Now that is a big claim, but after having a considerable hands on with this flagship Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera from Olympus, I am starting to think it may well be.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II may not be the best in class of every single feature, but, it sure has so many features in a compact, light camera that the overall capabilities will address nearly every need with adequate service, and it has some amazing features which allow unprecedented tools to allow you to capture moments of time with accurate focus and incredible speed.
The original Olympus OM-D E-M5 revolutionised the mirrorless camera world by bring all the main pieces together in a compact, light package – nice EVF, excellent IS, good image quality, good retro looks but it had one great deficit – inability to AF on fast moving subjects. The E-M1 mark I was a step in the right direction at addressing this with the introduction of sensor based PDAF, but it is really the E-M1 mark II that finally addresses this shortcoming and builds upon it in many ways – birds in flight are now within the reach of those carrying small, light kits.
Let’s have a look at the feature set.
Take anywhere camera and great for airline travel
A camera is of little use to you if you don’t take it with you.
The compact, light size of the camera and lenses mean you can take a camera and flash in jacket pockets or even a larger hand bag to social events, and the size won’t draw too much attention, and won’t be as intimidating as a larger dSLR.
You can carry a couple E-M1 cameras and a few lenses on cabin luggage and still be well under the usual 7.5kg cabin limit.
A friend of mine last week was boarding an international flight with business class ticket and the airline refused to allow his camera bag as cabin luggage as it was too heavy, and forced him to put it through check in luggage – that was the last he saw of his $20,000 full frame camera gear – and not covered by his travel insurance!
The small size of the Olympus also means you can have lighter and less expensive tripod heads – if you need a tripod!
Unobtrusive and silent
The lack of a mirror means the camera is far less noisy than a dSLR, and in its default mode is very quiet, but can be made silent by choosing the electronic silent shutter mode. In addition, most of the lenses are near silent during focus. This means they are great at classical music concerts, the ballet, weddings, etc.
Silent mode can automatically turn off AF beep, AF illuminator and flash mode.
A dSLR needs to be put into cumbersome mirror lock up mode to have any chance of getting as quiet as this, but then you are forced to use a bright rear annoying LCD screen instead of the viewfinder.
Even heavy rain will not stop you
With perhaps the best weathersealing in the business, one can be confident shooting with it in the rain – as long as the lens is also weathersealed as well!
Although Olympus do not recommend getting it wet unnecessarily, it will survive a bottle of water being poured over it – although one should protect the hotshoe pins and ensure all seals are in place.
Smaller sensor cameras such as the Olympus will not match the latest full frame sensor image quality in terms of high ISO image noise and dynamic range, but the E-M1 II is sufficiently high in image quality for most purposes and at low ISO levels, where it will mainly be used, surpasses the full frame dSLRs such as the Canon 6D and Canon 5D Mark III in terms of dynamic range.
If one needs depth of field then the E-M1 II can potentially match these full frame dSLRs by being able to use 2 stops wider aperture and thus shoot 2 stops lower ISO which negates the advantage of the full frame cameras.
Furthermore, the superb, class leading image stabilisation combined with wide aperture lenses mean it is rare to need high ISO levels, and allows much longer shutter speeds hand held than any other camera currently available.
Image quality is not just dynamic range and sensor noise, optics are a critical component, and the smaller sensor allows more affordable high quality lenses with better edge-to-edge image quality, and less softening away from the centre than many full frame lenses.
When one needs high resolution 50mp images, the E-M1 II has a sensor shift multiple image technology which allows 50mp images to be obtained – this does require use of a tripod and is only for static scenes. An alternative approach to high resolution images is by use of panoramic stitches.
Camera shake is a critical element which impairs image quality and comes from 3 main sources:
- hand held camera shake – here the E-M1 II is class leading in preventing this – one can carefully hand hold a wide angle lens down to more than 2 seconds with acceptable results!
- mirror slap – this only occurs with dSLRs, and not with mirrorless cameras such as the E-M1. For best results on a dSLR, you need to use a tripod and mirror lock up – very cumbersome and clunky indeed
- mechanical shutter shake – most modern cameras including the E-M1 II allow 1st shutter to be electronic to avoid this issue (these are the diamond “AntiShock” or silent heart shaped settings on the E-M1′s drive modes)
Bottom line – the E-M1 II will give better image quality than your old 35mm film, and be competitive with some full frame dSLRs, and easily beat the image quality of my $5000 Canon 1D mark III pro dSLR of 2007 which was at that time Canon’s flagship sports dSLR. For most uses this is plenty image quality – for those that need more then a a heavy, super expensive medium format digital system will be even better than the big, heavy Sony a7R II or Nikon D810 full frame dSLRs – its just a matter of how big, heavy and expensive you can manage.
