Olympus E-M10 II Review
|Full model name:||Olympus OM-D E-M10 II|
(17.3mm x 13.0mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||200 - 25,600|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 25,600|
|Shutter:||1/16000 - 60 seconds|
|Max Aperture:||3.5 (kit lens)|
4.7 x 3.3 x 1.8 in.
(120 x 83 x 47 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Olympus E-M10 II specifications|
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E-M10 II Summary
Sporting an incredible amount of features in a professional-grade body with excellent image quality for its class, the Olympus E-M10 II is the best "all-around" entry-level camera we've yet reviewed.Pros
Excellent value for the money; Professional-grade ergonomics; Incredibly good image quality for its class; Solid performance specs across the board; Loaded with features.Cons
Kit lens may not be quite as sharp as previous kit lens from this line; Below average battery life; Somewhat confusing menu systems.Price and availability
The Olympus E-M10 II became available in September 2015 for an MSRP of $799 with the EZ 14-42mm kit lens, and a body-only MSRP of $649, currently selling for a body-only street price of $599. It comes in black, two-tone silver and black, and a new special edition kit is available in silver with brown leatherette for $899.Imaging Resource rating
5.0 out of 5.0
Olympus E-M10 II Review
08/25/2015: Field Test Part I and First Shots posted
09/24/2015: Performance test results posted
10/22/2015: Field Test Part II posted
11/16/2015: Image Quality Comparison and Print Quality
12/09/2015: Review Conclusion posted
In early 2014, Olympus announced the most affordable model of OM-D cameras yet produced in the form of the E-M10. It sported a nice array of many of the higher-end specifications of its storied older siblings the E-M1 and the E-M5 at an entry-level price point. In the summer of 2015, Olympus upped the ante on this entry-level model with the E-M10 II, a camera that brings a few new tricks to the table, particularly the inclusion of the company's well-regarded 5-axis image stabilization technology.
Built around the same 16.1-megapixel Live MOS sensor, the E-M10 Mark II features the same basic imaging pipeline as the original E-M10. The sensor again leaves out the anti-aliasing filter in order to achieve greater image sharpness. It also uses Olympus' TruePic VII image processor and 12-bit lossless RAW file compression. The original kit lens for the E-M10 was the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R, but "Mark II" now comes with the pancake version of that lens -- the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ -- as the standard kit lens. (The 14-42mm EZ was later offered as part of an E-M10 Premium Kit option.)
Additional notable upgrades to this OM-D family member include a 2.36M-dot OLED EVF with a 100% field of view and a magnification of 1.23x (a 35mm eq. of 0.62x), providing a boost in both resolution and magnification. Also new is the "AF Targeting Pad" mode, which allows you to use your thumb to move the focus point on the touchscreen LCD while you keep your eye glued to the viewfinder. (Pretty cool!) There's even a new "Simulated Optical Viewfinder" (S-OVF), which is reported to offer a viewfinder experience more akin to optical viewfinders and with more dynamic range -- we'll be sure to take a look at that and report what we find!
The Olympus E-M10 Mark II is also reported to have improved overall ergonomics -- a claim which we take an in-depth look at in both our walkaround section as well as in our real-world Field Testing (spoiler alert: it is indeed much improved!). This model also comes with a new "silent shutter" mode that can be employed across the various single and continuous drive modes as well as with the self-timer, and we can report from using it that it is absolutely silent. The electronic shutter offers shutter speeds up to 1/16,000 second, while the mechanical shutter tops out at 1/4000 second.
In addition to useful features from the predecessor like Live Bulb, Live Time and Live Composite modes, the Olympus E-M10 II is the first in the line to have a 4K video timelapse mode, which allows for up to 999 frames at 5 fps that the camera will combine into a 4K video all in-camera (a big upgrade from the 720p maximum resolution of the original model). Sequential (burst) shooting speed is rated as slightly improved in "high-speed" mode from 8 fps to 8.5 fps, while "low-speed" mode allows for up to 4 fps with continuous AF active. See our Performance page for actual test results.
The Olympus E-M10 II also gets upgraded video capabilities, now able to capture Full HD (1920 x 1080) and HD (1280 x 720) video at up to 60p versus 30p for its predecessor. It can also capture Full HD and HD at 24p as well as 30p, and there's a new ALL-I compression option with a bitrate of 77Mbps in addition to 52, 30 and 18Mbps IPB options. The E-M10 Mark II also offers a new High-Speed movie mode that captures VGA (640 x 480) video at 120 fps.
The most obvious trade-off in considering an E-M10 II over its higher-end siblings is the lack of weather-sealing, as that is a big selling-point for the E-M1 and E-M5/E-M5 II lines. Otherwise the E-M10 II is a compelling choice at an affordable price.
The Olympus E-M10 II started shipping in early September 2015 in black or black/silver versions for a US retail price of about $650 (body-only) and about $800 when kitted with the newer, more compact M.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ lens. An external grip (ECG-3) is available for approximately $60 and an accessory leather strap (CSS-S119L) for about $80.
