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Beginners looking for a great camera to get them into serious photography and with the capacity to allow them to grow as a photographer should check out the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II mirrorless interchangeable lens MFT format camera.
There are plenty of reasons for this recommendation, but the four most important are outlined below.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Features
Released in 2015, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is an MFT (also called Micro Four Thirds or Micro 4/3rds) format camera with a 16MP sensor in a retro-style body that mimics the design of the classic 35mm SLR, the original Olympus OM series film cameras made from1972 to 2002.
Micro Four Thirds is considered a crop sensor format since it is physically smaller than the 35mm film equivalent format known as Full Frame. There is a crop factor of 2X when comparing lenses for MFT vs Full Frame format lenses.
One of the biggest pluses of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II for beginner photographers is the compact size and light weight of the camera and its lenses. Don’t let the small size fool you, this is professional-capable, high-quality gear.
Mid-Tier Prosumer Camera
The hierarchy of the OM-D series of cameras is told by the number series. E-M1 cameras are considered the top-of-the-line full-fledged professional level, E-M5 cameras are considered intermediate by Olympus and can be used as prosumer-level cameras, E-M10 cameras are considered entry-level.
You’ve probably already noticed that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II has been superseded by a newer model, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III of 2019 with a 20MP sensor.
Which is why the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a great beginner camera. Since you will be finding it as a used camera, a huge selling point for why you might choose this camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II price.
If you shop for used photography gear at a reputable store with a warranty program and only selling gear they have checked out as excellent working condition, you could find yourself with a prosumer level camera for an entry-level price.
The built-in 5-axis image stabilization is one of the best features of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera. This allows you to use virtually any lens by means of the appropriate mount adapter and still have modern image stabilization.
This feature is also usable when filming in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II video modes. The E-M5 Mark II records video in 1080p up to 60fps, for good quality video. It’s not 4K, but for casual videography, 1080p is very high quality.
In addition to the very bright and sharp eye-level viewfinder (EVF), the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II has a fully articulated 3 inch viewscreen that also functions as a touch screen display for the camera menu.
Autofocus control is controllable from the viewscreen, giving you multiple options for videography or still photography.
The 16MP sensor can be turned into a higher resolution camera by accessing the High-Resolution mode of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.
Usable only for non-moving subjects, the high-resolution mode takes 8 exposures of the scene, moving the sensor slightly between captures, and then blends them together in-camera for an effective 4X increase in sensor resolution.
Image file sizes are up to 40MB for JPEGs and 100MB for RAW files. Since the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II physically moves the sensor between exposures, it’s really only usable for static subjects and tripod use is recommended.
The Olympus single shot autofocus is super rapid and the focus sensors can be controlled in a predictive program that searches for faces and eyes, allowing for being able to capture sharply focused images of portrait subjects.
This automatic mode is switchable from left eye, to right eye, or closest eye, giving you some great control over your focus. You can also switch focus points yourself or use focus lock or back button focus.
Where to Buy
So now that you’re impressed with the fine camera as a great beginner camera with prosumer level features and ruggedness, you’re now wondering where to buy an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II for yourself.
MPB is an online used camera store that is a great place to find good condition used photography gear. MPB inspects each item they buy or allow as a trade-in to be sure the item is in great workable condition, so they never sell a broken or substandard piece of gear.
MPB offers a generous refund policy and also has a 6-month warranty on the vast majority of their gear. Since used photography gear is all they do, they have really built up a fine reputation as a source for high-quality cameras and lenses at greatly reduced prices compared to brand new.
Another thing that makes MPB a good place to purchase used photography gear is their item condition ratings and descriptions. You can trust them as they show you exactly what’s going on with the camera or lens you're considering.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a great beginner camera with awesome pro and prosumer level features and rugged build quality. Pair it with a great used MFT mount lens for a complete kit that will produce high quality images and allow you to grow as a photographer.