Best cameras under $2000
Published Jun 24, 2020 | dpreview staff
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
20MP Four Thirds sensor | On-sensor phase detection | UHD and DCI 4K
What we like:
- Very good image quality
- Excellent image stabilization
- Fast continuous shooting w/AF
- Best-in-class weather-sealing
What we don't:
- Image quality not as good as peers with larger sensors
- Continuous AF not best-in-class
- Overwhelming menus
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a compact Micro Four Thirds camera targeted toward sports and action photographers. In addition to its speedy shooting, the camera also has built-in image stabilization, which may provide over seven stops of shake reduction. The 'IBIS' system also allows for 80MP photos when using a tripod and 50MP handheld.
The DSLR-shaped E-M1 III has exceptional build quality and is weather-sealed to IPX1 standards. Its numerous buttons are customizable, as are many items on its fully articulating LCD. The camera has a large electronic viewfinder with just average resolution. There are two SD card slots on the E-M1 III, but only one supports UHS-II speeds. Battery life is about average.
It's durability and weather-sealing are top-notch, image quality and autofocus very good, and overall feature set compelling.
The E-M1 III has on-sensor phase detection which, based on initial tests, can be tweaked to keep up with a variety of subjects, even at 18 fps, though you may need to keep the focus point on your target. The camera has a deep buffer so you can fire off a decent amount of shots before it slows down.
We expect image quality to be on par with the E-M1X. That means attractive JPEG color and good-looking Raws, though its larger-sensored peers will allow for more shadow brightening with less noise.
The E-M1 III captures both DCI and UHD 4K at 24p and 30p, respectively. On the E-M1X we encountered some motion artifacts when capturing DCI 4K due to a lower-than-advertised bit rate, and we'll keep an eye out for those on this camera. There are numerous capture tools available, plus support for 8-bit Log footage. One disappointment is that the flippy screen is blocked when the mic or headphone sockets are in use.
Since the E-M1 Mark III is essentially its predecessor with most of the guts from the E-M1X, we have a pretty solid feeling as to how it compares to its peers. It's durability and weather-sealing are top-notch, image quality very good and feature set compelling. We'll see how it's autofocus system performs in our final review.
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