Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Review
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the latest Olympus OM-D. It replaces the second-generation E-M10 Mark II
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II intermediate level camera of Olympus Micro Four-Thirds mirrorless. The new Mark III version is nearly identical to its predecessor externally and internally. The main difference is an improved processor that allows faster shooting, more autofocus points and 4K Ultra-HD video.
Core features remain the same and the camera is still built around a 16 megapixels Anti-Alias-Filter-Free CMOS sensor mounted on a 5-axis stabilization system effective to 4 stops of compensation. There is a large 0.45" EVF with 2.4 megapixels of resolution and an Eye-Start Sensor in a lightweight body with dual control-dials. With the new processor, the continuous drive squeezes an extra tenth frame-per-second, topping at 8.6 FPS.
This OM-D simplifies the feature set offered by previous models, perhaps to make the camera easier to use, which results in some missing or highly restricted features. Given that this review is nearly identical to that of the OM-D Mark II, differences have been highlighted below. Improvements are marked in green and lost capabilities are marked in orange.
Video features of the E-M10 Mark III are extremely sophisticated including Program, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority and Manual exposure as well as Art Filters. Video focus modes include continuous autofocus (AF-C), subject-tracking autofocus and direct manual-focus (DMF). Stereo sound is recorded by a built-in microphone or an external one via a standard mini-jack.
This digital camera review covers the usability, performance and image quality of the Olympus O-MD E-M10 Mark III.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Features
- 16 Megapixels CMOS Four-Thirds sensor
- No Anti-Alias Filter
- 5-Axis Sensor-Shift image stabilization
- Built-in ultra-sonic dust-reduction
- Micro Four-Thirds lens mount
- Standard ISO 200 - 3200 sensitivity range
- Expanded ISO 100 - 25600 sensitivity range
- Auto ISO, customizable ISO 200 - 25600 limit
ISO Bracketing, 3 frames, maximum 1 EV steps
- PASM Exposure modes
- Program-Shift in P mode
- 1/4000 - 60s Mechanical Shutter-Speeds, 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
- 1/16000 - 1/8s Electronic Shutter-Speeds, 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV steps
- Timed or Bulb Exposure, Maximum 30 mins
- EC, ±5, 1/3,
1/2 or 1EV increments
- Exposure-Shift, ±1, 1/6 EV increments
- Multi-Segment, Center-Weighed, Spot, Shadow Spot and Highlight Spot metering
- Auto-Exposure Bracketing, 3-frame ±1 EV or 5-frame ±2/3
- FC, ±3, 1/3
or 1/2 EVincrements
- Auto, Redeye, Forced, Off, Slow-Sync+Redeye, Slow-Sync, Rear-Sync and Manual flash modes
- Manual flash power between full and 1/64th power
- White Balance: AutoTwo types: Normal and Warm-preserving., 6 presetsSunny, Shade, Cloudy, Incandescent, Fluorescent, Underwater, Flash, Kelvin, Custom
- White-balance fine-tuning along 2 axis in 15 steps
- Digital white-balance preview
- Optional One-Touch custom white-balance
- Optional Long-Shutter noise-reduction
- Optional High-ISO noise-reduction, 3 levels
- 7 Color and 1 B&W Picture Modes
- Adjustable contrast, sharpness, saturation, 5 steps each
- Adjustable gradation, automatic or 3 levels
- Adjustable tone curves, shadows, midtones, highlights, 15 steps each
- sRGB or Adobe RGB color space
- 4:3 Native aspect ratio
- 3:2, 16:9, 1:1 and 3:4 cropped aspect ratios
- 16, 8 and 1.2 megapixels modes
- JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG capture
- 4 JPEG Compression levels
- Optional Keystone-Compensation, 41 steps along 2 axes
- 8.5 FPS Drive, 21 RAW files or Unlimited JPEGs
- Multiple-Exposure, 2 frames, optional automatic gain and composition overlay
- Time-Lapse, 1-999 Frames, 1s-24h59m59s Interval, 0-24h59m59s Delay
- Self-timers: 2s, 12s or Custom, 1-10 Frames, 1-30s Delay, ½s-3s Interval
- Anti-Shock Mode:
0-30s Shutter-Delay Quiet Modes: Single, Continuous, Timers
- Single-shot (AF-S), continuous (AF-C), direct manual-focus (DMF) or tracking autofocus
