Olympus gives new love to E-M1, E-M5 II cameras via firmware updates

Olympus OM D EM 1 front angle
In November, Olympus will release new firmware updates for the O-MD E-M1 and O-MD E-M5 Mark II cameras. The updates add new shooting modes, some that were recently introduced in the new O-MD E-M10 Mark II. In addition, Olympus will update the OI Share mobile app and Olympus Capture software for tethering a camera to a computer.

The E-M1 update (version 4.0) adds focus stacking mode, focus bracketing mode, advanced focus peaking, silent mode, improved anti-shock mode, simulated optical viewfinder (S-OVF), 4K time-lapse movie capture, enhanced movie functions, Slate Tone, synchronized PCM audio and video movie recording, MF clutch disabling, and Menu Cursor Position Memory. Olympus says the firmware updates add more functionality and usefulness in its flagship camera without having to release a brand-new model.

Focus stacking and focus bracketing are two highlight features that help capture the clearest image possible. Focus stacking, a feature found only in the E-M1 after update, shoots up to eight images in RAW or JPEG. In addition to the images stored on the card, the camera creates one composite JPEG that you can use immediately, without post-editing. Ideal for macro photography, Olympus says the mode lets you achieve greater depth of field at small apertures while keeping more of an object in focus, without diffraction.

Focus bracketing, introduced in the E-M10 II, can shoot up to 999 shots (depending on the lens). With one press of the shutter button, the camera can shoot multiple frames, each with different focus depths. This is useful for macro photography, and photos can be merged in post-editing software to create a photo with large depth of field while using wide apertures. Depending on the lens attached, the camera knows how far to tell the lens to travel (focus). The feature requires a tripod to be effective.

Another E-M10 II feature is the S-OVF, which turns off exposure compensation and white balance to simulate what the naked eye would see. Basically, the electronic viewfinder is pretending to be an optical one. However, Olympus says this has no effect on the actual image quality.

With advanced focus peaking (already available in the E-M5 II) users can adjust the intensity and color of the focus. “Additionally, new 4K Time Lapse Movie captures up to 999 images automatically and combines them in-camera into a stunning 4K file,” Olympus says — also introduced in the E-M10 II.

“Menu Cursor Position Memory further enhances customization by automatically returning to the last menu setting used, meaning less time navigating menus and more time is spent capturing moments,” Olympus says. “Anti-Shock Mode is now easier than ever and automatically switches to the mechanical shutter at speeds 1/320 and faster. And when users are shooting in quiet situations, Silent Mode eliminates all camera sounds for completely silent shooting, perfect for a piano recital or wedding ceremony with shutter speeds up to an amazing 1/16,000th of a second.”

For shooting video, the update lets you pair an Olympus LS-100 PCM audio recorder with the E-M1. A Slate Tone, which marks where the audio and video match up, can be added for easier post-editing syncing. “Users can further optimize their 1080p Full HD Video with additional features, including Movie Image Stabilization with five-axis optical IS and digital IS, 24p/25p frame rate, movie record start with a release cable, support for time code setting and, finally, a movie info display that shows histogram, level gauge, audio level, and time code,” among other features, Olympus says.

The E-M5 Mark II firmware update (version 2.0) adds some of the aforementioned features. These include focus bracketing S-OVF, 4K time-lapse movie, Slate Tone, synchronized PCM audio and video recording, MF Clutch Disable. There’s also a “Movie-Exclusive Picture Mode Flat that provides for post-production color grading by lowering the contrast to minimize blown-out highlights and loss of detail in shadows.”

OM-D E-M5 Mark II Titanium
OM-D E-M5 Mark II Titanium

For studio photography, the Olympus Capture software (version 1.1) now has an improved, customizable user interface that allows for a smoother, faster workflow. Transfer speeds to a computer (over USB) is four times faster than saving to an SD card. “Features like Keystone Compensation can be utilized from a computer as well by simply connecting the computer and camera body.”

In the OI.Share app for Android and iOS (version 2.6), you can enable and view the Live Composition function in real-time. In this live preview mode, the camera maintains the brightness of stationary objects while recording new light sources, such as star trails and light trails. With the OI.Share update, you can monitor the image’s progress and adjust settings via the mobile app.

Photography

Sony crams its best camera tech into the new $900 A6400

Love Sony's autofocus, but can't stomach the full-frame price? The Sony A6400 mirrorless camera uses some of the same autofocus technology and the processor of the A9 in a compact, more affordable crop-sensor camera.
Photography

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera just isn't giving you the results you're looking for, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone…
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Photography

Olympus’ latest teaser shares glimpse of new OM-D camera geared toward sports

Is Olympus about to release a new mirrorless camera geared toward sports photographers? The latest teaser offers a glimpse of an upcoming OM-D camera set to launch on January 24, and by the looks of the teasers, it's geared toward sports.
Photography

From 11K to just OK: The biggest photo gear announcements at CES 2019

From 11K cameras to 1 TB media cards, CES 2019 brought a peek at new gear for photographers and videographers. But what photography gear grabbed our attention the most? Here are the biggest photo gear announcements from CES 2019.
Photography

What to look for and what to avoid when buying a camera

Looking to buy a new camera? Our comprehensive camera guide for 2016 has answers to any camera or photography questions you might ask, whether in regards to pricing, image quality, or weatherproofing.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Social Media

No yolk! A photo of an egg has become the most-liked post on Instagram

Until this weekend, the most-liked post on Instagram was of Kylie Jenner's baby daughter, which has around 18 million likes. It's now been knocked off the top spot not by a stunning sunset or even a cute cat, but by an egg.
Photography

Going somewhere? Capture more than your phone can with the best travel cams

Hitting the road or doing some globetrotting this year? Bring along the right camera to capture those once-in-a-lifetime vacation memories. Here's a list of some of our current favorites.
Photography

From 4K powerhouses to tiny action cams, here are the best video cameras

Although not as popular as they once were, dedicated video cameras still have their benefits. From travel vlogging to home movies to recording your kid's little league game, here are the best video cameras you can buy right now.
Photography

Starting your very own vlog? Here are the best cameras to buy

Any camera that shoots video can be used to vlog, but a few models stand out from the crowd thanks to superior image quality, ergonomics, and usability. When it comes to putting your life on YouTube, here are the best cameras for the job.
Photography

Authentic, holistic, retro photography is in: Here are 2019’s predicted trends

What types of imagery are we most drawn to? According to recent stock photography data from Adobe, StoryBlocks, and Shutterstock, authentic, holistic, and humanitarian content will be in high demand in 2019.
Photography

This A.I.-powered camera follows the action to produce epic selfie videos

Want to capture more epic action selfies? The Obsbot Tail is a camera-gimbal combo that uses artificial intelligence to follow the action. Using a handful of different modes, the camera works to keep the action in the frame.