Ask yourself, are all those wonderful, famous images over the past 50 years taken with manual focus 35mm film cameras at f/8 with nearly everything in focus, no longer great photos because their “image quality” is not as good as a modern full frame dSLR or E-M1 Mark II – of course not!
Don’t get too hung up on pixel quality – there is far more to a photograph than just pixels!
Capturing the moment
No matter how good the camera’s image quality, it is useless if it gets in the way of you capturing the image or does not have the tools to allow you to capture the more difficult shots.
The E-M1 II has these tools a plenty.
Mechanical shutter speed to 1/8000th sec.
Electronic shutter speed to 1/32,000th sec!
Burst rates to 18fps with continuous autofocus and up to 60fps with AF only on 1st shot.
Shooting an unpredictable fast moving scene such as a bullet passing through balloons, or a lizard’s tongue capturing an insect – no problem – just use pro-Capture mode!
Pro-Capture mode allows you to capture a set number of images at a user predetermine frame rate from the moment you half press the shutter to the moment you press the shutter, and then continue capturing a user determined number of images after the shutter is pressed. This can be achieved in full electronic silent shutter mode.
This addresses the issue of human error due to human reflex response times and eradicates any shutter lag issues – of course it helps if you have focus locked already.
Now you could fill up your memory card by shooting at 60fps and save up to the last 14 frames prior to full shutter release and then a set amount up to 99 or an unlimited amount after the shutter is fully pressed.
Depending upon your subject and needs you may prefer to shoot at 15fps and capture only 5 frames prior and 10 frames after – it is very customisable and unlike most other cameras with this new feature – you can shoot in full RAW file type not just 4K jpeg with images extracted from a 4K video stream.
Even if this was introduced on a dSLR, I just couldn’t imagine the dSLR mirror flopping up and down at rates faster than 15fps – and it would sure be noisy!
Unprecedented high image quality hand holdable telephoto reach
Matched with the brilliant Olympus mZD micro Zuiko 300mm f/4 OIS lens and Dual IS giving 6.5EV image stabilisation and superb image quality with incredible resolving power, the possibilities are endless – the lighter weight, weathersealed kit will allow you to carry it further into the jungle and you can get away with not bringing a big heavy tripod along.
This is just impossible with a full frame dSLR and if you wanted 600mm telephoto reach you are paying a lot more money and carrying a lot of heavy gear – unlike the Olympus kit, you won’t get that on cabin luggage!
Fast, accurate focus with many tools to assist in focus of difficult subjects
This topic deserves a lot of in depth analysis so I will do this in a future blog post.
In short though:
Ever since the Olympus OM-D E-M5 was introduced, Olympus took the lead over dSLRs for fast, accurate autofocus on static contrasty subjects, and the E-M1 Mark II has extended this. Unlike dSLRs, there is no need to calibrate each lens for accuracy. To see how fast and accurate these Olympus cameras are, you can resort to the rear touch screen mode where you can touch a subject on the screen and almost instantly, the camera will AF lock on that subject no matter where they are in the frame then immediately take the photo – and this speed is capable with many Micro Four Thirds lenses.
The Olympus cameras also have featured a very handy, accurate closest eye autodetection autofocus feature which allows you to capture the subject’s closest eye in focus no matter where in the frame it is – as long as you give sufficient time (usually much less than 1 sec) and the subject’s face is visible to the camera and not moving too much. Great for static portraits! This is not possible with most other cameras, and the only dSLR that can do this, the Nikon D750, only allows it for when the eye is near the centre of the frame where the AF points are located.
These mirrorless cameras have AF sensors spread across most of the image area unlike dSLRs which tend to only have AF points near the center, means you have more versatility, and speed in locking AF when the subject is off-center – and who really wants their subject in the center?
Release priority settings allow user to set camera so that one can hold the shutter pressed but it will only take the shot when a AF lock is acquired – a very handy technique.
In situations where AF can be difficult, one can set the camera to use rear-button autofocus lock and disable the half-press shutter AF lock – this allows you to obtain AF by pressing the rear button and then just wait until the moment you want to capture occurs.
