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Andrew Reid

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

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I wonder how much better something like the Nebula 4000 is compared to the IBIS. I just watched a comparison vid between the GH4 and EM5ii and the Olympus stabilization is truly awesome. It's such a shame they haven't seriously stepped up their video quality, because that stabilization is remarkable.

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Yeah, the warping seemed pretty strong with this one too (see Mathieu's video I posted earlier)... It's great for handheld stationary or slow pace shooting, but there's only so much stabilization that can be achieved in-camera, there's literally not much wiggle room. Externally with a pistol grip or handheld gimbal, such as the Ronin or Nebula... there's a bit more that can be done, so there's still going to be a place and time for the use of external stabilization. But yeah... about that adding camera movement, maybe not the most ideal results depending on what you go for, but just to remove handheld shake in a stationary shot, it's pretty effective without the need of a shoulder rig, mono- or tripod as fuzzy demonstrated (with the old E-M5 even).

​ Be careful in thinking it's 'just perfectly amazing' though. I mean... it can be. But there's some trickiness to it at the same time. Mathieu of Mirrorlessons did a good video on that:

​Anyways. They've cancelled the order for me. First of all, because it was a pre-order and they expected stock over a week ago, so I was hoping to get it quickly (and with a bit of discount even), well, it hasn't shipped yet and their supplier can't give them any information although it has already been availlable in stores around me for a couple of days now, so I might as well pick it up there should I still want to... But for now... I'll just let the others be the guinea pigs and wait to see if there are any improvements/Olympus listens to feedback as time passes, if not, then I'm hoping Panasonic does something crazy with the GX7 successor and get that instead. I was really rooting for Olympus to get it right with this one though...

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Once you start moving the Nebula will be a lot better then the EM5II, IBIS is not a replacement for steadycam shots.

​I totally agree, especially if you have a planed shot, or don't have an E-Mx camera. But it is important to keep in mind that even though IBIS is not replacement for professional equipment:

​Once you need to focus while you move, Nebula is next to useless. 

Once you have only a pocket to carry your camera, Nebula will be waiting at home for you. 

Once you need to shoot something now, well too late after all the time it takes to assemble and balance the Nebula. 

 

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On the Nebula I was shown last week, the rear part of the device hid the mounted camera's LCD. The solution proposed was to link by wifi to a smartphone...

​Once you need to focus while you move, Nebula is next to useless. 

Once you have only a pocket to carry your camera, Nebula will be waiting at home for you. 

Once you need to shoot something now, well too late after all the time it takes to assemble and balance the Nebula. 

Agreed.

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Hi, I just wanted to tell you guys that you can use the arrow on the directionnal pas to ajust aperture, shutter, iso.  You first need to select through the touchscreen then you change it with the arrow.  Much smoother than with the touch screen only.  The only downside is that you don't have access to the focus peaking when doing that but as soon as you stop doiing it and press OK it come back.  It does require some practice to be efficient but it's like any tool or sport.  Practice makes perfect.

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Can I ask how many menu option you need to press on the lcd screen before the aperture option appears? Im" just trying to get a idea how much time it would take if you have to adjust the f-stop while shooting video, so from the moment you have to go into the lcd menu, make selections there until you have the aperture setting, press the buttons on the back of the camera to change the aperture and then press ok to confirm.

Right now with all dslr's it's just a matter of turning the small dial on top of the camera which is practically instant, would it be a good guess if I would say it takes at least 10 seconds before you have changed the f-stop or iso?

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select through the touchscreen then you change it with the arrow... and press OK it come back.

​Yeah.  The Olympus can be operated a bunch of ways.  Anyone actually making motion pictures with it and adjusting it that way, though; i.e.: having to break off a shot to access a basic exposure function?  I'd suggest to customize/program your controls so you don't have to move your hands around.  

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Can I ask how many menu option you need to press on the lcd screen before the aperture option appears? Im" just trying to get a idea how much time it would take if you have to adjust the f-stop while shooting video, so from the moment you have to go into the lcd menu, make selections there until you have the aperture setting, press the buttons on the back of the camera to change the aperture and then press ok to confirm.

Right now with all dslr's it's just a matter of turning the small dial on top of the camera which is practically instant, would it be a good guess if I would say it takes at least 10 seconds before you have changed the f-stop or iso?

​I haven't tried the physical button method that Jery mentioned, but once you have the setting that you want to modify enabled, modifying is as instant as having a physical button/wheel. If you want to change two settings like f-stop and iso in one shot it takes tree button presses instead of one so about 2 seconds. Now, I have never came across a situation that I have to adjust both in one shot, but most of the time I shoot with manual lenses that have an aperture ring anyways. 

Valid criticism is always good in that it can be hopefully addressed with a new firmware, so I agree with fuzzy that Olympus should allow more customization. 

