New highlight for nature photographers: OM-1 Mark II
Almost exactly two years ago, OM System introduced the OM-1, an extremely good camera for outdoor fans. The OM-1 is very powerful and fast - making it ideal for nature and wildlife photography. In this blog post with video, we present its successor, the OM-1 Mark II, in more detail.
At first glance, not too much has changed compared to its predecessor: As already familiar from the OM-1, we also have a compact, lightweight, but also extremely robust body here, of course again with the proven IP53 rating. True to the company philosophy "Kacho Fugetsu" (from the Japanese: "beauty of nature"), you can take this camera with you on all outdoor adventures. Dust, rain, sun, wind or snow cannot harm this body.
If you take a closer look, there are some small but significant improvements to the body: Rubberized dials make it easier to use with gloves. The option to use the delete button as a secondary menu button avoids the awkward reaching around to reach the menu button at the top left. This makes one-handed operation much easier!
Apart from the new "OM-System" lettering and the small "II" on the front, nothing else has changed on the body.
Let's move on to the inner values: OM has used the same 20.4 MFT sensor as its predecessor. If that's not enough resolution for you - especially for landscapes - no problem! Of course, the High Res mode is available again, but what's new here is the 14-bit color depth in RAW format instead of the previous 12-bit. Up to 50MP High Res shots from the hand or 80MP from a tripod are no problem - as long as the subject is not moving quickly.
The High Res mode is also one of the examples that shows how much computer-aided technology is increasingly finding its way into the world of photography. Technology that has long been standard in smartphones is now also being used more and more in system cameras:
And so OM also relies on this computer-aided photography technology for the OM-1 Mark II, better known as: Computational Photography. For all those who are hearing this term for the first time: With computational photography, the optical capabilities of the camera are supplemented by digital processes to create even better images. One example of this is HDR photography, in which the camera takes several shots of a scene and then combines them to show large differences in brightness.
Other features such as Focus Stacking with 15 images and Live Composite are also included. Some functions have also been upgraded in the new OM-1 II: e.g. Pro Capture - now with up to 120 frames per second in AF-S; and without any blackouts. OM has also extended the tried and tested Live ND filters by one exposure level to ND 128.
The Live GND, i.e. the Live Gradient ND, is completely new and virtually the first of its kind. Not only do you have the choice between three different strengths, but you can also set the position and angle of the gradient as you need it. This is a great function for anyone who occasionally needs an ND filter but doesn't want to take a large graduated filter set with them. It also saves you some money and space in your backpack.
Of course, OM System has also upgraded the 1 Mark II in terms of video: 4K with 60fps and Full HD with 120fps are possible here. Thanks to the improved 5-axis IBIS, which compensates for up to 8.5 exposure levels in photo and video, steady hand-held shots are no problem at all
A lot has been done with the autofocus in particular: for example, the option to lock certain subjects, such as birds, is really smart. Once locked, the camera can no longer be distracted and reliably keeps the subject in focus. In our video, we show you an example of what the whole thing looks like in a finished shot. On the other hand, OM has abandoned the previous face recognition for people. Instead, there is a subject recognition AF for people that can reliably recognize and track a person's entire body. In our video we show you how the OM-1 II tracks the body even without being able to see the face.
At this point we must also mention the further improved star AF, which was already available on the Mark I, but now focuses even better on the stars and makes the camera a great choice for astrophotography. Especially in combination with the many ultra-wide-angle lenses that are available for MFT.
Speaking of wide angles: In addition to the OM-1 II, OM System has also updated its ultra-light 9-18mm and brought it up to the current state of the art.
At the same time as the OM-1 Mark II, OM has also introduced a new super telephoto zoom. With a focal length of 150-600mm, equivalent to 300-1200mm, it is still super compact and lightweight (compared to full-frame lenses). You can also use the lens with a 2x teleconverter to achieve a telephoto range of up to 2400mm in 35mm. In combination with the digital teleconverter, you can even get up to 4800mm. So if you like to photograph the moon from time to time, this is a great telescope.
The huge range is also particularly exciting for birders. Paired with the very popular OM dot sight, tracking the subject is also not as difficult. However, we would recommend a gimbal tripod head, especially for the long focal length, because although the lens is comparatively light, it is not quite so easy to handle in the long run.
You could say that with the OM-1 Mark II, OM System has further improved an already very good camera and equipped it with retractable features. So if you are thinking of buying a powerful second system: Now would be a good time to do so. The OM-1 II is particularly suitable for outdoor photographers as an "always with you" camera and is therefore a great choice for those who are looking for a powerful, robust, yet small and handy camera for traveling.