*UPDATED Thursday 22nd September
It’s three years since Olympus launched its flagship OM-D E-M1 Micro Four Thirds camera and today at Photokina the E-M1 Mark II was launched. The new camera will ship before the end of this year. Journalists will get hands-on with evaluation units that are near enough production quality in early November. The Mark II is expected to go on sale before the end of the year. There are also two new m.Zuiko Pro lenses, a super bright-25mm f/1.2 (equivalent to the classic 50mm f/1.2 standard prime lens) and a 12-100mm f/4 superzoom (24-200mm equivalent). There is also a new Pen E-PL8 compact Micro Four Thirds and a new low price 30mm macro lens that we’re covering in separate posts.
Olympus live-streamed the event on YouTube
The headline features include a new 20 megapixel sensor with around 1 stop of improved dynamic range, 121 all cross-type on-sensor phase-detect AF points, new continuous AF algorithms which are designed to cope with up to 18 frames per second continuous shooting (while recording RAW files), up to 60 frames per second continuous shooting, an enhanced 50 megapixel high-resolution mode that can cope better with detail changes caused by movement of the subject during exposure, a higher refresh rate for the viewfinder, faster battery charging with greater shot capacity, dual card slots with one being UHS-II compliant, Pro Capture mode that starts shooting a buffer of up to 14 frames before the shutter is fully pressed – helps avoid missing key action, a move from tilt up/down only to a side-hinged fully articulating touch screen, improved 5-axis image stabilisation offering up tp 6.5 stops of compensation, and quite decent specification 4K video support – no mention of 4K stills modes in-camera, so far though.
Olympus is also introducing a three-tier Olympus Pro subscription support service for E-M1 Mark II owners, including a videoconference troubleshooting service. There are also several new accessories, including a much-needed successor to the FL-50R flash, the FL-900R, plus a STF-8 macro flash kit. Both flash units are dust and splash-proofed.
Since this list was first published I have spoken to Olympus’ Toshi Terada and he has helped me to verify most of the following:
- Compatibility with the current BLN-1 battery – No
- Compatibility with the existing HLD-7 grip – No – the tripod bush is now inline with the optical axis
- A new dual-battery grip – ? There is a new HLD-9 grip but it can’t take a second battery but as before, you don’t need to remove the standard battery to fit the grip so two batteries can be used at one time.
- In-camera battery charging – No
- Better battery stamina – Yes
- OM-style multi-spot metering – No
- Spot-metering weighted towards focus point selection – Yes
- Increased number of phase detect AF points – Yes
- How many PD AF points? – 121
- Inclusion of cross-type phase detect AF points – Yes (all 121 points)
- How many cross-type AF points? 121 (all points)
- Better AF tracking – Yes
- 20 megapixel sensor – Yes
- Enhanced hi-resolution mode that will work with camera hand-held – Enhanced 50MP mode but not for hand held use.
- Better noise performance – Yes (just under half a stop)
- Better dynamic range – Yes, by approximately one stop.
- Elimination of viewfinder black-out in sequential shooting – not completely but the live view remains moving in-between black-outs – it’s much more like a DSLR.
- Absence of conventional mechanical focal plane shutter – No, but extensive use of electronic silent shutter at up to 60fps and 18fps with AF and IS recording to RAW files.
- Improved electronic viewfinder – Yes (higher refresh rate)
- Dual card slots – Yes
- Support for UHS-II cards – Yes (one of the two slots only, though)
- Integrated GPS – No
- No screen glow when display turned off – It’s still an LCD rather than OLED so there will be some glow but you can now reverse the screen anyway.
- USB 3.0 data port – Yes, USB 3 Type C
- DisplayPort port – No
- Bluetooth support – No
- NFC support – No
- Side-hinged articulating display – Yes
- Redesigned menu system – To some extent, but not radically
- Enhanced multi-touch user interface (with pinch to zoom, etc.) – No
- Custom settings that can be named – ?
- Custom settings that can be exported/imported – Not confirmed but apparently yes
- 4K video support – Yes
- 4K stills support – Yes, but not sure if selectable in-camera
- Better Video control, like being able to change Aperture when recording – ?
Where possible, the above points have been verified and explained to me by Olympus’ Toshi Terada.