Olympus E-M10 II Optics

The Olympus E-M10 II is sold in the US body-only, or bundled with the compact M.ZUIKO 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ kit lens. Below are our test results with the kit lens. Test images on other pages of these test results were shot with our reference prime lenses unless otherwise noted. Also, please see our full test results of this lens on SLRgear.com.

Kit Lens Test Results

Zoom
A typical 3x zoom range for a kit lens, with very good performance.

14mm @ f/8 25mm @ f/8
42mm @ f/8

As mentioned, the Olympus E-M10 II is available bundled with an M.ZUIKO 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ Micro Four-Thirds lens. This compact kit lens possesses a typical optical zoom range of 3x, and its 35mm equivalent focal range is about 28-84mm, because of the E-M10 II's 2x "crop factor."

Far-field performance at 14mm (maximum wide angle), 25mm (medium) and 42mm (full telephoto) is quite good for a kit lens, with good to very good sharpness and contrast across most of the frame, and very low chromatic aberration. Corners do however exhibit some mild softening at wide angle, and some corner shading can be seen at full telephoto. (Corner shading is likely also present at other focal lengths, but this scene isn't very good for judging that.) Still, very good far-field performance for a kit lens, especially one that's so compact.

See below for comments on macro performance, geometric distortion, chromatic aberration, corner softness, vignetting, etc.

Macro
An average sized minimum area, with good detail. Built-in flash produced a dim image.

Macro with 14-42mm lens
42mm @ f/8
Macro with Flash
42mm @ f/8

As with zoom performance, the Olympus E-M10 II's macro performance will depend entirely on the lens in use. However, with the 14-42mm EZ lens set to 42mm, the Olympus E-M10 II captures a fairly average minimum area for a kit lens, measuring 2.62 x 1.96 inches (67 x 50 millimeters), though that is a little better than the II R lens' 73 x 54 mm minimum area.

Sharpness is very good over much of the frame but corners are slightly soft and extreme corners show some noticeable vignetting, even at f/8. (Most lenses have some softening in the corners at macro distances.) The E-M10 II's built-in flash throttled down too much at closest distance, producing a dim image.

Geometric Distortion
Moderate geometric distortion with the 14-42mm lens in JPEGs at wide angle, much higher distortion in uncorrected RAW files.

In-Camera JPEG: Barrel distortion at 14mm is ~0.6%
In-Camera JPEG: Barrel distortion at 42mm is < 0.1%

In in-camera JPEGs, the 14-42mm EZ lens produces just over 0.6 percent barrel distortion at wide angle, which is moderate and noticeable in some images. At the telephoto end, there is slightly less than 0.1 percent of barrel distortion which is barely perceptible. See below for uncorrected results. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration, Corner Sharpness and Vignetting
Very low chromatic aberration in JPEGs. Mild corner softening at wide angle but very good corner performance at telephoto. Noticeable corner shading at both ends wide open.

Aperture: maximum
14mm @ f/3.5: Lower left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Slightly soft
14mm @ f/3.5: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
42mm @ f/5.6: Lower left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp
42mm @ f/5.6: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp

Chromatic Aberration. Chromatic aberration is very low at both wide angle and telephoto in JPEGs, but keep in mind the E-M10 II suppresses lateral chromatic aberration during processing. See below for uncorrected results.

Corner Softness. All four corners are slightly soft wide open at wide angle from our sample lens, with the bottom corners perhaps just slightly softer than the top. Sharpness is very good in the center and across much of the frame. Wide open at full telephoto, corner performance is better than at wide angle with all four corners exhibiting good sharpness, though the center isn't quite as sharp as wide angle, with lower contrast.

Vignetting. There's noticeable vignetting (corner shading) wide open at both wide angle and telephoto, as indicated by the darker corner crops compared to the center. See below to see how stopping down or enabling Shading Compensation helps.

