<wonglp> User review of Olympus E-M5 Mark III camera


Thank you to Olympus Singapore for loaning the Olympus E-M5 Mark III to ClubSNAP for a review.

If there are 3 words to summarize the new Olympus E-M5iii, it would be:
Fast, Light & Rugged.

4.5years is a long time for an update since E-M5II, and certainly with tech advancements these days, there's alot of expectations.

This review will cover (from my perspective) the design aspects, AF low light and tracking capabilities, long exposure photography, high resolution (it's now 50MP), lotsa 5 axis handeheld shots, some handheld vlogging, and some videos featuring me (no pretty babes/hunks, sorry haha).

Here are the official features in a quick summary from Olympus Imaging Singapore

1. Outstanding portability with high image quality
2. Advanced DUAL FAST AF with 121-point all cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF
3. 5-axis image stabilization in a dustproof splash-proof body
4. Pro Capture mode for lag-free shooting
5. Tripod High-Res Shot to 50M
6. Digital cinema standard 4K movies with high quality linear PCM recording when used with Olympus voice recorder LS-P1
7. Anti-flicker mode and flicker scan
8. USB Camera charge

"Olympus Singapore is pleased to announce the launch of the new OM-D E-M5 Mark III. Advancing from the highly
successful OM-D E-M5 flagship series, the upcoming successor sees a boost of technological advancements
while bringing portability and image quality into the next dimension.
Olympus interchangeable lens camera systems’ biggest advantage is the amazing mobility thanks to the compact,
lightweight camera system, including lenses. The highly portable interchangeable lens camera is equipped with the
same 121-point all cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF as the OM-D E-M1 Mark II professional model, offering
high-speed, high-precision autofocus capabilities in a compact, lightweight body.
With a new image stabilization unit, the OM-D E-M5 Mark III features in-body 5-axis image stabilization in a dustproof and splash proof body. Equipped with versatile
shooting features new to the OM-D E-M5 series such as PRO Capture and Tripod High-res Shot to 50M, the OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a power house in a small package.
Say goodbye to large set-ups with additional bulk equipment, by combining both in-body 5-axis image
stabilisation and Olympus Voice recorder – LS-P1, recording of 4K videos with high quality linear PCM
recording is redefined with the OM-D E-M5 Mark III"

Made a comparison table on E-M5II, Pen F, E-M1 II vs E-M5 III for easy reference. Most info courtesy of DPReview.


Comparison chart.jpg
 

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wonglp

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Design & Ergonomics.


The design follows closely to the original E-M5 which takes inspiration from the OM1, with a delta shaped viewfinder. The first thought of holding it reminds me of E-M10 series
in terms of the weight, feel and grip, and less cold metallic feel like Pen F). Articulating swivel screen, great for vloggers

E-M5iii sports an improved grip, deeper than it's predecessor, certainly a good thing for Pro lenses.
At the tip it contours outwards a little to prevent accidental slips.
Works really well for most Pro lenses, except maybe the 12-100mm Pro, 40-150mm Pro
and 300mm F4 will need an external grip like ECG-5 for prolong use. There isn't an external battery grip, so the ECG-5 is purely for ergonomics,
it has electronic contacts and an additional button, and there's no battery access unless you remove it totally.

On the top panel, there's some major change in the mode dial positon from left (on EM5II) to right of the EVF. There's additonal modes like B ( Bulb - which has Live Bulb, Time, Composite) this is brilliant for quick access to Live functions without having to delve into M mode, and turning the shutter speed dial till you get into the Live modes, those who use it will know. A feature that's only currently available with 1X body. At least now, I can free up my custom modes as I shoot mostly land/cityscapes.
The other mode is C (custom) mode.

On the first glance, there are lesser Fn buttons, that's replaced on the left with display button and sequential shooting, also there's an ISO button on the thumb-rest now, that's slightly sloped so not as easy to press accidentally. So u now have 1 more customizable button compared to EM5iii. Neat!

2x2 controls can be customizable like before, or you can use it as a power button, i don't remember EM5ii can do this, though EM1ii and EM1X can. I like to customize it this way so to do 1 handed operations when doing street photography
 

wonglp

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Video on C-AF tracking. Using 45mm F1.2 at F1.2, sensitivity on +2.

