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The Olympus E-M1 Mark III is another compelling challenger from the Micro Four Thirds flag bearer. Of course, professional sports and wildlife photographers don’t precisely lack alternatives these days, but the Micro Four Thirds flag bearer has produced yet another intriguing rival.
When it was released in the latter half of 2016, we were huge admirers of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II. Our review called it the “complete package” for anybody looking for a waterproof system to perform still photography and videography.
But considering that several of Olympus’s competitors have introduced full-frame mirrorless cameras since then, what fresh ideas has Olympus come up with to ensure that the E-M1 Mark III remains competitive?
At first sight, the E-M1 Mark III appears to be more of an improvement than a reimagining, thanks to its detailed specifications sheet. Nevertheless, it has several improvements, most of which are available in the flagship E-M1X, which is significantly more extensive and expensive. As a result, you may consider this newest camera a scaled-down version of the E-M1X.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Build Quality
The Olympus OM-D range’s excellent ergonomics have won us over for a long time. You can’t go wrong with this option if you’re looking for a compact camera with a hefty palm grip and a button layout that’s easy to understand.
The E-M1 Mark III is, in our opinion, the most user-friendly of all the Olympus OM-D and PEN cameras in terms of how it performs. However, not a single Olympus camera is superior for its general handling and performance for photography lovers and professionals.
Even though it is Olympus’s most advanced camera, the E-M1X is not exactly light in weight. The E-M1 Mark III delivers everything in a more compact size, with the possibility to expand (through an optional grip), and is powered by the most recent TruePic IX processor. In addition, the grip is an optional accessory. You may think of it as a smaller and more affordable E-M1X.
It becomes apparent that the E-M1 Mark III is a sturdy piece of equipment, and it fits pretty well. In addition, the durable device’s weather-sealed and magnesium alloy body has been subjected to the dripping water test required by IPX1 requirements.
Although we have not had the opportunity to test the camera in icy conditions, we have not hesitated to use it in adverse weather conditions such as rain and dust. Additionally, the shutter has been upgraded to withstand up to 400,000 shots.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Features
In what ways is the Olympus E-M1 Mark III distinct from other mirrorless competitors, such as the Fujifilm X-T3 and the Sony A6600? In general, it emphasizes the camera’s adaptability and the several shooting modes more than the images’ quality.
Not only does the E-M1 Mark III employ a Four Thirds sensor that is smaller than its competitors and uses the same 20.4MP Live MOS chip as its predecessor from 2016. This isn’t very pleasant.
The image quality potential of the E-M1 Mark III is not expected to raise a commotion when measured against today’s standards. In addition, it seems as though many of the fundamental components, such as the screen and the EVF, have remained the same.
However, hang for a second; you shouldn’t go just yet. Examine it more intently. A brand-new TruePic IX processor has been developed. A few types of photography with peculiar-sounding names. An AF joystick. Image stabilization up to 7.5EV. A fresh perspective is starting to emerge.
Take, for example, the High-Res Shot mode, which now includes both a handheld and a tripod shooting option. Previously, it could only be used with a tripod and integrated numerous exposures into a single image with a resolution of 50 megapixels. Now you can get that resolution on a portable device, and provided you keep your palm steady; it will work! Incredible. When utilizing the tripod mode (with appropriate caution), the result is an 80-megapixel file.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Performance
This camera will perform admirably in high-pressure scenarios, as seen by its fast start-up and shutter reaction, as well as its speedy autofocus and continuous high-speed shooting.
The E-M1 Mark III has incredible running times. Not to be taken lightly are the camera’s shutter speeds of 18 frames per second silently with continuous autofocus, 15 frames per second mechanically, and 60 frames per second electronically with fixed focus. And the product’s performance in actual life situations helps validate those data to some level.
We could take roughly 65 frames (Raw and JPEG), or approximately twice that in JPEG-only, in the continuous high 18fps burst before the camera began to slow down. This was possible with a UHS-II card placed into the camera.
