NEW OLYMPUS OM-D FLAGSHIP LAUNCHES
you read this, Olympus’s much-anticipated new OM-D flagship, the E-M1 Mark II, will be in the shops… although you may have to join a long queue if it’s going to be as popular as its predecessor.
The E-M1 Mark II model retains a compact weather-proofed magnesium alloy bodyshell, but just about everything on the inside has been upgraded. The headline spec is continuous shooting at a rapid-fire 18 fps with AF/AE adjustment and when using the camera’s silent sensor-based shutter. If you’re happy with the focusing being locked to the first frame, you can shoot at up to 60 fps. Even with the camera’s ‘traditional’ focal plane shutter, the maximum continuous shooting speed is still a snappy 15 fps.
The 20.4 megapixels (effective) ‘Live MOS’ sensor incorporates 121 phase-detection focusing points – all cross-type arrays – which gives a significant increase in AF speed which is now nearly three times faster than the previous model. Five-axis in-camera image stabilisation is now available giving up to 5.5 stops of correction (up to 6.5 stops with the new 12-100mm PRO zoom), and combines with electronic stabilisation to enable super-smooth hand-held shooting even with 4K video. Yes, Olympus joins the 4K video club and the E-M1 II records in the Cinema 4K resolution of 4096x2060 pixels at 25 or 24 fps, the latter giving a massive bit rate of 237 Mbps. A new ‘Picture Mode’ preset called Flat is provided for extending the dynamic range when shooting video and allowing for easier grading in post-production. A 4:2:2 colour output for recording to an external recorder is available from the camera’s HDMI connection. There’s little doubt Olympus is now very serious about the videography/cinematography market as the new camera also gets time-lapse, time coding, a focus peaking display and a ‘Slate Tone’ facility for syncing sound recorded separately to the vision.
Olympus uses its sensor-shift image stabilisation to deliver a pixel-shift mode called High Res Shot which makes an eight-shot capture to create 80 megapixel RAW files and 50 megapixel JPEGs. The camera’s latest-generation ‘TruePic VIII’ quad-core processor can now process these eight frames to reduce any blurring due to movement between each capture, enabling High Res Shot to be used in a wider variety of situations. Also notable are new focus stacking and focus bracketing modes similar to what Panasonic is offering on the G85. There’s a new vertical battery grip – the HLD-9 – and a powerful oncamera flash – the FL-900R – with a metric guide number of 58 (at ISO 100).
Olympus has also added three new lenses to its M.Zuiko Digital system. In addition to the 12-100mm PRO series zoom mentioned earlier, there’s a 25mm f1.2 PRO fast prime (equivalent to 50mm) and a 30mm f3.5 Macro (equivalent to 60mm). The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO is particularly interesting, as it’s equivalent to a 24-200mm zoom but is still comparatively compact and has a fully weather-proofed construction. Its optical image stabilisation gives up to 6.5 stops of correction for camera shake when combined with the five-axis correction in the latest OM-D bodies. The minimum focusing distance at 12mm is just 1.5 centimetres, giving a reproduction ratio of 1:6.
In Australia the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is priced at $2799 for the body only. For more information visit www.olympus.com.au