I got to try the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II at Photokina 2016, and it seems like an exciting step forward for Olympus, but I thought it would be interesting to find out what some professional Olympus camera users make of it. Here’s what they had to say…
R. Cleveland Aaron
So the wait is over, the much anticipated Mark II of the much loved OM-D E-M1 arrived at Photokina 2016. I must say that I was probably more curious than excited. I’ve been using Olympus digital cameras since 1999 and they’ve managed to raise the bar with each new edition.
So what do I think? Without being pushed to really think about what I need from the cameras I work with, it’s all about the sensor and the quality of the lenses. My OM-D E-M1 has taken a bit of a back seat since I got my PEN F due to the improved sensor and stabilising abilities.
I found myself using it even in the studio because for me, everything starts with light and how you record it. There are many attractive functions built into camera systems these days but I’m only interested in the ones that aid me in recording light in it’s most difficult forms.
With it s improved sensor, TruePic VIII processing engine and stabilising functions I’m ready to renew my love affair with the E-M1 and apologise for looking to another!
I feel this upgrade will have sports and wildlife photographers dancing a merry jig because the focusing system has had a radical overhaul that should make tracking moving objects a breeze. Add to this 4K tech and I’d imagine photographers from pros to enthusiasts will be cashing in on their older systems to join the new revolution!
SEE MORE: Fuji GFX: the X-Photographer’s view
I’ve been using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 since it was launched and more recently the PEN F has usually been in my bag too. Three of my awards were won with images made with Olympus cameras and my last print exhibition in London “India – Night and Day” was shot exclusively on OM-D E-M1s.
The new OMD E-M1 Mark II looks like a huge upgrade, which I think will raise the whole system to a new level of professionalism. Olympus already has so many truly professional lenses, now we have a body which will really make the most of these.
Many have commented that the new model is aimed at sports and action photography and whilst there’s no denying many of its new features will offer massive improvements in this area, the camera should offer a lot to travel and portrait photographers too.
For me, the new auto-focusing system and the improved EVF look super tasty! I can’t wait to combine that with some of the new lenses, two of which I recently tested out in Cuba. Since my New York shoot earlier this year, I’ve started to get more interested in street photography.
I think the E-M1 MkII’s incredible new burst rate of 18 silent raw captures (per second) and the Pro Capture feature could lead to some amazing pictures in this genre. I also shoot a lot of my pictures in very low light, so the improvements in high ISO performance and the redesigned image stabilisation system will be right up my street.
I’ll probably still use my E-M1 MkI and PEN F as backups, but the new MkII will be my primary camera. I hope to have one to use on all of my 2017 workshops in Budapest, Cuba, Vietnam and Cambodia.
One thing is for sure, following the announcement of the new camera and as a direct result of my experience testing the amazing new 25mm 1.2 PRO lens in Cuba, I’ve put my Leica SL up for sale!
As I’ve been away for the last few weeks, I haven’t been able to see the camera ‘in the flesh’ yet, so I’m basing my thoughts on what I’ve read on the internet. It looks to be an exciting step forward in the OMD range and I’m looking forward to getting my hands on one to try out in the landscape.
I currently use the E-M1 and the E-M5 Mark II for my landscape work and I’m pleased to see that the E-M1 Mark II retains the characteristics of those models that are so essential for what I do. The small size, light weight, robust build and the weather proofing make them ideal for the conditions I frequently work in. For example, I’m an instructor on workshops to Antarctica and Greenland later this year and in 2017/2018 and these are locations where I need cameras that are reliable and will continue functioning almost no matter what. I’m looking forward to taking the E-M1 II with me as the dual card slots will give me added reassurance about the security of my images.
As a landscape photographer I’m not usually concerned about AF performance or frame rates, but over the next 2 or 3 years I will be visiting locations where I will have the chance to do some wildlife photography, so the improvements brought by the E-M II in these respects will prove useful I’m sure.
One aspect of the camera I’ll be very interested in is its long exposure capabilities. This is an area where the E-M5 II has always been a better performer that the EM1 (which tends to produce noisy images with exposures over 1 minute) so I’m keen to see if the E-M1 II changes things.
As a committed Olympus user, I’m really pleased to see that new technology is constantly moving the system forward. With the advances of the E-M1 II it looks to be a camera that will appeal to professionals working across a wide range of fields. Exciting times!
Even though there’s plenty of life left in my Olympus E-M5 Mark II, I’m incredibly excited about the upcoming launch of the E-M1 Mark II. Some things are just obvious wins in my book, like a bump in the pixel count and the extra focus points. Who doesn’t want more of those?
But it’s the smaller stuff that’ll probably make the biggest difference to my day to day photography. Things like the of dual SD card slots, the larger grip and bigger battery that charges faster sounds right up my street and should help convince my photo friends that the little Olympus has what it takes to play in the pro league.
