Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Review

The Olympus E-M5 Mark III is a new Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera that replaces the 4-year-old E-M5 Mark II model.

It brings many of Olympus’ most advanced imaging technology from the flagship E-M1 Mark II / E-M1X cameras into a compact, lightweight and weather-sealed camera body, at a lower price-point.

The E-M5 Mark III is definitely a classically styled camera that has exactly the same 20.4 megapixels Live MOS sensor and Truepix VIII processor found in the E-M1 Mark II / E-M1X cameras, and the same dual-phase- and contrast-based autofocus system, with 121 points for both.

It provides the world’s most effective 5-axis image stabilization system, rated for up to 5.5-stops of settlement with any lens that’s fitted to it, and 6.5 stops when using the stabilized M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4 IS PRO zoom lens.

Check Out: Best Lenses for Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Price, Deals & Discounts

In the improved High-Resolution mode, the 5-axis picture stabilization system can capture 50 megapixel JPEGs and 80 megapixel RAW data files by moving the sensor between each shot and merging eight one exposures into one during the course of 1 second.

On the video aspect, the E-M5 III offers Cine 4K recording at 24p and 4K 30p recording, plus Full HD 120p slow-motion, with a dedicated 3.5mm Mic jack for better sound recording.

Other key features of the Olympus OM-D EM-5 include a 3-inch touch-sensitive, vari-angle LCD screen, 2.36 million-dot OLED electronic viewfinder with eye-detection, 10 frames per second burst shooting with AF/AE tracking, a sensitivity range of ISO 64-25600, Live Composite, Pro Capture, Focus Stacking, and USB charging.

5-axis Image Stabilisation

The camera’s 5-axis image stabilization program moves the sensor to compensate for movement, and this has also been improved since the E-M5 Mark II, with 5.5EV steps body only (vs 5 stops on the E-M5 II), and up to 6.5EV guidelines with sync-IS on the 12-100mm f/4 zoom lens. The IS system is now smaller than the previous version. The system allows for hand-held night shots.

The in-camera image stabilization works with any lens, so it will even work with manual focus lenses and legacy lenses, and you will program in your lens settings so that the image stabilization is at it’s most effective.

The digital viewfinder (EVF) offers been updated, with the camera using an OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF), with 2.36m pixels, 0.69x magnification, 100% view, and a 27.5mm eyepoint which can be increased, making it better for glasses wearers.

Ease of Use

Four years is a long time in the fast-moving world of picture taking, and at first glance, you’d be hard-pressed to spot the difference between the new E-M5 Mark III and 2015’s Mark II model.

But look thoroughly and there are some subtle and important external changes between your two digital cameras, with Olympus taking the opportunity to fix almost all of the criticisms that were leveled at the E-M5 II.

In fact, the control layout of the new EM5 Mark III much more closely resembles the E-M1 Mark II, rather than its mid-range predecessor.

On top of the camera, only the power switch is still in the same place, with the dedicated shooting mode dial right now relocated over on the right and customizable get and display buttons on the left, just like on the E-M1 Mark II.

There are fewer chances to the rear, with the principal a single getting the addition of a devoted ISO button just above the rear thumb-rest, along with a revised Mode 1/2 switch that today incorporates an AEL/AFL key within it, once again exactly like on the E-M1 Mark II.

These are all very welcome adjustments, but there is sadly one pretty big step back with regards to the E-M5 III’s exterior design.

It’s now constructed of polycarbonate to help keep both the weight and price down, rather than the magnesium-alloy used in its predecessor, which could prove to be a deal-breaker for some.

In practice, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II still feels well-built, just not quite simply because solid as the previous model, which is certainly shame given that the brand new version’s launch price is actually slightly higher than its predecessor’s was back in 2015.

LCD Screen

Despite the change of material, it thankfully still features the same dust and splash-proof capabilities as before, forming a really weatherproof system with a similarly equipped lens attached.

The E-M5 Mark III’s dimensions are 125.3 x 85.2 x 49.7mm, slightly bigger compared to the Mark II version, with a body-only pounds of 366g, a not insubstantial 53g lighter.

Starting from the front, the E-M5 Mark III has a re-programmable depth-of-field preview button located to the bottom-left of the zoom lens mount, around the lens release button to the proper, plus an AF assist lamp above.

Sadly it’s predecessor’s flash sync terminal has disappeared completely, which makes this camera less well-suited to life in a studio environment.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III In-hand

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III can now generate a 50 megapixel JPEG or an 80 megapixel RAW file in the improved HIGH RES mode. This is achieved by shifting the sensor in half-pixel techniques and capturing eight images over a period of one second.

