Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Sample Photos & Hands-On Review

We've been capturing images with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III to find out how this latest Micro Four Thirds camera with a new image processor, improved speed and 20MP sensor performs.

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Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

The third version of Olympus' E-M1, the E-M1 Mark III model in this range is designed to be the go-to camera for professional and enthusiast photographers, offering the high-speed shooting, and focusing system from the E-M1X, but without the built-in battery grip, the camera has improved image stabilisation for impressive handheld shots, including hand-held high-res shots.

Pricing & Availability: The E-M1 III will be available from late February priced at £1599 body only.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Features

At the core of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a 20mp Four Thirds CMOS sensor, and the camera comes with a new TruePix IX image processor for improved speed, as well as the latest updates and features from the flagship E-M1X. Plus, the camera offers other professional-level technology such as superior image stabilisation. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is like a mini Olympus OM-D EM1X - with the same IS system and shutter as the E-M1X, plus Live ND and a handheld high-res mode!

Improvements over the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II:

  • 7.5 stops is possible (1 stop improvement)
  • Handheld High-Res Multi-Shot mode (50mp), needed a tripod on Mark II
  • Live ND filter (up to ND32)
  • Multi-selector / Joystick added
  • Added ISO button
  • Updated AF system (see below)
  • New super control panel (simplified, can toggle between new and standard)
  • Joystick / multi-selector added - great for moving autofocus area
  • Updated video recording with OM-Log400 added
  • ProCapture update: up to 35 frames retroactively (35 before, 120 shots after), in both raw and jpeg with no frame blackout (was 14 on E-M1 II).
  • B added to mode dial - live composite, live bulb, live time, shutter open for 6 hours!
  • Focus stacking, focus bracketing - quicker, more accurate
  • New shutter unit, with a 400,000 shot rating (compared to 200,000 on the Mark II)
  • 580g with battery, 134.1x90.9x68.9mm


Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

As part of the Micro Four Thirds system, the camera has access to a wide range of lenses, however, Olympus has introduced a new 12-45mm f/4 PRO weather sealed lens with the camera, which is slightly more compact than the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens, making it a great compact option for travel.

There are two SD card slots, with the top slot being UHS-II. The bottom slot is UHS-I. According to Olympus, in order for the bottom slot to also be UHS-II, then they would have needed to redesign/alter the body, as it would have required a larger body.


Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

AF System has been updated - The camera continues to have 121 phase-detection all-cross type AF points. There are additional group options with 25 group, 9 group AF point target modes added (same as E-M1X), and you can set up Custom AF target modes - this can make focus up to 30% quicker. You’ll also find single, group 5-point, and 121-point AF options are still available, as well as the option to choose the size of the AF point/area.

Advanced face priority benefits from the new image processor, with better AF algorithms that can better detect small faces and eyes, as well as keeping stable focus on a subject even when they turn away from the camera. The improved AF algorithm with TruePic IX improves tracking performance as well.

A new Starry Sky focus mode has been added, previously you would have had to use manual focus.

The E-M1 Mark III remains compatible with the same battery grip as the E-M1 Mark II, the HLD-9.


Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

Video: CINE-4K / 4K UHD video recording is possible, and a new OM-Log400 colour profile has been added for a flat colour profile for later grading. Auto ISO has been added. You can record FullHD video at 120fps.

Further improvements have been made for video, with additional AF options added, so that you can choose the AF point, with options for single-point AF, all 121 AF points, with group 9 or 25 points also available.

There’s HDMI out, and Olympus says the camera pairs well with their high-res sound recorders (such as the Olympus LS-P4). A View Assist function has been added, which converts the colour gamut to FullHD / BT.709 equivalent for display.


