OLYM­PUS OM-D E-M10 MARK III

It’s still one of the pret­ti­est mir­ror­less cam­eras on the mar­ket, and Olym­pus has made its en­try-level OM-D model even more com­pet­i­tive via a new and more pow­er­ful pro­ces­sor, 4K video, wider area aut­o­fo­cus­ing, re­vised menus and more.

Camera - - NEWS - PAUL BUR­ROWS RE­PORT BY

Olym­pus’s en­try-level OM-D model gets a makeover and new fea­tures – in­clud­ing 4K video record­ing – and it’s still the pret­ti­est Mi­cro Four Thirds cam­era on the mar­ket.

If you’re of a vin­tage old enough to re­mem­ber the orig­i­nal Olym­pus OM Sys­tem, you’ll re­call that a big ap­peal of sin­gledigit mod­els (i.e. OM-1 to OM-4) was the sheer at­trac­tive­ness of the way these cam­eras looked. A lot of it was down to the small­ness of size – es­pe­cially ini­tially when ev­ery other 35mm SLR looked huge in com­par­i­son – but it was also all about the de­sign. Not only were the pro­por­tions just right in terms of cre­at­ing a vis­ual bal­ance, but the clean, crisp lines were beau­ti­fully el­e­gant… less was def­i­nitely more.

To­day’s OM-D mir­ror­less cam­eras are styled to chan­nel the clas­sic OM beauty, but none do it bet­ter than the en­try-level E-M10, es­pe­cially in the Mark II it­er­a­tion which adopted the orig­i­nal OM-1 lever-type power switch, front and rear in­put wheels mim­ick­ing tra­di­tional di­als, and a re­shaped viewfinder hous­ing which is pure 35mm OM. But the Mark II is now just over two years old and, right now, that’s a long time, es­pe­cially in the mir­ror­less cam­era world where the last few months have seen sig­nif­i­cant up­grades from all of Olym­pus’s ri­vals.

So here’s the Mark III model which, wisely, keeps all the best bits of its pre­de­ces­sor – par­tic­u­larly the ex­ter­nal con­trol lay­out – but adds the fea­tures that are now de rigeur, most no­tably bet­ter per­form­ing aut­o­fo­cus­ing and 4K video record­ing (see the Mak­ing Movies side panel for the rest of the E-M10 III’s video story). Olym­pus has also lis­tened to the main crit­i­cism of the Mark II model – namely its less-than-log­i­cal menu sys­tem – and has made some re­vi­sions there.

That said, while there’s a def­i­nite im­prove­ment, if you’re new to the OM-D sys­tem, you’re still go­ing to find that Olym­pus thinks a bit dif­fer­ently to any­body else when it comes to how menu items are al­lo­cated.

And new con­verts are def­i­nitely on Olym­pus’s radar for its new baby, es­pe­cially as the en­try-level D-SLR of­fer­ings are be­com­ing a lit­tle less ex­cit­ing over time, and the E-M10 III re­ally lever­ages the size ad­van­tages of the Mi­cro Four Thirds for­mat sen­sor, even more so than the Pana­sonic Lu­mix ri­vals. Noth­ing in the D-SLR world gets close in terms of both com­pact­ness and light­ness… and cer­tainly noth­ing looks as en­tic­ingly pretty. Com­pare the specs and you’ll find the Mark III cam­era is ac­tu­ally frac­tion­ally larger than its pre­de­ces­sor, but we’re talk­ing mere mil­lime­tres here and just a few ex­tra grams in terms of the body weight, so it’s no big deal. Be­sides, most of the ex­tra bulk is ac­counted for by a big­ger and bet­ter shaped hand­grip, so the more com­fort­able han­dling more than makes up for it.

SPACE SAVER

As we’ve noted with the pre­vi­ous mod­els, the E-M10 Mark III’s size is all the more re­mark­able be­cause, ex­ter­nally, Olym­pus has man­aged to find space for all those tra­di­tional dial-type con­trols (plus rea­son­ably sized but­tons), a built-in pop-up flash and a tiltad­justable mon­i­tor screen. The body cov­ers are now GRP rather than mag­ne­sium al­loy.

