Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III, a high-end mirrorless digital camera geared toward photographers and videographers who worth pace, robustness and portability. It has a 20 Megapixel 4 Thirds sensor, 4k as much as 30p, built-in stabilisation with as much as 7.5 stops of compensation and 18fps bursts with autofocus, all packed into a troublesome weather-proof physique.

Introduced in February 2020, it comes three and a half years after the EM1 Mark II which Olympus will proceed to promote alongside the brand new mannequin at a decreased value of 1300 kilos; I’ll hyperlink to up to date pricing within the feedback and outline under. With final yr’s EM1X occupying the top-spot within the OMD vary, the EM1 III now sits between it and the extra consumer-oriented EM5 collection, however nonetheless goals excessive by sharing many options with the flagship. That mentioned, since most of the EM1X’s options had been already inherited from the sooner EM1 Mark II, the brand new Mark III mannequin represents a light replace over its predecessor.

I had an opportunity to check out an preliminary manufacturing model of the digital camera, so the efficiency, high quality and options must be near – and even the identical as – closing manufacturing samples. I’ve filmed a first-looks video which fits over the highlights and my first impressions under, and should you desire a written model, preserve scrolling! As at all times, I’ll follow-up with a way more detailed in-depth overview as soon as I’ve spent extra time with the digital camera.

 

 

 

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Above: Right here’s the brand new EM1 III on the precise with the earlier Mark II on the left and the similarities are greater than skin-deep. The Mark III shares the identical sensor, viewfinder, display screen, burst pace, film high quality, card slots, battery and basically the identical physique as its predecessor. The Mark III does nevertheless inherit the improved shutter mechanism and stabilisation unit of the EM1X, permitting it to supply the hand held excessive res mode of the flagship, whereas a brand new picture processor not solely helps the Reside ND characteristic of the EM1X, however the perfect face and eye detection within the collection up to now. There’s additionally a brand new starry sky mode that claims to autofocus on stars, in addition to Bluetooth, charging or energy supply over USB, and an AF joystick that had been all notably absent from the Mark II. And whereas there’s nonetheless no 4k above 30p, the EM1 III does a minimum of supply Auto ISO in Handbook film exposures in addition to 1080 at 120p and OM Log for grading. Okay, now let’s get into extra element.

 

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Above: As you’ve already seen, the EM1 Mark III shares basically the identical physique and controls because the Mark II, however because it all labored so properly, I’m not complaining. So on the higher left facet you will have the drive, flash, focus and metering buttons with an influence swap retro-styled to appear to be a movie rewind lever. In the meantime on the precise facet the EM1 III will get the mode dial from the EM1X, swapping the Artwork filter and auto positions for a fourth Customized mode and a devoted Bulb place, offering simpler entry to the modern Reside Composite, Reside Bulb and Reside Time choices; Artwork filters are nonetheless out there, however via the menus. When it comes to publicity management there’s nonetheless satisfyingly massive and tactile dials on your thumb and finger, though the latter is now somewhat clickier than earlier than.

 

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Above: Turning to the rear, Mark II homeowners will discover the sooner AF space button has now been switched right into a devoted one for ISO; it’s because the AF button has now change into redundant because of the long-overdue addition of an AF joystick, a management that was sorely lacking on the Mark II. As earlier than you should utilize the touchscreen to reposition the AF space, however there’s nothing like doing it by pushing the joystick round and it’s one of the vital vital bodily upgrades right here.

 

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Above: The Mark III shares the identical viewfinder as its predecessor: an LCD panel with 2.36 million dots and 0.74x magnification; the EM1X makes use of the identical panel however with bigger magnification. This comparatively modest decision is at odds with the remainder of the {industry} which has adopted larger distinction OLED panels with noticeably larger resolutions too. However Olympus has caught with this LCD panel because it reckons it’s the best choice for delivering 120fps with progressive scan for sustaining element on transferring topics with steady AF, when rival applied sciences typically scale back their element. I’ll do some side-by-side comparisons in my closing overview.

 

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Above: Olympus has caught with the identical display screen too, so the Mark III inherits the 3in 3:2 formed touch-panel with 1037okay dots that may twist and flip in any path. I personally desire side-hinged screens like these as whereas they’re slower and fewer discreet to fold out than one which simply tilts vertically, you’re capable of compose comfortably at excessive or low angles whether or not within the panorama or portrait orientation, plus you may face it ahead for vlogging with out being blocked by a tripod or hotshoe-mounted accent.

 

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Above: The consumer interface is basically the identical as earlier than, however Olympus has added another view for the Tremendous Management Panel if desired. So if the unique was too intimidating with its element, you may swap it for an easier model – or again once more should you desire.

