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Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark II

introduction

  • announced Sept 2016, available Dec 2016
  • as with Mark I, it is dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof with similar form factor but the whole camera has been improved markedly for faster and more precise shooting and far better video than any previous Olympus camera
  • the Dual IS combined with the Olympus mZD 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO lens at 12mm allows a ridiculous 5 secs steady hand held shot!1)

specs

  • new 20Mp live MOS sensor (said to be the Sony IMX270 sensor) with low power consumption and higher speed data read out and improved dynamic range and noise performance of 1 f stop better noise
  • no low-pass filter for more detail
  • an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the sealing glass over the sensor to further enhance contrast performance
  • ISO 200-6400 with extended being Low (64) and up to 25,560
  • high-performance weathersealing for excellent dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (down to 14°F / -10°C)
  • 3.3x more AF points - all 121 PDAF AF points are now cross-type and offer DUAL FAST AF with PDAF and CDAF which are used in every shooting mode
  • PDAF area coverage now 81% greater than in Mark I, now covers ~80% of each frame dimension, up from 60%
  • Dual FAST AF system will automatically select between CDAF and PDAF depending on lens type, camera settings and lighting conditions to ensure accurate focus and sharp image quality
  • FASTER, MORE ACCURATE BURST MODE
    • 18fps full size RAW with C-AF using electronic shutter
    • 60fps full size RAW with locked S-AF using electronic shutter
    • 10fps full size RAW with C-AF using mechanical shutter
    • 15fps full size RAW with locked S-AF using mechanical shutter
    • 2x more buffer capacity
    • 3x faster internal write speed
  • TruePic VIII double quad core image processor processes images 3.5x faster than TruePic VII
  • mechanical shutter to 1/8,000th sec and rated at 200,000 shots - flash sync 1/250th sec but can force it to 1/500th sec via PC sync socket with only mild vignette of top of frame.
  • electronic silent shutter and camera mode (shutter to 1/32,000th sec) - flash sync 1/50th sec
  • 50% faster start up time from camera switch on
  • new AF algorithm for much better subject tracking as well as in detecting subject from background even when background is close and of similar colour and texture
  • new “AF Cluster Display” can display the AF points being used to track the subject in real time
  • new in-camera AF limiter to achieve faster focusing by limiting the focus range of the lens, thus preventing time-consuming focus hunting
    • Lens settings take priority on Micro Four Thirds lenses with a focus limiter
  • new AF Scan will allow users to adjust the lens scan operation settings in low-contrast environments to prevent unnecessary hunting
  • Preset MF will let users quickly set a preferred focus distance when using manual focus
  • easier single action AF mode process
  • Customizable C-AF tracking sensitivity will allow users to choose the best setting for their subject to optimize C-AF tracking performance
  • improved autoISO
    • new Lowest Shutter Speed Setting to allow user to set this for auto ISO in A or P exposure modes
    • can now adjust the exposure compensation to directly effect the Auto ISO settings in Manual mode via the 2×2 switch or by assigning this function to a button
  • 2×2 switch can now be assigned to be the power On/Off switch to allow one handed use of the camera
  • new “PRO Capture” can start capturing images as soon as you start to depress shutter and up to you depress shutter fully allowing lag free pre-capture of 14 RAW frames to reduce chance of missing a precise moment
  • new electronic viewfinder with faster 120 fps refresh rate and shorter 6msec reaction time giving crisp and smooth vision giving 60% faster response rate and virtually no blackout when following a moving subject
  • re-developed image stabilisation system now gives 5 axis Sync IS at up to 6.5EV stabilisation!
    • 6.5EV is a limit at this stage as beyond that one needs to compensate for the rotation of the earth and this is an issue with gyroscopes
  • 50mp HiRes shot with image blur of moving subject prevented using TruePic processor - but still need to use a tripod in this mode when using shutter speeds faster than 1/60th sec
  • 2×2 switch reversed and can now also be programmed as the On-Off switch!
  • Menu button and Play button moved to bottom right
  • PASM dial now also has C1,C2,C3 positions for rapid access to your custom modes
  • 4K video 24/30P and Cinema 4K at 237Mbps quality
    • Recording Mode delivers uncompressed 4:2:2 video out via HDMI
    • audio synchronization function for use with the Olympus Linear PCM Recorder LS-100 while recording video
    • Slate Tone function will facilitate the syncing of recorded audio and video
    • video-specific picture mode “Flat” for color better grading
    • synchronization signal so that video recording to an external device may be started or stopped from the camera
  • new 1720mAh BLH-1 lithium-ion battery & charger for longer life and faster charge
  • improved grip
  • ability to save MySet custom settings to computer and re-load when needed
  • dual SD card slots:
    • Slot 1 will support UHS-II and UHS-I cards, while Slot 2 will support UHS-I cards
    • positioned in a staggered layout for ease of access
    • 4 SD card record settings:
      • “Standard” will record to the specified card
      • “Automatic Switching” will automatically switch to the second card when the first card becomes full
      • “Dual Independent” will record to both cards according to the specified image quality setting assigned to each
      • “Dual Same” will record identical files to both cards simultaneously
  • $US2000 / $AU2799 body RRP

