Olympus EM-5mkII First Thoughts
I had taken my Canon 80D with me to London as I had no way of knowing that I would win a new camera, but as soon as won the Olympus EM-5MkII camera I knew I was going to be testing it as soon as possible. After getting back to the place we were staying, I hurriedly took it out of the box and got the battery charging.

Looking over the contents there was the usual assortment of cables, straps, pouches and the tiniest flash gun I have ever seen.

No instructions to speak of, just a simple quick start guide in a multitude of languages, I assume the full manual is on the included CD but I didn’t have anything to read that so I looked it up online. After a few pages it became apparent that this camera has some of the most sophisticated software I have ever seen on a camera !

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After getting some food and relaxing I grabbed the charged battery, a small Manfrotto tripod I had got for free at the opening of Jessops new Oxford Street store in London, and headed out towards London Bridge which was a 10 minute walk from where we were staying.

As I walked I tried to figure out the controls, got it into manual mode and started playing with settings. Once I worked out which dial, switch or button did what, and there are a lot of them to try, I felt quite confident and started taking a few pictures.

I have to say after about 5 shots I was dialled in and taking some quite remarkable pictures considering it was gone 10pm and the shutter speed being used was very low.

I got to the bridge took a couple of long exposure shots using the small tripod and headed back as it started raining. On the way back I downloaded the Olympus phone app, connected to the camera, transferred some pictures to my phone, edited them slightly and uploaded them to social media, quite remarkable how far technology has come for me to be able to do all of this within a couple of hours of getting a camera that I’ve never used before.


After a good nights sleep it was time to hit London and see some sights.

I had taken a couple of pictures the day before (image of the Millennium Bridge below) with the 80D and although I took it with me, along with a couple of lens’ and filters in a big bag, I didn’t use it until the very last part of the day.


We started off by a trip to the viewing deck of The Shard, unfortunately the view was somewhat marred by fairly heavy fog, so we didn’t see a huge amount from up there, then proceeded to travel around the city, if you look at the pictures in the Flickr album you can probably follow our route.

As I was going and taking pictures I was getting more and more used to the camera and which buttons, dials and switches do what, but I don’t think I scratched the surface of the capabilities of the camera as there is so much to choose from.

We had bought a Day / Night ticket for The Shard so we headed back there, unfortunately by the time we got back up there the battery had started to run out, so there aren’t many night pictures from the view, but there are a couple in the album. The pictures below of St Pauls are taken with the Olympus 17-40mm pro lens and a Canon 80D 70-200 IS L lens


Regarding processing of the pictures I did fairly minimal work in Lightroom and took a decision to apply no noise reduction to any of the Olympus photographs so you can see what they are like without it, I have to say I think it is excellent at handling noise up to 800 ISO as I didn’t go any higher than that.

I loved using the camera, and there are so many features that it will keep me busy for quite some time figuring them all out. The electronic viewfinder is new to me and once I understood what it was doing it was really useful, but it caught me out a couple of times as I couldn’t decide if I had taken a photo or not, especially in silent mode.

There were a couple of niggles that I think I have to let you know about, there are so many buttons, learning what they all do is a bit of a task, but they are all reprogrammable so if you don’t like which button does what you can swap things around. Because of my fairly large hands and the smallness of the camera I did find myself pushing buttons without meaning to at inopportune moments, especially shifting the focus point to the right for some reason.


The battery didn’t last all day, which is why there is only a couple of pictures from the Shard at night. I know I was using it for a long time and with all the features including the EVF it isn’t surprising, but a spare battery will be the first thing I buy for the camera. The photo above is one of the few I got at The Shard in the evening (the window had a lot of water droplets on it)

When using the mobile phone app I couldn’t transfer the RAW images directly to the phone I had to convert in camera first and then transfer the JPG. Not a big problem, but imagine you have a full card and want to get one picture, you wouldn’t be able to without deleting a picture first to free up space.

Those are all fairly minor things really, and the quality of the pictures taken by a digital Olympus newbie is really superb (I did use an OM-10 film camera a *cough* number of years ago).

If you have any thoughts on the pictures I took or the camera in general please let me know, the easiest way to do that is via Twitter - @zort70
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