 

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Above: The Mark III inherits the dual SD slots of its predecessor, and the tech behind them is similar which suggests solely certainly one of them will exploit the additional pace of UHS-II playing cards. That is disappointing, with Olympus explaining the board they use with twin UHS-II slots on the EM1X was too massive to slot in the EM1 physique. That mentioned, Fujifilm makes use of a shorter board with twin UHS-II slots on the XT3, however once more it could require a redesigned physique. The underside line is you’re unlikely to note this restriction except you’re recording massive bursts to each playing cards, wherein case the buffer might scale back and be slower to clear.

 

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Above: The number of ports stay the identical because the Mark II as properly, with USB-C, Micro HDMI, microphone and headphone jacks, though in a helpful improve over its predecessor, the Mark III can now be powered or charged over USB, as long as the supply conforms to the USB Energy Supply spec. The battery’s additionally the identical as earlier than, however to be truthful the Mark II sported one of many first actually excessive capability packs for mirrorless cameras, so it nonetheless works properly right here.

 

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Above: The Mark III physique can be fitted with the identical HLD-9 battery grip because the Mark II, accommodating an additional pack to double the life, whereas additionally offering portrait controls albeit with out a duplicate AF joystick.

 

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Above: Like all Olympus mirrorless cameras, the EM1 III makes use of the Micro 4 Thirds system, offering entry to one of many broadest catalogues of native mirrorless lenses round, and Olympus additionally launched a brand new 12-45mm f4 zoom alongside it. On the coronary heart of the Mark III lies the identical 20 Megapixel sensor which made its debut on the Mark II three and half years earlier. Following the EM1X and EM5 III, this makes it the fourth Olympus digital camera to make use of the sensor which sports activities 121 embedded cross-type phase-detect AF factors, giving it a bonus in steady autofocus over its Micro 4 Thirds companion, Panasonic. Olympus has partnered it with a model new picture processor, the TruePic IX, however by way of picture high quality when taking pictures usually it’s basically the identical because the Mark II. Like lots of you, I’m at all times hoping for a brand new sensor that’ll ship higher high quality with out compromise, and you could be disenchanted to search out the EM1 III stands nonetheless on this regard, however equally you need to ask your self should you’re already happy by the output from the sensor. Personally talking I’m proud of the picture high quality, particularly when coupled with the feature-set of the physique, however there’s no getting away from the truth that most of its rivals at this value level are more likely to make use of new or a minimum of newer sensors. Plus if the EM1 follows the schedule of the earlier two fashions, you’ll not see a brand new sensor on this collection till 2023.

 

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Above: With the identical sensor, the EM1 III additionally inherits the identical core autofocus system of its predecessor, which differs from most embedded phase-detect AF methods by defining all of them as extra correct cross-type sensors. As earlier than it’s fast and correct whether or not specializing in static topics or these in fast movement. Olympus hasn’t geared up the Mark III with the car object monitoring of the EM1X – maybe because of its processor pace or market positioning – however TruPic IX does boast the perfect face and eye detection from the corporate up to now, recognising them from additional away or extra in profile, and you’ll faucet or toggle between a number of faces.

 

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Above: Burst taking pictures can be inherited from the Mark II, which is ok because it was already quick sufficient. So that you should you want steady autofocus you may shoot at as much as 10fps with the mechanical shutter or 18fps with the digital shutter, or should you’re proud of fastened focus, you may speed up them to 15fps mechanical or 60fps digital. It’s fairly quiet and with the mechanism inherited from the EM1X, it’s now rated twice so long as the Mark II at 400,000 actuations.

 

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Above: Just like the Mark II, the non-obligatory Professional Seize mode makes use of the digital shutter to maintain a rolling buffer of the final couple of seconds making certain you by no means miss a second whenever you absolutely push the shutter. The Mark III can now buffer as much as 35 frames in JPEG or RAW – comfortably greater than the Mark II allowed, which works out at two second’s price of motion should you’re utilizing the 18fps shutter with steady autofocus. It’s perfect for grabbing the second a chook takes flight.

 

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Above: The Mark III additionally inherits focus bracketing in addition to in-camera focus stacking, though doubles the variety of frames within the stacking mode to 15, making it way more sensible. Right here’s an instance of a focus-stacked picture generated in-camera – because of the broader variety of frames captured you could not have to do a traditional bracket and exterior comp for much less demanding conditions.

 

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Above: the spotlight of any Olympus physique is at all times the built-in stabilisation, and by inheriting the most recent unit from the EM1X, the Mark III boasts as much as a staggering seven stops of compensation with unstabilised lenses, or 7.5 when utilizing a Sync IS lens just like the 12-100mm PRO. It’s not simply invaluable for handholding unusually gradual shutter speeds, but additionally helpful for steadying the picture when composing. The Olympus stabilisation stays the perfect within the enterprise and on the EM1X – which once more shares the identical system – allowed me to handhold exposures as much as eight seconds with a 17mm lens.

