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Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III

COMPACT, LIGHT AND PACKED FULL OF FEATURES — THAT’S WHAT MAKES AN INDISPENSA­BLE TRAVELLING COMPANION.

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OLYMPUS MIGHT BE selling the latest iteration of the OM-D E-M10 series camera as an entry-level shooter, but the Mark III is most definitely for those who want more than just a point-and-shoot camera. The OM-D E-M10 Mark III is only a modest upgrade from its predecesso­r, but the addition of 4K video capture, an improved autofocus system and upgraded menu, and minor tweaks to the design make this pocket rocket a worthy mid-level offering. Top all of that off with a tempting asking price and this is an excellent travel companion.

SMALL UPGRADES TO SHOWCASE THE BIGGER PICTURE

The Mark III features the same 16MP micro four-thirds sensor that we saw in the Mark II, but gets the latest TruePic VII image processor from Olympus, which improves the camera’s low-light performanc­e. The E-M10 Mark III also retains the five-axis in-body image stabilisat­ion (IS) system that worked wonders in the Mark II. Olympus claims this IS system delivers four stops of compensati­on to reduce image blur in both stills and video. The camera also holds on to the same 2,360,000-dot OLED and the 3.0-inch 1,037,000-dot tilting LCD touchscree­n on the back. The biggest upgrade the Mark III boasts, however, is the addition of 4K video shooting and the 121-point autofocus (AF) system. Olympus has also practicall­y overhauled the camera’s user interface to make it graphicall­y more pleasing and a lot easier to use.

BUILT TO BE HANDLED WITH EASE

Get the camera out of its box and the Mark III feels solidly built despite its diminutive size. Physically, it’s almost identical to its predecesso­r, still featuring the many external

THE MARK III’S MECHANICAL SHUTTER FEATURES SILENT SHOOTING AND AN ANTI-SHOCK MODE WHICH REDUCES SHUTTER SHOCK THAT CAN OCCUR WHEN USING THE CAMERA AT SHUTTER SPEEDS BETWEEN 1/60–1/200TH SECOND.

dials that made the Mark II so simple and easy to use. While most entry-level cameras offer just a single dial, the E-M10 Mark III (like the older model) features two metal control dials alongside the raised mode dial. Those dials allow you to easily control shutter speed and aperture size without having to readjust grip, with firm responses when turned without feeling too cramped.

The only difference you’ll see on the exterior is the enlarged rear thumb grip to make the camera easier to hold.

It’s also great that the informatio­n displayed on the rear screen when using live view is also available when framing a shot through the camera’s electronic viewfinder. You can see the Live Guide bar on the right and pressing the button to the left of the power switch gives you access to everything you might need to fine-tune your images prior to shooting.

Setting up a Wi-Fi connection to transfer images to your phone or tablet is easy as well. Just download the free companion app, tap the Wi-Fi logo on the top of the camera’s screen and scan the QR code displayed (or enter the SSID and password) and you should be all set.

SHOOTING MADE SEAMLESS

Olympus has upped the contrast-detect autofocus points from 81 to 121 in the new camera — but lacks any phase-detect AF points — and in combinatio­n with the latest TruePic VII engine, the E-M10 Mark III promises a snappier AF system. Although this is true for most static or slow-moving scenarios, the Mark III does have trouble tracking fast-moving objects even though the camera has a continuous shooting speed of 8.6fps. That said, focusing is quick — squeeze the shutter button halfway and the response is almost instantane­ous thanks to the camera’s FAST (Frequency Accelerati­on Sensor Technology) system. It’s just as quick when using the touchshutt­er option on the rear screen.

The Mark III’s mechanical shutter features silent shooting and an antishock mode which reduces shutter shock that can occur when using the camera at shutter speeds between 1/60–1/200th second. Larger DSLR’s normally benefit from this latter feature, so it’s great to see it included here.

What’s slightly disappoint­ing is that the camera takes a rather long time to save images to card, especially when shooting both RAW and JPEG files in tandem. Buffer performanc­e is good for up to 22 RAW files

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and the camera will continue shooting JPEGs until the memory card is full.

Olympus has brought over the Live Guide from the PEN cameras, adding to the new shooter’s ease of use. You can fine-tune your photos while watching the changes take place in real time on the rear screen. Practicall­y everything from colour adjustment­s to tips and tricks to make photograph­y easy for the beginner is available on the Live Guide. Plus there’s the Super Control Panel we saw in the Mark II, an interactiv­e display that adds another level of control.

Like the E-M10 Mark II, the new camera also has a scene and art shooting mode, and between the two there are plenty of options to make images pop. There is a total of 15 art filters to aid your creativity, plus in-camera composites when shooting in HDR or multiple exposure modes.

IMAGE QUALITY

Given that the E-M10 Mark III uses a micro four-thirds sensor, which is about half the size of an APS-C sensor (commonly called crop sensor), the image quality isn’t quite as good as those from a larger format mirrorless camera, especially at higher ISO settings. But the E-M10 Mark III holds its own at lower ISO levels. The advantage of a small sensor is that it allows the camera body to be made smaller and lighter than the average mirrorless or DSLR camera, perfect for popping into a pocket when you’re off for a stroll and want to cut down on bulk.

The E-M10 Mark III comes with 4K video recording at 30p, 25p and 24p and Full HD footage at 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p. In fact, you can shoot when set up on any other mode as well, but then the default recording resolution is 1080p and not 4K.

If you go solely by image quality, the E-M10 Mark III is left wanting compared to the higher-res alternativ­es like the Fujifilm X-T20, but there’s no denying that the little camera is great as a complete package. Its stylish retro design looks good, it handles very well and comes jam packed with features for a tiny little snapper that goes well beyond being just an entry-level shooter.

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