If one has to resort to manual focus, these OM-D cameras also allow image stabilised magnified view through the viewfinder or on the LCD screen as well as focus peaking option which highlights the area in focus. In addition, even in magnified view mode, the shutter can be allowed to half-press to AF lock on the magnified view area! (“LV Close Up Settings” under D2 menu). The MF assist functions of magnified view and focus peaking can be set to automatically temporarily activate when MF ring is turned. I person prefer to manually activate the magnified view by allocating it to a function button.
If you have ever tried manually focusing a tilt-shift lens in an optical viewfinder of a dSLR, you will appreciate how useful these tools are!
In addition, most of the higher end lenses have a MF clutch mechanism which not only allows rapid selection of MF instead of AF, but gives a better MF ring experience with end stops and MF distance scale. Many of these lenses also have a Lens Function Button which can be programmed to do various jobs such as halt AF temporarily when the subject goes out of the frame.
Furthermore, there are instances where you want even more depth of field – the latest OM-D cameras, including this one, have both manual focus bracketing and automatic in-camera focus stacking modes to allow a series of shots with user customised focus settings to combine photos of a close subject, mid subject and distant subject to give an overall sharp in focus image – this is particularly useful for macro work to get the whole subject in focus, and also for close up wide angle landscapes.
In addition, the E-M1 Mark II takes the photographer far beyond this capability with the following tools:
- PDAF sensors for faster moving subjects – although not quite as fast and reliable as the latest Nikon sports dSLR, but impressive indeed for a mirrorless camera and adequate for most users and even birds in flight which is notoriously difficult. Birds in flight is now “easy” see comments on this blog.
- User customisable in-camera focus range limiter - this is an awesome unique tool – user can set the closest focus and the most distant focus which the AF system will range through trying to find a subjevt to lock onto. Not only does this speed up AF lock acquisition, but can be used to ignore distracting foregrounds or backgrounds such as wire fences, windows, foreground foliage, etc. It will work with all Micro Four Thirds AF lenses and on my testing, works with both Panasonic and Olympus Four Thirds lenses but not with Canon EF lenses using the Metabones adapter. Current dSLRs have to settle for the much less useful lens based focus limiters which only have 2 or 3 set ranges.
- C-AF tracking algorithm parameters can be customised in a similar manner to sports dSLRs eg. AF scanner mode, C-AF lock sensitivity setting
- Preset MF allows one to be in MF mode with focus set to a user set distance (easily set by using AF or magnified MF beforehand), and then potentially, use the rear button to AF on another part of the scene, then quickly reset back to the preset MF distance ala focus pulling method of video work – this could be very handy indeed!
- AF targeting pad – the rear LCD can be swiveled out and used as a touch screen to select the AF point while viewing the image through the viewfinder – awesome for off-centered subjects, and as the screen can swivel out, your nose wont accidentally move the AF point. One can set Fn1 button to reset the AF point to the center point.
Exposure and previsualisation tuning tools
Modern cameras are amazingly sophisticated in getting exposures what they think is optimum for a given scene – they access a massive database of similar scenes to determine the best way to set exposure. If they detect a face, they will tend to expose for the face and ignore the background.
The OM-D cameras take this further thanks to their electronic viewfinder which, unlike the optical viewfinders on dSLRs, allows:
- WYSIWYG view – if you adjust exposure compensation to under-expose, the view will change to be darker to reflect this change
- exposure aids such as Live Histogram and Highlight/Shadow warnings which are extremely useful in determining where in the image the image will end uo featureless and blown out unless you adjust exposure. If you use spot metering, this area displays on the histogram in green.
- pre-visualisation aids such as WYSIWYG monotone or picture styles, image aspect ratio, Colour Creator, white balance, ART filter effects, keystone adjustment as well as visually compose your 2 frame multiple exposure which would be very difficult with an optical viewfinder!
- Live Boost for darker scenes or when using flash as a main light source
- “optical viewfinder mode” – attempts to give a more natural view without the WYSIWYG feature or Art Filters or picture style effects
- grid overlays such as rule of thirds
- dual electronic level overlays
- keystone compensation
High level of customisation
For better or worse, the Olympus cameras have an incredible amount of customisation possible which can be very confusing to the newbie (the newbie can always resort to iAUTO mode).
Nearly every control can be allocated different functions depending on the user’s needs, and with the E-M1 Mark II, these can now be stored in one of the 3 custom settings and selected on the top right PASM dial as well as saved to a PC and reloaded from a PC.
