The most exciting new product announcement made by Olympus at Photokina is a ‘development announcement’ concerning the long-awaited OM-D E-M1 Mark II.


Angled view of the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera with the 12-40mm f/2.8 lens attached. (Source: Olympus.)

A new flagship model has been announced for the Olympus OM-D line-up in the form of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which appears to have been designed for sports and action photographers. Featuring a new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor with a low-passless filter and TruePic VIII image processor that is 3.5 times faster than previous processors, the E-M1 Mark II is also equipped with an Advanced DUAL FAST AF system with an 121-point all cross-type on-chip phase detection sensor that supports 18 fps high-speed sequential shooting at full resolution with AF and AE tracking. AF functions such as AF Target Mode, AF Target Position, Face/Eye Priority AF can easily be set with a single action. The camera also includes an AF Targeting Pad, which lets you move the AF point using touch operations while looking through the viewfinder.


Front, back and top views of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II camera. (Source: Olympus.)

Like its predecessor, the new camera has a dustproof, splashproof and freezeproof (-10 °C) body thanks to high-level hermetic and weather-resistant sealing. The traditional dust reduction system SSWF (Supersonic Wave Filter) is also incorporated which vibrates the SSWF at an ultra-high speeds of more than 30,000 times each second and powerful gravitational acceleration is generated to remove dust and dirt, keeping the imaging sensor surface clean when switching interchangeable lenses. The shutter mechanism in the new camera clears durability tests of 200,000 operations and a floating shutter construction is employed so that shutter shock is not easily transmitted to the camera body.  The high-definition electronic viewfinder has a magnification of 0.74x (35mm equivalent) plus a maximum frame rate of 120 fps and a minimum 6 msec display time lag during shooting

Dual card slots enable simultaneous use of two cards for more versatile shooting. Because the slots are located in a staggered layout, cards are easy to remove. You can select from 4 types of setting: Standard records only to the specified card, Automatic Switching automatically switches to the other card when the specified card becomes full, Distribute records to each card according to the specified image quality setting, and Equal Writing records to both cards simultaneously at the same image quality setting. Slot 1 supports UHS-II/UHS-I and slot 2 supports UHS-I.

The native sensitivity range in ISO Auto mode has been extended to ISO 6400 for greater flexibility and ISO LOW is now equivalent to ISO 64. The camera also includes a 50M High Resolution Shot mode that takes advantage of the sensor-shift stabilisation to capture a total of eight shots, moving the image at 0.5 pixel pitch and then composite them into a single 50M equivalent ultra high-resolution image. In addition to 80M RAW and 50M equivalent JPEG images, it is also possible to switch to a smaller 25M equivalent file size.

The E-M1 Mark II is the first model to support 4K-compatible OM-D Movie recording, supporting Digital Cinema Standard 4K (4096 x 2060 pixels) with a frame rate of 24p and high bit rate of 237 Mbps. The 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS sensor provides a reading speed three times faster than traditional models for effective suppression of movement distortion that tends to occur when shooting movies, and for sharp, clear image quality in movies. The movie-specific Picture Mode Flat is perfect for colour grading. A HDMI Monitor connection is provided, with and Rec Sync for pro movie shooting. Users can select from Monitor mode for an external monitor, and Recording mode for an external recorder. The Slate Tone function is also included for advanced movie production, making it easier to match recorded audio to movies.

The various shooting functions made popular on the OM-D series for shooting in a wide variety of shooting situations are polished for further ease of use and functionality. They include a Silent mode, focus stacking, focus bracketing, a Pro Capture mode for time lag-free shooting of split-second moments, Live Composite, Live Bulb and Live Time settings. Keystone Compensation is also available. Other new functions include:
– C-AF tracking sensitivity for optimal focusing by adjusting autofocus tracking sensitivity to match the subject and shooting scene in five levels.

– AF scan lets you adjust the lens scan operation settings when the camera is significantly out or focus or when the camera cannot focus in low-contrast environments.

– Preset MF lets you quickly set a preferred focal position when using manual focus.

– AF Home settings can be assigned to one of the buttons, and program your most frequently used AF target position, AF Target mode, and AF mode as your AF Home setting. Simply by pressing the assigned button, you can reset various registered AF settings.

– Lowest S/S (shutter speed) setting lets you set a shutter speed to automatically begin raising the ISO speed when using ISO AUTO. This is a convenient function for when you want to shoot at low ISO speeds.

– Save setting/Mysets lets you backup customized camera settings on a computer so they can be applied to a camera whenever necessary. This is useful when you want to use the same settings on multiple cameras, and to maintain settings after a firmware update.

– Specify folder to record to / Create new folder let you select a folder as a recording destination, and create new folders to make image editing and management easier. This function is especially useful for commercial shooting.

– Grid settings lets you set a highly visible grid color for display as a guide when shooting in dark locations such as stages, etc.

– Date/Time/Second display lets you organise images by a second unit. This is an effective feature for high-speed sequential shooting.
– Tab scroll menu lets you scroll through a screen with tabs that collects different genres, making it much easier to access the menu.

The software Olympus Capture is now available in Ver. 1.2, and supports OM-D E-M1 Mark II 121-point focus points and Dual Card Slots recording settings. The new TruePic VIII image processor, high-speed data processing and transfer via USB 3.0, and optimized saving processing compared to Olympus Capture 1.1 results in four times more speed. Cable Clip, CC-1 is also bundled for securing and stabilising the cable to a strap when the camera and computer are connected. Optional accessories include the HLD-9 power battery holder, the optional AC Adapter, AC-5 for studio photography and two electronic flash units, both with weather-proof construction. The FL-900R is a new high-intensity flash with a guide number of GN.58 and built-in LED light for recording movies. The new STF-8 macro flash has dual heads that are designed for close-up work. When using both heads the GN is 8.5, and when using one it is 6. In addition to TTL Auto Sync mode for precision control, you can set the flash in 1/3 step increments on the camera when in manual mode, and in 1 step increments with the flash dial. The main flash can also be used as a commander to control multiple flash units. The flash head angle can be adjusted within a range of -60 to 40 degree. It is powered with four AA batteries. A release cable and underwater housing will also be offered, along with a high-capacity camera backpack (CBG-12) developed specifically for OM-D users.

We expect to receive more information on this camera next month, hopefully including details of the scheduled release date and local pricing.