Why the New E-M5 Mark II Camera from Olympus is So Exciting (Hint: 24p & Sensor Stabilization)
Just two words really: sensor stabilization.
There might be other cameras with sensor stabilization (like the Sony a7II), but the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera's Micro 4/3 sensor means lots of different options for older lenses, including plenty of PL lenses. Any lens you put on the E-M5 can benefit from the stabilization, which involves actively moving the sensor to compensate for shake.
The original E-M5 was an interesting camera, and also featured 5-axis sensor stabilization (the Mark II is apparently even better), but it was limited to low bitrates and didn't offer 24p. That's no longer a problem, as Olympus has added 24, 25, 30, 50, and 60fps in 1080p. In addition to the camera, they also announced an updated M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II, and an interesting action cam of sorts called the Tough TG-860.
For those interested in stills only, the 40MP mode is pretty interesting, as it takes a number of still images and puts them together for something much higher quality in-camera. It does have some downsides though, as you can only go up to ISO 1600 in this mode, and the aperture is apparently set to f/8 or smaller.
Here are the specs of the E-M5 Mark II:
- 16MP 4608 x 3456 Live MOS Sensor with 5-Axis Sensor Image Stabilization
- 3.0" Vari-Angle Touchscreen OLED Monitor & 2360k-Dot Electronic Viewfinder
- 1080p: 24p, 25p, 30p, 50p, 60p
- 77Mbps AVCHD Intraframe for 24, 25, 30fps, and up to 50mbps IPB for 50p and 60p
- ISO: 200-3200 (High Sensitivity Mode: 100-25600)
- Clean HDMI feed with 4:2:2 (likely 8-bit)
- SD, SDXC, SDHC Cards
- 40MP High Res Shot
- Peaking, Histogram, Exposure Clipping
- Built-In WiFi & Mic
- HDMI D (Micro), AV / USB Multi, USB 2.0, 1/8" Microphone
- 10 Frames Per Second
- Dustproof and Splash-Proof Construction
- Availability: March 2015
- Price: $1,100
John Brawley, who we've featured here a number of times, has written a unbelievably in-depth post about the camera — which includes lots of info about stills and video. Here's what he said about the image stabilization:
The IS comes in three flavours when shooting video. You can have it set to OFF, then mode 1 which is sensor shift and digital stabilising, with some slight additional crop, but I never saw any when shooting video, and I’m struggling to see any IQ hit in video to be honest. Or if you wish there’s also mode 2 which is sensor shift only with no digital stabilising. In both mode 1 and 2 you can override the default focal length setting which if it’s an Olympus lens is set automatically, and set your own focal length.
He also shot this great video with the camera:
And here's the BTS from the shoot:
This camera gets a lot of things right, and it's a sign that Olympus has actually listened to the criticism they got about the previous E-M5. Adding a few frame rates is simple enough (it's mostly just software), but they've gone ahead and made this a much better tool for video work. One strange thing that Brawley mentions is that once you're recording with Olympus lenses, the dials no longer work, and you've got to change settings from the touchscreen. This doesn't seem like the best solution, so hopefully they give the option to change things with the controls on the camera instead. If you're using manual lenses, you can obviously just change exposure from the lens itself.
Brawley also mentioned that the camera is getting clean HDMI, and if you're worried about the internal codec or want to get ProRes files instead of H.264, you'll be able to do that. This camera is not going to be a low-light beast like the a7S, but then again not many cameras are. It will likely be in-line with the Panasonic GH4 in terms of low-light. This camera is compatible with the Micro 4/3 versions of the Metabones Speed Booster, so you can get another stop of light that way and also change your field of view to better match a bigger format. Also missing is 4K video, but I expect this to come at some point in a newer model as Olympus has mentioned 4K video in the past.
We've got plenty more videos shot on the camera. Here's one from KΛUΛS, which was shot completely handheld:
And another from Edmond Terakopian:
And here's the updated lens they introduced, the M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II, which is going to cost $600:
In addition to these two MFT products, they've got an action cam of sorts in the new Tough TG-860, which will cost $280:
Check out the links below for more.