Test Review: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II

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November 5, 2015 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in Gear & Reviews, New Products, Review by  •  0 Comments

The Olympus E-M10 Mark II

The Olympus E-M10 Mark II

The Olympus E-M10 Mark II is the newest entry-level model of the OM-D series. It has a very compact body and offers a 16-MP image sensor, 5-axis image stabilizer and high- resolution OLED EVF. In addition, it is highly configurable, even though it offers many scene modes and effect filters for beginners.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II created a slightly softer reproduction of our standard test box. Colours look very natural, and the exposure settings (this shot was done in P mode) are nearly perfect.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II created a slightly softer reproduction of our standard test box. Colours look very natural, and the exposure settings (this shot was done in P mode) are nearly perfect.

Comments on Image Quality
Colour: The Olympus reproduced the colour test chart with a slightly cooler look, so the gray pattern in the centre of the result chart shows a shift of darker grey nuances into the blue area of the colour space, while the brighter grey nuances show a nearly perfect result.

Nevertheless colour errors are on a very low level; nearly all test colours show only a minor shift to their given values. Skin tones are reproduced especially well. Brighter skin tones have a slightly higher magenta rate; this is also noticeable in our portrait shot.

The Olympus showed natural skin tones in our portrait shot with a slightly high magenta rate in brighter skin tones. The differentiation of the red elements (the fabric of the t-shirt) is a little low.

The Olympus showed natural skin tones in our portrait shot with a slightly high magenta rate in brighter skin tones. The differentiation of the red elements (the fabric of the t-shirt) is a little low.

The average saturation is a little higher than a perfect 100-percent reproduction, but with 106.9 percent, it is still a very good and natural-looking result.

Sharpness: The camera created JPEG images with a slightly softer look due to some chromatic-aberration effects. The image processors tried to compensate for this effect with an intense sharpness filtering, which shows some clipping effects and, therefore, double contours on hard-contrast lines. The resolution chart was reproduced with 2852 of 3456 lines per picture height, which is an average result for an Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera with 16-MP resolution. The combination of the softer look and contrast-enhancement filtering is noticeable in the small stars in the lower right of the test-box shot.

Noise: The new Olympus performed well in our noise tests. Luminance noise stays on a low level in images taken with ISO 200 to 12800. The y-factor crosses the 1.0 percent mark only in ISO 25600 mode. Colour noise becomes visible in images taken with ISO 800. The combination of colour noise and anti-noise filtering effects becomes visible in images taken with ISO 3200. These filtering effects are acceptable up to ISO 3200 and get really annoying at 12800 and 25600.

The dynamic range results are very good. The camera achieved a maximum of 11.3 f-stops and keeps a high level of 10 to 11 f-stops in all ISO modes up to ISO 3200. In higher ISO modes, the dynamic range drops to 8.64 f-stops.

The new Olympus camera offers a built-in flash system for fill-in lighting in backlit situations, for example. In addition, it has an accessory shoe for external flash systems.

The new Olympus camera offers a built-in flash system for fill-in lighting in backlit situations, for example. In addition, it has an accessory shoe for external flash systems.

Comments on Handling
The OM-D E-M10 Mark II (“E-M10 II” in the following text) is the second generation of Olympus’ entry-level E-M system. The first E-M10 was presented in January 2014 and was a very small, compact camera with SLR design elements. The E-M10 II has a very similar look but has even more “retro style” elements. The on/off switch, for example, looks like the same switch on the analogue Olympus OM-1 from the 1970s.

The new camera has a Micro Four Thirds sensor with 16-MP resolution. Unlike the first E-M10, the new camera has a 5-axis image stabilizer like the E-M1 and E-M5 Mark II, but it isn’t the same system. While the high-end cameras offer a stabilization of 5 EV stops, the stabilizer of the E-M10 II compensates for up to 4 EV stops. In our tests, we were able to shoot images with a focal length of 50 mm (35-mm film equivalent) with ¼ seconds, which confirms the Olympus specification.

The two set-up dials on the top can be reached easily by the forefinger and thumb of the right hand. Both dials are context-sensitive and can be used for menu navigation or parameter set-up.

The two set-up dials on the top can be reached easily by the forefinger and thumb of the right hand. Both dials are context-sensitive and can be used for menu navigation or parameter set-up.