Bashing on the other hand, will only scare consumers away and in turn convince shareholders to abandon the video development that brought only trouble for a unique camera. 

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Is that "bashing" comment directed to me? If so that was not the intention, I just wanted to know how long it would take to make a change while shooting video. I often come across a situation where I need to adjust either the iso or the f-stop on the fly, I can live with a few seconds of time to make that adjustment and from what I understand that should be possible so that's good to know.

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Is that "bashing" comment directed to me? If so that was not the intention, I just wanted to know how long it would take to make a change while shooting video. I often come across a situation where I need to adjust either the iso or the f-stop on the fly, I can live with a few seconds of time to make that adjustment and from what I understand that should be possible so that's good to know.

Noa of course not, on the contrary your question was valid. That last sentence had no target, I just made it so we should come up with a list of things that should be improved in order to make the camera more useful.

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I have never came across a situation that I have to adjust both in one shot

​I shoot manual, even with AF lenses, so I'm adjusting exposure via ISO and f-stop on just about every shot.  Sometimes I'll slow down the shutter too for a little exposure help.  Anyway, I'd like ISO and Shutter on the wheels, but there's plenty of customization options that make whatever you want to do kinda easy, if not ideal.  I've got my cam customized so I never have to take my eye off the EVF to make anything happen.

Not that I'm doing much now shooting-wise anyway, just farting around.  Here's a bunch of truly random overexposed handheld shots straight from the camera uploaded to YT with a 1980's 24mm 2.8 lens.  Some shots punched in with the 2x digital zoom.  Not that these images tell you much about the M5II (except it's got moiré and we all knew that) but people like looking at random footage for no good reason and analyzing it completely out of context, so here's some more:

 

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​I shoot manual, even with AF lenses, so I'm adjusting exposure via ISO and f-stop on just about every shot.  

I might not do it but myself but I understand that there is a need for the simultaneous adjustment and it should be easy to fix with a firmware. 

Not that I'm doing much now shooting-wise anyway, just farting around.  Here's a bunch of truly random overexposed handheld shots straight from the camera uploaded to YT with a 1980's 24mm 2.8 lens.  Some shots punched in with the 2x digital zoom.  Not that these images tell you much about the M5II (except it's got moiré and we all knew that) but people like looking at random footage for no good reason and analyzing it completely out of context, so here's some more:

Thanks for the footage it looks great. What sharpness setting did you use? I find that 0 is the minimum that I would go with E-M5ii whereas with the E-M1 I could even go to -2. Also did you do any adjustment from the curves? 

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What sharpness setting did you use?​

It's the "muted" selection with everything turned down, including sharpness. But, again, I'm just experimenting.  The color balance is deliberately warm and it's over-exposed on purpose.  Plus, the lens I was using has an adapter with a light leak.  All that sort of fun stuff, messing around seeing what happens.

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So I hear this camera is "soft" and is disappointing in video mode. 

Just wondering if any of you guys have used Crumplepop's Finisher plugin: http://www.crumplepop.com/finisher-fcpx-plugin/

I've been using it with GH3 and FS700 footage, and I have to say, it absolutely transforms the sharpness and clarity of your shots. The skin tones boost dramatically and the perceived resolution increases massively. (Don't use on a beauty shot though!) 

The only downside to the plugin is if you may lots of moire and noise, it can make it worse.

Try it out! 

 

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Valid criticism is always good in that it can be hopefully addressed with a new firmware, so I agree with fuzzy that Olympus should allow more customization. 

Bashing on the other hand, will only scare consumers away and in turn convince shareholders to abandon the video development that brought only trouble for a unique camera. 

​I totally disagree because of the following. It's been widely speculated that IBIS itself causes poor quality for two reasons:

1. In order to allow the sensor to move so freely and quickly with IBIS, you have to eliminate a lot of the heat sinking around the sensor that dissipates the heat. When heat builds up around the sensor, it creates noise and a lot of other nasty effects that can destroy video quality. The reason this may not show up (as much) in stills is because you don't need to have the sensor active as long for stills as you do for video.

Panasonic's GH series is basically a heat sink machine. A lot of the size of those cameras is devoted to heat dissipation. And Panasonic execs have bluntly stated they have no intention of ever putting IBIS in their high end cameras, the GH series.

2. But lack of heat sinking is not the only issue. When IBIS is actually active in video mode, it creates even more heat. So, you've got this one-two punch creating excess heat.

Now, it may be possible that this is not the reason Oly stinks at video, and they just lack experience. I don't know.

But, if we continue to oversell the benefits of IBIS at the expense of video quality and the typical consumer buys into that, then what's going to happen with Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, etc.? What are they going to focus on in the future, IBIS or actually delivering what we need, video quality? Well, if Olympus is selling a boat load of cameras with IBIS precisely for video reasons, and IBIS does in fact destroy video quality, then we're in for a complete regression in all the advances we've made in video quality.

