A lot of my photography on this site has been shot with an Olympus OMD EM5 mark 1, which was a joy to shoot with and my work horse for a long time. So after 3 years of constant use, I thought I was due an upgrade, especially due to the new 20 megapixel sensor offered on newer Olympus cameras, so I opted for the very pricey OMD EM1 Mark 2.
This is a fairly brief take on my experiences of switching to the new OMD EM1 Mark 2 (all the photos on this page are taken by the new EM1 camera).
Without a doubt its a better camera. The question is, is it worth such a large amount of money? For me having the best camera, in a system when you already have the lenses required, makes it, definitely the case.
The new menu system is monstrous. Initially its quite daunting but after some use, the newer Olympus menu layout makes sense. Make sure you spend some time practising with the camera before you go away with it!
The HDR in camera is great for when you’re in a hurry and want to capture a low light situation. I still prefer bracketing myself and procossing HDR shots in post i.e. using Adobe using lightroom. As for the camera image stabilisation, as you might of heard, its one of the best out there at the moment and helps bridge the gap with larger sensor cameras which would operate better in low light situations due to their larger sensors.
The new em1 high burst rate mode coupled with fast auto-focusing makes it a fantastic option for wildlife photography. A shot like the starlings below would have been harder to recreate with my old EM5 .
There’s so many new features in the new Em1 mark 2, including focus stacking and a very cool night photography feature, called Live Composite where multiple compositions of lights are merged so you don’t blow your highlights in your shots. However a lot of these features rely on you having a modern Olympus lens – I have some Panasonic lenses too, so these features won’t work with them.
Custom settings are now on the dial, which is really useful when you need to switch from hand held settings to tripod ones in an instant. On the em5 this was possible but a little more cumbersome.
It is a heavier camera and it looks more like a DSLR but the lenses are smaller keeping the overall package light and I love the feel of the new body. I still use the old em5 at the same time, often with a telephoto lens so I’m prepared to capture different kinds of shots.
So what are the quality differences between the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark 1 and new EM1 Mark 2
The dynamic range is definitely greater on the new em1 vs the old em5. I find that I can recover more detail from the shadows & highlights. So yes there is some difference in quality. Also I now find slightly less noise that I need to remove in my photographs. I also find that I can crop more in post postproduction as the sensor is 25% larger.