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Olympus E-M1 II Comparison Review

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera that was officially introduced in September 2016 and is equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. It offers a resolution of 20.2 megapixel.

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The Olympus E-M1 II has a Camera Elo of 3056. This very strong rating puts it among the elite group of camera grand masters. The E-M1 II ranks among the top 20 percent of all mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (Four Thirds cameras), the E-M1 II falls among the top 10 percent.

Headline Specifications
Olympus E-M1 II
Mirrorless system camera
Micro Four Thirds lenses
20.2 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
4K/30p Video
ISO 200-25600
Electronic viewfinder (2360k dots)
3.0" LCD, 1037k dots
Swivel touchscreen
18 shutter flaps per second
In-body stabilization
Weathersealed body
440 shots per battery charge
134 x 91 x 67 mm, 574 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

An illustration of the physical dimensions of the Olympus E-M1 II vis-à-vis a credit card is provided in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Olympus E-M1 II vs credit card front
E-M1 II versus credit card top view
E-M1 II and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Olympus E-M1 II alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M1 II 134 mm 91 mm 67 mm 574 g 440 Y Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« » 125 mm 72 mm 37 mm 427 g 330 n Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« » 124 mm 85 mm 45 mm 469 g 310 Y Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-M1« » 130 mm 94 mm 63 mm 497 g 350 Y Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Panasonic G9« » 137 mm 97 mm 92 mm 658 g 400 Y Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« » 139 mm 98 mm 87 mm 725 g 410 Y Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Panasonic G80« » 128 mm 89 mm 74 mm 505 g 330 Y Sep 2016 899- i Panasonic G80
 
Panasonic GX8« » 133 mm 78 mm 63 mm 487 g 330 Y Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A7 III« » 127 mm 96 mm 74 mm 650 g 610 Y Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« » 127 mm 96 mm 63 mm 673 g 650 Y Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A7 II« » 127 mm 96 mm 60 mm 599 g 350 Y Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Olympus E-M1 II was launched in the US market at a price of $1,999. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Olympus E-M1 II:
Check Amazon price

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tent to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Olympus E-M1 II features a Four Thirds sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Olympus E-M1 II among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Olympus E-M1 II sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M1 II Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.712.8131280Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38881080/60p23.112.489474Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/60p23.012.584273Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-M1« » Four Thirds 15.9 4608 34561080/30p23.012.775773Olympus E-M1
 
Panasonic G9« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p----Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/60p23.913.080777Panasonic GH5
 
Panasonic G80« » Four Thirds 15.8 4592 34484K/30p22.812.565671Panasonic G80
 
Panasonic GX8« » Four Thirds 20.2 5184 38884K/30p23.512.680675Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A7 III« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p25.014.7373096Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40004K/30p24.913.3351792Sony A9
 
Sony A7 II« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.913.6244990Sony A7 II

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The E-M1 II indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the E-M1 II can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the E-M1 II has an electronic viewfinder with a resolution of 2360k dots. The viewfinder offers a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.74x. The tables below summarize some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-M1 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M1 II2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 18.0 n Y Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« »2360 n 3.0 1037 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-M1« »2360 n 3.0 1037 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Olympus E-M1
 
Panasonic G9« »3680 Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« »3680 n 3.2 1620 swivel Y 1/8000s 12.0 n Y Panasonic GH5
 
Panasonic G80« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 9.0 Y Y Panasonic G80
 
Panasonic GX8« »2360 n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A7 III« »2359 n 3.0 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n Y Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« »3686 n 3.0 1440 tilting Y 1/8000s 20.0 n Y Sony A9
 
Sony A7 II« »2400 n 3.0 1230 tilting n 1/8000s 5.0 n Y Sony A7 II

One feature that differentiates the E-M1 II from many other cameras is in-body image stabilization (IBIS). The E-M1 II reduces the risk of handshake-induced blur with all attached lenses, while cameras without IBIS have to rely on optical image stabilization in OIS-equipped lenses to achieve the same effect.

