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OM-1 MkII announced


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OM Systems has announced the OM-1 MkII.  It's a evolution rather than revolution it seems and the main upgrade is more RAM to enhance computational photography.  They talk about improved AF, C-AF plus tracking, human detection mode and improved subject tracking plus upgraded image stabilisation.    It is now branded OM-System rather than Olympus.

 

For UW photgraphy one new item which might be worth trying out is the built-in graduated ND filter function which might help out with split shots - how well it does depends on how they implement the setup I would guess and how quickly it can take the required frames, flash recycle times could be an issue.  It also is said to use the same body withonly a change to to mode dial giving it a rubberised coating which may bode well for using the same housing?

 

I'm wondering if part of the motivation releasing a new model 2 years out might have been the need to stop using Olympus branding?

 

An initial review is up online here: https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/om-system-om-1-mark-ii-initial-review

 

Also for UW shooters there is a new 9-18mm lens as well, could be a compact rectilinear option, don't see any details on what has changed in it though.  The old one wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer.

 

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1 hour ago, Chris Ross said:

I'm wondering if part of the motivation releasing a new model 2 years out might have been the need to stop using Olympus branding?

 

This is what several rumors sites are writing.

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If seeing it optimistic, it may be similar to the situation between Sony A7R4 and A7R5: same sensor (at the first glance this does not seem to be much of an upgrade), but substantially improved AF performance - in this case it may be well valuable for UW?

 

Wolfgang

 

P.S.: I must say, however, that in my hands, macro AF performance of my last MFT camera, EM1II, was closer to A7R5 than to the previous MFT generation (EM5II). Maybe the need to improve AF perfomance is not so urgent for OM as it was for Sony FF...

Edited by Architeuthis
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Now that is rather fast.

Let's now pray to the housing gods and hope the new body still fits....would be a real shame otherwise. Dimensions/weight so far are listed as exactly the same, so could be perhaps a good sign, that only changes were made under the hood.

Also given how little has changed maybe OM will bring at least some of the changes, like upgraded autofocus and new detection modes to the original OM1 via firmware one day... there hasn't been any updates since the 1.5 version quite a while ago.

 

2399 Euro on DE website, don't see any mention about extra battery or 5 year warranty like it was with original OM1, only deal seems to be 300 Euro off any lens bought with OM1 II.

Edited by makar0n
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12 minutes ago, Architeuthis said:

P.S.: I must say, however, that in my hands, macro AF performance of my last MFT camera, EM1II, was closer to A7R5 than to the previous MFT generation (EM5II). Maybe the need to improve AF perfomance is not so urgent for OM as it was for Sony FF...

Have you tried it on a blackwater dive? I find that is the most difficult scenario for autofocus underwater - tiny translucent subjects moving around in three dimensions, with not much light to focus by, and nowhere to steady yourself. About to pull the trigger on an A6700 because my A6300 is very much challenged by this.

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1 hour ago, makar0n said:

Now that is rather fast.

Let's now pray to the housing gods and hope the new body still fits....would be a real shame otherwise. Dimensions/weight so far are listed as exactly the same, so could be perhaps a good sign, that only changes were made under the hood.

Also given how little has changed maybe OM will bring at least some of the changes, like upgraded autofocus and new detection modes to the original OM1 via firmware one day... there hasn't been any updates since the 1.5 version quite a while ago.

 

2399 Euro on DE website, don't see any mention about extra battery or 5 year warranty like it was with original OM1, only deal seems to be 300 Euro off any lens bought with OM1 II.

From DP review:

"Beyond this, the handling of the camera is almost identical to that of the original camera. We say 'almost' because OMDS has changed the camera's command dial to one with a rubbery coating. These offer an improved tactile feel and also make the camera a little easier to operate when using gloves." 

which sounds promising.

