OM Systems OM-1 flagship 4/3 camera first to feature Live Graduated ND
Back in 2022, OM Digital Systems celebrated the 50th birthday of the Olympus OM-1 film camera with a digital four-thirds model. Now the OM System flagship has moved to its second generation, though despite key updates much remains the same.
Olympus sold off its imaging division in early 2021, with the first product from the newly-formed OM Digital Solutions following in June. The OM-1 released the next year, was built around a brand new four-thirds 20.4-megapixel stacked Live MOS image sensor and TruePic X processing engine. These key specs remain unchanged for the Mark II.
The camera offers the same 50-MP High-Res Shot mode, or 80 MP with a tripod, but the RAW chops benefit from small increase to 14 bits. There's 50 frames per second sequential shooting with tracking autofocus/auto-exposure, or 120 fps with AF/AE locked, with the camera's buffer now allowing for around 213 RAW frames at 120 fps. And users can also look forward to blackout-free shooting through the viewfinder at slower frame rates than before.
The Mark II is reported to be the first to sport Live Graduated ND functionality, which uses computational photography to allow for precision control of brightness and darkness, replicating the effects of using a half ND filter mounted to a lens. Photographers are able to tweak the steps and types in real-time via the 5.76-million-dot OLED viewfinder or the rear display, and OMDS has also increased the step limit in Live ND shooting to ND128 for more flexibility.
The company says that autofocus has been improved across the board as well, most notably in the already wide range of subjects tracked by the AI-powered detection AF – now there's a human detection mode too, in addition to face detection. Handheld run-and-gun shooting also makes a small gain thanks to sensor-shift image stabilization getting a boost to 8.5 steps.
The camera's magnesium-alloy body is weather-sealed to IP53 standards, and is built to operating in temperatures as low as -10 °C (14 °F) – making it a good fit for wildlife professionals. And the control dials now gain some rubber for an improved user experience while out and about.
So a pretty modest, but welcome, update for the new flagship. The OM System OM-1 Mark II is up for pre-order now for US$2,399.99 body only, and is expected to hit the shelves by the end of February.
Product page: OM-1 Mk II