Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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oly-e-m1ii-frontThere’s no official word on its availability or price, but Olympus says it is working on a “breakthrough” flagship Micro Four Thirds camera with advanced performance for the professional photographer. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II has performance capabilities “that surpass pro-level DSLRs,” says the company.

The camera will be equipped with the newly-developed high-speed TruePic VIII Image Processor which is 3.5 times faster than previous TruePic processors and a new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor equipped with 121 points of cross-type on-chip phase detection and contrast detection AF. These technologies will work with the camera’s electronic shutter to provide full resolution images at up to 60 frames per second in AF and AE lock, and up to 18 frames per second with continuous AF and AE tracking.

The advanced Dual FAST AF system will automatically select between contrast and phase detection AF depending on lens type, camera settings and lighting conditions to ensure accurate focus and sharp image quality. In addition, the continuous AF tracking performance will be dramatically improved with a new moving subject tracking algorithm.

The camera will boast a wide array of shooting features including a new Pro Capture Mode for lag-free shooting that enables the capture of split-second moments, a 50-megapixel High Res Shot Mode, in-body 5-Axis Image Stabilization with a maximum of 5.5 shutter speed steps of compensation performance, and 5-Axis Sync IS for a maximum of 6.5 shutter speed steps of compensation when combined with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 mm f/4.0 IS PRO.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will be weathersealed to be dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof (down to 14°F / -10°C) in a compact lightweight design. The camera will “exceed professional photographers’ performance requirements” by employing a high-performance durable shutter designed to clear 200,000 actuations, dual memory card slots, and an improved battery capacity of 37 percent from its predecessor model.

The TruePic VIII Image Processor will boast a dual quad core system with four CPU cores and four image processing cores to achieve image processing speeds approximately 3.5 times faster than the TruePic VII Processor. Because camera operation and image processing functions will be carried out in parallel, transfer speeds and menu operations will be vastly improved over previous models. A new Pro Capture Mode will provide lag-free shooting.

An in-camera AF limiter will be included to achieve faster focusing by limiting the focus range of the lens, thus preventing time-consuming focus hunting. Autofocus functions such as AF Target Mode, AF target position, and face/eye priority AF will be easily set with a single action. AF operations will be enhanced with a new cluster display, which illuminates active sensors to assure the user of focus subject accuracy. The AF Targeting Pad feature will allow users to select the AF point by sliding their finger on the rear touch LCD while looking through the viewfinder.

oly-e-m1ii-topThe performance of the 1.48x high-magnification, high-resolution electronic viewfinder will rival those of professional full-frame interchangeable lens cameras, Olympus boasts.

There will be a “significant improvement” in shutter release lag time; this time will be reduced by approximately 30 percent from that of the predecessor model. In addition, frame advance speed during playback will be approximately three times faster for faster scrolling and review of images.

The camera will feature dual memory card slots to allow simultaneous use of two SD cards. The slots will be positioned in a staggered layout, making cards easier to insert and remove. Users will be able to select from four types of settings: “Standard” will record to the specified card; “Automatic Switching” will automatically switch to the second card when the first card becomes full; “Dual Independent” will record to both cards according to the specified image quality setting assigned to each; and “Dual Same” will record identical files to both cards simultaneously. Slot 1 will support UHS-II and UHS-I cards, while Slot 2 will support UHS-I cards.

With an improved 1720mAh rating, the new BLH-1 lithium-ion rechargeable battery will have a capacity that’s approximately 37 percent higher than that of the BLN-1 used in the predecessor model. The camera will display the remaining battery life percentage on the rear monitor. Also, the new BCH-1 charger will be 50 percent faster than the previous version.

The new 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor will offer 25 percent higher resolution than the predecessor model, and the absence of a low-pass filter further enhances image quality. A higher dynamic range will improve the reproduction of highlight and shadow detail, and an anti-reflective coating on both sides of the sealing glass over the sensor will further enhance contrast performance.

The newly-developed TruePic VIII Image Processor will dramatically improve image quality when shooting at high ISO settings, making it possible to capture images with minimal noise. The normal sensitivity ISO (ISO AUTO) range will be expanded to ISO 6400 for greater flexibility in a variety of shooting scenarios and Fine Detail Processing II will ensure that no detail will be lost due to over-sharpening.