On the in­side is sen­sor-based im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion – which ob­vi­ously needs a bit of ex­tra room – with ad­just­ments over five axes giv­ing up to four stops of cor­rec­tion for cam­era shake (and now with move­ment de­tec­tion for auto mode se­lec­tion). There’s also a de­cent sized EVF which uses an OLED-type panel with a res­o­lu­tion of 2.36 megadots and mag­ni­fi­ca­tion of 1.23x (equiv­a­lent to 0.62x in 35mm for­mat terms).

The Mark III’s con­trol lay­out has been slightly re­vised with restyled in­put wheels and a main mode dial that looks even more clas­si­cal than be­fore thanks to its more pro­nounced rim. The mode op­tions them­selves have changed too, with ‘iAUTO’ now marked as sim­ply ‘AUTO’ (but it still does the same thing, se­lect­ing full auto op­er­a­tions) and the ar­rival of a new po­si­tion marked ‘AP’, for ‘Ad­vanced Photo’. This pro­vides ac­cess to a range of more spe­cialised cam­era op­er­a­tions that pre­vi­ously re­quired a trip the menus.

Un­der the ‘AP’ banner is grouped the Live Com­pos­ite and Live Time func­tions, multi-shot HDR cap­ture, a dou­ble ex­po­sure fa­cil­ity, silent shoot­ing, a panorama mode, Key­stone Com­pen­sa­tion and auto brack­et­ing for ei­ther ex­po­sure or fo­cus. The Live Com­pos­ite func­tion cap­tures and com­bines mul­ti­ple im­ages in-cam­era, with the ex­po­sures sub­se­quent to the first one only record­ing the ar­eas that change in bright­ness… so it’s great for sub­jects such a star trails be­cause the fore­ground won’t be over­ex­posed. Live view lets you watch the im­age cre­ation as it pro­gresses. Live Time is for mak­ing long ex­po­sures, again with live view al­low­ing the progress to be mon­i­tored.

EAS­IER AC­CESS

The new ‘Ad­vanced Photo’ menu is part of the Mark III’s over­hauled user in­ter­face, as is a re-or­gan­i­sa­tion of the Scene menu which ar­ranges the long list of 27 pro­grams un­der cat­e­gory head­ings for Peo­ple, Nightscapes, Mo­tion, Scenery, In­doors and Close-Ups. Ad­di­tion­ally, the Cus­tom Menu – which was 104 items long on the Mark II and con­se­quently very un­wieldy – has been re­duced to a more man­age­able 43, al­though there are still things here that would be more log­i­cally lo­cated in the Shoot­ing Menus, such as white bal­ance set­ting, noise re­duc­tion func­tions and man­ual fo­cus as­sists. As it hap­pens, the two Shoot­ing Menus con­tain just nine items. And why sep­a­rate the MF as­sist set-up – i.e. on/off switch­ing for im­age mag­ni­fi­ca­tion and/or a fo­cus peak­ing dis­play – and the colour set­tings for said fo­cus peak­ing dis­play into sep­a­rate sec­tions of the Cus­tom Menu? Cu­ri­ous in­deed.

How­ever, the good news is that you can largely by-pass the main menus via the ‘Su­per Con­trol Panel’ dis­play – which is su­per­im­posed over the live view im­age in the mon­i­tor screen – and pro­vides di­rect ac­cess to 18 cap­ture-re­lated func­tions with the added ef­fi­cien­cies of touch con­trol. A new short­cut but­ton – lo­cated ad­ja­cent to the Mark III’s power switch on the cam­era’s top deck – pro­vides quick ac­cess to the SCP dis­play (hur­ray, be­cause it wasn’t ob­vi­ous pre­vi­ously) or the main menus in each of the cam­era’s other shoot­ing modes, in­clud­ing ‘Ad­vanced Photo’, the ‘Art Fil­ter’ spe­cial ef­fects, movie shoot­ing and the sub­ject/scene pro­grams.

