Former White House photographer Pete Souza has served two presidents. With a new documentary, The Way I See It set to premier this week, we spoke to Pete about his work, what makes a good presidential photographer and why he s no longer content to let the pictures do the talking. The lens manages to pack a fast aperture and autofocus into a compact form factor, perfect for pairing with smaller E-mount cameras. Better yet, it won t break the bank at just under 400. Olympus E-M5 Mark II Review Weatherproof, Great Photos.
Compact, powerful and weatherproof, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II lets you shoot great photos and videos nearly anywhere. Petite, weather-sealed body Excellent photo and video quality Five-axis image stabilization Large articulating LCD with tap-to-focus Electronic viewfinder. Compact, powerful and weatherproof, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 lets you shoot great photos and videos nearly anywhere. Overly complex interface No built-in flash Autofocus sometimes sluggish in low light.
Olympus cameras inspire affection in many people because of the devices petite, metal-clad designs; retro SLR looks; and colorful photos. It also packs impressive goodies, like five-axis image stabilization, that make it one of the best mirrorless cameras, especially for video. The new OM-D E-M5 Mark II is no exception. Design Small enough to take anywhere. The E-M5 Mark II is a candid and street photographer s dream. Its weatherproof, black magnesium-alloy body feels reassuringly solid, and it s easy to carry anywhere.
Weighing just a pound for the body, plus 0. Zuiko 25mm f1. 3 pounds for the 25mm lens I used, it was barely noticeable hanging from my shoulder. Even with the lens I used for testing the 400, 1. The E-M5 Mark II also has a fairly quiet mechanical shutter and the option to enable a silent electronic shutter for stealthy shots of animals, people or performances. 8 50mm equivalent I could fit the camera inside my winter coat. The E-M5 Mark II doesn t have a built-in flash, but Olympus includes a small flash that slips into the hotshoe atop the camera.
This flash is not very powerful, but it does tilt up, so you can use bounce flash for softer lighting. Olympus sells more powerful external flashes separately. Olympus declined to reveal the resolution of the screens on the E-M5 Mark II, other than to provide an overall count of dots, or subpixels. Its tap-to-focus capability is great for action shots when you can t trust the camera to know what to focus on.
The screen swings out to the left and rotates 270 degrees for framing shots from just about any angle including for a selfie. That s generally a good thing, but it makes the whole package bigger and harder to hold. We reverse engineered the likely resolutions. The 3-inch, 720 x 480 LCD touch screen is massive for such a small camera. A 1024 x 760 LCD viewfinder will help DSLR switchers feel at home, although it has a more digital look than the lifelike OLED viewfinders in Sony, Fujifilm and some Samsung cameras.
Below is an example of the fleeting moments you can catch with the E-M5 Mark II thanks to its small size and quiet shutter. Using the rotating LCD screen, I could shoot while holding the camera in my lap. Image credit ISO 2500, f-2. 8, 1 80 sec, 25mm Credit Sean Captain. You can click on any photo to bring up a larger version. The E-M5 Mark II s controls feel solid, but they and especially the on-screen menus were a frequent annoyance. Autofocus and Speed Pretty dependable.
The E-M5 Mark II s image sensor uses old-style contrast-detection autofocus rather than the DSLR-grade phase detection found in Olympus older, 1,400 OM-D E-M1 see review and even in cheaper rivals such as the 550 body only Sony a6000. So I was happy to see that in bright or medium lighting, this camera s 81 focusing sensors quickly locked on. In lower light, such as a bar, I encountered occasional hunting, with the lens moving back and forth to find its target.
That s a classic weakness of contrast detection Under low light, there s less contrast to detect. Image credit ISO 200, f-3. 5, 1 80 sec, 25mm Credit Sean Captain. Burst shooting up to 10 fps was more than enough to ensure at least one good shot during action. Unlike cameras such as the 11 fps Sony a6000 see review with phase detection, the E-M5 Mark II can t refocus for each photo at its top burst speed. But it can for shorter 5 fps bursts, which was still plenty for the photo below of people walking toward me in the snow.
