16MP Four Thirds sensor and those classic OM-series looks.
However, the control points have been reworked allowing for quick, direct access to exposure settings and the construction made impressively solid. The sheer number of buttons and dials on a camera body this small means that those with larger fingers may experience some difficulty, but for everyone else, it can be a pleasure to use.
The E-M5 II is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts
In single-acquisition mode, the E-M5 II is one of the fastest-to-focus cameras we’ve tested, with almost all lenses snapping into focus near instantly. Autofocus tracking is not so assured, but is still pretty good considering this is a 100% contrast-detection system. Reliable, precise eye-detection AF is an added bonus.
Image quality is excellent for the sensor size, and JPEG shooters are likely to be impressed with its color rendering. However, other cameras in this price range include higher resolution sensors with little or no penalty in terms of dynamic range or noise performance. One stand-out feature on the Olympus is a 40 megapixel option for stills shooters, which uses the sensor-shift stabilization system to combine multiple exposures into one higher-resolution image. Of course, it only works for static subjects, and a tripod is absolutely required.
The video mode, bolstered by high bit rates, frame rates, and an effective in-body stabilization system, is eminently usable for all but top-quality productions. Absolute detail capture isn't stellar, but the E-M5 II’s footage is fine for a range of applications and the stabilization makes it easy to shoot with.
The E-M5 II is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Sure, the ever-growing feature list results in a potentially overwhelming menu system, and the resolution is on the low end these days. But, despite these criticisms, the multitude of updates Olympus has made in creating the E-M5 II has resulted in an outstanding camera.
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