Olym­pus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

With 4K video and a re­designed user in­ter­face, Olym­pus’s lat­est mir­ror­less OM-D looks like a great op­tion for first-time cam­era buy­ers. Andy West­lake takes a first look

Amateur Photographer - - 7days -

andy West­lake takes a first look at olym­pus’s lat­est mir­ror­less oM-D

OVER the past decade the cam­era in­dus­try has changed dra­mat­i­cally. Ca­sual pho­tog­ra­phers now use smart­phones rather than com­pact cam­eras, and share their pho­tos in­stantly on­line. But some of these bud­ding pho­tog­ra­phers in­evitably then look to up­grade to a ‘proper’ cam­era. So the tra­di­tional cam­era man­u­fac­tur­ers’ chal­lenge is how best to ap­peal to these po­ten­tial cus­tomers.

Olym­pus has in­tro­duced its lat­est model, the OM- D E- M10 Mark III into such a mar­ket. On the sur­face it looks like a mi­nor up­date to the two-year- old E- M10 Mark II, but Olym­pus has rad­i­cally over­hauled its user in­ter­face. I had the chance to use the cam­era be­fore its of­fi­cial launch, and I think the firm has done a pretty good job.

The Olym­pus OM- D E- M10 Mark III is due to go on sale in mid-Septem­ber for £699.99 with the slim­line 14- 42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ elec­tronic zoom lens, with a choice of black or sil­ver fin­ishes. Opt­ing for the larger, me­chan­i­cal-zoom 14- 42mm f/3.5-5.6 II R will save you £50, and the cam­era will also be avail­able body- only for £629.99.

Fea­tures

Olym­pus has based the E-M10 Mark III around a 16-mil­lion-pixel Four Thirds sen­sor that pro­vides a stan­dard sen­si­tiv­ity range of ISO 200 to 25,600. A con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing rate of 8.6fps is on of­fer, drop­ping to 4.8fps when you need fo­cus and ex­po­sure to be ad­justed be­tween shots. The aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem is adapted from the pro-level OM-D E-M1 Mark II, but re­lies on

con­trast de­tec­tion only. It uses 121 fo­cus points that cover prac­ti­cally the en­tire frame, and you can ei­ther se­lect an in­di­vid­ual point or use a group of nine.

The cam­era’s touch­screen tilts 90° up and 45° down, and above it there’s a 2.36-mil­lion- dot EVF with a de­cent 0.62x equiv­a­lent mag­ni­fi­ca­tion. Olym­pus’s 5-axis im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion is built in and Wi- Fi is on board for con­nec­tion to a smart­phone or tablet.

Re­gard­ing video, the E- M10 Mark III gains the abil­ity to record at 4K res­o­lu­tion (3840x2160) and 25fps, and 8MP stills can be ex­tracted from footage. You can also shoot in Full HD (1920x1080) and up to 50fps. How­ever there’s no op­tion to at­tach an ex­ter­nal mi­cro­phone. Olym­pus has re-used the ex­ist­ing body de­sign of the E- M10 Mark II, with all the same but­tons and di­als. But many of them have been re-pur­posed with the aim of mak­ing the cam­era eas­ier to use. A care­ful choice of ma­te­ri­als makes the Mark III look and feel rather more ex­pen­sive than it re­ally is. With the re­tractable 14- 42mm EZ zoom, it’s also com­pact and easy to carry around.

Two elec­tronic di­als on the top-plate change ex­po­sure set­tings, while the ex­po­sure mode dial along­side in­cludes a full auto mode for novices, along­side PASM modes for en­thu­si­asts. The SCN po­si­tion gives ac­cess to a large range of sub­ject-based scene modes, with a new touch in­ter­face. Olym­pus’s sig­na­ture Art Fil­ters are also on board.

Many of the cam­era’s but­tons have changed func­tions. So while the d-pad was pre­vi­ously used to move the fo­cus point di­rectly, you now have to press the left key first; the other keys give di­rect ac­cess to ISO, flash and drive modes. You can also use the touch­screen to move the AF point, and dou­ble-tap­ping the screen turns the touch­pad AF on and off – fix­ing the prob­lem of in­ad­ver­tently re­set­ting the fo­cus point with your nose.

Olym­pus has also stripped down its no­to­ri­ously over-com­pli­cated menus, and I think it has done a re­ally good job. The E- M10 Mark III still of­fers broadly the same de­gree of customisation as mid-range DSLRs, but looks far less over­whelm­ing to new users than the Mark II did. Un­for­tu­nately though, Olym­pus has over-sim­pli­fied its in- cam­era raw con­ver­sion, mak­ing it more dif­fi­cult to ad­just pic­tures be­fore shar­ing them on­line.

First im­pres­sions

The OM-D E-M10 Mark III is more in­ter­est­ing than it at first looks. Cru­cially, its over­hauled in­ter­face should make it more ap­proach­able for new users. With a strong fea­ture set in an at­trac­tively de­signed body at a keen price point, it looks like it will be a great choice for smart­phone pho­tog­ra­phers look­ing to buy their first ‘proper’ cam­era, but it should also be a ca­pa­ble sec­ond body for own­ers of Olym­pus’s higher-end OM-Ds. Stay tuned for our full re­view.

En­larged grip A larger, re-sculpted front grip mould­ing and more prom­i­nent thumb-rest give a sur­pris­ingly se­cure hold Short­cut but­ton The but­ton be­side the power switch now brings up a touch-sen­si­tive func­tion menu, with op­tions that de­pend on the cur­rent shoot­ing mode

AP mode A new po­si­tion on the mode dial gives ac­cess to a range of ‘Ad­vanced Pho­tog­ra­phy’ func­tions that were pre­vi­ously buried in the menus Mi­cro USB The pro­pri­etary port found on pre­vi­ous Olym­pus cam­eras has given way to a stan­dard Mi­cro USB con­nec­tor

The E-M10 Mark III’s stylish de­sign and twin con­trol di­als are un­usual at this price point

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