Test Review: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

by Photo Life

Olympus E-M1 Mark II

Announced at Photokina last October, the new Olympus ­Micro Four Thirds flagship is impressive. With a weatherproofed ­magnesium-alloy body, this compact, light camera can play hard on any terrain. The grip is nice, and you feel like you’re holding into something solid.

The 20-MP Micro Four Thirds sensor has a hybrid autofocus system with 121 cross-type phase-­detection AF points plus contrast-detection AF. And on top of being extremely sensitive and fast, these AF points cover 80% of the image width and 75% of the image height. To give you some perspective: this is a larger zone than most reflex cameras, and it means that you can even focus on objects that are in the corners of the image.

And it’s not just the autofocus that’s speedy: the E-M1 Mark II’s burst mode is one of the fastest on the market. Its new ­TruePic VIII dual quad core image ­processor is to thank for that—and also for the camera’s quick focusing and image processing. There are two SD card slots: the first one accepts UHS-I and UHS-II cards, and the second only takes UHS-I.

Olympus E-M1 Mark II

The 5-axis image ­stabilization system is completely new. Since the stabilization is done ­in-­camera, you can use it with any lens, but it will work even better when paired with a lens that has in-lens image ­stabilization, like the new ­M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm 1:4.0 IS PRO. The stabilization ­system also plays a role in its ­ability to capture super-high-­resolution images (50 MP). In ­Hi-Res Shot Mode, the camera shoots eight images while slightly moving the sensor between each shot. The frames are combined to make one JPEG of 8160 x 6120 pixels.

The E-M1 Mark II offers infinite configuration possibilities and has a multitude of buttons and dials. It’s extremely practical, but the user will need a little time to ­configure and adjust all these controls and options. It has a touchscreen LCD, but you can’t fully operate the menu by touch. The camera does not have an integrated flash, but it comes with a small external flash—nice!

This review was originally published in the June/July 2017 issue of Photo Life. Subscribers can download the whole issue from the digital archives.

Even in difficult conditions like a sports competition in a school gym, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II performs really well. Its speed and focusing are ultra fast, and its Micro Four Thirds sensor gets great results.

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