I can’t wait to test out the improved focusing system and the crazy frames per second rate. This just might be the body that gets me out of the studio and back to the track for a spot of sports photography!
First and foremost for me is life depending reliability and I am getting that from the E-M1 Mark I but it seems to have been improved on for the Mark II. I need to reach in my bag and be confident I will get what I want every time. I don’t mind me making mistakes, but the cameras and lenses just can’t in a professional environment. With the OM-D E-M1 Mark I I always know what I will be getting so I can just do the job.
Spec-wise, it’s easy: weather proof, freeze proof, reliable AF in all circumstances, great high ISO settings for difficult situations and blistering speed. The E-M1’s with the pro lenses deliver in spades for me already and it really surprises everyone else.
The Mark II is going to be a revelation for me and in the media centre. For a start the 18 frames a second is immense. When you photograph sports and something happens, you tend to shoot in bursts and the more images you get, the more likely you are to get that special image where the elements all combine perfectly.
In motorsport, there are also places where you tend to pre-focus – say where a car comes over a crest – and with that situation I will now have 60 fps to play with. That’s previously unheard of in a stills camera and could be a life-saver, especially if a car goes airborne.
Next up is the new AF system and that will be a great boost, as I regularly see fast-moving objects away from the centre of the image. The extra sensors will give me more creative possibilities as well as increasing hit rates in head-on shots of cars doing over 200 mph.
I have to say that whilst it’s a great step forward, I am unlikely to use the new video features in my job. However, the improved viewfinder will certainly help with a better experience day to day and that is very welcome, as good as the Mark I is.
Finally, we come to image quality and resolution. This hasn’t been an issue for me so far, but the Mark I will give me a better native image, but more crucially for me it gives me more room to crop.
So, all in all there are some major upgrades here to what was already a highly competitive camera. Each of those changes has been carefully thought and planned and more importantly delivered above and beyond the photographers dreams. The E-M1 Mark II in some ways re-defines the sports photographers camera.
We don’t need 50Mp, we need speed and portability. It is a big thumbs up to Olympus and I look forward to giving them years of hard use!
Since the original Olympus OM-D E-M5 came along, I haven’t used anything other than the OM-D system for my commercial work. That was until the release of the PEN-F last year, which I didn’t expect to be a fan of, but I genuinely fell in love with. But the kit I’ve mainly been using has followed the chronology of the OM-Ds that have been developed, so most recently I’ve been using my titanium E-M5 Mark II.
What excites me about the E-M1 Mark II is that it’s an evolutionary step in how the cameras work – it’s more powerful, it’s quicker and it’s better defined in what it does. As for what I will use it for, I will use it for all my work – it’s what I do. I might not use every one of the functions, because they don’t all apply to my commercial work, but this will become my go-to camera.
It’s that evolutionary step that entices me because everything on it is better, from the pixels it captures (including the 50MP High Res Shot, which I love using) to the speed at which it tracks and focuses. But the important thing is, everything is better to the point now where I believe that anybody criticising the system is criticising for criticism’s sake as opposed to accepting it as a working tool. And it is a very, very capable working tool, as the OM-Ds all have been and still are. But the E-M1 Mark II is just refinement on top of refinement.
Olympus is aiming the OM-D E-M1 Mk II at the professional and high-end enthusiast. The E-M1 has been the company’s flagship line for a while now, and the first model was very popular. The upgrades made to the Mark II make it faster and more responsive.
It’s also more feature packed with a new and improved image stabilization system and improved viewfinder amongst other things. When paired with the company’s newest lenses, it should make for a great solution that professional photographer can use in many instances.
For me, and having spent some time with the camera, the camera’s grip feels vastly improved over the original and coupled with the new 4K and video capability I can see myself filming more and more with this camera.
The one point that excites me the most is dual SD cards as being a wedding photographer being able to backup as I’m shooting is a dream come true.
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will replace my current OM-D E-M1 that I use for all my still work and my OM-D E-M5 MKII for all my video work. Itmeans that my two main cameras will be combined into one lightening the load in my camera bag.
Very exciting times ahead.
I have been using the Olympus bodies for a while now and the new E-M1 II is an exciting prospect with great stabilisation and photographic possibilities, specifically when traveling.
The new 4K capabilities with 5 axis stabilisation will be helpful, not to mention the rapid continuous shooting rate capability with fast motion photography.
I cannot wait to try this new body with the impressive range of new lenses. I have been using the E-M5 and E-M1 for a while now, but cannot wait to get my hands on the E-M1 II. I’ll be going to work in Nepal for a few months at the start of next year and this body paired with new Olympus lenses will be a great combination to get some beautiful shots.