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


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A couple of new Olympus OMD E-M5 II films (music video and behind the scenes).

 

I think it's great to see the camera being used guerrilla style like that.  Lots of fun and it's really a great tool for that sort of work.

One of my production pet peeves though in full display here:  Your actors gotta run full speed or it looks ridiculous, doesn't matter what camera you use.  I see this mistake way too often.

Hey, just ask Mr. Thomas Cruise, he'll tell ya.  

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I wonder how useful it is in normal speed. 

​Quite a lot, depending on how you handle it.  

It's not going to make every-single type of shot better, but if you work within the 5-axis' strengths/limitations, it'll reward the effort.  The main strength I've found is that it'll allow you to do some shots quicker and easier than you'd be able to do otherwise.

This sort of cam is really good for run and gun music videos like you see here, corporate shoots where you're grabbing lots of documentary style b-roll, and things like weddings.  It's a lot of fun, great for a lot of work, but not perfect for everything. 

The interesting thing I've discovered using it is that when you hit the limits of the stabilizer's capacity, you need to recognize how to pull back from those limits.  Once you go over the 5-axis' abilities and start getting the jello-warping, that's no good.  

You need discipline not to over-do it.  So, you know, when you see other footage from this camera shot by an unskilled enthusiast, these mistakes creep to the forefront and don't make the camera look good.  But, if you're considered in what you do, it is pretty enjoyable to use.

I suppose you could say that about any cam... I wouldn't discourage anyone for getting their hands on it and giving it a try.  If it fits for what you want to do it might be the ideal tool.

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​Quite a lot, depending on how you handle it.  

It's not going to make every-single type of shot better, but if you work within the 5-axis' strengths/limitations, it'll reward the effort.  The main strength I've found is that it'll allow you to do some shots quicker and easier than you'd be able to do otherwise.

This sort of cam is really good for run and gun music videos like you see here, corporate shoots where you're grabbing lots of documentary style b-roll, and things like weddings.  It's a lot of fun, great for a lot of work, but not perfect for everything. 

I've just sold my GX7, and have the EM-5 II on order.  

I am looking to do a small doc (for fun) this September about one of the crazy mountain town fiestas in Spain (http://descubriendovillanuevadelcampillo.blogspot.com/p/los-quintos.html).  I'm going to use my LX100 for wide/4k with the possibility of picking up a pistol-grip gimbal to use with it.  The E-M5 II will be used with some of my longer primes or zooms for closer IBIS stabilised shots so I don't need to mess around with a tripod/monopod and can switch quickly between the two cameras.  I liked the image quality of my old E-M5 for shallower depth-of-field or portrait shots, but hated when the image fell to pieces when subjects moved, or there was too much detail.

I'll probably have a couple of other cameras on tripods to use for wider cut-away shots inside the cathedral or in the plaza but haven't decided on GH2/G7/GoPro yet.

I still have a lot of prep/testing to do, and I need to learn fuzzy's ninja moves to get those nice EM-5 II "slider" shots!

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I've just sold my GX7, and have the EM-5 II on order.  

I am looking to do a small doc (for fun) this September about one of the crazy mountain town fiestas in Spain (http://descubriendovillanuevadelcampillo.blogspot.com/p/los-quintos.html).  I'm going to use my LX100 for wide/4k with the possibility of picking up a pistol-grip gimbal to use with it.  The E-M5 II will be used with some of my longer primes or zooms for closer IBIS stabilised shots so I don't need to mess around with a tripod/monopod and can switch quickly between the two cameras.  I liked the image quality of my old E-M5 for shallower depth-of-field or portrait shots, but hated when the image fell to pieces when subjects moved, or there was too much detail.

I'll probably have a couple of other cameras on tripods to use for wider cut-away shots inside the cathedral or in the plaza but haven't decided on GH2/G7/GoPro yet.

I still have a lot of prep/testing to do, and I need to learn fuzzy's ninja moves to get those nice EM-5 II "slider" shots!

