We look at the main differences between the flagship OM-D E-M1, the mid-range O-MD E-M5 II and the most recent arrival, the junior OM-D E-M10 II.
Olympus’s OM-D line of mirrorless models has fused retro style with top performance, and being compatible with a wide variety of Micro Four Thirds optics has helped it to become a great success. The line has now been around long enough to have successfully catered for a range of audiences, but because a lot of technology is shared between the models, and because they have all been released at different times, it can be difficult to make out which is more advanced in specific areas.
The following article looks at the main differences between the flagship OM-D E-M1, the mid-range O-MD E-M5 II and the most recent arrival, the junior OM-D E-M10 II.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Sensor
All three cameras make use of a 16MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor, rather than the newer 20MP alternative that’s staring to emerge in certain Micro Four Thirds models such as the Olympus Pen F and Panasonic Lumix GX8. This provides a resolution of 4608 x 3456 pixels as standard, and all three models employ the same TruePic VII engine for processing. One feature unique to the E-M5 II, however, is the High Res Shot mode, which quickly captures a number of separate exposures of a scene before combining them into a single 40MP image.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Image Stabilisation
All three cameras make use of Olympus’s five-axis image stabilisation system, which stabilises images over pitch, roll and yaw, and also shift across both horizontal and vertical axes. While Olympus claims that the systems inside both the E-M1 and EM10 II are effective by up to a maximum four stops, the E-M5 II promises five.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – LCD
Despite the difference in price between the three models, things are somewhat equal here. Each camera has been designed with a 3in LCD screen, each with a resolution of 1,037k dots. Touch sensitivity is also integrated into each display, and this allows you to set the focus point among other things. However, whereas the displays on the E-M10 II and E-M1 can be tilted, the E-M5 II’s display is a vari-angle screen mounted via a side hinge. This means that it can be adjusted to a broader range of positions than the other two.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Burst rate
Burst shooting is one area where each camera offers something slightly different. The E-M10 II manages to shoot at 8.5fps for up to 22 Raw frames, while both the E-M5 II and the E-M1 manage a faster 10fps burst-shooting option (although the E-M5 II has an even faster 11fps setting in a silent-shutter mode). The E-M5 II promises 16 Raw frames at its standard 10fps speed, while the E-M1 almost triples this to 41 Raw frames (although you can increase this depth at slower burst speeds).
When continuous autofocus is enabled, the E-M1 will carry on focusing at a rate of 9fps while the E-M5 II will do so at a slower rate of 5fps, and the E-M10 II at a slightly slower 4fps. When set to record JPEGs instead of Raw files, each camera can maintain its maximum burst rate up to the capacity of the card in use. Of course, in order to achieve these depths, you need to make sure your memory card is well specified.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Video
No 4K video on any of these cameras here – instead, you get Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) at a choice of frame rates on each. Being launched closer together, the E-M10 II and E-M5 II offered a broader range of frame rates and compression options than the E-M1, together with time coding and a 4K time-lapse mode, although a recent firmware update brought much of this functionality to the E-M1. One thing the E-M10 II offers that the others don’t, however, is the option to record footage at up to 120fps for slow-motion playback.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Focusing systems
All three models feature a contrast-detect AF system with 81 points in total, although the E-M1 augments this with a separate 37-point phase-detect AF system. This works with all Micro Four Thirds lenses and makes the camera better suited to tracking subjects as they move around the scene. The E-M10 II also features an AF Targeting pad option, which lets you select the AF point via the touchscreen as you use the viewfinder.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Weather sealing
Olympus claims that the bodies of both the E-M1 and E-M5 II are freeze proof (down to -10oc) and protected against dust and splashes, although you’ll need to ensure the lens you use is similarly weather sealed to gain maximum protection. Not surprisingly for a junior model, the E-M10 II lacks weather-sealing of any sort.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Viewfinder
All three cameras feature electronic viewfinders, each with a 2.36million-dot resolution. However, while the E-M1 and E-M5 II make use of LCD panels here, the newer E-M10 II adopts an OLED display instead. Magnification on the viewfinders of both the E-M1 and E-M5 II is 1.48x, which equates to 0.74x in 35mm terms – roughly the same as certain full-frame DSLRs. The E-M10 II, meanwhile, has a slightly smaller maximum 1.23x magnification, or around 0.62x in 35mm terms.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Card slots
All three models are alike in that they are built with a single slot that accepts SDHC and SDXC memory cards. The only real difference between them is that the newest E-M10 II provides support for both UHS I and UHS II cards, whereas the others only support the former.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Flash
The E-M10 II has its own flash built into its body. The other two do not, but both ship with a small external unit that slips into each camera’s hot shoe.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Flash Sync socket
The E-M10 II is the only camera from the trio not to offer a flash sync socket.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Battery life
Olympus promises that the E-M5 II’s battery will last for up to 310 frames on a single charge as standard, while the E-M10 II will go on for 320 and the E-M1 for 350 frames. This situation changes, however, when battery grips are used where possible and power management settings adjusted.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Audio in and out
Although the E-M10 provides a good level of control over video recording, one thing it does not offer is a mic input for external mics; the other two each offer a standard 3.5mm port for this. Headphone sockets are nowhere to be found across all three bodies, but the optional HLD-8G grip compatible with the E-M5 II does have one built into it.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 II vs E-M5 II vs E-M1 – Size and Weight
Unsurprisingly, the most junior E-M10 II model is the lightest of the trio, weighing just 390g with its battery and card in place. The E-M5 II and E-M1, meanwhile, weigh in at 469g and 497g respectively, again with each camera’s battery and card.
The E-M10 II and E-M5 II aren’t that differently sized from each other, with respective measurements of 119.5 × 83.1 × 46.7mm and 124 x 85 x 45mm, although the E-M1 is significantly bulkier at 130 x 94 x 63mm.