Earlier this month, Olympus announced their latest mirrorless camera: The OM-D E-M1 Mark III, which continues the professional E-M1 series, and promises a lightning-fast performance for the most serious of shooters.
Like Olympus’s other mirrorless options, the E-M1 Mark III sports a Micro Four Thirds sensor. This means that the E-M1 is impressively compact, as is its lens lineup. In fact, if you haven’t laid hands on a Micro Four Thirds camera, I suggest you go check one out, because the size is astonishing.
Unfortunately, a small sensor also comes with drawbacks, and in this case, they’re compounded by a 20.4 MP option that’s quite a few years old. For some reason, Olympus has insisted on including the sensor used in the E-M1 Mark II, the E-M5 Mark III, and the E-M1X, which is in serious need of an upgrade. It doesn’t offer the worst image quality out there, but Micro Four Thirds cameras struggle to compete with APS-C and full-frame rivals in this area, which isn’t helped by a sensor that’s nearly a half-decade old.
In other words, don’t expect too much in terms of dynamic range or high ISO performance.
The same complaint could be leveled at the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III electronic viewfinder, which only packs 2.36M dots and is frustratingly dated.
On the other hand, there’s a lot to like about the new E-M1 Mark III, including Olympus’s world-class in-body image stabilization (the company promises 7 stops of stabilization, which increases slightly when paired with an image-stabilized lens). This is fantastic for anyone shooting video, especially with Olympus’s longer lenses, and it’s also excellent for still shooters working in low light. Sure, Olympus’s dedication to their sensors is far from impressive, but it’s somewhat counterbalanced by the power of their IBIS.
You also get high-performing autofocus, and an insane 60 frames-per-second shooting speed (with locked AF, and using the electronic shutter). Even with autofocus, you get 18 frames-per-second continuous shooting, which rivals pretty much any pro-sports camera body out there.
Plus, as with Olympus’s other OM-D cameras, the E-M1 Mark III includes a long list of interesting features. I’m talking about things like Starry AF (designed to nail focus on stars during astrophotography), High-Res Shot (which produces 80 MP images), and Pro Capture mode, which starts capturing images before you press the shutter button so that you never miss a critical shot.
Here’s the bottom line:
There’s a lot to love about the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, even if it falls short in a number of key areas. So it’s certainly worth checking out if you’re looking for one of the most powerful-yet-compact options on the market today.
You can currently pre-order the E-M1 Mark III for $1799 USD; the camera will ship on February 24th.