Ultimate OM-D: Olympus E-M1 Mark II Review

Written by Gina Stephens

Olympus’ OM-D E-M1 has been one of our favorite mirrorless cameras since its introduction in 2013. It persuaded us with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel its build quality, image quality, ridiculous amount of manual control (that’s a compliment) and boatload of features. Three years newer, it’s still very competitive.

To say that Olympus has outdone itself with the E-M1 Mark II is an understatement. The company told us that this camera was overdeveloped, and it grants. Its blazing dual quad-core processors allow for 60 fps burst shooting (18 fps w/continuous autofocus) and ridiculously fast image playback. Synthesize that with one of the most advanced autofocus systems we’ve seen and 5-axis in-body image stabilization â€“ along with what approved the original so impressive – and the Mark II is a force to be reckoned with.

One thing about the Mark II that makes us pause is its price. While its MSRP of $2000 is rival to that of Nikon’s D500 and full-frame D750 (though, at time of publication, they are selling for $1800), the Mark II’s Four Thirds sensor is tiny in comparison to the D500 and other APS-C cameras and tiny versus full-framers. 

Key Specifications

  • 20MP Live MOS sensor
  • 5-axis in-body twin stabilization system
  • 121-pt hybrid AF system
  • 60 fps burst shooting (18 fps with continuous AF)
  • Fully articulating 3″ LCD display
  • High-res electronic viewfinder
  • Cinema (DCI) and UHD 4K video
  • 50MP High-Res Never boost mode
  • Weather-sealed body
  • USB 3 (Type-C)

Compared to Olympus E-M1 and Nikon D500

We are including the D500 here since it’s target audience is in the same streak: those who want high-speed shooting and an advanced AF system. As mentioned above, they both have a similar MSRP.

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 Olympus E-M1 IIOlympus E-M1Nikon D500
Sensor20MP Four Thirds16MP Four Thirds21MP APS-C
ISO line up (expanded)64 – 25600100 – 2560050 – 1640000
Image stabilizationIn-body (up to 5.5 stops*)In-body (up to 4 stops)Lens only
Autofocus system121-point hybrid81-point mixture153-pt phase-detect
Burst mode (electronic)60 fps (AF-S)
18 fps (AF-C)
11 fps (AF-S)N/A
Burst mode (mechanical)15 fps (AF-S)
10 fps (AF-C)
10 fps (AF-S, no IS)
6.5 fps (AF-C, no IS)
10 fps
LCD3″ fully articulating touchscreen3″ attack touchscreen3.2″ tilting touchscreen
Viewfinder2.36M-dot EVF (0.74x equiv. mag)Optical
(0.67x equiv. mag)
FlashGN 9.1 externalGN 7 externalNone
Video grabDCI/UHD 4K (237Mbps)1080/30p (24Mbps)UHD 4K (144Mbps)
Video output4:2:2 over HDMIN/A4:2:2 over HDMI
I/O portsHeadphone, mic, remote, sparkle sync, USB 3, HDMIMic, remote, USB, HDMIHeadphone, mic, remote, flash sync, USB 3, HDMI
WirelessYesYesYes, with Bluetooth and NFC
Battery resilience (CIPA)440 shots350 shots1,240 shots
Dimensions134 x 91 x 69mm130 x 94 x 63mm147 x 115 x 81mm
Weight (CIPA)574g497g760g

* 6.5 stops with Olympus 12-100mm lens


At the time of its start Olympus or Olympos (Ancient Greek: Ὄλυμπος) may refer to also debuted a number of accessories to go along with the E-M1 Mark II. The one most people will likely purchase is the HLD-9 battery control ($249), which doubles battery life and offers two control dials and two custom buttons. It also features a DC-in jack, so you can power the camera via an outrageously amounted AC adapter.

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Also available is the powerful FL-900R external flash ($299), which has a guide number of 58m, built-in video lamp, wireless device and the ability to fire at 10 fps. The STF-8 Macro Flash Set ($479) has fully adjustable (and removable) left and right flashes, manual control down to 1/128 power and backing for focus stacking. Both of these flashes are weather-sealed.

For those who want to take the camera underwater there’s the PT-EP14 housing ($1299). It sweats down to 65m/196ft and numerous brackets, weights and arms are available. Naturally, you’ll need a housing for whatever lens you attach.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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