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Andrew Reid

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

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With the Olympus E-M5 Mark II we've been seduced.

40MP stills - oooh! High bitrate 24p - Ahh!

The E-M5 II is a great camera. Let's see how they've ruined it.

Read the blog post here

 

​Have you reached out to Olympus for a response to this analysis of yours?  I get that it's still bad even if this is just 1.0 firmware quality issue and they plan to better E-M1 with future improvements to video on this mark II.....but this seems a bit harsh if such is the case.  Maybe they do just want this camera to not perform quite as nice as E-M1.....but doubt that is the case when they are bragging it up for video more than they did the E-M1.  Seems this is just a first pass at getting video working with the new hardware and codecs on a camera they expect to sell for photo takers mostly until they get the video refined.

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If you want a Video Camera then your expectations are way too High within this price range. Go for a Canon C300 or FS700 or even the BMCC. 

No. I have a gx7. (And a gm1) I can buy those for less than $500.  The video is awesome on that camera 

On on your other points I agree.  

Yes, the em5ii can shoot good enough video, just not sure why it's not as good as it should be. 

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​I used with the Ninja star and the Ninja, no problems. Records at 30fps progressive 422. BTW there is a rumor that Olympus may unleash a much better video Res, perhaps 4K via Firmware. For all I need, It takes better pics than my GH4.

​Vlad, do you have any footage sample made with the Ninja Star, especially about moire, aliasing and softness? Only 30fps was available, not 24p, with the Ninja and the Star? And when using the Star, the LCD display in the camera stays with live feed or an external monitor connected in the Star is mandatory?
 

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I wouldnt count on them counting on that though..

A quote from Olympus a couple of weeks ago.. "we understand that other manufacturers - Panasonic, Sony, Samsung - offering 4K mode, even in top-level models do not. They just need to create content for their TV. They need to sell 4K TVs. While the content in 4K very little, so they want to have on the market as much as possible models that can shoot in 4K. But we do not see great potential for 4K at the moment. Once the market is ready for it, we will make 4K."

​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 great 1080p? BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T EVEN DONE THAT YET!

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I think I'm just going to have to come to terms with Olympus being far behind the video curve. And I am. Again, just wish I didn't have to. 

It is a little crazy to me that I can buy cameras for half as much with very superior 1080  video, but that's the reality. Ultimately it's a concession I can tolerate, but...man, they are missing out on a great niche market with video. And it's a market that I believe is undervalued.  maybe not in numbers, but in prestige. 

Its like an automobile manufacturer that makes a performance model that increases their brand value. For Oly could that be the em1 mark II?  Who knows.  Probably not  

And, really,  it's not like they have to be better than the competition IQ wise, just comparable. More than anything, that's the frustration with Oly. They have such great potential. So close, but so far kinda thing. 

All that said I do know it'll be a very useable tool for MY needs, (I'm knowledgeable enough to compensate for the shortcoming) but my needs fit a small subset of people that are video centric; most video people are going to dismiss it.

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Re-watched John's footage again on the E-M5 II and he made it look a lot better than it is.

I can scarcely believe it's the same camera.

It's like the V1.0 retail firmware has taken it back a peg, to segment it from the E-M1.

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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 great 1080p? BECAUSE YOU HAVEN'T EVEN DONE THAT YET!

​When that interview was published I thought that it's not possible that he actually believes that. I mean, sure electronic companies are pushing hard for 4K, but I'm also pretty sure he is aware of the other benefits of 4K, be it for creative reasons, for more DR, etc. For me it feels like an early excuse in case they don't put 4K in the E-M1. Moreover, getting the sales up is a pretty damn good reason to see a 4K potential at the moment. How many people are wanting to couple Olympus' awesome IBIS with great video? A lot. IBIS and 4K would certainly sell a lot, it's simply a market they don't explore.

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I wouldnt count on them counting on that though..

A quote from Olympus a couple of weeks ago.. "we understand that other manufacturers - Panasonic, Sony, Samsung - offering 4K mode, even in top-level models do not. They just need to create content for their TV. They need to sell 4K TVs. While the content in 4K very little, so they want to have on the market as much as possible models that can shoot in 4K. But we do not see great potential for 4K at the moment. Once the market is ready for it, we will make 4K."

​Well they're not going to come out and say in 6 months the new EM1 will have 4k.  That would leave the EM5II D.O.A.  Remember the old EM1 4k rumor, complete with a LCD shot of a 4k recording option that was allegedly being tested?  Looking at how the improved video didn't come via a firmware update, but an all new EM5 model, I think we'll see the same from the new flagship.  I think the above quote is all smoke and the EM1mkII will have 4k.

http://www.eoshd.com/2014/09/4k-olympus-om-d-e-m1/#prettyPhoto

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Just curious did you have the image stabilization on and which mode?

Even given the observations I'm still getting one for stills primary the Hires is huge for me.  I also love the Olympus pro lenses and just hope the EM MKII  will be up to snuff in the future.

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In the end, unfortunately, the review conclusion is in accord with the first impression a lot of us had when the first video from the E-M5 MKII started to pop up. Sure there was one or another that looked good, but when there are more videos that don't look good, it's hard to believe that it was by chance.

I'm still interested to see if Panasonic can pull up IBIS - even more now that Sony has it and in a FF! - in video or what that last rumor about their video camera really is.

