Photography / Hands-on Review

Field Test: Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III

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Since their introduction back in 2014, Olympus’s OM-D E-M10 series cameras have found their ways into the camera bags of many enthusiasts. The new Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III will no doubt be finding its way into the camera bags of yet a new wave of enthusiasts.

Opening photograph captured using a Savage Product Pro LED Light Table

Small enough to palm in one hand, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III body, available in black or silver, or with an M.ZUIKO 14-42mm lens, in black or silver, is a solid, well-designed Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera packed with many of the pro-quality features found in Olympus’s pricier flagship cameras. A metal-alloy body, complemented by well-placed metal control dials, a thumb rest, and molded grip enable this camera to fill your hand securely. If anything, the camera seemingly feels larger and beefier than its actual dimensions (4.7w x 3.3h x 1.8"d). Weight-wise, the OM-D E-M10 MK III with a battery and memory card weighs a mere 0.88 lb. These are just a few of the reasons enthusiasts love this lightweight camera series.

The OM-D E-M10 MK III contains the same 16.1MP MFT Live MOS sensor found in its predecessor, but it’s now powered by a faster Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII image processor that, among other things, enables continuous shooting at up to 8.5 frames-per-second.

Built-in 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization compensates for yaw, roll, pitch, vertical shift, and horizontal shift for capturing impressively sharp stills and video under challenging, low light conditions. Per Olympus, the camera’s 5-axis IS system adds a 4-stop advantage when shooting handheld.

The camera’s AF system now features 121 contrast points up from 81 points in the E-M10 MK III, and a handy manual focus assist function kicks in automatically when you rotate the lens’s focus ring.

A computerized focal-plane, high-speed mechanical shutter, along with a silent electronic shutter, enable a range of exposure options. The mechanical shutter offers the standard 1/4000-second to 60-second exposure range. In addition to a Silent shooting mode, the electronic shutter offers shutter speeds as fast as 1/16000-second, albeit with a 30-second cut-off on the long exposure side. Depending on your choice of flash, sync speeds can be set up to 1/250-second, which is advantageous if you plan on shooting in the studio.

Another feature that can prove handy in the studio or on location is in-camera Keystone Compensation, which corrects the “leaning tower” effect you get when you tilt your camera upward when photographing architecture. Keystone compensation, which is equally valuable for correcting parallax distortion when photographing products in the studio, is a function that used to be limited to view cameras and tilt-shift lenses. This is no longer the case. Speaking of cases, a body jacket is available for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III, in black or brown.

Photographs © Allan Weitz, 2017

Keystone correction, an in-camera feature found in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III, used to require the use of a view camera or tilt-shift lenses.

Other noteworthy features found in the OM-D E-M10 MK III include Focus Bracketing for extending the field of focus of your pictures when shooting at close range, Live Composite, Live Bulb, Multiple Exposures (up to 2 images), HDR Backlight, Panorama, and Interval Shooting. If normal shooting doesn’t get you juiced, Olympus offers you a choice of nine Art Effect filters you can apply to your pix.

You have two viewing options with the OM-D E-M10 MK III: the camera’s electronic viewfinder (EVF) or the tilting LCD touchscreen, both of which display sharp, high-resolution images that are easy to zoom into for critical focusing.

Olympus sent us two very sharp test lenses to play with: the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 17mm f/1.8 and Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital 25mm f/1.8, which respectively, are 34mm and 50mm 35mm equivalents. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III is no slouch in the video department—the new camera can capture 4K video at 30p, 25p, or 24p / IPB (approx. 102Mbps) along with a choice of lower-resolution formats. You also have the option of shooting time-lapse video in 4K @ 5 fps, FHD video @ 5 fps, 10 fps, and 15 fps, and HD video @ 5 fps, 10 fps, 15 fps, and 30 fps. You also have the option of applying Art filters to your videos in addition to Movie Effects that include Echo, Multi-Echo, Art Fade, and Old Film. The OM-D E-M10 MK III features a built-in stereo mic with the option of attaching a higher-fidelity external mic when desired.

Micro Four Thirds camera technologies have come a long way since Olympus announced the original Digital Penn, in 2009. The new Olympus OM-D E-M10 MK III is leagues ahead of the Pen I when it was shown for the first time. The focusing is infinitely quicker and the image quality has also improved. And then there’s 4K video and all the other creative imaging options mentioned in the above paragraphs.

Have you tried shooting with, or perhaps already own a Micro Four Thirds camera? What’s your experience with this unique format? We’d like to hear about it.

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I've just pre-ordered OM-D E-M10 Mark III, and this is my first mirrorless camera. I'm switching from my old Canon SLR. It surved the purpose for many years but it was SO heavy and painful to carry around especially when traveling. So I decided I needed a new pal who is smaller and better to see the world with. I had a really hard time deciding if I should go for E-M10 Mark III or E-M5 Mark II. Initially I was waitinf for PEN-F to drop down price but it looks like it's not happening anytime soon somehow. Now I'm gonna be with E-M10 Mark III. Please tell me I made the right choice??? 4K video support sounds nice. The image stabilzation looks very promising. I wish the back LCD screen was the as E-M5 though so it'll be 180 flippable. I'm really hoping the updated image sensor will be faaaaantastic. Can't wait. 

This camera will be one of best on fhothagafi market 

I still have the OMD M10 mk1 and it still is going really well! Lovely little shooter for me. I was really hoping for a bump up in more specs. But dont really see a reason to upgrade it any time soon.

I got tired of hauling my Canon with its big heavy lenses. 

Has the software improved much? Thats probably the only thing that is lacking on the M10, the software wasnt very intuitive nor easy to use.

Krishant,

The Mark III has dramatic improvements in image stabilization and image processing. Scene selection is much easier too - tiles on the touch screen and the camera processes them more intellegently. 

Aside from the somewhat improved AF (still contrast-detect only) and tweaks to the body and menu systme, this new camera still uses Olympus's old 16Mp sensor, and a design that's almost unchanged from the two year old E-M10 Mk2. For the price it's not a bad camera, but I'm afraid that someone looking for a small, low-end interchangeable-lens camera might find other options that are faster and/or offer better image quality.

I started with Canon full-frame film and multiple lenses years ago.  Got tired of lugging all that around and went thru a series of early point-and-shoot digital cameras and up to a bridge camera.  Looking for something better, I decided to try the Olympus OMD EM-10 Mk I almost three years ago.  I was very happy with it, until, of course, the Mk II came along.  I upgraded in late spring prior to a trip the Scotland.  The move to 5-axis vs 3-axis stabilization was really great, as well as the joystick way to move around the focus point, while still looking thru the viewfinder. Veiwfinder is better, too.

I have been very happy with both cameras, but the Mk II is really better.  I'll look seriously at the Mk III, but was hoping it might go to 20 MP.  Other improvements are enticing...

I have an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk II that I purchased last Novenber. I absolutely love this camera, It's small, lightweight and takes great photographs as anyone can see above. I seldom shoot videos and have never used any of the built-in artistic effects. I shoot mostly nature photos and this micro-four thirds does a fantastic job with them. 

How did you get permission to photograph at Duke Farms? According to their website they have a strict no professional or commercial photogrpahy policy.

Really? I bike there regularly and never noticed any signs indicating any problems about taking photographs for purposes other than casual snapshooting.

AW

Most venues are just fine with people bringing in handheld cameras. It's pro/commercial photographers who show up with tripods and umbrella lights and take pictures for half an hour or more that they're trying to manage. I was a docent at one garden that allowed such photography by permit so they could control the time of the shoot (before/after visiting hours) and how many pros were there at the same time.

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