Steve's Conclusion

Steve's SnapShot

  • 16-Megapixel Live MOS Imaging Sensor
  • 3.0-Inch Vari-Angle Touch LCD Screen
  • 2.36-Million dot EVF
  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization System
  • TruePic VII image processor
  • Micro 4/3 mount system
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Weather-Resistant Construction
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Art Filters
  • In-Camera HDR
  • 40-Megapixel High Resolution mode
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
Pros
  • All shooting modes are accurate and easy in all situations
  • iAuto produces a much brighter, more vivid image
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • Weather-Resistant body is ready for almost any shooting conditions
  • Excellent overall image quality
  • 5-Axis image stabilization is fantastic and you will soon wonder how you lived without it
  • EVF is lifelike and provides an excellent shooting experience
  • High-Res LCD allows you to shoot and view images from any angle. Also allows touch-to-focus and touch-to-capture
  • Great shooting performance
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • WiFi offers easy sharing and remote options
  • Micro 4/3 mount offers a vast variety of lenses
  • HDMI output
  • Hot Shoe for accessories and external flash
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • Some may consider iAuto to be over the top with color, almost unrealistic
  • No built-in flash unit
  • Very compact body gets uncomfortable to hold with larger, heavier lenses
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 0.9 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 2/10 to 4/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.42 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 0.68 seconds (FL-600R external flash)
  • High Speed Burst = 9.52fps
  • Lower burst levels are adjustable
  • All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 (95MB/s) 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless stated otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a high-quality, compact ILC made to be easy enough for anyone to use. High-quality still images combined with the easy-to-use video features mean this is the only camera you will need.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for a high-quality, compact ILC that pushes creativity in both still images and video. It is also great for anyone looking for a powerful and compact camera for travel or everyday shooting.
Olympus's new OM-D entry, the E-M5 Mark II keeps the classic styling and compact size of the original but added its 5-axis image stabilization to assure the clearest and sharpest images and movies in all lighting conditions. Olympus has given it just about everything you could ask for, including weather sealed construction, built-in WiFi and amazing performance and quality from the combination of the TruePic VII processor and 16-Megrapixel Live MOS imaging sensor. The only thing that you will not find is a built-in flash unit. All of these fabulous features are packed into one of the most compact and stylish bodies that we have seen for a camera in this class. They have even complimented the body with your choice of black or silver lenses (for some lens models). One thing for sure is the camera will get noticed as soon as you pull it out of your bag.

To keep the OM-D and PEN models as compact and versatile as possible, Olympus uses the Micro Four Thirds mount system on all of their models. Not only does this help to keep the cameras compact, but it is also used by Panasonic, which allows the users of both brands to interchange their lenses. This provides a great deal more versatility to the user than any other brand.

Olympus has also gone a long way to make sure that the camera is ready for any weather conditions. The camera will keep out rain, snow and sand and handle most temperatures that you can stand to shoot in. Don't take this as the camera is waterproof though, while it can handle some rain or a splash, it definitely cannot by submerged.

Two of the biggest, most powerful features on the camera include the built-in WiFi and 5-Axis image stabilization system. WiFi offers tons of versatility, allowing you to view and transfer images wirelessly from a smartphone or tablet. This makes it easy to share your images from just about any location, as long as you have a wireless signal. Your smartphone will also act as a remote for the camera, letting you adjust camera settings, zoom (with an electronic zoom lens) and capture images without having to be anywhere near the camera.

Very compact with classic styling, the E-M5 Mark II will get noticed the minute you take it out of your bag. It is just large enough to fit into most hands comfortably. A couple small grips give you increased control and confidence while using the camera. The body did become hard to hold onto with the introduction of a larger lens like the M.Zuiko Pro 40-150mm. Two command dials, 4 Fn buttons and the settings switch give you an amazing amount of control over the camera from the camera body without getting into the menu system. The mode dial can be locked into place, preventing it from being accidentally turned. The command dials, on the other hand, do turn very easily, making it possible to accidentally change settings.

The E-M5 Mark II offers two great options for composing and viewing your images. To keep the dSLR feel, an eye-level electronic viewfinder featuring approx. 2.36-million dots of resolution gives you a clear and detailed view of what you are shooting. Showing the full 100% of the captured image area as well as a live, real-time view of your shooting settings, there is no guesswork in how your final images will come out. Shooting with the LCD is no different. The 3.0-inch vari-angle Touch LCD boasts over 1-million dots of resolution for a sharp and detailed preview at any angle. Adjustable levels of brightness assure you that the screen can be seen easily in any lighting conditions, no matter how bright. Touching the screen offers loads of options including the ease to flipping through your saved images, touch to focus and touch to capture modes.

