Olympus E-M10 II Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing Olympus E-M10 II image quality to its predecessor, the E-M10, as well as against several competing models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Canon T6i, Nikon D5500, Panasonic G7 and Sony A6000.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Olympus E-M10 II, Olympus E-M10, Canon T6i, Nikon D5500, Panasonic G7 and Sony A6000 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Olympus E-M10 II to any camera we've ever tested!


Olympus E-M10 II: ISO Low (approx. ISO 100) vs ISO 200

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 100 100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 100
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200

Like all recent OM-D and PEN models, the Olympus E-M10 II offers an expanded low ISO setting down to approximately ISO 100. We usually avoid expanded low ISO settings for our image quality comparisons as we don't normally see much improvement in image quality, and they often come at the cost of reduced dynamic range. However, like the E-M10 before it, the Olympus E-M10 II produces significantly more detail in ISO 100 JPEGs compared to the lowest standard ISO of 200, especially in our fabric crop as shown above. Dynamic range is definitely lower with extended-low ISO settings, but if your subject and lighting suits, you may want to use the E-M10 II's extended low-ISO setting for maximum detail.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus E-M10 at Base ISO

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200
Olympus E-M10 at ISO 200

As expected, very we see similar results from the E-M10 II and its predecessor, but there are some subtle differences. The E-M10 II shows slightly less noise reduction artifacts in flatter areas, however the E-M10 seems to do a bit better with our tricky red-leaf fabric. Colors from the E-M10 II are better and a little more saturated, and contrast appears slightly higher as well.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Canon T6i at Base ISO

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200
Canon T6i at ISO 100

The 24-megapixel Canon T6i out-resolves the 16-megapixel E-M10 II, offering better detail in most areas of our test target, especially in our tricky red-leaf fabric. The Olympus image is however crisper and more vibrant. Both exhibit obvious sharpening halos around high-contrast edges, but the E-M10 II's are thinner.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Nikon D5500 at Base ISO

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200
Nikon D5500 at ISO 100

Here's another comparison to a 24-megapixel APS-C rival. Once again, the 24-megapixel APS-C D5500 wins in terms of resolving more detail and this time Nikon's processing is more similar to the Olympus than Canon's, producing a very sharp, crisp image though like the Olympus, thin but obvious sharpening halos can seen along high-contrast edges.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic G7 at Base ISO

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200
Panasonic G7 at ISO 200

These two Micro Four Thirds rivals have essentially the same pixel count and sensor size, but processing is quite different. They offer similar amounts of detail, but the Panasonic's processing is more conservative with less sharpening, lower contrast and lower saturation as well. Some may find the G7's image a little dull in comparison while others will find it more natural, though the EM10 II does produce more pleasing colors.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

Yet another comparison with a 24-megapixel APS-C model, and again, the higher resolution offered by the Sony clearly out-resolves the E-M10 II in the mosaic and fabric crops. And the Sony manages to produce a crisp image without obvious sharpening halos, though the Olympus does better with colors.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus E-M10 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 at ISO 1600

Once again, very similar results from the two Olympus models here at ISO 1600, though the E-M10 II manages to hold onto a bit more detail in the mosaic crop and continues to produce better colors as well, while the E-M10 does a bit better in the red-leaf fabric.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Canon T6i at ISO 1600

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600
Canon T6i at ISO 1600

The Canon T6i continues to capture more detail than the E-M10 II at ISO 1600, but it also leaves behind more noise. The T6i's noise "grain" however is quite fine and film-like, chroma noise is lower than the E-M10 II's, and there are fewer noise reduction artifacts. And the Canon does much better with our tricky red-leaf fabric.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Nikon D5500 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600
Nikon D5500 at ISO 1600

Similar to the Canon T6i, the Nikon D5500 continues to capture more detail, but also shows more noise in the shadows, though again it's quite fine grained and film like. However this time, the APS-C model struggles a bit more with the red-leaf fabric, offering somewhat better detail than the E-M10 II but with lower contrast.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600
Panasonic G7 at ISO 1600

Similar to what we saw at base ISO, the Panasonic G7 produces a less vibrant but more natural-looking image than the E-M10 II, with higher noise and lower noise reduction and sharpening artifacts. Both have difficulty with our red-leaf swatch but the G7 hangs on to a touch more detail in the fabric and the mosaic crops. The Olympus continues to deliver more pleasing colors, though.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 1600100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Once again, the 24-megapixel APS-C A6000 captures more detail than the E-M10 II at ISO 1600, while producing fewer sharpening artifacts. Luminance noise levels are comparable, but the Olympus does a bit better at keeping chroma noise in check, while producing better colors. The Sony does better in the red-leaf fabric overall, though some of the detail is false or exaggerated.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Olympus E-M10 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 at ISO 3200

