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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III


  • announced Feb 2020
  • similar to mark II but some of the E-M1X improvements and some extras:
    • IBIS now 7EV and 7.5EV in Dual IS
    • hand held HiRes mode, Live ND filter effect mode
    • improved custom dial mode functionality, My Menu, new rear toggle, USB-C charging
    • improved shutter life and weathersealing now has an official rating.
  • perhaps disappointingly, video specs have not changed and is limited to 4K 24/30p; 1080HD to 60p, so there is no 120p slo-mo, EVF is not as high resolution as its peers, subject C-AF tracking not as good as the Sony peers, and 2nd SD card slot still only UHS-I not UHS-II
  • does not get the E-M1X's Intelligent Subject Detection AF algorithm for tracking defined subjects such as trains, cars, motorbikes nor some of the features of its larger body size such as built-in Field Sensor System.
  • does get a couple of features the E-M1X didn't get:
    • further improved eye AF tracking
    • new status display on LCD or EVF
    • improved custom dial mode functionality - 4 custom settings on the dial, and can set it to automatically save current settings when move away from a custom setting which makes for rapid custom setting management
    • ability to turn off EVF switching when LCD screen is articulated outwards
  • no other camera other than the E-M1X offers a comparable combination of excellent IS, video AF performance, shutter life, weather sealing, usable high-res mode and shooting rate.


  • the same basic features as the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark II:
    • 20mp sensor with 121 cross-type PDAF points covering 75% vertical and 80% horizontal
    • mechanical burst still up to 10fps with AF and 15fps fixed focus
    • electronic shutter mode still 18fps with AF and 60fps fixed focus
    • Pro-Capture mode
    • shutter to 1/8000th sec mechanical and 1/32,000th sec electronic
    • Live Composite night mode
    • 2.36M-dot LCD viewfinder able to work at up to 120 fps
    • 3“ 1.04mdot fully articulating rear touch screen
    • excellent rolling shutter thanks to a fast sensor readout
    • excellent video image stabilisation and C-AF
    • UHD 4K/30p video and DCI 24p at up to 237Mbps
  • plus some features of the Olympus OMD E-M1X pro sports camera:
    • 7EV IBIS (7.5EV Dual IBIS) - the best of any current camera but matching the 1X!
    • the new sensor coating and 30,000Hz SSWF shake system which further reduces sensor dust issues
    • hand held 50mp HiRes mode with options for 25mp/50mp JPEG outputs
    • tripod 80mp HiRes mode with options for 25mp/50mp/80mp JPEG outputs
    • Live ND filter effect mode
    • Anti-flicker shooting
    • 1080HD video up to 120p
    • higher rated shutter mechanism now at 400,000 actuations
    • customizable 'My Menu' tab - allows up to 35 menu items to be stored
    • 8 way joystick controller
    • USB-C port with in-camera battery charging (USB PD USB Power Delivery standard)
    • extensive, IPX1-rated weather sealing
  • plus some new features:
    • new TruePic IX processor brings improved face/eye AF (new face and eye AF algorithm) and Starry Sky AF mode (2 modes: Tripod Accuracy Priority, which takes around 10 seconds, and Hand holdable Speed Priority, which takes 2-3 seconds)
    • Face Selection mode with a few options to allow you to select a face amongst a number of faces
    • new panel option
  • thankfully retains much user backward compatibility with the E-MII:
    • similar user interface and ergonomics EXCEPT:
      • MENU button re-located to top left
      • INFO button re-located to bottom right where the menu button was, to make room for the toggle
      • Fn1 button is now labelled ISO
      • Fn2 button is now labelled as exposure compensation
      • PASM dial has 4 custom modes instead of 3, plus a Bulb setting but sensibly no longer has iAUTO or ART filter.
    • same BLH-1 battery (also used in the E-M1X which is very handy if you have that camera as well)
    • same HLD-9 optional accessory grip but of course it doesn't have the new toggle
  • 580g
  • 420 shot CIPA battery life
  • $US1799

Firmware updates

  • Nov 2020 adds:
    • 12bit RAW video
    • 'Focus Indicator Display' mode that provides a focus guide, based on phase-detection distance information, when manually focusing
    • improved image stabilization performance while shooting video especially during panning
    • focus-stacking mode with the new 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens


Comparison with the Sony a7RIV

  • the Sony a7R IV would seem a crazy camera to compare with the E-M1III, but given the two cameras are very similarly sized and potentially both could be used for travel as well as as many other purposes, I thought it would be interesting to look at the pros and cons of each in direct comparison

pros of the E-M1 III

  • almost half the price
  • image size is a much more usable and workable 20mp for most scenarios
    • the Sony MUST be shot at 61mp when in full frame mode which results in gigantic file sizes which become far larger when post-processing into TIFFs or PSD or similar files to the point that post-processing becomes a chore even on reasonably powerful laptops with 16Gb RAM. Of course, you could re-size these to 20mp TIFFs but these are far larger than 20mp Olympus RAW files as they are 16bit vs 12bit.
  • IBIS is significantly better
  • weathersealing is almost certainly much more reliable
  • rear screen is fully articulating rather than tilt only and is far more functional
  • 2×2 switch allows more rapid access to different settings
  • telephoto lenses are shorter for the same telephoto reach
  • HiRes mode is far more useful:
    • 50mp high resolution is probably all that anyone really needs
    • HiRes mode can be done hand held
    • tripod HiRes mode further improves image quality
    • Olympus HiRes will have far less moire than the Sony 61mp normal mode so will be of more benefit in fashion or product photography in particular
  • faster sensor readout and less rolling shutter which allows:
    • better video quality
    • a usable silent electronic shutter mode and burst rates of 18fps with AF and 60fps without AF
      • the Sony is stuck with 10fps mechanical if using 12bit compressed RAW, or 6fps mechanical if uncompressed 14bit RAW and neither are silent
      • silent electronic shutter to 1/32,000th sec
  • better sensor dust mechanism
    • Olympus invented this technology and although the Sony has a version of it, the Sony's are renown for collecting dust every time you change the lens.
  • a better PASM dial
    • the Sony dial's locking feature should have been the same as the Olympus dial and Sony's exposure compensation dial instead, it is a 3 finger job to press down and rotate dial.
  • two extra buttons on front of camera
  • Pro-Capture mode
  • Focus bracketing and in-camera Focus Stacking modes
  • night Live Composite mode and Live BULB, Live Time modes
  • EYE AF allows selection of closest eye as an option
  • in camera focus range limiter that works on any MFT lens
  • Starry Sky AF mode
  • marginally better menu system
  • able to save RAW+jpeg to one card and only RAW to another card
    • the Sony only allows RAW to one card and jpeg to the other card
  • easier switching of cards in playback
  • it is more fun to use and to post-process

pros of the Sony a7RIV

  • full frame sensor which offers:
    • better high ISO noise performance
    • more options for super shallow depth of field (DOF)
    • marginally more dynamic range and color depth (although Olympus has more accurate colour science)
  • 61mp single shot high resolution images for those who need this resolution - of limited benefit if just posting on the web, and of limited benefit even for printing.
  • 24mp APS-C mode - but this requires their best lenses to deliver the 24mp resolution
  • mega sized HiRes mode - but this may not be very useful for anyone.
  • more PDAF points with better coverage (especially in APS-C mode)
  • more reliable AF subject tracking and probably more reliable face/Eye AF tracking
  • animal eye AF (albeit only works with a few animals such as dogs and cats)
  • much higher resolution EVF
  • both SD card slots are UHS-II
photo/olympusomdem1iii.txt · Last modified: 2022/02/20 10:41 by gary1

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