Al­ter­na­tive to the SCP, there’s a ‘Live Con­trol’ dis­play which pro­vides the same ac­cess to a smaller se­lec­tion of func­tion – which vary ac­cord­ing to the shoot­ing mode – with the func­tion tiles ar­ranged along the right-hand side of the mon­i­tor screen so that the live view im­age isn’t ob­scured (and you can mon­i­tor the ef­fects of chang­ing set­tings). A few set­tings

OLYM­PUS HAS ALSO LIS­TENED TO THE MAIN CRIT­I­CISM OF THE PRE­VI­OUS MOD­ELS – NAMELY ITS LESS-THANLOGICAL MENU SYS­TEM – AND MADE SOME KEY RE­VI­SIONS.

are now ex­clu­sive to these dis­plays – such as im­age qual­ity – to fur­ther tidy up the menu sys­tem. Whether this is help­ful or not prob­a­bly de­pends on what you’ve been ac­cus­tomed to. In­ci­den­tally, set­ting up the im­age qual­ity modes – there’s four set­tings – re­quires a trip to the Cus­tom Menu where they can be con­fig­ured for im­age size and com­pres­sion level. Again, Olym­pus has sim­pli­fied mat­ters here by re­duc­ing the choice of im­age sizes to just three, rather than the myr­iad of op­tions that were pre­vi­ous avail­able un­der the Medium and Small head­ings. The choice of four com­pres­sion lev­els from Su­per Fine to Ba­sic re­mains, but there’s an ad­di­tional as­pect ra­tio set­ting of 3:4 which joins the pre­vi­ous se­lec­tion of 4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. The as­pect ra­tio is an­other set­ting that’s now ex­clu­sive to the Live con­trol pan­els.

CLOS­ING BRACK­ETS

On the sub­ject of sim­pli­fy­ing things, gone is the vast choice of auto brack­et­ing op­tions which pre­vi­ously could in­clude all the ‘Pic­ture Mode’ pre­sets and the ‘Art Fil­ter’ ef­fects (in­clud­ing vari­a­tions) in one se­quence… in re­al­ity, an un­likely re­quire­ment. The E-M10 III has been pared down to just ex­po­sure and fo­cus brack­et­ing (even white bal­ance brack­et­ing is deleted) and these also have sim­pli­fied set­tings – ei­ther three frames with +/-1.0 EV ad­just­ment or five with +/-1.3 EV ad­just­ment for the AEB; and an eight-frame se­quence (ver­sus up to 100 pre­vi­ously) with ei­ther a small or large ad­just­ment for fo­cus brack­et­ing. Multi-shot HDR cap­ture – which cap­tures four frames – is dis­tilled down to two set­tings called Nat­u­ral and Su­per High Con­trast so there’s no pro­vi­sion for any man­ual ad­just­ments.

This just may be a tad too much sim­pli­fi­ca­tion – es­pe­cially for ex­po­sure brack­et­ing – but pre­vi­ously these fea­tures bor­dered on overkill in terms of the nu­mer­ous set­ting op­tions, not to men­tion look­ing very daunt­ing even to the ex­pe­ri­enced user. Just how much of it ac­tu­ally gets used – even on the flag­ship E-M1 Mark II – is de­bat­able.

Re­tained are the ‘Colour Cre­ator’ and the ‘High­light & Shadow’ con­trols. ‘Colour Cre­ator’ en­ables ad­just­ment of the hue and sat­u­ra­tion via the front and rear in­put wheels re­spec­tively. The ‘High­light & Shadow’ con­trol en­ables you to ad­just the bright­ness of the high­lights and/ or the shad­ows around a cen­tral point. The front in­put wheel tweaks the high­lights while the rear con­trol works on the shad­ows. You can also tick the boxes for a mul­ti­ple ex­po­sure fa­cil­ity (al­though it only al­lows dou­ble ex­po­sures), an in­ter­val­ome­ter and a panorama mode (al­though there’s no in­cam­era stitch­ing).