As expected, similar results from the two Olympus models at ISO 3200, though overall we'd say the E-M10 II has a slight edge. The E-M10 II holds onto a touch more detail in the mosaic and and offers slightly better color and contrast, but image quality is pretty close otherwise.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Canon T6i at ISO 3200

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200
Canon T6i at ISO 3200

The Canon T6i continues to resolve more detail than the E-M10 II at ISO 3200, but again, it shows more noise. Overall the Canon produces a more true-to-life rendering with fewer artifacts, although colors are a bit drab in comparison.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Nikon D5500 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200
Nikon D5500 at ISO 3200

It's a similar story here against the D5500, with the Nikon continuing to offer a bit more detail but with higher levels of noise. Both struggle with our red-leaf fabric though the Nikon arguably does a slightly better job.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200
Panasonic G7 at ISO 3200

The Panasonic's more conservative processing continues to render better detail with slightly higher noise and fewer noise reduction artifacts, but the Olympus' image is brighter and punchier, with better color.

Olympus E-M10 II vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

The Sony A6000 continues to capture more detail, but the image starts to take on a bit of veiled effect, and flatter areas show more noise reduction artifacts with a more processed look. Again, contrast in the red-leaf pattern is better from the Sony, but much of the detail is false.

Olympus E-M10 II vs. Olympus E-M10, Canon T6i, Nikon D5500, Panasonic G7, Sony A6000

100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 100100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 100
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 3200100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 3200
100% crop from Olympus E-M10 II test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Olympus E-M10 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Canon T6i test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Nikon D5500 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Panasonic G7 test image taken at ISO 6400100% crop from Sony A6000 test image taken at ISO 6400
Olympus
E-M10 II
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-M10
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
T6i
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon
D5500
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
G7
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. We also like to take a look at high-contrast detail, as results often differ from what we see in the tables above. Here, the E-M10 II continues the Olympus tradition of producing great results with high-contrast detail as ISO rises, as did the E-M10. As you can see, contrast and detail remains very good at ISO 3200, and even ISO 6400 only shows a slight drop in detail and saturation. Excellent results, perhaps just slightly better than the E-M10. The Nikon D5500 however performs the best in terms of detail here, but it does lose sharpness and contrast as sensitivity climbs. The Sony A6000 also does better, but it generated the most false colors at the highest ISO. The Canon T6i drops in contrast noticeably as ISO climbs, but still retains good detail at ISO 6400. Trailing the pack in terms of contrast is the Panasonic G7, although detail is actually very good even at ISO 6400.

 

Olympus E-M10 II Print Quality Analysis

Excellent 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 13 x 19 at ISO 3200; and a good 4 x 6 at ISO 12,800.

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageISO 100/200 images are excellent at 24 x 36 inches, with sharp detail and rich colors throughout our test target. Prints are usable for wall display purposes up to 36 x 48 inches from a normal viewing distance.

ISO 400 prints are similar to the E-M10 II's predecessor, the E-M10, with 24 x 36 inch prints showing just a slight bit too much noise in flatter areas to secure our "good" rating. While okay for less critical applications, a reduction to 20 x 30 inches tightens the image up nicely here.

ISO 800 shots also allow for 20 x 30 inch prints, just passing our "good" standard. There is a slight trace of noise visible in the flatter areas of our test target, but there's a nice amount of fine detail still present overall.

ISO 1600 requires a reduction in print size to 16 x 20 inches, which is still a nice, large print for this sensor size at this sensitivity. The print is beginning to show some loss of contrast detail in our target's tricky red-leaf swatch, but otherwise makes for quite a good image in general.

ISO 3200 prints hold up quite well at 13 x 19 inches, with plenty of good high-contrast detail and retaining good color reproduction.

ISO 6400 shows similar results as those we've reported in many a Micro Four Thirds camera, with image quality degrading rather abruptly and requiring a reduction in print size to 8 x 10 inches. Even at this size there is still a trace of noise in flatter areas, and all contrast detail is gone from our target red-leaf swatch. For this reason, remaining at ISO 3200 and lower is best for most Micro Four Thirds cameras for all but less critical applications.

ISO 12,800 yields a 5 x 7 inch print that almost passes our good rating. It's okay for less critical needs, but we'll pin the 4 x 6 inch print here with our official "good" seal of approval.

ISO 25,600 is not terrible at 4 x 6 inches, but is too noisy to earn our good rating and is best avoided in most cases.

The Olympus E-M10 II continues in the tradition Olympus has set of producing quality cameras in their OM-D and PEN lines that are capable of delivering high quality images in prints up to ISO 3200. At higher ISO sensitivities, prints begin to noticeably suffer from either too much noise or a lack of detail, but remaining at ISO 3200 and lower will leave you happy with your results in the print quality department with the E-M10 II.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Canon PRO-1000 Printer ImageTesting hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)

 



Enter this month to win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

2 $200 Adorama Gift Certificate

3 $100 Adorama Gift Certificate