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R E E XP VI E R EW T S!

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SPECI A L

148 PAGES

TESTS YOU CAN TRUST!

Buy with total confidence! Tougher, scientific reviews

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THE BIGGEST AND BEST PHOTO BUYERS’ GUIDE

CAMER A T E ST E D S

FIRST RATE RESULTS

NIKON D850

We get hands on with Nikon’s remarkable high-resolution hero

35 LENSES THE BEST BEGINNERS TESTED n Telephoto n Macro Digital Edition

n Wide-angle n Prime n Zoom n Lab tested

THE BEST KIT RIGHT NOW SONY ALPHA 6400

TWENTYTHIRD EDITION

Dazzling technical advances on display in this Sony model

CANON

NIKON

PANASONIC G9

The new king of professional sports photography?

OLYMPUS

PANASONIC

■ Lenses ■ Roller bags ■ Lighting & More

FUJIFILM

PENTAX

SONY

SIGMA


1

VS SLR CSC 10 KEY DIFFERENCES

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o you want a decent camera that takes interchangeable lenses? A few years ago that was easy – you had to buy a DSLR. But then in 2009 Olympus launched its first mirrorless camera, the Pen E-P1, and everything changed. Though it didn’t change overnight. Mirrorless cameras are great in principle because they’re smaller, lighter and mechanically simpler. They’re also just like supersized compact cameras to use, whereas DSLRs are a bit of a jump from a regular compact. Enthusiasts and pros,

LENSES

CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

PRICE

12

however, have taken a bit of convincing – first, that the image quality is good enough to match a DSLR’s; second, that the features and handling are comparable; third and most important, that these cameras will have a proper range of lenses to match those that are already available for DSLRs. So have mirrorless cameras done enough to be genuine DSLR rivals or, more to the point, are they already better? To help you decide, here are the key differences and what they mean for everyday photography.

DSLR You can get more for your money with a cheap DSLR than a cheap CSC CSC Cheap CSCs don’t have viewfinders; those that do cost a good deal more You might hope that the simpler design of a compact system camera would make them cheaper to buy, but that’s not the case. If you want a fully-featured, ‘proper’ camera for the least money, then a DSLR is the cheapest option. For example, the 24Mp Nikon D3300 DSLR has just about the best APS-C sensor currently on the market, an optical viewfinder (of course), decent manual controls and 700-shot battery life. Its nearest rivals on price in the compact system camera market can’t match its resolution or its battery life and they don’t have viewfinders. In fact, the cheapest CSC with a viewfinder at the time of writing is the 16Mp Olympus OM-D E-M10, which currently sells for around 30% more than the Nikon D3300 – and it’s only that cheap because it’s just been superseded. Once you get into enthusiast and pro market, however, the differences largely disappear – for any given amount of money you get broadly the same features, performance and power.


F E AT U R E

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4

BATTERY LIFE

SIZE AND WEIGHT

LENSES

DSLR 600-800 shots is average, better models can shoot over 1,000 shots on a charge

DSLR Yes, they’re fat and chunky, though this can be a help for big lenses (and big hands)

DSLR Canon and Nikon have a massive lens range for every job, and Pentax is not far behind

CSC Much weaker, and typically around 300-400 shots. You’ll need spare batteries

CSC Yes, they are smaller and lighter, but the lenses (mostly) are just as big as a DSLR’s

CSC Olympus, Panasonic and Sony have big ranges, while Fujifilm has a number of high-quality optics

Battery life comparisons might not be exciting, but they are important when the differences are as great as this. The Nikon D7200 DSLR, for example, can take 1,100 shots on a single charge, while the Fuji X-T1 CSC, a close match on paper, can only shoot 350 photos before the battery expires. This pattern is repeated across the range of DSLRs and CSCs. It’s not clear why. DSLR batteries are sometimes larger, though not always, and you might have thought that driving the mirror up and down for each shot would consume more power, and that LCD display would be used just as much. Apparently not, though, and this is one area where DSLRs do often have a substantial practical advantage.

