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Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark II: Just How Good is the Hi-Res Sensor Shift Mode?

Get the Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark II digital camera at B&H Photo.

The Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark II produces 9216 X 6912 images (64MP) from 105MB raw files when shot in its sensor shift mode (those dimensions are 2X linear multiples of its 4608 X 3456 native resolution). There is definitely not 64MP of real detail in the files, but there is much more detail than its 4608 X 3456 native sensor resolution normal mode. As well as other benefits, such as about 3X better noise handling.

I shot a variety of images to explore the EM5 Mark II hi-res mode, but this example turned out to be outstanding for seeing the differences, at least under ideal conditions and with excellent shot discipline. In Guide to Mirrorless:

Olympus OMD E-M5 Mark II Hi-Res Sensor Shift Mode vs Standard Resolution (Mining Museum)

Presented with HD and UltraHD images, along with many pairs of large crops.

The sensor-shift approach used by Olympus is a type of oversampling, an idea that I have long advocated for higher image quality. Oversampling using a double-resolution sensor would be much better than shifting the sensor, but Olympus deserves kudos for delivering a remarkable feature in a $1099 camera.

Of course, one ponders what Sony (or Nikon or Canon) could do with sensor shift, since the equivalent would be to deliver 144 megapixel images from a 36MP sensor, or 200 megapixels from a 50MP sensor. Or 96 megapixels on the 24MP Sony A7 II, which has an image-stabilized sensor already.

Mining Museum
f4 @ 1/10 sec, ISO 200; 2015-03-09 12:36:40
E-M5MarkII + LEICA DG SUMMILUX 15/F1.7 @ 31.2mm equiv (15mm)

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