Aperture: f/8
14mm @ f/8: Lower left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Slightly soft
14mm @ f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
42mm @ f/8: Lower left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp
42mm @ f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Sharp

Chromatic Aberration. With the aperture stopped down to f/8, chromatic aberration in the corners is low to very low, though it's a little more visible at wide angle stopped down versus wide open.

Corner Softness. Corner sharpness improved at both wide angle and telephoto when stopped-down to f/8, though corners at wide angle still aren't as sharp as they are at telephoto, and the center at telephoto still isn't quite as sharp as it is at wide angle. There's a slight drop in sharpness in the center at wide angle due to diffraction, however at full telephoto, an improvement in contrast helps offset any diffraction limiting.

Vignetting. Corner shading also improved when stopped down at f/8, but it's still visible.

In-camera Lens Corrections

Geometric Distortion Correction
Like all Micro Four Thirds cameras, the E-M10 II automatically applies geometric correction to JPEGs that can't be disabled.

Uncorrected RAW: Barrel distortion at 14mm is 2.4%
Uncorrected RAW: Pincushion distortion at 42mm is 0.6%

To see how much correction is taking place in the camera, we convert RAW files with dcraw or RawDigger, which do not correct for distortion. As you can see at wide angle, barrel distortion is quite strong at about 2.4%, though pincushion distortion at telephoto is much lower at 0.6%. These are slightly higher numbers than what we saw with the previous II R kit lens, but not a surprise given the more compact design of the EZ version. It is however interesting that geometric distortion isn't better corrected in in-camera JPEGs, since the camera is already applying a lot of correction at wide angle.

We expect to see high distortion at wide angle from smaller interchangeable lenses though, so it's nothing to be too concerned about unless you are using a RAW converter which does not understand the embedded lens profile to perform distortion corrections automatically. Most RAW converters these days are capable of applying distortion correction automatically, as specified by the manufacturer. There is however going to be some loss of resolution in the corners as a result of such correction, because pixels in the corners of the frame are being "stretched" to correct for the distortion. Obviously, a lens that doesn't require such correction that is also sharp in the corners to begin with would be preferable, but relaxing constraints on barrel and pincushion distortion likely brings other benefits in the lens design, such as cost, size and weight.

Chromatic Aberration Suppression
The Olympus E-M10 II suppresses lateral chromatic aberration automatically in JPEGs.

In-camera JPEG
Uncorrected RAW
Wide @ f/3.5: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Wide @ f/3.5: Upper left
C.A.: Moderately high
Tele @ f/5.6: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Tele @ f/5.6: Upper left
C.A.: Moderately low

As mentioned previously, the E-M10 II suppresses lateral chromatic aberration in JPEGs. As you can see from comparing the in-camera JPEGs (left) to uncorrected RAW crops above, the E-M10 II's C.A. suppression is very effective at suppressing the lateral chromatic aberration in our 14-42mm EZ test shots, though there's actually fairly low C.A. to correct at telephoto.

Shading Compensation
The Olympus E-M10 II features optional Shading Compensation to reduce vignetting in JPEG images.

Wide Angle, f/3.5 Telephoto, f/5.6
Off (default) On

Mouse over the links above to compare thumbnails (note that it may take a few seconds to load the "On" images), and click on the links to load the full resolution wide-angle images.

As you can see, the Olympus E-M10 II's Shading Compensation effectively reduces corner shading at both ends of the 14-42mm lens when wide open, so it is a useful feature. Note that Shading Compensation is off by default, and is not available with all lenses. It may also produce more visible noise in the periphery at higher ISOs.

Overall, well above average performance for an inexpensive zoom kit lens, especially for a compact model.

Viewfinder Test Results

Accuracy
Excellent accuracy from the EVF and LCD monitor.

50mm, EVF 50mm, LCD

The Olympus E-M10 II's electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor both proved very accurate in record mode, showing just over 100% coverage with our Olympus Zuiko Digital 50mm f/2.0 low distortion prime. Excellent results here.

 

The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Photo Gallery .



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