The camera is very small, maybe even a little too small if the photographer has larger hands. The two set-up dials on the top are handy, because the photographer can change parameters very fast and comfortably with these dials. Nevertheless the small body and the very light adjustment of these dials can cause some problems. For example, in P-mode, the front dial (with the shutter-release button on its top) allows for changing the EV compensation by +/- 5 EV stops. When working with the camera, the dial and its EV settings sometimes were changed unintentionally.

The new E-M10 II is the first Olympus with an OLED system as electronic viewfinder. This viewfinder offers a resolution of 2.36 million RGB dots and a very crisp, brilliant image. The viewfinder is a little smaller than the very large format EVFs of the Panasonic GX8 or Sony A7R II, because its magnifier factor is only 0.62x (instead of more than 0.7x), but nevertheless is very comfortable for image composition or manual focusing. For manual focusing, the camera offers “focus peaking” and magnifier functions. The camera’s eye sensor will automatically switch between LCD and EVF. In addition the photographer can use an “EVF” button on the right-hand side of the viewfinder ocular to toggle between both systems.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has a swivel monitor. It can be flipped upward by 100 degrees and downward by 45 degrees.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II has a swivel monitor. It can be flipped upward by 100 degrees and downward by 45 degrees.

The E-M10 II has a swivel LCD, which can be flipped upward by nearly 100 degrees and downward by 45 degrees, but can’t be rotated to the side. The most upright position allows one to see the screen from the front (for “selfies,” for example), but a fully articulated monitor would be more helpful.

The camera offers a lot of individual settings. In addition to the standard exposure modes and a lot of scene modes, it offers “Art” filters for special effects. It also offers a lot of individual settings for the image style. The photographer can activate a gamma curve function with the “Fn2” button on the top, which allows one to create hard-contrast image styles for example. The “Fn” buttons on the top and back are user defined.

The camera uses a standard 4-way control field for menu navigation. Menus/sub-menus and quick menus are activated by pressing the “MENU,” “INFO” and “SET” button.

The camera uses a standard 4-way control field for menu navigation. Menus/sub-menus and quick menus are activated by pressing the “MENU,” “INFO” and “SET” button.

Pros
+ brilliant viewfinder (OLED, 2.36 million RGB dots)
+ five-axis image stabilizer (in some part adopted from high end OM-D)
+ very fast camera (very short start-up time, for example)
+ WiFi (including NFC module)

Cons
– swivel monitor can only be rotated up- and downward
– viewfinder is much smaller than the high-end EVFs of the Panasonic GX8 or Sony A7R II, for example
– videos in Full HD instead of 4K (like videos of Panasonic MFT cameras)

This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.

SPEC SHEET: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II
BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:
Resolution 4608 x 3456
Resolution sensor 16.1
Colour depth (in bits) 36
Size of sensor (in inches) 0/0.00
Size of sensor (in mm) 17.3 x 13.0
LENSES:
Focal length (wide angle; 35-mm equivalent; in mm) 28
Focal length (tele; 35-mm equivalent; KB in mm) 84
Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm) 14.0
Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm) 42.0
Speed 3.5 – 5.6
Macro 20 – 100
Manual focus, controlled by function elements no
Manual focus, controlled with lens ring yes
TAKING PICTURES:
Start-up time (in sec) 0.32
Shutter delay without pre-focusing (in sec) 0.08
Shutter delay with pre-focusing (in sec) 0.00
Continuous shooting speed (frames per second) 8.5
Max. burst during continuous shooting speed 999.0
Fastest shutter speed (in sec) 1/4000
Long time exposure/shutter speed (in sec) 60
Self-timer yes
Exposure Settings:
Aperture pre-setting, shutter speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,
automatic bracketing
Exposure programs 25
White balance:
Auto yes
White-balance settings 7
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 200
ISO max 25600
ISO steps 22
Manual ISO control yes
FLASH:
Integrated flash yes
Flash mode:
On, off, automatic flash, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear-curtain sync
External Flash:
X-sync no
Accessory shoe yes
FILE FORMATS:
Standard file formats JPEG, RAW, DCF
JPEG compression grades 3
LCD AND PREVIEW:
Size (in inches) 3.0
Resolution of LCD (in pixels) 1037000
Zoom mode during preview yes
Index during preview yes
Slideshow during preview yes
VIDEO:
Video available yes
Max. width 1920
Max. height 1080
Picture frequency 60
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card
PC CONNECTION:
PC connection USB 2.0, HDMI, WLAN
TV out PAL/NTSC + HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm) 119 x 83 x 46
Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g) 390
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station: no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD yes
Bag no
Remote control no

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