Olympus OM-D E-M1 II: Sample Images And First Impressions

We got hands-on time with an early sample of Olympus's E-M1 II

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Olympus OM-D E-M1 IIPhilip Ryan

Olympus announced its new flagship ILC at Photokina in Cologne, Germany this year. Recently, the company flew a handful of journalists to Reykjavik, Iceland for the first chance to shoot with early samples of the camera. All of the images presented here were shot RAW and, since the early version of Olympus Viewer 3 available at the time was operating rather slow, output as 16-bit TIFFs. We then used Adobe Camera Raw to make adjustments to exposure, shadow and highlight detail, white balance, and sharpness.

The 20MP E-M1 II has a rugged body design that is comfortable to use. Bursts are as fast as 18fps with AF tracking or 60fps with AF locked after the first frame. There's also a Pro Capture shooting mode that buffers frames at 60fps until you press the shutter, and then continues to capture more shots at 60fps if you keep the shutter button pressed. Video tops out at Cinema 4K. In addition to contrast detection, the E-M1 II has 121 cross-type phase-detect points embedded in the imaging sensor. Focusing proved fast and sure with the 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens and 25mm f/1.2 Pro lenses that we used for our shooting.

Two of the most impressive things we noticed during our time with the camera are the efficacy of the 5-axis image stabilization system and the impressive weather sealing that let us shoot even in cold, rainy environments. We carried the camera around for well over an hour in steady rain, just above the freezing point and had no problem shooting when we weren't wiping water off the front lens element. The only issue we ran into was that the eye sensor that automatically switches between the articulating LCD screen and the EVF sometimes became confused once it was covered in water. This seems pretty inevitable though, so it's hard to hold that against Olympus. Still, it's good to be aware of this and occasionally wipe off the EVF when you're wiping off that front lens element anyway.

The OM-D E-M1 II is expected to be available in late December for $2,000, body only. Here are some images that we were able to capture in our time with the new OM-D E-M1 II.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Captured with Olympus's LiveTime capture mode, which shows you the progress of a long exposure on the LCD as you shoot it, this shot shows the northern lights from a location just outside Reykjavik. Shot Details: Tripod mounted, ISO 1600, f/4, 30 seconds, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 12mm (24mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
This shot of the northern lights was also captured using LiveTime shooting mode. Shot Details: Tripod mounted, ISO 1600, f/5, 46 seconds, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 12mm (24mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Tripod mounted, ISO 64, f/16, 8 seconds, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 100mm (200mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Tripod mounted, ISO 64, f/16, 6 seconds, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 80mm (160mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Tripod mounted, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/1000 second, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 100mm (200mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Handheld with IS on, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/400 second, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 100mm (200mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
This shot shows some of the machinery at the largest geothermal power plant in Iceland. Shot Details: Handheld with IS on, ISO 800, f/8, 1/50 second, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 47mm (94mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
This shot of a candle in a restaurant shows the nice looking bokeh of Olympus's new 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens. Shot Details: Handheld, ISO 200, f/2, 1/100 second, 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens (50mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
With some pretty extreme processing, we brightened the shadows and tamed the highlights to end up with a shot of the area behind the bar at Skuli in downtown Reykjavik. Shot Details: Handheld, ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/25 second, 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens (50mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Handheld with elbows braced on bar, ISO 1600, f/2, 1/6 second, 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens (50mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
This geyser was shot with Olympus's Pro Capture mode that buffers frames at 60fps both before and after you press and hold the shutter button. Shot Details: Handheld with IS on, ISO 64, f/8, 1/60 second, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 15mm (30mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Tripod mounted, ISO 64, f/16, 1/2 second, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 29mm (58mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 II
Shot Details: Handheld with IS on, ISO 1600, f/16, 1/3 second, 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens at 57mm (114mm equiv.).Philip Ryan
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