POW­ER­ING UP

The ba­sic sen­sor spec­i­fi­ca­tions are un­changed from the pre­vi­ous model so the to­tal pixel count re­mains at 17.2 mil­lion, giv­ing an ef­fec­tive res­o­lu­tion of 16.05 mil­lion which is op­ti­mised by the ab­sence of an op­ti­cal low-pass fil­ter. How­ever, the Mark III’s sen­sor is mated with the faster and more pow­er­ful ‘TruePic VIII’ pro­ces­sor – as used in the E-M1 II – which en­ables the 4K video ca­pa­bil­ity as well as var­i­ous imag­ing per­for­mance en­hance­ments, in­clud­ing the noise re­duc­tion pro­cess­ing.

How­ever, there’s only a very slight in­crease in the max­i­mum shoot­ing speed up to 8.6 fps (from 8.5 fps) with the AF and AE locked to the first frame. With con­tin­u­ous AF/AE ad­just­ment the top speed is 4.8 fps. The sen­sor’s sen­si­tiv­ity range re­mains the same at ISO 200 to 25,600 with a one stop ‘pull’ to ISO 100.

More pro­cess­ing power is also needed for the con­trast-de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem which has ex­panded cov­er­age via an in­crease in the num­ber of fo­cus­ing points from 81 to 121. These are ar­ranged in an 11x11 pat­tern with auto or man­ual point se­lec­tion, and the op­tion of set­ting a nine-point

The up­graded auT­o­fo­cus­ing is fasT and re­li­able in The sin­gle-shoT mode, wiTh rapid and as­sured sub­jecT ac­qui­si­Tion.

clus­ter for wider-area cov­er­age. There is both auto sub­ject track­ing and face-de­tec­tion, the lat­ter with an ad­di­tional eye-de­tec­tion op­tion. In­tro­duced on the pre­vi­ous model, the ‘AF Tar­get­ing Pad’ func­tion al­lows you to move the AF point around via the touch­screen while us­ing the EVF for fram­ing and com­po­si­tion.

As on all the OM-D mod­els, there’s the op­tion of com­bin­ing the sin­gle-shot AF mode with a con­tin­u­ous man­ual over­ride, and fully man­ual fo­cus­ing can be as­sisted by a mag­ni­fied im­age sec­tion (five set­tings up to 14x) dic­tated by the se­lected fo­cus point, or a fo­cus peak­ing dis­play in red, yel­low, white or black (but with no in­ten­sity ad­just­ments).

Ex­po­sure con­trol is again based on Olym­pus’s 324-point ‘Dig­i­tal ESP’ multi-zone me­ter­ing with the op­tions of cen­tre-weighted av­er­age or spot mea­sure­ments. Con­tin­u­ing a long Olym­pus tra­di­tion (from the OM-4, in fact), the spot me­ter’s mea­sure­ments can be bi­ased to­wards ei­ther the high­lights or the shad­ows for high- or low-key ex­po­sures. Ad­di­tion­ally, there’s an ‘Ex­po­sure Shift’ ad­just­ment which fine-tunes each of the me­ter­ing modes over +/-1.0 EV in 1/6-stop in­cre­ments.

The main auto ex­po­sure modes (i.e. pro­gram and shut­ter/aper­ture pri­or­ity) are sup­ported by an AE lock, com­pen­sa­tion up to +/-5.0 EV and the auto brack­et­ing set­tings men­tioned ear­lier. Ex­po­sure shift­ing is avail­able in the pro­gram mode. As noted ear­lier, there’s a choice of 27 sub­ject/scene modes, with auto scene recog­ni­tion in the AUTO mode which, Olym­pus says, em­ploys an im­proved al­go­rithm. While the AUTO mode is es­sen­tially de­signed for point-and­shoot op­er­a­tion, there is a set of ba­sic over­rides which are ac­cessed at the mon­i­tor screen via ‘Live Guides’. These pro­vide a de­gree of con­trol over colour sat­u­ra­tion, colour bal­ance (warm to cool), bright­ness, background blur and the blur­ring/freez­ing of move­ment. The ‘Live Guides’ are ac­cessed via a touch tab on the live view screen and the ad­just­ments are sub­se­quently ap­plied via slid­er­type con­trols which are also op­er­ated by touch.

