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Olympus E-M5 Mark II - love and hate at first sight


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I make videos for my Vimeo on Demand channel. I am not interested in the ultimate video quality (I was a network TV director and film-make in the old, pre-digital days) but usability/functionality/practicality while shooting video does feature high on my priorities.

I have three Panny G6s and one OMD EM5 (mk I) and an X-100s as the carry-everywhere body. 

I owned the EM5 Mk II briefly (even bought locally, as it's a "world camera" as far as frame rates are concerned; this is great) but sent it back, swallowing a restocking fee to do so. Why?

Andrew wrote:

You can't change exposure during a shot, controls lock up. 

This was my experience too, and using one of the 1080 codecs (I could not work out which one) AF on half shutter press simply did not work. I repeated this a number of times, too. It's a bug. 

I loved the stabilisation; truly remarkable, but usability compared to the G6 bodies (ISO on a button; ditto WB; aperture; exp. comp. on front slider; and SS adjustable on the fly) was poor. Having to access exp. comp. via a touch screen did not work for me; it might for you. 

I loved much else about the camera and was hoping that I had found the carry-everywhere stills camera that doubles as the steadycam on location, but I sent it back; it is not that, for me. 

So near, and yet so far.

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​Yes I saw that comment from Olympus. They are right and they're wrong. Pana, Sony, Samsung do need to generate 4K content for their TVs. However my question to Olympus is do you see the potential in

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​ Hello. I can't say as it's beyond the bounds of what I can discuss.  But mostly everything on the list here was also on my list that's already gone in.  It's good to keep adding to it though. What I

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I think that's either some kind of visual impairment or some kind of propaganda, because it should be clear to anyone with a normally functioning visual system that this camera doesn't match up to ANY recent Panasonic camera.

​I have a gh3 and gh4 and really, really wanted to have a EM5 or 1 only because of their IBIS because it would make my life so much easier but have been holding off on the mark I as it wasn't PAL capable and because the codec seriously sucked. I was ecstatic to see Olympus finally addressed the codec issues, made it usable in PAL countries and even improved on the IBIS, a dream come true, until I saw the first images and framegrabs appear and I got even less enthusiastic to read they also crippled basic operation functions on this camera. I"m sure if they could give this camera a GH3 like image and allow manual control with the actual dials on the camera while shooting, they'd sell a boatload of these but for one or the other mysterious reason they deliberately have been crippling the camera in the past, like with withholding the PAL codecs, or now by delivering an image that looks like what my first dslr, a 550d would produce.

My finger has been on the order button the past time but the more I read and see then more I doubt this camera would work when mixing into my gh3/4 workflow and it looks like a difficult camera to operate in a run and gun situation.

Maybe Olympus has all the right stuff reserved for the EM1, I really, really hope so :) 

 

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The good stills stuff gets reserved for the E-M1 line-up, so what it's successor concerned... I wouldn't expect much from it videowise.

Best thing for me right now would be for the E-M1 to get the much wished for 24p and 25p. That should've been standard to begin with (for any camera, really), wouldn't even dare asking for any other mumbo jumbo than that for the current E-M1. But again, them wanting the E-M1 to be for stills and the E-M5II for video... it's not likely for them to change that up now.

Anyways. For those who need built-in stabilization and 24p/25p in addition to 30p and you can put up with all the downsides... sure, this is a thing. If you know its limitations and can move within those boundaries and are happy enough with the results... who's to tell you you've made a bad choice? In the end you've got something that any other camera couldn't do. Now... the same goes the other way around though. There's stuff it won't do that other cameras can, so after weighing the pros and cons you either end up with this... or go for something else. Personally, I think there are too many letdowns to this camera, stuff they should've gotten right from the get-go. And although they've sorta listened to us... on paper giving us the goods, they won't be listening like Samsung does, so I'm not expecting them to address any of these issues any time soon. They don't like admitting they've put out a flawed product, because it seems they think of it as 'curing' not as 'improving'.

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I guess you have a problem with the fact that I'm seeing blatantly wrong statements and I feel I should say something about it.

​No, on the contrary.  I got no problem.  The IQ of some cameras is far more advanced than others.  I don't see this particular Oly debate happening here on EOSHD though.  The consensus is pretty much,  "Yeah, Oly's still not there yet.  Too bad; wish they were."  

Which is kind of why I'm curious as to your earnestness.  I'm not faulting you for your perceptions, nor would I discourage them.  If you want to "rant," as you said you felt like you had to do, go for it.  Don't let my comments dissuade.  (after all, I do agree with everything you say regarding IQ) 

But, I am kind of surprised that you would want be so ardent about it here --as I think we're all kind of well aware of camera IQ and are more or less impartial about it.  Ultimately, IQ does tend to be the dominant topic around these parts, for better or worse.

If you're searching out some sort of debate as online recreation I think you'll probably get it here, but the rhetorical slant regarding cameras will come from a more specific perspective so try to keep that in mind.

