What's new and how it compares

The E-M5 III is essentially an E-M1 II 'lite'. It shares the same stills and video capability, though the the bigger model maintains a significantly faster burst rate with AF and a deeper, more comfortable grip.

Key takeaways

  • Uses the latest Olympus 20MP sensor and TruePic VIII processor
  • Offers a 50MP high-res mode (tripod only)
  • 121-point hybrid AF system with updated algorithms
  • A new IS system promises improved performance
  • Redesigned top plate mimics that of the E-M1 II
  • 2.36M dot OLED EVF has a long eye point for glasses wearers

New sensor, AF system and IS system

The E-M5 III shares the same 20MP Four Thirds sensor and 121-point hybrid AF system as the E-M1 II, compared to the 16MP sensor and 81-point CDAF system of its predecessor. It also inherits the E-M1 II's AF algorithms, though not the machine learning AF mode introduced on the E-M1 X. The image stabilization system has been redesigned to take up less internal space, yet should offer a 0.5 EV improvement over its predecessor, giving it a CIPA rated 5.5 stops of stabilization or 6.5 stops of when using either the M.Zuiko 300mm F4 or 12-100mm F4 Pro.

Recent Videos

In our own real-world experience, we find this claim to be pretty spot-on, but we will have a full image-stabilization test of the E-M5 III in the near future and will update the review accordingly.

Body changes

The top plate of the E-M5 III now more closely resembles that of the E-M1 II. The mode dial has been moved and can now easily be accessed with one's thumb and 'bulb' has been added to the dial. A dedicated drive mode button, ISO button and exposure compensation button have also been added to the top.

The camera's rear thumb rest has also been extended slightly, to make it more comfortable. And the rear LCD gains touchpad AF functionality, though the panel is the same. At 414g (14.6oz) with battery and card, the E-M5 II is 12% lighter than its predecessor and 28% lighter than the E-M1 II.

Updated EVF and battery

Olympus has ditched the LCD viewfinder panel in the EVF in favor of an OLED one and increased the eye point, which should make the EVF easier to see if you wear glasses. However the magnification has dropped from 0.74x on the E-M5 II to 0.68x. The battery has also changed, from the BLN-1 to the slightly more compact BLS-50. Despite that, battery life is unchanged.

A Micro USB port allows for in-camera charging (though the camera also ships with a separate charger).

Addition of 4K video

The E-M5 III inherits the same 4K video specs as the E-M1 II including stabilized full-width 4K/30p capture, as well as the wider DCI 4K with a theoretical maximum bitrate of ~237 Mbps. It also offers 1080/120p capture. But like its predecessor, there's a microphone port, but no headphone port.

Faster shooting

The top burst rate with AF is 10 fps using the e-shutter and 6 fps using the mechanical. That's nowhere near the 18 fps burst with AF offered in the sports-focused E-M1 II or E-M1 X but a major bump in speed over the E-M5 II's 5 fps burst with AF. It also offer Pro Capture at 10 fps with AF (30 fps without).

Compared to...

There are quite a few cameras that could be considered competitors, and we narrowed it down to four: the Fujifilm X-T30, Nikon Z50, Panasonic DC-G95 (G90 in many regions) and Sony a6600.

Olympus E-M5 III Fujifilm X-T30 Nikon Z50 Panasonic G95 Sony a6600
MSRP (body) $1199 $899 $859 $1199* $1398
Sensor 20MP Four Thirds 26MP APS-C 20MP APS-C 20MP Four Thirds 24MP APS-C
Image stab. In-body None None In-body In-body
AF system Hybrid Hybrid Hybrid Contrast detect Hybrid
LCD 3" fully articulating 3" tilting 3.2" tilting 3" fully articulating 3" tilting
Touchscreen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
EVF type 2.36M-dot OLED 2.36M-dot OLED 2.36M-dot OLED 2.36M-dot OLED 2.36M-dot OLED
EVF mag. 0.68x equiv. 0.62x equiv. 0.68x equiv. 0.74x equiv 0.71x equiv.
Built-in flash No** Yes Yes Yes No
Weather-sealing Yes
No Yes Yes Yes
Max burst (w/C-AF) 10 fps 20 fps 11 fps 6 fps 11 fps
Max shutter speed 1/8000 1/4000 1/4000 1/4000 1/4000
Video 4K/30p/24p 4K/30p/24p 4K/30p/24p 4K/30p/24p 4K/30p/24p
4K crop*** None None None 1.25x 1x (24p)
1.22x (30p)
Mic/headphone socket Yes / No Yes / No Yes / No Yes / Yes Yes / Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Battery life (CIPA)**** 310 shots 380 shots 320 shots 290 shots 810 shots
Dimensions 125 x 85 x 50mm 118 x 83 x 47mm 127 x 94 x 60mm 130 x 94 x 77mm 120 x 67 x 69mm
Weight (CIPA) 414 g 383 g 450 g 536 g 503 g

* Not sold body only; price reflects 12-60mm kit
** A compact external flash is included
*** Relative to 16:9 area of the sensor
**** Calculated using LCD