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

Andrew Reid

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​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. 



​From the Olympus Page "With (GUI* is shown on connected device only, and peaking function is not available when connected by HDMI.)
*GUI can be hidden on the connected device by pressing down on INFO button for recording an external drive under the following condition. Movie quality: YCbCr 4:2:2 / Frame rate: same as movie setting (24p, 30p and 60p settings are not recommended.) / Sound recording: not available" As I said works with the Ninja, records pro res (which ever you like on your Ninja) and records at 30P. Low light depends on the sensor, the Ninja won't improve that and Blockiness, well subjective test I did show, a pretty strong and clean image.

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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

You can from the touchscreen.

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

I seem to be able to do that, I don't know why you can't. 

- no enlarged view when manually focusing in movie mode

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

Half-press the shutter button does it for me

- 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.

I didn't notice it until I read Andrew's review, but I understand why it might be problematic for some. 

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Low light depends on the sensor, the Ninja won't improve that

Very often the codec cannot handle the noise from high isos and quality drops because of that. So I was hoping that the prores HQ might give an advantage in low light. 

 and Blockiness, well subjective test I did show, a pretty strong and clean image.

​Good. It would be great if you could provide us with some samples too. 

Thanks again

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This is a grab from the Ninja Star. On the OMD5 you need to push the info button in order to make the signal clean, I forgot to do it, hence the "No Card" signal. But you can still see the quality. IS NO Bmcc but can be used. The lens is a Nikon AI Manual, open at f2, natural light. I will try to post a video later.




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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:



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I think we all know that these cheaper 'prosumer' cams often need a bit of time to learn the best settings etc to get the most out of them. I am sure the E-M5ii is not up to Gh3/Gh4 standards resolution wise but I don't think it's a complete write-off yet.

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This is disapointing. I was so excited they'd moved the lugs too which was a major gripe with the old Olympic cameras. However, I am still waiting for a gx7 type replacement for my "small" cam. Panasonics video is already amazing and I think they will have good enough image stabilisation soon. Coupled with their even quicker AF than Olympus with panasonic lenses I feel optimistic.

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Thanks Andrew, such honest feedback is appreciated!

All these pre-release reviews kind of all came to the same conclusion: 'what video concerned the E-M5II greatly improves on the E-M1'. Listen, I wasn't particularly bummed with the look out of the E-M1, for the most part it looked pretty great, just the whole mode was wacky and 30p only sucked balls. So when the E-M5II comes along addressing that, giving us multiple framerates, higher bitrates, vari-angle display, grip with headphone socket... and people said video looked better? Well, count me in!

But hearing your side of the story... I guess the reviewers were corrupted. I mean... I get it's cool you have connections with Olympus and you want everything between you and them to be all cosy 'n cuddly, so you only have positive things to say about 'em and continue to have this pleasant relationship getting early exclusives and all, but what's the point of lying to yourself and your audience? So, well. That sorta blows...

Very disappointing from Olympus. What bothers me the most is their press release that made me pre-order it. Let's walk through the press release again, see what it mentions:

OM-D Movie that provides cinema-quality movies in hand-held shooting (multiple mentions)

Top-class movie performance among interchangeable lens cameras (there are a lot of cameras where the lenses can be interchanged and it's supposed to be amongst the best of the class?)

This construction makes it possible to shoot smooth, hand-held movies without a movie tripod, mini-jib, rails, or other specialized equipment (because serious people usually use serious gear... like... a serious movie camera)

The image quality resolution and smoothness [..] performance are all at top-class level among interchangeable lens cameras (bold to claim image quality resolution is on par with the best out there, what year/generation interchangeable lens cameras are they comparing to?)

Advanced movie features for professional level movie making (LOOK GUYS! It's meant for PRO LEVEL MOVIE MAKING. It says so right there! So away with the people that say you are not allowed to expect much from this E-M5II videowise. They've marketed it in a way to raise these kind of expectations)

Equipped with Multi Frame Rate, High Bit Rate, ALL-Intra shooting, and able to set time codes, professional level movie editing is possible (Yeah, it just screams 'pro level' alright...)

Settings such as exposure compensation, aperture, shutter speed, and microphone sensitivity can also be changed using touch operations while recording a movie (We'll have to give 'em this... to the people claiming that wasn't possible, actually... there's a way, so after all the -1's a +1 (although I'm not sure if HDMI-out will black out the screen))

Camera grip HLD-8G (sold separately) with a headphone jack can be used to listen to recorded audio while shooting. This expandability supports a variety of shooting situations for professional level movies making (Olympus making sure you know they're serious about video now - eh, I mean 'movie making')

Functions that go beyond flagship models (Ah, I always had the feeling they didn't want their best product/flagship camera to be known for its video, but stills only, so I get it now. You change the E-M5-line to a video-line, I mean... you could've given the E-M1 with similar sensor/processor the same video functionality (probably via firmware update), but now we've got the E-M1 that excells at high speed shooting et cetera, has the somewhat tougher built and is known for its excellent photography purposes. And then additionally responding to the demand by making the E-M5II video centric. That's why I do not believe the E-M1II will ever be any good for video. To keep a tough built, they'll won't include a vari-angle display for example... to keep it known for stills, they will cripple the video mode. So any hope for video now goes out towards everything E-M5 related... which I think is fair to say is off to a rocky start)

~ http://www.olympus-global.com/en/news/2015a/nr150205em5mk2e.jsp

Now... my pre-order hasn't shipped yet... so hum. What now. Knowing this it's almost tempting to stick with the E-M1, but I won't, because I'm done with the 30p only BS and I'm pretty sure that, although they could, they're not going to update the E-M1's video mode anytime soon (not even using it hybrid anymore, just stills only here). And the successor to the E-M1 won't be video centric, so I wouldn't get your hopes up for that one either. Then there's just hoping they can magically improve on the E-M5II's performance with firmware updates... well... that's somewhat of a long shot, but I guess there's not much else to do here. If you want handheld stabilized video, on any lens, with a bare essentials set-up (so no pistol grip gimbal), you kind of have to go along with Olympus. Or Panasonic has to do something crazy... GX7 successor... if the GH4 and E-M5II had a baby and it would turn out to be the GX8... something like that would be rather exciting now... but... yeah.

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This is a grab from the Ninja Star. On the OMD5 you need to push the info button in order to make the signal clean

What does it do with a card in the slot? No output at all?​

Olympus seem to be clueless.

Motor companies don't put cars out with duff radios, I'm not sure why Olympus feels duff HDMI and broken timecode are suitable for a final retail shelf unit.

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All these pre-release reviews kind of all came to the same conclusion: 'what video concerned the E-M5II greatly improves on the E-M1'.

​Brawley, who was first to review, clearly said there was moire and aliasing and said it is up to you how important that is to you.

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​Brawley, who was first to review, clearly said there was moire and aliasing and said it is up to you how important that is to you.

​That I can try to avoid. Just lacking quality in general... not so much. If you get something in your hands that's claiming to serve the 'professional level cinematic quality top class movie'-market and apparently doesn't live up to the claims, that's sorta worrying... And obviously 'all these pre-release reviews' is a generalization based on the general consensus of the majority of these reviews, so take that with a grain of salt should some people in particular have made a review that wasn't all flowers and butterflies as there's no need to take offense.

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The crop in movie mode is enormous on the E-M5 II, larger crop than E-M5 originally and it no longer reduces when you switch off IS.

Looks like 2.7x crop so Nikon 1 size sensor effective for movies on the E-M5 II. Oh dear.

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