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why do you think the E-M5ii is a huge disappointment? 

​I'm not the commenter of whom you're asking that question, but I'll chime in anyway.  As an owner of the EM5II all I can say is that the video capability is dated.  Seems like it just should be better is all.  It's not a disaster.  It's not great.  Video is "meh."  

That said, I'm still using it and accepting the consequences.  Which, IMHO, aren't really that disappointing to me.  I mean, I still use my 7D on shoots, so I'm not terribly particular about getting the latest and greatest IQ.

What it comes down to in my case is that the 5-axis is a tool that greatly helps my type of shooting, so that trumps the limitations...

I do just wish that I didn't have to wait until a camera finally comes out that does great IQ and 5-axis.  Waiting is the disappointment.  I wish it was Christmas morning and I got all the toys I wanted.  Oly's video is a sweater from grandma.  Nice, but not the thing you have fun with. 

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I'll try to upload some sloppy raw stuff I shot yesterday.  Bad lighting, bad composition, bad exposures!  That type of fast and dirty imaging will reveal shortcomings, and successes, much more than considered framing.
 
I like close-ups of rosemary as much as the next guy, but that only shows a narrow capability.
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​I'm not the commenter of whom you're asking that question, but I'll chime in anyway.  As an owner of the EM5II all I can say is that the video capability is dated.  Seems like it just should be better is all.  It's not a disaster.  It's not great.  Video is "meh."  

That said, I'm still using it and accepting the consequences.  Which, IMHO, aren't really that disappointing to me.  I mean, I still use my 7D on shoots, so I'm not terribly particular about getting the latest and greatest IQ.

What it comes down to in my case is that the 5-axis is a tool that greatly helps my type of shooting, so that trumps the limitations...

I do just wish that I didn't have to wait until a camera finally comes out that does great IQ and 5-axis.  Waiting is the disappointment.  I wish it was Christmas morning and I got all the toys I wanted.  Oly's video is a sweater from grandma.  Nice, but not the thing you have fun with. 

​As you mentioned before, everybody would like to have the video quality from bmpcc in the E-M5ii. I get that, and I would even pay double for it. 

What I don't understand is when Olympus, a company with zero experience in video implements in a model update more improvements towards video than any other company that I can think of, people are still disappointed and most of the time without event trying the camera themselves. 

Again, contrary to what Andrew finds, in my hands the video in E-M5ii has improved dramatically over the E-M1. From what I can tell it is the same sensor as the E-M1, has the same readout method as in the E-M1 (however crappy that might be), but the processor handles the data more gracefully and the codec does not create a mush whenever there is plenty of detail or when there is motion or in low light. You can find an example in the following video at the 6min mark comparing it to the E-M5i: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v57kNf6-mEE

Maybe I am biased I don't know, but at the end it doesn't really matter since I am happy with what Olympus has provided and it will improve the videos that I create. The E-M5ii will allow me to go out and capture things that I wouldn't be able to with any other camera. Isn't that what is important?

I understand that other people do not find IBIS as useful so of course in that case there are plenty of better cameras around. 

 

 

 

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...at the end it doesn't really matter since I am happy with what Olympus has provided and it will improve the videos that I create.

​I'm happy as well. 

For what it's worth, we can have inferior video IQ and still create "superior" videos with the cam; with any cam for that matter.  Depends on what you do.  I'm enjoying it so far and will keep testing it.  

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I figured something out today.  If you want to change shutter or f stop in manual mode there is the touch screen approach which is annoying.  That being said you can while using the viewfinder or screen press the OK button which will bring up the same side menu as the touch screen and than the dial is activated.  Was very happy to figure that out it was one of my big gripes.  Would rather the option to leave it active all the time but at least this is less cumbersome than the touch screen IMO.

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I have been mainly an Olympus camera user dating back to the OM System days and have a huge amount of lenses and equipment I share between four OM bodies and my Pen E-P3 body.I want to update my system with this camera body and from a photographer point of view it is just what I have been waiting for. Yes it is little disappointing, they could have included better codec and 4K video since they share the same sensor with the GH4 but video is not a huge priority for me at the moment. Olympus might be able to improve the video performance in the future with firmware upgrades (if they really want to) but then again video has not been Olympus strong area. If I get more interested in video I will definitely grab a Panasonic GH4 or a Sony A7 II body. The only disappointment I have with Lumix bodies is that they lack In Body Stabilization (except for the unappealing GX7), a must have for me since I have over 16 vintage manual focus lenses from the OM era that I use with my Olympus SLR and MFT cameras.

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But, I am kind of surprised that you would want be so ardent about it here --as I think we're all kind of well aware of camera IQ and are more or less impartial about it.  Ultimately, IQ does tend to be the dominant topic around these parts, for better or worse.

If you're searching out some sort of debate as online recreation I think you'll probably get it here, but the rhetorical slant regarding cameras will come from a more specific perspective so try to keep that in mind.

