Olympus reveals the E-M5 II with 40-megapixel sensor-shift shooting

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The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II can produce 40-megapixel images using sensor-shift technology

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The Olympus OM-D E-M5 was one of the first mirrorless cameras to really strike a chord with photographers when it was released in 2012. Now, three years later, Olympus has revealed what appears to be a worthy sucessor, the E-M5 Mark II. The new camera inherits features from the professional-focused E-M1, and boasts a few impressive tricks of its own like better image stabilization and the ability to shift its 16-megapixel sensor around to take 40-megapixel stills.

While the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II still features a 16-megapixel effective 4/3-inch (17.3 x 13 mm) Live MOS sensor, this time it's paired with the same powerful TruePic VII image processor as the top-of-the-range OM-D E-M1. This allows the camera to produce high-quality images in a variety of lighting conditions. It has a high ISO setting of 25,600, and can fire off a burst of images at a speedy 10 frames per second (fps).

The camera also makes use of a new iteration of the Olympus 5-axis Image Stabilization system, which moves the sensor to compensate for camera-shake, and is now said be equivalent to five steps of shutter speed. This helps to produce blur-free images when shooting with slower shutter speeds, or at telephoto focal lengths, and can also come in very handy when trying to shoot wobble-free video.

Another new feature based around the sensor-shift technology, is the ability to combine a series of shots into a giant 40-megapixel image. Best suited to still scenes where you need the extra resolution (think landscapes and studio shots) eight images are taken in quick succession as the sensor moves 0.5 pixel steps between each one, and are then merged into one highly-detailed image.

Video features have also been given a boost in the OM-D E-M5 Mark II, this time moving it ahead of the E-M1 in terms of frame rates. In addition to being able to capture Full HD 1080p footage at 60/50/30/25/24 fps, the camera can also record at high bitrates of up to 77 Mbps. While autofocus isn't quite up there with the E-M1, Olympus says the contrast-based system with 81-point areas is still fast compared to rival cameras.

Around back of the 123.7 x 85 x 38 mm (4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in) and 496 g (17.5 oz) camera is a high-resolution electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million dots. Below this is a 3-inch vari-angle touchscreen LCD monitor with 1,037K dots which can swivel and tilt to make it easier to shoot in otherwise awkward situations. This being 2015, the camera also boasts built-in Wi-Fi for sharing images instantly and remote shooting via a compatible smartphone.

Unsurprisingly given its popularity, the overall retro-styling of the original E-M5 remains in the Mark II, though there are a couple of design tweaks. These subtle changes, including a re-shaped grip and a new button layout, should make the camera feel better in the hand. The magnesium casing is also now freeze-resistant as well as being dust-proof and splash-proof.

While there is no built-in flash, the E-M5 II has a hot-shoe and will be sold bundled with the FL-LM3 external flash. As with its predecessor, there will also be plenty of accessories available for the new camera, including grips and a dedicated underwater case. Being a Micro Four Thirds mount camera, there are plenty of lenses which can be used with it.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II will be available later this month in silver or black finishes. It will set you back US$1,100 body-only, but will also be bundled with a variety of kit lenses. With a 12-50-mm lens it will cost €1,300 in Europe, and with a 14-150-mm lens it will be €1,500. US availability and pricing of the bundle kits have not yet been revealed.

You can see the OM-D E-M5 Mark II in action in the below video from Olympus.

View gallery - 11 images

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