Studio Comparison

Our latest test scene is designed to simulate both daylight and low-light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget allows you to switch between the two. The daylight scene is shot with manually set white balance aimed at achieving neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests (except Raw, which is manually corrected during conversion). We also offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Web', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons to more fairly compare cameras of differing resolutions by ensuring equivalent viewing sizes.

Take a look at the E-M5 II with preliminary ACR Raw support against some of its competitors.

The Original E-M5 was a breakthrough for the Micro Four Thirds system in that it offered a competitive sensor with Olympus's generally excellent JPEG processing engine. With equal technology, the size difference between Micro Four Thirds and APS-C would mean a 2/3EV difference in potential for light capture. However, the E-M5's sensor was suitably advanced that it actually closed that gap against some of its larger-sensor competitors, in many respects.

On the JPEG side of things, the E-M5 II still does pretty well. Its color rendition is punchy but pleasant and its noise reduction, while a little aggressive on fine detail at low ISO settings, gives high ISO results that look pretty good when compared to larger-sensor cameras from Canon, and doesn't give up too much against some of its most competitive peers, such as the Sony a6000.

When it comes to Raw, the E-M5 II appears to give a very similar performance to its predecessor. This means it's still competitive against some Canon APS-C cameras, but lags behind the likes of Sony's a6000 or Nikon's D5500. And, if you compare the E-M5 II's ISO 6400 results to the ISO 6400 and ISO 12,800 output from those camera, you'll see the difference between them is less than a stop. Around 2/3EV, in all likelihood.

With Samsung's NX1 representing a significant step forward for its APS-C cameras and significantly outperforming the Olympus, the list of cameras the E-M5 II can measure up to is falling (though the availability of fast lenses for the Olympus can help close that gap again). Overall, then, the E-M5 II is still competitive, but it's no longer punching above its weight as its predecessor did against its APS-C contemporaries.