Camera Reviews

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Australian Hands-On: Don't Call It Entry-Level

Don’t call Olympus’ new entry-level OM-D camera an entry-level OM-D camera. That’s what we mustn’t say. I don’t care what the camera maker calls it: at the end of the day it’s a fantastic new OM-D.

The E-M10 is a new Micro Four-Thirds interchangeable-lens camera from Olympus that slots into the OM-D range underneath the OM-D E-M5 we fell in love with back in 2012. The E-M10 is packing a 16.1-megapixel sensor, built-in Wi-Fi, built-in flash and a built-in electronic viewfinder (finally!).

Of course you’ve still got Colour Creator for shifting hues, highlight and shadow control in-camera, aspect control of your images and magnification control for macro shooting.

Internally, it’s packing the same image sensor as the mid-range OM-D E-M5, and the same image processor as the high-end E-M1. That’s why Olympus don’t want you calling this camera “entry-level”: while this is the lower-end of the OM-D range, it’s still a premium camera backed by brilliant hardware.

The camera is more compact than any other OM-D already on the market, but still retains the comfortable dual-dial configuration on the top of the body, and it’s well balanced and decently gripped so you won’t drop it due to the smaller size.

Unlike the OM-D EM-5 and the EM-1, however, the E-M10 only packs a 3-axis image stabiliser inside the camera. It packs the gyroscope from the high-end E-M1, but doesn’t have the accelerometer.

In another limitation compared to its bigger brothers, the E-M10 isn’t weather-sealed either. So if you plan on going out into the rain, cold or dust to grab your photos, maybe think about the EM-5 instead.

The real cause for celebration is the addition of an electronic viewfinder, which has been missing for so long on Olympus cameras of late. Olympus have even gone as far to virtually eliminate the lag on the E-M10 with a fast, 120fps display.

You’ve also got a 1.04 million dot tiltatble-LCD touchscreen on the rear of the camera, an intelligent Auto mode and a few new funky shooting modes to make taking great photos something the masses are able to do rather than just the talented few.

Shooting modes like Live Composite mode for space photography. It’s similar to the Live Bulb mode we’ve seen on a range of Olympus cameras in the past in that it compiles images and gives you a live preview of the “finished” image on the touchscreen as you expose it.

Live Composite allows you to see the star trails as you capture them, and works by taking a few test images before it fires off the actual exposure. On the first test shot, the camera actually figures out what’s noise in your image and what’s detail in terms of stars for example. The second shot begins the exposure in earnest. Live Composite allows you to stack a single exposure value up to a period of three hours, and it shoots in RAW as well as JPEG! It’s meant for taking the guesswork out of the long exposure photography so you don’t waste an hour on a star trail photo that won’t work.

Sadly, all these great software features will probably only play on the E-M10 for the foreseeable future according to anecdotal reports from Olympus, meaning those who shelled out for the higher-end E-M1 will likely be left hanging. We’ll update this later if we hear about any incoming firmware updates.

Forget all the numbers, though. Here are some test images* taken at an Olympus lunch briefing (hence the dim, indoor environment):

Click to enlarge…

*Images have been resized from original resolution

It comes with the 14-42mm kit lens and body, and goes on sale in March for $999.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Also Updated

Even with all the new shiny, Olympus hasn’t forgotten about its now mid-level OM-D, the E-M5.

A new Pro Kit is about to come on the market complete with the awesome M.ZUIKO PRO 12-40mm lens for $1699.

It isn’t a ‘new’ E-M5 per se, but it’s update with a few new features like a textured powder coating on the body and updated styling, as well as a new ISO Low (ISO 100 equivalent) setting.

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