Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review
The E-M10 offers a top video resolution of 1920 x 1080 at 30p, recording in the .mov or .avi format with H.264 compression. With a dedicated video record button, movie recording can begin in any of the PASM modes or a dedicated video mode accessed via the mode dial. It also allows for still image capture while recording video, and in standard exposure modes up to 5 fps burst shooting is available (5.7MP still image).
|Filetype||• MOV (AVC H.264)
1920 x 1080 (30p), 24 Mb/s
1920 x 1080 (30p), 17 Mb/s
1280 x 720 (30p), 13 Mb/s
1280 x 720 (30p), 10 Mb/s
• Motion JPEG
1280 x 720 (30p), 30 Mb/s
640 x 480 (30p), 17 MB/s
|Audio||Stereo, Linear PCM 48kHz|
The E-M10 offers a built-in stereo microphone adjustable by ten levels but, lacking an accessory port or microphone input, isn't able to accept an external microphone. The camera's tilting screen is a video-friendly feature, making it easier to hold the camera steady and keep your subject in frame. The touch screen is also useful for pulling focus from one subject to another.
|A video record button on the top panel makes it possible to begin video recording from stills shooting modes as well as the dedicated video mode.|
On the software side, the E-M10 provides the ability to record video with Art Filters applied, and offers a number of video effects including Multi Echo, One Shot Echo, Art Fade and Movie Tele-Converter, the latter of which enlarges an area of the frame to full size.
One of the primary differences between the E-M10 and E-M5 is that this camera offers a pared-down image stabilization system, operating on 3 axes rather than the E-M5's '5-axis' stabilization. In movie recording with IS enabled, the E-M10 uses a combination of this 3-axis sensor-shift system and digital image stabilization.
When initiated from stills shooting modes, movies are always shot in Program mode, with the camera setting aperture, shutter speed and ISO with no user input. Focus is also switched to whichever focus mode was last used when shooting in Movie mode. Manual exposure settings are available in the dedicated video mode, though shutter speed, aperture and ISO can't be adjusted while recording is in progress.
A flip-out screen lends itself well to video capture, whether handholding or working with a tripod. In dedicated video mode, the Fn2 button controls the Movie Tele-Converter function. On the first press it displays a green box highlighting the area of the frame to enlarged - this box can be moved by using the four-way controls or the touch screen. The second press engages the teleconverter, and a third press returns it to standard view. The Fn1 button takes on the role of performing an AF acquisition, regardless of what focus mode you're in, or how you've configured the Fn1 button for stills shooting.
The 14-42mm kit power zoom is very quiet, with a faint reeling sound that's only picked up by the camera's microphone in very quiet situations, making it a good candidate for video shooters. However, zooming to full telephoto from wide angle causes a slight shake in the image as it zooms and once it reaches its maximum focal length, regardless of whether stabilization is enabled. Manual focus is available in video, but focus peaking can't be used while recording.
Video quality won't disappoint someone looking to record casual clips here and there, but anyone looking for top notch video resolution may be let down as sharpness is lacking and details are somewhat soft. Some moiré cropped up in our video clips - not an alarming amount, but often enough that it was noticed.
Critical quality aside, the camera isn't short on art effects that can be applied to video clips, and that may be all that this camera's target audience really needs. Movie Tele-Converter predictably exposes a good deal of noise, and the resulting image is quite soft.
As the widget above shows, turning IS on slightly lowers resolution, and is slightly more prone to showing moiré, but the difference isn't drastic compared to clips with IS off - meaning you can probably inter-cut between footage shot with IS on and off, if needed., however, does significantly lower resolution, suggesting that it's cropping and upsampling. Panasonic employs a much more clever 'Extra Tele Converter' feature that goes the extra step of reading a 1920 x 1080 crop from the center of the frame, giving much more detailed results. We'd recommend avoiding Movie Tele-Converter altogether.
This sample shows a good level of detail in the duck feathers, and a nice overall exposure balancing the highlights and shadows as our feathered friends move around the frame. The rippling water has a somewhat shimmery, noisy quality, but overall the clip shows the E-M10 doing about as well as it does in terms of video capture.
|1920x1080 30p, 17 sec, 57.9 MB Click here to download original file|
This clip shows the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ power zoom's jittering as it's zoomed from wide to telephoto. Midway and at the extreme ends of the focal range there's some noticeable shaking, even though the camera is mounted steadily on a tripod. There's also a moment at the long and wide zoom points where the camera, in C-AF mode, re-acquires focus.
|1920x1080 30p, 15 sec, 50.4 MB Click here to download original file|
The E-M10's touch screen is useful for pulling focus from one subject to another. Again using the 14-42mm power zoom, the transition is smooth and quick. There's some slight overshoot and adjustment as the camera locks focus on its new subject, but it's not jarring. For the casual video shooter, which the E-M10 owner is likely to be, touch focus will be adequate.
|1920x1080 30p, 17 sec, 57.8 MB Click here to download original file|
This last sample demonstrates the Movie Tele-Converter feature. The zoomed image is quite soft and noisy, but it would be acceptable for casual use in a pinch. Like the 'Echo' effects, it's only available when shooting from the dedicated video mode rather than a stills exposure mode.
|1920x1080 30p, 31 sec, 68.8 MB Click here to download original file|
Like the E-M5, the E-M10 offers effective image stabilization for video recording. It neutralizes much of the jerky movements associated with handheld video shooting. If for some reason you were to walk toward your subject zoomed to full telephoto, not by any means advisable, you'd get somewhat usable footage with Movie IS turned on and nausea-inducing footage with IS turned off. See for yourself.
|1920x1080 30p, 8 sec, 27.4 MB Click here to download original file|
|1920x1080 30p, 9 sec, 27 MB Click here to download original file|
Despite its effectiveness at reducing shake, IS does seem to expose (and exaggerate) another problem - rolling shutter. In the clip above with IS On, the straight lines in the fencing appear to wobble a bit unnaturally. Enabling IS also changes the crop, giving a slightly narrower angle of view.
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