The color is just about perfect, too. Short of sports photography or capturing dimly lit streets and interiors, the E-M5 Mark II should be plenty fast, even for candid photography. Image Stabilization Remarkable in video. The E-M5 Mark II s five-axis image stabilization is phenomenal, especially for video. The sensor shifts to counteract five types of inadvertent motion pitch tilting up and downyaw turning side to side and roll rotatingas well as vertical shift moving straight up or down and horizontal shift moving to the left or right.
In video mode, the M5MII also provides digital image stabilization to further smooth out the jitters. The camera has four image-stabilizing modes plus the option to turn image stabilization off for using a tripod or saving battery. An Olympus representative told me that it s best to use the Auto I. mode for general shooting, and I did.
Here are still-image samples from about a dozen shots taken in a speeding subway train, at 1 30-second shutter speed, with stabilization on for some and off for others. Sometimes photos looked equally sharp regardless of settings. But in the worst cases, when the train was really rocking, the difference was clear, as in the comparison with Auto I. on, at left, and off, at right. Click on the image to bring up a 100-percent-crop comparison. Image credit ISO 250, f-1.
8, 1 30 sec, 25mm Credit Sean Captain. Video is where the five-axis stabilization really matters. To test the system, I shot many long clips walking with the camera, such as an eight-minute journey from the subway station to my office. Below is a one-minute excerpt. If you d like to see the whole segment, head over to the Tom s Guide YouTube channel. It s not completely free of jitters, but I wouldn t be able to get anything so smooth with a typical camera, even using an iqoption signals lens, unless I put it on a steadycam rig several times the size of the camera.
With its image-stabilization system, the E-M5 Mark II is as good for spontaneous movie-making, even action movies, as for candid photography. The rival Sony a7 II full-frame, mirrorless camera also has five-axis stabilization, which worked very well in our review. I didn t have an a7 II on hand to compare the two cameras, but I believe this Olympus system is at least as good. Image Quality Very pleasing.
Like other Olympus cameras we ve tested, the E-M5 Mark II consistently captured attractive color. I also found the contrast and dynamic range to be very good. Pixel noise, or graininess, was tolerable up to ISO 6400, depending on the lighting. That s good for a camera in this price range, and enough to allow some nice low-light photography. The camera s sensitivity goes up to ISO 25,600 four times greater light sensitivity but the top ISO settings never look good on any camera.
The color accuracy is excellent in the Natural picture mode I used for most of my testing, which I found to be the best. This photo looking up Fifth Avenue is an honest portrayal of a pale winter day. The flags on the right did have the faded look you see in the photo. The sky looks about right, too. Image credit ISO 200, f-8, 1 500 sec, 25mm Credit Sean Captain. The next photo shows the E-M5 Mark II at its best. This shot of houses in Bedford Stuyvesant on a cold, clear morning with direct, warm-colored sunlight was taken under optimal conditions the camera s lowest ISO of 200, a fast shutter speed of 1 500 to eliminate camera shake and an F 9 aperture to provide some depth of field.
By Sean Captain 16 March 2015. The colors are gorgeous without being oversaturated. The highlights are bright without overexposure, and detail remains in all but the very darkest areas under the steps. Image credit ISO 200, f-9, 1 500 sec, 25mm Credit Sean Captain. This photo from an exhibit at Lincoln Center contains a lot of info. Shot in Pattern Metering mode, which evaluates the whole frame equally, it shows respectable exposure.
A spotlight trained on the glass sculpture is also shining on the woman. Only some of her hair and collar are overexposed, and just the bits of her iqoption signals that are in full shadow have gone totally black. The dimmer background is well-illuminated, too. Image credit ISO 6400, f-2. 2, 1 80 sec, 25mm Credit Sean Captain. Shot at ISO 6400 sensitivity, the picture shows little noise. Viewed at 100 percent magnification big enough for a posterthe woman s face is a little grainy but still presentable.