Small size is one of the big selling points for mirrorless cameras, but it doesn’t always work out that way because what you actually have to take into account is the size of the camera body and lens combination. This is a problem for APS-C mirrorless cameras because you can get a nice slim body but a fat, heavy kit lens. Some now come with retractable or power-zoom lenses but that doesn’t help when you have to swap to a different type of lens. Panasonic and Olympus cameras have an advantage here. The Micro Four Thirds sensor format is smaller (which many photographers don’t like) but this means the lenses are smaller and lighter too (which many do).

If you want the widest possible choice of lenses, then a Canon or Nikon DSLR is possibly the best, but mirrorless cameras are gaining ground. Sony mirrorless cameras are well supported now – though more fast prime lenses and constant aperture zooms would help – and Panasonic and Olympus use the Micro Four Thirds format, which now has a large and established lens range behind it.

CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

2

LENSES

DSLRs are pretty frugal with battery power, whereas compact system cameras typically use them up twice as fast



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Cameras and Accessories

A CAMERA FOR STARTERS Is an SLR still the best option for beginners? Matthew Richards takes a closer look

F

or beginners starting out in photography, an SLR has long been the most obvious choice of ‘proper’ camera. With extensive shooting controls, interchangeable lenses and optional extras, you can start simple and expand your kit as your expertise grows. However, this has become equally true of compact system cameras, which do away with mirrors to enable downsized designs.

Some super-skinny models ditch the viewfinder as well, and photographers moving up from a smartphone might find composing shots on an LCD screen entirely natural. Any camera for beginners should be modestly priced, intuitive and easy to use, so that you can enjoy getting great results, straight out of the box. However, it should also be able to grow with you, enabling and even encouraging you to learn new skills and techniques.

DmZ / Shutterstock

Lenses

the contenders 1 Canon EOS 1300D with 18-55mm lens 2 Canon EOS 200D with 18-55mm lens 3 Fujifilm X-A10 with 16-50mm lens 4 Nikon D3400 with 18-55mm lens 5 Nikon D5600 with 18-55mm lens 6 Olympus Pen E-PL8 with 14-42mm lens 7 Panasonic Lumix GX80 with 12-32mm lens 8 Pentax K-70 with 18-50mm lens

£360/$450 £550/$700 £400/$540 £450/$500 £730/$800 £550/$650 £530/$700 £730/$700


Lenses

Cameras and Accessories

group test


S L R T ES T

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Cameras and Accessories

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SL R w w w.canon .com

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II £4,799/$5,999 Canon’s new top-end SLR has the specs to impress. If it delivers on the promise, it could be phenomenal... Specifications

Lenses

Full-frame (35.9 x 23.9mm) CMOS with 20.2 million effective pixels Focal length conversion 1x Memory One CF, one CFast Viewfinder Optical with pentaprism and 100% coverage Max video resolution 4K (4,096 x 2,160 pixels) ISO range 100-51,200; expandable to 50-409,600 Autofocus points 61; 41 cross-type including five dual cross-type Max burst rate 14fps (16fps in Live View mode with focus and metering set at start) Screen 3.2-inch 1,620,000-dot Clear View II TFT Shutter speeds 30-1/8,000 sec plus Bulb Weight 1,340g (body only) Dimensions 158 x 168 x 83mm Power supply LP-E19 rechargeable battery (supplied); LP-E4N, LP-E4

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he 1D X Mark II is Canon’s replacement for the 1D X, so it sits at the top of the manufacturer’s stills-orientated SLR line-up. It’s aimed at professional news and sports photographers. The 1D X Mark II has a full-frame sensor, but its resolution has been raised to 20.2 million effective pixels. Highlights include a standard sensitivity range of ISO 10051,200, with expansion settings taking it to ISO 50-204,800; a maximum continuous shooting rate of 14 frames per second, with full exposure metering and autofocus operation; and a 61-point autofocus system boasting 41 cross-type sensors and five dual cross-type sensors.

