Olympus OMD EM5 VS EM10 Mark II

Olympus is a very popular camera brand and they are carrying lots of beginner favorites such as the Olympus OMD EM5 Vs EM10 Mark II. These cameras are famous for good reasons, being an introduction to a higher system and very powerful too. The two are close siblings however with the latter being a newer iteration so if you wonder which to invest on, let’s see what they can offer here.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • How Smartphone Camera Compared to a Camera
  • What are Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II
  • How are the Design of Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II
  • How are the Specs of Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II
  • How are the Image Quality of Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II
  • How are the Autofocus in Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II
  • Olympus OMD EM5 Vs EM10 Mark II

Smartphone Camera and Dedicated Camera

In modern days many may wonder whether it is necessary to buy a dedicated camera knowing that smartphones are very much capable of taking beautiful photos and 4K videos right at the convenience of your smart device. We do think the answer will vary depending on who you ask the question to and what you plan on doing with the camera. Surely smartphone cameras kill the purpose of compact pocket cameras but seen from the enthusiast perspective there are still more to catch here.

Let’s take an example of the famous Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra that is capable of zooming your picture quite far. We have seen so many examples of how amazing the camera’s system is in this smartphone that having one is actually luxury not only because it costs quite a lot but also for what the smartphone is capable of. Having them in your pocket can be helpful when you are far away from the subject and can’t afford getting closer such as when capturing wild animals.

The image processing allows for a clean and crisp image at a very long zoom but digital zoom, as you can expect will ruin the details of your shot the further they get since this is not an optical or more of a hybrid between optical and digital zoom. The smartphone however is more than plenty for casual users who often take pictures of the places they find interesting but you can get the same or even better result with an old or entry level DSLR and a good telephoto lens.

Another part to highlight between smartphone camera and a dedicated camera is bokeh or the soft blurs at the back of your subject so it seems like they are only focusing on the closest subject. Since this effect is very popular, smartphones at least those released in the last several years are featured with the technology to mimic it, based on depth sensors. Modern smartphones are also getting better at processing pictures in low light condition so they are cleaner with significantly less noise.

As for the recording purpose, the smartphone camera is also very capable that even a mid-range level is capable of producing 4K but, you can compare the result of 4K taken by a smartphone and a dedicated camera like the A7S III. The smartphone footage is amazing, knowing it is taken with such a compact device but the dynamic range, details, and also color will not be the same as those recorded with a real camera. Overall between the smartphone camera and dedicated camera there is this preference and purpose.

Olympus OMD EM5Olympus OMD EM10 Mark II
Product Dimensions4.8 x 1.69 x 3.5 inches
4.7 x 2.8 x 3.3 inches
Shipping Weight15 ounces
17.6 ounces
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About Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II

If you are here then we assume that a camera is necessary and this is true for those who want to improve their skills and knowledge in photography. One of the main advantages is you can choose the lens type for the camera body so we can try different styling and match them with the subject and situation. You don’t have to buy an expensive camera for starting the journey because even an old series can be a great company when you know how to optimize it.

To get a camera at a cheaper price, try checking out the older models of current iteration because as the new camera launched their older or original version will be reduced in price. You can buy a used camera as well if the budget is extremely limited and use the rest of the allowance to get a decent lens. Olympus for example is known for being one of the best when it comes to budget cameras and it doesn’t mean that their cameras are cheap but their older models are just still attractive even years after.

Some of the most popular options are the Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II which are very similar in terms of performance. The former is almost a decade old now so it is probably difficult to find the camera as the model is not being freshly manufactured anymore. The latter was launched about a couple of years after and it is the second iteration of what’s currently in its IV model. The EM10 was initially a lower version of EM5 and EM1.

Most of the good things are not changed on the new camera since they come with the same core but being newer makes EM10 Mark II to come with at least a new processor that is optimized to provide better experience, especially for still photo shooters. The two are often available in used condition and we do think they are the same good options with some slight differences that may lead you to better choose the EM10 Mark II as it is a newer model and also comes with everything great about the older camera.

Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II Design

The overall styling of Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II are similar, as you can see from the sample picture above. The details are different however and the first thing we notice is these control buttons and knobs at the top which are now made to be larger and easy to operate compared to the older EM5. The new camera somehow looks both classic and more industrial than the previous model but build quality wise they are very good.

But, do note that the EM10 Mark II is not weather sealed like the EM5 so it may be a concern for some people. Checking out the back of the camera, we are glad that Olympus changed the EM5 to have a rotating screen in Olympus OMD EM5 Vs Mark II but the original model is only tilting, the same as the EM10 Mark II. However, you can notice that the rear screen quality is nicer on the EM10 Mark II as it looks sharper. 

Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II Specs

Now for the most important part, let’s see what the Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II can offer starting from the basic spec first. If you have seen some versions of the OMD lines, you will notice that these beginner and mid-range cameras are coming with small sensors and for these two they are still using the micro four thirds sensor with an effective pixel of 16MP. The noticeable difference is that the new camera is coming with the new processor TruePic VIII while EM5 was paired with TruePic VI.

Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II Image Quality

Surprisingly, the results of these cameras are not identical despite the same specs and the most noticeable difference is how EM10 Mark II is processing your JPEG to be smoother. This may sound like a better result but this makes your picture somehow less sharp or detailed. For example when capturing your friend’s face, her hair strands are easier to pick while on EM10 Mark II it is smoothen so almost like zooming digitally into a picture-effect.

The color is also different and for skin tone we do like the EM10 Mark II better because it doesn’t make your skin appears reddish and more natural. For example the OMD EM5 can make a white, Caucasian skin to appear a bit pinkish. As for the performance in higher ISO such as 1600, the EM5 is still leading here and probably because the processor is not over-smoothing the details, we can get much more details from the camera, such as when you shot a product using indoor lighting.

Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II Autofocus

Lastly for those who purchase either Olympus OMD EM5 or EM10 Mark II cameras for action use or their pet cat and dogs, the main concerning point is actually the continuous tracking and focusing. The software does great to stick on the subject as they move across the sensor but it doesn’t mean they are in focus. We do think you can get a few clean shots out of burst shot but it is the best case so if your main goal is this type of application then we suggest investing more on a higher model.

Olympus OMD EM5 Vs EM10 Mark II

Both Olympus OMD EM5 and EM10 Mark II are good cameras depending on which seems to match your preference best. The main difference for still pictures is in the result because EM5 arguably produces a sharper and more pleasant result, at least out of the camera. The smoothen EM10 Mark II is not bad at all and we prefer its color profile but overall you can do some post-processing later. As for the low light shots, EM5 still looks better and for the action applications they are not very promising.

- 16.1MP CMOS Micro Four Thirds sensor
- 9 frames per second continuous shooting
- 35-area contrast detect AF
- ISO 200-25,600
- Builtin 5Axis image stabilization for sharper images
- 2.3 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with 0.62X magnification
- Silent mode (disables all shutter sounds)
- 8.5 frames per second burst shooting;AF system type high speed image AF (contrast detection / on chip phase difference detection)

Conclusion 

The decision is all yours and we personally like any of the two but EM5 can be difficult to find. You will go amazing with these cameras, considering they are great for still photography and to build up the skill. The overall specs are mostly the same with EM10 Mark II being slightly better in handling.

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