The ISO LOW setting will be equivalent to ISO 64.

A High Res Shot Mode will utilize the Voice Coil Motor (VCM) system of the 5-Axis Image Stabilization System to precisely shift the sensor in half pixel increments while capturing a total of eight shots. The camera will then automatically composite the shots into a single 50-megapixel equivalent ultra-high resolution image. The processor will effectively suppress blur due to subject movement, making it possible to utilize High Res Shot Mode in a wide variety of shooting conditions, such as gently-blowing grass, tree leaves, or ocean waves. In addition to 80-megapixel RAW and 50-megapixel equivalent JPEG images, it will be possible to select a smaller 25-megapixel equivalent file size.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II will support Digital Cinema Standard 4K (4096 x 2060 pixels) video capture at a 24p frame rate and a bit rate of up to 237 Mbps. The sensor will provide a read speed three times faster than that of the predecessor model for effective suppression of movement distortion, resulting in sharp, clear image quality. Olympus notes the video-specific picture mode “Flat” will be ideal for colour grading and finishing the footage exactly as envisioned by the videographer.

The HDMI monitor connection will provide the ability to view live video output live on a larger display while shooting. Users will be able to select from Monitor Mode for an external monitor and Recording Mode to capture uncompressed video directly from the HDMI port. The camera will be equipped with a synchronization signal so that video recording to an external device may be started or stopped from the camera. A 4:2:2 external output will be provided to meet a wider colour correction range. An audio synchronization function will make it easy to synchronize audio recording when using Olympus’ Linear PCM Recorder LS-100 while recording video, and a Slate Tone function will facilitate the syncing of recorded audio and video.

Silent Mode will utilize a silent electronic shutter to eliminate all mechanical noises while shooting. Also, it will be possible to deactivate the AF Illuminator, autofocus confirmation beep, and flash.

Focus Stacking Mode will capture eight shots at different focal positions and composite them to form a single shot that is entirely in focus. Focus Stacking Mode will be compatible with seven Olympus lenses.

Focus Bracketing Mode will capture up to 999 shots at different focal distances with a single shutter button press, allowing users to choose shots with the optimal focus point or use commercially-available software to composite all images into one picture with stunning depth-of-field.

Live Composite Mode will be available for shooting fireworks and cityscapes against starry backgrounds. While using Live Composite, the exposure of dark areas remains constant, while areas of light that change during the exposure are updated, creating trails of light from stars or fireworks. Live Bulb and Live Composite Modes will allow users to easily check the image on the LCD monitor in real time, instead of relying on intuition.

The camera will be equipped with Keystone Compensation for photographing architecture. Keystone Compensation digitally provides tilt and shift functions with all M.Zuiko lenses, and because trapezoidal compensation may be applied simultaneously to both vertical and horizontal directions, it is possible to shoot various subjects in a wide range of situations.

Olympus Capture is now available in Version 1.2 and will support tethered shooting with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. High-speed data processing and transfer via the USB 3.0 Type C port will be four times faster than with Olympus Capture Version 1.1. A cable clip will be bundled for securing and stabilizing the cable to a strap when the camera and computer are connected.

Other Features:

Customizable C-AF tracking sensitivity will allow users to choose the best setting for their subject to optimize C-AF tracking performance.

AF Scan will allow users to adjust the lens scan operation settings in low-contrast environments to prevent unnecessary hunting.

Preset MF will let users quickly set a preferred focus distance when using manual focus.

AF Home Settings will be assignable to a customizable function button. Users will be able to program their most frequently used AF target position, AF Target Mode, and AF Mode as an AF Home setting.

Lowest Shutter Speed Setting on the camera will allow users to predefine a minimum shutter speed so that the ISO sensitivity will increase in low-light situations rather than slowing down the shutter speed.

Users will be able to back up customized camera settings on a computer so that they can be re-applied to the camera whenever necessary, especially useful for using the same settings on multiple cameras or maintaining settings after a firmware update.

Specify Folder function will let users select a folder as a recording destination and create new folders to make image editing and management easier.

Grid settings will allow users to set a highly visible grid color for display as a guide when shooting in dark locations such as theaters.

The “Date/Time/Second” display will let users organize images by a second unit. This is an effective feature for high-speed sequential shooting.

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