We haven't yet met an Olympus mirrorless camera that didn't live up to expectations, so we're holding the new OM-D E-M5 Mark II to high standards. Improving on an already solid E-M5, the manufacturer appears to make improvements in all the right places for this enthusiast camera that may even fit the needs of some pros.
The E-M5 II is powered by a 16 megapixel four thirds sensor. Pixel peepers will probably note that there's plenty of options now with a megapixel count closer to 24, but pre-release shots show a pretty good image quality regardless. Unique to the E-M5 II, the camera includes a high resolution mode that combines eight images into one 40 megapixel shot. That technology is made possible through Olympus' five-axis sensor shift image stabilization system, which can also be implemented for a regular still photo or within the video mode.
Olympus also upgraded the autofocus system to an 81-point type. With the original E-M5 being noted for a fast autofocus speed compared to other mirrorless models, the autofocus system should be quite excellent. When autofocus simply won't do, manual focus is available, assisted by focus peaking that highlights the in-focus areas within the electronic viewfinder or on the tilting touchscreen.
All that upgraded internal technology expands over into video as well. The second generation camera has variable fame rates up to 60 fps in full HD, where the previous model only reached 30 fps. The five-axis image stabilization comes in handy for video as well. Footage probably isn't the best in the category, but certainly takes steps in the right direction and makes big improvements over the previous model.
All those features are easily accessible with the vast amount of physical controls on the E-M5 II, including dual control wheels and customizable function buttons. Extra sealing also makes the camera able to withstand rain and dust, though it can't dive without additional housing.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II vs. E-M5
There are quite a few differences between the second generation E-M5 and the original, but since the release of the 2015 model, there's also a pretty big price difference. Both cameras use a 16 megapixel four thirds sensor with a five axis optical image stabilization system. The Mark II has more autofocus points (81 vs. 35), a higher maximum shutter speed (1/8000 vs 1/4000), a slightly higher burst mode (10 fps vs. 9 fps), and better video quality (60 fps vs 30 fps). The Mark II also has a new high resolution mode and wi-fi.
The OM-D E-M5 Mark II doesn't replace the manufacturer's flagship E-M1, but it comes pretty close. Olympus is a manufacturer we'd choose a mirrorless model from based on reputation alone, but the tech specs seem to support a high ranking as well. All those features do come at a price, however, at $1,099 for the body only.