I have heard much good feedback on the OM-D E-M5 Mark 1 and have been tempted to get the original OM-D E-M5 Mark 1 on several occasions. Fortunately, when I gave in to the craving, the Mark 2 was out.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark 2 has been a long awaited sequel to much acclaimed OM-D E-M5 Mark 1 – I know I sure waited a long time for it to arrive.
As I did not own the Mark 1, this review is purely based on my experience with the Mark 2. Whether the Mark 2 is an upgrade to the Mark 1 – I have no idea. This review is for those new to the OM-D range.
I love the look of the camera – that retro look is very alluring. However, in terms of usability, that is a completely different story altogether.
The camera is way too small, even for my small hands. The controls feel very tightly squashed together and when paired with a lens like the popular 12-40mm 2.8 PRO lens, the E-M5 Mark 2 body feels more like a lens cap than a camera body. This feeling is awkward to me (some may like it). I prefer a more balanced setup where the weight is more distributed.
In saying though, when paired with a lightweight lens like the 45mm 1.8 Portrait lens, it feels very well balanced and really nice to hold. It’s like holding a compact point and shoot camera.
So my advice in terms of design is, it depends on the lens you are going to use with it. If you’re going to use a heavy lens like the 12-40mm 2.8 PRO, I think it’s better to get the OM-D E-M1 for handling purposes.
Besides the physical design annoyances I experienced, I also struggled to find my way around the oddly named menu system (if the screen weren’t a touchscreen, I think I would have gone ape nuts at how horrendous the menu system is).
The picture quality lives up to all the stories I have heard. The Sony sensor inside the E-M5 mark 2 produces great photos, but as pointed out by other reviewers, the sensor is a bit dated now and this can be seen in the photos.
Check out some sample photos on flickr:
Something slightly off-topic I should point out. The E-M5 Mark 2 has a micro four thirds sized sensor, so the bokeh it creates is rather limiting. Again, it is a preference thing, but you should be aware of this before purchasing one.
The build quality is a little disappointing for both the price and having the title of being weatherproof (weather-sealed). Like other reviews have mentioned, the build quality of the Mark 2 is a downgrade from the Mark 1.
Though I have not owned the Mark 1, I have had a play with a few at various photography meetups. The Mark 2 is definitely a downgrade. It feels like it’s made of plastic (the lightness of the body probably also contributed to this impression).
I was not brave enough to put the body through the elements, so am unable to comment on how reliable its weatherproofing capabilities is.
In saying all this, the build quality is not ‘bad’, probably the Mark 1 had set too high a benchmark, making the Mark 2 seem more inferior than it actually is.
I hope you have not been discouraged by my review of the E-M5 Mark 2. It is a very capable camera that is truly tiny and lightweight. Do go into a store and try it out before you buy one. However, one thing is for sure, it is not for me.