Build and handling

“Provided sensitivity is kept to ISO 25,600 or lower, the 1D X Mark II produces great images” 46

The Mark II’s 3.2-inch 1,620k-dot screen is touch-sensitive. However, the touch control is only used in Live View or Video modes for setting the AF point, or in Video mode for turning the continuous

1

It’s the first time that Dual Pixel CMOS AF technology has appeared on a full-frame sensor. 2

Live View focusing can be slowed to make it smoother and more professional-looking when shooting video. 3

The Quick Menu is customisable; it would be nice to have one each for the Stills and Video modes, though. 4

A duplicate set of key controls means they’re at your fingertips whether you’re shooting in portrait or landscape orientation.

autofocusing on or off. That’s a shame, as the Quick Menu is large enough to be navigated by touch. Both the 1D X and the 1D X Mark II have 3.2-inch Clear View II TFT screens, but the original camera’s has 1,040,000 dots while the Mark II’s has 1,620,000 dots. Those extra 580,000 dots make this screen the clearest and sharpest I’ve ever seen, and it stands up to reflections well.

Performance Provided the sensitivity is kept to ISO 25,600 or lower, the 1D X Mark II produces superb images. While the camera does a reasonable job of detecting and tracking a subject in Automatic Selection AF mode, using one of the Point or Zone AF modes is a safer bet if you can keep the active area over the subject. Metering is taken care of by the EOS iSA (Intelligent Subject Analysis) system, with a dedicated 360,000-pixel RGB+IR sensor. It was reliable in a range of conditions; I didn’t once have to use exposure compensation unexpectedly. Angela Nicholson


S L R T ES T COLOUR ERROR Canon 1D X Mark II

2.9 1.2

Canon 1D X Nikon D5

7.9

Nikon D4S

4.5 -5

0

5

Scores closer to zero are better

10

15

20

Decibels

RAW SIGNAL-TO-NOISE RATIO

Higher scores are better. Raw results use images converted to TIFF

The Canon 1D X Mark II performs well here, beating the Nikon D5 throughout the Canon’s sensitivity range. However, real-world shooting shows a more closely run race.

Exposure Value

RAW DYNAMIC RANGE

Fast AF

2

Zone AF focusing mode was ideal for this scene: it made it easier to keep the focus area over the stunt man as he ran and jumped.

3

14fps shooting

Shooting at 14fps meant I was able to select the perfect shot from a sequence of images taken during the explosion.

Continuous metering

The metering system continues to operate while shooting at 14fps, so the exposure varied a little as the bright flames appeared.

Meet the rivals… The cameras taking on the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II For test images and resolution charts, visit www.techradar. com/cameras



Canon 1D X £3,399/$4,599 (body only) The Mark II’s predecessor has an 18.1MP full-frame sensor, 61-point AF system and a maximum continuous shooting rate of 12fps. Not reviewed

Higher scores are better. Raw results use images converted to TIFF

Nikon D5 £5,399/$6,497 (body only) The 1D X Mark II’s main rival has a 20.8MP full-frame sensor and maximum sensitivity setting of ISO 3,280,000 – but don’t use that value! Reviewed Page 78

Nikon D4S £4,189/$5,997 (body only) A popular choice with Nikon pros until the D5 came along, this fullframe model has a 16.2MP sensor and 11fps shooting. Reviewed Issue 153

The 1D X Mark II raw files achieve a better score than the JPEGs for much of the sensitivity range. For lower sensitivity values, the Canon captures a broader range of tones.

WE SAY... Canon may not have gone for the headlinegrabbing numbers of the Nikon D5, but the 1D X Mark II makes lots of incremental improvements upon the 1D X that add up to make it one heck of a camera. It’s capable of getting moving subjects sharp in very low light and delivers usable images. In more average conditions, it captures a lot of detail.

Verdict Features BUILD & HANDLING

Lenses

1

Cameras and Accessories

These scores indicate that the 1D X Mark II is one of the more accurate of the cameras on test. The real-world shots also look very good, with pleasant saturation.

