The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II refreshes its predecessor with a range of improvements. Matt Golowczynski investigates the difference these make
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II review: Features
At its heart, the E-M10 Mark II offers the combination of a 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds sensor and TruePic VII processing engine. This partnership has served previous models, including the E-M10 it replaces. The sensor’s sensitivity range starts at ISO 200 and culminates at ISO 25,600, although it can be adjusted down to an equivalent of ISO 100 where necessary.
The E-M10 made do with a 3-axis image-stabilisation system, but the E-M10 Mark II gains a 5-axis version that’s effective when shooting images and videos. While similar to the E-M5 Mark II’s unit, its compensatory effect is stated as being a maximum of 4EV stops, rather than the 5EV offered by the E-M5 Mark II. This still fares well against the competition and represents an improvement of 1⁄2EV stop over the E-M10. As with all of Olympus’s interchangeable-lens models, the sensor is fronted by a Supersonic Wave Filter, which vibrates dust particles onto an adhesive strip to banish their shadows from images.
The E-M10 Mark II’s standard shutter-speed range stretches from 1/4000sec-60secs, although the electronic shutter extends the former figure to 1/16,000sec and the bulb mode can be used to capture exposures up to 30 minutes in length. Fortunately, you can watch particularly long exposures developing with the Live Bulb option, while activating the Live Time option means you don’t have to keep the shutter release pressed down during the exposure – you just release the shutter again to stop it. Olympus’s Live Composite option is also on hand, which blends consecutively captured images together without blowing highlights, so it’s ideal for capturing star trails and fireworks.
Thanks to the electronic shutter, the E-M10 Mark II offers a silent mode when shooting either single images or continuous bursts, or alternatively when using the timer option. In use, the camera isn’t completely silent when this is employed but it’s only really audible in silent conditions. Indeed, the whirring from the camera’s image-stabilisation system is most noticeable.
The E-M10 was already a capable performer with regards to its burst-shooting capabilities, offering 8fps for up to 20 raw frames, but Olympus has marginally improved this on the new model. The E-M10 Mark II stretches to 8.5fps for up to 22 raw frames, or an unlimited number of JPEGs, provided your card is fast enough to keep up.
There’s also a 4fps ‘Low’ option should 8.5fps be too speedy, although you can set this to be anything up to 4fps (and, likewise, the ‘High’ option can be adjusted to any speed down to 5fps). Should 8.5fps not be fast enough, you can also boost the camera’s frame rate to 11fps in Silent mode.
One of the more significant upgrades concerns the E-M10 Mark II’s video-recording options, which mostly mirror those offered by the more senior E-M5 Mark II. The camera offers full HD recording up to 60p, and a choice of frame rates from 24p up to this, while a new ALL-I compression mode allows for a bitrate of 77Mbps.
There’s also a 120fps high-speed recording mode, although this is limited to a VGA (640×480) resolution, and a CLIPS mode that captures 1sec, 2sec, 4sec or 8sec clips and stitches them all into a single video – a feature similar to Canon’s Video Snapshot option.
Regardless of their target user, Olympus’s mirrorless models have always featured a more playful side, and the E-M10 Mark II continues this with its instant-collage-making photo story option and a collection of Art filters. The latter function includes two options first seen on the Pen E-PL7, namely ‘vintage’ and ‘partial colour’, and these join a collection of previous treatments such as grainy film, pop art and soft focus. What’s particularly helpful is that you can bracket images with up to all 14 filters at once, and raw images can be saved alongside any art-filtered images as a handy back-up.
Mini HDMI and a USB 2.0 ports hide behind a small door at the E-M10 Mark II’s side, although there’s no input for external microphones. There is, however, a hotshoe on the top-plate should you want to use an external flashgun as an alternative to the small unit built into the body.
Another door at the camera’s base-plate opens to reveal a battery compartment, with the battery itself promising around 320 images on a full charge, as well as a single card slot that accepts SD, SDHC and SDXC media. This is positioned rather close to the hinge, so removing cards can be a little awkward.
Fortunately, with Wi-Fi built into the body, you may not need to reach for the memory card as often as normal. This works in conjunction with Olympus’s OI Share app for both Android and iOS devices, and allows you to remotely control the camera from a smart device or transmit images and videos without any cables.