Words and photo by Bob Rosinsky
I nearly always agree with Mike's assessment of cameras. However, I think the Olympus EM-5 M II is more versatile than the EM-1 (I own both cameras). As much as I love the EM-1's first-rate ergonomics, I often reach for the EM-5 II instead. For the money, the EM-5 II is Olympus's best offering. There are two main reasons why:
IBIS (in-body image stabilization): The EM-5 II's 5-axis IBIS is a miracle of modern technology. The difference between that and the EM-1's IBIS is noticeable, especially when hand holding the 40–150mm ƒ/2.8 PRO + 1.4X teleconverter. It works great with the 75mm ƒ/1.8 lens too.
High resolution mode: The EM-5 II's high resolution mode is fantastic. The multi-shot technology works well for reproduction (color accuracy, micro contrast, resolving power), still life, and static landscapes. The dynamic range is amazing. I am looking forward to the next iteration of Oly's multi-shot feature. Imagine being able to handhold a camera that shifts the sensor eight times within 1/60th sec. and delivers a high resolution RAW file with super-accurate color.
Last night, I took a picture of the neighborhood Shell station with the EM-5 II in high-res mode. The native resolution is 9,216x6,912. That's 25.6x19.2 inches @ 360 DPI. Exposure data: .3 sec. x 8, ƒ/6.7 @ 12mm with the 12–40mm ƒ/2.8 PRO lens.
I corrected the perspective in two steps. First in ACR and then in Photoshop CS6. All image data adjustments were made in ACR (curve, HSL [hue, saturation, luminance] for the red, orange, and yellow channels, color temp., and one local adjustment to decrease exposure on the Shell logo).
I manually content-filled the lower left-hand parking lot and the bottom of building (that section got cropped out when I corrected the perspective).
From start to finish, I spent approximately 30 minutes on the picture. The print, on Ilford Gold Fiber Silk, looks great.
[CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the E-M1 has 3-axis image stabilization. "E-M5, E-M1, E-M5 Mark II and E-M10 Mark II all have 5-axis image stabilisation. It's only the E-M10 (original) that has 3-axis IS. (Ignoring PENs)." Thanks to Josh for this.
Bob Rosinsky adds, "Mea culpa; the EM-1 does indeed utilize 5-axis image stabilization (rise/fall along the y-axis, shift along the x-axis, pitch, yaw, and roll). The second generation 5-axis IBIS in the EM-5 II is noticeably better. I must have been thinking of the EPL-5, which only has 3-axis IBIS but employs the same sensor as the EM-1. Sorry for the confusion...."
Yr. 'umble Ed. would like to remind readers that errors in a published article are not the writer's fault, but the editor's. The culpa is all mea's. —Ed.]
©2015 by Robert Rosinsky, all rights reserved
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
k4kafka: "Not understanding Bob Rosinsky's exposure time...what does '.3 sec. x 8' mean?"
Mike replies: The E-M5 Mark II's innovative high-resolution mode combines eight separate sequential exposures made with very slight sensor shifts into one image. Olympus says the resulting file is equivalent to one made with a 40-megapixel camera. The feature offers versatility for higher-quality shots of unmoving subjects when the opportunity presents itself, such as with still lifes, product shots, and many landscapes.
BH: "I agree that the E-M5 Mark II is an excellent camera. The list price does seem to run about $200 too high though; it feels like it should sit right between the EM10 and the EM1. Why'd I shell out for the EM5.2? Exactly because it walks the line between the two. Smaller than the E-M1, still has weather sealing unlike the E-M10. Plus I really like the rotating LCD that I can turn around...NO CHIMPING! (Seriously, this was a selling point for me.)
"I have to admit I'm kind of taken with Micro 4/3. I don't like the RAW files as much as Fuji's, but that's rather subjective. Excellent build quality, super-smooth and quiet AF and truly small bodies and lenses are what makes the system."
Jack Kurtz: "I have to agree with Bob Rosinsky's assessment of the E-M5 Mark II. The image stabilization is amazing. A real game-changer. I'm able to handhold my 40–150mm zoom with the 1.4X matched teleconverter, total focal length of 210mm (or 420mm in full frame terms) at 1/10th of a second. I've made handheld timed exposures at 2.5 seconds with a 12mm lens. I wish the E-M5 Mark II had the E-M1 autofocus, but otherwise I think the new technology packed into it makes it a real winner."
Phil Stiles: "I join the dissent. I own both cameras. For me the option of using a silent electronic shutter is the key feature that the EM-5 has that the EM-1 doesn't. But they both use that oh-so-sweet 40–150mm ƒ/2.8."
Mike replies: Be sure to read Moose's comment about silent shutter mode in the Comments Section.
Raxtich: "I have both an E-M5 and the E-M1. While I love the E-M5, I could not get comfortable with the ergonomics, so I was reluctant to switch to the Mark II when it came time to upgrade. I chose instead to spend a couple hundred extra for the E-M1 and have not regretted it."