The E-M10 III’s shut­ter speed range is 30-1/4000 sec­ond for the fo­cal plane shut­ter, but the Mark III also has a sen­sor shut­ter which op­er­ates up to 1/16,000 sec­ond and, of course, also al­lows for silent shoot­ing. Flash sync is all speeds up to 1/250 sec­ond and the built-in flash has TTL con­trol with auto, fill-in, red-eye re­duc­tion, front/rear sync and slow speed sync modes. Flash com­pen­sa­tion of up to +/-3.0 EV can be set in 1/3 stop in­cre­ments while the man­ual con­trol mode has a range of 1/64 to full power. How­ever, the wire­less TTL con­troller func­tion is deleted, pre­sum­ably on the ba­sis that, again, the typ­i­cal users of this cam­era are un­likely to want it.

The white bal­ance con­trol op­tions com­prise auto cor­rec­tion (with a ‘Keep Warm Colour’ set­ting for use when shoot­ing un­der tung­sten light­ing), a choice of six pre­sets (the un­der­wa­ter pre­set has been deleted), pro­vi­sions for stor­ing up to four cus­tom mea­sure­ments (which is gen­er­ous), and man­ual colour tem­per­a­ture con­trol (over a range of 2000 to 14,000 de­grees Kelvin). As we’ve noted pre­vi­ously, Olym­pus again goes its own way here, call­ing the cus­tom mea­sure­ments “one-touch white bal­ance”, and the man­ual colour tem­per­a­ture set­tings “cus­tom white bal­ance”. Fine-tun­ing is avail­able for all the pre­sets, the four cus­tom mea­sure­ments and both auto modes.

The ‘Art Fil­ter’ ef­fects now num­ber 15 (30, if you count the vari­a­tions) and these can ei­ther op­er­ate as a stand-alone shoot­ing modes or ap­plied to the PASM modes. How­ever, some con­trol op­tions are still avail­able with the for­mer, in­clud­ing ex­po­sure shift and ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion.

The six ‘Pic­ture Mode’ pre­sets are un­changed and the five for colour cap­ture have ad­justable pa­ram­e­ters for sharp­ness, con­trast, colour sat­u­ra­tion and tonal gra­da­tion. Ad­di­tion­ally, this last pa­ram­e­ter can be set to Nor­mal, Auto, High Key or Low Key. The Monochrome ‘Pic­ture Mode’ is ad­justable for con­trast, sharp­ness and gra­da­tion, plus there’s a set of con­trast con­trol fil­ters (yel­low, or­ange, red and green) and ton­ing ef­fects (sepia, blue, pur­ple or green). One mod­i­fied ‘Pic­ture Mode’ can be stored as a cus­tom pre­set.

In The hand

Olym­pus es­sen­tially de­fines the cam­era’s shoot­ing mode via the ex­po­sure mode group­ings – i.e. the fully auto con­trol, the stan­dard ‘PASM’ set, the sub­ject/scene pro­grams (and ‘Ad­vanced Photo’ func­tions), and the ‘Art Fil­ter’ ef­fects. Sub­se­quently, con­trol and dis­play set­tings are in­de­pen­dently se­lectable for each, and with vary­ing scope for cus­tomi­sa­tion. This in­cludes the func­tions of the in­put wheels in each of the ‘PASM’ modes and two ‘Fn’ but­tons, but not the four quad­rants of the nav­i­ga­tor con­trol, now per­ma­nently as­signed to short cuts.

There are two cus­tom op­tions for the live view screen which

al­low for the ac­ti­va­tion of a re­al­time his­togram, high­light and shadow warn­ings (you have to have both) and a dual-axis level dis­play. The real-time his­togram in­cludes an in­ter­nal sec­tion – dis­played in green – which shows the bright­ness val­ues at the se­lected fo­cus­ing point (or clus­ter of points). Ad­di­tion­ally, there’s a choice of six grid guides. The op­tion of con­fig­ur­ing the EVF’s dis­play sep­a­rately to the mon­i­tor screen has been re­moved as has the for­mer’s ‘Sim­u­lated Op­ti­cal Viewfinder’ set­ting. Once again, S-OVF is a fea­ture we’ve rarely felt a need to use, as the EVF is far more useful with its pre­view ca­pa­bil­i­ties en­abled.

