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Andrew Reid

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

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​I don't know why but my E-M5ii can produce videos with much better resolution that your sample. 

It's a 600mm shot.  That's kind of a long lens.  The photons are traveling through a lot of atmosphere in a jungle, after a rain fall, at 95° Fahrenheit.  And the posted resolution of the video is 846x468.  Yes, I turn down the sharpening all the way. 

Pixel peeping on this shot?  Not a good idea.  Point of me posting this is that I got watchable video with a handheld camera and a 600mm focal length.

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If Panasonic really does come out with a GX7 successor in a few months... and integrated stabilization to work during video recording... that would be golden. Doesn't have to be 4K if they're afraid of sensor overheating and making it impossible with the sensor stabilization at the same time. But just awesome 1080p and sensor stabilization would come a long long way. In meanwhile, if I really really have to... I still have the E-M1 lying around for now (just don't want to shoot 30p, but hey it does stills really well). But in general for video I'd rather pick the GH4 or BMPCC and lock it down or rig it. And then there's the LX100 and FZ1000 that have pretty good stabilization and some flexibility to them, with 4K recording for on the go. An E-M5II that just did everything right, combining the best of all worlds would've been great to have though... especially because of vintage, 3rd party and cinema lenses. Camera movement can add a lot to a clip. But a gimbal is too elaborate for me to be somewhat casual walking around with. Guess it's like you said fuzzy: 'One day, just not today'.

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I'm not sure whats going here, but I think everyone needs to wait a little bit before making a final conclusion on the video mode and writing the E-M5ii off.  When the E-M1 came out Andrew wrote about how the video quality was surprisingly close to the GH3 (http://www.eoshd.com/2014/01/first-look-olympus-om-d-e-m1-vs-panasonic-gh3/).  I think it ended up being close in some certain situations but not on wider, high detail shots.  Now we seem have quite varying reports of the E-M5 ii video mode coming out, some saying thats is better than E-M1, some saying that its worse than E-M1, some saying they can cut with a A7s without problem, some saying its crap and similar to a 7D.  Some of the videos I have seen look much better than the E-M1 especially the wider shots where the better codec is surely helping, and have nice dynamic range and colour.  I think John Brawleys, Curiosity and the behind the scenes, and also Escape = Joy  https://vimeo.com/118269960 look really nice and its hard to reconcile these with some of the other reports.  I think its clear the resolution is not a big step up from the E-M5/E-M1 but its hard to rationalise why Olympus would have made it worse when they bumped the codec and decided to push the video features...  Anyway, we all know it can take a little bit of time to familiarise ourselves to a new camera and that these cheaper prosumer cams often need some tweaking to get the best out of them video-wise, so I guess time will tell.

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shallow DOF shot on the m5 is going to look "better" than, say, a f11 shot of a rooftop cityscape in Europe.  Both examples are online.  They show the potential and weakness of the camera. Point is, it's a decent cam, just could be stronger w/video.

And it's not always what you shoot, but how you do it.  So as mat33 is saying, you can make it work...or not.  Here's a video exposing the cam's weakness:

https://vimeo.com/119316833

 

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Here's what's frustrating:  The video is old 7D quality.  In 2015 Oly should be more competitive than that.  

But, the stabilization is a freaking great tool.

Will decent video and Oly's 5-axis ever unite?  One day, just not today.  So, as we cry in all our collective internet tears, here's a clip that shows why we're longing for Oly to merge great video with great stabilization.  It's not much by way of a good shot, but keep in mind it's shot HANDHELD at a 600mm FFEquiv focal length.  Yes.  600mm.  Handheld.  This shot would be impossible otherwise:

SPRK-150.mp4

​@fuzzynormal Maybe I lack the pixel peeping eye but for what it is that looks good to me.  What lens did you use and is there atmospheric effects going on or is it the software stabilization that makes the mirage like wobbles/ripples for lack of a better word?

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that looks good to me.  What lens did you use and is there atmospheric effects going on or is it the software stabilization that makes the mirage like wobbles/ripples for lack of a better word?

​Yeah, I think it looks good too.  That's shot with the original EM5.  It's the Panasonic 100-300 lens at full zoom.  So it would be a ff equivalent focal length over 600mm on the Oly.  And yes, those are heat waves you're seeing in the shot.  That's what happens shooting through those extreme distances.  The atmosphere is bending the light.

But the crazy thing to me is that I got that without a tripod @600mm.  I mean, that's just nuts.

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It's a 600mm shot.  That's kind of a long lens.  The photons are traveling through a lot of atmosphere in a jungle, after a rain fall, at 95° Fahrenheit.  And the posted resolution of the video is 846x468.  Yes, I turn down the sharpening all the way. 

Pixel peeping on this shot?  Not a good idea.  Point of me posting this is that I got watchable video with a handheld camera and a 600mm focal length.

​Sorry I did not want to appear like a pixel peeper. I thought these are your samples upon which you base your decision that video with E-M5ii it is "7D quality".

Of course IBIS is great and getting the shot with an equivalent 600mm lens handheld is not a small feat.  