PERFORMANCE Value OVERALL

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SLR TEST

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CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

The A6400’s body is a little thicker than previous versions, but the controls and layout are unchanged since the A6000. 2

2

The APS-C sensor has the same 24MP resolution as the original A6000, but boasts a sophisticated AF system, 4K video and an uprated Bionz X processor.

SL R w w w. s ony.co.uk

Sony Alpha 6400

£949/$899

The technical advances are dazzling, but do they matter?

LENSES

SPECIFICATIONS Sensor_ 24.2MP APS-C CMOS, 23.5 x 15.6mm Image processor_ Bionz X AF points_425-point phase detection, 425-point contrast AF, 84% coverage ISO range_ 100 to 32,000 (exp 102,400) Max image size_ 6,000x4,000px Metering zones_ 1,200 Video_ 3,840x2,160 at 30p, 24p Viewfinder_ EVF, 2,359k dots, 100% coverage, 1.07x (0.7x equiv) magnification Memory card_ Memory Stick Pro Duo/ SD/SDHC/SDXC UHS I LCD_ Three-inch 180-degree tilting touchscreen, 921k dots Max burst_11fps Connectivity_ Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, NFC Size_ 120x67x60mm (body only) Weight_ 403g (body only, with battery and memory card) 52

S

ony continues to push the performance boundaries of processing and autofocus, bringing out new technologies in its flagship professional cameras and filtering these down to its consumer models. The Alpha 6400 has inherited the autofocus DNA of the full-frame A9, A7R III and A7 III models, boasting 425 phase-detection and 425 contrast AF points, plus what Sony claims to be the world’s fastest AF acquisition time of 0.02 sec. This autofocus system covers approximately 84% of the image area and is sensitive down to -2EV.

It boasts Sony’s acclaimed Eye AF system in single-shot and continuous shooting modes; Eye AF support for animals was due in summer 2019. You also get real-time tracking for objects, thanks to object recognition that processes colour, subject distance and pattern as ‘spatial’ information. Sony is renowned for its video expertise too. While the A6400 does not offer 60/50p 4K capture like a couple of its rivals, it does use full pixel readout, capturing ‘oversampled’ 6K data and then downsampling it to 3,840 x 2,160 UHD resolution. The A6400 can capture 4K video at 30fps in the XAVCS format at bit rates up to


SLR TEST

5

3

5

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5

There is an unmarked control dial alongside the mode dial on the top of the camera and a second control dial around the four-way selector on the back of the camera. 6

4

The three-inch rear screen has a pretty modest 921k-dot resolution. It’s also a 16:9 display, so 3:2 images have black bars either side and look smaller still.

100Mbps or full HD at up to 120fps at the same bit rate. It also offers clean HDMI output to external recorders via its HDMI port. In other respects, the A6400 is pretty conventional. It uses a 24.2MP APS-C Exmor CMOS sensor matched up to Sony’s latest-generation Bionz X processor. Sony says the A6400 has advances in image quality and colour reproduction with improved noise reduction and texture rendition. In continuous shooting mode, the A6400 can maintain 11fps with its mechanical shutter and AF/AE tracking, although that’s with the viewfinder in After View mode, which is not the best for keeping up with fast-moving subjects. For this there’s an 8fps Live View mode, and you can also shoot at 8fps in Silent mode. The buffer capacity is fair at 116 standard JPEGs and 46 compressed raw files. The body is quite small so there’s only 

The second control dial is pretty small and, as usual with controls of this type, it’s too easy to ‘click’ when you meant to ‘spin’.

space for one memory card, and it’s slightly surprising that it’s a UHS-I type rather than the faster UHS-II. The A6400 does have a fairly substantial battery, though, with a life of 360 shots using the viewfinder and 410 shots using the rear screen. This screen is perhaps the A6400’s killer feature. It flips up through a full 180 degrees so that you can see yourself while filming pieces to camera. It’s also touch-sensitive, although it’s relatively small, so you’ll have to be quite precise when you set the focus point. In terms of build and handling, it’s interesting to compare the A6400 side by side with the original A6000, launched way back at the dawn of time (all right, 2014). The A6400 has plumped out a bit around the middle, thanks to the new 180-degree tilting screen on the back, but otherwise it’s like looking at practically the same

The A6400 captures in 14-bit colour, processes in 16-bit and saves 14-bit raw files – the image quality is first-rate.

