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OM-1 Mark II: Next-Gen Mirrorless Camera

Pros

  • Digital graduated filter
  • Captures 120 continuous shots per second
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Image-stabilised sensor

Cons

  • Higher power consumption
  • Limited webcam function at 720p

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OM SYSTEM OM-1 Mark II Micro Four Thirds System CameraOM Digital Solutions, having taken over the camera division of the traditional German brand Olympus in 2021, introduces its new flagship model for 2024. A glance at the technical specifications suggests that the OM System OM-1 Mark II represents more of an evolution than a revolution, with many features remaining unchanged. Like its predecessor, the OM System OM-1, the Mark II model has a resolution of 20.4 megapixels, continues to use the TruePic X processor, comes with the familiar 3.0-inch swivel and tilt touch display, and is equipped with the same electronic viewfinder, resolving 5.76 million pixels. Notwithstanding, the OM-1 Mark II boasts exciting improvements, largely thanks to the optimized capacity of its buffer memory.

OM SYSTEM OM-1 Mark II

Graduated Filter in Real-Time

The OM System OM-1 Mark II features double the internal memory of its predecessor, enabling it to process more images simultaneously and use this enhanced power for new and improved shooting functions. Notably, it is the first mirrorless system camera (DSLM) to simulate a graduated filter via software, applying it directly to the preview image on the display or viewfinder, and naturally, to the capture itself. In our practical tests, this functioned very well. When the “Live GND Recording” feature is activated in the menu, a line appears on the display indicating the transition of the gradient. This line can be moved and rotated in the image as needed via the touchscreen and control dials until the gradient is perfectly aligned with the targeted subject. A typical application is a shot with a very bright sky and a dark landscape: the filter darkens the sky, allowing for better detail on the ground due to the longer exposure time. The OM System OM-1 Mark II offers gradient strengths of GND2, GND6, and GND8, corresponding to reductions of one to three f-stops. The gradient type is also variable, allowing landscape photographers to switch between a soft, medium, and hard gradient. This innovation renders the days of buying and attaching analogue rectangular filters in front of the lens obsolete. Additionally, the familiar Live-ND filter from its predecessor gets an upgrade. The new flagship model now allows for darkening by up to seven f-stops (ND128). This filter does not feature a gradient but darkens the entire image section, ideal for long exposures of rivers, bodies of water, and the sea, where waves appear to vanish, leaving a mirror-smooth, softly drawn water surface.

OM SYSTEM OM-1 Mark II Camera

Improved Autofocus and Extended Continuous Shooting Sequences

Tailored specifically for the needs of wildlife photographers, the IP53-rated dust and splash-proof OM-1 Mark II impresses with enhancements in the AF system and continuous shooting mode. The autofocus, with AI-based subject recognition, now achieves even higher accuracy. Our practical tests showed particularly impressive fast and accurate eye detection in birds. For humans, the AF now recognises eyes, faces, and even the body if the person is turned away or wearing a helmet, such as a motorcycle helmet. To ensure capturing crucial moments in animal and other fast-moving subjects, OM Digital Solutions has significantly increased the image sequences in continuous shooting mode. While the predecessor OM-1 could capture 97 RAW images in succession at 50 frames per second with continuous autofocus tracking (AF-C), the new flagship OM-1 Mark II maintains the speed up to 256 RAW images. This equates to about a 2.5-fold extension of the shooting duration. The 50 frames per second are available only with certain PRO lenses, such as the OM System M.Zuiko Digital ED 12–40 mm f/2.8PRO II and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150–400 mm f/4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO. With non-compatible lenses, up to 25 frames with AF-C are possible. The high continuous shooting speed of 120 frames per second with focus on the first image (AF-S) is now achievable over twice as long, with 213 instead of 97 RAW images in succession.

Slight Improvement in Image Quality

The resolution and size of the image sensor in the OM System OM-1 Mark II remain the same as its predecessor: The camera resolves at 20.4 megapixels, and it uses an MFT-size (Micro Four Thirds) sensor, as was the case with Olympus and is still common in many Panasonic system cameras. In our testing, where the camera was compared with higher-resolution APS-C cameras, it achieved good image quality, with noticeable improvements over the previous model. At low ISO sensitivity, we measured a slightly higher edge sharpness of up to 1,763 line pairs per image height. The Mark II also slightly outperforms in detail reproduction, possibly due to more subtle noise reduction. The measurement values slightly exceed those of its predecessor, the OM-1. From ISO 1,600, slight colour noise becomes apparent at 100-percent enlargement on the monitor, remaining moderate up to and including ISO 3,200. It becomes more noticeable from ISO 6,400. However, DIN-A3 prints are still achievable even up to ISO 12,800.

OM SYSTEM OM-1 Mark II Micro Four Thirds System Camera, 20 MP BSI Stacked Sensor

Enhanced IBIS and High-Resolution Images

OM Digital Solutions has further refined the 5-axis image stabilization of the sensor (IBIS) from the OM-1, so that the OM System OM-1 Mark II can now compensate for up to 8.5 f-stops without additional stabilization by the lens (Sync-IS). The manufacturer notes that this value was achieved with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12–40 mm f/2.8 PRO II at the longest focal length. The compensation of also 8.5 f-stops with Sync-IS was determined with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150–400 mm f/4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO at the shortest focal length. As we did not have these lenses available for testing, we tested the stabilization with the new M.Zuiko Digital ED 150–600 mm f/5.0–6.3 IS, achieving around seven f-stops at both the longest and shortest focal lengths. Therefore, not every lens achieves the top value, but the stabilization performance at long focal lengths is still remarkable. Moreover, the movably mounted sensor allows for high-resolution shots of 50 megapixels handheld and 80 megapixels from a tripod. Multiple images are taken with slightly shifted sensor positions and calculated into a high-res image. The result can be output as a RAW image with a colour depth of 14-bit.

OM System OM-1 Mark II as a Film Camera

Like its predecessor, the OM-1 Mark II films in Cinema 4K resolution at up to 60 frames per second. Slow-motion footage is possible in Full HD with up to 240 frames per second. A new feature is the simplified playback of vertically filmed material on social media platforms like Instagram. The effective image stabilization is active when filming in both landscape and portrait formats. Additionally, the OM-1 Mark II can be used as a webcam for live streams, though the resolution is limited to a rather low HD-Ready resolution of 720p.

Conclusion

In summary, the OM System OM-1 Mark II has confidently positioned itself as a high-performing and versatile camera in the mirrorless market, continuing the legacy of its Olympus predecessors. Its robust build, coupled with innovative features like the real-time digital graduated filter, enhanced autofocus, and extended continuous shooting capabilities, make it a formidable tool for various photography styles, particularly outdoor, action, and wildlife. Despite its higher power consumption and limited webcam resolution, the OM-1 Mark II’s improvements in image quality and stabilization are commendable. This camera is not just a subtle upgrade but a substantial leap forward, catering to the evolving needs of professional photographers and enthusiasts seeking quality and reliability in their photographic equipment. The premium price is a reflection of its advanced capabilities and potential to push the boundaries of what’s achievable in mirrorless camera technology.

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5/5 (1 Review)

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Richard Garrett

Richard Garrett

As an expert on the latest techy stuff, the primary focus is PCs and laptops. Much of his time is split between smartphones, tablets and audio, focusing on the latest devices.
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