 

Connection comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M1 IIYstereomonoYYmicro3.0Y--Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« »Ystereomono--micro2.0Y--Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-M1« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Olympus E-M1
 
Panasonic G9« »YstereomonoYYfull3.0Y-YPanasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« »YstereomonoYYfull3.1Y-YPanasonic GH5
 
Panasonic G80« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0Y--Panasonic G80
 
Panasonic GX8« »YstereomonoY-micro2.0YY-Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A7 III« »YstereomonoYYmicro3.1YYYSony A7 III
 
Sony A9« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YYYSony A9
 
Sony A7 II« »YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-Sony A7 II

It is notable that the E-M1 II has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

 

Expert reviews

While the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the E-M1 II. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Olympus E-M1 II++85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2016 1,999 i i Olympus E-M1 II
 
Olympus PEN-F« »-82/1004.5/54.5/55/5 Jan 2016 1,199 i i Olympus PEN-F
 
Olympus E-M5 II« »++81/1005/54.5/55/5 Feb 2015 1,099 i i Olympus E-M5 II
 
Olympus E-M1« »++84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2013 1,399- i Olympus E-M1
 
Panasonic G9« »++85/1005/55/55/5 Nov 2017 1,699 i i Panasonic G9
 
Panasonic GH5« »++85/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2017 1,999 i i Panasonic GH5
 
Panasonic G80« »++84/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Sep 2016 899- i Panasonic G80
 
Panasonic GX8« »+82/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jul 2015 1,199- i Panasonic GX8
 
Sony A7 III« »++89/1005/55/55/5 Feb 2018 1,999 i i Sony A7 III
 
Sony A9« »++89/1005/55/55/5 Apr 2017 4,499 i i Sony A9
 
Sony A7 II« »+82/1004.5/55/55/5 Nov 2014 1,999- i Sony A7 II
Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Olympus E-M1 II FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the E-M1 II.

What type of imaging sensor is used in the E-M1 II?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Olympus equipped the E-M1 II with the TruePic VIII image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the E-M1 II?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 64-25600.

Does the camera have a selfie-friendly screen?

Yes, the LCD-screen of the E-M1 II is flexible and can be turned to be front-facing for capturing selfies.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II?

Olympus mentions a shutter rating of 200 000 actuations for the E-M1 II. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the E-M1 II over, say, three years, one would have to take about 200 pictures each and every day.

Is completely silent shooting possible with the Olympus E-M1 II?

The camera has an electronic shutter option, so that it is indeed feasible to capture images without any shutter noise.

Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?

No, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.

Is it difficult to use manual focus lenses with the Olympus E-M1 II?

The E-M1 II offers focus peaking as a manual focus aid. This feature works by placing a colored highlight on in-focus zones within the image.

Does the Olympus E-M1 II feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The E-M1 II's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.

Does the Olympus E-M1 II support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards (data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s) in its first slot, and UHS-I cards (up to 104 MB/s) in its second slot.

Which battery does the E-M1 II use?

The camera gets its power from the BLH-1 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the E-M1 II?

Yes, Olympus offers the HLD-9 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.

Where can I find the best deals for the E-M1 II?

Grey imports from Asia, as found on eBay, are often very attractively priced. However, these cameras come without a warranty from Olympus.

Camera to camera comparisons

In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Olympus E-M1 II
    Camera Type Mirrorless system camera
    Camera Lens Micro Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date September 2016
    Launch Price USD 1999
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 20.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 5184 x 3888 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.34 μm
    Pixel Density 8.96 MP/cm2
    Moiré control no AA filter
    Movie Capability 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200-25600 ISO
    ISO Boost 64-25600 ISO
    Image Processor TruePic VIII
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 80
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 23.7
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.8
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1312
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Electronic viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.74x
    Viewfinder Resolution 2360k dots
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Swivel screen
    Touch Input Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs
    Autofocus System On-Sensor Phase-detect
    Manual Focusing AidFocus Peaking
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/8000s
    Continuous Shooting 18 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy200 000 actuations
    Silent ShootingElectronic Shutter
    Time Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer Built-in
    Image StabilizationIn-body stabilization
    Fill Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Dual card slots
    UHS card support Single UHS-II
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 3.0
    HDMI Port micro HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Headphone Socket Headphone port
    Wifi Support Wifi built-in
    Body Specs
    Environmental SealingWeathersealed body
    Battery Type BLH-1 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)440 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 134 x 91 x 67 mm
    (5.3 x 3.6 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 574 g (20.2 oz)

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