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I think John Brawleys, Curiosity and the behind the scenes, and also Escape = Joy  https://vimeo.com/118269960 look really nice and its hard to reconcile these with some of the other reports.

​I just downloaded escape, the original file, from vimeo and to be honest, it doesn't look like the "bordering on crap videoquality" as Andres described. I see a clear resemblance to what my GH3 would output, I did see some aliasing here and there and some samples from cameralabs show this camera does have issues with fine detail, but it's nowhere near as bad as my canon 550d dealt with moire and aliasing, but still, that could be better.

What I do wonder is if the negative IQ Andrew saw is because of the stabilization mode he was shooting in? I read you can turn the IS either off or choose between 2 different types of stabilization, one being sensor stabilization only and the second adds some additional stabilization by zooming in or cropping extra on the sensor which might explain the extra crop and the softer image Andrew saw? Robin Wong also did a quick EM1 vs EM5 II resolution test and his findings are again teh opposite from Andrews + a few framegrabs actually show a better image in favor of the EM5. 

I think what Andrew has seen is comparable to some kind of digital zoom where the camera zooms extra in on the image to improve even further on the image stabilization but like I have seen with a nex-ea50 was that the digital zoom made the image softer and increased the moire and aliasing considerably. my guess is he just chose the wrong IS setting? 

 

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Putting video quality aside (which from what I see is better than the original E-M5), this is the best video tool I think Olympus has produced.

In addition to more frame rate options, there are more exposure and control options.  Focus peaking is available, works well, and is far more responsive than on any other Olympus camera I've used to date (Briefly owned the E-M1 and recently "test drove" an E-PL7). 

The rear screen is sharper and the touch implementation more responsive and accurate than previous Olympus cameras.  Regarding the EVF, I find it to be the sharpest of any Olympus version I've used (E-M5, E-M1, VF-4 accessory).  Andrew found it worse, perhaps a bad implementation on his unit? 

Add to that better stabilization, a mike input, and if the ability to add a headphone jack (for a price), it is clearly checks many of the boxes.

If the video quality is worse than the E-M1 perhaps its like getting the sides, but forgetting the main course.  I would guess when its all said and done we'll see the video quality will be a wash (if not better) than the E-M1, so more like getting chicken when you ordered the steak (apologies to vegetarians and vegans)

Either way nothing's perfect.  Pick your poison. 

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In addition to more frame rate options, there are more exposure and control options.

​I thought it was not possible to adjust the exposure while shooting video with the dials on the camera, unless you went through the lcdscreen menu system to make adjustments?

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​I thought it was not possible to adjust the exposure while shooting video with the dials on the camera, unless you went through the lcdscreen menu system to make adjustments?

​Yes it is possible only from the lcd screen. 

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I generally agree with your comments about the E-M5 II video being disappointing, but, in all fairness, I did want to make sure to ask you to clarify your comments regarding the video being worse than the E-M1, both in regard to sharpness/fine detail and moire. There was a lot of concern about this specific portion of your impressions on DPReview, and I was hoping you could provide some evidence in this regard (i.e. a comparison between these two cameras), possibly in your more comprehensive review later.

I don't think many people are questioning that the E-M5 II isn't up to GH3 standards (or Panasonic standards in general for video), but they are questioning that the E-M5 II isn't up to E-M1 standards.

Thanks

​I will be showing this with my full review, of course. The first article is just that, a first impressions. It's obvious to me, by shooting the E-M1 and E-M5 II side by side though which has the better quality 1080p. The difference is pretty big.

That's because the E-M5 II seems to carry over the same or similar old Sony sensor from the E-M5, whilst the E-M1 uses the Panasonic GH4's sensor with the addition of phase detect AF sensels, allegedly.

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​And this method is totally useless.

​Sorry but it is not useless for me, since I have already used it a couple of times :)

Would it be better if you could do it through a dial? Yes of course. But that is just a minor handling issue that is easily addressable with a firmware. 

​I will be showing this with my full review, of course. The first article is just that, a first impressions. It's obvious to me, by shooting the E-M1 and E-M5 II side by side though which has the better quality 1080p. The difference is pretty big.

Again not for me or many other people, but this is your review so something might be different. Maybe a faulty camera with a bad EVF?  

That's because the E-M5 II seems to carry over the same or similar old Sony sensor from the E-M5, whilst the E-M1 uses the Panasonic GH4's sensor with the addition of phase detect AF sensels, allegedly.

​Imaging resource claims it is a new sensor with more pixels:

http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/olympus-e-m5-ii/olympus-e-m5-iiTECH.HTM

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noa,

What I do wonder is if the negative IQ Andrew saw is because of the stabilization mode he was shooting in? I read you can turn the IS either off or choose between 2 different types of stabilization, one being sensor stabilization only and the second adds some additional stabilization by zooming in or cropping extra on the sensor which might explain the extra crop and the softer image Andrew saw? Robin Wong also did a quick EM1 vs EM5 II resolution test and his findings are again teh opposite from Andrews + a few framegrabs actually show a better image in favor of the EM5. 

