Olympus E-M10 II Walkaround

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The Olympus E-M10 (top) compared to the E-M10 II (bottom).

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 E-M10 II (top) controls share a lot in common with the E-M5 Mark II (bottom).

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. The orientation of these dual control dials is also reverse, if you will, to match that of the E-M5 II. Now, like the E-M5 II, the thumb-facing dial is moved over close to the thumb grip, making this dial much more accessible and comfortable. And the front dial, meanwhile, is relatively unchanged location-wise, which is fine by us.

Both the front and rear command dials on the E-M10 II feel rather lightweight in terms of their rotation resistance. While some might think this will lead to easy accidental setting changes, in use, the dials feel responsive and have a pleasant "click" to them. The PASM mode dial, on the other hand, has a lot more resistance. Unlike the E-M5 II or E-M1, the mode dial here is not a locking dial, so having a stronger detent helps prevent accidental mode changes. Lastly, like its predecessor, at the rightmost edge of the top deck, sit a programmable function (Fn2) button and the video start/stop record button.

Hopping over to the other side of the EVF where the PASM mode dial used to sit, the E-M10 II now features a newly designed dual-mode power switch. The thin, chrome-topped switch also does double-duty as the lever for the pop-up flash. Simply push the switch forward past the "on" position to deploy the flash. Moving the power switch up to the top-deck feels like a smart move to us, as the original power switch located on the bottom right corner on the original model seems a little out of place. Furthermore, the E-M10 II also gains room for an additional programmable Function button (Fn3) next to the on/off switch.

Moving down to the back of the camera, things remain largely unchanged compared to the original E-M10, at least from a visual standpoint. The button cluster on the right side of the camera is nearly identical, though the 4-way directional button gets a slight cosmetic change and the playback button is now situated where the power switch used to be -- next to the delete/trash button, which altogether feels like a much more logical spot for such a button. The thumbrest gets a bit beefier and it now houses the Fn1 programmable function button, as the rear control dial now takes up the spot where it used to sit on the original model, but it still remains prominent, providing ample grip. Also notice the Flash Up button to the left of the EVF is gone, now integrated into the new power switch as mentioned previously.

The 3-inch tilting, touchscreen LCD remains unchanged from the previous model, though firmware-wise, the E-M10 II offers a cool, new touch-AF mode called AF Targeting Pad, which lets you use your finger to move the AF point around while composing shots using the EVF. Similar to the new Touch Pad AF mode on the recent Panasonic GX8, you can move the AF point anywhere within the E-M10 II's grid of AF areas using you finger while having the EVF up to your eye. It's a little cramped up there, particularly if you're a left-eye dominant shooter, with a finger right in front of your face while the camera's up at your eye. An articulating, tilt/swivel LCD would make this feature much easier to use.

One of the major changes to the Olympus E-M10 II is the EVF, which is now an OLED display with a 2,360K-dot resolution -- like the E-M5 II -- an improvement to the 1,440K-dot screen in the predecessor. The magnification also gets a noticeable boost, up from 0.57x to 0.62x, though eyepoint has dropped slightly, from 20mm to 19.2mm. A -4 to +2m-1 diopter adjustment is still provided.

On the bottom of the camera, we have the battery and memory card slots, as well as a standard tripod socket. Unlike the higher-end E-M5 II and E-M1, which conveniently separates the bottom-placed battery port and side-facing SD card slot, the E-M10 and E-M10 II put both of these items under the same door. For the most part this causes no problems, but if you shoot with a tripod often, you'll want to make sure your tripod plate is thin so as not to block the battery/memory card door, otherwise that can get frustrating.

The battery itself, at least in model name, it slightly different that on the previous model: now a BLS-50 lithium-ion battery pack compared to the BLS-5 on the original, though they appear to be backwards compatible with each other, including the earlier BLS-1 battery pack. According to Olympus, the E-M10 II is CIPA-rated for 320 shots per charge, exactly the same as the earlier model. A dedicated battery charger is included in the bundle, as the E-M10 II does not support in-camera charging.

The sides of the camera body remain unchanged compared to the original E-M10; the left completely is blank, while the right features a micro HDMI (Type-D) port that supports clean output for external recording, and a multi connector that supports USB 2.0 Hi-Speed data transfer, a wired remote and analog A/V out.


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