As far as I'm concerned, I'm going to bash away. I want this to fail because I don't want IBIS to start trumping video quality. Sure, it would be nice to have both video quality and IBIS, but I won't really settle for anything less than what Panasonic is offering. I want to see continued improvement. If Olympus actually ups the video quality (enough for Andrew to recommend them) but still not up to GH2 quality, I'm going to be very disappointed (and possibly start stocking up on cameras while they don't suck for video).

But at this point, it's just completely unacceptable from a video quality standpoint. I'm not sure how else to say it. And I feel that the root cause of this whole situation is people continuing to overlook the glaring deficiencies in Oly's cameras for videos because they're enamored with the stabilization. And giving unwarranted praise for the camera due to the IBIS without mentioning the totally lacking video quality.

End rant. :)

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it may be possible that this is not the reason Oly stinks at video

​I just think they're using older inferior sensor tech 'kuz it's cheaper --and they don't have the option business-wise to really do otherwise.  Bottom lines, spreadsheets, and all that.  I can't quite grasp your logic that Panasonic or some other competitor will devalue their IQ for stabilization.  That line of thinking just seems...odd.

But I'm not that much of a pixel peeper that I dismiss that 5-axis stabilization.  I don't always need awesome resolution and sharpness to capture the video I want.  Sometimes I need great steady shots shots fast and easy.  On those occasions, looks like the EM5II will be my camera.

I shot some documentary stuff with both the GX7 and EM5II tonight.  Got some shots with the EM5II that I couldn't do with the GX7.  Got some GX7 shots I couldn't do with the EM5II.  No big deal.  Although, I have to say, the GX7 IQ is crazy good for less than $500.  I have a series coming up in which I need a third camera for static coverage.  I'll be buying another GX7 for that.  Plus, I really like the ergos on the Panasonic.

So yeah, at this point I still prefer the GX7, but I could see warming to the EM5II, even with its limitations.  It's just a tool.

BTW, my shooting has revealed that the 2x mode on the EM5II is pretty much worthless.  The IQ is way too compromised.  I feel the same way about the Panasonic "Ex Tele."

Also, an annoying quirk I ran into on the EM5II is that the record button fails to engage at times. Push push push push push...nothing.  Why?  Not sure yet.  I think it might be because a dial or button might be activated by accident.  (There's a lot of stuff on that camera body) And my fingers maybe are inadvertently doing something I'm unaware of.  Additionally the EVF and LCD have both turned off simultaneously on occasion.  Power cycle brings it back.  Still buggy or user error?  Who knows?

Other issues:  In the dark, improper exposure in M/S/A/P mode.  Fine in movie mode.  Weird.  Lens auto focused during movie shooting --while in Manual focus mode, and this was with an Oly lens.  Strange.  Again, I may be creating some ignorant activations of things being kinda rusty on the Oly interface, but my impression is that it's bugs and kinks in the firmware.  Don't recall these issues with the original EM5 when I used it.  

I'll end on a good note:  The video compression is a lot more robust now.  Seems to hold up well.

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​I just think they're using older inferior sensor tech 'kuz it's cheaper --and they don't have the option business-wise to really do otherwise.

 Bottom lines, spreadsheets, and all that.  I can't quite grasp your logic that Panasonic or some other competitor will devalue their IQ for stabilization.  That line of thinking just seems...odd.

But I'm not that much of a pixel peeper that I dismiss that 5-axis stabilization.  I don't always need awesome resolution and sharpness to capture the video I want.  Sometimes I need great steady shots shots fast and easy.  On those occasions, looks like the EM5II will be my camera.

I shot some documentary stuff with both the GX7 and EM5II tonight.  Got some shots with the EM5II that I couldn't do with the GX7.  Got some GX7 shots I couldn't do with the EM5II.  No big deal.  Although, I have to say, the GX7 IQ is crazy good for less than $500.  I have a series coming up in which I need a third camera for static coverage.  I'll be buying another GX7 for that.  Plus, I really like the ergos on the Panasonic.

So yeah, at this point I still prefer the GX7, but I could see warming to the EM5II, even with its limitations.  It's just a tool.

BTW, my shooting has revealed that the 2x mode on the EM5II is pretty much worthless.  The IQ is way too compromised.  I feel the same way about the Panasonic "Ex Tele."

Also, an annoying quirk I ran into on the EM5II is that the record button fails to engage at times. Push push push push push...nothing.  Why?  Not sure yet.  I think it might be because a dial or button might be activated by accident.  (There's a lot of stuff on that camera body) And my fingers maybe are inadvertently doing something I'm unaware of.  Additionally the EVF and LCD have both turned off simultaneously on occasion.  Power cycle brings it back.  Still buggy or user error?  Who knows?