 

 

​There are a few major issues with Robin Wong's test. First and foremost is that when he's taking the video of the camera with the E-M5 II and the E-M1, there are different focal points for both videos. With the E-M5 II, more of the camera is in focus than with the E-M1. More specifically, the back of the camera on the video taken with the E-M1 is substantially more out of focus than on the E-M5 II shot, making the whole image appear less sharp. There may be some small parts of the E-M1 shot that are in perfect focus, but generally, when you're doing a sharpness and fine detail comparison, you don't want so much of your shot to be out of focus. And, if you're comparing two cameras and you want to shoot this way, you have to be meticulous to a fault and make sure the focus is identical between the two.

That's why you should generally be shooting further away (possibly at infinity focus).

Another thing that you want to do is make sure that the subject you're shooting has sufficient fine detail to properly differentiate between two cameras. I don't believe he achieved that either.

Regardless, I agree with Mr. Reid that the quality this camera produces is unacceptable by 2015 standards. And, to me, this would be true even if it were exactly on par with the E-M1. Olympus has played up the video quality so heavily, handed out free samples to numerous film makers so they could create their master works (and give them advertising in the process), and made numerous (superficial) spec upgrades to their cameras, all implying that this camera was a serious video tool. When you do that and you get peoples' hopes up that this is going to be competitive with Panasonic, you had better deliver the goods IMO. So, I don't think his response was unexpected. It was the exact same response I had, and I didn't even have reason to believe that it was worse than the E-M1 (or that the crop was increased), since I don't own any OM-D.

And, another thing, having 77MBps and all-I (and time code), etc. is all code for many of us that a certain kind of video quality is going to be delivered. There has simply never been a camera with this type of bitrate, all-I, and this much hype that has had such poor video quality. Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, etc. would never release a camera with this bitrate, with this type of low compression, and this much hype, and not deliver the goods. It's a complete blunder on their part IMO.

Finally, I believe Andrew has stated that he couldn't eliminate  the crop when turning off the stabilizer (and that the crop was substantially greater than the prior model). And, anyway, turning off the stabilizer would completely negate the major benefit of this camera (possibly the only benefit). I'm pretty sure in past Olympus cameras, turning off the stabilizer eliminated the crop. For reference, I believe this camera has two stabilization modes. Mode 1 is IBIS + digital, which needs to have a crop. Mode 2 is IBIS only (I believe), which doesn't need a crop. I don't know if it's cropped anyway because I haven't tried the camera. And then, obviously, you can turn off all stabilization, which also doesn't need a crop.

I would imagine that if the crop is on all the time, even without digital stabilization, this could probably be remedied by a firmware upgrade.

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Here's what's frustrating:  The video is old 7D quality.  In 2015 Oly should be more competitive than that.  

But, the stabilization is a freaking great tool.

Will decent video and Oly's 5-axis ever unite?  One day, just not today.  So, as we cry in all our collective internet tears, here's a clip that shows why we're longing for Oly to merge great video with great stabilization.  It's not much by way of a good shot, but keep in mind it's shot HANDHELD at a 600mm FFEquiv focal length.  Yes.  600mm.  Handheld.  This shot would be impossible otherwise:

SPRK-150.mp4

That's impressive. That's the steadiest shot (straight out of the camera) at 600mm I've seen yet. So, was this Mode 1 or Mode 2? What lens were you using? Was this downscaled to standard def from 1080p?

Do you think that you could do this type of stabilization in post with lens OIS on a Panasonic body (to mimic Oly's digital stabilization) while having the same or better IQ than the Oly. Or is it impossible to do this at all with lens OIS and PP?

I have the 45-175, and I would call its power OIS near rock steady at 350mm (but not as steady as yours at 600mm).

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Bob Goldberg  - just to clarify, from what I read, you don't actually have the camera, do you? The crop is on all the time in video mode. Changing image stabilisation mode doesn't change the crop factor. And if somebody could explain to me how the autofocus modes actually work in video mode, I would be grateful ;-) On the GH4 it's simple to switch AF patterns and re-focus while shooting using the AF in video mode. I can't figure out if I'm being stupid or this just doesn't exist on the EM5 Mk2. 

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Was this Mode 1 or Mode 2? What lens were you using? Was this downscaled to standard def from 1080p?

Do you think that you could do this type of stabilization in post with lens OIS on a Panasonic body?

​It's the default stabilization on the original EM5.  I shot this in 1080 30p about half a year ago with the Panasonic 100-300 lens.  No, you couldn't do this with just the lens OIS and a Panasonic body.  I had my GX7 on this trip too and when I tried to grab a few hand held shots with that, there was just way too much movement.  Stabilizing those GX7 shots in post would not be practical.  

600mm is a long, long way.

As it was I had to lean my body against a solid object and then hold my breath.  This way I could still the lens just enough to get a useable shot with Oly's 5-axis stabilizer working at its limit.

...And this is why I'm disappointed by the Oly video capabilities.  That stabilizer is a killer feature.  If their current video IQ was clean and didn't have the moire, they'd have a real competitive camera for the market.  As it is, well, Andrew's OP sums it up best.

All that said, I still got the EM5II.  It fits for many of the gigs I do so it's a good tool for me.

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