Olympus boosts video performance of its OM-D range

Compact System Cameras

Upgraded video: the OMD E-M1 and E-M5 mk II gain new video features

Olympus has released firmware upgrades for its mirrorless cameras, including the flagship OM-D E-M1 and the OM-D E-M5 Mark II which promise a significant improvement in the cameras’ usefulness for video shooters.

Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds cameras have generally lagged behind fellow MFT system producer Panasonic’s offerings, especially the GH4, or mirrorless cameras from other makers, such as Sony with its A7s.

But Olympus’ camera bodies have found favour with pros for stills shooting, especially in areas such as street photography, due to their compact size and robust build.

Olympus has, though, now released firmware for two of its pro-spec cameras, which promise to go some way to closing the gap when it comes to video.

The firmware update – called a Feature Upgrade by Olympus – takes the OM-D E-M1 to v4, and the more recent OM-D E-M5 Mark II to v2.

The update for the OM-D E-M5 Mark II adds video features including 4K time lapse video, a slate tone, synchronised PCM audio recording for uncompressed sound, and both a flat picture mode for movie shooting and a video-specific noise filter.

The update also adds “Smooth Aperture” for stepless aperture changes on the M.Zuiko 14-42mm and the Premium (f2.8, pro-spec) Olympus glass.

For stills, Olympus has also added focus bracketing, and the ability to disable lenses’ manual focus clutch.

The OM-D E-M1 gains the new video features of the E-M5 as well as a set of other features, including timecode settings, focus peaking, movie info display, including timecode and audio levels, and five-axis optical stabilisation in movie mode. Significantly for film makers and also anyone producing content for Europe, the E-M1 gains both 24 and 25fps frame rates.

The two firmware updates are free of charge and can be downloaded now.