 

The AF of the EM-1 II was indeed a big step up and the OM-1 is a bit better again. It does depend on the lens in use, The Panasonic 30mm macro for example is snappier than the olympus 60mm.  I've not tried it in black water but the EM-1 II locked onto mating Mandarin fish at dusk 'without using a focus light using the 12-40 zoom.  The light was really quite dim.

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1 hour ago, Chris Ross said:

From DP review:

"Beyond this, the handling of the camera is almost identical to that of the original camera. We say 'almost' because OMDS has changed the camera's command dial to one with a rubbery coating. These offer an improved tactile feel and also make the camera a little easier to operate when using gloves." 

which sounds promising.

 

The AF of the EM-1 II was indeed a big step up and the OM-1 is a bit better again. It does depend on the lens in use, The Panasonic 30mm macro for example is snappier than the olympus 60mm.  I've not tried it in black water but the EM-1 II locked onto mating Mandarin fish at dusk 'without using a focus light using the 12-40 zoom.  The light was really quite dim.

 

This sounds very promising indeed, like they literally re-used v1 body.

Guess we will have to see how AF compares between v1 and v2. I am also curious whether any changes were made to the electronic shutter - current limit seems to be 1/100 when synced with strobe.

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It would be a welcome break with tradition if the new body fits in the OM-1 housing (at least in Nauticam), but I can't imagine changing either way, since the "rubbery coating" wouldn't do much good in a housing.  Fortunately, I have no significant complaints with the OM-1, above or below the waves.

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8 hours ago, makar0n said:

 

This sounds very promising indeed, like they literally re-used v1 body.

Guess we will have to see how AF compares between v1 and v2. I am also curious whether any changes were made to the electronic shutter - current limit seems to be 1/100 when synced with strobe.

This is linked to readout speed and while review is not specific there is no mention of a sensor changeand I think burst rate is the same.

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14 hours ago, Chris Ross said:

This is linked to readout speed and while review is not specific there is no mention of a sensor changeand I think burst rate is the same.

Yeah seems its the same sensor...och well, gotta wait till v3 to stop scaring the fishies with shutter noise 😉

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  • 4 weeks later...

Woohooo, looks like autofocus improvements are coming to the original OM1. At least some, MK2 is supposedly still better.

No new functions (like human detection) though, just the autofocus update + "thrash" button modification.

 

https://www.dpreview.com/news/8620115074/om-system-om-1-autofocus-firmware-update

 

Original, in Japanese:

https://jp.omsystem.com/information/detail/in20240221.pdf

Edited by makar0n
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  • 1 month later...

And firmware 1.6 is out!

https://support.jp.omsystem.com/en/support/imsg/digicamera/download/software/firm/e1/

 

 

Changelog (translated from Japanese):

 

Quote

-Improved operational stability.

-Security level for smartphone connection can now be selected; if you cannot connect to Wi-Fi, please set "WPA2".

-Updated User's Manual.

 

Autofocus does not seem to be mentioned...unless it is that "operational stability" thingie. Relying on DeepL translation here.

 

 

Manual has also been updated to version 1.6:

https://download.omsystem.com/pages/inst/om1/index.html

 

Section 12 now lists:

Quote

"12. Additions/modifications by firmware update"

 

 

OM1 Mk2 and OM5 have also gotten a firmware update today!

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I wonder how much larger they can make the MFT sensor before IQ plateaus - because as it stands, i see this sensor size slowly dying.     APS-C isnt that much bigger anymore, especially with mirrorless - so what does MFT bring to the table?

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On 4/18/2024 at 6:18 PM, vkalia said:

I wonder how much larger they can make the MFT sensor before IQ plateaus - because as it stands, i see this sensor size slowly dying.     APS-C isnt that much bigger anymore, especially with mirrorless - so what does MFT bring to the table?

I think all of the sensors are plateauing now and they are all really quite good these days.  For me the m43 provides very small compact lenses and a complete lineup of them.  Canon/Nikon/Sony  APS-C don't have a lot of choice in lenses in comparison and are somewhat neglected.  The reality as I see it is that m43 is good enough for most people given what they use the images for. 