Performance from the E-M5 Mark II did not disappoint. The camera was able to power up and capture its first image in less than 1 second and featured virtually no shutter lag when the camera was pre-focused. When allowing the camera to autofocus, it was consistently between 0.2 and 0.4 seconds to capture an image. In single shot mode, the shot-to-shot delay came in less than ½ second between shots and only when up slightly to 0.68 seconds when shooting with the FL-600R external flash unit attached to the camera. For bust shooting, the camera offers high and low burst settings with shock and silent options. These settings are adjustable to achieve the burst rate that you want. At the highest shooting setting, we were able to capture at speeds of up to 9.52fps, just under the 10fps that Olympus claims the camera is capable of. All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 (95MB/s) 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO Auto and all other settings at the factory defaults unless stated otherwise.

Our outdoor image samples show the amazing quality that the E-M5 Mark II brings to the table. All of our images are sharp, well exposed and did not show any major flaws like aberrations. All of our outdoor samples were taken in both iAuto and Aperture Priority mode at f/8.0. iAuto produces a much brighter and more vivid image, which really grabs your attention. This increased color and brightness may not always be a desired effect, and the program/manual modes produce more realistic color results. A couple of samples show a -0.7 exposure compensation, as the dial had inadvertently been bumped and not noticed. Our limited time with the camera did not allow for a reshoot.

Looking at our indoor images, we get a better look at how sharp and clear the camera's photos are. At f/8.0, the images are sharp almost all the way through. There is a little softness due to depth of field at the very bottom of the image. The camera does an excellent job of keeping the noise levels down, which sharpens the images. From ISO 100 all the way up to 800 there is very little to no noise present, only starting to show some noise within some of the shadows at ISO 800. While the noise slowly increases with the ISO, most of the fine details stay within the image through ISO 6400. After that the ISO increases faster and the detail in the image fades faster. Our flash samples were taken with the FL-600R external flash unit, which provides an amazing amount of light for the compact unit. This camera/flash combination does an excellent job of not blowing out the images, and in our portrait samples, filling in while keeping the background well lit.

Shooting portraits on the go is incredibly easy with the camera's face detection software. It recognizes faces quickly and follows them with ease as long as they stay within the frame. This keeps the face in focus and properly exposed, even as it moves around. In a group the camera will choose a main subject, then try to adjust the best it can for the other detected faces as well. For more control, manual modes can be used that allow you to choose the exact focus points, or manual focus is also an option that can be very accurate with features like focus peaking that let you see exactly where the camera has focused. As stated above, the addition of the flash adds light without changing the overall look of the image. We did not see any redness in the eyes of our subjects in any of samples.

To help with your creative photography, helping to create or combine images in the camera for you, Olympus has included a slew of "Art" filters and framing options, Automatic HDR and preset HDR settings as well as a new High Resolution shooting mode. The art filters add effects to your images that can take a great deal of time and know-how to do in post-production. In-camera HDR works the same way, doing all the work for you. The preset settings make it easy to capture all of the images that you need to create your own HDR images later. Finally the new High Resolution shooting mode takes several images and combines them in the camera. This gives you a much higher resolution and a great deal more detail within the images. Several of these images can be found on the samples page.

Olympus has taken shooting high quality movies on your camera and made it easier. They have given you choice of resolutions and frame rates with the ease of automatic movie modes. This lets anyone shoot high quality home movies at any time with just one push of the dedicated video recording button. The biggest feature is the fantastic image stabilization, which not only makes it easy to shoot and pan smoothly while handheld, but you can move and walk while recording and still get fantastic results. This adds a lot creative freedom for any aspiring videographers as well. The days of bouncing videos from handheld video cameras are definitely over.

Powering the E-M5 Mark II is a 7.6V, 1220mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery that is capable of capturing up to 310 shots on a single charge. This can be increased to approx. 750 shots when quick sleep mode is enabled. This battery was more than enough for us to complete our tests and collect samples over our short period with the camera. For additional power, Olympus offers a battery grip that stores a second battery for twice the power without having to stop shooting. Included with the camera is a quick charging unit that makes it easy to keep more than one battery charged and ready at all times. We recommend that you have more than one battery, so that you are always ready to shoot.

Bottom Line - The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a compact and capable ILC; with the perfect combination of quality, performance and ease of use. With just about every feature you can think of, including a fantastic new 5-axis image stabilization system, there is nothing that Olympus has left out. Its performance and quality is more than enough to satisfy experienced shooters, while it is simple enough for anyone to pick up and use right away. With a MSRP of US $1,099.99, this camera is a bit of an investment. Combine it with Olympus's ever growing collection of Micro 4/3 lenses and you will always have what you need for any situation.


Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.