Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III – Reviewed

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
– by AL Lee
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Image: Editor AL Lee with the New Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III. 


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Image: The NEW Oympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with the NEW M. Zuiko Digital 12-45mm F4 PRO Lens that is launched together! 

 

12th February 2020, Singapore, Worldwide – After almost 25 days of silence and rejecting rumors online, finally I can breathe and publish this announcement & review. Presenting the NEW Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III! When rumors surfaced somewhere in Nov 2019, many started asking us if this is confirmed and if this model is for real, we were excited too except that we do not have any official information back then so we did not speculate. Then in Jan 2020 when we went to collect the EM-1 Mark III, (as usual) we  signed the Non-Disclosure Agreement thus the hushed lips till this announcement!

And since I am one of the Olympus Visionary & Ambassador for Singapore, many came to bug me about the rumors, to which I gave the standard answer “This Model Don’t Exist” lol!

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Image: The NEW Oympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with the NEW M. Zuiko Digital 12-45mm F4 PRO Lens. 
And so, the 20.4  megapixel live mos sensor has a new processor aka the new TruePix IX which is capable of producing 50mp handheld hi-res photos without using tripod. The Image stabilizer had been updated too which Olympus claims now photographers can handheld to a slow speed of 7.5 stops!

The E-M1 Mark III had upped the Autofocus department with 121-points, all cross-type with On-chip Phase Detection AF sensor for focusing on almost all areas within the screen. (75% vertical coverage and 80% horizontal coverage of the screen for a wide focusing area.)

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Apart from the expected “High End” specs from Olympus’ Flagship, another interesting function that I love has to be the “Starry Sky AF+MF” function. Comes in 2 selectable priorities, it claimed to help those who are keen to shoot stars and astro-photography to which I did tested this, you can check out my image after the jump below.

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Image: The Starry Sky function can be activated on the focusing menu

 

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Slideshow below.

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Another interesting addition is the “mouse” aka all-ways scroller at the back panel. This is probably Olympus’ way to incorporate the DNA of E-M1X and E-M1 Mark II. Another interesting point to note is – the E-M1 Mark III uses the same battery grip as the E-M1 Mark II as well as the same batteries too. That should save many E-M1 Mark II users money when shifting over to E-M1 Mark III.

Apart from the scroller, the button layout are familiar to current Olympus Users and easy to use for those who had just switched to Olympus from other soul-less mirrorless brands.

 

 

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With the E-M1 Mark III,  the M. Zuiko Digital 12-45mm F4 PRO is launched too. Like Canon offering 24-70mm F2.8 & Canon 24-105mm F4,  Olympus decided that many users who do not need the F2.8 aperture may wish to get the F4 version at a friendlier price, a lighter lens with a little extra focal length. I used the 12-45mm F4 Pro for all the images in the review and I found the 12-45mm to be a really handy lens.

 

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Image: NEW M. Zuiko Digital 12-45mm F4 PRO mounted the NEW OM-D E-M1 Mark III 

 

The New M. Zuiko 12-45mm F4 Pro has the equivalent focal length of 24-90mm in full frame format. The 07 rounded apertures focuses from F4 to F22 and starts focusing from as close as 12cm! Magnification ration is 0.25x which was as expected for a zoom lens too. Inside the lens barrel, there’s 12 elements in 9 groups including 02 x HR elements, 01 x DSA element, 01 x Super HR Element, 02 x Aspherical element & 02 ED elements (That is impressive!!!!!!!) and are housed in a Dust & Splashproof design barrel and you know what? This lens weights only 254gm!

 

 

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The New 12-45mm F4 Pro len takes 58mm filter on the front and since it only weights at 254gm, super light when compared to its elder brother  the 12-40mm F2.8 PRO. What most people will find it interesting is, the new 12-45mm has a high magnification ration of x25 which allows users to do some form of macro easily without really have to use a macro lens. Although we prefer to call it “Close-Ups” shots than macro.

 

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Throughout this review, I had the New 12-45mm F4 Pro mounted on the E-M1 Mark III all the way. Though tempted to switch lens to 7-14mm or 60mm macro etc, in the end, I lazily just used the 12-45mm for the whole review. Image was sharp (as expected) with lots of details to spare, I didn’t broke my arms holding this lens for hours and it grows on me as a very competent lens for most of the things I shot during this review.

 

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OK how I started the review? I went straight for the Stars! I was so excited to try the “Starry Sky AF+MF function!!!!  This photo below is not real sadly, I cheated by layering all the stars that was captured over several frames. See the real photo after the jump!