 

I use an OM-1 on land and it has lots of neat features in computational photography and is a macro machine with the 90mm macro, focus stacking is super easy and using the 90mm macro on it is unmatched for shooting small bugs handheld.  Admittedly not much applicable for UW, but it does a fine job there as well and can shoot macro of small critters without needing to resort to a closeup lens.

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I’m also on Team m4/3.  IQ is good enough for my purposes, recognizing that it’s not in the same league as the best full frame sensors.  But the compact size and weight seals the deal for me.  It’s brilliant for travel and all day use on land.  I shoot wildlife and can hike all day with a 100-400 lens hanging off my shoulder, something with more reach and a lot less pain than its FX equivalent.  
 

By the way, the size of the sensor is literally in its name.  Making it “bigger” would make it no longer m4/3 and would require a new lens lineup.  

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11 hours ago, Troporobo said:

 

By the way, the size of the sensor is literally in its name.  Making it “bigger” would make it no longer m4/3 and would require a new lens lineup.  

Yes that's right and it would also mean losing some of the advantages as lenses would on average be bigger and the larger sensor would mean the image stabilisation for which Olympus bodies are renowned would be less effective.  The smaller sensor has less mass and is easier to accelerate and decelerate to cancel out camera movement.

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On 4/18/2024 at 6:00 PM, Chris Ross said:

I think all of the sensors are plateauing now and they are all really quite good these days.  For me the m43 provides very small compact lenses and a complete lineup of them.  Canon/Nikon/Sony  APS-C don't have a lot of choice in lenses in comparison and are somewhat neglected.  The reality as I see it is that m43 is good enough for most people given what they use the images for. 

 

I use an OM-1 on land and it has lots of neat features in computational photography and is a macro machine with the 90mm macro, focus stacking is super easy and using the 90mm macro on it is unmatched for shooting small bugs handheld.  Admittedly not much applicable for UW, but it does a fine job there as well and can shoot macro of small critters without needing to resort to a closeup lens.

 

Personally, i am doubtful about how long MFT will stay competitive.       I have used a mix of Canon FF and APS-C for land-based shooting for over 2 decades, and for my needs, there hasnt really been a significant paucity of lenses.       MFT did indeed have a huge advantage in size back in the day - while it still exists, that advantage is a lot lower now.    

 

Dont get me wrong - i use MFT underwater because of the compact size/ease of travel as well.      Back when i switched in 2018, it was a no-brainer but if i had to make the same decision today, I’d definitely be considering APS-C mirrorless as an alternative.     As for down the road?    I don’t know how long OM Digital Solutions can continue to compete with Sony/Nikon/Canon in sensor technology.     Being compact only takes you so far.

 

IMO, YMMV, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Doh, i thought i had posted this earlier, but my post hasn’t gone through.

 

By “larger”, i dont mean a physically larger sensor.   I meant cramming more megapixels onto the sensor - sloppy phrasing on my part, sorry.      Yes, i know “moar megapickles” isnt everything but as sensor tech improves, you can get more pixel density without giving too much in dynamic range and noise - and getting up to 24-30MP would just allow that little bit more freedom to crop and still get a decent-sized print.

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I don’t know a lot about sensor technology, but in my limited understanding, making the photocells smaller to cram more of the into the same space would have the side effect of making them less sensitive and thus raise the effective ISO and noise. Certainly doing so would be more costly.  Maybe someone with more smarts could expound on those points.  

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Posted (edited)

I shot MFT underwater for a number of years. First the E-M5 (mk1), then the E-M1 (mk1), then the GH4 and the GH5.
 

The IBIS on all of them was wonderful. For stills photography, I was never wanting for focus speed. Compact size, very good compact optics. Good image quality, not unto FF standards, but good enough considering the other advantages. Ability mount almost any lens...