Other issues:  In the dark, improper exposure in M/S/A/P mode.  Fine in movie mode.  Weird.  Lens auto focused during movie shooting --while in Manual focus mode, and this was with an Oly lens.  Strange.  Again, I may be creating some ignorant activations of things being kinda rusty on the Oly interface, but my impression is that it's bugs and kinks in the firmware.  Don't recall these issues with the original EM5 when I used it.  

I'll end on a good note:  The video compression is a lot more robust now.  Seems to hold up well.

​It has nothing to do with sensor tech. Panasonic is using the same sensors. In fact, the GH3 has the same sensor as the E-M5 (a Sony sensor). The GH4 has the same sensor as the E-M1 (a Panasonic sensor).

You're right about the fact that Olympus is a much smaller company than Panasonic, and the big video players tend to be giant companies (Sony, Panasonic, and, recently, Samsung) with deep pockets. But it has nothing to do with the sensor itself. It's the other supporting hardware. And, there's also a strong possibility that none of the aforementioned companies could do the type of video they're doing if they had to deal with IBIS (and the heat issues).

The logic isn't "odd" because none of these companies value their tech (if it doesn't sell or they don't see a market for it). They value what they can sell. Or more specifically, they value what's valuable, money. If IBIS becomes the next big thing in ILCs with the BUYING public and IBIS happens to kill video quality, then kiss video quality goodbye in ILCs. Do you think these companies are going to continue developing a tech that doesn't sell because they "value it". Think again.

The fact is, sensor shift stabilization will never catch on in P&S cameras (i.e. fixed lens cameras) because it's much less effective in them than OIS. Every premium (and even good) fixed lens camera ever made has used lens OIS (and not sensor shift stabilization). But, arguably, where video quality is needed most (in ILCs), that's where it could take hold.

Now, if the speculation is wrong about IBIS killing video quality, then I have no problem with it at all. In fact, I welcome it. But if the speculation is correct, then I really would prefer that video reviewers are as blunt as possible not only about the effectiveness of the stabilization but of the quality of the video that the camera produces. Don't sugarcoat the video quality because you really love the stabilization. The average consumer has no clue about video quality, and, if you rave about the E-M1 (because of the stabilization) but don't mention that the video quality is nowhere near the GH3 (or even the GH2), then that will mislead them into thinking the E-M1 is a better video camera when, IMO, the opposite is quite clearly the truth.

Regarding Panasonic's ETC mode, it so vastly outclasses Oly's 2X crop, it's laughable. I was just talking about this on DPReview and I posted a frame grab comparing the GH2's ETC mode to a 1920x1080 crop of a jpeg using identical conditions. The frame grab absolutely blew away the jpeg crop for detail, but it was a lot noisier. But, as I mentioned, I can remove virtually all of the noise in the video using temporal noise reduction (in Neat or some other denoiser). When I do NR on ETC video, I don't even do the regular NR. I put all the settings to "0" and just do the temporal part. And the video is so clean, it's ridiculous.

Contrary to you, I don't find the ETC useless at all. It just needs some cleaning up, but it's actually sharper than the full sensor video, to my eye. It's only the Oly's 2X video crop that's useless, again, IMO. It's nowhere near as sharp.

In fact, as I mentioned on DPReview, I actually use the 1080p ETC mode to test the center sharpness of new lenses (to decide whether to keep them or not) because I find the level of detail rendering so much better than the still images (or more accurately, a center crop from still images). I would be happy to demonstrate this for you, if you're interested.

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BTW, my shooting has revealed that the 2x mode on the EM5II is pretty much worthless.  The IQ is way too compromised.  I feel the same way about the Panasonic "Ex Tele."

I'll end on a good note:  The video compression is a lot more robust now.  Seems to hold up well.

​I found that the DTC on all previous Olympus cameras was useless, too bad it is still the same with the E-M5 II.  I think that the DTC has to do with the way it interpolates when rebuilding the full resolution still image, and then has to recompress to 1080p?  I thought that Panasonic's EX Tele used a straight 1080p crop which should result in a better image?  I have to test this with my GX7.  There is no Ex Tele on my LX100.

I'm glad the compression is better on the EM5-II.  My previous experience with Olympus cameras and video was that images with shallow depth of focus looked quite good and anything wide and/or with lots of detail or movement looked horrible and blocky.

I'm still amazed by how much better the Panasonic LX100/GX7 1080p, and especially the LX100 4k video image is over the video that I captured with the E-M5 and E-P5 cameras that I once owned.

I still might try to get my hands on an EM-5II this summer as the IBIS does come in handy, especially for longer lenses.  The OIS on my Panasonic 35-100/2.8 is still jittery, even after the firmware upgrade.  Surprisingly, the LX100 OIS works quite well and covers the 12-75mm range for me.

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