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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Review

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is positioned in the centre of the company’s OM-D line, including the user-friendly E-M1X for professionals, the soon-to-be-replaced E-M1 Mark II, and the entry-level E-M10 Mark III. The E-M1 Mark II will be replaced by the E-M10 Mark III shortly.

It is designed for novice photographers searching for a camera that they can eventually develop into, as well as for more seasoned photographers who want sophisticated shooting capabilities from a more compact camera than its APS-C competitors.

E-M5 iterations have been launched at a relative snail’s pace, once every four years (2011, 2015, and 2019), when compared to the standards of the highly competitive camera market; however, slow and steady is not a bad thing, and this third version, unsurprisingly, represents a comprehensive upgrade over the E-M5 Mark II.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Features

After four years, the 16-megapixel sensor of the E-M5 Mark II appears to be a little behind the times. It was anticipated that the most recent version would include a higher resolution; sure enough, this sensor has a resolution of 20.4 megapixels. It is the same sensor that can be found in the Olympus E-M1 Mark II, and it represents a significant improvement.

With the addition of this additional sensor, the E-M5 Mark III is now on par with the Panasonic G90, its primary competitor. However, one may argue that the image quality of both cameras is inferior to that of their competitors.

Alternative cameras are available at this price point that uses APS-C sensors, such as the Fujifilm X-T30. These cameras perform better in low-contrast environments, providing a higher resolution and a more comprehensive dynamic range.

Olympus does provide options for overcoming the constraints placed on the sensor size by the E-M5 Mark III. For instance, its High Res Shot mode utilizes sensor-shift technology to combine numerous photos into a single picture with a far greater resolution than the original. You may only use High Res Shot on things that are not moving, and you will need a tripod; nevertheless, the resulting photograph will be 50 megapixels in resolution.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Build Quality

There is no getting around the fact that the E-M5 Mark III is an appealing camera. This is the kind of camera that you want to have in your hand as soon as you take it out of the box, and once you do, you’ll find that it handles well indeed.

This is the lightest E-M5 camera, weighing only 414 grams, with the battery and memory card included. It is 50 grams lighter than the E-M5 Mark II, and when combined with a relatively tiny lens, you won’t feel like you’re carrying the camera. Compared to larger-format competitors, the OM-D system’s camera bodies and lenses weigh only a fraction of what they do. This DNA is where the OM-D system shines.

Because it is now made of polycarbonate rather than aluminum, that weight has been reduced by 50 grams. This could be considered a step backwards compared to the E-M5 Mark II, which features a metal body. Because of this, we wouldn’t want to put the E-M5 Mark III through too much strain in harsh environments, even though it is still weather-sealed and has a sufficient amount of heft.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Performance

How does the Olympus E-M5 Mark III perform regarding the speed with which it may be operated? To put it simply, it is speedy in practically every respect. The time it takes to start up is relatively quick, and each control is responsive.

The mechanical shutter allows for high-speed burst shooting of up to ten frames per second, making it highly competitive in the market. However, the buffer’s capacity to store many photographs is the most striking aspect of this setup.

There are several factors that contribute to the performance of burst shooting; however, we were able to shoot an unlimited number of JPEGs at ten frames per second and even more raw images than the number that was quoted, which was 150. These results were achieved by using favourable camera settings, such as a low ISO and recording to a UHS-II SD card.

Following the completion of a sequence, the camera can resume regular operation with minimal lag time. This responsive performance is enormously outstanding, and it is far superior to that of a great many other cameras aimed at enthusiasts.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Image & Video Quality

The 20.4-megapixel sensor of the Olympus E-M5 Mark III, also included in the professional-grade E-M1 Mark II, allows for maximum file sizes of 5184 by 3888 pixels. Without interpolation, this corresponds to a print size of around 14.8 by 11.1 inches (roughly the size of an A3).

When it comes to the sensor format, there is very little that can be said that it is novel. At this price point, several cameras are available to produce images of more excellent quality. These cameras feature a higher resolution, a more extensive dynamic range, and better performance in low-contrast lighting. A sensor with a Four-Thirds format can only reasonably contain a certain number of individual pixels.

The High Res Shot mode enables you to create a final image that is 50MP; the class-leading image stabilization allows handheld shooters to use slower shutter speeds and maximize the light intake for improved image quality; and HDR is available for those who want to stretch the dynamic range of their photos. While none of them are perfect answers, we should nevertheless be grateful to have them.

Another difficulty is that the shallow depth of field control becomes increasingly difficult to manipulate as the format gets smaller. However, Olympus does have a great assortment of lenses, some of which are professional lenses with an aperture of f/1.2. This means that if you desire a really shallow focus, it is feasible to achieve.

The more significant depth of field offered by the Four Thirds format is a feature that is not spoken about as often as it should be since it may be helpful when taking photographs of landscapes and macro subjects.

We utilized the E-M5 Mark III as a third camera for some behind-the-scenes footage during video production, and it more than lived up to the expectations we had for it in that capacity. The E-M5 Mark III is a compelling video camera. It can record videos in Cinema 4K (4096 x 2160) resolution at 24 frames per second and a bit-rate of 237Mbps; this is amazing at this level. The regular 4K video resolution of 3840 by 2160 may be obtained at 24, 25, or 30 frames per second and 102 megabits per second.

The ALL-I format allows for recording full HD films at up to 60 frames per second and also boosts the bit rate to 202Mbps. You may also record videos in Full HD at up to 120 frames per second. In general, this represents a significant improvement over the E-M5 Mark II.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Specs

Body typeSLR-style mirrorless
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution5184 x 3888
Image ratio w:h1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors22 megapixels
Sensor sizeFour Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorTruePic VIII
Color spacesRGB, AdobeRGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 200-25600, expands to 64-25600
Boosted ISO (minimum)64
White balance presets7
Custom white balanceYes (4 slots)
Image stabilizationSensor-shift
Image stabilization notes5-axis
CIPA image stabilization rating6.5 stop(s)
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsSuperfine, fine, normal, basic
File formatJPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (Olympus ORF, 14-bit)
Optics & Focus
AutofocusContrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive View
Autofocus assist lampYes
Manual focusYes
Number of focus points121
Lens mountMicro Four Thirds
Focal length multiplier
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFully articulated
Screen size3″
Screen dots1,040,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeElectronic
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification1.37× (0.68× 35mm equiv.)
Viewfinder resolution2,360,000
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed60 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Maximum shutter speed (electronic)1/32000 sec
Exposure modesiAutoProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManualBulbTime
Scene modesPortraite-PortraitLandscape + PortraitNight + PortraitChildrenNight scapeSportHand-held StarlightFireworksLight trailsSportsPanningLandscapeSunsetBeach & SnowBacklight HDRCandlelightSilentMacroNature MacroDocumentsMulti Focus Shot
Built-in flashNo (Compact external flash included)
External flashYes (via hotshoe)
Flash modesAuto, redeye, fill, off, redeye slow sync, slow sync, 2nd-curtain slow sync, manual
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modesSingleSequential (hi/lo)Self-timer
Continuous drive30.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2 or 10 secs, custom)
Metering modesMultiCenter-weightedSpot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (2, 3, 5 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Modes4096 x 2160 @ 24p / 237 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 30p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 25p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM3840 x 2160 @ 23.98p / 102 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 120p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 60p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p / 52 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p / 202 Mbps, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesSD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported)
Connectivity
USBUSB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
USB chargingYes
HDMIYes (micro-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portNo
WirelessBuilt-In
Wireless notes802.11b/g/n + Bluetooth
Remote controlYes (wired and via smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionBLS-50 lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)310
Weight (inc. batteries)414 g (0.91 lb / 14.60 oz)
Dimensions125 x 85 x 50 mm (4.92 x 3.35 x 1.97″)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSNone

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Verdict

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is an update that makes sense since it is fashionable, more lightweight than ever, packed with shooting settings for users of all skill levels, and power beneath the hood and upgrades across the board. The E-M5 Mark III may not quite equal its competitors’ overall picture quality potential with bigger sensors, but it does strike the sweet spot regarding size, weight, handling, and functionality.

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