What drew me to them initially were the early models that were like little digital rangefinders. Early models like the Lumix GF1 and GX1 had so much functionality packed into a camera the size of a 1973 Leica CL. GX1 was like having a little digital Leica for a bargain price. In fact, many of the lenses were designed by Leica! And they were an absolute delight to use. I took alot more pictures because they were so nice to use, and easy to carry around. The GM1 was a little jewel that fit in the palm of your hand, could mount any MFT lens, and had a 16mp sensor that did very well.

It's only a personal opinion, but what I miss about MFT are those small bodies.

The popularity of the Fuji X100VI might be a clue. A camera the size of the old GX1, with interchangeable lenses, a tilting EVF, with a shutter speed dial on top, aperture ring on the lens might prove very popular, no?

Ah well, who knows what the MFT consortium is thinking these days. But I hope the format continues and reigns popularity.

 

On 4/18/2024 at 1:18 AM, vkalia said:

I wonder how much larger they can make the MFT sensor before IQ plateaus - because as it stands, i see this sensor size slowly dying.     APS-C isnt that much bigger anymore, especially with mirrorless - so what does MFT bring to the table?

 

Edited by Jim Laurel
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On 5/4/2024 at 3:29 AM, Troporobo said:

I don’t know a lot about sensor technology, but in my limited understanding, making the photocells smaller to cram more of the into the same space would have the side effect of making them less sensitive and thus raise the effective ISO and noise. Certainly doing so would be more costly.  Maybe someone with more smarts could expound on those points.  

 

That’s definitely the downside - but ceiling where that becomes an issue has been constantly going up.     Across all sensor sizes, pixels are becoming smaller (thereby allowing more pixels on the sensor).  and yet gaining DR and better noise capabilities.           Eg, my 40MP Fuji XT5’s APS-C sensor is orders of magnitude better than my older APS-C Canon bodies from 10 years ago.

 

However, it seems FF and APS-C have been improving more on that front than MFT.   My concern is that in another 4-5 years, we will still be living with 20-24MP sensors while Canon, Sony, et al will be offering 50MP with better noise and DR, with bodies that are only marginally larger than the Olympus.

 

And to be clear - i really hope i am wrong and that OM gets their act together.     For underwater especially, I do love the small form factor of my MFT system for ease of travel.    But sensor R&D is $$$ and I have my doubts whether they will be able to do so.

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, vkalia said:

 

That’s definitely the downside - but ceiling where that becomes an issue has been constantly going up.     Across all sensor sizes, pixels are becoming smaller (thereby allowing more pixels on the sensor).  and yet gaining DR and better noise capabilities.           Eg, my 40MP Fuji XT5’s APS-C sensor is orders of magnitude better than my older APS-C Canon bodies from 10 years ago.

 

However, it seems FF and APS-C have been improving more on that front than MFT.   My concern is that in another 4-5 years, we will still be living with 20-24MP sensors while Canon, Sony, et al will be offering 50MP with better noise and DR, with bodies that are only marginally larger than the Olympus.

 

And to be clear - i really hope i am wrong and that OM gets their act together.     For underwater especially, I do love the small form factor of my MFT system for ease of travel.    But sensor R&D is $$$ and I have my doubts whether they will be able to do so.

 

 

 

It's not OM system that will be developing the sensors as I understand things.  There's only a handful of places that actually make sensors.  The current OM-1 sensor is a Sony sensor while Nikon also uses Sony sensors, while Canon make their own.  The camera manufacturers then work out the best way to utilise the sensor technology to build their camera around it. 

 

I really think sensor technology has plateaued if you want an example go to DXO mark and look at camera sets like for example Z8/D850/D810 covering about 10 years or Sony A7RV/A7RIII/A7RII.  The Signal to noise curves all sit on top of each other dynamic range is all similar in fact Z8 is about one stop less than D850.  It's not the full story of course but improvements are now very much incremental.

 

What has been advancing is things like readout speed, on chip AF and computational photography, all nice features but not all useful for UW work.  You are still not going to beat the size and weight of lenses for m43 cameras, not to mention the large range of lenses suitable for UW work.

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