 

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wonglp

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Video on Low light AF on single point comparison between E-M5III and Pen F. You can see the Pen F struggle in such low light condition, even with E-M5III AF illuminator light off it works better than Pen F with illuminator light on.

 

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wonglp

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Sharing some still shots, no sharpening in post, just other Adobe lightroom edit of the jpeg files. Adobe Lightroom doesn't read the Raw files yet.

With 12-100mm lens




 

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wonglp

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5 Axis In Body Image Stabiliser gets an update from EM5II, now it's 5.5 stops for most lenses, and specific lenses like 300mm F4 Pro, 12-100mm F4 Pro which has Sync IS get's another 1 stops stabilisation (total 6.5 stops).

When using with Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro vs 12-100mm F4, I can see from the shots, that there's a difference even when using wide range 7mm vs say 12mm of the 12-100mm F4, the latter stabiliser with Sync IS just works that fair bit better.

Here are some of the shots to share.

ISO200, 7mm, F7.1, 1.2s,


ISO200, 7mm, F8, 0.4s,


ISO 200, 12mm, F4, 8s.


ISO 200, 12mm, F4, 10s.


ISO 200, 100mm, F8, 3.2s. This was rather difficult to get at this shutter speeds to be sharp as it's at the tele-end, for 6.5 stops, it would mean it should stabilize quite easily to 1/(200/9.6)=1/2sec. So to get about 3.2s, would be about almost 9+ stops of stabilisation. Most of 2sec shots i did here had high success rate, 3sec was a stretch.
 

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wonglp

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Battery life

To keep it small and light, Olympus adopted the BLN-50 battery. It can accommodate 310 shots as per CIPA standards, if shooting more long exposures, or videos, the total shots will be less. If you do a lot of burst shoots, easily >400 shots. About half a day of shoot, so having a few batteries would be good.
 

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wonglp

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High Resolution Mode

<Edit>
There's a reduction in the overall resolution for the High Resolution mode (Tripod), from 64MP on E-M5II or 80MP on E-M1 Mark II / E-M1X to 50MP on E-M5 Mark III. According to Olympus, there's isn't a big difference between 80MP or 50MP.

Some error on my part of 50MP Raw files, it's actually 50MP Jpg, 80MP Raw files.

As currently for Raw files, only Olympus WorkSpace software is able to view it. I did a side by side comparison using the software and did a crop. Can you tell the difference on the cropped shot?

I will wait till I can see on Adobe Lightroom to determine more findings.

Original Raw shots. Left E-M5 III, Right E-M1X.


Cropped shots. Left E-M5 III, Right E-M1X.
 

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wonglp

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MOre images sharing. Jpeg edited in Lightroom, no sharpening.
Olympus 7-14mm lens




Olympus 12-100mm F4 Pro lens



 

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wonglp

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In the E-M5II, the usage of High Res mode has a restriction of shutter speed to 8s, in E-M5III, it has been extended to 60s. It makes capturing long exposures at night without filters a breeze.
With 12-100mm F4. ISO64, 38mm, F8. 13sec and as it moves 8 times, essentially you get an exposure of 8x13sec = 104sec. Hence the clouds motion can be seen in this shot.
 

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wonglp

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USB Charging



Yay, it works with power banks and wall charger with Micro USB connection, it doesn't allow camera to be in use though., and being Micro USB, i tested a fully discharged battery took about 4 hours to get full charge. Pretty similar to original Olympus charger. It isn't as fast as EM1X USB-C (which works only with PD-power delivery power banks), but it is still a good upgrade from E-M5ii or E-M1ii. At least i can charge 2 batteries overnight now, without having to wait when traveling :)
 

wonglp

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Some birding shots with 5 axis stabiliser

Disclaimer. Birding isn't my forte, just took the E-M5 Mark III to try to do some tracking but this Common Kingfisher was just too cooperative! The ECG-8 Grip was used and it certainly helped in birding. But if you really like birding, EM1.2/1X would be better with their built in grip for better ergonomics.

Using 300mm F4, gives E-M5II an additional stop of lens stabiliser through Sync IS. Apart from the equally excellent12-100mm F4 Pro lens.
1/15s, F4.5, 300mm, ISO200. Jpeg edited in Lightroom, no sharpening


This is a cropped version.



