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.


Edit portraits with A.I. and adjust focus in the new ON1 Photo RAW 2019 editor

ON1 Photo RAW 2019 now has a dedicated tab for portraits that automatically recognizes faces to help with retouching. The update also brings a new focus stacking tool, enhancements to layers, and improvements to local adjustments.

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.
Movies & TV

Michelle Yeoh reportedly in talks for stand-alone ‘Star Trek’ show

Reports claims that actress Michelle Yeoh is in talks to reprise her Star Trek: Discovery role in a spin-off series. The series will focus on Georgiou being recruited into Section 31, a secretive organization within Starfleet.

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.

Photography News: Flickr keeping Creative Commons photos, ONA gets colorful

Flickr has confirmed it's saving all Creative Commons images, ONA has released a new capsule collection in partnership with Passion Passport and 7Artisans has launched a new drone-specific 35mm f/5.6 lens.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

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!

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Smart Home

Picture this: The Aura packs thousands of photos in a single frame (for a price)

Are you one of those people who miss the good old days of flipping through photo albums to see each and every favorite photo? If so, you might love the Aura digital photo frame. We tested the device and came away impressed.

Full frame or 4K for less than $1K? These 4 older cameras still have a lot to offer

Looking for a great camera deal? Sometimes, you might be better off buying one that's a few years -- last generation's professional models may not cost much more than today's entry-level models.

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.

Golf ball-sized Lume Cube Air is a pocketable LED for photos and video

Off-camera lighting for smartphones and GoPros just got even smaller. Meet the Lume Cube Air, a smaller portable LED light designed for photos and videos that weighs only about two ounces.