Down around 75 percent or smaller still hugenoise nearly disappears from the subject. That s impressive because Olympus uses the small, oddly named Micro Four-Thirds image sensor, which is about two-thirds the size of the APS-C sensor in most mirrorless and DSLR cameras and just a quarter the size of a full-frame sensor, as found in the Sony a7 II.
Smaller sensors and pixels gather less light. Below is a 100 percent crop. The white balance is great, with scarcely any of the warm orangey cast typical of any camera s indoor shots using auto white balance. Some people like that warm glow, and the E-M5 Mark II has options to please anyone. Deep in the camera s menus is a setting called WB Auto Keep Warm Color. If you like the warm glow, leave it in the default On setting. If you want the most accurate color, turn it off.
Below is an example of the difference. The photo on the left was shot with the feature on, the one at the right with it off. Image credit ISO 5000, f-2. The right-hand photo looks extremely good for auto white balance, and is more accurate. With other cameras, I would have to pick a preset mode such as Tungsten light or do a manual white balance to get that close. You can always add a bit of warmth with the color temperature control found in even the cheapest and free photo editing program.
See our recommendations. 40-Megapixel Mode A neat trick. The E-M5 Mark II s sensor contains 16 megapixels. But Olympus figured out a trick using the image stabilizing system to shift the sensor ever so slightly for a series of eight shots that make up a 40-MP photo. The math is complex. There are caveats, though. The camera has to be completely still, ideally mounted on a tripod, and nothing in the scene can move, so no portraits. This feature is best for a still life or for product photography, especially in a studio setting.
And that s how we tested it, in the same studio where we shoot products, on a seamless white background, complete with strobes. Image credit 40-Megapixel Mode ISO 200, f-8, 1 15 sec, 25mm Credit Jeremy Lips. The composited 40-MP image has substantially more detail than the basic 16-MP photo. It also shows a bit more detail than a photo we took with a 22.
2MP Canon 5D Mark II DSLR. That may seem like a given, based on the number of megapixels, but Canon s 5D cameras use full-frame sensors and are standard equipment for many studio photographers. The E-M5 Mark II more than held its own. Pros probably won t be rushing out to get the E-M5 Mark II, though. They probably already have expensive collections of lenses for Canon, Nikon or some other brand that already provides very high-res options, such as the 36.
3-MP Nikon D810 see review or Canon s upcoming pair of 50MP DSLRs. Video Quality Sharp with great Color and clear sound. As you saw above, the E-M5 Mark II keeps video steady and quickly snaps focus onto new subjects as they enter the frame. It does all that in low light, too, while maintaining accurate color balance with the Keep Warm Color option turned off. 5-minute steadycam-style shot at an event space, I walked up and down steps, strolled around, panned across the room and even kept video rolling as I sat down.
The video also shows the E-M5 Mark II s continuous autofocus, in the same place where I encountered the hunting autofocus for still shots. In video, the camera took a few split seconds to figure out the right target, which is far better than jumping all around. The video is very sharp considering how often the camera had to refocus on something new. Rival cameras with phase-detection autofocus can shoot iqoption signals even lower light.
Videos and photos I tried to capture in a dim karaoke bar were mostly out of focus. When the camera did lock focus, it couldn t sustain it, and kept blurring. Given how common phase-detection has become, even in some budget mirrorless cameras, the failure to include it in the pricey E-M5 Mark II is a glaring oversight. The built-in stereo mics captured solid audio, as you can hear in this trumpet and trombone duet on a subway platform. Forgive the bad panning shot. If you re shooting something that isn t so high volume, such as an interview or dialog for a movie, you should plug in a higher-quality external microphone.
This clip is also a good test of color and white balance, with varying skin tones and white tiles under fluorescent light. Controls and Interface Aggravating. Here s where things get ugly. The E-M5 Mark II has one of the worst interfaces I have seen, and its closest rivals are other Olympus cameras followed by Fujifilm. The physical controls look good. The front knob encircling the shutter button and rear knob are easy to reach for quick adjustments, such as Shutter and Aperture in Manual mode or Shutter and Exposure Compensation in Shutter Priority mode.