 

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Above: The presence of the EM1X’s stabilisation coupled with the brand new picture processor permits the EM1 Mark III to additionally help the hand held excessive res shot of the flagship physique. Like the sooner Mark II, Excessive Res Shot takes eight photographs, subtly shifting the sensor between every earlier than producing a composite with probably larger res – as much as 80 Megapixel’s price when utilizing a tripod. The EM1X, and now the EM1 Mark III, additionally supply a handheld model which claims as much as 50 Megapixel’s price of element. I’ll put it to the take a look at extra totally in my closing overview however for now present you a few fast exams I made. Above are crops from a standard 20 Megapixel nonetheless picture on the left, and one taken with the hand held Excessive Res Shot mode on the precise.

 

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Above: Now right here’s a second instance, with a crop from the 20 Megapixel single body on the left, and the hand held excessive res shot model on the precise. If you happen to look very carefully, there’s positively somewhat extra element within the excessive res variations, though like all composite modes, something in movement could cause artefacts. As such it’s greatest used for nonetheless life, archive or architectural work, however the capability to now do it handheld makes it way more handy. Oh and earlier than transferring onto video, the EM1 III’s new processor additionally permits it to supply the Reside ND modes launched on the EM1X which simulate the usage of impartial density filters for smoothing in lengthy exposures; take a look at my EM1X overview to see this in observe.

 

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Above: Now for video and with the identical sensor as earlier fashions, it’s not stunning to search out the EM1 Mark III inheriting the identical core capabilities. As such you may movie 4k UHD at 24 to 30p, Cinema 4k in 24p solely and 1080 as much as 60p, all uncropped. The EM1 III additionally now provides you excessive pace 1080 as much as 120p, in addition to OM Log for grading and Auto ISO in handbook publicity mode; the Olympus Workspace software program additionally enables you to sync higher-resolution audio recordsdata captured with non-obligatory LS-P4 sound recorder. However as an older sensor, the EM1 III can’t magically supply 4k above 30p, a characteristic that’s more likely to change into extra frequent throughout its life, however as at all times you need to ask your self if you actually need it, whereas balancing its absence towards the opposite advantages like industry-leading weatherproofing and stabilisation.

 

Verdict to this point

The Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III might symbolize a light replace over its predecessor, however given the Mark II was one of the vital succesful, feature-packed fashions of the previous few years, that’s no unhealthy factor. As such you’re getting a digital camera that’s more durable than most, with nice ergonomics, the perfect stabilisation within the enterprise, autofocus and burst taking pictures that’s perfect for sports activities and wildlife, respectable video and good picture high quality straight out of digital camera.

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Certainly trying again at my EM1 Mark II overview, the Mark III efficiently addresses the handful of annoyances I had with the sooner mannequin. Issues just like the addition of an AF joystick, USB energy supply and charging, Bluetooth for simpler wi-fi, higher face and eye detection, in addition to 1080 at 120p, auto ISO and OM Log for films. Nobody complained concerning the stabilisation earlier than, nevertheless it’s even higher now which, coupled with the brand new quicker processor, additionally permits the Mark III to help the hand held excessive res shot and Reside ND options of the EM1X.

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Actually the EM1 Mark III might be thought of as a mini EM1X, with the flagship physique solely providing the built-in portrait grip with twin joysticks, twin batteries, larger viewfinder, twin UHS-II slots and car object recognition above the Mark III. In that respect the Mark III seems fairly sturdy, however coming from the opposite path there’s no getting away from the actual fact it’s not massively completely different from the Mark II.

If you happen to can reside with out the AF joystick, USB charging, Bluetooth or 1080 at 120p, should you’re pleased utilizing excessive res shot on a tripod and discover the stabilisation and face detection already ok, you then would nonetheless be very happy with the Mark II. Olympus realises the similarities and is protecting the Mark II on sale alongside the Mark III at 300 kilos much less. So do you suppose the upgrades are price paying the additional?

Arguably an even bigger difficulty for the Mark III although is the sensor which, at three and a half years outdated, can’t assist however lack a number of the capabilities of newer rivals – most notably no 4k above 30p. Each time a brand new digital camera comes out with an current sensor, there’s at all times complaints, so the query you need to ask your self is whether or not the picture and video high quality can be ok for you throughout the lifetime of the product.

Personally talking I’ve a digital camera with 4k 60p and barely use it above 30p, and by way of picture high quality, autofocus and burst pace I’m completely proud of the efficiency of the Olympus sensor, however your mileage might after all fluctuate. I’m truly extra aggravated there’s no improve to the viewfinder and disenchanted there’s not two UHS-II card slots.

In the end everybody needs one thing completely different from their digital camera and whereas the Mark III positively improves a physique I already preferred rather a lot, I’m wondering how many individuals could be sufficiently happy by the sooner Mark II. Plus anybody investing in a brand new digital camera this yr ought to preserve a really shut eye on rivals – as at all times I’ll publish hands-on previews of all the brand new cameras as quickly as they’re introduced. No rumours or hypothesis – simply the details having truly used the merchandise in individual.

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