Reviews, Tech

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II Review

July 3, 2017

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii

Having had the E-M10 for almost a year now, we thought it was high time for a review. The focus will be on what it is really like to use as a day-to-day and travel camera, rather than the detailed specifications. Let’s jump right into it! 

Look and Feel

I think there is no denying that this is a sexy little camera. I mean it’s a real looker. Though the E-M10 is the cheapest in the OM-D series, every corner of the device oozes with excellent build quality and attention to detail. Look at those tasty dials! Every button and dial operates with a reassuring click, giving clear feedback and making it a joy to use.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii dials

Not only does it look great when you pull it out of the box though, it stays looking great. Lucy and I use this for a travel camera and let’s just say we’re not the most delicate with our tech, but this camera really stands up for itself. Even the exposed touchscreen on the rear is incredibly scratch-resistant.

Usability

I must admit Lucy and I both had our doubts about moving from a familiar DSLR to a smaller form factor camera with new menu structures and operating workflows. Let me tell you, you can cast those doubts straight into the gutter my friend. The critical functionality and operation feels immediately comfortable when you pick up the E-M10 for the first time. Operating modes are clearly labelled on the dials, the rear buttons have intuitive and descriptive icons and for such a small camera (I have hands like those foam fingers) the grip is very ergonomic and feels remarkably substantial. This owing largely to the addition of a small thumb rest under the Fn1 button on the rear.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii rear

Menus

The infamous Olympus menu structure. This appears to be one of the more divisive aspects among Olympus users, with many bashing the sometimes overwhelming plethora of menu options. Admittedly, this is probably the most difficult thing to get used to if you are switching from another brand but for me, this has become a big advantage to the camera over others I have tried.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii menu

In truth, you can customise nearly every feature of this camera to have it operate just the way you like it. There are three dedicated function (Fn) buttons which are completely customisable and brilliantly placed on the body. Beyond that, you can assign new functions to the adjustment dials, change the displayed information on the screen and more. It takes a little playing with it to get it just right (which is encouraged) but once you do, the camera will feel incredibly natural and pain free to use.

Out and About

Being so small and light, this camera is your perfect travel companion. It will happily hang over your shoulder or around your neck for a whole day. For the social media addicts among us, the Wi-Fi transfer  makes uploading amazing pictures to Instagram or Facebook a breeze. Further to that though, the Wi-Fi also supports remote shooting. Comes in handy when you need to hit that legendary ‘pensive gaze into the sunset’ and you have no wingman to get the snap. Lens changes are quick and easy on the E-M10 and consistent with the rest of the build quality, they click firmly into place so you know that thing ain’t falling off!

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii

Battery

One small downside of the smaller form factor is that there is simply less space for a battery. And for a camera that packs so many features and functions, the juice you get from the supplied battery is not quite enough for an activity-packed day. We’d recommend buying a spare or two so you’re never caught with your electronic pants down.

Image Output

Clearly, being a camera after all, the quality of the image output should really be paramount in any review. There are many other reviews out there which go into glorious detail and comparison of the picture quality so I won’t cover that here. I will say however that I have found the picture quality to be outstanding. Truly amazing. Here’s a few sample pictures from our travels, taken with either the 14-42 mm or the 40-150 mm lens.

Tokyo taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii Cat sleeping, taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii View over Tokyo street, taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii

One of the most amazing features of the camera is its in-body 5-axis image stabilisation. This allows you to get razor sharp images in a much wider range of situations, shooting at longer focal lengths. Additionally, since the stabilisation is in the camera body and not the lens, this makes every lens upgrade cheaper too!

This image stabilisation really comes into its own when shooting video. The video quality itself is excellent and there are a number of shooting modes available, our go-to being 1080p-50. But with the addition of the brilliant image stabilisation, it becomes very easy to achieve high-quality results.

Points to Note

This camera really does need a high speed memory card (Class 10 or higher) to get the best out of it. Don’t get me wrong it will work just fine with something like a Class 4. However it can feel sluggish when reviewing photos and videos if you use a slower card like that, because the SD card can’t serve the large file sizes as fast as the camera (and user) wants them.

I think probably the only gripe I have with the camera is the location of the button on the touchscreen that controls the behaviour of the touchscreen. You can use this button to choose between instant focus and shutter, focus or nothing when you tap the touchscreen. The focus option is brilliant, it can be used for fast and accurate focus selection. However, when you are using the viewfinder, you will likely want to turn off the touchscreen functionality so you aren’t inadvertently focusing elsewhere or selecting rogue shooting options with your schnoz. That’s easy enough, you can just tap the button to turn off touchscreen input. You can see the button on the left of the touchscreen with a green square and pointy finger.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii touchscreen

However, this button is located exactly where my nose touches the screen, so I end up turning the touchscreen back on and focusing on something in the bottom left of the composition! The solution is fairly simple, you can assign one of the directional buttons to lock the touchscreen operation instead of relying on the onscreen button. But, I think Olympus could have placed that button on the screen more strategically.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 ii

Summary

This is an excellent camera, for travel or otherwise. You get an unbelievable amount of features, functions and high-quality technology in a tiny package and for a very reasonable price of under £600 at most retailers. The build quality is impressive and the camera itself is stunning. I have grown to love this camera more and more as I have used it this past year. It’s an absolute winner, this reviewer gives it two big thumbs up.

Do have any questions about the camera? Are you thinking of buying one? Let us know in the comments!

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1 Comment

  • Reply sonali July 22, 2017 at 04:23

    Never seen an olympus before. In my part of the world, it is not too popular. How does it compare to a canon or nikon?
    sonali recently posted…What To Consider When Buying A DSLR Camera

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