Photography News 115 - Newsletter

Big test

OM System OM-1 Mark II

PRICE: £2199


With an even better autofocus system, 14-bit multi-frame pixel shift shooting and the world’s first integral graduated neutral density system, the OM-1 Mark II boasts a handful of important upgrades to give this second-generation camera extra appeal


THE OM SYSTEM OM-1 made history by being the last Olympus- branded camera; the new OM-1 Mark II is in the history books by being the first professional-orientated camera from OM System. Unveiled just over two years ago, it feels slightly too soon for an updated model, with the two cameras sharing many features including the Micro Four Thirds 20.4-megapixel sensor and Truepic X image processor. However, the OM-1 Mark II is a step or two on. Sadly, that is also reflected in the price, costing £2199 for the body only – about £700 more than the OM-1’s street price. Headline benefits in the new model include an upgraded AF system, improved IBIS now rated at 8.5EV, twice the buffer size, blackout- free modes at slower frame rates, High-Res Shot in 14-bit Raw and 7EV Live ND. Oh, it’s also the world’s first camera with Live GND – a versatile graduated neutral density filter. Branding apart, it’s identical to the OM-1, with the only design tweak being the rubber-coated control dial rims for easier use with gloves.

itself well. I used the camera/long lens duo with birds in the garden, at various nature reserves and at Slimbridge Wetland Centre. With bird and eye detection selected, the OM-1 Mark II did reasonably in both bright and less favourable conditions. Once the subject was acquired, the eye detection focus box held on as the subject moved around. But, even with the focus box fixed on the eye, focus was not always accurate and the results were unacceptable when checked later on a larger screen. Bird acquisition could also be hesitant when the scene was busy. For example, AF could not pick up on the bird even if it was prominent and the subject’s eye was visible through branches. In this situation, a manual tweak of the focus barrel was needed to get focus.

Let’s look at those improvements in turn and see how they perform. The most obvious change in the AF is the human option in the subject detection menu. The OM-1 had face detection in a separate menu, yet it always seemed strange there was no human detection. But now, it has finally arrived on the new camera. The AF system’s refresh rate has also been increased to give an uplift in tracking in continuous shooting. I tackled a range of subjects with the OM-1 Mark II, keeping my own OM-1 on hand too for comparison’s sake. I had a selection of glass to try, including the 12-40mm f/2.8, 60mm f/2.8 macro and huge 150-600mm f/5-6.3 IS telezoom. The long telezoom proved to be a demanding test for the AF system, and the camera mostly acquitted

BRANCHING OUT Shot on the OM-1 Mark II and the ED 150-600mm zoom, with an exposure of 1/1000sec at f/6.3, ISO 800. The Raw was treated with Lightroom Denoise

32 Photography News | Issue 115

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