​I shot a small doc late last year with the GX7 and GM1.  Hindsight being what it is, I'd say the EM5II would have been a better cam for that work.  The 5-axis being a killer feature and the ability to record AND MONITOR the recording audio on cam is incredibly valuable.  

Still, the GX7 image is certainly better, it's just that all the handheld shots from the Pany's are a tad shaky... but that's okay.  That vibe sometimes works.

FWIW, and I don't know what you're going for in your doc so take this with a grain of salt, I'd think about doing your entire film with one cam and one prime lens.  Something around FF eq of 50-70mm  For me, there's just something pleasant about watching a film that has a very simple and cohesive visual aesthetic.

Plus, if you're not fretting about loads of gear one can tend to concentrate on the more important things; visuals and story.  But, again, I'm a K.I.S.S. kind of guy, nothing wrong with the alternative if you can keep it all under control.

Good luck!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone,

this is my first post; hoping to help someone who like me is thinking to add the E-M5 MKII to its arsenal I just to add more material to compare the E-M5 MKII to the great Panasonic cameras:

E-M5 MKII vs GH4

E-M5 MKII vs GH4 vs GM1

E-M5 MKII vs GH4 (imaging resource)

 

I own the great Pana G6 and I'm thinking to jump on the Olympus wagon; for sure, in "difficult situation" (look at the foliage in the dark area of the shots from the third video, the one from imaging resource) the GH4 codec is still somehow better than the E-M5 MKII one, nevertheless I really think this can be simply addressed with future firmware upgrades. In the other 2 videos, I think the "quality" is on par, but Olympus has a great great advantage on the stabilization, giving a "finished" shot with no need for software stabilization (a really time consuming task...) and limited necessity of gymbal/glidecam hence great great creative freedom. All in all, in my opinion, the E-M5 MKII seems a great camera, great stills and great video capabilities.

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Anybody that can provide some 1080p HD clips of the 77mbps for download?
Ive found some clips but they where only 720p.
Preferedly in a neutral and/or flat PP.

Would appreciate it!

Yeah.  If you're patient.  I have a low-end shoot tomorrow.  I usually shoot 60p with the 51mbps, but I'll roll off some 24p@77.  FYI, I use the "Natural" profile.  Contrast -2, Sharpness -2, Saturation -2, and then on the image curve settings I lift the shadow 1 notch and turn down the highlight one notch.

However, I can put the Natural profile on default as well as the curve so you'll have a base to judge.

I've never charted the camera.  I use those settings above as my best guess for post production flexibility. 

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Yeah.  If you're patient.  I have a low-end shoot tomorrow.  I usually shoot 60p with the 51mbps, but I'll roll off some 24p@77.  FYI, I use the "Natural" profile.  Contrast -2, Sharpness -2, Saturation -2, and then on the image curve settings I lift the shadow 1 notch and turn down the highlight one notch.

However, I can put the Natural profile on default as well as the curve so you'll have a base to judge.

I've never charted the camera.  I use those settings above as my best guess for post production flexibility. 

Have you tried the Tiffen Ultra Contrast 3? 

Especially in day light / high contrast scenes, I get much better results than when trying to mess with the curve. It also reduces the aliasing a bit. 

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Yeah.  If you're patient.  I have a low-end shoot tomorrow.  I usually shoot 60p with the 51mbps, but I'll roll off some 24p@77.  FYI, I use the "Natural" profile.  Contrast -2, Sharpness -2, Saturation -2, and then on the image curve settings I lift the shadow 1 notch and turn down the highlight one notch.

However, I can put the Natural profile on default as well as the curve so you'll have a base to judge.

I've never charted the camera.  I use those settings above as my best guess for post production flexibility. 

That sounds great!

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Have you tried the Tiffen Ultra Contrast 3? 

Especially in day light / high contrast scenes, I get much better results than when trying to mess with the curve. It also reduces the aliasing a bit. 