But the knobs spin too easily. I got dozens of shots that were under- or over-exposed because my finger brushed against the front exposure-compensation knob. As a camera geek, I loved the five function buttons and the four-way rocker on the back, which can be reprogrammed to access a particular setting. But some of the settings I use the most are missing. None of the buttons can be set to bring up options for light metering like matrix or center weightedfocus area such as single point or whole frameor autofocus mode like manual, single or continuous.
You can get to a lot of, but not all, important settings by pressing the OK button on the back of the camera to launch an on-screen menu, optimistically called the Super Control Panel, with icons for items such as ISO, White Balance and, yes, light-metering and autofocus modes. But you won t find a focus area control, only a grid icon that lets you move a single focus point around the frame.
Getting to that setting is just one example of how difficult the menus can be. To change focus area, you have to press the OK button to open the on-screen menu, scroll over to the focus grid icon, press OK again to bring up a grid of green squares on the screen, press the Info button on the back of the camera, and finally use the four-way rocker to select focus area as well as face- and smile-recognition options. With the Sony a7 II, all I had to do was press a shortcut button I had set up and use one of the control knobs to scroll through my autofocus area options.
Battery Life Adequate. Olympus tests show that the stock E-M5 Mark II battery will last for 310 shots in default setting or 750 shots with Quick Sleep Mode enabled. Both with image stabilization turned on. Using Quick Sleep mode, I got a mere 413 photos. However, I also captured about five minutes of HD video at 60fps, and spent a lot time with the LCD while reviewing photos and evaluating menus.
Still, 750 photos seems optimistic based on my experience. As with nearly any mirrorless camera, you should buy a second battery to make it through a full day of shooting. A spare battery for the E-M5 Mark II costs 60. The E-M5 Mark II is one of the best cameras for candid shooting, and certainly the smallest, as long as the lighting is good. Autofocus is quick in most conditions; five-axis image stabilization keeps photos and especially videos steady as you move around, and the alloy body with weather sealing means this camera is ready for all conditions.
The camera s tiny size and negligible weight, especially with Olympus smaller lenses, make lugging it around a nonissue. For candid photography, the E-M5 Mark II s size, rotating screen with tap-to-shoot and quiet shutter with a silent option are ideal for keeping a low profile. Not to be forgotten, iqoption signals camera s photos and videos are gorgeous, with accurate color, good exposure and acceptable noise at high ISO.
The lack of phase-detection autofocus is a bummer, as it would complete the package for this candid shooter. Still, for all-around shooting, with constantly changing subjects and weather, the Olympus E-M5 Mark II is worth the price. Thanks for this first hand experience article. I appreciate the warnings and this has encouraged me to stop and think about how I want to use this sort of camera. Much thanks, from Richard Jackson, in New Zealand by the way.
My name is Robin Wong. I am a Malaysia based photographer, blogger and content creator. I TALK TO CAMERAS. I shoot passionately with Olympus cameras and lenses. Check out my extensive list of product reviews. PHOTOGRAPHY PORTFOLIO. I provide professional services covering portraits, weddings, food, products, lifestyle, event and stage photography. SHUTTER THERAPY. Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review Extension 40MP High Res Shot Questions Answered, High ISO Shooting and More Samples Images.
I coined the phrase shutter therapywhich means go out and enjoy making images. The Olympus Capture computer software to enable tethered shooting, connected via USB to camera is supported by OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I live and breathe photography. 7 Why is the JPEG high res shot only 40MP. Why is the RAW 64MP instead. The full resolution captured is 64MP, hence the RAW file is 64MP. Simple calculation steps 8 images of 16MP yield 128MP in total, but images were moved at half a pixel pitch, hence we get effectively half of the 128MP, resulting in recorded 64MP RAW file, which should be compatible with Adobe RAW when the plug-in is released.
