Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III Camera Review: Guided menus, new processor and 4K video

PROS:

  • Guided main menus.
  • Stabilization 5 axes.
  • Reactivity of the device.
  • Burst at 8.5 fps.
  • Adjustable screen.
  • Built-in flash.
  • Comfortable electronic viewfinder.
  • Creative Filters, Live Composite, Focus Bracketing, etc.
  • Vintage retro design.

CONS:

  • Multitouch non-touch screen.
  • Menus are too complex.
  • Objective of the kit not homogeneous.
  • Inadvertent smoothing.

BOTTOM LINE :

In general, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III keeps its promises. The new guided menus make it easy to get started, the new processor optimizes the autofocus reactivity and the 4K video appears. Too bad that the image quality is not at the same level as that of its predecessor or its competitor, the Panasonic Lumix GX80 , and suffers including unexpected smoothing and a kit lens not very famous. By making the right associations, you’ll find your account all the same, especially if it’s your first hybrid camera.


Without replacing it, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III succeeds the OM-D EM-10 Mark II. Completing the range, it takes the TruePic VIII processor from the excellent OM-D E-M1 Mark II and adds a new AF module with 121 crossed collimators, a burst announced at 8.6 frames per second in RAW, help menus and 4K / UHD video, all combined with an always retro and compact design.

A little less than two years after the release of the OM-D EM-10 Mark II, and following the success of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus comes back with a third retro hybrid and compact, intended for an amateur public wanting to move to the top notch: the OM-D E-M10 Mark III.

Its positioning, both price and technical, places it directly in front of the Panasonic Lumix GX80 . The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III will be available in mid-September at a price of 649$ bare or kit with the pancake lens M.Zuiko Digital 14-42 mm f / 3,5-5,6 EZ to 799 $.

GETTING STARTED

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III features the retro and vintage design of its predecessor, in black, black and silver. Some ergonomic rearrangements distinguish it from the OM-D E-M10 Mark II. On the right shoulder, the three main wheels come at different heights. The lowest thumb wheel, located at the thumb, proposes to manage the speed (in manual mode); the upper wheel, the opening; finally the third wheel, higher, offers to select the shooting mode. It is too prominent for our taste, but it is a bias of Olympus, which is based on the differentiation of functions to the touch. We always appreciate the detent, which operates in steps and knows how to stay fluid.

The PASM mode dial has been reworked to display a new AP function (Advanced Photo) for easy access to familiar and useful modes, but often buried in the complex menus of older Olympus cameras. You will find Live Composite, Live Time, Multi-exposure, HDR, Silence, Panorama, Compensation and Focus Bracketing modes.

In the same spirit, a shortcut key next to the power button simplifies playback of the different modes. In the Auto mode, for example, this button gives you access to 5 essential settings – saturation, white balance, exposure compensation, aperture and speed – in the form of legendary icons that can be modified with a cursor. This is ideal for users who do not want to bother with the technical settings, but still want to progress in the way they photograph.

Despite the unchanged menus, we appreciate the effort Olympus has made to make these features more accessible to the general public.

The LCD of the OM-D E-M10 Mark III is orientable, but still not entirely tactile, to our regret. Most settings can be made with your fingertips (device settings and collimator selection), except for navigation within the menus. The viewfinder is unchanged, with a resolution of 2,360,000 points and a magnification of 0.62x.

The OM-D E-M10 Mark III still ignores the NFC and GPS, but incorporates Wi-Fi. The connection allows you to remotely control the device or share files directly on your smartphone via the Olympus Image Share application, complete and intuitive.

The improvements made on this third version are therefore aimed at simplifying the handling of the device and convincing the amateurs that they are not obliged to have a thorough knowledge of photography in order to evolve in their practice. It will probably be insufficient to shift the owners of Mark II to the Mark III, but will be able to attract new buyers accustomed to the compact or their smartphone.

REACTIVITY

The OM-D E-M10 Mark III is equipped with a new AF module of 121 crossed collimators, against 81 for the Mark II. Coupled with 5-axis stabilization, this autofocus proves to be extremely reactive, as is the case in general: except when starting up, where it shows a small decrease in speed, all its times are better than those of its predecessor. The reported burst is verified and reaches up to 8.4 frames per second on about 20 views in JPG and up to 9 i / s in RAW, but only 9 views.

QUALITY OF IMAGES

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III takes the 16-megapixel CMOS sensor from its predecessor, coupled with the Truepic VIII sensor on the E-M1 Mark II. The ISO range remains unchanged, from 100 to 25,600 ISO. We are disappointed to note that the smoothing appears as of 200 ISO, making disappear the micro-contrasts rather quickly.
The 12-42 mm f / 3.5-5.6 kit zoom lens is not homogeneous and does not particularly optimize image quality. Fortunately, with the M.Zuiko 12-40mm f / 2.8 Pro lens, the details are more accurate, but the same smoothing phenomenon is visible. At issue, the processor? With the OM-D E-M10 Mark II or the EM-1 Mark II, smoothing is only possible from ISO 1600. Here, with equal sensitivity, the details disappear almost completely. And if you look carefully, you will even see a small increase to ISO 3,200, probably due to the emergence of electronic noise. Opposite, the Panasonic Lumix GX80 handles its sensitivity better. It will be necessary to privilege the RAW format to recover some details in post-production.

In the field, the images are not disappointing and the dynamics of the sensor is rather extensive. The color reproduction is faithful. In low light, 5-axis stabilization is particularly effective even at low speeds.

As with most cameras with interchangeable lenses, it is often necessary to have a more advanced lens than the kit in order to take full advantage of the capabilities of the camera and the sensor. This is an additional cost, but if you are demanding, the device will be more durable.

VIDEO

Good news, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III incorporates the 4K / UHD definition (3,840 x 2,160 px) at 30, 25 or 24p. The new shortcut button (left) now allows you to choose directly the video definition without going through the complex menus of the device. During recording, it is possible to use art filters as well as PASM modes to change the settings.

The 5-axis stabilization is still as effective and the touch screen allows to quickly change its focusing area.

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