No, but I shoot with an old Canon FD f1.2 lens which pretty much accomplishes the same thing.  It's MUCH less contrasty than the modern lenses I have.

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Anybody that can provide some 1080p HD clips of the 77mbps for download?
Ive found some clips but they where only 720p.
Preferedly in a neutral and/or flat PP.

Would appreciate it!

Here is a sample with skintones.  Shot using the muted profile, -2, -2, -2 at about f4 with the Olympus 17.5/1.8 lens.  I went out with the camera this morning to do some wider and more detailed shots but forgot my ND filters and then the sun came out so the images look softer than usual with the high aperture.

What sort of things are you looking to test so I can help out?  It is the least I can do to thank you for your youtube videos that have been very helpful to me.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/coo46hh6ccsebkt/AADz2R4BQedAuGi0EpHoowsaa?dl=0

 

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Here is a sample with skintones.  Shot using the muted profile, -2, -2, -2 at about f4 with the Olympus 17.5/1.8 lens.  I went out with the camera this morning to do some wider and more detailed shots but forgot my ND filters and then the sun came out so the images look softer than usual with the high aperture.

What sort of things are you looking to test so I can help out?  It is the least I can do to thank you for your youtube videos that have been very helpful to me.

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/coo46hh6ccsebkt/AADz2R4BQedAuGi0EpHoowsaa?dl=0

 

Nice! Thanks a lot. Will be perfect for some testing.
I used to have an E-M5 so I'm pretty familiar and todays announcement made it even more possible that I might get one.

Besides a face it would be nice to have just a general landscape and an object of some sort at medium distance. Like a car or something.

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Nice! Thanks a lot. Will be perfect for some testing.I used to have an E-M5 so I'm pretty familiar and todays announcement made it even more possible that I might get one.

Besides a face it would be nice to have just a general landscape and an object of some sort at medium distance. Like a car or something.

Yeah, I had some shots like that but blew it with no NDs.  Will go out again this afternoon and get some.  Found out that when the aperture goes too high and starts flashing, the actual video clips are completely digitally distorted and not really playable.  The other shots just looked super-soft due to the diffraction. 

I haven't had much time yet to work with my EM-5II as I've spent the summer away with just my LX-100.

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Yeah, I had some shots like that but blew it with no NDs.  Will go out again this afternoon and get some.  Found out that when the aperture goes too high and starts flashing, the actual video clips are completely digitally distorted and not really playable.  The other shots just looked super-soft due to the diffraction. 

I haven't had much time yet to work with my EM-5II as I've spent the summer away with just my LX-100.

Really appreciate you taking the time.

Now Im no colorist but I did like the result with my regular quick workflow to give it some sort of "personality". Just did two random looks.
Nothing special but I like it.

 

Ungraded
ung_1.1.1.md.jpg

Look 1
grade_1.1.2.md.jpg

Look 2
grad2_1.1.3.md.jpg[/u

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Really appreciate you taking the time.
Now Im no colorist but I did like the result with my regular quick workflow to give it some sort of "personality". Just did two random looks.
Nothing special but I like it.

Cool, I have to play around with the shots that I've taken with this camera.  Sometime soon...

I uploaded a couple of more (extremely boring) shots.  Sorry, grey day here and not a lot of contrast/colour.  Maybe Fuzzynormal or someone else will have some better images for you to play with.

I guess this will all change with the new E-M5II firmware.  Hopefully Olympus does a good flat picture profile implementation!

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  • 1 month later...

Ok I did a small test. From what I see the discrepancy most probably is due to the fact that the default sharpness is different between the two cameras. Other than the sharpness, framerate and bitrate all other settings are the same. 

The quality of the E-M5ii is much better than the E-M1 at least in my hands. Dynamic range and color seem better and resolution is at least the same if not better with the E-M5ii. 

Here it is:

e-m1_vs_e-m5_ii.jpg.fd9586aa01668ef7834b

 

These are frame grabs, right?

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