Ultimate OM-D: Olympus E-M1 Mark II Review
Olympus' OM-D E-M1 has been one of our favorite mirrorless cameras since its introduction in 2013. It impressed us with its build quality, image quality, ridiculous amount of manual control (that's a compliment) and boatload of features. Three years later, it's still very competitive.
To say that Olympus has outdone itself with the E-M1 Mark II is an understatement. The company told us that this camera was overdeveloped, and it shows. Its blazing dual quad-core processors allow for 60 fps burst shooting (18 fps w/continuous autofocus) and ridiculously fast image playback. Combine that with one of the most advanced autofocus systems we've seen and 5-axis in-body image stabilization – along with what made the original so impressive – and the Mark II is a force to be reckoned with.
One thing about the Mark II that makes us pause is its price. While its MSRP of $2000 is equal to that of Nikon's D500 and full-frame D750 (though, at time of publication, they are selling for $1800), the Mark II's Four Thirds sensor is small in comparison to the D500 and other APS-C cameras and tiny versus full-framers.
- 20MP Live MOS sensor
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization system
- 121-pt hybrid AF system
- 60 fps burst shooting (18 fps with continuous AF)
- Fully articulating 3" LCD display
- High-res electronic viewfinder
- Cinema (DCI) and UHD 4K video
- 50MP High-Res Shot mode
- Weather-sealed body
- USB 3 (Type-C)
Compared to Olympus E-M1 and Nikon D500
We are including the D500 here since it's target audience is in the same vein: those who want high-speed shooting and an advanced AF system. As mentioned above, they both have a similar MSRP.
|Olympus E-M1 II||Olympus E-M1||Nikon D500|
|Sensor||20MP Four Thirds||16MP Four Thirds||21MP APS-C|
|ISO range (expanded)||64 - 25600||100 - 25600||50 - 1640000|
|Image stabilization||In-body (up to 5.5 stops*)||In-body (up to 4 stops)||Lens only|
|Autofocus system||121-point hybrid||81-point hybrid||153-pt phase-detect|
|Burst mode (electronic)||60 fps (AF-S)
18 fps (AF-C)
|11 fps (AF-S)||N/A|
|Burst mode (mechanical)||15 fps (AF-S)
10 fps (AF-C)
|10 fps (AF-S, no IS)
6.5 fps (AF-C, no IS)
|LCD||3" fully articulating touchscreen||3" tilting touchscreen||3.2" tilting touchscreen|
|Viewfinder||2.36M-dot EVF (0.74x equiv. mag)||Optical
(0.67x equiv. mag)
|Flash||GN 9.1 external||GN 7 external||None|
|Video capture||DCI/UHD 4K (237Mbps)||1080/30p (24Mbps)||UHD 4K (144Mbps)|
|Video output||4:2:2 over HDMI||N/A||4:2:2 over HDMI|
|I/O ports||Headphone, mic, remote, flash sync, USB 3, HDMI||Mic, remote, USB, HDMI||Headphone, mic, remote, flash sync, USB 3, HDMI|
|Storage||Dual SD (UHS-II/UHS-I)||SD (UHS-I)||SD + XQD|
|Wireless||Yes||Yes||Yes, with Bluetooth and NFC|
|Battery life (CIPA)||440 shots||350 shots||1,240 shots|
|Dimensions||134 x 91 x 69mm||130 x 94 x 63mm||147 x 115 x 81mm|
* 6.5 stops with Olympus 12-100mm lens
At the time of its launch Olympus also debuted a number of accessories to go along with the E-M1 Mark II. The one most people will likely purchase is the HLD-9 battery grip ($249), which doubles battery life and offers two control dials and two custom buttons. It also features a DC-in jack, so you can power the camera via an outrageously priced AC adapter.
Also available is the powerful FL-900R external flash ($299), which has a guide number of 58m, built-in video lamp, wireless control and the ability to fire at 10 fps. The STF-8 Macro Flash Set ($479) has fully adjustable (and removable) left and right flashes, manual control down to 1/128 power and support for focus stacking. Both of these flashes are weather-sealed.
For those who want to take the camera underwater there's the PT-EP14 housing ($1299). It works down to 65m/196ft and numerous brackets, weights and arms are available. Naturally, you'll need a housing for whatever lens you attach.
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