Review Olympus OMD E-M5 MK2

The Olympus OM-D EM5 is an enormously good camera for many reasons. There is not much left to wish for on this dust- and splashwater-tight camera with a high image quality and unparalleled image stabilization in the camera, which until the introduction of the professional OM-D E-M1 model was also popular among professionals. The ergonomics and the placement of the buttons could be a bit better, as Olympus already demonstrated with the OM-D E-M10. A fold-out and tilting screen, instead of simply tilting, would have been great. Better video quality and image stabilization during video as well.
For most photographers, 16 megapixels is more than enough, but for specific applications, you would want to have more. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 has everything to further expand on the success of the EM5. Not only has the entire wish list been honored, the image stabilization is further improved as well.
The OM-D E-M5 Mark II body has been available since the end of February 2015 in black and silver for € 1099.-. A black E-M5 MK2 with the Olympus M.ZUIKO ED 12-50 mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ has a list price of € 1299.-. An E-M5 MK2 including the new dust- and splashwater-tight Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 14-150 mm 1:4.0-5.6 II, with a noiseless focus motor (important for video), has a list price of € 1499.-.
During a press event in Prague, we got a first impression of this camera. As soon as we have a test model, we will expand our preview into a review. 
Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 + Olympus 12 mm f/2 @ f/2.0, 1/10 sec + IS, 400 ISO

Olympus OM-D E-M5 versus OM-D E-M5 MK2 

  • The screen of the E-M5 is tilting; that of the E-M5 MK2 has a higher resolution and also folds out.
  • The viewfinder of the E-M5 MK2 is larger and has a higher resolution.
  • Both cameras have a 16-megapixel sensor, but the OM-D E-M5 MK2 offers the ability to make 40-megapixel jpg/60-megapixel RAW shots.
  • The fastest shutter time of the E-M5 MK2 is 1/8000 sec (1/16,000 with the electronic shutter).
  • The MK2 is equipped with Wi-Fi and has better video specifications.
  • The image stabilization of the OM-D E-M5 MK2 is even better than its predecessor and also works during video.
  • The included separate flash of the MK2 has a tiltable head.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 versus E-M10

Both the OM-D- E-M10 and the OM-D E-M5 MK2 are high-quality cameras with a luxurious appearance and many options. Even so, the Olympus OM-D EM5 MK2, which is intended for amateurs, distinguishes itself on various points from the less expensive OM-D E-M10, which intended for beginning photographers.

  • The OM-D E-M10 weighs less than 400 grams and is thus 70 grams lighter than the E-M5 MK2, as well as being a bit more compact.
  • The OM-D E- M5MK2 is extra well sealed against dust and splashwater; the E-M10 is not.
  • The OM-D E M5 MK2 has a larger viewfinder image (0.7x vs 0.55x).
  • Both cameras have a 16-megapixel sensor, but the OM-D E-M5 MK2 offers the option of making 40-megapixel jpg/60-megapixel RAW pictures.
  • The OM-D E-M5 MK2 is faster: fastest shutter time (1/16,000 vs 1/4,000) and maximum number of images per second (10 vs 8).
  • The E-M5 MK2 has better video specs (1080p @ 60fps (vs 30 fps), video in 24 fps also possible).

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2:
Build quality, competitors & features

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 + Olympus 75 mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8, 1/25 sec + IS, 400 ISO

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 versus an SLR camera

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2, as far as specifications are concerned, is comparable with a high-end SLR camera with two settings wheels for aperture and shutter speed, like the Canon 760D. In many respects, there are, in terms of user options, similarities. From a distance, they both look like SLR cameras, although a mirrorless system camera like the OM-D E-M5 MK2 is more compact and lighter. Both cameras offer a high image quality. Even so, there are considerable differences.

  • The Canon SLR is clearly larger and 10% heavier.
  • The electronic viewfinder of the E-M5 MK2 is larger and has more options than the optical viewfinder of the Canon 760D.
  • Canon 760D has 19 AF points; the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 has 81.
  • A partial enlargement in the viewfinder of the Olympus and focus-peaking are two important plus points for video on the E-M5 MK2 relative to an SLR.
  • Thanks to the electronic shutter, the Olympus offers the option to photograph in absolute silence. With an SLR camera, that is not possible.
  • The shortest possible shutter time of the Olympus (1/16,000 with use of the electronic shutter and 1/8000 with the mechanical shutter) is shorter than the shortest shutter time of the Canon760D (1/4000).

Design, build quality and ergonomics

This camera is compact, light and simultaneously has a high-quality finish. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 body is dust- and splashwater-tight just like its predecessor. The operation of the camera in freezing cold is also guaranteed, and most other camera manufacturers do not do that. The camera sits well in the hand and all the buttons can be well operated. Relative to the OM-D E-M5, where the playback button for example was small and difficult to access, the ergonomics of the MK2 are even better. Front

Screen and viewfinder

Relative to its predecessor, which only had a tilting screen, on the OM-D E-M5 MK2 the screen now also folds out. But the resolution of the screen is also higher than that of its predecessor. The electronic viewfinder has the same specifications as the top model of Olympus: with a viewfinder magnification of 0.7, you have the same large viewfinder as a professional SLR. In low light, an electronic viewfinder is even clearer than an optical viewfinder. With manual focusing for night shots or candlelight shots, an electronic viewfinder, where you also have focus-peaking and can zoom in on the subject to check the focus, is refreshing in comparison with an optical viewfinder.. Achterkant

40-megapixel pictures

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 is equipped with the same 16-megapixel sensor as its predecessor. That delivers a high dynamic range and great color reproduction. Olympus now magically produces 40-megapixel shots from a 16-megapixel sensor!

