Comparing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the Olympus OM-D E-M1X

Olympus OMD Camera

I am writing this post for two reasons. The first is that I get this question often. Several of my friends have come over to my condo in Bellevue to see the new camera asking about a comparison.

The second reason has to do with the online reaction to the OM-D E-M1X. I am amazed at the amount of misinformation and disinformation spread on the Internet about this camera. Whether it comes from the full-frame mafia or from fans of other brands just trolling, I do not know. But I have never seen anything like it. I am starting to think that the Russians have troll farms that populate the camera forums in addition to the political forums. (THAT WAS A JOKE – hold your fire!)

Olympus OMD Camera
MK II W/ Battery Grip

I can’t and won’t argue with trolls because my history aptly demonstrates that I am not good at it. The only thing I can do is offer actual facts, from a guy who actually owns and uses both cameras, in the hope that somewhere in the world, calmer heads will prevail!

I am going to do a series of blog posts (and podcasts) about the OM-D E-M1X with an eye toward informing those who have sincere interest in this new, flagship body from Olympus.

The first in that series is this simple comparison between the old and new camera. I will just state actual facts here, no opinions. By offering just the facts, I hope to minimize the chance that bias could be inferred or implied.

(NOTE: This isn’t each and every difference between the two cameras, but most of those I personally consider to be significant or noteworthy.)

Let’s start with size.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (Hereinafter “II”) weights 753 grams (including the battery grip – which is the way I shoot it.) The Olympus OM-D E-M1X (Hereinafter “X”) weighs 849 grams. The II is 146.4mm high and the X is 146.8mm high. The II is 134.1mm wide and the X is 144.4mm wide.

Grip

The II has an add on battery grip and the X has an integrated grip.

Olympus OMD Camera

Controls

There are some differences in the controls. On the X, the control dials are embattled in the body, not sitting on TOP of the body like they are on the II.

The II does not have joystick for AF point control, but the X does.

The II does not have a bulb setting on the shutter dial, but the X does.

Shutter

The lifetime of the shutter is 200,000 actuations on the II and 400,000 on the X.

Card Slots

The II has one UHS-1 and one USH-II card slots. The X has two USH-II card slots.

Charging

The X can be charged with a USB cable, the II cannot.

The II has one battery slot in the body and one in the add on grip. The X has dual battery slots.

Olympus OMD Camera

EVF

EVF magnification on the II is 0.74. On the X it is 0.83. (highest magnification of any camera)

Hi-Res Mode

The II has a tripod-only hi-res mode good for 80MP. The X has both a handheld hi-res mode good for 50MP and a tripod hi-res mode good for 80MP.

ND Filter

The II doesn’t have in-body ND filter but the X does.

Autofocus

The AF sensitivity on the II is -2EV with an f/2.8 lens. The x has -6EV with an f/1.2 lens.

The II has no intelligent subject AF-system. The X has an intelligent subject detection mode.

The X acquires autofocus more quickly. (I don’t have sophisticated test equipment to prove this but I am intimately aware of how quickly the II autofocuses and the X is quicker. This is borne out by my own personal shooting tests.)

Buffer Size

The II can store 148 images at 10 fps in its buffer. The X can store 287 RAW at 10 fps in its buffer.

IBIS

The II offers 6.5 stops of stabilization and the X offers 7.5 stops of stabilization (Sync IS.)

Video

The II has flat mode while the X has flat mode plus LOG mode.

The II has no slow motion HD function while the X has slow motion full hd 120 fps.

Olympus OMD Camera

Processor

There is one True Pic VIII processor in the II. There are two processors in the X.

CONCLUSION

Spec sheets are more important to some people than others. As for me, I compiled this list as a public service. I am the kind of person who rarely decides on a camera based on the spec sheets. I like a camera based on how it feels in my hand, how it works with my lenses, and what kind of photos I can coax out of it. If my camera makes images that make me happy, then I am a fan. For more than two years, I have been using the OM-D E-M1 Mark II exclusively and I love it. It is truly an amazing camera and will remain so for quite some time. For those of you who are lucky enough to own one, only you can decide if the X is something you want to step up into. The good news (and here I will opine with an opinion) you can’t go wrong either way.

Since the X was designed with pros in mind, and has a decidedly clear target market of sports, wildlife and bird shooters, the step up makes sense for me personally. I haven’t had enough time shooting with it to get the kind of feel for the camera that I have with the MK II, but I am working on fixing that problem with major shoots scheduled for each of the next three months.

I will continue to share my thoughts and experiences here and hopefully that will offer some of you the chance to make an informed decision.

NOTE: By way of disclosure, I am an Olympus Visionary.


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