Why the Olympus E-M1 MK II Might Just Be Your Next 4K Video Camera

Just a few days ago, Olympus unveiled their new MFT camera, the Olympus E-M1 MK II. It is not only the Japanese company’s first foray into 4K video, it is also a technology milestone in terms of image stabilization and pro video features.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II

Please make sure to read Graham’s article for a good overview of this new camera. As a reminder, here are the specifications:

  • New 20 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor
  • 4K UHD Video up to 30fps (3840×2160) and Cinema 4K up to 24fps (4096×2160)
  • 3.0 Articulating Touch Monitor
  • 121 Point Dual Auto Focus
  • Pre-Record Feature
  • 5-Axis Image Stabilization
  • Dual SD Card Slot (UHS II Compatible)
  • Weatherproofing: dust, splash and freeze-proof
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds.


One of the real achievements of this newly developed camera is the implemented image stabilization. As Janne Amunet puts it:

It really gives new possibilities in terms of moving the camera without having a huge production budget.

And that’s really it! The quality of stabilization that the Olympus E-M1 Mark II can achieve seems to be quite impressive, and can be even further improved when used alongside an Olympus lens with image stabilization. In a scenario like this, the result of both camera and lens add up to almost gimbal-like performance.

The other buzzword surrounding this camera is, of course, 4K. It’s a first for Olympus, but it’s good to see other manufacturers adopting more and more camera systems to choose from. The Olympus E-M1 MK II caters the micro four thirds system, just like the Panasonic GH4.


When shooting in (cinema) 4K, this camera is capable of a datarate of 237 MBits, which is a really impressive amount of data for such a small camera package.

Pricing and availability

Unfortunately there is no word on pricing yet, but the camera should still hit the market before 2017, probably looking at around December time.

cinema5D at Photokina 2016
Tilta Genustech Manfrotto Angelbird Blackmagic Design


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Einar Davíðsson September 21, 2016

Any info on what Codec that 237 Mbit 4K will be in?

Olaf von Voss Reply
Olaf von Voss September 21, 2016

Einar Davíðsson,

I’m not 100% sure about the cine 4K mode but here are the official specs:

AVI (Motion JPEG)

The high bitrate only applies to cine 4K, though:

4.096 x 2.160 (C4K) / 24p / IPB (ca. 237 Mbit/s)
3840 x 2160 (4K) / 30p, 25p, 24p / IPB (ca. 102 Mbit/s)


Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber September 21, 2016

Hey guys,
The high bitrate DCI 4K format codec is an IPB H.264 thing, like a7SII. 237mbit should be quite usable.

Веселин Митев Reply
Веселин Митев September 21, 2016

GH5 ;)

Peter Kent September 22, 2016

This may be the “GH45” I was hoping the G85 was going to be…

Clayton Moore Reply
Clayton Moore September 21, 2016

Id really like to see Panasonic match the IS this camera has.

Ari Kirschenbaum September 21, 2016

What’s also interesting about this camera is, while the video spec frame rate for DCI tops out at 24fps, the continuous raw photo mode can do 60fps. Which I hope means that you could technically do slo motion 20 megapixel raw, by importing all the raw photos as a image sequence.

Olaf von Voss Reply
Olaf von Voss September 21, 2016

Ari Kirschbaum,

true, but I doubt that the camera is able to record over a longer period of time in that mode. It’s more for taking a lot of RAW photos of high-speed events in order to get the one perfect shot. But maybe it could be used for short video sequences, we’ll see.


Eduardo Gonzalez Reply
Eduardo Gonzalez September 21, 2016

Dynamic range?

 Frank McKeown Reply
Frank McKeown September 21, 2016

Nice cant wait to see some footage

Shane Roberts Reply
Shane Roberts September 21, 2016

That bit rate is really impressive, if this does 10bit and the iq is good it might be my next camera instead of the gh5.

Janne Amunét September 22, 2016

Give this one a try. Depending on what you do mostly in filming the stabilization might just change how you film :)

Mark Hill Reply
Mark Hill September 21, 2016

The main issues with IS on the sensor and large bit rates is sensor overheating and associated increased noise. The GH4/5 don’t have this issue as the sensor is on a dirty great heat sink. They have the GX8 for sensor IS. Many only shoot for short periods but for me I need reliability.

Janne Amunét September 22, 2016

The good news is that I’ve used the E-M5mk2 extensively on documentary shoots in super hot climates for 18hrs/day and long takes. Never had any problems with heating incurred noise. Olympus does this well and the cameras stay surprisingly cool.

Even in my small tests with the E-M1 mk2 I never ran into issues with extended periods of shooting

Rob First Reply
Rob First September 22, 2016

I peeped earlier today! I like these for photos.

Eno Popescu September 22, 2016

I have one question, does it feature an additional crop factor in 4K or not?

Jakub Han Reply
Jakub Han September 22, 2016

The specs look great. That body also looks a bit like GH4 (or G70) and thats good. The ergonomy of GH series body is great. Side-tilt display is a way to go and a bigger grip as well. Thumbs up Oly.

Nathan Lee Bush September 22, 2016

I’m sure they’ll screw it up somehow.. they’ve never been strong on video, which is a shame becuase they’ve got the best IS out there. Probably left out a decent LOG mode or something like peaking/zebras.

Julius Salo September 22, 2016

I really hope that they have fixed rolling shutter problems. If hd is as good as NX1 or better, i’ll consider it!

Does the stabilization make camera movements look unnatural? In some promo videos its forcing to keep image steady even you pan or tilt. Maybe its just a downside of good stabilization.. Would be nice if you could adjust how much it affects the picture.

dean mermell September 27, 2016

I love shooting on the run with my EM5 mkii. It’s pretty liberating getting stabilized video in this form factor with the huge array of lenses both native and adapted I can use. And it’s a great stills platform that makes street and people photography so much fun. Olympus video still has an odd quality to it that is a little uninspired, but if I’m creative with it I can easily get what I need. I would HOPE the audio quality is better on the new camera, though I doubt it will be. The noise floor in the EM5 mkii is abysmal, but most people shooting this way won’t care. Unless the GH5 comes in with IBIS, I’ll probably buy this.

Janne Amunét September 29, 2016

That’s just the thing! The day before I ran a fairly sizeable campaign shoot on the E-M5mk2 with Anamorphic lenses and we were pulling of different shots at speeds more than double of what we’re used to.

Honestly, in-camera-stabilization is something that really changes the way you shoot once you get used to it.
It has it’s limits but when used with knowledge can render absolutely mind blowing results with set-up speeds unlike other more conventional methods.
Of course it won’t replace dollies, steadicams etc, but with a little creativity, you can pull off some pretty crazy stuff on these cameras.

Every tool has it’s place and for me this new camera will allow me to move a lot quicker on shoots where budget is limited, but a certain stabilized, fluid movement is the right style.

Also having tested the new camera, I can say that the codec quality seems to finally there and this new camera for me jumps right up there with the big boys. Now if they give me 4:3 mode for 2x Anamorphic, I’m probably moving at least 50% of my smaller crew shoots onto the Olympus platform :)