E-M5 mk2 follow up: Extreme resolutions and high sensitivities. And ninjas.
Following the initial report and after a few more days in the company of the Mark2, it's time to wrap-up this report, while addressing a couple more interesting aspects. First off, let's talk ISO.
The porcelain doll from the previous hi-res shot was a favorite with a number of readers. A fact I diplomatically refused to comment upon. Instead, I named her Mathilde (for some inexplicable reason) and even invited two of her friends for an ISO comparison shot. All shots taken on a tripod, with the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 @f/4.5. Lighting was natural, from a window at the right of the scene. Files were converted from RAW, using the latest Adobe DNG converter (a free download from Adobe), imported in Lightroom and mildly processed as far as sharpening and NR are concerned. Here they are, from ISO200 all the way up to ISO12800:
My humble opinion, judging from these and other samples, is that the mk2 gains about a stop of noise and DR/Color depth vs. the E-M5 mk1. It can, under circumstances, get slightly better than the E-M1 too, mainly from ISO6400 and up. Files can be found in this Dropbox link.
A serious improvement with the mk2, is implementing a variety of shooting modes.
Previously, there were reported issues with combinations of focal lengths, lenses and shutter speeds, where the IBIS could actually cause double images due to shutter shock. This was addressed with added Anti-Shock features in the E-M1, but the E-M5mk2 implements several such options in a more natural way, through the shooting mode selection. Among them is a fabulous Silent Mode.
This makes use of electronic shutter, and it's, well, silent. Like, Ninja level deadly silent. Honestly, along with the swiveling screen, the mk2 becomes an absolutely stealth weapon. Consider applications for discrete (verging on creepy) Street Photography, or, in more civilized terms, being able to shoot at 0db noise levels inside a church or other similar environment. Silent mode is even available with burst shooting, and even with anti-shock.
The second big advantage is being able to shoot at 1/16000" shutter speed. At last, OMD users are able to shoot at very bright sunlight, with wide open apertures and get properly exposed images.
Honorable mention goes to the included (FL-LM3) flash unit. It stands tall enough over the camera to be useable and the swiveling/bouncing head makes it a winner. Kudos to Olympus for bundling it with the camera, and let's hope more mirrorless companies follow suit with similar offerings.
And here comes the freaky part, once more...
Olympus offers a 40Mp Hi-Res multishot option, as we've seen in the previous article . But, through the DNG RAW converter, it is possible to get an even bigger, insane 64Mp file.
Without further ado, here is a still life scene, shot in multishot and converted from RAW. I deliberately tried to introduce elements that usually bring high-megapixel count cameras on their knees; plenty of fabric textures, small print, even engraving (on the LP cover). All these can usually result in false color, aberrations and lots of moire.
All of which are gorgeously non-existent in the E-M5mk2 example. Click on the image to download the full-size picture, for some serious pixel peeping:
The shot was taken on a tripod (naturally), with the Panaleica 25mm f/1.4 @f/5.6 and the file minimally processed in LR (some shadow pulling, WB, etc). It was also sharpened (as all RAW files must), and I was surprised to find how tolerable the file was to high sharpening values; indeed, taking the detail slider at 80 or more, introduced zero artifacts.
Seriously, the hi-res option is reason enough to buy this camera, for people interested in still life, product and art reproduction photography. It's medium format (of the highest caliber) performance in a virtually pocketable camera. Remember, should native selection not cover your needs, with m4/3 you can use virtually any lens in such scenarios, manual focusing of course, but that's irrelevant here.
All in all, the mk2 is a technological masterpiece and a serious mission statement from Olympus, of things possible and things to come. It's an extremely capable camera for any shooting scenario, for enthusiasts and professionals alike, adding a number of unique features for niche applications. Even more importantly, it encompasses, in my opinion, everything m4/3 and mirrorless in general is standing for: innovation, user-friendliness, character.
And that's the bottom line.