A Review of the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II

Oh hello! As promised, here's a full review of the Olympus OM-D EM5ii from my friends Josh and Jay at The Camera Project, with my chiming in (rambling aimlessly) in the follow-up discussion video! 

Since I didn't get involved til after the main review video had been shot (and didn't get to have as much time to play with the camera), my portion in the discussion is minimal and... not that helpful. 

Quick overview: the Olympus OM-D EM5ii is a 16.1 MP micro four-thirds camera (abbreviated as mft or m4/3) with interchangeable lenses, HD video capabilities at 60p, 30p, and 24p, and some of the most advanced 5-axis image stabilization available in the format right now. The body retails for $1,049-$1,099, and lenses come in a range of prices and focal lengths. 



Wi-fi. Getting images off the camera and onto your devices is quick and easy, and the app also acts as a second screen and remote control. Looking forward to playing with this feature more going forward.

Tap to focus & shoot. The EM5ii has a touch screen that is fully articulated, and while that's not super revolutionary, there is a function that allows you to tap to focus and shoot like you would with your iPhone, which is great for getting a quick shot on the go without fumbling with the focus point. 

Compact, small, weather proof design. Like someone, somewhere, once said, "The best camera is the one you have with you" (Gandhi??) and the EM5ii is certainly a great choice for a high-quality, customizable camera that you can carry around without getting scoliosis. The weather-proofing also makes it perfect for impromptu adventures and just keeping on your person at all times, in any situation.

Image stabilization. The main thing to set the EM5ii apart from other cameras in this category is the revolutionary 5-axis in-camera image stabilization, which works two ways: by physically moving the sensor to compensate for shake, and digitally. Both can be independently turned on and off, which is great because when shooting video, it can at times overcompensate and create a sort of warping effect on the picture. Combined with high-quality, fast Olympus lenses, the internal IS is a game-changer for shooting in low light.



The menu. Is really complicated. In the video, I prematurely claim that I only need a little time to figure it all out, but really, it'll take time, online research, watching tutorials, asking friends, etc. Also worth nothing that the included manual wasn't terribly helpful in decoding the many, many features in the digital menu of this camera or where to find certain functions and settings.

The screen sensitivity. The touch screen sometimes goes black at random times, probably because the camera strap or perhaps my hand is coming too close and it assumes I am trying to use the EVF, and perhaps this is a setting that can be adjusted (ahem, if I ever can find it in the goddamn menu) but for the time being, that is pretty annoying.


Well, I bought this camera (along with a 17mm f/1.8 mft Olympus lens), so obviously I really, really like it. After shooting almost exclusively with my Canon 5D Mark II for the last 5+ years, the Olympus kind of blew my mind. And I was surprised at how much I liked it; without The Camera Project I would've never considered switching brands as I've been quite happy with my full-frame DSLR, and as far as I could tell, didn't *need* a new camera. How wrong I was.

I mention this in the video, and it's gotta be the #1 reason I went through with the purchase, but this camera has a feature set that is ideal for bloggers and also travelers (so, perfect for me), and considering how much better for my purposes it is than my mammoth Canon, I just couldn't waste any more time being unproductive because of a cumbersome rig that I was loath to carry with me. 

I'm not going to go on-record saying this is the "best" or "perfect" camera for travelers/bloggers, because this is the first one I've been able to review and I could end up kicking myself, but hopefully that doesn't happen. But, I can say, with the EM5ii, I am already far more productive and motivated to shoot and post, now that I've eliminated the immediate need for card readers, wires, backup hard drives, etc. to get things online, and am able to carry it in my bag and snap a shot whenever and wherever. 

That said, when it comes to shooting photo or video for professional use, I will probably still default to my Canon 5D for the higher resolution and because I have a greater collection of lenses for it, but the Olympus will be my new everyday, everywhere, every use camera (instead of my iPhone, because let's be honest, it's shit) and I'm looking forward to doing some tests with the video functions as soon as I get a chance! 

So, stay tuned for more info about this camera, and more videos from The Camera Project!

Here are a few unprocessed images (jpgs) directly from the camera:

The Unisphere in Queens • 17mm • f/1.8 • 1/100 • ISO 10,000

Igby! • 17mm • f/2.0 • 1/200 • ISO 6400

The Royal Palms Shuffle Board Court in Gowanus, Brooklyn • 17mm • f/1.8 • 1/60 • ISO 1600

For even more depth and details on the Olympus OM-D EM5ii, check out the reviews below:

*Micro four-thirds camera systems can use full-frame lenses with an adapter, but may no longer function with auto-focus.