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.
I use two cameras on a regular basis: my iPhone 7 Plus and an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark I. The latter has been my workhorse since 2014, when many Engadget staffers started using it for field assignments. I've taken it to almost every press event I've attended these past two years, and the results are rarely disappointing. Still, the idea of a faster model with a better autofocus was tempting. That's where the recently launched OM-D E-M1 Mark II comes in. OIympus' latest flagship mirrorless, available in December for $2,000 body-only, is pegged as a major upgrade to its predecessor.
It might be exiting the camera business, but Olympus is still releasing new models. The company has unveiled the $700 O-MD E-M10 Mark IV, the latest in its line of entry level Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras. While it looks much the same as the last model, there are some notable improvements in the sensor and display that should appeal to users looking to graduate from smartphones. The biggest change is a new 20-megapixel sensor and upgrade TruePic VIII image processor, replacing the 16-megapixel sensor on the last model. Those appear to be the same as the sensor and chip on Olympus' recent OM-D E-M5 Mark III mid-range camera, meaning you should see sharper images with less noise in low-light shooting.
All the camera excitement of 2018 mostly bypassed Olympus, but the venerated camera maker is looking to start 2019 with a bang. It will unveil what looks to be a very fast, rugged sports-oriented camera -- possibly a successor to the OM-D EM-1 Mark II -- on January 24th, 2019. The teaser video shows a pro sports shooter (possibly Olympus ambassador Kelley L. Cox) handling the new model equipped with a 40-150mm f/2.8 zoom and battery grip. While she shoots some water polo and beach volleyball, we see a lot of splashing and sand flying, which points to a pro-oriented, weatherproof camera. The last Olympus O-MD E-M1 Mark II was all about speed, allowing up to 18 fps shooting in continuous autofocus and exposure mode.
Things move fast in the camera world these days, as manufacturers push for new innovations to keep their lineups relevant in the age of smartphones. Since our last guide, new models from Canon, Sony and others have arrived with big improvements in shooting speeds, autofocus and video. That's good news if you're a buyer, because the latest cameras are better than ever and it's easier to find deals on past models. Still, it can be hard to keep track of every new camera that comes along, and that's where we come in. Our 2021 guide will catch you up on all the latest models and bargains, so you can select a camera that fits your shooting needs and budget to a tee.