by Ian Burley
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|
|Body construction||Magnesium alloy||Magnesium alloy||Magnesium alloy|
|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|
|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)|
*CIPA standard measurement for Image Stabilisation effectiveness.
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