Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II Preview

A preview of the newly announced Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with specs and best lenses for underwater photography
By UWPG Editors

The long wait is over for the heavily rumored Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.  Olympus as officially announced their new addition to their O-MD line and their new flagship mirrorless camera.  This was made during the Photokina in Germany.

The original OM-D E-M1 made a big impact with underwater photographers when it released late 2013.  With this new OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus has truly proven to surpass our expectations.  The camera packs a 20 megapixel live MOS sensor, advanced 5-axis image stabilization, 121 point dual fast autofocus with 4K video.

In addition, one of the features the camera boasts is the speed of sequential shooting.  It surpasses the shooting speed of a DSLR camera.  Camera is capable to capture 18 fps in C-AF Tracking mode and a whopping 60 fps in S-AF mode.

Below are the specs for the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.

Availability:  Available now

Retail Price: Often on sale for $1,699 USD


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II Specifications

  • 20 Megapixel Live MOS Sensor

  • Advanced 5-axis Image Stabilization

  • 121-Point Dual Fast Autofocus

  • Focus Bracketing and Stacking

  • 50 megapixel Hi-Res Shot Mode

  • 15 fps Sequential Shooting (Mechanical)

  • 60 fps Sequential Shooting (Electronic)

  • 4K Cinema Video

  • 1/8000 High Speed Mechanical Shutter

  • Lightweight and Weatherproof Body

  • 3 inch Fully Articulating Touchscreen Monitor

  • Built-in Wifi



Best Lenses for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II features a standard Micro 4/3 lens mount, allowing it to use all Olympus 4/3 lenses, plus those from 3rd parties like Panasonic. Below are our recommendations for fisheye, wide-angle and macro lenses.

Fisheye Lenses

There are two choices for fisheye lenses, ideal for capturing reefscapes, big animals, wrecks, close-focus wide-angle and other large underwater scenes. The new Olympus 8mm Pro fisheye offers the best image quality and fast speed of f/1.8. The Panasonic 8mm fisheye lens has long been our go-to lens, delivering great photos with a full 180 degrees of coverage and widest aperture of f/3.5. Both lenses have a very close focusing distance, you can practically focus on the dome port!


Wide-Angle & Versatile Lenses

The E-M1 Mark II has many different wide-angle and mid-range zoom lenses to suit every underwater photographer. For wide-angle shooting, helping capture subjects like whales, sharks and sea lions, the new Olympus 7-14mm Pro lens and the classic Panasonic 7-14mm are your choices. Similar to the fisheye lenses from these brands, the Olympus will deliver slightly better image quality, but at a higher price. Wide-angle shooters will love the Olympus or Panasonic 7-14mm, choose Olympus for the best possible optic quality. The Olympus 9-18mm lens is a great choice for those on a budget who want a good wide-angle lens.

Kit lenses are an affordable way to get your camera in the water while also providing mid-range focal lengths ideal for shooting models in a pool. The Olympus 12-50mm is a great choice for ocean shooting, with a nice zoom range as well as built-in macro mode for capturing those small subjects. The Olympus 12-40mm Pro captures nice images with a f/2.8 aperture and professional level glass.


Macro Lens

The best option for shooting macro with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, is the Olympus 60mm macro lens. This lens delivers sharp 1:1 macro images and can be used with wet diopters outside your port in order to magnify your smallest subjects into great supermacro images. If that lens is too much, or you like shooting slightly larger macro, we recommend the Panasonic 45mm macro. This lens is a bit more money than the 60mm, but offers more flexibility in larger subjects, however it is not ideal for super macro.


Underwater Housings Options

Olympus E-M1 Mk II underwater housings are on the market, and in the water. We have seen housings from the following manufacturers.  More info to come as we receive it.


Nauticam Olympus E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing

Aquatica E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing

Sea & Sea E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing

Olympus PT-EP14 E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing

Ikelite E-M1 Mark II Underwater Housing


The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II will be an excellent camera for underwater photo / video and will become one of the top choices for those purchasing a mirrorless camera. A wide selection of lenses, excellent dynamic range and high ISO performance, fast autofocus, 4K video and versatility will set the bar high.

We expect to see housings announced several months after the camera begins shipping.

Check back for more updates on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II.  Bluewater Photo will be preordering the camera, so we'll have a detailed review published as soon as we get our hands on the camera.



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