Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
A ProPhoto Magazine & Olympus Australia Promotion
Image above by Lachlan Moore using Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, copyright 2017.
Melbourne-based photographer Lachlan Moore has been putting the new Olympus OM-D mirrorless flagship through its paces and finds the E-M1 Mark II’s many new features and upgraded specifications deliver real benefits.
After working for eight years as a graphic designer – during which time he frequently found himself in photographic studios art directing – Lachlan Moore decided he really wanted to be behind the camera so he “jumped ship” and began studying photography as well as working as an assistant.
Today he runs Rokeby Studios in Melbourne and works in a variety of areas including advertising, landscape, people and film stills. He describes his photographic style as “honest and cinematic”. His great love is the ocean which fuels his daily @onemoore_insta feed, inspired by coastal living, open space, big skies and spectacular light.
An Olympus Visionary ambassador, Lachlan was one of the first professional photographers anywhere to work with the much-anticipated new OM-D mirrorless flagship, the E-M1 Mark II. A significant advance on its already very capable predecessor, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II has a new 21.8 megapixels ‘Live MOS’ sensor and high-speed processor, a new and faster hybrid autofocusing system, and is capable of continuous shooting at up to 60 fps when using its sensor-based shutter. It’s also the first OM-D Series camera able to shoot 4K video, and can record in both the Cinema 4K and Ultra HD resolutions.
Lachlan has been using the Olympus OM-D system for two years and says it complements his style and approach to photography.
“A great attraction for me is the light weight and small size. The camera bodies are a lot less cumbersome than a D-SLR yet pack as much punch and then some! I’m also a big fan of the in-camera image stabilisation… it’s a monumental achievement that opens up a whole new world of opportunities in low light situations.”
The OM-D E-M1 Mark II takes all this a lot further and Lachlan says that he’s particularly impressed with the image quality from the new sensor.
“The images are so clean – that’s the best way to describe it, I think –and the tonal latitude is really well-balanced. It’s also very quick with 18 fps continuous shooting – or even 60 fps with fixed AF/AE which is just amazing. The autofocusing is consistent, reliable and fast, and I love the ergonomics of the new body. Personally, I have always preferred shooting with a battery grip and the new combination is comfortably balanced, especially with the new 25mm f1.2 PRO lens. The EVF has also been stepped up a gear which is really noticeable… being able to see exactly what you’ll get is really pleasing. Also the file writing speed is mind-blowing and, coupled with the fast sequential shooting, is a real winner for me.”
The new camera’s up-graded five-axis image stabilisation also gets a big tick from Lachlan Moore.
“Being able to hand-hold with longer exposures allows me to bring the ISO right down and minimise noise, thus creating better workable files. I find this incredibly useful when shooting on film sets where I really put these cameras through their paces. The silent electronic shutter is also a major advantage in these situations.”
Olympus made significant inroads into the professional video industry with the previous OM-D E-M1 model, and the new camera is even more cinematography-orientated.
Lachlan’s collaborating partner, Michael Hurren at Filmic Productions, has been trying out the OM-D E-M1 Mark II’s video capabilities and he comments, “I really like the Flat ‘Picture Mode’… it’s not too flat so it doesn’t stretch the 8-bit file too far in the highlights or the shadows. I haven’t seen banding anywhere. I think this is a smart move. The high Cinema 4K bit-rate of 237 Mb/second is a real pleasure to grade. And again, it’s awesome for an 8-bit file as there’s a ton of information to work with.
“Being able to shoot fast motion in the same codec, bit-rate and resolution as normal motion film – especially in Cinema 4K – is a truly awesome feature.”
Lachlan adds, “I’ve definitely noticed improvements in the stabiliser when shooting video… a lot less bumps on long moves. And it seems to also deliver more stability when using non-OM-D lenses with the focal length dialled in”.
On the subject lenses Lachlan Moore has been using the new M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f1.2 PRO fast prime lens (equivalent to a 50mm f1.2) and he’s a big fan.
“Yes, it’s my new go-to lens! It has a great feel and the build quality is really solid. It’s also incredibly sharp and the speed is, of course, fantastic. Best of all, the image quality and the fall-off are really beautiful.”
While he’s yet to explore everything the new OM-D E-M1 Mark II has to offer – there’s a truly extensive list of advanced features – Lachlan Moore is very impressed with what he’s seen so far, including the improved battery life and the faster shutter speeds of 1/8000 second with the focal plane type, and 1/32,000 second with the electronic sensor-based shutter.
“There are so many features to be excited about, and I think it’s going to make a big impact on the Micro Four Thirds scene. I know from first-hand experience that Olympus has listened to its Visionaries and acted upon their ideas and feedback to make this camera an exceptional one.”