And a few other shots
300mm, F4, 1/80s, ISO200


Cropped of above
 

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wonglp

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More shots to share.

Olympus 12-100mm F4.
ISO200, F4, 70mm, 0.8s


ISO200, F5, 18mm, 1/200s


Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 Pro
ISO200, F9, 7mm, 0.3s
PA010728 by LP Wong, on Flickr

ISO200, F6.3, 23mm, 1/25s
 

Pitachu

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Tried the Olympus EM5-Mk3 during a Street Photography Event organized by Olympus.
I am glad Olympus take the approach to maintain the EM5 compact, light and yet
environmentally sealed and with appropriate pro features for more advanced users.

I have not used previous versions of EM5 or any Olympus cameras before (having been using the Panasonic G9 and GX8). The placement of the dials are quite different and yet I am able to get used to them in a few minutes of guidance. And I really like the placement. I usually shoot in Aperture Priority Mode and use Exp. Compensation quite a lot. I really love it to be able to adjust this two with my right end, without taking my eyes off the viewfinder or needing to press any button to set exp. compensation.

The Pro Capture makes it so easy to capture shots like a dancer in mid-air and the high speed video works like a charm.

I have read complains about the EM5 mk2 grip and after using the EM5 mk3 with a 12-200 lenses, it feels quite ok with me, though a bit small. There is an option to add a larger grip but Olympus told us NOT to buy unless we really need it :) For me, every gram makes a difference when you are climbing a hill and I think I will not get the grip.

OK. enough of good stuff. Now somethings which I do not like in case you all think I work for Olympus. I don't.

Honestly, I tested the Body IS and it really didnt work as well as I though it would. This is probably Olympus has set my expectations too high. Having said that, I think it only works as well as other brands of cameras body IS and with the few PRO lenses with Optical IS (eg. 12-100), it probably will work slightly better.

Though the auto-focus is much improved, I still find it a little bit slower compared to my Panasonic G9, but it is really acceptable to me as the G9 is a much bigger and heavier body.

I also prefer the EM5 Mk3 to come with a built in flash instead of external as sometimes I just like to pop a flash to cut out the backlight instead of reaching for my pouch.
 

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wonglp

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Tried the Olympus EM5-Mk3 during a Street Photography Event organized by Olympus.
I am glad Olympus take the approach to maintain the EM5 compact, light and yet
environmentally sealed and with appropriate pro features for more advanced users.

I have not used previous versions of EM5 or any Olympus cameras before (having been using the Panasonic G9 and GX8). The placement of the dials are quite different and yet I am able to get used to them in a few minutes of guidance. And I really like the placement. I usually shoot in Aperture Priority Mode and use Exp. Compensation quite a lot. I really love it to be able to adjust this two with my right end, without taking my eyes off the viewfinder or needing to press any button to set exp. compensation.

The Pro Capture makes it so easy to capture shots like a dancer in mid-air and the high speed video works like a charm.

I have read complains about the EM5 mk2 grip and after using the EM5 mk3 with a 12-200 lenses, it feels quite ok with me, though a bit small. There is an option to add a larger grip but Olympus told us NOT to buy unless we really need it :) For me, every gram makes a difference when you are climbing a hill and I think I will not get the grip.

OK. enough of good stuff. Now somethings which I do not like in case you all think I work for Olympus. I don't.

Honestly, I tested the Body IS and it really didnt work as well as I though it would. This is probably Olympus has set my expectations too high. Having said that, I think it only works as well as other brands of cameras body IS and with the few PRO lenses with Optical IS (eg. 12-100), it probably will work slightly better.

Though the auto-focus is much improved, I still find it a little bit slower compared to my Panasonic G9, but it is really acceptable to me as the G9 is a much bigger and heavier body.

I also prefer the EM5 Mk3 to come with a built in flash instead of external as sometimes I just like to pop a flash to cut out the backlight instead of reaching for my pouch.
Nice summary! sorry for late reply on this. Yes, the 12-100 will get a boost in IBIS, typically with wide angles like 7-14, i can get about 3-4s max, and with 12-100mm F4, about 8-10s (2 of my shots above of Little Guilin are 8,10s). So there's a difference in Sync IS of 12-100mm lens, one thing though, it does take some battery life which I'm perfectly fine with the extra 1 stop.