The im­age re­view/re­play screens can be con­fig­ured to in­clude a thumb­nail im­age with a full set of his­tograms (i.e. bright­ness and RGB chan­nels), a larger bright­ness-only his­togram su­per­im­posed over the im­age, high­light and shadow warn­ings and a ‘Light Box’ dis­play for the side-by-side com­par­i­son of two im­ages with si­mul­ta­ne­ous zoom­ing which is very handy for com­par­ing fo­cus. The thumb­nail pages com­prise four, nine, 25 or 100 im­ages plus a cal­en­dar dis­play. Both the re­play screens and the thumb­nail pages can be pre­s­e­lected as de­sired via the Cus­tom Menu. Touch con­trols are avail­able for brows­ing, zoom­ing and scrolling through the thumb­nails.

The in-cam­era edit­ing func­tions com­prise Shadow Ad­just (i.e. dy­namic range), Red-Eye Fix, Trim As­pect, B&W, Sepia, Sat­u­ra­tion, Re­size, e-Por­trait and RAW-toJPEG con­ver­sion.

The E-M10 III has built-in WiFi with con­nec­tiv­ity via a cam­er­a­gen­er­ated QR code, which is scanned us­ing the Olym­pus O.I. Share app to con­fig­ure the setup. This sub­se­quently en­ables wire­less im­age file trans­fers (stills and movie clips), re­mote con­trol of var­i­ous cam­era func­tions and a live view feed. Both the An­droid and iOS op­er­at­ing sys­tems are sup­ported, and even some of the touch con­trols trans­fer to the mo­bile de­vice, in­clud­ing aut­o­fo­cus­ing and shut­ter re­lease.

SPEED AND PER­FOR­MANCE

With our ref­er­ence mem­ory card – Lexar’s Pro­fes­sional 2000x

128 GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 speed de­vice – loaded, the E-M10 Mark III cap­tured a burst of 143 JPEG/ large/su­per fine frames in 16.532 sec­onds which rep­re­sents a con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing speed of 8.64 fps. This is bang-on the quoted max­i­mum speed, but the burst length far ex­ceeds the quoted spec­i­fi­ca­tion.

Ini­tially we thought we must have ac­ci­den­tally set the fine qual­ity set­ting rather than su­perfine, but sev­eral re-tests yield pretty much the same re­sult… a we sim­ply picked an ar­bi­trary point to stop the clock, the cam­era would have hap­pily kept go­ing at 8.6 fps. This is a cam­era that makes the most of higher-speed cards. The test file sizes were around 8.5 MB on av­er­age.

The up­graded aut­o­fo­cus­ing is fast and re­li­able in the sin­gle-shot mode, with rapid and as­sured sub­ject ac­qui­si­tion. In con­tin­u­ous mode, the fo­cus track­ing is ca­pa­ble enough, but still not in the same league as the hy­brid AF sys­tems us­ing phase dif­fer­ence-de­tec­tion. Olym­pus’s ‘Dig­i­tal ESP’ me­ter­ing is now well-proven and con­tin­ues to de­liver ac­cu­rate ex­po­sures, even in very con­trasty light­ing.

Su­per fine qual­ity JPEGs look lush in terms of colour re­pro­duc­tion, con­trast and def­i­ni­tion. Olym­pus again shows what can be achieved with 16 mil­lion well-pro­cessed pix­els, so the level of nicely re­solved de­tail­ing cer­tainly doesn’t sug­gest a lack of im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion. Like­wise, both the dy­namic range and the smooth­ness of the tonal gra­da­tions in our test im­ages ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions.