optional accessories

which memory card to use?

tips

    • if accidentally touching the LCD screen and activating the AF point position annoys you, turn it off via Menu A2 – AF Targeting Pad – OFF
    • if you forget your reading glasses and wish to view the menu via the EVF, either:
      • turn the LCD screen around so it is against the camera, or,
      • disable the EVF Auto Switch and then when you select the Menu Button, you’ll need to press the EV Switch (left of the EVF) to move the menus from the LCD to the EVF
    • use back button AF:
      • keep the AEL/AFL Button configured to AEL/AFL: Custom Menu B – Button Function – AEL/AFL Function – AEL/AFL
      • go to Custom Menu A – AEL/AFL, press the OK Button, select MF and press OK again. Now, set MF to mode 3 and press OK one more time
      • Menu B – Fn Lever Settings – mode2
      • set position 1 for S-AF and position 2 for MF and BBF
  • Windows in 2017 cannot natively display the RAW files from this camera (unlike the Mark I camera's RAW files which do display in File Explorer)
    • consider purchasing a program such as Fast Picture Viewer Codec Pack (FPV) for $US10 to add the RAW file codec to Windows Imaging Component (WIC) codecs (but don't install the other options that come with the software) (or for $US50 you can buy FPV Pro which gives you the codecs plus a fast image viewing platform which will also speed up Lightroom)

