The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II may at first glance look similar to its predecessor, but it's a very different camera underneath. Andy Westlake examines it in fine detail in our Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II review
First of all, a disclaimer – I own and use an OM-D E-M5, so I’m naturally inclined to like the Mark II. But what’s struck me most, comparing the two side-by-side, is just how much work Olympus has done on improving the camera’s design and usability. All the little tweaks to the control layout really add up, and once set up to my liking, I’ve found the E-M5 Mark II to be a really excellent little camera to shoot with.
Indeed where the original the original E-M5 was a trailblazer for its type, the Mark II sees the concept of the small SLR-like CSC refined to being a really serious photographic tool. The superb electronic viewfinder, fully articulated screen, wonderfully quiet shutter, and extremely effective in-body image stabilisation system combine to make an exceptionally capable camera. The tiny bundled flash is unusually useful, with its bounce head and ability to act as a wireless commander, and the highly-improved movie features should make the Mark II very interesting to videographers.
Of course the big question is how the E-M5 Mark II stands relative to its peers. It lags behind a little APS-C cameras with regard to raw image quality, particularly in terms of noise at high ISOs, but on the other hand it offers very attractive out-of-camera JPEGs. And let’s not forget that the Micro Four Thirds mount allows use of a wide range of lenses from both Olympus and Panasonic, many of which are very small, yet optically excellent; a direct advantage of the smaller sensor.
Camera choice is all about compromises, and ultimately the E-M5 Mark II offers a hugely impressive feature set in a very portable package. The original E-M5 was extremely popular, and its replacement is a considerably better camera. For SLR owners looking to take the weight off their shoulders without sacrificing much capability, it’s a very compelling option.