Olympus E-M10 II Conclusion

How many cameras with a street price under $600 (body-only) can produce a 16 x 20 inch print at ISO 1600 that we at IR have officially given our "good" rating for quality? Good luck finding many of those. And how many at that price range offer precision twin control dials, 5-axis image stabilization, a terrific feel in the hands and features like 4K time-lapse video? For our tastes, this is the only one currently sporting such cool features and ergonomics for anywhere near that price.

Olympus E-M10 II Review - In the hand

A camera whose positives far outweigh any drawbacks

As discussed in our walkaround and in our Field Test part 1, the E-M10 II feels phenomenally good in the hands. It's a great size and weight for one thing, small and light enough to be considered portable, and yet just beefy enough for handheld stability for shooting action sequences with longer lenses.

We found the performance of the E-M10 II to be stellar for its class, with fast start-up times, excellent image quality and dynamic range for its class, and with improved buffer depth over the E-M10. Plus, we found the continuous burst mode (with C-AF in low speed burst) to be quite good for catching the action.

Olympus E-M10 II Review - Sample Image
Wildlife shooting is very much in the wheelhouse of the E-M10 II + an M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens

With a quality lens selection galore, right down to the kit lens

And speaking of lenses, we found the 14-42mm EZ kit lens to be perfectly suitable for everyday shooting situations (see our Field Test part II for more on that!). While not having quite the storied specs of the earlier 14-42mm II kit lens, it's still quite close and offers a much smaller profile for "traveling light". Of course the quality offerings of the overall Olympus lens line needs little introduction to our enthusiast readers, but for anyone new to photography getting into your first real camera system, you'll be hard-pressed to run out of quality choices with the Olympus M.Zuiko lens line-up.

Olympus E-M10 II Review - Sample Image
Portrait work with the E-M10 II and the M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 is a snap!

And loaded with creative fun

As we discovered in our Field Test part II, the E-M10 II is simply loaded to the hilt with creative features and options. Not just your tried and true camera filters, but a plethora of additional options like 4K time-lapse video (created in-camera for you), live composite mode brought over from the original E-M10 and very good HDR capabilities (especially in setting "1"). You can practice a new creative mode each week and it would take you quite some time before you ran out of new options!

Olympus E-M10 II Review - Sample Image
Pair the E-M10 II with the 7-14mm f/2.8 M.Zuiko Pro lens for fun landscape shooting

With upgraded video features to boot

On the video side of things, the E-M10 II receives a few notable upgrades, including a 60p option for both HD and Full HD resolutions and a new high speed (120fps) movie mode at VGA resolution (640 x 480). Perhaps most important is the previously mentioned 5-axis image stabilization, which brings an unprecedented amount of compensation for camera shake with both stills and video. (Please see our Field Test part II for video examples shot with 5-axis IS enabled.)

Olympus E-M10 II Review - Sample Image
As mentioned earlier, ISO 1600 is no problem on the E-M10 II

And just a few drawbacks to consider

Of course, every camera has at least a few drawbacks, and for us the largest with the E-M10 II is that the menu system and settings can be a bit perplexing at times and generally require a bit of a learning curve for anyone not yet familiar with Olympus menus (a steeper learning curve than with most other companies' menus, we've found). But once you learn the ropes this camera is capable of a professional level of customization, so this is an issue you'll likely only face for a short period of time while getting to know the camera, and after that we believe you'll find the initial trickiness more than worth the effort - we certainly did.

Olympus E-M10 II Review - Sample Image

All leave us feeling confident in our overall recommendation!

To wrap up our review of the Olympus E-M10 II, we can simply say that as of this writing it's the best quality we've seen in a camera with a street price under $600. There are cameras out there in this price range that can perhaps do "this" or "that" better, but none that come so jam-packed with features and quality as the Olympus E-M10 II. This is a bona fide Dave's Pick and an easy recommendation from us for a terrific all-around "do-it-all" camera for the money.

 

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent value for the money
  • Superb, professional-grade ergonomics
  • Excellent image quality, with slightly improved JPEG rendering at higher ISOs
  • Great high ISO performance for 4/3" sensor
  • Vibrant colors with very good hue accuracy
  • Very good dynamic range for its class
  • 14-42mm EZ lens is very compact
  • Generally very good optical performance for a kit lens
  • Fast startup for a mirrorless camera
  • Super fast single-shot autofocus
  • Fast cycle times
  • Improved burst performance over predecessor (8.9 vs 8.1 fps)
  • Improved buffer depth with faster clearing when using UHS-II card
  • Built-in flash, and it can function as wireless commander
  • Can autofocus in very low light
  • Improved video capabilities like 60p and 5-axis image stabilization
  • Loaded with creative options like 4K timelapse video
  • Below average battery life
  • Weak built-in flash
  • Default auto white balance too warm in incandescent lighting
  • Default sharpening a bit high
  • Frustrating menu system with a steep learning curve
  • EZ kit lens may not be quite as sharp as non-EZ 14-42mm II kit lens (though the sample we got with our E-M10 II was quite good)


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Olympus E-M10 II:

Field Test part I - Field Test part II - Image Quality

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