Cameras

Olympus Debuts Long-Overdue OM-D E-M5 Sequel

Olympus is back with a thorough refresh of its onetime flagship.

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Getting ahead of the announcement cycle at CP+, Olympus took the wraps off a brand-spankin' new OM-D E-M5 Mark II among other things. With a slew of improvements and brand new screen, the new E-M5 gives Micro Four Thirds users a lot to talk about.

Olympus fans will be happy to know that the Micro Four Thirds camera body is dustproof, splashproof, and retains much of the same stylings that made the E-M5 so appealing to camera enthusiasts. The improvements include better-feeling buttons, a new 5-axis in-body image stabilization system, as well as WiFi.

The O-MD E-M5 Mark II can use its stabilization system to stack multiple shots at once to create a 40-megapixel image.

We had some hands-on time with a prototype of the E-M5 Mark II at CES 2015. While the updates are subtle, the sum total is a fantastic addition to the Micro Four Thirds family and a camera that handles significantly better than its predecessor.

The new OM-D E-M5 Mark II is built around a special 16-megapixel sensor backed up by a TruePic VII processor that can use its stabilization system to stack multiple shots at once to create a 40-megapixel image.

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Credit: Olympus

The E-M5 Mark II looks dashing in silver.

To do this, it uses its voice-coil motor to move the sensor around in half-pixel increments in eight sequential shots to capture the information, then combines it to create an enormous picture. It must be done on a tripod, but the printed samples we've seen boasted incredible detail on par with medium format cameras.

On the outside, Olympus gifted the E-M5 Mark II with an articulating 1.04m-dot LCD with capacitive touchscreen. This is great for videographers, as well as grabbing that tough-to-reach shot. Additionally, it makes a great partner with focus-peaking—as you can easily get the shot you want, even in manual. For those preferring a viewfinder, the E-M5 Mark II also sports a 2.36m-dot electronic viewfinder.

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Credit: Olympus

An articulating screen means much easier shooting at extremes.

Speed freaks will appreciate the ample buffer and fast shutter. The new E-M5 Mark II offers a mechanical shutter for speeds up to 1/8000th of a second, and an electronic shutter that can capture photos at 1/16000th of a second. You can also rip off a bunch of shots while shooting in RAW—Olympus claims you can take up to 10fps using S-AF, and 5fps using continuous AF.

If you need your system camera to shoot video, Olympus has you covered. The new E-M5 Mark II shoots 1080p video at 60 frames per second, with a bitrate up to 77Mbps. Pros will appreciate the mic jack, and focus peaking offered by the camera body.

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Credit: Olympus

A true Micro Four Thirds workhorse, the E-M5 Mark II has a killer list of features.

Users looking for a bit more to latch onto will probably want to check out Olympus' grip options for the E-M5 Mark II. In particular, you could pick up the external metal grip, or you could mix and match options from the non-powered grips and battery holder for more serious shooting.

If you end up grabbing the HLD-8G non-powered grip, you'll also gain a headphone jack useful for realtime levels monitoring in video. This also lets you swap the battery in and out, though if you have an existing E-M5 grip you'll also be able to use that.

Pricing has been set at $1,099.99 body-only in black or silver, and the camera will hit shelves in late February 2015.

For those interested, pricing has been set at $1,099.99 body-only in black or silver, and the camera will hit shelves in late February 2015. As of now there are no official kits being announced, though that may change at a later time.

We'll be at CP+ in full force next week, bringing you all the latest news, video and hands-on impressions right from the Pacifico Yokohama. Check back next week for more on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II.