A month and a half with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II


It has been a month and a bit since I have decided to switch from Nikon to OM-D system by Olympus, and to be more specific, model OM-D E-M1 Mark II. And what I have observed so far? 

Ergonomics and control


With Olympus, what I like to call him, we get on pretty well... Thanks to additional battery grip Olympus HLD-9, it perfectly fits into hand… The advantage of battery grip is that it has a trigger control, 4-way circular selector to choose focal points or OK button to access quick menu, so that you do not have to change the grip while photographing vertically.


Thanks to great variability of button adjustments on the body, I have set OM-D fully according to my own needs. I have set the focus to the rear button AEL/AFL as to what I was used to after using Nikon, on the front circle I have got the setting of depth of field (aperture setting) and on the rear circle exposition value. On the front functional button under the trigger button I have got ISO setting.


I have also set the focal point selection on switched off display. It is the fastest option while using your thumb. It works like this: when you move your eye closer to the viewfinder, display automatically switches off and by sliding your thumb throughout the display you can easily choose focal points. It only takes a second to get from one side to another, I really enjoy this feature.


Generally, I enjoy the possibilities that Olympus is endowed with, regarding the possible adjustment of all the buttons or selectors. For example you can set two values on both of the circles and then switch between those functions by the small lever next to AEL/AFL button.


Setting for animal photography:


During the month and half I have most probably tested every single setting and I have been trying which setting will be the most suitable for me, which will be most helpful and which will produce the least of garbage. Currently I have ended up with following setting:

  • Burst mode speed - L – set on 6 images/sec
  • Focus - C-AF - continual
  • Colour rendering - Vivid
  • WB (white balance) - automatic, works much better than on Nikon
  • ISO – regardless of if I take photo during sunny or cloudy weather, I do not go over 800 ISO
  • Stabilisation – All-way on-chip stabilisation with the setting of priority for stabilisation on the lens (for example on fixed - 300mm).
  • Measurement – Integral measurement - Olympus is able to perform measurement on every single focal point independently
  • Format - RAW in colour space Adobe RGB

Below you can check my full setting.


Output quality

As I have stated in the first article, where I have described why I chose OM-D, texture and noise on the higher values of ISO are a little bit worse, but after 1, 5 month I can say that it is not very fundamental and I am satisfied with the output. The quality of the output is on level that fully suffices my needs and I cannot say that it would be a disappointment by any means.  


HiRes shot function, that by the movement of the imager will make 8 compositions and will put them together into one 50Mpx (RAW 80Mpx) photo. Very good for landscape.


Composition shooting and photo composition in live preview. This function is absolutely flawless. Recently I have been photographing during a night walk in Prague. I have put the OM-D on gorillapod Joby 3K, and then I have put it on the handrail near Vltava, have set the shooting on 8 sec interval and every 8 sec you can see how the photo “develops” and you can stop the composition anytime. There are two possibilities. 

  • LIVECOMP – aligns more images next to each other and saves only the changes of light areas
  • LIVETIME – shows photo composition live

Highlighting the focused object

Olympus Mark II disposes of function (I have it set on upper button Fn2), that will show you the edges, of the object that it has focused on, directly on the viewfinder or on the display, so you already know in advance what will be sharp on the composed photo. (see photo).

On-chip stabilisation is a standalone topic. I am still very surprised (compared to SLR) what times I am able to maintain from hand. Several times I have photographed with 300mm f4 + 1,4x TC (i.e. approximately 840mm focus point) and I have maintained 1/20 from hand (of course for an animal that was not moving). The on-chip stabilisation is especially notable during video recording, while using a fixed 300mm it is possible to record good videos from hand without visible shaking. I really enjoy this trick. 
It is a function where by pressing the trigger into the half (focusing), the body continuously saves 14 images and after fully pressing the trigger button, latest 14 photos before the final 15th photo will be saved. That means, while you are waiting for an animal to blink at you and in case you do not manage to press trigger button in time, it does not matter because thanks to this feature the right moment will be saved, because you have the 14 photos that were made before fully pressing the trigger. Olympus has saved it for you.
Quick menu
Quick menu that can be accessed by pressing the OK button in the middle of 4-way selector to the right of the display and there you can set all of the basic values. Fast and comfortable.

Disadvantages and what would I make better

  • Faster AF during AF-C – I think that the re-focusing between each shot could be a bit faster (solved by lowering the framerate to 6 images/sec)
  •  Focal points selection – focal points selection is very fast thanks to the possibility of selection on the touch display as I have mentioned above. However, I would welcome the possibility to lower their amount by at least one third, the way it is possible on most of the SLRs, and thanks to that to achieve faster selection while using 4-way selector.
  • ProCapture – while using this feature, the picture in the viewfinder is tearing a bit and for example while photographing a fast moving object, sometimes it is hard to observe it, but it is not so bad to the stage where it would be impossible (it is probably problematic when it comes to fast birds and so on). Also I would do the thing that while using this feature and simultaneously having the focus set on button AEL/AFL, this feature would work. Right now it is necessary to hold the shutter release and not this button. 

I can say that after I have made more than 15000 photos with Olympus during the past month and half (I have tested a lot :) ), I do not regret my decision at all and I am happy that I have made this decision after a long period of hesitation. Olympus fulfils all of my expectations as for usability or output and it is also a relief from weight for my back and arms, since I can fit everything into Whistler by Lowepro including clothes for the weekend, as I have mentioned here already. Since I have Olympus, I rarely need straps by Peak Design, because thanks to its weight I can carry it in my hand for the whole day and my arms do not hurt for the next two days. While choosing some kind of equipment, it is always very important to discover their best features and try to use them to their full potential. For sure do not believe for a hundred per cent, when somebody says that SLRs are the best. You always have to choose equipment that is convenient for you and that fulfils your expectations. I can generally say that in the Czech Republic there is a trend that when somebody buys different car brand than Škoda, or regarding to photo equipment, different brand than Nikon/Canon, he is being viewed as an insane person that belongs to psychiatric hospital in Bohnice.. Try to do some change every now and then, often it is really worth it :) 




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