Pretty much everyone now has the ability to take fairly high-quality photos every day with their smartphone. Sure, a lot of the time those photos are ‘good enough’. Especially if you don’t plan to do much beyond popping a couple up on Instagram. But for those who really want to take their shots to the next level without hauling a huge camera around, the Micro Four Thirds system is ideal. Compact and versatile, these cameras deliver the same super high-quality you’d expect from a DSLR, and often at a lower cost too. I’ve been a loyal user of my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II for a while now, and I can’t see myself going back to a DSLR anytime soon.
Having recently tried one of the Olympus PRO lenses, I was keen to get my hands on basically anything else the brand makes. Their quality is incredible, so when I had the chance to try the OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera I was pretty excited. I love the OM-D line of cameras because they make for such a convenient and ideal piece of everyday equipment. The E-M5 Mark II especially has been a stellar all-rounder camera for me in daily life. With varied features and a different build and layout to my trusty E-M10 Mark II, it did take a little while to get used to the newer camera. It wasn’t long before I got my head around the differences, though, and I started shooting away.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II
Olympus has nailed the look of the E-M5 Mark II, especially in this sleek silver and black body. All the cameras in the line sport a similar aesthetic, which is a bit retro and very beautiful. The E-M5 Mark II is also available in all black if that’s more up your alley. The camera feels very solid too, although it only weighs around 460 grams. It’s comfortable to carry around for quite a while, depending on what lens you’ve got on it. I tried it with a couple, including the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens as well as the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8. They each felt nice to use and carry, though the combination with the former was noticeably heavier in the front end.
The E-M5 Mark II’s flip-out screen is a really handy feature. The monitor flips out and can be swivelled around 180 degrees. This is great when trying to get shots from different, and sometimes awkward perspectives. It’s also really good for selfies, if that’s your kind of thing.
The camera’s monitor is also a touchscreen, and you can use it to autofocus on a subject by simply touching it on the screen. It always focusses super quickly and thanks to the camera’s 81 point AF system, it’s very accurate too.
All the dials feel very solid, which really helps make the camera feel like the premium product that it is. It’s effortless to use the buttons and dials as well, without the need to do any crazy finger acrobatics to change settings. Better yet, you can customise up to six buttons on the camera to perform the functions you need the most.
The below shots were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 PRO Lens.
The OM-D E-M5 Mark II delivers a huge deal of functionality and usability as Olympus have totally sealed it, making it dust, splash, and freeze-proof. This makes it a great piece of gear to take travelling as it can handle well in different conditions.
Olympus boasts that the E-M5 Mark II has the world’s best stabilisation performance, and look, I don’t know the ins and outs of it but it’s pretty damn good. I’ve been taking quick shots with reckless abandon and no fear they’ll come out blurry. It also helps capture shots nicely in low-light situations. The camera sports 5-axis image stabilisation, which compensates for any natural shaking or slight movements that naturally occur when taking photos. I like having this in the camera as opposed to in a lens as it means I can feel safe knowing my photos will be blur-free no matter which lens I use.
The stellar stabilisation is also really handy when it comes to shooting video, which the E-M5 Mark II has the ability to do in Full HD 1080p. The footage I took with it often looks like the camera was on a dolly instead of being handheld. Everything turned out quite smooth when normally I’d expect it to be pretty shaky, especially on close-ups and pans.
One of the coolest features the E-M5 Mark II has is the 40 Megapixel High Res Shot. The way this works is the sensor shifts in small, 0.5 megapixel increments, catching eight shots total and then stitching them all together to create a higher res image. Obviously, since it’s putting different shots together your subject needs to be totally still, and you’ll need to use a tripod. This is great for detailed landscapes or other still-life shots that you want to capture the most minute details of. Furthermore, it mitigates some of the limitations that the Micro Four Thirds system has in terms of small sensors.
The Wrap-Up – Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review
If you’re looking for a camera that’s packed with features but comes in a small package, the E-M5 Mark II is an outstanding option. The hardy and sealed construction, as well as light weight, makes it great to take travelling or on weekend adventures. Paired with one or two different lenses, the E-M5 Mark II is a fantastic, all-round piece of gear.