 

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OK, here’s the real original image below. If you look carefully, you can already see many stars. But not quite obvious at first look, as this place that I was shooting has too many stray lights.
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And so i decided to crop out a section from the below. P1010016A

Apparently the Starry Sky AF+MF function works damn well and got both surrounding subjects and the stars in focus! Just that, this was a wrong place to shoot stars! If you look at the cropped out section below, there are tons of stars captured!
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After the stars, I tried out the Live Composite and Live Time modes too. These functions are now found under a new “B” mode dial.

The below image was done using the LiveTime mode, which is like a Bulb Mode but with a stimulated visual, the frame is updated via a selection of how many times you want the camera to update the visual image on your LED screen. Lastly you have to stop the shutter when you are done else you will risk over-exposing. Those who still prefers the traditional way of exposing in Bulb can continue to do so but after I tried the LiveTime which acts like a Live Bulb, I am never going back to normal bulb again.

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For this image above, do click on it and view in 100%, you will be amazed by all the details captured, and to add, the ships are floating on water, which means the image subject are expected to be blur, however, the E-M1 Mark III’s focus had locked on to the subject and the Image stabilizer kicked in to achieve this image compensating the movement both ways to have it sharp. If this had been done on a DSLR or other camera, the ship would have been blur due to the floating actions.

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Many Olympus users will be very familiar with the Live Composite mode by now, first seen & released during the E-M10 Mark III which later found its way into the rest of the models had won many fans. LiveCompo works a little differently from LiveTime if you are confused at this point, LiveCompo are more suited for shooting light trails, light painting etc. The function works by shooting a single frame as a “base” image, then when activated, the camera will retain the original exposure of the background aka the base frame and only capture new light source onto the original image – its like overlaying, similar but different. And you can never over-exposed your image since only new light source are captured.

In both modes, the E-M1 Mark III works amazingly well for night shooting, from stars to long exposure to light painting. Since most cameras works well in the day and failed terribly at night, the E-M1 Mark III certainly is a camera of the night.

The high ISO did not show up as noise on the images on the jpeg copy and I am amazed.

 

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OK, for the day shooting, what excites me is the Live ND function. This function is activated under “M” or “S” mode, go to Menu, Under Cam2 folder, select LiveND Shooting. In this mode, user can further select the ND filter up to 5 stops.

Below, you can see 02 shots that I had done with the LiveND activated with 5 stops of shades.
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I just have to get another shot of the flowing stream.
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See how I did this shot below (Tripod in water of course!)
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And here’s some other shots that I had done with the OM-D E-M1 Mark III with the New 12-45mm F4 Pro lens. I’ve included a shot of a scene that I had shot with ALL the Art Filters. A total of 30 shots (30 art filter variants)

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As a current user of E-M1 Mark II & E-M1X, the E-M1 Mark III supposedly indeed carries the DNA of both cameras and it feels like more than an upgraded version of the E-M1 Mark II with functionalities from E-M1X, it actually feels more like a new camera sitting on a class of its own.

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I was so immersed in using the E-M1 Mark III that I almost forgotten that I am on a Review assignment, you can say that I got too comfortable with it. And maybe, just maybe, I had fallen in love with it without knowing.

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Trying out the magnification of the 12-45mm F4 PRO lens.
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An excellent camera for upgraders (E-M10 & E-M5 users, I am talking about you guys!), it is also the “next best upgrade” for current E-M1 users or for those who are shifting systems from the “F” or “S” brand.
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The OM-D E-M1 Mark III sits on the flagship line of Olympus and there is no question that the camera is very capable (and smart) for almost any photography genre you can think of. As I continue my photography journey with Olympus, the E-M1 Mark III will be my next best companion after I retires the E-M1 Mark II.  (Olympus, Don’t Pretend not to see this. Thanks ya~!)

Buying the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III & the M. Zuiko 12-45mm F4 Pro
OK people, Buy your E-M1 Mark III or the 12-45mm F4 Pro from our Accredited Merchants for a peace of mind.

Renting this Lens
For those of you who wish to try out the lens before purchase, we are pleased to share that this camera & lens will be available soon for rental at our appointed rental merchant:

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Camera Rental Centre is Conveniently Located at:
50 South Bridge Road, CMO Building,  (very near to Clarke Quay MRT)
#02-18. Singapore 058682
Website: http://sg.camerarental.biz/

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Reviewer: AL Lee
Chief Editor / Visionary & Brand Ambassador for Olympus Imaging Singapore
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About Editor AL

About The Web Editor: http://about.me/shutterjourney
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