The anticipated replacement of the popular Olympus OM-D E-M5 has just been announced with the impending release of the Mark II version in late February/early March 2015.


The new OM-D E-M5 Mark II, shown with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II weather-proof lens.(Source: Olympus.)

Marginally larger than the E-M5, the Mark II is designed with movie-orientated photographers and travellers in mind. It will be offered in silver and black versions and boasts a robust metal alloy chassis and a body that is splash-, dust- and freeze-resistant. Like its predecessor, the Mark II comes with a 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor but it uses the same TruPic VII image processor as the E-M1. A key feature of the new camera is improved image stabilisation, which Olympus claims is ‘the world’s most advanced 5-axis image stabilisation system’.

As well as offering up to five EV steps of shake compensation, the new camera uses the IS system for increasing image resolution in the new ‘Hi Res Shot’ mode. Eight 16-megapixel shots can be captured in a sequence while moving the sensor by half-pixel steps between each shot. The eight shots are composited to produce a single, super-high resolution image, equivalent to one JPEG image captured with a 40-megapixel image sensor. Resolution can reach 64-megapixels with raw file capture, which creates 100MB file (compared with 20MB files for JPEGs). The system requires exposures of around one second with good light and exposures of up to eight seconds can be used in dim lighting. Consequently, it is only usable for static subjects, such as still life, products and art objects, as well as landscapes and other scenes where high-resolution photos are required.

The other noteworthy feature of the E-M5 Mark II is its dramatically improved movie capabilities, which have been engineered to provide ‘pro cinema’ quality. The new movie IS capability improves ‘run-and-gun’ filmmaking by producing stable dynamic action footage when the photographer is   running and recording with the camera in hand. Pan-sequences are also smoother through combining hybrid-stabilisation with optimised acceleration and deceleration algorithms. Video is recorded at Full HD resolution with a choice of 24, 25, 30, 50 and 60p frame rates. All-Intra and IPB recording modes can be selected with (approximate) maximum bitrates of 77Mbps and 52Mbps, respectively. Sound monitoring is also possible when the optional accessory grip is attached.

All Art Filters are available when shooting movies and the Mark II includes four different Art Effects. A new Clips function makes it easy to create movies with a variety of scene changes by pressing the movie button once as if taking a snapshot. Users can preset the duration of clips for these short movies. Movies shot as Clips are automatically saved to the camera’s My Clips menu. Effects and background music can be added within the camera before exporting the entire sequence as a single movie.

Another feature is the ‘Silent’ shooting mode, which utilises an electronic shutter with a 1/16000 second top shutter speed. The mechanical shutter has a top speed of 1/8000 second. The E-M5 Mark II claims the shortest release time lag of 0.044 seconds in its class for cameras with mechanical shutters. It also offers an Anti-Shock mode (electronic first curtain shutter) that reduces shutter shock and is now compatible with sequential shooting.

The E-M5’s FAST AF system has been improved with 81 focus points and a faster sensor drive speed to optimise the AF algorithm. With an MSC lens it provides shooting time lag improvement of 45% from the original OM-D E-M5. Continuous shooting performance is also improved, with up to 11 frames/second (fps) for JPEG capture when using the electronic shutter and if focus is fixed on the first frame in the sequence. Sequential shooting of ORF.RAW frames is now possible at a constant 5 fps (Sequential L) until the card is full. Additionally, C-AF tracking sequential shooting performance is improved to 5 fps. When using Group Target AF, tracking sequential shooting is possible with the focus on a moving subject within a field of view.

The new camera retains many of the features of the original E-M5, although its control layout has been tweaked to position the knobs, dials and buttons more ergonomically, enabling users to change exposure and other key camera settings while looking through the viewfinder. The new flip and swivel vari-angle LiveView LCD touch-screen has a resolution of 1.04 megapixels and provides compositional flexibility for stills and video. The 2.36 megapixel high-resolution Electronic View Finder (EVF) delivers a high 1.48x magnification and features Adaptive Brightness Technology, which automatically adjusts the backlight brightness in accordance with environmental lighting.  A new LV Boost II setting is provided for shooting star trails, while the Creative Control provides complete freedom of control over colour, tone, focus and aspect ratio in the EVF.

Built-in Wi-Fi enables camera control and data transfer via Olympus Image Share and new Olympus Image Palette apps. A QR code is provided for quick connection to smart devices. Users can then transfer images, add geotags and apply Art Filters and the smart device can also be used to remotely control the camera for wireless shooting in a variety of scenes. Olympus Image Palette is a new editing app that can be used on smart-phones and tablets.


 The E-M5 Mark II, shown with the FL-LM3 tilt and swivel wireless flash. (Source: Olympus.)

New accessories include the FL-LM3 tilt and swivel wireless flash, which is dust and splash proof and is bundled with the camera. The ECG-2 metal external grip includes  a quick-shoe rail for use with compatible tripods, while the HLD-8 dust and splash proof power battery holder is equipped with a headphone jack for monitoring movie recordings.

The EE-1 dot sight accessory is designed for super-telephoto shooting. It allows users to position a reticule onto the image and calibrate its brightness and position to suit the lens. The PT-EP13 Underwater Housing is designed specifically for the new camera and enables it to be used at depths up to 45 metres. Other accessories include the EP-16 large eyecup and CS-46FBC leather cover and body jacket. The new camera uses the same BLN-1 battery as other cameras in the OM-D range and the Mark II includes a ‘Quick Sleep’ power management mode that enables battery life of up to 750 shots.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II will be offered  in four configurations:
 Body only – RRP AU$1299
 Adventure Kit (with 14-150mm II lens) – RRP AU$1799
 Pro Kit (with 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens) – RRP AU$2099
 Weatherproof Kit (with12-50mm f/3.5-5.6 weather sealed lens) – RRP AU$1599

Full details will be published on the Olympus website at

For your chance to win one of two  OM-D E-M5 Mark II kits, see Image Review 4.