Too many features are accessed electronically camera. That’s both a good and a bad thing for the A6400. It’s good in that its layout is going to be instantly familiar to anyone who’s used an A6000, A6300 or A6500, and it is a neat, compact, crisp-feeling design. What’s not so good is that too many of its new features – and the A6400 has come a long way since the A6000 – are accessed electronically via menus, screens, dials and function buttons. The A6400 has a supersophisticated AF system, high-speed continuous shooting and powerful 4K video features, but it’s all buried inside a pretty but generic body. What happened to good old knobs and dials? When a camera has such a series of key strengths and 53

LENSES

3

The key to the A6400’s vlogger appeal is its flip-over screen. What was once a feature simply for selfie lovers has become a lot more important for videographers.

CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

4


SLR TEST

2

1 1

CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

The grip is fine with smaller lenses, but for larger Fujifilm ‘red badge’ lenses you might want the optional grip. 2

The X-T3 looks just like the X-T2 before it, but inside there are big changes to autofocus and video features. 3

The X-T3 will normally come with an 18-55mm f/2.8-4, or you can upgrade to a stellar 16-55mm f/2.8.

SL R w w w.w w w. f u j i f il m .co.u k

Fujifilm X-T3

3

£1,349/$1,499 Fujifilm hasn’t just updated its best enthusiast camera: it’s practically reinvented it

LENSES

SPECIFICATIONS Sensor 26.1MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS 4, 23.5 x 15.6mm Image processor X-Processor 4 AF points 91-point phase AF across entire image area ISO range 160 to 12,800 (exp. 80-51,200) Max image size 6,240 x 4,160px Metering zones 256 Video C4K or 4K UHD at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p, 24p Viewfinder EVF, 3,690k dots, 100% coverage Memory card 2x SD/SDHC/SDXC LCD 3.0-inch two-axis tilting touchscreen, 1,040k dots Max burst 11fps (mechanical shutter), 20fps (electronic shutter), 30fps (electronic shutter, 1.25x crop mode) Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Size: 133 x 93 x 59mm (body only) Weight: 539g (body only, with battery and memory card)

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F

ujifilm announced the X-T3 straight after the full-frame Nikon and Canon mirrorless camera launches, so it was unlikely to attract the same kind of attention. After all, it’s just a routine upgrade of the existing Fujifilm X-T2, right? Well, that just shows how appearances can be deceptive: the exterior might be quite similar, but inside the X-T3 has had a pretty massive overhaul. There’s its new 26.1 megapixel sensor, for a start. This is barely two megapixels more than the previous X-T2, but the extra resolution isn’t

the point. This is Fujifilm’s first back-illuminated X-Trans sensor, which means the electronic wiring is at the back of the sensor, not obscuring the photodiodes at the front. This means better lightgathering power and better overall image quality. More importantly, the new sensor has 2.16 million phase-detection sensors spread across the full image area. That’s a big step up from the X-T2. The autofocus performance is boosted still further by the inclusion of a new X-Processor 4 image processor that’s three times faster than the one before. This means


SLR TEST

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CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

The 3,690k EVF is very sharp and keeps up with fast camera/ subject movements surprisingly well. 5

The rear screen tilts up and down but also has an unusual sideways tilt for vertical shots.

