Andy Westlake puts Olympus’s super-fast mirrorless flagship camera through its paces

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Features:
Build/Handling:
Metering:
Autofocus:
AWB Colour:
Dynamic Range:
Image quality:
LCD viewfinder:

Pros:

  • + Extraordinary in-body image stabilisation system allows handholding at unprecedented shutter speeds
  • + Class-leading continuous shooting performance
  • + Impressive continuous autofocus and tracking
  • + Superb build quality and handling

Cons:

  • - Menus and configuration hugely over-complicated
  • - Image quality lags behind APS-C peers
  • - High price compared to its closest rivals

Product:

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review

Manufacturer:

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: 5-axis in-body IS

Handheld at 1 second using the M.Zuiko Digital 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro

Handheld at 1 second using the M.Zuiko Digital 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro

Olympus’s 5-axis in-body image stabilisation was already class leading, but it has been refined further to give a claimed 5.5 stops of benefit when using unstabilised lenses – the majority of Olympus’s range. Mount one of its recent optically stabilised lenses, such as the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO, and a Sync IS system comes into play, employing both in-body and in-lens systems together to give an extraordinary 6.5 stops of stabilisation.

100% crop from image above

100% crop from image above, handheld at 1 second

It’s difficult to overstate just how good the image stabilisation really is. The E-M1 II routinely enabled me to shoot at shutter speeds slower than any other camera, even using unstabilised lenses. At wideangle, it’s completely feasible to use speeds of a second or so. Just as impressively, I was also able to shoot at speeds around 1/15sec with the 40-150mm f/2.8 at its telephoto end.

1.3sec f/2.8 ISO64, 12-40mm f/2.8 at 23mm

1.3sec f/2.8 ISO64, M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO at 23mm

Switch to the new 12-100mm f/4 IS and things get into completely unprecedented territory: up to 2 seconds at wideangle, and 1/6sec at telephoto; other systems would usually manage around 1/2sec and 1/30sec respectively. These aren’t occasional one-offs, either; the E-M1 II delivers time after time. Not every picture will be pixel sharp, but shoot a few replicates and one will. This opens up new options for using slow shutter speeds creatively.

100% crop from image above, handheld at 1.3 seconds

  1. 1. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review
  2. 2. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review: Features
  3. 3. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review: Build and handling
  4. 4. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: Viewfinder and screen
  5. 5. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Review: Autofocus
  6. 6. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: 5-axis in-body IS
  7. 7. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: High-resolution composite mode
  8. 8. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: Video
  9. 9. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: Performance
  10. 10. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: Image quality
  11. 11. Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II review: Our verdict
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