Gear

Olympus Unveil Flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Olympus has had a nice run of compact system cameras in recent years, although its range-topping OM-D E-M1 was starting to look a little stale in the face of newer competitors. Fortunately, it’s turned the tables somewhat by revealing a second-generation E-M1 model is in the pipeline – and there appears to be much to get excited about.

Set to arrive later this year, the OM-D E-M1 II will update the three-year-old OM-D E-M1 with a new 20.4MP Live MOS sensor that shuns a low-pass filter for better detail retention, alongside a fresh TruePic VIII processing engine that’s said to be 3.5 times faster than previous versions. Olympus has also gifted the camera with its previously seen High Res Shot mode, which captures a series of images before outputting a single composite at 50MP.

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The sensor, which is not the same as that included in the company’s Pen F model nor Panasonic’s recent Lumix GX8, is to be designed with 121 cross-type, phase-detect points, with a contrast-detect system alongside to form a Dual Fast AF system. This instantly alternates between contrast-detect, phase-detect and hybrid options as and when the situation demands it. Olympus has also tweaked the continuous focus algorithm from previous models and has even graced the AF system with its own processing engine.

Impressively, the camera trounces pro-DSLR competitors by offering 18fps burst shooting with AF tracking and auto-exposure, and has thrown in the option to boost this to 60fps with the electronic shutter (albeit with focus and exposure fixed to that of the first frame). Shutter lag is also said to have been reduced by 30% from the E-M1.

The camera will also be the first Olympus OM-D model to record 4K video, here in the DCI 4K format (4096 x 2060 pixels) at a bit rate of up to 237Mbps. The list of pro-video features alongside is exhaustive, from a clean HDMI output and a flat picture mode for more appropriate grading to headphone and microphone sockets, while a tripling of the sensor’s read speed from the original E-M1 is also said to suppress movement distortion.

As we’d expect from a flagship offering, the body features environmental protection to guard it in inclement conditions and freezing temperatures, while its newly developed mechanical shutter aims to be just as solid, being rated to 200k actuations. The battery is also said to be 37% juicer than that inside its predecessor, while dual SDHC/SDXC card slots are also provided, with support for the UHS-I and (in the first slot) UHS-II standard.

The remainder of the camera’s spec sheet is just as glittering, from a 2.36million-dot EVF with a 120fps refresh rate and a fully articulating 3” touchscreen on the back, to a five-axis Image Stabilisation system that’s said to achieve up to 6.5EV stops of correction when used with the new M.ZUIKO Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO. Otherwise, performance with other IS lenses is rated up to a strong 5.5EV stops.

Pricing is yet to be announced although Olympus has promised the model will arrive before the year is up.

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