An example – the “2×2″ lever which normally allows the twin dials to gain different functions, can be re-allocated to be the POWER ON-OFF switch while the named power switch is disabled – very handy indeed for those wanting just right handed operation of the camera.
No need for your reading glasses!!!
Us older guys who need reading glasses to operate dSLRs can survive very well without them using the OM-D cameras.
You can see all the main settings at a glance in the EVF by pressing the OK button and then can adjust any of them.
You can visualise a playback image through the EVF and even magnify it.
You can visualise the full menu system in the EVF and adjust any parameters.
When using my Canon 1D mark III dSLR, I have to take my reading glasses off to take the shot looking through the viewfinder, and then put them back on to playback the image, change the menu, or view the top LCD screen – and this constant swapping is extremely frustrating and risks breaking the glasses and losing the shot and losing your interaction with your subject who then thinks you are inept.
High resolution “scans” of film
Gone are the days where you need to buy an expensive, slow film scanner to digitize your negatives and slides.
Set the camera up on a tripod with a macro lens, and a light source beneath your film (eg. an iPad with a diffuser).
The articulating rear screen makes ergonomics of macro work so much easier and the magnified view makes accurate manual or auto focus a breeze.
If you want high resolution 50mp jpegs / 64Mb RAW files, just turn on the High Resolution mode.
Very nice hand held “run and gun” video
In addition to the now standard 1080HD video, the E-M1 Mark II sports high quality 4K 24/30p video, but perhaps more importantly, the class leading image stabilisation works extremely well in video mode so that you can get away without having big, heavy tripods or stabilisation rigs.
The forthcoming Panasonic GH5 will provide even better 4K video quality, but for most people, the E-M1 Mark II’s video will suffice.
Easy to use flash:
PC sync port as well as a flash hotshoe.
Olympus flash units are generally more simple to use than Canon or Nikon flashes, and of course there is remote optical TTL flash (“RC mode”) as well as high speed sync modes (“Super FP”) and flash sync is a nice fast 1/250th sec – better than most full frame dSLRs.
In the studio setting, or darker indoors when using flash as you main light source, you can use Manual exposure mode (but still with automatic TTL flash if desired) and have the viewfinder automatically change from a the usual WYSIWYG ambient light mode (which will appear too dark if your manual exposure is set to grossly underexpose the ambient light) to a more useful optimised view mode.
Unfortunately, Olympus in their wisdom has added a 5th hotshoe pin in the last few models to accommodate a power supply to certain flash units. This means one can no longer safely just attach a Canon style flash unit as I suspect the flash unit may not appreciate the power supply. HOWEVER, by using the PC sync and manual flash exposure, one can achieve fairly even scene coverage at shutter speed of even 1/500th sec which will be very handy for outdoor sunlit shooting.
Smartphone WiFi wireless remote control
This is very cool indeed – the ability to remotely see the live camera image on the smartphone, change camera settings remotely, and then select the AF area by touching the desired subject on the smartphone resulting in AF lock on the subject anywhere in the frame and immediate shutter release and image transferred back to the smartphone.
Just awesome – next time you are in a lightning storm, have the camera set up on the tripod in the rain with a lens hood on to prevent rain hitting front lens glass, then remotely control the camera from the safety and comfort of your car.
Obviously this is also very cool when traveling without a PC – just transfer images wirelessly to your iPad or iPhone and then upload to internet.
Night photography features
The E-M1 Mark II has dramatically improved long exposure thermal noise to such an extent that one may be able to avoid using the “Noise Reduction” automatic dark frame noise subtraction technology which effectively doubles the length of your long exposures.
It has improved high ISO noise compared to previous models but still 1-2EV worse than current full frame cameras, but you can still get good image quality of Milky Way astroscapes using a wide angle f/2 lens at ISO 1600 or 3200 at 20sec exposures if that is what you are into.
The EVF can also be set to a Live Boost mode to allow better visualisation and manual focus of dim objects such as stars and, optionally, boosted even further to Live Boost 2 mode to assist in composition of very dark scenes – although the frame rate of the EVF is very slow and not great for focus, and really only suitable for tripod work.
AF on relatively bright stars is easy with a lens f/4 or brighter – just choose a single AF point instead of a block of points – if your lens is not as wide an aperture or the star dimmer, consider using AFL with the in-camera focus limiter to stop the focus hunting so much. If you really get stuck, use magnified MF mode – and even try AFL whilst magnified!
