OM Systems Olympus OM1 MKII thumbnail

Olympus revealed their new flagship: a super-rugged OM-1 MKII

OM Systems Olympus OM1 MKII thumbnail

Two years after the unveiling of the Olympus OM-1 ($1999), OM Systems announced their next flagship: the Olympus OM-1 MKII ($2,397). It’s a 20 MP (5184 x 3888) camera with a stacked BSI Live MOS sensor and TruePic X processor. Hey, just like the OM-1 mark 1. As you probably guessed, the new camera does not change much over the original OM-1, but it is more of an incremental improvement of the body and the software.

If you look from a high vantage point, the biggest improvements are enhanced AI subject detection for humans, live graduated neutral density filters, updated menu configuration, 14-bit raw output, and rubberized dials. I’ll touch on all of them.

The Om-1 MKII is impressively rugged

Except maybe the Nikon Z9 units that NASA modified (and maybe some single-digit old Pentax K cameras), the OM-1 MKII may be the best mirrorless around for harsh environments. It boasts an impressive IP53 weather sealing and a freezing-proof design. In addition to its durability, the OM-1 MKII has incredibly high shooting speed with up to 120 FPS of continuous shooting (RAW, fixed-fixed point focus). Both durability and speed are great for shooting in extreme situations like photographing wildlife in the snow or fast rally cars racing through the dirt. (If you don’t trust me, see what this strobe looks like after a few days on the track).

In addition to the high burst speed, you can also use the OM-1 MKII pro capture mode. In this mode, the camera will take pictures for you before you press the shutter button. The camera can store up to 70 frames before you press the shutter to ensure you capture the right moment.

Graduated live ND

You may already know that some OM system cameras allow you to digitally mimic ND filters with the live ND feature. That feature has improved with the MKII, and it now also includes the option to mimic graduated ND filters instead of a “constant” ND filter. Effectively, this addition lets you darken one side of the image, which is particularly useful when you need to darken the sky.

The OM1 MKII gets improved autofocus

OM Systems Olympus OM1 MKII AFOM Systems Olympus OM1 MKII AF

The Mark two gets an improved AI autofocusing system with multiple subject detection modes:

  • Humans
  • Birds
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Airplanes
  • Helicopters
  • Trains

The new modes should allow for a more consistent experience during your work. Olympus claims that the autofocusing capabilities improved even outside the subject detection modes, but it will take some time until we know just how much the autofocus has improved.

What’s new on the video side of the OM1 MKII?

I’m sad to say it, but the OM1 MKII hardly has anything new added to its video capabilities. There are no higher resolution or frame rate options. However, there is one small new feature available, and it is support for vertical video tagging.

OM1 MKII specs

Lens Mount Micro Four Thirds
Sensor Resolution Actual: 22.9 Megapixel
Effective: 20.4 Megapixel
Image Sensor 17.4 x 13 mm (4/3″-Type) MOS
Sensor Crop (35mm Equivalent) Crop Factor: 2x
Image Stabilization Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
Capture Type Stills & Video
Exposure Control
Shutter Type Mechanical Focal Plane Shutter and Electronic Rolling Shutter
Shutter Speed Mechanical Shutter
1/8000 to 60 Seconds
Electronic Front Curtain Shutter
1/320 to 60 Seconds
Electronic Shutter
1/32000 to 60 Seconds
Bulb/Time Mode Bulb Mode, Time Mode
ISO Sensitivity Range Photo/Video
200 to 102,400 in Manual, Auto Mode
Metering Method Center-Weighted Average, Highlight, Multi-Zone, Spot
Precise Scan Rate Control No
Exposure Modes Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Exposure Compensation -5 to +5 EV (1/3, 1/2, 1 EV Steps)
Metering Range -2 to 20 EV
White Balance Presets: AWB, Custom
Continuous Shooting Mechanical Shutter
Up to 10 fps
Interval Recording Yes
Self-Timer No
Still Image Capture
Image Sizes 4:3 JPEG / Raw
20 MP (5184 x 3888)
Aspect Ratio 1:1, 3:2, 4:3, 16:9
Image File Format JPEG, Raw
Bit Depth 12-Bit
Video Capture
Internal Recording Modes H.264/MOV/MPEG-4 AVC
4096 x 2160 at 24.00/25/30.00/50/60.00 fps
3840 x 2160 at 24.00/25/30.00/50/60.00 fps
1920 x 1080 at 24.00/25/30.00/50/60.00 fps
External Recording Modes No
Fast-/Slow-Motion Support Yes
Gamma Curve FLAT, HDR-HLG, OM-Log
IP Streaming No
Built-In Microphone Type Stereo
Media/Memory Card Slot Dual Slot: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II)
Video I/O 1x Micro-HDMI (Unspecified Signal) Output
Audio I/O 1x 1/8″ / 3.5 mm TRS Stereo Input
Power I/O 1x USB-C Input/Output
Other I/O 1x Built-In Cable with Micro-USB
Wireless 2.4 / 5 GHz Wi-Fi
Mobile App Compatible Yes: Android & iOS
Global Positioning (GPS, GLONASS, etc.) GPS
*Via Connected Smartphone
Display Size 3″
Resolution 1,620,000 Dot
Display Type Articulating Touchscreen LCD
Type Built-In Electronic (OLED)
Resolution 5,760,000 Dot
Eye Point 21 mm
Coverage 100%
Magnification Approx. 1.48x
Diopter Adjustment -4 to +2
Focus Type Auto and Manual Focus
Focus Mode Continuous-Servo AF, Manual Focus, Single-Servo AF
Autofocus Points Photo, Video
Phase Detection: 1053
Built-In Flash/Light No
Flash Modes Fill In, Manual, Off, Red-Eye Reduction, Slow Sync
Maximum Sync Speed 1/250 Second
Flash Compensation -3 to +3 EV (1/3, 1/2, 1 EV Steps)
Dedicated Flash System TTL
External Flash Connection PC Terminal
Operating Temperature 14 to 104°F / -10 to 40°C
Storage Temperature -4 to 140°F / -20 to 60°C
Operating Humidity 30 to 90%
Storage Humidity 10 to 90%
Battery Type 1x BLX-1 Rechargeable Lithium-Ion
Shoe Mount 1x Hot Shoe
Tripod Mounting Thread 1x 1/4″-20 Female
Dimensions (W x H x D) 5.3 x 3.6 x 2.9″ / 134.8 x 91.6 x 72.7 mm
Weight 1.1 lb / 511 g (Body Only)

Price and availability

As most of the improvements are not image-related, you could argue the new OM-1 MKII isn’t much of a successor camera to the OM-1. Instead, you could see the MKII as an updated version of the OM system’s flagship (maybe you could even see it as the OM-1 2024 edition). One way or another, the OM-1 MKII is a fitting and capable camera for anyone looking for a small and light but rugged machine. The camera will be available in February, but you can preorder one now for $2,397.