Why is the JPEG only 40MP. Olympus R D has found out that the optimum resolution would be 40MP, and that extra 24MP in the 64MP RAW file will not give you any more useful detail. We can verify this once the official support for 64MP RAW is released. Currently all my high res shot were taken with JPEG, hence I am showing the default 40MP shots, straight out of camera. Also worth noting is that, having a tillable and rotatable head both horizontal and vertical axiswireless flash control now via optical trigger can be made easier.
Previously I would have issues triggering Olympus external flash units wirelessly if the external flash off camera units are being places behind me where there is no direct line of sight from the triggering on camera flash unit to the slaves. Now the commander unit has flexible head that I can tilt to any direction. While the flash is useful with bounce, drawing power from the camera does have it s downside. At full power GN9, the flash is not exactly that powerful.
The flash recharge time at full power was around 5 seconds, which is not bad, but surely not suitable for fast action shooting. For portraits and still life, or subjects that do not require quick reaction from the photographer, 5 seconds wait is not an issue at all. MORE THOUGHTS ON E-M5 Mark II VIDEO RECORDING PERFORMANCE. 92 comments. Love the comparison photos D Robin throw me one Mark2 pls hahaha. Tian Chad, thanks for the kind words.
Do not worry, I will make something happen for you soon. Shall keep you updated. Oh, I ll take one too, please. The line is getting very long. It does seem to work quite well in lower light. I ve been testing the Panasonic Leica 15mm f 1. 7 with the E-M1 and it has done reasonable well outdoors in the dark. However, at this moment, the 40MP High Res Shot is not available in the Olympus Capture yet.
Iqoption signals again, the GH4 with the 12-40mm f 2. 8 lens did well shooting stills and video at a small concert--naturally, without stabilization. Hi Nobuyuki San, Are you referring to the video recording or 40MP. I assume it is video. Yes, in low light it was alright, and I am not experienced with video, so under better videographer s supervision I think the camera would fare better. The various photos look good at high ISO.
I didn t look at the video yet because of the bandwidth. The 40 MP mode photos look good in most cases. I wouldn t think anyone would believe that the mode would replace the Nikon D810 for most work, but it does seem impressive for product photos. If the E-M1 could be modified to do this, it would be amazing. Oh dear you were referring to the images, my bad. Indeed the high ISO images are looking good.
But nothing extraordinary or different from E-M1 or E-M10. I throw away anything past ISO 3200, from the GH3, GH4, or E-M1, unless there is something extraordinary. I think E-M1 s ISO6400 is OK. I have not had good luck with high ISO images at all. Just do not underexpose them and then lift the shadow back up in post processing. That is a nightmare. 40MP for my gundam.
Great Part 2, Robin. Glad you find it useful. U found the coffee bean. Impressive that IBIS in video. The poor guy at right of the stage was required to use a monopod And considering You could shoot just handheld that made it even more impressive. What raises the next question, with improved gyro, does the IBIS work better now with monopod so it doesn t start shaking itself.
As while the IBIS does amazing work to replace tripod and monopod for recording, but handhelding even OM-D for couple songs will result tired hands. So monopod is great way to just rest the camera on it. I am not sure myself as I do not have a monopod. I am sure someone else will test it. Bracketing is disabled. However you can adjust frames of different exposures variation manually, hence manual bracketing. Nothing to stop you from stitching HDR in post processing.
Thanks for the follow-up. In the high-ISO section, you said ISOs of 6400 and up need to be approached with caution. Yet your ISO 8000 photo of the guitar head, and even the ISO 12,800 photo of the mannequin s necktie, look impressively detailed -- I would have no hesitation about using them. So is it really just in underexposed shadow areas that the problems come out. You were right, the shadow area, hence do not underexpose. I have been reading your reviews for the last 6 months since I decided to swap from the classic Canon dslr to Olympus EM-10 along with some lenses lumix 8mm fe, lumix 7-14, lumix 20mm, oly 45mm and oly 40-150 2.
