Is Olympus hampered by its micro four-thirds sensor when mirrorless rivals have APS-C and Fujifilm just launched a medium-format camera? I had a look at the company's new OMD-EM1 Mark II flagship during Photokina, and the company is doing its best to prove it's not. By marrying a brand-new 20.4 megapixel sensor to a dual quad-core TruePic VIII image processor, Olympus has made a blazingly quick camera. Combined with a new 121-point phase detection AF system, It can shoot 18 RAW frames per second in continuous autofocus and exposure mode, and a crazy 60 fps with those locked off. During my admittedly brief tests with the prototype (under controlled conditions), it was able to sustain that 18fps rate for a good 5-10 seconds before it started to slow down.
Despite denying persistent rumors that it would exit the camera business, Olympus is doing exactly that. The company has announced that will sell its camera business to Japan Industrial Partners (JIP), the same company that purchased Sony's VAIO PC division (via The Verge). Olympus will now focus on its much larger business supplying industrial and medical imaging equipment. Olympus said it improved cost structure, focused on high-profit cameras and lenses and took other steps to "cope with the extremely severe digital camera market." Despite those efforts, however, the company said it "recorded operating losses for three consecutive fiscal years up to the term ended in March 2020."
Olympus is working on a new version of its flagship Micro Four Thirds camera, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which sports a high-speed TruePic VIII Image Processor that's 3.5 times faster than previous editions. The new camera also includes a 20.4 megapixel Live MOS sensor and an electronic shutter, allowing it to take full-resolution images at 60 frames per second in AF and AE lock, and up to 18 frames per second with continuous tracking. Olympus promises the new flagship's continuous AF tracking performance will be dramatically improved with a new algorithm aimed at following subjects on the move. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II has a new Pro Capture Mode designed to catch split-second moments and a 50 megapixel High Res Shot Mode that apparently rivals the detail captured by full-frame DSLRs. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II also takes 4K video (4096 x 2060) and to help offset camera shake, it uses a 5-Axis Image Stabilization system and electronic stabilization specialized for movies.
The original Olympus PEN-F arrived in 1963 and quickly gained a cult following. Solid design made it an instant classic, and an unusual half-frame photo format packed as many as 72 images onto a 36-exposure roll of 35mm film. Sensor produces some of the best images you'll get from a Micro Four Thirds camera. Highly customizable creative filters you can select using the wheel on the front. The lack of a 4K video mode stands out in 2016.
Last month, Olympus unveiled an app that transformed its OM-D cameras into webcams on Windows, but a Mac version was nowhere to be found. Now, the company has rectified that with a beta webcam version for macOS. As with the Windows version, the Webcam Beta Software only works with five Olympus OM-D models: the E-M1X, E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 Mark III and the E-M5 Mark II. As before, you install the software, connect the camera to your Mac and fire up your favorite video conferencing app. It has been tested to work with OBS, Google Chrome and Zoom through Google Chrome, Olympus said, though it could work with other apps as well. Olympus recently sold off its camera division to the company that purchased Sony's Vaio, but so far it doesn't seem to have affected its product releases.