5

6

6

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The slim profile of the X-T3’s body graphically illustrates the size advantage of the mirrorless format.

faster focusing, improved subject tracking and increased autofocus sensitivity, down to -3EV. The enhanced autofocus performance goes together with upgraded continuous shooting speeds. The X-T3 can now shoot at 11fps with its mechanical shutter (the old X-T2 needed an external booster grip to achieve this speed), and an excellent 30fps in electronic shutter mode with the camera’s new 1.25x cropped Sports Finder mode. Even more impressive than all of this – for videographers at least – is the X-T3’s ability to capture 10-bit 4K video at up to 60p with 4:2:0 colour 

sampling. (If you use an external recorder, that goes up to 4:2:2.) This is a pretty exceptional video specification for a stills/video crossover camera and marks a big step forward for Fujifilm’s video ambitions. From being a relative newcomer a short time ago, it now offers in the X-T3 the most advanced video specifications of any APS-C format camera.

Build and handling

The X-T3 is a mid-sized mirrorless camera big enough for a good range of external controls. There’s no mode dial on the X-T3: it uses an external

Fujifilm’s ‘red-badge’ pro lenses include the XF50-140mm f/2.8, used wide open here.

shutter speed dial and a lens aperture ring instead. Even the ISO is set on an external dial. The advantage of this setup is that you can see the camera settings without even switching it on. Annoyingly, though, not all Fujifilm lenses have an aperture ring. Fujfilm’s premium lenses do, but the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 has an auto-manual switch instead. Here, you adjust the aperture by turning a ring on the lens, and the value is shown on the camera display, not on the ring itself. The XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS feels like it’s a perfect fit as a kit lens, and the 16-55mm f/2.8 and 50140mm zoom doesn’t make it feel quite as front-heavy as you might expect. You can get a VPB-XH1 battery grip, which will both extend the battery life and improve the handling with long lenses. The X-T3’s electronic viewfinder is excellent. It has a resolution of 3.69 million dots, and its 100fps refresh rate and 0.005 second lag time mean smoother movement when you pan with fast-moving subjects like cars. The rear screen is sharp and clear. It’s not fully articulating, but it does 61

LENSES

The X-T3 has Fujifilm’s classic exposure controls, with dials for shutter speed, ISO and EV compensation.


CSC TEST

CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

’S TO R E EDIHOIC C

CSC w w w.olympus .co.uk

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II £749 / $899 (body only) Olympus’ 16MP E-M5 Mark II can produce 40MP or even 64MP images automatically. Angela Nicholson finds out how SPECIFICATIONS

LENSES

Sensor 16.1MP Micro Four Thirds format (17.3 x 13mm) Focal Length 2.0x Memory SD/SDHC/SDXC Viewfinder Electronic viewfinder (EVF) with 2,360,000 dots (approx 100% cover) Video resolution 1080 ISO range 100–25,600 Autofocus points 81 Max burst rate 10fps (AF, white balance and exposure locked at start) Screen Vari-angle three-inch, 1,037,000-dot touchscreen Shutter speeds Mechanical shutter, 1/8,000-60 sec plus Bulb; electronic shutter, 1/1,6000-60 sec Weight 417g (body only) Dimensions 124 x 85 x 38mm Power supply BLN-1 rechargeable lithium ion battery (supplied)

“It may be small, but the OM-D E-M5 Mark II feels nicely constructed. Its magnesium body is solid and comfortable” 80

T

he Olympus OM-D E-M5 was the first camera in Olympus’s OM-D line of Micro Four Thirds compact system cameras, and is sometimes referred to as the original OM-D. Its electronic viewfinder and SLR-like design distinguished it from the Olympus Pen series. It was also aimed at more experienced photographers than the Pen or Pen Lite. As the name suggests, the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is the replacement for the original E-M5. It sits between the top-end E-M1 and the lower-level E-M10 in the OM-D range.