Preset MF mode – just in case you accidentally turn the MF ring – you may as well lock it in as a preset MF so you can quickly return to sharp focus!
In addition it has the interesting and very cool unique long exposure modes of the previous Olympus models:
- Live Time and Live BULB – unlike dSLRs which don’t get past 30secs for long exposure timed shots, the Olympus cameras can get to 60secs and in addition, visually display the progress of the image “development” so you can assess the exposure. If you want longer timed BULB, just use normal BULB and set the maximum duration for 1,2,4 or 8 minutes, but in this mode there is no visual update of the image on screen.
- Live Composite – allows an initial scene exposure shot then a user customisable number of further images, but with only the brighter areas added to the original image which prevents the original scene becoming over-exposed. Great for car light trails, fireworks, star trails, etc.
- automatic eye sensor EVF switching
- fully articulated, swivel touch screen
- dual SD card slots including one UHS-II compatible slot
- in-camera automatic HDR as well as manual HDR modes
- Timelapse mode up to 999 frames
- Timelapse movies at 4K 5fps, 1080HD 5/10/15fps
- Multi-exposure mode to automatically combine 2 photos with optional auto-gain (the original one can be one on the memory card or a previous multi-exposure RAW file which thus allows unlimited multi-exposures)
- keystone compensation
- Automatic flicker reduction with flourescent lighting (or you can choose 50Hz or 60Hz, or turn it off)
- AF illuminator built-in (no flash required)
- ART filters to help previsualise images as well as create special effects
- Colour Creator image toning and colour control
- in-camera RAW processing to create new jpegs in playback mode
- Selfie assist mode – automatically reverses the image on the swivel screen when facing the subject
- USB 3.0 port
- stereo mic, mic port, headphone port, audio level controls
- optional battery portrait grip
- optional underwater housing
Like all cameras, there are necessary compromises, some of these relate to the sensor size such as:
- ability to achieve ultra shallow depth of field with wide angle lenses or with most zoom lenses (for most purposes you can achieve an adequate level of shallow depth of field using the E-M1 Mark II with wide aperture prime lenses or a f/2.8 telephoto zoom). Of course, it won’t be long before cameras will have the new iPhone 7 portrait feature of intelligent software blurring of the background which you can do now in computer software but is time consuming and difficult to get the same effect that the lens paints on a full frame camera with a 35mm f/1.4 lens or 85mm f/1.2 lens.
- high ISO performance for low light action subjects, although the noise levels at ISO 1600-3200 should suffice for most uses, and made up for with its other advantages such as hand holdable telephoto reach, and wide aperture telephoto lenses giving more depth of field and allowing lower ISO by using a wider aperture.
- single shot high resolution 50mp capability
Other features that are missing and issues:
- no Scene modes to assist newbies in photographing sunsets, fireworks, etc. – all other Olympus digital cameras have these, but it seems Olympus has taken a leaf out of the Canon and Nikon books and left this beginner’s easy presets out of their pro camera – presumably as no space on the PASM dial after they added the 3 custom settings
- this means no Panorama mode at all! – you need to manually ensure WB, exposure and focus are all locked then take your shots and then stitch them on a computer software package such as Lightroom
- no built-in GPS – not really needed but some may like it, the rest of us can use the smartphone app to achieve the image tagging
- no built-in popup flash – but comes with a small bundled flash unit which can act as a master remote TTL flash controller
- not able to use shutter speeds faster than 1/50th sec in silent electronic shutter mode as top of frame not illuminated – the GH-5 can sync to 1/2000th sec in electronic shutter mode – presumably thanks to a faster or different designed readout.
- unable to use the older BLN style batteries – new, larger batteries are needed
- no sweep panorama mode – I must admit this mode on some cameras doesn’t make sense to me – if you want good quality images you should not be moving the camera during the shot – I won’t be missing this.
- in-camera panorama stitching – you will need software to do this and you need to manually lock settings for each image so they look similar
- radio TTL remote wireless flash control – PocketWizards have created a third party option for Panasonic GH4 so hopefully they will produce an OM-D version, and Nissin have just announced a Micro Four Thirds version of their Nissin Air System which works on 2.4Ghz radio frequency for remote TTL flash. See my wiki page on radio flash options.
