08 avril 2017

The Pro Ergonomik Camera: The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: The "Pro" Olympus M4/3 Camera !

Foreword about the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II: The fabulous Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is perceived for many as the ultimate M4/3 Pro still camera . And yes it is a fantastic "pro" model contender without any doubt assorted with a very solid construction, a superb ergonomic design (the best from Olympus for its hand prehension), a very versatile interface and a significant captor upgrade. So it got all the ingredients of success (even a skyrocket selective selling price!) and it will probably shows it in the next few years.

Later this year (2017) I will recover on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and be able to justify all its virtues in using it more professionally. For the moment the first results obtained with the E-M1 Mark II were very promising and I am looking forward to properly illustrate it.

Let simply say that the Olympus E-M1 II is a big and weighty camera by usual standards in M4/3 format. It is also a complex device to handle properly and it will ask you a extended training investment except if you intend to use it on an intense basis. Even the fine "Pro" line of Olympus lenses will add a lot to that impression at a point that is recalling me the previous film SLR days. In one word it contradict in part for some of us the essence of the founding of the M4/3 format.

The late Nikon F4S: A modern "Pro" 
design back in 1988 of the film era.
As a user I have always appreciated a camera design that will fall literally in my hand. And professional photographers will also appreciate a more simple rounded ergonomic device that feels secure, confortable and robust on a long intensive use. A few(!) years ago I've got the same impression when I have transited from the Nikon F3 HP model to the newest autofocus Nikon F4S 35mm film camera that were using the 24X36mm film format.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the second interpretation issued from the manufacturer of an especially constructed professionally oriented digital ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera) for the M4/3 format sensor. It incorporate the newest 20MP image captor (sensor) for a finer definition and  higher overall performances. I have never really try to evaluate a camera model on specific statistical characteristics. In place I better prefer to regard it as an whole package. As a photographic tool you need something that will be coherent and flexible for your everyday use.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is not by far a pocket camera. It can be seen as the antithesis of the Panasonic Lumix GM5 / 12-32mm combo compared to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II / 12-40mm F2.8 for example. It is true to say that it is a more pro oriented compact option and system (coupled with the intended lenses and accessories). It remains a camera made to be hold in your hand on a full time base. In that sense it stays a unique product from the entire M4/3 ILC Olympus line-up. A bit like a beefier Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II with a permanent hand grip.

The simplicity of design of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is considerably emphases by the integrated hand grip that prevent the doublement of controls required with an add-on optional hand grip such as the combo seen on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. After a general setting of the camera many function buttons can be ignored to facilite the picture shooting. At that point complexity doesn't mean necessarily complication. And this can be said also for the menu versus the direct access to the principal parameters option on the LCD screen. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a very configurable camera but you dont need to apprenhed every single option offered by the manufacturer.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a very sturdy model and very well protected against adverse contextual conditions such as rain, snow, freeze. It give a good sense of confidence to use the camera without the normal restrictions and open access to more delicate photo situations. The viewfinder and the LCD black screen are first class devices and even for people wearing glasses like me the EVF is fully usable for seing the whole picture and technical information attached. Control buttons and dials are well manner and dont require too much contorsion and can be assimilated intuitively especially for previous Olympus users. The same can be said for the optional grip.

Because the OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a bigger camera than the OM-D E-M5 Mark II for example you will feel more secure when who are manipulating it and particularly when you are holding it with one hand. In that sense Olympus has designed this model for a professional intensive level of use in mind.  And that explain also the "superior" level of selling price of the camera the will be amortized by its everyday tasks performed.

And what about the famous Olympus interface? As usual the menu contain is still very rich of different possibilities and will ask to invest a good amount of time on the side of the learning curve especially if you want to configure the camera outside the manufacturer default settings.

For still photography like I use to do exclusively the autofocus system is fast and reliable. Follow-up action photography can be done in confidence for the focus tracking. As I have said in previous posts to properly photograph"on-pick" moving subjects may ask you a certain amount of preparation on your part. Exposure and focus preset are still a good way for doing this kind of task.

The picture output of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is absolutely impressive. Both colours and Black & White images can be produced flawlessly without compromise. The JPEG rendering is fully usable. The finesse of the details obtained by the combine in-board sensor and immediately post-treatment engine is remarquable if you respect the basic photo techniques required to get first class results. The camera is giving its best when fixed focal lenses and "pro" zooms are coupled with it.

At the end if you compare the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II when the D-SLR Pro models offered on the market it stays a more compact unit that can be combined with more compact lenses.