I am so happy and satisfied with this system. I was initially swapped because my main interest of photography is underwater with no tanks so a lighter housing and camera was among my needs this is my website www. Soon I ve noticed that EM-10 was so fun to shoot on land too so I ve started taking more seriously the dry photography. The above review meets your standards as always, great work again. I have a question, if you have some time.
I was initially processing my raw files with the adobe camera raw and I was satisfied. I have however some inability to get good high ISO photos out of there. So I recently search again and re-read your articles of how you processing your files. So, I decided to give a chance to Olympus viewer 3 as u suggested. I played a lot although its running quite slow on my computer and especially I made some tests on the high ISO photos with the noise filter Off, Low, Standard, High.
I ve read that you always shoot with noise filter off or low and then depending of the file you change this on the post processing to manage the noise. So here is my question. What are the approximate covering ISO ranges that every one of the available automatic choices when you edit your files. For instance, do you think these are correct.
iso200 to iso800 off noise filter iso800 to iso1600 low noise filter iso1600 to iso4000 standard noise filter iso4000 to max high noise filter. That s my only point of confuse up to date. Otherwise, I am very pleased and satisfied with my mirrorless equipment and I am planning to go for my next body the EM-1 or EM-5II to take their 5 axis and weatherproof advantages for my land photography. Thank you for your time. Hi Dimitris, welcome to the world of Micro Four Thrids and thanks so much for the kind support to my blog.
Appreciate that a lot. I usually just leave the noise filter to low for all my usual shooting, and OFF only when I am shooting review. I would avoid Standard or high settings even when I am shooting high ISO, I would rather have the noise than losing more useful fine details in my shots. Thanks for your response Robin. Seriously, I cannot believe that these 8000 or 10000 ISO photos are with the noise filter set to off as you mentioned you leave noise filter to off on your review photos.
I guess you swapped to noise filter to low or standard during raw post processing on OV3. My doubts are because my shots with my 40-150mm 2. 8 are not so good and useable as yours despite the exceptional lens performance. Can we use braketing exposure with 40Mpx mode. I dont think that EM-5II is so much better performer than the EM-10 at high ISO levels.
Update Last night I went out with the 40-150 2. 8 to take shots from central Athens, parliament, protest against euro policy. Almost all of my shots where between 4000 and 6800 iso.with low filter on. Upon my return at home for processing I saved and export these from OV3 to PS for further filtering effects. The results are magnificent with very usable pictures. You are right, standard or high filter should be avoided. Low with OV3 works like charm.
Thanks for the verification. For this review I shot with the Noise Filter Off, so that you can see all details. But for real life practical use I would apply Noise Filter Low, you know, just to smoothen the images out a little so they do not look so grainy. 8 some with my 7-14mm. VN4fFyyLXMg Most of them at 150mm. That sharpness even wide open. indeed super sharp. It s possible to use Manual Focus Lenses in 40MP High Res Shot Mode to avoid the F8 Aperture limit.
I so it will be interesting to see the results, like blur backgrounds and with faster shutter speeds we re closer to hand held shooting. You can actually shoot wider than F8. You cannot stop down further like F11 or F16. Faster shutter speed does not help with hand-held shooting. In case you have not read everything I have written, it is the variance of half a pixel distance that made hand-held impossible.
Here are some high ISO shots with the 40-150 2. I actually do not have the answer to manual lenses usage. Currently all the test units of E-M5 mark II is away from us. Will have to get back to you a week or more later when I have the camera in hand. Hi Robin, how did you create high ISO jpeg pictures, direct raw file transfer in camera. Also, will you compare E-M1 and E-M5II in the future and make recommendations for which to buy.
Thank you, Yang. I shot everything in RAW and developed through Olympus Viewer 3. I wont do any comparisons, it requires too much work for now. Also I have done exhaustive reviews for E-M1 with plenty of image samples iqoption signals for download. Thank you Robin. It is always fun and informative reading your blogs. I bought the EM-5 after reading your review and have loved that camera.
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