Overall Rating:

5

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II


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  • Metering:
  • Autofocus:
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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

Manufacturer:

Manufacturer:

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

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

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II with 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro

The E-M1 II is designed for use with premium telephotos like this 40-150mm f/2.8

Olympus’s brand new 121-point hybrid AF system covers almost the entire area of the frame, with just the edges left untouched. You can choose between using a single focus point, groups of five or nine points, or letting the camera select its own focus area. Olympus’s usual face-detection modes are available, too, including the ability to focus specifically on your subject’s eyes. The focus area can be set using either the D-pad on the rear, or with the touchscreen, even when using the viewfinder. Impressively, the E-M1 II seemed able to ignore contact between my nose and the screen, which on most cameras would reset the focus point.

The E-M1 Mark II had no trouble holding focus on this eagle as it flew between two handlers 100m or more apart. 1/6400sec f/4 ISO 3200, 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro at 150mm

In extensive testing with the 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens, I’ve been impressed by the E-M1 II’s continuous-focusing capability. It has no problem at all holding focus on subjects moving either towards or away from the camera across long bursts of 40-odd frames, using either the electronic or mechanical shutter. Not every frame will necessarily be in pixel-perfect focus, but most would be usable if necessary. However, the camera will rapidly lose focus if the lens is zoomed during continuous shooting.

Tracking of subjects as they move around the frame works pretty well, especially with a relatively large and easily recognisable subject. It will, however, rapidly get confused when faced with small, erratically moving subjects against a complex background, such as with birds in flight. Hidden away in the menu is a ‘C-AF lock’ option with five settings from tight to loose, and setting this to tight can help in such situations. But its behaviour is rather ill explained and I can’t help but feel the camera would be better served by use-case options, as used by Canon and Fujifilm.

continuous-shooting

C-AF test: Composite showing four frames from a burst taken at 13-frame intervals

Above you can see the E-M1 II tracking focus on a train moving towards the camera, with thumbnails of the overall shots at the top and 100% crops below them. This is every 13th frame starting from the first, covering around 4 or 5 seconds of shooting using the electronic shutter. Here I enabled focus rather than speed priority, so the camera hasn’t shot at its maximum advertised rate, but closer to 10fps; but it’s kept the train in sharp focus throughout.

  • Sensor: 20-million-pixel Four Thirds CMOS
  • Output size: 5184 x 3188
  • Lens mount: Micro Four Thirds
  • Focal length magnification: 2x
  • Shutter speeds (mechanical): 60sec - 1/8000sec + Bulb
  • Shutter speeds (electronic): 60sec - 1/32000sec + Bulb
  • ISO sensitivity: ISO 200-25,600 (standard), extendable to ISO 64
  • Exposure modes: PASM, iAuto, Art, Movie
  • Metering modes: Pattern, centre weighted, spot, spot highlight, spot shadow
  • Exposure compensation: +/-5EV in 1/3 EV steps
  • Continuous shooting (mechanical shutter): 15fps (focus fixed); 10fps with AF
  • Continuous shooting (electronic shutter): 60fps (focus fixed); 18fps with AF
  • Screen: 3in 1.-037-million-dot fully-articulated touschscreen
  • Viewfinder: 2.36-million-dot, 0.74x magnification
  • AF points: 121-point
  • Video: Cinema 4K (4094 x 2160) 25fps 237Mbps
  • External mic: 3.5mm stereo
  • Memory card: 2x SD, SDHC, SDXC (1 UHS-II compatible)
  • Power: BLH-1 Li-ion, 1720 mAh
  • Battery life: 440 shots
  • Dimensions: 134 x 91 x 67 mm
  • Weight: 574g (including battery and card)

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