Olympus unveils OM-D E-M5 Mark II

Three years of enhancements embodied in replacement for the first OM-D

UK guide price £899.99 body only, £1099.99 with 12-50mm kit zoom

Availability: end of February 2015

Today at the Japanese CIPA+ show in Japan Olympus takes the wraps off the replacement for the OM-D E-M5, its first OM-D Micro Four Thirds system camera. With such a good reputation earned by the E-M5 Olympus has opted to call the new camera the E-M5 Mark II. But although there is a glancing similarity in appearance to the original E-M5, the Mark II is to all intents and purposes a completely new design. Highlights include a 40 megapixel sensor-shift composite mode, multiple frame rate HD video modes up to 60p at last, Wi-Fi support, and a much hoped-for vari-angle rear LCD (at last).

It only seems like yesterday that Olympus unveiled its OM 35mm SLR inspired OM-D E-M5. In fact that launch was almost exactly five years ago. The E-M5 marked a big step forward for Olympus with features like its iconic retro styling, fast and quiet shooting, improved sensor, dust and moistrue sealing, improved sensor-shift image stabilisation and overdue inclusion of an eye-level viewfinder. The E-M5 went on to be a huge success for Olympus, reputedly out-selling all previous Pen Micro Four Thirds models with ease. The E-M5 was followed by the E-M1 flagship model, with enhanced support for older Four Thirds DSLR lenses, plus the more affordable E-M10. The E-M5 Mark II has an important job of revitalising the OM-D line-up and could continue its predecessor's accomplishment of being Olympus' best-seller.

In the m.Zuiko Pro pipeline: a 300mm f/4, 7-14mm and 8mm fisheye


Olympus has also revealed that the forthcoming m.Zuiko Pro 8mm fisheye lens will have a ground-breaking maximum aperture of f/1.8

I will be getting my hands on the E-M5 Mark II next Monday at a European launch event in Prague. Until then, here are some key observations about the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II, followed by a comparison with the original E-M5 plus the E-M1:

Key differences and new features of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II:

  • Sensor resolution remains 16 megapixels but an interesting new 40 megapixel composite mode combining 8 sequential shots while the sensor-shift IS system manipulates the sensor position is included.
  • Vari-angle 3 inch 1024K dot LCD touch screen; more flexible side-hinged and selfie-capable.
  • Heavily revised controls and layout.
  • Viewfinder upgraded to E-M1’s 2.36 million dot resolution.
  • World’s shortest shutter lag – 45% less than original E-M5
  • Anti-shock first curtain electronic shutter is now compatible with sequential shooting.
  • 1/8000th second fastest mechanical shutter speed.
  • Solid state silent shutter works up to 1/16000th second.
  • 10fps sequential shooting rate.
  • 81-point contrast detect autofocus but no E-M1 style support for PDAF to optimise use of Four Thirds lenses.
  • Focus peaking now supported.
  • 999 shot intervalometer now included.
  • Electronic tilt/shift lens emulation mode for keystone correction of images works in live view.
  • Support for Accessory Port devices has been dropped.
  • Two-part grip developed from E-M5: HLD-8 battery holder with portrait mode controls and separate ECG-2 all metal extended hand grip which can be used independently of the HLD-8.
  • There is no built-in flash but a new FL-LM3 mini flash, with bounce mode and multi-channel remote flash control commander capabilities is bundled.
  • Movie mode now supports Full HD 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p and 60p.
  • Highest quality movie mode now generates 77Mb data rate.
  • Support for UHS-II high data rate SD/SDXC memory cards.
  • No support for 4K video.
  • Enhanced touch screen controls for movie mode.
  • Wi-Fi added but GPS still dependent on connected smartphone or tablet.
  • USB cable tethered shooting mode supported.
  • PT-EP13 underwater case capable of use down to 45 metres.

Comparing the E-M5 Mark II with the original E-M5 and the OM-D E-M1

  OM-D E-M5 Mark II OM-D E-M5 Mark I OM-D E-M1
Weight (body only) 417g 373g 443g
Height 85mm 89.6mm 93.5mm
Width 123.7mm 121mm 130.4mm
Body construction Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy Magnesium alloy
Dust/splash proof Yes Yes Yes
Sensor resolution 16MP 16MP 16MP
Image processing engine TruePic VII TruePic VI TruePic VII
Sensor shift image stabilisation 5-axis voice-coil/5EV* 5-axis voice-coil/4EV* 5-axis voice-coil/4EV*
40 megapixel composite shot mode Yes No No
Intervalometer 999 frames No 999 frames
GPS support Via smartphone/tablet No Via smartphone/tablet
UHS-II SD Card support Yes No No
Rear screen Vari-angle 3 inch LCD touch screen Up/down tilt 3 inch OLED touch screen Up/down tilt 3 inch LCD touch screen
Viewfinder 2.36 million dots 1.44 million dots 2.36 million dots
Maximum shooting rate 10fps 9fps 10fps
Focus peaking support Yes No Yes
No. of AF points 81 35 81
Four Thirds lens PDAF support No No Yes
USB tethering support Yes No Yes
HD video modes Full HD 24p, 25p, 50p, 60p Full HD 30p Full HD 30p
Accessory Port No Yes Type II Yes Type II
ISO range 100-25600 200-25600 100-25600
Maximum shutter speed 1/8000th 1/4000th 1/8000th
Solid state silent shutter Yes, max 1/16000th No No
Keystone compensation mode Yes No Yes (fw2.0)
Wi-Fi support Yes No Yes

*CIPA standard measurement for Image Stabilisation effectiveness.

Reader feedback:

Discuss this story: