Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review
The E-M10 is a responsive little camera, ready to shoot in about a second when it's turned on. The screen and the settings it indicates react quickly to dial turns and button presses. The ability to approach the Super Control Panel by using command dials, button presses or by pressing the touch screen is especially helpful, and makes the camera feel that much more responsive to commands.
Auto focus is speedy, slowing down slightly in the most challenging of situations, but overall it's fast enough to satisfy the camera's target audience. Continuous focus mode is a bit hard to manage, as the camera continues to check focus on static subjects and indicates when focus is achieved by displaying a solid green dot in the corner of the screen - it's easy to miss your window and snap an out-of-focus photo.
Lacking the phase-detection technology creeping into mirorrless cameras like the Sony a6000, the E-M10 relies on contrast detection for tracking focus and does about as well as expected (i.e. moderately). In testing of continuous tracking in burst mode it held focus on a subject moving at a moderate pace toward the camera for around 5-7 frames. The focus point did tend to jump ship as soon as a high-contrast edge became obscured. Our feeling is that the E-M10 does acceptably well tracking high-contrast subjects that aren't moving too quickly, but isn't really designed for much more challenging subjects.
Continuous Shooting and Buffering
The E-M10's claims a high burst rate of 8 fps, though in testing we found it only reached 7.5 fps in all of the compression modes we tested. Burst high mode does not allow for continuous auto focus - instead focus is fixed at the first frame. It doesn't offer live view between frames either; there's a brief blackout and then just-taken frames are displayed with a slight delay. The lower burst speed of 3.5 fps does offer both live view and continuous auto focus.
|Frame rate||7.5 fps||7.5 fps||7.5 fps|
|Burst capacity||29 images||12 images||12 images|
|Buffer full rate||5 fps||2.5 fps max||1.6 fps|
|Write complete||4 sec.||5 sec.||7 sec.|
|Frame rate||3.7 fps||3.7 fps||3.3 fps|
|Burst capacity||to card capacity||29 images||19 images|
|Buffer full rate||NA||2.6 fps max||1.8 fps|
|Write complete||NA||5 sec.||8 sec.|
The E-M10 uses the BLS-5 Lithium-ion battery and BCS-5 charger, with 320 shots per charge according to CIPA standard testing. It's neither the best in class or the worst, and excessive use of Wi-Fi features will have a noticeable impact on that figure. In real-world use battery life wasn't an issue - it's enough for a day of light shooting, but E-M10 users would do well to keep a backup charged for more intensive shooting (especially with use of the Wi-Fi features).
The E-M10 provides the same Wi-Fi features as the E-M1, including the ability to remotely control the camera from a smartphone or tablet as well as wireless image transfer. Using Olympus' Image Share app, remote shooting offers control over exposure parameters, focus point and (with a power zoom) focal length from a smartphone.
|The Wi-Fi system generates a QR code that can be read by the company's O.I.Share app, so you don't have to mess around with manually inputting passwords. Unlike NFC, this system is also compatible with most smart devices.
You don't need the app to receive images though - images that have been selected on the camera can be transferred to friends' phones using a web browser.
|Remote shooting allows for changes to exposure mode, including the ability to apply an Art Filter, and make changes to exposure settings including aperture, shutter speed, as well as change ISO, WB and exposure compensation.|
Sharing photos is done in two ways - the first option is through the app itself, where you can copy images over that have already been selected for sharing, or by selecting them within the app itself. You can also utilize a one-time connection that generates a QR code that points to images marked for sharing, which makes it easier to send images to a friend, though they'll need to have the app installed as well. Alternatively, if they manually enter the network details in their phone, they can receive the images you've marked for sharing through their phone's browser - eliminating the need for the app.
We've found Olympus's Wi-Fi features to be useful and reliable, despite some persistent quirks. The image seen on your mobile device when operating the camera via remote shooting is heavily compressed. The app still insists on asking if you want to turn the camera off every time you transfer a photo or fire the shutter in remote shooting. However, the ability to transfer images quickly over Wi-Fi is a feature we're getting used to having in a camera of this level and it's certainly appreciated here. Read more about the E-M1's similar Wi-Fi functions including GPS logging in our full E-M1 review.
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