issues

  • ISO settings are more than 1EV higher than actual measured ISO and the LOW ISO of 64 was measured as being the same ISO as ISO 200 setting - that is, both equate with a true ISO of 83!2)
  • Pro Capture mode can result in accidentally taking a massive amount of shots as it takes getting used to - it starts taking images at half-press and will save the volley of shots captured prior to full shutter release when the shutter button comes up - this requires muscle re-training and may be problematic when wearing gloves in cold weather
    • cannot use this mode with flash or at slower shutter speeds or at apertures smaller than f/8, and only with Olympus lenses it seems 3)
  • HiRes Mode limitations
    • as it takes 8 frames with each a shift of the sensor, it requires tripod or steady camera
    • moving subjects whilst partly addressed by just utilising data from a single frame in these areas, ideally they should not be in the frame as there are limitations such as moving people or cars, and where it fails you will get weird artefacts
    • lighting should not be flickering
    • shutter speed not longer than 8 sec, aperture not narrower than F8, ISO not higher than 1600 and flash sync not faster than 1/50sec (previously in E-M5 Mark II or PEN-F, flash sync limit was 1/20sec)
    • takes about 1 second to take all 8 separate photographs, and an additional 2.5 seconds to merge them all in camera
    • you cannot keep all the 8 original frames before merging but only the 1st and the merged image
  • auto ISO limits at last allows setting a slowest shutter speed in addition to the auto slowest shutter of 1/focal length, but given we now use image stabiliser, surely Olympus could allow user to set a x/focal length so we can use even slower speeds without having to manually set this every time we change focal length - when using the new 12-100mm lens, the slowest hand held shutter speed could be 2 secs at 12mm and 1/10th sec at 100mm
  • Dual IS does not work with Panasonic lenses, and you need to half-press shutter for a second or so to have the Dual IS lock in and stabilise image
  • high ISO noise will never compete with modern full frame sensors - if you need cleaner ISO above 6400 choose a camera like the Sony a7S II full frame mirrorless camera
  • AF still struggles with strongly backlit situations
  • C-AF tracking is much improved (seems to beat the Sony A6300 with ease) but still not as reliable as Nikon's D5/D500
  • “EVF is excellent but no longer state of the art – that goes to the Leica SL. However, it still has the same disadvantages: it’s too bright in dark situations, ruining your night vision, and it’s too dark in bright situations, washing out to flat monochrome” 4)
  • only one of the SD card slots compatible with fast UHS-II cards
  • different batteries to the earlier OM-D models and the light on the charger is too bright and annoying at night
  • cannot set a separate picture mode and exposure settings for video mode - uses the current still settings
  • RAW files are still only 12 bit not 14 bit
  • 50mp HiRes mode requires a tripod and fairly static scenes
  • video functionality (apart from the superb image stabiliser) is still behind some of its peers as no log gamma color profile, no slow-mo, and uses motion jpeg format but the incredible IS may make up for these shortcomings
    • video quality in 1080P is not quite as good as a Panasonic G85 or Sony a6500 - perhaps firmware upgrade may improve the over-sharpening artefacts and aliasing
  • no rear 2×2 lever modes 4 and 5 of the mark I as these extra modes are no longer are available - cannot use the lever to alter AF/MF settings such as quickly going into MF with back button AF mode - you now need to use a custom setting to achieve this - see https://seldomscenephotography.com/2016/12/22/the-olympus-e-m1-mark-ii-and-back-button-focusing/
  • need to get latest Panasonic firmware for Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens otherwise focus limiter switch setting of 5m to infinity may be blurry if camera IS set to Auto and lens IS is ON - best to turn lens IS off or camera IS off 5)

suggestions for firmware improvements

  • add option for artificial shutter noise so subject knows when you have taken the shot
  • improve start up time
  • ability to set the auto ISO default slowest shutter speed to (image stabilisation effectiveness in EV / focal length) x user EV setting
    • the Olympus default is 1/focal length which doesn’t allow the user to utilise the image stabilisation capabilities to its full effect and doesn’t even take into account the 2x crop factor effect
    • having a user EV setting as a user variable allows the user to take control of how much they trust the IS and their hand holding skills
  • ability to toggle AF targeting pad ON/OFF via a button
    • currently cannot allocate this function to a button
  • AF with Four Thirds lenses is still too slow – perhaps even slower than when using Canon EF lenses with a Metabones adapter!
  • add a Panorama mode to make this easier than manually locking all the settings for each shot
  • ability to select AF sensor mode: hybrid vs PDAF vs CDAF
    • this would potentially give the photographer even more control, but perhaps more importantly, allow companies like Metabones to get certain Canon lenses to autofocus fast and accurately on the camera (for example the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L lens just won’t autofocus properly – and even on a Sony a7RII, one must select PDAF mode not CDAF mode for it to work, most other Canon lenses will AF fine on both these cameras with a Metabones adapter, although not as fast as a Micro Four Thirds lens on the E-M1 II).
  • option to have spot meter coincide with the current single AF point – the Mark II as with prior OM-D models always keeps spot meter in the centre
  • ability to use the aperture ring on some Panasonic lenses
    • there are not that many lenses with aperture rings but it shouldn’t be that hard to add that fuctionality and make it useful
  • ability to use Dual IS with Panasonic OIS lenses
    • if Panasonic and Olympus want to continue the paradigm of a unified Micro Four Thirds system, they need to work a bit closer together to improve compatibilities – Panasonic cameras will not do Dual IS with Olympus OIS lenses either, while panasonic cameras don’t have the lens database data to allow Panasonic’s DFD AF technology to work with Olympus lenses or Panasonic Four Thirds lenses for that matter.
    • in the interim, probably best to turn the lens IS off when using Panasonic lenses
    • on a similar vein, the ProCapture mode is said to only work with Olympus M.Zuiko lenses.
  • add a 24fps electronic shutter burst rate to allow for 5K RAW short videos at 24fps
  • add a 2K or 3K RAW mode which would allow longer burst rate captures to create RAW video
  • add a 3rd option, “last viewed” to the cogs:H1:Card Slot Settings:Playback Slot so that one does not have to dig deep into the menu to keep your playback slot preference
  • playback zoom should have an option to view the RAW file rather than a small jpeg if only a single card is used for RAW+jpeg – this should apply to all Olympus cameras whether one or dual slot designs.
  • add another AF region option larger than the 9 points as the next step up is the whole area and the 9 points cover a too limited area
  • add an option to adjust the time to return to normal view when MF Assist is activated and you stop rotating MF ring - currently it is too short for my liking and does not give enough time to to assess focus accuracy