About the OM-D family
In 1972 a man named Yoshihisa Maitaini and his staff at Olympus designed the "OM" family of film cameras ("OM" = "Olympus Maitaini")*. The line was viewed as revolutionary in terms of being smaller, lighter and less noisy than current competing SLR cameras of the day. The OM line was permanently discontinued in 2002, but then later resurrected as a digital line sporting a similar body style in the form of the E-M5 from 2012, a camera which won Best Compact System Camera in our Camera of the Year awards for that year.
In 2013, the flagship E-M1 was announced, and garnered Best Professional Camera of 2013 in our Camera of the Year awards. The E-M10 line debuted in 2014, which won our "Best Entry-level Mirrorless Camera" award for that year. Now, 2015 has ushered in both the E-M5 II and the E-M10 II, with the E-M5 II drawing considerable interest with its new High Resolution shooting mode.
The updated OM-D Family: E-M1 (left), E-M5 II (center) and the new E-M10 II (right).
Olympus E-M10 II Field Test Part I
Searching for the ideal family vacation camera
I'm guessing everyone has a slightly different idea of what a perfect vacation camera is for them, but for our core enthusiast readers I'm guessing that a lot of you are like me in that you want a fairly small and lightweight package for traveling, but something that's still not only versatile but can also deliver the goods in the image quality department. Olympus was kind enough to send us an early sample of the E-M10 II shortly before I was leaving for South Carolina for a family vacation, and that gave me the perfect opportunity to see where this camera would stand in the ranks of ideal family vacation companions.The Particulars.
Twin control dials were once the exclusive domain of premium cameras costing thousands of dollars, and it's nice that some entry-level models now offer this. To me personally as a photographer, it will be difficult to go review an interchangeable lens camera that doesn't have them now, regardless of the price point, as it's just something I've grown to count on.
Olympus E-M10 II Field Test Part II
Five-axis Video, HDR, 4K-timelapse fun and more...
I wrote the first Field Test for this camera with a beta sample, but Olympus was able to supply us with a full production sample for this second round of real-world testing. Included in the new kit was the M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ kit lens, which first debuted in 2014 alongside the original E-M10, so we'll start part II with images from this lens and a quick comparison with the non-EZ version. [Special note to readers: After our first report we were told that an issue had developed with some serial number ranges for this product that caused as issue while mounting some plastic-mount lenses. The issue has been resolved and the E-M10 II will be made available again for purchase beginning in November.]
Taking a closer look at the EZ 14-42mm kit lens
The M.Zuiko 14-42mm II lens that's been kitted with so many Olympus cameras over the past five years has long been one of my favorite lenses of the "kit" variety, providing a "generous sweet spot of sharpness" even wide open, according to our original review on our sister site SLRGear.com. And because I've personally had a few bad experiences with "power-zoom" kit lenses from other companies, primarily in the sharpness department, I was a bit wary about mounting the newer EZ version of the 14-42mm lens onto the E-M10 II. Fortunately we'd already tested it as well at SLRGear, and it is still a good performer at both wide and tele when wide open, fairly similar to the original Mark II lens.
Olympus E-M10 II Walkaround
See how the E-M10 II compares to its predecessor
Much like how the original E-M10 borrowed many of the design aspects and controls of the E-M5, the same goes this time around for the new E-M10 II and updated E-M5 II -- though the E-M10 II does bring a few unique changes to its controls and dial layout not seen on other OM-D cameras..
The styling of the E-M10 II is still classic OM-D, with lots of external controls and dials and a cool retro-look with a large centrally-placed electronic viewfinder. Size-wise, the Olympus E-M10 II is, not surprisingly, nearly identical to its predecessor -- a slightly miniaturized version of the E-M5, or the E-M5 Mark II in this case.
The first thing you notice that's different on the E-M10 Mark II compared to the original is the cluster of top-deck control dials. Gone are the larger, flatter dials of the 'Mark I,' now replaced by thicker E-M5 II-style control dials with diamond-pattern knurling.
Olympus E-M10 II Image Quality Comparison
How does the E-M10 II's image quality compare?
In our Image Quality Comparison, we have 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.
Olympus E-M10 II Print Quality
And how does it look on paper?
Print quality and image quality are similar but not identical, because what you see on a print isn't always the same as what you see on the screen. Our print quality analysis answers the important question: "Just how big can I print my photos at higher ISOs?"
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.
Olympus E-M10 II Conclusion
The most capable all-around camera in its class
How many cameras with a street price under $600 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.
A camera who's 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.
In the Box
The Olympus E-M10 II retail kit package (as reviewed) contains the following items:
- Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II camera body (in black or silver)
- M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ zoom lens (in black or silver, when ordered as a kit)
- BLS-50 Rechargeable Li-ion battery
- BCS-5 Battery charger
- USB cable
- Shoulder strap
- Olympus Viewer 3 software (CD-ROM)
- Instruction manual
- Warranty card
- Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory card. 16GB Class 10 should be a minimum, UHS-II type recommended.
- Spare battery BLS-50 (~US$60)
- Camera case
- Additional lenses
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