Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Review

February 14, 2020 | Mark Goldstein |

First Impressions

Photography Blog attended the UK launch of the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III mirrorless camera at Kew Gardens in London.

Find out what we thought of Olympus's brand new camera by reading our detailed first impressions...

Pricing

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III will go on sale in late February 2020 priced at £1,599.99 body only. Various lens kits will also be available at launch, depending on your geographical location.

Key Specifications

  • 20.4 megapixel Micro Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • New TruePic IX processor
  • Weather-sealed
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilisation, up to 7.5 steps compensation
  • 121-point all-cross-type Dual Phase and Contrast Detection AF system
  • 18fps burst shooting with continuous AF/AE
  • Cinema 4K video recording at 30p, 1080p at 120fps
  • 50 megapixel Handheld High-Res Shot mode
  • 80 megapixel Tripod High Res Shot mode
  • Live Composite,now up to 6 hours duration
  • Pro Capture
  • Focus Stacking/Bracketing
  • Live ND

Target Audience

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a smaller, cheaper alternative to the flagship E-M1X model, offering many of the same features at a lower price-point in a much more compact, lighter body.

Size and Weight

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

Weighing just 504g and measuring 134.1mm x 90.9mm x 68.9mm, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a weather-proof magnesium alloy body ensuring dust-, splash- and freeze- proofness.

Controls

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The control layout of the new E-M1 Mark III very closely resembles that of its predecessor, the E-M1 Mark II.

It has a slightly bigger grip, a new ISO button, the menu button has been relocated, and there's a welcome addition of a multi-selector joystick for quickly shifting AF area using your right-hand thumb.

Sensor

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III uses exactly the same 20.4 megapixel Live MOS sensor found in the E-M1X camera, but benefits from the brand new Truepix IX processor. Consequently the still image quality may actually prove to be slightly better on the E-M1 III than on Olympus' flagship camera.

The supersonic wave filter on the E-M1 III has been upgraded with a brand new coating, making it more effective than the one on the E-M1X.

Video Recording

In addition to stills, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is quite a capable video camera too, offering Cine 4K recording at 30/25/24p, Full HD 120p slow-motion and the OM-Log400 profile, and it also has a dedicated 3.5mm mic jack on the body for better sound recording as well as a headphone jack for monitoring the audio.

Image Stabilisation

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a brand new in-body stabilisation system that now offers an incredible 7.5 EV steps of compensation when paired with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm F4.0 IS PRO or M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm F4.0 IS PRO lenses, claimed to be the World’s best image stabilization performance. Without sync IS, the in-body image stabilization still offers an amazing 7.0 shutter speed steps of compensation with any lens.

LCD Screen

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a versatile vari-angle LCD screen that can be tilted out to the side and swivelled to the front for easier selfies or vlogging.

Viewfinder

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a bright and colourful OLED viewfinder, sacrificing out-and-out accuracy for a more pleasing display.

Auto-focusing

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a dual phase- and contrast-based auto-focus system with 121 points for both - in fact, it's exactly the same system as used on the flagship E-M1X camera.

The phase detect points are all cross type, there are new 9-point and 25-point AF modes, and you can now also choose from all 121 points to setup your own custom AF layouts.

There's also a brand new AF mode called Starry Sky AF, which should hopefully avoid errors when manually focusing.

Burst Shooting

An impressively fast 18fps high-speed sequential shooting with full time AF/AE tracking is offered by the E-M1 Mark III, the same as the E-M1X.

This new model also has the excellent Pro Capture mode, which saves 35 frames before you actually pressed the shutter and 120 frames after, helping to ensure that you don't miss that vital moment.

Shutter Life

The E-M1 III is officially rated for 400,000 shots, the same as the E-M1X.

Battery

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III uses the same BLH-1 as on the previous E-M1 II camera, so you won't have to sell all of your old batteries if you upgrade to this new model.

You can also charge the camera on the go via the USB port, a great new feature that is appearing in more and more cameras (and rightly so).

Memory Cards

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

Despite the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III's compact size, there is still enough room for dual memory card slots.

The top slot supports UHS-II, which should help the camera keep up with all those high-speed bursts, while the bottom one only supports the slower UHS-I standard.

Weather Proofing

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is fully weatherproof to the official IPX1 rating thanks to some clever dust-, splash- and freeze-proof sealing.

Image Quality

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

You can see an extensive gallery of Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III sample images and videos here.

Early Verdict

The new OM-D E-M1 Mark III is the camera that Olympus should really have released last year, before the technically impressive but rather niche E-M1X sports model.

It comes across very much like a mini-E-M1X, so much so that adding the HLD-9 power grip will provide most of the functionality and battery life of Olympus' flagship camera in a much smaller, lighter and cheaper body.

The E-M1 Mark II proved to be a very popular camera for Olympus, and we can't see any reason why the new Mark III version won't emulate its predecessor.

Until we get one in for a full review, why don't you share your thoughts on the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III by leaving a comment below?

Would you buy one? What do you like and dislike? Share your opinion now!