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Live from Photokina - the new OM-D EM1 Mark II


You asked for it and Olympus has delivered and after three years we have a Mark 2 OM-D E-M1, which will ship before the end of this year. Journalists will get hands-on with evaluation units that are near enough production quality in early November. There are also two new Pro lenses, a super bright 25mm f/1.2 and a 12-100mm f/4 superzoom and a FL-900R flash.


Olympus live-streamed the event on YouTube

The headline features include a new 20 megapixel sensor with around 1 stop of improved dynamic range, 121 all cross-type on-sensor phase-detect AF points, new continuous AF algorithms which are designed to cope with up to 18 frames per second continuous shooting (while recording RAW files), up to 60 frames per second continuous shooting, an enhanced 50 megapixel high resolution mode that can cope better with detail changes caused by movement of the subject during exposure, a higher refresh rate for the viewfinder, faster battery charging with greater shot capacity, dual card slots with one being UHS-II compliant, Pro Capture mode that starts shooting a buffer of up to 14 frames before the shutter is fully pressed - helps avoid missing key action, a move from tilt up/down only to a side-hinged fully articulating touch screen, improved 5-axis image stabilisation, and quite a decent specification 4K video support - no mention of 4K stills modes in-camera.

Olympus is also introducing a three-tier Olympus Pro subscription support service for E-M1 Mark II owners, including a videoconference troubleshooting service. There are also several new accessories, including a much needed successor to the FL-50R flash, the FL-900R, plus a ruggedised STF-8 macro flash kit.

Below is a list of features that readers have informed me they would like to see added or improved. I have done my best to confirm what has been delivered and as soon as I can, assuming Olympus provides the information, I will update this list further with notes to clarify what the new camera has to offer:

Power

  • Compatibility with the current BLN-1 battery - ?
  • Compatibility with the existing HLD-7 grip - No - the tripod bush is now inline with the optical axis
  • A new dual-battery grip - ? There is a new HLD-9 grip but not yet sure it can take two batteries
  • In-camera battery charging - ?
  • Better battery stamina - Yes

Metering

  • OM-style multi-spot metering - No
  • Spot-metering weighted towards focus point selection - ?

Focusing

  • Increased number of phase detect AF points - Yes
  • How many PD AF points? - 121
  • Inclusion of cross-type phase detect AF points Yes (all 121 points)
  • How many cross-type AF points? 121 (all points)
  • Better AF tracking - Yes

Sensor

  • 20 megapixel sensor - Yes
  • Enhanced hi-resolution mode that will work with camera hand-held Enhanced 50MP mode but not for hand held use.
  • Better noise performance - ?
  • Better dynamic range Not confirmed but 1 stop being mentioned
  • Elimination of viewfinder black-out in sequential shooting - ?
  • Absence of conventional mechanical focal plane shutter No, but extensive use of electronic silent shutter

Usability

  • Improved electronic viewfinder Yes (higher refresh rate)
  • Dual card slots - yes
  • Support for UHS-II cards - Yes
  • Integrated GPS - No
  • No screen glow when display turned off Not sure but screen now reversible
  • USB 3.0 data port - Yes, USB 3 Type C
  • DisplayPort port - No
  • Bluetooth support - No
  • NFC support - No
  • Side-hinged articulating display - Yes
  • Redesigned menu system To some extent, but not radically
  • Enhanced multi-touch user interface (with pinch to zoom, etc.) - No
  • Custom settings that can be named - ?
  • Custom settings that can be exported/imported Not confirmed but apparently yes

Video

  • 4K video support - Yes
  • 4K stills support Yes, but not sure if selectable in-camera
  • Better Video control, like being able to change Aperture when recording - ?

I will have more answers later in the week after I have met with chief product and marketing manager from Olympus HQ in Tokyo, Toshi Terada. In the mean time here are some shots from launch event: