Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Fingers-on: Making Unimaginable Pictures Simple


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Fingers-on: Making Unimaginable Pictures Simple

“The Olympus E-M1 Mark III makes beforehand inconceivable photographs straightforward to snap.”

Glorious stabilization

Starry sky autofocus

Fast efficiency

Handheld high-res mode


EVF may very well be higher

Metering was a bit unpredictable

Similar sensor, AF as Mark II

Some cameras are designed for pixel peepers, probably the most discerning photographers that hoard megapixels and argue over the standard of bokeh. The $1,800 Olympus OMD E-M1 Mark III just isn’t a type of cameras. 

That is the digital camera for everybody else — photographers that care extra a couple of compact, adventure-ready system; photographers that need lenses which might be lengthy in zoom however quick on dimension; and photographers searching for a digital camera that makes even probably the most troublesome photographs enjoyable to shoot.

Olympus is sitting out the full-frame race, sticking the smaller Micro 4 Thirds format it pioneered and specializing in usability with options no different model gives. For probably the most half, it’s working.

This consists of options like Starry AF, the flexibility to make use of autofocus on the celebs as an alternative of painstakingly utilizing handbook focus to seek out that just-right candy spot. That joins a 7.5-stop stabilization system and built-in impartial density (ND) filters that permits you to go away the tripod and the filters at dwelling (more often than not, in any case).

We spent 4 days testing the E-M1 Mark III’s limits within the seashores and jungles of Costa Rica. (We had been company of Olympus, however our opinions are our personal). And whereas the E-M1 Mark III isn’t attempting to compete with one of the best full-frame cameras from Sony, Canon, Nikon, and Panasonic, just a few distinctive options enable it to simply maintain its personal.

Design and construct high quality

The E-M1 Mark III is designed to supply related options to the E-M1X, however in a smaller type with out the built-in battery grip. With the 12-45mm f/four PRO (additionally introduced on Feb. 12), it’s the smallest weather-sealed combo Olympus gives. I used to be capable of tuck the digital camera, 4 lenses, two teleconverters — sufficient for a 600mm-equivalent attain — and an iPad inside a backpack. I had sufficient room left over to place my tripod inside my backpack as an alternative of latching it on the surface, a distinction that allowed me to skip the bag verify and pack every little thing for a four-day worldwide picture journey into carry-on baggage.

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Regardless of the smaller dimension and weight — roughly 20.5 ounces — the grip is snug and there’s nonetheless fairly a little bit of actual property for bodily controls, together with twin management dials and an autofocus joystick. I really like the programmable mode swap, which I used to rapidly transfer from single to steady autofocus whereas photographing wildlife.

On the much less constructive facet, the report button and publicity compensation are proper subsequent to one another on the highest of the digital camera close to the shutter launch. With the similar dimension and form, I by accident began recording video a number of instances when what I needed was to regulate the publicity. These two controls would require a bit extra time with the digital camera to comfortably use with out pulling the viewfinder away from my eye.

The E-M1 III makes use of a Three-inch, 1.037-million-dot touchscreen that tilts to the facet of the digital camera, permitting you to rotate the display into selfie orientation with out being blocked by a tripod. Just like the E-M1X, although, I wasn’t impressed with the digital viewfinder. The refresh charge was strong, however photographs had much less distinction than the LCD display. With 2.36 million dots, there are a number of EVFs in the marketplace that provide higher image high quality. Reside Composite, which reveals a preview even for lengthy publicity photographs, and the choice to make use of OVF mode, does assist make up for these gaps in image high quality, nonetheless.

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The magnesium alloy physique is sealed towards mud and splashes and feels strong within the palms. The digital camera survived my unintended sturdiness check when the tide got here in a bit of quicker than anticipated. Regardless of being extra of a partial submersion than a splash, each the digital camera and the brand new 12-45mm equipment lens had been no worse for put on. A small quantity of seashore sand acquired simply contained in the battery door, but when the digital camera can survive getting smacked by an ocean wave, it ought to survive the marketed splash and dirt and not using a hitch.

The E-M1 Mark III doesn’t have the twin batteries of the E-M1X, however battery life is strong for a mirrorless digital camera. I didn’t have to swap the battery till the top of the day, roughly 800 photographs later. (My penchant for burst mode often permits me to get greater than the marketed battery life rating — the specs rank the digital camera at 420 photographs, and 900 in fast sleep mode).

Options and efficiency

olympus om d e m1 mark iii review omd 2071434Shot utilizing Starry AF and a tripod, edited in Adobe Lightroom

Taking pictures with the E-M1 Mark II is extremely liberating. Whereas most mirrorless cameras are straightforward to journey with, usually, the E-M1 Mark II can go away each the tripod and the ND filters behind. With a 7-stop stabilization system (7.5 with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/ PRO) and the built-in NDs, I shot a number of lengthy exposures of the ocean waves throughout the day with nothing however the digital camera physique and lens.

Olympus says most individuals can shoot six-second wide-angle exposures and not using a tripod, however with a gentle grip, it’s attainable to eke out much more.

However taking pictures a protracted publicity handheld isn’t new for Olympus — taking a handheld picture of the celebs and not using a tripod or handbook focus, however, is. The digital camera’s new Starry AF mode doesn’t use distinction detection, section detection, or perhaps a hybrid of the 2 methods. As an alternative, it makes use of luminance and appears for mild to deal with. The system makes use of two modes, pace precedence for taking pictures handheld, and accuracy precedence when engaged on a tripod. The mode can also be arrange to make use of again button focusing as an alternative of focusing with a half-press of the shutter, making it straightforward to maintain the main target locked as you reframe the shot.

Photographing stars is likely one of the more difficult kinds of pictures as a result of it usually requires a tripod and discovering the candy spot on the handbook focus ring with a number of check photographs earlier than getting it good. The E-M1 III’s mixture of stabilization and Starry AF simplifies taking pictures the celebs, making it simpler for superior photographers and truly attainable for learners. I’d nonetheless want a tripod for one of the best outcomes, however that one isn’t required may be very spectacular.

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Starry AF — for being a brand new function that’s remarkable even from different manufacturers — labored surprisingly properly. I may watch the digital camera carry the star out and in of deal with the LCD display . Whereas not as fast because the digital camera’s regular autofocus, it beats handbook focus. And for the reason that system relies on luminance or mild, it additionally works with different kinds of mild sources surrounded by darkish, like night time cityscapes, for instance. 

Whereas the Starry AF is the star of the present, the E-M1 Mark III’s 121-point autofocus system, whereas not new, is respectable and performs properly. The focusing pace isn’t record-breaking, but it surely stored up with every little thing from surfers to birds in flight. Low mild autofocus can also be respectable with sensitivity right down to -Three.5 EV.

Starry AF — for being a brand new function that’s remarkable even from different manufacturers — labored surprisingly properly.

A part of that autofocus efficiency is as a result of new TruPix IX processor. The improve, Olympus says, was essential to maintain the efficiency specs nearly even with the E-M1X, which homes two processors.

The processor can also be answerable for a 10-fps burst pace and an 18-fps burst pace with the digital shutter in silent mode. Should you don’t want steady autofocus,  you may bump that pace up to 15 fps and even 60 fps in silent mode. The buffer was loads to observe a surfer and a chook in flight — it caps out round 76 RAW photographs when taking pictures at 18 fps.

The processor additionally allows the hand-held excessive res mode, which makes use of the picture stabilization system and the tiny actions of your palms to sew collectively 16 images right into a 50-megapixel file. The mode is barely good with the stillest topics, however gives the choice of getting extra decision when the 20.four megapixels from the sensor isn’t sufficient.


Picture high quality

The E-M1 Mark III homes the identical megapixel rely because the Mark II — however with its smaller 4-Thirds sensor, in some unspecified time in the future, growing the decision brings diminishing returns. There’s no technique to get round the truth that this sensor, now a few years previous, has limitations in comparison with bigger, extra trendy sensors, however the E-M1 Mark II remains to be ok for many photographers.

One of many greatest perks of the Micro 4 Thirds system is that the 2X crop issue makes getting an extended focal size simpler. 600mm of equal attain, a back-breaking focal size on full body, might be simply carried with you.

The superb picture stabilization is an enormous assist with these lengthy lenses. The stabilization helped maintain particulars sharp whereas working with an excessive telephoto, even at comparatively gradual shutter speeds.

A brand new element precedence mode processes excessive ISO photographs twice, slowing the digital camera however growing the extent of element, which was surprisingly good for a 20-megapixel digital camera. Pictures at ISO 6,400 lose among the finer particulars.

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The digital camera’s metering system felt much less predictable than most, even in spot metering mode, and I used to be recurrently on the publicity compensation dial to get the shot proper in aperture precedence and shutter precedence mode.

Whenever you want the additional decision, excessive res handheld mode generally is a massive assist. The above picture was shot on this mode, and even cropped in publish.

Video follows the same sample, with good coloration and glorious stabilization. Recording regular wide-angle photographs and not using a tripod was easy, with solely minor motion within the video. Element is great, because of the cinema 4K decision at 24 fps.

Worth and availability

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is $1,800 and can launch on February 24.

Small digital camera, massive efficiency

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a small digital camera, certain, but it surely’s additionally a digital camera that may carry out in a approach that different cameras can’t. Options like Starry AF and handheld excessive res mode are distinctive benefits.

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Nevertheless it’s not excellent. The viewfinder decision is a few generations outdated, the metering system feels a bit inconsistent, and lots of different fundamental methods, just like the 121-point autofocus and 20MP 4 Thirds sensor, are carried over from the Mark II.

In the end, it comes right down to who this digital camera is for. The picture stabilization and built-in NDs are the lengthy publicity fan’s pot of gold. The digital camera’s pace and quick access to telephoto attain are additionally excellent for sports activities and wildlife. The combination of options with the digital camera’s small dimension — and the liberty it grants to go away the tripod at dwelling — can also be excellent for journey. 

The smaller sensor is much less excellent for genres like portraits, weddings, and trend, the place you may spend the same amount of money on a full-frame physique, and the place the E-M1 III’s superior options merely gained’t come into play.

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