Olympus OM-D E-M5 II Review
High Res Photo Mode
Probably the E-M5 II's most significant trick is its multi-shot High Res photo mode. This uses the camera's stabilization system to shift the sensor slightly between each exposure, meaning you effectively 'scan' the scene at higher resolution. It's something we've seen medium format makers do in the past, but this is the first time we've seen a mass-market product offer such a mode.
Because the camera builds up the final image from eight separate exposures, it can't really be used for moving subjects. Instead, Olympus suggests its use for product photography and, at a push, landscape work. The mode offers two delay options: one that adds a pause before the first exposure to let the camera settle, and a second that adds a delay between each shot, to give your strobes time to recycle.
The E-M5 II's high res feature builds up an image from eight consecutive frames:
Unlike the Hasselblad system, which uses four or six shots, the Olympus method uses eight. This is because it's essentially doing two things: the first four movements shift the sensor in whole-pixel jumps in a square pattern. This is designed to overcome the limitations of the Bayer color filter pattern: moving each red and blue pixel into all the gaps that would normally exist between them and their nearest same-color neighbor, meaning you sample every color at every pixel. The sensor then moves up and left by 1/2 a pixel's width and repeats its square pattern - theoretically doubling the vertical and horizontal resolution.
However, because there's some overlap between the original set of four pixels and the set of offset pixels, the system doesn't quite yield four times the original resolution (64MP). Instead, the camera compensates for this overlap and outputs a 40MP file. These files are captured both as 40MP JPEGs and as vast, 100MB Raw files.
40MP capture, viewed at 100%
|Standard 16MP capture, viewed at 158% (matched magnification)|
The disadvantage of taking so many shots to produce the composite image is, of course, that it takes longer to complete all the exposures and is, consequently, more sensitive to movement. However, the plus side is that it means the camera captures full color information about more of its captured area, giving a truly sharp image, if properly stabilized.
|As you might expect, the High Res mode has difficulty with subjects that move during the exposure.
A distinctive cross-hatched pattern is clearly visible in this brightened crop from the foreground of image above.
Hi Res mode is limited to a maximum of ISO 1600 and a minimum aperture of F8, presumably to stop the image becoming too blurred for the extra resolution to be particularly beneficial.
How does it compare with the Nikon D810?
Obviously the multi-shot nature of the E-M5 II makes it much less versatile than the natively 36MP Nikon D810. And, even though you could argue that you need to use a tripod to get the very best out of the Nikon, the results don't suddenly drop to the equivalent of 16MP if you don't. However, we thought it'd be interesting to see how the two compared if you do shoot a static subject.
Olympus E-M5 II, High Res
As you can see, the higher resolution of the E-M5 II's image doesn't give much of an advantage in terms of detail compared to the Nikon, perhaps in part because these are JPEG results that may not have optimal sharpening.
However, the benefit of sampling all colors at all locations is immediately apparent. The Nikon's Bayer color filter array means that it is only sampling one color (red, green or blue) at each pixel position. As soon as detail gets fine enough that it all falls within a single pixel, the camera doesn't have enough color information about it, resulting in false color (as seen in the crop of the black-and-white etching). It's particularly noticeable on the D810, since it doesn't have a low-pass filter to blur this super-fine detail across into the neighboring pixels.
Here we show the same first four steps as illustrated in the animation at the top of this page. This time, we show all three colors, not just red, and focus in on a quartet of pixels.
Because the first four steps ensure the Olympus is sampling all colors at all pixel positions (in addition to then repeating the process for an offset position), it means super-fine detail doesn't result in false color.
In addition, it also ensures that the camera's color resolution is as high as its luminance resolution (something we've only seen before with Sigma's Foveon technology). This becomes clearly visible in the final crops, where despite the two image's similar pixel counts, the Olympus image is able to much more accurately render the color resolution targets.
It's been twenty years since Jeff Keller founded the Digital Camera Resource Page, one of the first websites dedicated to digital photography. Jeff, who has been at DPReview for nearly five years, looks back at the rise and fall of consumer digital cameras and his website.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At #2 we have another staff favorite – the Sony Alpha a9.
Rotolight has released the Anova Pro 2 circular LED for stills and video, boasting a 70% increase in brightness and what the company describes as "unrivaled battery performance."
Designer Vinicius Araújo has imagined what he believes the perfect Adobe software keyboard might look like. From customizable touch pads, to a scroll wheel, to a little display that shows the tool in use, his design is pretty compelling.
Peak Design has teamed up with Leica to release a limited-edition backpack made special for fans of the Red Dot.
A portrait of an android woman has beaten over 5,700 pictures of humans to take third place in this year’s prestigious Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize. The judges were not told the subject was an 'android' until after the winning images were chosen.
Hauling around C-Stands just got a whole lot less annoying thanks to these new Matthews shoulder and roller bags, which can hold two or three C-stand (respectively) plus accessories.
Neal Preston has shot timeless photos of everyone from Led Zeppelin, to Whitney Houston, to Michael Jackson. In this interview, he offers insights into his craft to up-and-comer Elijah Dominique.
Future prosumer Canon DSLRs might feature light-up buttons, if this newly published patent is any indication of the camera company's plans.
Sony's a7R Mark III shoots 42.4MP files at 10fps and incorporates a robust video feature set, large battery, refined ergonomics and more. It certainly looks impressive, but what is it like to use, and how does it stack up against the rest of the market? Find out in our full review.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017 – the Fujifilm X100F takes the bronze and the #3 spot.
There's never been a better time to shop for a new camera, but the number of options available can be overwhelming. In this series of buying guides we've provided customized recommendations for several use cases, from shooting landscapes to buying a first camera for a student photographer.
Shopping for a camera with a set budget? No problem! We've rounded up our favorite cameras, broken them into price brackets and picked the best of the bunch.
Looking for a lightweight compact camera that's easy to bring with you anywhere? Or maybe you're smartphone-shopping and want the one that takes the best picture. And what if you want to shoot from above? In these buyers guides we have recommendations for the best compact cameras, smartphones and drones.
Despite reports to the contrary, analysis of DPReview images by our friend Jim Kasson confirms a disappointing fact: Sony a7R III is still a Star Eater. But there may be some improvements.
As the saying goes: A photo is worth a thousand words. And if you're sending that photo through Facebook Messenger, your thousand words now look twice as nice after today's update to 4K resolution.
Get to know the new Leica CL in short order by giving our 90 second 'First look' video a watch.
Leica has just released the CL, the forth in its series of APS-C L-mount cameras. Despite sharing a name with a camera released in the mid-70s, the new CL is a thoroughly modern ILC, with a 24MP sensor and built-in electronic viewfinder.
The Leica CL is a 24MP rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, which sits alongside the TL2 in the company's APS-C lineup. We've been using one for a few days – check out our gallery of images.
While it shares a name with one of Leica's most popular and affordable cameras of the 1970s, the new CL is separated from its namesake by more than just years. We've been using one for a few days - click through for a detailed first-impressions report.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #4 ranking goes to the Leica M10.
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.