firmware updates Olympus is allegedly working on

  • Adding ‘Auto ISO’ capability to manual video shooting
  • Allowing for control of autofocus racking speed while shooting video
  • Clarifying and enhancing customizability of continuous autofocus behavior beyond the current -2 to +2 ‘tight to loose’ scale
  • Working on the AF algorithm to further improve tracking performance
  • Enable the ability to enter playback and menus while the buffer is clearing

actual firmware updates

  • v1.2 released May 2017:
    • Improved color reproduction of EVF.
    • Corrected the issue of other brand flashes not flashing for High Res Shot, Focus Bracketing, and Focus Stacking.
    • Corrected issue of Rec View screen not displaying in the rear monitor when using EVF to shoot photos.
    • Corrected issue of home position of AF target not being retained when the power is turned off.
    • Improved stability of the battery level indicator.
    • Improved noise reduction of sequential shooting while the lens's IS is on.
    • Flash controllers manufactured by Profoto are supported.
  • v1.1 released Mar 2017 - “Improved stability of RAW file creation”

my blog posts

reviews

how good is the sensor?

    • the best sensor of all current Micro Four Thirds system cameras with an overall score of 80, beating the E-M1 mark I score of 73 mainly on image noise for which the E-M1 II is almost 1EV better, while dynamic range and color depth have also been improved marginally
    • strangely, the E-M1 II's ISO is actually around 1 stop higher than actual measured ISO except for the extended low ISO of 64 which is really ISO 83 and comparable to it's ISO 200 (the E-M1 I base ISO of 200 was measured at ISO 122, which was about the same as it's LOW ISO of 100) - so be careful when setting exposures manually based upon other camera's exposure settings!
    • almost on par with the excellent cropped sensor Nikon D500 with similar high ISO noise but the D500 has slightly better dynamic range of around 1EV
    • not surprisingly, not as good as the new full frame D750 which has around 1.5EV better dynamic range and noise
    • BUT in context it is comparable in overall image quality to the 2012 Canon full frame dSLRs - the Canon 6D and Canon 5D Mark III - in fact the E-M1 II has 1EV better dynamic range than the 5DIII and 0.6EV better dynamic range than the 6D at Olympus ISO up to 400 where the E-M1II peaks at 12.8EV at base ISO, but the Canons make up for that with just over 1EV better noise at all ISO levels, and better dynamic range at Olympus ISO 1600 and higher.

how good is the continuous AF for moving subjects?

how good is the image stabilisation?

how good are the long exposure noise levels?

how good is it for video work?

more videos

Shooting action in the snow with C-AF tracking, 18fps, and Pro-Capture and HiRes modes

photo/olympusomdem1ii.txt · Last modified: 2017/11/23 12:29 by gary1