I know people are skeptical and the truth is that I also don't have any expectation about it but I think that there are more chances of Fuji delivering 4K than Olympus. The X-Trans may be a problem but I believe that if they do a full sensor readout like Panasonic, Sony and Samsung do, X-Trans won't be a problem anymore. I should be like a motion sequence of electronic shutter taken pictures, right? And in recent interview a Fuji manager mentioned that there are a lot of benefits from a higher speed full readout. Now some rumors about Fuji putting 4K on their next XPRO2 is starting to pop up.

Fuji may end up not putting 4K, who knows but they could very well use full readout to make better video instead of the line skipping and binning - which will not work well on the X-Trans CFA. Fuji can produce lovely images, couldn't they deliver better video from full readout output? Maybe rolling shutter won't be great, but if they can start by delivering better IQ in video, that's already a big step into the right direction.

In the end, although I don't expect a lot from them, when I put together their Kaizen philosophy and their manager actually saying that two of the things they have to improve is to deliver better AF and better video - since even Fuji photographers have been asking for better video - and you know that both things depend on faster full readout of the sensor, the pieces start to connect. It may be the case that they will first address just the AF, but I think better video will be coming soon.

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Nothing else just floats there in mid-air like the Olympus stabilisation, it's a dolly track in the sky.

Which makes it all the more disturbing that they can't see a market for it, or rather, that they continue to pay lip service to the market for it.

The Timecode implementation is absolutely useless by the way. Almost like a marketing check box has been ticked rather than a feature!

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

The Panasonic G6 showed that great 1080p can be done for very very low prices in this market.

The E-M5 shows that no matter how many great engineers do magical things there will always be an equal and opposite imbecile force to waste that effort.

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​I used with the Ninja star and the Ninja, no problems. Records at 30fps progressive 422. BTW there is a rumor that Olympus may unleash a much better video Res, perhaps 4K via Firmware. For all I need, It takes better pics than my GH4.

​Can you please provide us with some information on how much of an improvement there is with the Ninja star? I am thinking of getting it too but I am not sure if it really improves the video quality. Maybe a record a static scene with both the internal codec and the external ninja and then post the images? 

Few things that are interesting to test:

1. Resolution

2. Blocking/ compression artifacts in daylight

3. Low light performance. 

Thanks!

 

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Re-watched John's footage again on the E-M5 II and he made it look a lot better than it is.

I can scarcely believe it's the same camera.

It's like the V1.0 retail firmware has taken it back a peg, to segment it from the E-M1.

​That would be idiotic to do since they would now have 2 cameras that don't have good quality over 1. They went into the trouble improving so many things in video, it makes no sense messing the video quality on purpose. 

There can be other explanations too: 

1. It is not as a big problem in real life shooting situations.

2. You got a lemon, although I cannot imaging how can that happen

3. software stabilization introduces more artifacts. That would be easy for you to test. 

You said you are working on it, so I am sure you will also grab the test scene that you have with all the other cameras. If you see the same sh*tty result, I would suggest sending Olympus an email with your findings. I am sure you can influence the development of the next firmware. 

The Timecode implementation is absolutely useless by the way. Almost like a marketing check box has been ticked rather than a feature!

​Please expand on this point in your review. 

If you have the shogun it would be interesting to see how the clean HDMI looks. See if it is the codec or the processing before that point. 

Thanks

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Is it possible to get this review shown on 43rumors.com, this may increase the chance to let Olympus know that it's customers wont accept this. Oly needs to act now. I was ready to sell my A7 system to get back in M43 (solely because E-M5 II, really glad i waited for this review). Panasonic and Sony must be relieved.

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Is it possible to get this review shown on 43rumors.com, this may increase the chance to let Olympus know that it's customers wont accept this. Oly needs to act now. I was ready to sell my A7 system to get back in M43 (solely because E-M5 II, really glad i waited for this review). Panasonic and Sony must be relieved.

​I doubt it. All these rumors sites only publish compliments for the brands, never criticism.

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I got mine today (I wanted to use it on a specific project very soon). First impressions are that Andrew is being a bit hard on the image quality but I am far from finishing my tests.

That said, here are a few things that do bother me -

- no way to adjust exposure or ISO when shooting video

- no way to do custom white balance in movie mode ( you have to go to stills mode to do this)

- no enlarged view when manually focusing in movie mode

- apparently no way to refocus using auto focus while shooting movies

- there is an INCREDIBLE crop when in movie mode. More than on the GH4 in 4K. I think this is what bothers me most of all. Totally unexpected.

But...

- build quality is beautiful

- peaking seems to work better than on my GH4

- a quick test combining shutter priority exposure, stabilisation and continuous autofocus was really good (and will be good for quick, steady walk-through shots)

My reasoning getting this was that it would (more or less) do the job of a gimbal. For what I do I just don't have time to mess around with rigging and it's not practical to have multiple cameras set up on different stabilisation devices. Despite all the drawbacks listed above, I think it might still serve the intended purpose.

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I'd be interested in seeing if there is any difference between the two stabilisation modes -one uses electronic stabilisation in addition to the 5-axis, and might create more of a crop and artefacts?  Also, while the resolution is disappointing how does it handle wider high-detail scenes like moving water/trees etc? The E-M1 while it looks fine on close-up shots got quite muddy with these type of wide shots.

 

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