Conclusion

Pros Cons
  • Excellent JPEG engine
  • Good Raw performance
  • Effective 5-axis image stabilization
  • Stylish, compact body
  • Well-placed controls
  • High resolution OLED viewfinder
  • Detailed 4K video with excellent stabilization
  • New UI makes it easier to use camera's innovative shooting modes
  • Handy tilting touchscreen LCD
  • Fairly simple Wi-Fi implementation
  • Auto mode limits you to exaggerated color rendition
  • 16MP starting to look a little dated
  • Autofocus not dependable for action shooting
  • Default noise reduction and sharpening rather heavy-handed
  • No USB charging
  • Auto ISO rather simplistic and not available for manual exposure video shooting

Overall conclusion

The OM-D E-M10 III isn't a big update in terms of specs, but Olympus has made some pretty significant attempts to make it easier to make full use of its capabilities. We liked its predecessor, and we think the updates to the interface, the addition of 4K and the improved AF Tracking all add significantly to its appeal.

The E-M10 III's size meant I felt able to keep the camera with me more than I would have done with something larger. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw, ferry brightened, mast cloned out of foreground.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ | 1/200th | F6.3 | ISO 200
Photo: Richard Butler

In terms of rivals, it tries to offer the touch and shoot simplicity of the Sony a5100 and the more hands-on control level of the a6000, and does well on both counts. The likes of Nikon's D5600 will offer better stills image quality but only Panasonic's GX85 can offer the balance of size, stills and video shooting capabilities and the M10 has the better JPEGs.

Body and Handling

The E-M10 III body and handling is broadly like those of its predecessor, which we liked very much. Twin dials and a touchscreen, a couple of customizable buttons and one of the more comprehensive on-screen control panels give a remarkably good and well-judged level of direct control for a camera at this point in the market. The slightly more sculpted grip and reworked dials just make everything that bit nicer to work with.

The changes to the camera's user interface and handling are generally positive, too. We're a bit surprised by some of the changes Olympus has made to its menu structure but thinning-out the options is certainly an improvement.

The camera's 'Keystone' function, that lets you correct for perspective distortion, is easier to access on the Mark III
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ | 1/320th | F10 | ISO 200
Photo: Carey Rose

The Advanced Photography mode brings all the camera's smarter shooting modes together, rather than leaving them languishing in the menus. Some of these modes, such as Live Bulb and Live Time are pretty useful, others, such as Panorama, fall a long way short of what most smartphone users would expect.

And, for beginners, the Auto mode is good enough at selecting an appropriate scene mode, that we'd only feel the need to swap to 'SCN' mode for some of the more obscure shooting scenarios. Or rather, we would if Auto mode didn't insist on making everything Day-Glo, with not so much as the option to escape its Funfair 'charms.'

Image Quality

The E-M10 III's image quality is generally rather good, especially in JPEG. We've long been impressed by the color rendition of Olympus' 'Natural' response and it makes it easy to get attractive results from the E-M10 III. Unfortunately, the camera's Auto mode leaves you locked in the oversaturated i-Enhance mode, even shutting off the option to tone-down its effect.

The camera's sharpening is a little heavy-handed, which can overpower the finest detail, but that's only an issue if you insist on looking at the pixel level. Default noise reduction is also a bit high and we'd strongly recommend reducing the 'Noise Filter' setting to Low or Off, when you first pick up the camera. Generally, though, we like the JPEG output.

The camera's comparatively large sensor and lovely color rendering mean it can produce better images for social media than your phone. #Nofilter
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ | 1/200th | F5.6 | ISO 200
Photo: Richard Butler

The underlying Raw performance is also pretty good, considering the relatively elderly sensor. It's not suddenly going to outperform its 24MP APS-C peers, but it's not hopelessly outclassed, either, and that smaller sensor helps the camera offer such excellent image stabilization.

The camera's dynamic range is good for its sensor size, with files shot at low ISO giving a reasonable degree of flexibility in terms of being able to lift information from the shadows without adding excessive noise to the image.

Autofocus

Autofocus is probably the E-M10's weakest point, but this isn't as harsh a criticism as it might sound. The camera's ability to track moving subjects is greatly improved and the majority of the available lenses can focus extremely quickly. Sadly, though, we simply didn't find it to be consistent enough to be dependable so, while it was capable of giving performances to match its peers, we didn't feel we could trust it to do so.

Video Quality

The E-M10 III's video quality is really impressive, especially in 4K mode. This is helped by the camera's rather lovely color rendition, which gives really attractive output. Sadly, it lacks the decisive autofocus performance that would be needed to make it truly easy to use, or the features such as external mic inputs needed to make it appeal to the more dedicated videographer who'll be willing to manual focus all the time.

That said, if you fix focus before you start, the 4K quality combined with really impressive stabilization means it's a pretty good camera to play around with, and maybe kindle some enthusiasm for shooting video.

The Final Word

This shot was taken with the 17mm F1.8 prime lens, but the bundled 14-45mm zoom will let you get similar results.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8 | 1/100th | F3.2 | ISO 1250
Photo: Richard Butler

The E-M10 III is a minor update to the Mark II but the changes are focused where it matters. 16MP may seem a little old hat, given APS-C went to 24MP several years ago, but the Olympus becomes one of the only cameras in its class to offer 4K video capture and does so with excellent stabilization. It may not be the most impressive spec, on paper, but the E-M10 III is a powerful and likeable little camera, that offers the developing photographer plenty of room to grow.


Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
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Olympus OM-D E-M10 III
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The E-M10 III is an attractive camera that does a good job of making its range of capabilities accessible. It's flexible and enjoyable and relatively easy to shoot good 4K video with. Its unreliable focus tracking and modest resolution take a little gloss off a camera that gives plenty of room to grow into.
Good for
Increasingly keen beginner photographers
Not so good for
Sports shooters or anyone demanding dependable autofocus
80%
Overall score