Date: 21/09/2016 | By: Mathieu
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Hands-On and First Impressions
First of all, we apologise for the delay in our live blogging. We have been having serious issues with the Wifi connection at our hotel and we spent the first two days running around Koelnmesse with little time to take advantage of the press lounge. Anyway, between the Photokina lounge, McDonald’s and the hotel’s poor wifi, we’ve finally been able to start sharing our first impressions from the event. And there was only one camera we could start with: the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II!
Update: check out our extended second impressions review with continuous AF tests and much more!
In the hands-on video below, you will find all the most important information plus a few extra clues we gathered from our interview with Olympus that will be online soon.
Important note: in the video I stated that the max. speed with C-AF and mechanical shutter is 15fps which is incorrect. It is 10fps instead.
Our first impressions in a nutshell:
- The design of the E-M1 II is very similar with a few tweaks. The feeling when holding the camera is very familiar but the newly designed grip is very comfortable.
- The new autofocus system is promising. The continuous shooting speeds are impressive considering that you can shoot high resolution RAW files (buffer performance has yet to be seen). However bear in mind that at 18fps and 60fps, you are working with the electronic shutter, and as such, we were told that rolling shutter is still present, although improved (new info about this can be found here).
- There are new AF settings in the menu. I shared some screenshots and explanations here.
- The 20MP sensor is said to be new and designed especially for the camera. There should be 1 stop of improvement to the dynamic range in comparison to the old E-M1. It is a welcome improvement but I don’t expect miracles in comparison to the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras.
- The menu has a new design (mostly monochrome and minimalistic) but the way all the settings are organised looks very similar to the old menu. I am still not sure if I like it or not; I guess it’s too soon to say.
- I am very curious to test the new battery BLH-1 as it should provide 40% more juice than the previous BLN-1. The new camera shouldn’t consume more power than the original E-M1. There is a new battery grip too.
- 4K video is not news but the AF capabilities combined with the 5-axis stabilisation and Sync IS makes this camera very tempting. Just re-watch the video below and recall that the E-M1 II can do better (the sensor shift hardware is new). The new 12-100mm f/4 has IS, and more lenses should follow suit in the future which makes perfect sense.
- High Res Shot at 50MP (80MP RAW): hand-held HRS is still not possible but the new TruePic VIII processor should be able to get rid of small artefacts when elements move in the background (water flowing, leaves on a tree, etc.). If that’s for real, this mode should become much more interesting for landscape photography. Olympus also told us in the interview that the ultimate goal is to achieve this feature hand-held. I still find it hard to believe that something like that can be possible, but to quote a famous TV show: “I want to believe!”.
- The price has not yet been announced but we were told to expect a higher price than the original E-M1 launched three years ago. Hopefully the difference won’t be too big. The camera is expected by the end of the year, and final production samples should be ready in November.
- The new Pro service will be available in 17 European countries. In the US and Asia there are similar options too but ran independently.
Coverage of the new lenses is coming soon. You can also check out this new article about the E-M1 II. In the meantime, enjoy some product shots. I am going to get myself a big cup of coffee but you are welcome to share your thoughts in the comment section below!
- OM-D E-M1 II extended second impressions with Continuous AF tests and more!
- Olympus 25mm f/1.2 Pro, 12-100mm f/4 Pro and 30mm f/3.5 Macro hands-on with video
- Photokina 2016 full coverage
You can find out when the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II becomes available on B&H Photo here!
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