Olympus has announced firmware version 3.0 for the E-M1 Mark II mirrorless camera (which was announced in 2016). The update improves the camera’s autofocus and image quality to be on par with the new E-M1X announced in January 2019.
The E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X are the two professional bodies in the OM-D series, and Olympus is bringing the three-year-old camera up to speed to compete with rivals in the increasingly crowded mirrorless camera market.
With firmware v3.0, the E-M1 Mark II’s autofocus system uses the same algorithm as the E-M1X, “which was developed based on the shooting needs of the professional photographer,” Olympus says.
“With the goal of achieving performance that responds to demanding shooting conditions, such as fast movement in sports, etc., C-AF Center Priority delivers high-precision tracking of moving subjects and sudden subject movement,” the company states. “AF precision for still subjects when using S-AF is improved for various subjects compared to OM-D E-M1 Mark II firmware Version 2.3.”
The camera will also actively use data from the On-chip Phase Detection AF sensor for better AF performance while shooting video with the camera.
In addition to increased speed, there are also a number of new autofocus features added to the camera:
“Group 25-point has been added to AF Target, and is effective for photographing birds and other small subjects,” Olympus says. “C-AF Center Priority is now available, and repeatedly autofocuses with priority on the center point in Group 5-point, Group 9-point, and Group 25-point. If AF is not possible in the center point, the peripheral points in the group area assists, which is effective for subjects that move around quickly.
“In addition, C-AF+MF1 is included which allows users to instantly switch to MF by turning the focus ring while in C-AF for fine tuning the focus.”
For low light shooting with an f/1.2 lens, Olympus has dropped the limit down to -6.0 EV (ISO 100 equivalent for S-AF). This improves the cameras focusing abilities while shooting in dark environments and when dealing with low-contrast subjects.
Finally, Olympus has added Low ISO Processing (Detail Priority) to the E-M1 Mark II for higher resolution and lower noise results when shooting at low ISOs. There’s also a new anti-flicker mode.
“Compared with OM-D E-M1 Mark II firmware Version 2.3, noise that occurs when shooting at high ISO sensitivity is improved approximately 1/3 of a step,” Olympus says.