- Lightroom 5 will not open the RAW ORF files – you will need to upgrade to Lightroom 6, or use Adobe Raw converter to convert RAW to DNG (does not currently read the 64Mb HiRes RAW files), or use Olympus Viewer 3 to slowly convert to 100mb TIFF files as Lightroom 5 will read the DNG or TIFF files
- Windows File Explorer or photo app does not display these ORF files yet – needs an updated codec to be installed but it seems this is not available as yet
- you may need to update firmware for some lenses – eg. Sigma has just released an update for the 30mm f/1.4 MFT lens
- unanswered questions – does the EVF fog up in high humidity as occurs with my E-M1 mark I and E-M5 mark I?
There are some firmware improvements I would like to see:
- INTRODUCE AN OPTIONAL ARTIFICIAL LOUD SHUTTER SOUND – the shutter is so silent, subject’s don’t know when you have taken the shot and they can move
- ability to set the auto ISO default slowest shutter speed to (image stabilisation effectiveness in EV / focal length) x user EV setting
- the Olympus default is 1/focal length which doesn’t allow the user to utilise the image stabilisation capabilities to its full effect and doesn’t even take into account the 2x crop factor effect
- having a user EV setting as a user variable allows the user to take control of how much they trust the IS and their hand holding skills
- ability to toggle AF targeting pad ON/OFF via a button – currently cannot allocate this function to a button
- Release Priority S = OFF is not honored when AF mode is S3 thus cannot have AF locked and press shutter and wait until subject enters focus distance before shutter fires, admittedly honoring this could create problems for users who use back button AFL then recompose as shutter would not release at all and would confuse them – maybe there needs to be an additional setting?
- AF with Four Thirds lenses is still too slow – perhaps even slower than when using Canon EF lenses with a Metabones adapter!
- add a Panorama mode to make this easier than manually locking all the settings for each shot
- ability to select AF sensor mode: hybrid vs PDAF vs CDAF
- this would potentially give the photographer even more control, but perhaps more importantly, allow companies like Metabones to get certain Canon lenses to autofocus fast and accurately on the camera (for example the Canon EF 135mm f/2.0L lens just won’t autofocus properly – and even on a Sony a7RII, one must select PDAF mode not CDAF mode for it to work, most other Canon lenses will AF fine on both these cameras with a Metabones adapter, although not as fast as a Micro Four Thirds lens on the E-M1 II).
- option to have spot meter coincide with the current single AF point – the Mark II as with prior OM-D models always keeps spot meter in the centre
- firmware bug causing issues with Panasonic Leica 100-400mm lens focal limiter – PS.. Panasonic has issued a firmware update for the lens to fix this.
- ability to use the aperture ring on some Panasonic lenses
- there are not that many lenses with aperture rings but it shouldn’t be that hard to add that fuctionality and make it useful
- ability to use Dual IS with Panasonic OIS lenses
- if Panasonic and Olympus want to continue the paradigm of a unified Micro Four Thirds system, they need to work a bit closer together to improve compatibilities – Panasonic cameras will not do Dual IS with Olympus OIS lenses either, while panasonic cameras don’t have the lens database data to allow Panasonic’s DFD AF technology to work with Olympus lenses or Panasonic Four Thirds lenses for that matter.
- in the interim, probably best to turn the lens IS off when using Panasonic lenses
- on a similar vein, the ProCapture mode is said to only work with Olympus M.Zuiko lenses.
Firmware updates Olympus are allegedly working on:
- Adding ‘Auto ISO’ capability to manual video shooting
- Allowing for control of autofocus racking speed while shooting video
- Clarifying and enhancing customizability of continuous autofocus behavior beyond the current -2 to +2 ‘tight to loose’ scale
- Working on the AF algorithm to improve tracking performance
- Enable the ability to enter playback and menus while the buffer is clearing
This is one hell of a photographer’s tool but so feature laden and customisable that one really needs a good grounding in photography and a preparedness to learn how to use these features to avoid being frustrated with its complexity.
That said, beginners can resort to just using iAUTO mode and even using the rear LCD screen to touch a subject to focus and take the shot.
It is indeed a camera to grow into, but having come from the E-M1 it does feel very natural in the hands with similar ergonomics – although the menu system has been revamped for the better.
Finally, the camera is only part of the equation – the great range of high quality dedicated lenses for the camera is probably the biggest reason to choose this system, and it seems Olympus is preparing to announce even more nice lenses soon – the rumour is wide aperture telephoto prime lenses – here’s hoping for a 100mm f/1.4 and a 200mm f/2.8.