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III - 4K Handheld Video Sample 


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Sample Video - Mist In Kew Gardens Greenhouse Shot Handheld


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Key Features: 

  • 20.4mp "Live MOS" (CMOS) sensor
  • 5-axis In-Body Image Stabilisation (same as E-M1X)
  • Up to 7.0stops (body), or up to 7.5 stops with Sync IS
  • 121 point all cross-type on-chip phase-detection AF sensor
  • Starry Sky AF added, Advanced face priority - improved AF algorithm with TruePic IX - tracking performance improved
  • 50mp handheld High-Res Shot using 16 images
  • 80mp tripod High-Res shots
  • Live ND filter up to ND32
  • 18fps with C-AF/AE tracking
  • 60fps with fixed AF/AE - using the electronic shutter
  • Pro-Capture - extended buffer
  • 400,000 shot shutter rating
  • New super control panel (simplified, can toggle between new and standard)
  • SSWF supersonic wave filter dust reduction – new coating, better coating than em1x
  • CINE-4K / 4K UHD video recording, OM-Log400
  • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy camera body (IPX1 tested)
  • USB charging/power (use while connected to USB)
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II top)


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Handling 

Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

With a camera body that is very similar to the E-M1 Mark II, we found the camera comfortable to hold, with a large grip, and plenty of rubber texture. We also welcome the new joystick, which makes it easier to adjust the focus point. We’re also a big fan of dedicated buttons for ISO and exposure compensation on the camera, making it quick and easy to change these when needed. The body is made of magnesium alloy and is weather-sealed making it suitable for all weather conditions.


Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

The mode dial has been updated to give an additional custom mode so that there are now 4 different custom modes on the dial (compared to 3 on the Mark II). However, the Art filters and "Auto" mode have been removed from the mode dial. The Art filters can still be accessed, just not on the mode dial, instead, you can select them as colour options.

The camera features an updated "Control panel" display, with a new simpler control panel display. The Super Control Panel is a great way to change settings, however, as there are so many options, it’s possible that it may have distracted you from the core camera settings, so Olympus has introduced a new simpler display.


Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III

Unfortunately, the main setup menus are still very long and lack the colour coding of previous models. The camera features a "My Menu" section where you can add your favourite settings so that you’ve got quick access to these. There’s a good level of customisation available, with the camera letting you customise buttons to give quicker access to settings.


Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III
Olympus OMD EM1 Mark III - New simpler rear display.

The electronic viewfinder (EVF) remains the same as the Mark II, with a 2.36m dot resolution, and 0.74x magnification. The screen on the camera is also the same and is a vari-angle 3.0inch touch-screen with 1037K dot resolution. Despite these not being as high-resolution as other new cameras, the colour reproduction looks excellent.


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Sample Photos


Shooting with the camera - Focus felt rapid, and snappy, letting us quickly grab shots. We used the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO lens and were impressed by the close focusing capabilities of this lens. We were also impressed that we were able to use the handheld high-res mode, and got sharp detailed 50mp images (the majority of the time). We were also able to use the Live ND feature, to take a slow shutter speed photo of the waterfall, at 1/2second exposure (handheld).


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III ISO test images


We'll bring you more details on how the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III performs once we've put the Micro Four Thirds camera through a full review. A new Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens has also been announced but, as of yet, we haven't had the chance to put it through its paces. We do have a full news item on the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 PRO lens, though, which has a 24-90mm 35mm equiv. focal length, is dust/splashproof and offers 0.5x magnification with 1.2cm closest focusing. The lens weighs 254g and measures 70mm x 63.4mm. 


Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Hands-On Photos of Equipment

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12 Feb 2020 1:29PM
Sounds good and the price seems "affordable" but is it as complicated to use as the M1 mkII ?

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RamblinSam 6 31 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2020 4:06PM
My only grumble is that the On/Off switch position hasn't been changed to a more ergonomically satisfactory position, such as where it was located on the original E-1, (On the R/hand side next to the user's thumb, behind the shutter release) or the L/hand side overhanging the back of the body, where it's positioned on the E-1MX. The E-1 's position is (in my opinion) the better location of these two, as it's great for those 'on the spur of the moment' one-handed grab shots,
ArtyArt 8 338 2 United Kingdom
12 Feb 2020 5:08PM
How many images does it combine in creating a 50mp image, only in the hi -res version of the house you can see movement in the man at the door and the ducks on the water?
MrDennis 10 271 Wales
12 Feb 2020 9:58PM
I'll stick with my OM1 Mk2 for now.
mbike999 New Member
23 Feb 2020 2:23AM
@ RamblinSam, you can set the custom function lever to turn the camera on/off. Problem solved.

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