Features

The E-M5 II uses a modified version of the 16.1MP Four Thirds type (17.3 x 13mm) sensor in the original E-M5, but it’s coupled with the TruePic VII processing engine of the E-M1. A more significant upgrade, however, is

The fingergrip is slim but effective

the Mark II’s ability to create 40MP JPEG or 64MP raw files automatically in its High Res Shot mode. Using the upgraded Image Stabilizer, it shifts the sensor by a tiny amount between shots as it takes a sequence of eight images. The camera then combines these images into a large composite. As the capture process takes around a second, High Res Shot mode is a tripod-only feature that’s designed for motionless subjects. Olympus has also improved the sensor-shifting five-axis image stabilisation system for the E-M5 Mark II. It claims a 5EV extension in the safe hand-holdable shutter speed; that’s the difference between 1/500 sec and 1/15 sec. Significantly, it also works in video mode. Live Bulb and Live Time mode are both present, along with the Live Composite mode introduced with the E-M10. These allow you to see long-exposure images building up on the camera’s screen, or on a smartphone or tablet connected via the camera’s Wi-Fi system. Live Composite mode is intended for shooting fireworks and star trails or painting with light. With the possible exception of the lack of a pop-up flash, the E-M5 Mark II has a comprehensive specification that provides the enthusiast photographer with just about everything they could want. It also has plenty to entice aspiring videographers, such as frame rates up to 60fps, bit rates up to 77Mbps, Time Code and a 3.5mm mic port.


CSC TEST

Zooming in on the… OM-D E-M5 Mark II

The mode dial has a lock to prevent you from changing modes by accident.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF), which shows 100% of the scene, has been improved and has 2,360,000 dots rather than the 1,440,000 dots of the original E-M5’s.

The new vari-angle 3-inch 1,037k-dot touch-sensitive screen is useful for composing images at awkward angles in landscape or portrait format.

In a change from the original E-M5 layout, the power switch is now alongside the mode dial.

Build and handling

It may be small, but the OM-D E-M5 Mark II feels nicely constructed. Its magnesium body is solid, comfortable and secure in the hand. It’s also dust- and waterproof, as well as freezeproof down to -10 degrees C. The E-M5 II sits between the E-M1 and E-M10 in the OM-D

range, and its control arrangement is halfway between the two. Taking a cue from the E-M1, there’s a switch on the back that changes the options adjusted by the two top-plate dials. This switch is a mixed blessing. On one hand, it doubles the number of options that can be adjusted via the dials, but on the other hand,

Meet the rivals… The cameras taking on the E-M5 Mk II

9000

FOR TEST IMAGES AND RESOLUTION CHARTS, VISIT www.techradar. com/cameras



Fujifilm X-T1 Body: £795 / $1299 Traditional controls, weatherproof build and retro styling, plus superb-quality images make this SLR-like 16MP compact system camera a real winner right now. Reviewed Issue 151

Samsung NX1 Body: £1,249 / $1,499 One of the E-M5 II’s chief rivals has already fallen by the wayside, but this 28MP 4K video powerhouse could be a great used buy if you get lenses too. Reviewed Issue 160

Sony Alpha 7R Body: £999 / $1,898 Sony’s firstgeneration A7R lacks the in-body image stabilisation of its successor but its 36MP full-frame sensor delivers both power and value. Reviewed Issue 147

you need to remember which setting gives access to the controls you want. You get into the swing of it after a while, but expect some frustration in the beginning. One of the great features of the OM-D series is that the cameras are extremely customisable. However, it can take quite a while to find and understand all the options as well as the huge range of features. The controls are all within easy reach, but some people may find the small buttons fiddly. I also found that a couple of buttons didn’t behave as I would expect on a few occasions. The Info button, for example, which I used to toggle between the on-screen displays, occasionally wouldn’t bring up the electronic level display. And there was a short period when I couldn’t review images in the viewfinder. I was unable to find any explanation for this within the menu, and the ability to review recovered without me changing any settings. The electronic viewfinder provides a good view of the subject. There’s no > 81

LENSES

The Mark II has a couple of extra buttons on the top-plate and a rejig to the adjustment dial arrangement.

CAMERAS AND ACCESSORIES

This custom function button is a little too easy to press accidentally when you’re holding the camera to your eye.

Profile for Future PLC

Photography Bookazine 2717 (Sampler)  

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Photography Bookazine 2717 (Sampler)  

You can subscribe to this magazine @ www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk