Announcement Review : Olympus OM-D E-M10 III


It wasn't a deep dark secret that Olympus would be bringing out a follow-on to the E-M10 Mark II, so surprise!  Here's the III.

With the micro four thirds space occupied by Olympus and Panasonic and the introduction by Olympus of serious grade lenses over the last year and a bit, the M43 space is really getting traction beyond the entry-level consumer space.  These are no longer tiny, lightweight offerings, but very credible image creation tools, that are still quite a bit lighter than DSLR alternatives.  Professional bird photographer Scott Bourne has switched completely, and weight was a key factor, and if you listen to his podcast on the PPN Network, you will hear that he really believes in the platform.

Where Olympus manages to hurt itself is in the kludge-o-matic nomenclature.  The names are so long, I don't even want to type them out, so for the remainder of this article I am calling this critter the M10-3.

Who Is The Buyer?

Olympus has generated strong success with buyers who want the flexibility, size and weight of mirrorless but with the looks and feel of a DSLR and that is where the M10 family has been targeted from the word go.  I have not yet shot the M10-3 but I have shot the M10 and M10-2 at some length and find them to be extremely credible products, particularly when compared against similar price point options from Canon, Nikon and Sony.  Let's see what the M10-3 brings to the table.

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Features and Key Specifications

  • Micro four thirds 16MP sensor
  • 5 Axis In Body Image Stabilization
  • 4K UHD Video
  • Touch to focus and shoot
  • Tilting Touchscreen
  • OLED Viewfinder
  • 15 Art Filters
  • Silent shooting
  • Built in flash
  • 8.6fps high speed burst mode
  • 121 AF Points
  • Built in WiFi

This is all good stuff.  The relatively lower MP count is attributable to a physically smaller sensor.  While this does reduce the native print size over higher resolution sensors, but not shrinking the photo sites just to get more megapixels, Olympus is able to preserve decent low light, high ISO performance.  As the buyer is most likely someone coming into their first "real" camera, there is nothing here to complain about.  The focus system is contrast based, no phase detection here.  The shutter speed range is 1/4000 to 30s, a very practical range considering the target market and the price point.  The EV range is from -2 to 20 EV, again perfectly usable by the target buyer.  4K UHD video is available at 24fps and 30fps.  Maximum internal bandwidth is 104MB/s.  There is a single UHS-II spec SDXC card slot.  HDMI output is delivered via Micro-HDMI connection.  USB connection is via USB2, which given that it is 2017 is really quite a lame choice.  The battery is rated for 330 shots with Live View on all the time which is quite respectable.  Pricing starts at $649.99 USD for the body only.

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The M10-3 is a logical follow on to the Mark II.  It is an incremental upgrade without anything particularly radical added, based on the published specifications.  It looks very small in the press images, so I expect it, like its predecessors to be physically smaller than the E-M5 II and E-M1 II offerings.  The price point is very solid and even the consumer level Olympus lenses have proven to have very good image quality.  It looks like a strong alternative to the Nikon D3400 and whichever Canon EOS Rebel / 6xx-7xx is the entry point these days.  It is smaller than the recently announced Canon SL-2, another camera targeted specifically at those looking for smaller and lighter.  Until there is an opportunity to shoot it, there's no way to provide a rating.