- Manual-focus (MF), optional display magnification up to 14X
- 121-Point AF system, automatic or manual point-selection
- Focus-Bracketing, 2 step sizes
Optional Bulb focusing
- Optional Face-Priority
- Optional AF-Assist lamp
- Optionally reset lens focus to infinity
Controllable focus-ring direction
- 3840x2160 @ 30 FPS
- 1920x1080 @ 60 FPS
- 1280x720 @ 120 FPS
- Quicktime with H.264 codec
- Time-Lapse Video, Quicktime H.264
- Program, Aperture-Priority, Shutter-Priority and Manual video exposure
- Adjustable Audio-Volume, 21 levels
- Optional Stereo Sound
- Optional Volume-Limiter
- Optional Wind-Filter, 1 level
- Optional Art-Filters
Display & Viewfinder
- 0.45" EVF, 2.4 Megapixels
- 0.62X Magnification, 100% Coverage
- Built-in Eye-Start sensor
- Digital-level, 2-Axis
- Tilting 3" Touchscreen LCD, 1 Megapixel
- Optional Live-Histogram
- Optional Framing-Guides, 5 types
- Optional Focus-Peaking
- Adjustable brightness, 15 steps
- Adjustable color, 15 steps, 1 axis
- Optional Touch-Screen controls
- Standard Hot-Shoe
- Built-in WiFi
- HDMI 4K output
- USB 2.0 connectivity
- Dual control-dials
- Traditional Mode-Dial
- 2 Customizable buttons
Customizable AE-L metering mode
- SDXC memory slot
- Lithium-Ion battery
Customizable Battery Warning Customizable DPI Setting
- Embedded Copyright Info
Usability - How easy is it to use?
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III has a distinctively angular design with a large viewfinder hump hosting the EVF and hot-shoe. It also has a minimal hand grip which keeps it relatively slim. The camera feels solid in hand with a good weight. Unlike the E-M5 Mark III
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II which is weatherproof and shares a nearly identical design, the E-M10 Mark III has a much more sturdy tilting LCD. The hinge shows no flex and appears quite solid.
The E-M10 Mark III can be securely held thanks to a prominent rubber protrusion at the back. There are eyelets on either side to attach a standard neck-strap. Too bad one digs uncomfortably into your index finger while reaching for the shutter-release though. Since this mirrorless is relatively light and compact, it can be used easily with a wrist-strap instead.
While there is one fewer button than on the mid-range E-M5 Mark III, the top plate remains crowded after Olympus pushed most controls to the right of the EVF. On the left, there is a small Shortcut button. It invokes a contextual menu or the Super Control Panel. There is a rotating 3-position power-switch. There are obviously Off and On positions, plus a third spring-loaded one which pops up the built-in flash and bounces back to the on position. This is a good use of the power button real-estate. The EVF housing hosts a standard hot-shoe.
Jumping over the hump, the first control reached is a traditional mode-dial with 9 positions. All standard PASM modes are all present plus a fully automatic mode along with Scene, Advanced Photo, Art Filter and Movie modes. The latter four modes each offer several sub-modes. In Movie mode, these sub-modes are PASM again. Luckily, since the E-M10 Mark III has a Movie mode, it can be ready and preview framing for video capture.
The Advanced Photo mode, labelled AP, is new to the E-M10 Mark III. It groups a considerable number of unrelated functions which are no longer accessible elsewhere: Live Composite, Live Time, Multiple Exposure, HDR, Silent Shooting, Panorama Assist, AEB and Focus Bracketing. This cripples most of these functions since exposure modes are no longer selectable and many features such as Exposure-Compensation and Drive Modes are locked out, depending on the mode. This makes the Panorama Assist function of very limited use.
Next, dual controls-dials are found back-to-back. Both dials protrude well from the camera. They have a nice texture and good detents, making them easy to use even with gloves on and yet avoid accidental rotation. These control-dials can be configured independently for each mode, but no longer Playback, and menus. In Manual mode, the only two choices are obviously Shutter and Aperture or vice-versa. In other modes, one of them controls the exposure-parameter, while the other applies EC.
