Olympus OM-D: Comparing the new E-M1 Mk II vs E-M1 & E-M5 II

It’s official. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has been formally announced. The press release didn’t specify a date, but DPReview does note that “the camera will come later this year.” Which is a bit of a surprise, as it has been speculated that it will ship in 2017 due to earthquakes at the factory.

Here are the specs and how it compares to the original E-M1:

  • 20 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor, the original E-M1 has 16mp.
  • Advanced 5-Axis Image Stabilization, an improved algorithm that offers 5.5 stops of compensation (the original promised 5). I did previously find a patent from Olympus that showed Dual IS like technology, and we’ll see that implemented for the first time in the E-M1 II where you can combine Olympus equipped in-lens stabilization with IBIS for “the world’s most powerful 6.5 shutter speed stops of compensation for blur-free handheld shooting of stills and video.” Still no word on whether this will work with Panasonic O.I.S. lenses, which could decide whether I buy the E-M1 II or the G80 or GH5.
  • Lightweight, Weatherproof Body, though slightly bigger than the E-M1 (W:134.1mm H:90.9mm D:68.9mm at 498 grams VS W:130.4mm × H:93.5mm × D:63.1mm at 443 grams).
  • 60fps Seq. Shooting (Electronic), versus 11fps on the E-M1. That is a huge improvement! You can also do 18fps with C-AF.
  • 1/8000s High-Speed Mechanical Shutter, same specs on the mechanical shutter, the electronic shutter improved 1-stop to 1/32000 sec.
  • Cinema 4K Video, the first Olympus OM-D camera to feature 4k, and you can use it with IBIS, joining the Panasonic GX85 and the upcoming Panasonic G85 as the other µ43 cameras that can do both.
  • 121-Point Dual FAST AF, versus the Single AF with 81-points on the E-M1.
  • Fully-Articulating 3.0” Touch Monitor, versus a tilting LCD on the E-M1.
  • 50 Megapixel High-Res Shot Mode, first introduced with the EM-5 II, this feature is now on the E-M1 II with an improved image processer that will help “effectively suppress blur due to subject movement, making it possible to utilize High Res Shot Mode in a wide variety of conditions, such as gently-blowing grass, tree leaves, or ocean waves.” A welcome improvement, as that was a noted drawback of the original iteration – we’ll have to see how it executes though.
  • Focus Bracketing and Stacking
  • Built-In Wi-Fi

One thing left out is the hand-held 50mp High-Res mode, 43Rumors speculated that would be included but we’ll have to wait for the next iteration (or possibly a firmware update).

How does it stack with the E-M5 II? 

Before the differences between the OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 weren’t that drastic, but with the announcement of the E-M1 II, we’re seeing a lot more differences that further push the E-M1 II into the professional category.

Other than the bump in megapixels (which I don’t really care about), I’d love to see how the new Dual AF works in practice. As a headshot photographer, the improvement in the ISO LOW feature, now an equivalent to ISO64 is also a welcome addition.

And 4k video with Olympus’ world class IBIS is something I’ve been clamoring for (though no mention of crop factor though).

I’ve waited quite a while to upgrade, and now I’m blown away with the latest offerings from all camera manufacturers. I’m gonna stick with µ43 for now, and I’ll have to decide between the E-M1 I, G80 and GH5. Hmmmm….

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