​Except that this is completely false. There are a few posters here either implying or straight out saying that this is better quality that Panasonic high bitrate video.

I would put Kotlos Kotlos and Flynn right up there. Here's a quote from Flynn, "Not as nice as a Blackmagic Pocket but not terrible. Looks as good as good as a hacked GH2 to me."

Here's a quote from Inquisitive slightly after he received his camera, "I'm going to run it against my hacked GH2 if it beats that I will be happy enough." After he actually tested it, I think he was disappointed, but he did expect it to beat a hacked GH2.

And there's actually been a lot more of that.

Why do I care if people believe that this camera can beat a hacked GH2 (a nearly 5 year old camera) for detail? The reason I care is that it's not even close. The GH2 obliterates this camera. I do have a problem with people thinking that this camera is the best MFT has to offer, or even close to it. I have a problem with people buying into the system for video with this camera and walking away disappointed and trashing the system. I also have a problem with people buying into thhe system with this camera and assuming this is the best they can get for video period, without having tried other stuff. And, finally, I have a problem with Olympus marketing this camera as being competitive with any other camera out there for pro level video quality. That is, in fact, what they did.

If you'll notice, I don't really get into these "debates" anywhere and everywhere. I generally pick my spots, and this seems as good of a spot as any. I've really made an impression with all of my 19 posts, haven't I? Similarly, I felt that DPReview was a good spot when John Brawley was around recommending the BMPCC and E-M5 II and claiming Panasonic had done nothing for him lately for video. :rolleyes:

Contrary to what you might think, I have no desire to fight. This is all strategery (as W. would say) on my part, and it takes very little effort for me. :ph34r:

 

 

 

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​Shallow Depth of Field cures all, eh?  I shot some infinity focus stuff yesterday that are much less impressive.

Your examples will be most welcome. My "acceptable quality" comment was comparing it to the E-M1. Anyone that has used E-M1 under such conditions will know what is to be expected --> macroblocking.

An interesting test that somebody with an atomos should do is these infinity focus scenes. My guess is that the implementation of the codec is what is not good enough for these scenes, and the clean HDMI out should behave much better. I hope Andrew will be motivated enough to plug in his atomos shogun and do a comparison!

Again, so much depends on how ya shoot things.

​Definitely.  

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I generally pick my spots, and this seems as good of a spot as any.

Keep casting your line then.  It's your prerogative.  As an owner of the camera I'll readily admit that the EM5II video IQ ain't great.  It's not awful either.

I mean, shoot, a hacked GH1 might rival it.

It should't take too much longer for that reality to settle in, even with many fanbois.  You'll always have brand loyalists making ridiculous claims though, so you'll be able to go at those folks as long as you want.  I just don't think here is going to be the best fishing' hole.

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The GH2 obliterates this camera.

What I have seen so far doesn't look very promising but i have seen a few videos now that make me doubt again, I take it you have a gh2 and a em5 II? Could I ask if you could find the time to make a side by side comparison so it becomes more clear how big the differences actually are? The problem is there is to many conflicting info, like Andrew saying and showing it's worse then the EM1 while some other users who appear to have the camera's as well claim the opposite, this is getting very confusing.

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some other users who appear to have the camera's as well claim the opposite, this is getting very confusing.

​Nah.  Not really.  The camera is capable of decent video IQ, but it's just not competitive with other cameras on the market.  Keep in mind each and every opinion is anecdotal.  One's person's discrimination might not be as acute as another's.  If video pixel peeping is your thing, removed from the rhetoric, you can directly check out dpreview.com charts.

On a certain aspect the Olympus video is unrivaled:  The 5-axis stabilization is great.

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What I have seen so far doesn't look very promising but i have seen a few videos now that make me doubt again, I take it you have a gh2 and a em5 II? Could I ask if you could find the time to make a side by side comparison so it becomes more clear how big the differences actually are? The problem is there are to many conflicting info, like Andrew saying and showing it's worse then the EM1 while some other users who appear to have the camera's as well claim the opposite, this is getting very confusing.

​I have multiple GH2's. No E-M5 II though. I was the originator of these threads here:

http://***URL removed***/forums/post/55285420

http://***URL removed***/forums/post/55404746

As you can see, I've been involved in this controversy long before this forum was involved. The simple fact of the matter is that I've watched every bit of RAW (i.e. unedited) video available from this camera since the first beta testers made the footage available. And I know full well how my Panasonic cameras would perform under these conditions. John Brawley's unedited footage was one of the first eye openers for me. There was simply no fine detail in the plant life or the tree bark. Again, if it were a Panasonic camera, it would be completely different.

I'm sure I'll get some criticism for doing this without having the camera to test, but I believe the differences are so obvious and stark that I don't even need to own the camera to say what I'm saying.

DPReview's "promo" video for this camera pretty much says it all BTW. Even though it's just a YT video and I haven't seen the unedited footage, it's just shockingly soft and poor for a camera that's supposedly video oriented.

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