Right at the outer corner of the top-plate, there is a customizable Fn2 button which applies digital zoom by default. Below Fn2 is the Video-Record button which is no longer customizable. While you could capture video in Stills mode that way, it makes no sense to do so since the preview usually shows the wrong aspect-ratio. Visible from the top yet not directly on the top-plate is the customizable AE-L/AF-L button, also labelled Fn1. It can also be one of 11, including its default AE/AF-L.
A standard two-stage shutter-release is found at the center of the front control-dial. It has moderate travel and a distinct halfway point. There is another button mounted on the side of the EVF housing. This toggles the rear LCD between Capture Preview and Status Display mode. It does not do anything when using the EVF.
All remaining controls are found on the back of the camera which has a nearly identical layout as the E-M5 Mark III. Being relatively compact, space is limited around the 3" LCD. It looks quite busy with only space left for a small thumb-rest. The LCD is mounted on a sturdy double-hinge along the bottom edge of the camera. It folds downwards 45°or upward just passed 90°. This makes it easy take both low and high shots without widening the footprint of the camera.
Like all OM-D series cameras, the E-M10 Mark III features a built-in EVF with Eye-Start Sensor centered above the rear LCD. At 0.45" diagonally and 0.62X magnification, the one here is reasonably comfortable. It shows 100% coverage as one would expect from an EVF. Despite being slightly smaller, it boasts the same 2.4 megapixels which makes it incredibly sharp. The view is Exposure-Priority by default in M mode and updates according to EC. It is not Exposure-Priority in A or S mode though.
The Menu and Info buttons are located below the thumb rest. The former enters and exists the menu system and the latter cycles over display options on the LCD or EVF, whichever is active at the time. No surprises here, just the way it should be. The menu itself though is very complex - up to 4 levels deep - and oddly organized. Those coming from previous Olympus camera will be familiar with its design yet will likely still find themselves going through the entire menu system looking for a setting from time to time.
There is a 4-way controller with central OK button. The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III assigns each direction a fixed function: Up for ISO, Right for Flash mode, Down for Drive mode and Left for Focus Selection mode. Each of these, except for Focus Selection, makes a horizontal menu appear along the bottom edge of the LCD or EVF. When pressing Focus Selection, a grid appears and the directional button can move around the focus point or area, depending on the mode.
Under the 4-way controller, there is a Delete and a Playback button. The Playback button behaves just as expected. The Delete button below the 4-way controller does nothing in Capture mode, even during instant review. To delete an image, one has to enter Playback mode. Although one can configure the E-M10 Mark III to enter Playback mode after each shot is taken which allows quick deletion but slows down shooting a little.
The large rear 3" LCD has 1 megapixels and is sufficiently sharp to confirm focus without magnifying. Visibility is excellent and the anti-reflective coating does a fantastic job. Color temperature and brightness for the LCD can be set. Due to the limited contrast of the display, nuances in highlights are hard to see, so images may appear over-exposed without being so. The preview on the LCD is not Exposure-Priority, although it shows a good approximation in Manual exposure mode. In other modes, it shows the metered exposure offset by EC. The Live-Histogram is unfortunately based on display-brightness and is only reliable in M mode.
These is a single door at the bottom of the camera to cover the combined battery and memory card compartment. The battery is relatively small and space for the memory card slot is tight. There is also a metal tripod socket inline with the optical center of the lens which is ideal for panoramic photography.
The OM-D E-M10 Mark III shows generally good usability for a camera this small. There are a good number of external controls but customization is limited. Most of the changes have made the camera simpler to use than its predecessor at the expense of functionality. Although many changes made little impact and usability, the fact than many functions can no longer be used in conjunction is highly restrictive.
Olympus E-M10 Mark III Highlights
Sensor-Size: 17 x 13mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|16 Megapixels Mirrorless||ISO 100-25600|
|Micro Four-Thirds Mount|
|5-Axis Built-in Stabilization, 4-Stop Improvement||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|0.45" Built-in EVF 2.4 Megapixels (0.62X)||Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Spot-Metering|
|2 Axis Digital Level||Hot-Shoe|
|Built-in Dust Reduction||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|8.6 FPS Drive, 36 Images||Secure Digital Extended Capacity|
|3840x2160 @ 30 FPS Video Recording|
|3" LCD 1 Megapixels|
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