Nevertheless, we decided that the ten fps continuous low level would provide the most enjoyable experience overall, despite the absence of any visible performance limitations (mechanical shutter). Keep in mind that this “low” setting is comparable to the maximum setting on most other cameras.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Image Quality
The perception that there has been no improvement in image quality is one of the most frequent complaints against the E-M1 Mark III. It is correct that the image sensor has the exact 20.4-megapixel resolution as the one found in the E-M1 Mark II. Additionally, at this price point, other cameras are available with a higher resolution and bigger sensors that can capture more light.
So, what about the performance in low light? We are satisfied with photographs up to ISO 800 because there is no discernible degradation in image quality in such settings. The quality suffers the most noticeable decrease at the ISO 3200 setting. It is possible that this is not the right solution for you if you frequently photograph in conditions with low light.
However, the ability of the E-M1 Mark III to perform well in other ways may be attributed to Olympus’ continual innovation, which includes new shooting modes and smaller sensor sizes.
For portraiture, for instance, you may rely on the camera to acquire a precise focus on the eyes; for image stabilization so that details remain crisp, or for quicker frame rates to capture the moment.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Specs
|5184 x 3888
|Image ratio w h
|Sensor photo detectors
|Four Thirds (17.4 x 13 mm)
|sRGB, Adobe RGB
|Color filter array
|Primary color filter
|Auto, 200-25600 (expands to 64-25600)
|Boosted ISO (minimum)
|White balance presets
|Custom white balance
|Yes (4 slots)
|Image stabilization notes
|Seven stops body-only (7.5 stops with 12-100mm F4 lens)
|CIPA image stabilization rating
|JPEG quality levels
|Super fine, fine, normal
|JPEG (Exif v2.31)Raw (12-bit ORF)
|Optics & Focus
|Contrast Detect (sensor)Phase DetectMulti-areaCenterSelective single-pointTrackingSingleContinuousTouchFace DetectionLive view
|Autofocus assist lamp
|Number of focus points
|Micro Four Thirds
|Focal length multiplier
|1.48× (0.74× 35mm equiv.)
|Minimum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed
|Maximum shutter speed (electronic)
|ProgramAperture priorityShutter priorityManual
|Yes (via hot shoe)
|Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Redeye Slow sync. (1st curtain), Slow sync. (1st curtain), Slow sync. (2nd curtain), Manual
|Flash X sync speed
|SingleSingle (silent)Sequential highSequential high (silent)Pro Capture HighSequential low sequential low (quiet)Pro Capture low self-timerHigh Res Shot
|Yes (2 or 12 secs, custom)
|±5 (at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)
|(2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
|4096 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 @ 60p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 50p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 25p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM1920 x 1080 @ 23.98p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
|Dual SD/SDHC/SDXC slots (UHS-II on the first slot)
|USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 GBit/sec)
|Yes (micro HDMI)
|802.11ac + Bluetooth
|Yes (wired or smartphone)
|BLH-1 lithium-ion battery & charger
|Battery Life (CIPA)
|Weight (inc. batteries)
|580 g (1.28 lb / 20.46 oz)
|134 x 91 x 69 mm (5.28 x 3.58 x 2.72″)
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Verdict
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a reliable camera, easy to use, and pleasant to hold in one’s hand. It’s light and compact, but you also can extend it, and it comes with several lenses to help it thrive.
It becomes immediately apparent how comprehensive the E-M1 Mark III is as one delves more into the complicated menu systems and choices included inside the various shooting modes. The wide variety of shooting modes is a beautiful feature. It is almost impossible to find something that it cannot perform, and most importantly, it completes the whole photography process in record time.
However, in the mirrorless and DSLR camera markets, the E-M1 Mark III must contend with the fierce competition due to its price point. At this price point, you can purchase a camera with a four-thirds, APS-C, or full-frame sensor, as well as one that is fast and weather-sealed.