Noise lev­els are low up to ISO 3200 and both the ISO 6400 and 12,800 set­tings are still us­able, but ex­hibit some grain­i­ness in the ar­eas of con­tin­u­ous tone along with a slight re­duc­tion in def­i­ni­tion. High ISO per­for­mance is where big­ger sen­sors – es­pe­cially ful­l35mm size de­vices – are re­ally start­ing to shine, but Olym­pus con­tin­ues to keep the Mi­cro Four Thirds for­mat in the race, at least up to ISO 12,800.

THE VER­DICT

Olym­pus has made quite a few sub­tle changes to the E-M10 Mark III which are ar­guably more im­por­tant than the ma­jor up­dates. The fine-tun­ing of the fea­ture set has cre­ated a cam­era that’s much bet­ter tar­geted at its in­tended au­di­ence – namely any­body step­ping up to an in­ter­change­able lens cam­era for the first time. What’s gone – com­pared to the pre­vi­ous mod­els – are mostly the frills these users are very un­likely to ever want or need.

So, is the E-M10 Mark III less of an en­thu­si­ast’s cam­era then? Def­i­nitely not. It’s still ex­cep­tion­ally well fea­tured over­all and, im­por­tantly, has all the essentials for more cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phy and, of course, this is even more at­trac­tive be­cause it’s all packed into such a com­pact bodyshell and backed by a solid per­for­mance. Yes, there’s now more of a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween this ver­sion of the E-M10 and the E-M5 Mark II, but it packs a real punch for its size, which is why it’s still a good place to start if you’re ready to move on from a D-SLR sys­tem.

To be hon­est, prob­lems with the user in­ter­face re­main, as it con­tin­ues to defy logic at times, but the fa­mil­iari­sa­tion that comes from reg­u­lar us­age will un­doubt­edly lessen the is­sue plus, of course, you can do a lot with­out go­ing near the main menus.

In the end, sheer good looks are likely to win the day for the E-M10 Mark III which re­mains the pret­ti­est mir­ror­less cam­era on the mar­ket. And there’s still plenty of sub­stance be­hind the style.

OLYM­PUS OM-D E-M10 MARK III

It’s frac­tion­ally larger than its pre­de­ces­sor, but the E-M10 Mark III is still ex­tremely com­pact even com­pared to the small­est D-SLRs.

Built-in viewfinder is a 2.36 megadots res­o­lu­tion OLED dis­play. Eye­piece sen­sor en­ables auto switch­ing be­tween EVF and mon­i­tor. Mon­i­tor screen is ad­justable for tilt and of­fers extensive touch con­trols.

OM pe­riod-style power switch also pops up the built-in flash. Main mode dial has a new ‘AP’ set­ting which ac­cesses the ‘Ad­vanced Photo’ func­tions. Front and rear in­put wheels can be as­signed dif­fer­ent func­tions de­pend­ing on the ex­po­sure mode.

The con­trol lay­out is very sim­i­lar to that of the Mark II model, but the in­put wheels and the main mode dial have been re­pro­filed for a bet­ter grip.

New ‘Ad­vanced Photo’ menu re-or­gan­ises a num­ber of the Mark III’s more ad­vanced shoot­ing func­tions, in­clud­ing Live Com­pos­ite, Live Time and mul­ti­shot HDR cap­ture.

Re­play/re­view screens in­clude a thumb­nail with a full set of his­tograms or a full im­age with a su­per­im­posed bright­ness his­togram.

The E-M10 III’s menu sys­tem has been ex­ten­sively re­vised with a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in the ex­tent of the Cus­tom menus. It still de­fies log­i­cal in some ar­eas though.

‘Su­per Con­trol Panel’ pro­vides quick ac­cess to a large se­lec­tion of cap­ture func­tions with the added ef­fi­ciency of touch­screen con­trol.

Test im­ages taken with the M.Zuiko Dig­i­tal 14-42mm EZ power zoom and M.Zuiko Dig­i­tal ED 12-40mm f2.8 Pro with JPEG/large/su­per fine cap­ture. Colour fi­delity, sharp­ness, de­tail­ing and dy­namic range are all ex­cel­lent straight out of the cam­era. Noise is ef­fec­tively con­trolled up to ISO 6400.

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