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 + Olympus 75 mm f/2.0 @ f/1.8, 1/40 sec + IS, 400 ISO

High resolution and image quality


With the sensor that we know from the Olympus OM-D E-M5, there is also nothing wrong as far as resolution is concerned. The resolution, if you use a good lens, is more than enough for the vast majority of users to make a great enlargements. But if you want to make an advertising photo for a billboard, then a higher resolution is welcome. Olympus uses a trick here, which is based on the same principle as the super resolution of the Pho-Acute software, or the Hasselblad 5D 200C Multishot. Olympus uses the image stabilization in order to shift the sensor by a half pixel while taking a series of shots. Working from a tripod is thus necessary for the high-resolution pictures. This series of shots is then merged into one picture with 40 megapixels (jpg) or 63 megapixels (RAW). The camera takes 8 shots in very rapid succession—you almost don’t notice it if you have a short shutter time. Within a couple of seconds, those are combined into one high-resolution jpg picture of 40 megapixels. The result is visibly better than what you can achieve with the PhotoAcute software. That is understandable, since with Olympus the shift of the sensor between the different shots is very precise. At this time, there is not yet any software from Adobe or Olympus in which the RAW shots from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 can be opened. With third-party software, it does work. If we compare the resolution of the 63-megapixel file after sharpening with the 40-megapixel jpg file, then the admiration for the high quality of the 40-megapixel jpg shots is still dominant. It’s a pity that this technique is only usable for still subjects, since it looks really good. We will explore this further during our test.


Video and more…

The built-in image stabilization and the unique high-resolution shot mode are not the only innovations with which the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 distinguishes itself from other cameras…

Live Composite

If you want to make an attractive photo of fireworks, then you combine multiple shots into one picture. That can be done in Photoshop, but on an Olympus camera, it can be done in the camera. You set the desired shutter time for Live Composite, then choose aperture and ISO value and select the Live Composite Mode (after the Bulb Mode) as the shutter time. On your screen, you see the merged image created. Every time the camera takes a new picture, the image is refreshed. As soon as you are satisfied with the result, then you stop the Live Composite Mode. This is a unique application, which you only find on Olympus cameras. You can use the Live Composite Mode not only for photographing fireworks, but also for Lightpainting (as in the example above) or for recording star trails.


Until the arrival of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2, it seemed as though video had a lower priority with Olympus. The number of options that you had for video on an Olympus OM-D was limited. That was a shame, because the built-in image stabilization for video was a perfect combination with the compact dimensions and the low weight of an OM-D camera. With the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2, you can make high-quality full-HD video shots. Thanks to the built-in image stabilization, you can take shots by hand that would otherwise only be possible with gyro-stabilized systems. 

Improved image stabilization

The image stabilization of Olympus is built into the camera (IBIS: In Body Image Stabilization), with which the image stabilization is usable with lenses from all brands. In addition, it appears from our previous tests that the Olympus image stabilization is very effective. The image stabilization of the OM-D E-M5 MK2, according to Olympus, is improved relative to previous Olympus cameras and can also be used during the making of video recordings. During the press conference, we were able to try that out. It works stunningly well. With the camera in hand, without a rig or an external stabilizer, you make vibration-free shots. We will test the image stabilization when photographing as soon as we have a test model of this camera.

Electronic shutter: 1/16,000 and completely silent!

The addition of an electronic shutter also further expands the creative options for Olympus photographers. First, you thus have a shortest shutter time available of 1/16,000 (vs 1/8,000 with the “regular” shutter), so that you can further freeze motion and limit the focal depth in situations with a lot of light. Second, you can set the Olympus OM-D E-M5 so that the camera makes no sound at all when you use the electronic shutter. That is a welcome addition for those who want to work unnoticed at intimate events such as weddings, living room concerts, or family gatherings. It is an enormous plus point in comparison with an SLR camera.

Conclusion Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 preview

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 + Olympus 75 mm f/1.8 @ f/1.8, 1/25 sec + IS, 400 ISO

Conclusion Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2 preview

Check our list of all reviewed cameras, including test results for RAW and jpg files.




  • High image quality, especially the 40-megapixel shots
  • Best Olympus video camera
  • The same large viewfinder image as an SLR with full-frame sensor
  • Perfect image stabilization, even for video
  • Electronic shutter with completely silent mode and 1/16,000 shutter time
  • Fold-out screen


  • High resolution shots only from a tripod and of non-moving subjects

Even after 1 day using the Olympus OM-D E-M5 MK2, it is already clear that this camera is clearly better than its predecessor. And that is a great performance, because the Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a very good camera. The larger viewfinder image, clearly better video including image stabilization and the ability to make 40-megapixel pictures are attractive bonuses. Because the MK2 is equipped with the same sensor as its predecessor, we assume that the image quality of the OM-D E-M5 MK2, if you are not making 40-megapixel pictures, is of the same level as that of the original OM-D E-M5. But we will come back to that.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here