Olympus recommends that you install the camera on a tripod or various other stable surfaces to obtain sharp results and also that your subject should be static.

Focusing is another area where the Olympus OM-D E-M5 III provides been significantly improved.

The new model now uses a dual-stage- and contrast-based auto-focus program and the number of selectable AF factors has been expanded to 121 versus the E-M5’s 81 points, a big advance on the Mark II’s contrast-only system.

In fact, it’s a similar proven system within the flagship E-M1 Mark II and E-M1X cameras, which is excellent news.

The continuous shooting rate has been increased too, to 10fps with full-time AF/AE monitoring (up from 5fps on the OM-D E-M5 II).

For the first time on the E-M5 series, this brand-new model inherits the Pro Capture mode from further up the range.

In this particular shooting mode, the camera takes a 30fps burst, with 15 of those frames saved before you actually pressed the shutter, helping to ensure that you don’t miss that vital moment.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III’s 3.5mm MIC Socket

It also now includes a dedicated 3.5mm Mic jack on the body for better sound recording for vlogging, a very welcome addition.

Moving to the trunk of the E-M5 Mark III, there’s a built-in electronic viewfinder complete with a diopter control to the left.

The Olympus E-M5 includes a new, pretty decent OLED viewfinder offering a 2.36-million-dot resolution, 1.37x magnification, and a 27mm eyepoint. The magnification is normally a little lower than on the E-M5 Mark II, although the eyepoint is greater, rendering it better for glasses-wearers.

There’s the same 3-inch articulated rear LCD screen as seen on the Mark II, with a resolution of 1037K dots and capacitive touchscreen technology.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

As the monitor is usually side-mounted, it’s a fully articulated vari-angle display that may be rotated to leading for easier selfies and closed against the rear of the camera to protect the screen.

The E-M5 Mark III features touch screen operation, although if you’re not a fan you can, for the most part, get away without using it much at all, as there are a plethora of physical control keys which are either dedicated to specific functions or can be customized to suit.

Dragging a finger to move the AF point around the display screen is a quick and easy way of following the subject, though inadvertently subsequently tapping it will cause the shutter to fire. This facility could be deactivated by prodding the relevant shutter switch icon on the touchscreen, but it’s just as easy to accidentally turn it on again.

To the right of the EVF is the function lever for the 2×2 Dual Control system with the AEL/AFL key at its center.

Image Quality

All of the sample pictures in this review were taken using the 20 megapixel Super Great JPEG setting, which gives an average picture size of around 8Mb.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III produced images of excellent quality during the review period. It creates noise-free pictures at ISO 64 up to 1600, with limited noise that needs to appear at ISO 3200.

ISO 6400 exhibits quite visible noise and loss of fine detail, and the fastest settings of ISO 12800 and 25600 are also noisier but still usable for small prints and web use. The corresponding raw data files are inevitably more noisy at lower ISOs.

The image stabilization program works excellently for both stills and video, even when hand-holding the camera very slow shutter speeds.

The High-resolution setting can create a 50 megapixel JPEG or an 80 megapixel RAW document, although it only really works for nonmoving subjects.

The various Art Filters and Picture Styles produce special effects that would otherwise require you to spend a lot of time in the digital darkroom.

Conclusion

Over 4 years in the making, the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III incorporates the latest sensor, autofocus system and innovative shooting modes from the flagship E-M1 Mark II camera right into a smaller, lighter and cheaper body, to great effect.

It may not have the magnesium-alloy body of its predecessor and the battery pack life is a little lackluster for 2019, but overall the E-M5 Mark III is both the most well-balanced camera in the Olympus range and a real contender in the enthusiast mirrorless camera market.

What it may lack in sensor size is definitely more than made up for by the E-M5 Mark III’s innovative features, with the Great Res, Pro Catch and Live Composite settings all making their way down the range from the E-M1 series.

And with exactly the same processor, sensor, auto-focusing program, and image stabilization on board too, the brand new E-M5 Mark III really does feel like an E-M1 II in miniature.

Especially as Olympus have used the four years because the last edition to iron out virtually all of the things that we didn’t like about the Mark II’s design and control layout.

So overall, then, the OM-D E-M5 Mark III marks a genuine return to form for Olympus after the Commerical mis-fire of the E-M1X.

This is a great camera for enthusiasts looking for a compact, lightweight system that won’t break either the bank or your back.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here