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Fast autofocusing, great image quality

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III comes with lots of improvements over its predecessor and its metallic body is also well-built.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III comes with lots of improvements over its predecessor and its metallic body is also well-built.PHOTO: OLYMPUS

Olympus' OM-D E-M10 Mark III shoots 4K videos, has more AF points than the Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is the entry-level model of the company's OM-D mirrorless camera series. The camera comes in all-black and black/silver. I reviewed the all-black version , with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ lens.

As the successor to the Mark II launched about two years ago, the E-M10 Mark III features plenty of improvements.

It may have the same megapixel count as its predecessor at 16 megapixels, a similar touchscreen display in terms of size and resolution, as well as a similar built-in five-axis image stabiliser, but the Mark III features the latest TruePic VII image processor found in the flagship OM-D E-M1 Mark II. In addition, it has 121 autofocusing (AF) points (up from Mark II's 81 AF points) and now shoots 4K videos.

It also has a slightly faster shooting speed of 8.6 frames per sec (fps), compared with Mark II's 8.5fps. Also, it can shoot high- speed videos at 120fps at a resolution of 1,280 x 960 pixels (up from Mark II's 640 x 480 pixels).

On the downside, the Mark III is slightly heavier than its predecessor by 11g. And it is a touch bigger - 2mm wider and 3mm thicker to be exact. Still, the E-M10 series has never been really bulky and the Mark III is no different.

The Mark III solved the small grip issue of its predecessor by having a more pronounced rear thumb rest. This allows for a much better grasp of the camera.

Being an entry-level model, the E-M10 Mark III does not have a weather-resistant magnesium body, or a multitude of dedicated buttons and controls.


    PRICE: US$799.99 (S$1,084), with M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ lens; available end of the month

    IMAGE SENSOR: 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS

    DISPLAY: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen with 1.04 million dots; built-in electronic viewfinder with 2.36 million dots

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100-25,600

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 8.6 frames per second


    WEIGHT: 410g (body only, with battery and memory card)


    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5




    OVERALL: 4/5

But the camera's metallic body is still well-built. The mode and control dials also have a metallic finish with knurled patterns that make them easy to turn.

Button layout is practically the same as its predecessor, with the top mode dial and two control dials in close proximity. But these dials are larger and easier to turn, making it easy to change settings.

The shutter release button is on the front control dial, with a customisable function button beside it. This also aids the changing of settings. Overall, handling is superb for a small camera.

Other than the rear four-way directional pad, you can also use the AF targeting pad to change focus point by moving your thumb on the touchscreen display while your eye is still on the EVF. A slight improvement is that you can now double-tap on the screen to turn this feature on or off.

For an entry-level mirrorless camera, it is pretty fast. It starts up in 1sec, though it takes around 1.8sec to shut down. Still, it is faster than most mirrorless cameras that take 2sec for each operation.

Using an SD card with a writing speed rated at 94MB per second, the camera shot nine RAW images in 0.9sec before the buffer ran out.

The overall AF performance is quite stellar too. In bright conditions, it got an immediate focus lock. Even in dim lighting conditions, it was able to lock on to a focus within 1sec.

During video recording, it took no more than 2sec to secure a focus when panning to a new scene.

The image quality does not differ much from that of its predecessor, which is excellent. Images are rendered with sharp details and vivid colours.

Noise performance, though, is not as good as that of DSLR cameras, as you might expect. You start to see visible image noise artefacts at ISO 1,600. The ISO 3,200 shots are still acceptable for small prints or Web use. But anything at ISO 6,400 and above is not recommended, as there are too many chromatic noise artefacts.

Video quality, be it full high-definition or 4K, is superb with great details. A slight downer is that it does pick up a fair bit of wind and ambient audio.

Battery life is around 330 frames on a full charge, which is roughly the average for mirrorless cameras.

•Verdict: The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is a superb compact mirrorless camera with its fast autofocusing and great image quality - ideal for beginners looking to enter the interchangeable-lens camera realm.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2017, with the headline 'Fast autofocusing, great image quality'. Print Edition | Subscribe