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The Highly Anticipated Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The pro quality features standout this time around with a new TruePic IX processor, full weatherproofing, faster and more accurate AF system and lots of creative features. The Image stabilisation system has also been given a turbo boost. Now, with up to an incredible 7.5 stops of compensation with a compatible lens. With those type of compensation levels, there's now no excuse to produce well exposed and sharp images.

The Olympus E-M1 Mark III obviously comes with a huge amount of other features packed into the box. Thus, we will check out the latest and greatest assets from the camera and how it can fit into your current workflow.

Image Sensor and Processor
The Micro Four Thirds, 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS sensor has been given a speed increase with the new TruePic IX image processor, providing faster workings across the board, along with more accurate autofocusing performance. This feature has been further enhanced with a 5-axis image stabilisation system, which altogether brings ever more accurate and smooth footage. Also thrown into the mix is a 50MP(80MP equivalent) Tripod High Res Shot function and the the 50MP Handheld High Res Shot feature for producing ultra high resolution Raw or JPEG images without a tripod. Basically, 16 images are taken with slight position shifts to produce a huge 50MP image when handheld. This method also reduces noise levels by up to 2 stops of ISO sensitivity, which is perfect for night time or landscape photography.

The new processor and AF algorithm is now speedy enough to produce high resolution, hand-held shots, along with more advanced AF features such as starry sky AF and advanced face/eye priority AF.

The other benefit of this Micro Four Thirds mirrorless system is that compatible lenses can be designed with a more compact, lightweight form factor with the same optical qualities. Carting around 4 kilo lenses may be fine if you're a regular gym rat, but lighter weight gear for everybody else is a definite advantage. Simply, less weight to carry around and less stress when shooting.

Live ND is one feature that was very popular on the OM-D E-M1X, which has now been brought to the E-M1 Mark III. Live ND essentially makes longer exposures extremely easy with a built-in ND filter. This is especially useful when using a lens where filter attachments are difficult or impossible, with the characteristics easily seen in live view. Users can select the effect level from ND2(one step) to ND32(5 steps).

Lastly, in this department a SSWF (Super Sonic Wave Filter) has been included, which vibrates the image sensor filter and along with the new sensor coating, makes sure everything is kept dust free.

Body Design
Olympus have a long history of producing quality micro four thirds camera bodies and the OM-D E-M1 Mark III proves to be no different. The magnesium alloy body feels solid and rugged and the sizeable grip is large enough for a regular hand size. All the buttons and dials are logically placed and there wasn't any overreaching when viewing through the viewfinder to reach all the controls. The camera is also pretty lightweight coming in at 504g.

If you are a photographer who prefers plenty of manual controls, then the OM-D E-M1 Mark III won't disappoint in this respect. There's plenty of dials and buttons to access the most common exposure settings. A great feature if you prefer a more tactile, old school way of working. But, you still have the options to set and forget settings through the menu system, if you prefer a more semiautomatic workflow.

The rear very angle touchscreen is a great addition to not only get an ideal viewing angle, but to access all menu items, tap focus points and shoot at extremely high and low angles.

The lithium-ion battery BLH-1 can be easily recharged through an external power source via USB, with compatibility with the USB PD (USB Power Delivery) standard which allows for power to be delivered from an external power bank. This makes long shooting times possible, especially useful for studio photography and astrophotography.

Image Stabilisation
Olympus have pulled out all the stops when it comes to image stabilisation on the E-M1 Mark III. An in body, 5-axis system has been incorporated, which with compatible lenses, now provides a world-class 7.5 stops of compensation with the sync IS function. This allows for incredible lowlight performance and low shutter speeds in ever more dark locations. The system works quite happily for both stills and video and even without sync IS being engaged, up to 7 stops of shutter speed steps can be achieved. Up to 7 stops with just the in body compensation.

To put the latest stabilisation system into perspective, check out the screen grab below. A four second exposure at night, handheld with no blur! Impressive is an understatement.

New Methods of Shooting
Having a helping hand from the camera to shoot in difficult conditions is always a bonus. Olympus have integrated 'LV boost' which assists in viewing subjects via Live View in very dark scenes and features different modes depending on the subject matter. For example, 'LV boost 2 Quality Priority' mode is ideal for viewing a starlit sky.

Four individual custom modes are also available, allowing for custom camera settings to be accessed with a click of the dial. A new control panel mode shows essential settings, displayed on the rear touchscreen with a simple layout. A fantastic way to bring up the ideal settings for a given location or subject matter.

Autofocus System
The speedier workings of the new image processor has given the AF system an 18FPS continuous shooting speed with AF/AE tracking, capable of 76 Raw sequential shots(60FPS when using AF/AE lock sequential shooting) when in good lighting conditions. Accuracy of those shots is now no longer a problem with the 121 all cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF sensor, now covering 75% vertical and 80% horizontal coverage of the frame.

Autofocus points and areas can be easily moved around with the rear, multi selector while looking through the viewfinder. AF areas can also be moved around when shooting sequentially, which means fast-moving subjects can be easily tracked across the frame. There's also the option to select 'Target loop' where AF areas hard stop at the end of the frame or continue to loop around. The Af Target mode also has you covered for different subject matter, ranging from single point focus for things like landscapes, group 5 point, group 9 point, group 25 point, 121 point and small AF for accurate pinpoint focusing on small subjects.

Common subject matter such as portrait shots have been covered with the more accurate than ever face priority/eye priority AF. The faster workings of the TruePic IX processor make detecting eyes and faces more accurate, plus the improved AF algorithm can better lock onto small faces and eyes in difficult shooting scenarios, which would be very difficult to accomplish in the past. Focus points can also be selected via the rear touchscreen, which will be of great benefit for video shooters and especially vloggers.

The Starry Sky AF mode is a great way to test out how all the latest upgrades to the camera come together. Depending on the setting you choose, focusing speed and image stabilisation work together to not only provide better previews of the scene, but to also fine tune accuracy, leading to defined focus on even the tiniest of stars.

4K Video
It's really a given these days that a professional camera can also shoot high-quality 4K video. All the handheld features that apply to still images can be used with 4K video shooting, along with the full workings of the image stabilisation system. A dedicated IS mode helps with handheld video shooting, especially in the 4K format, with advanced features such as OM-Log400 for ever better high and low light definition. A View Assist function can also convert the colour gamut to full HD when viewing on a regular display.

Along with 4K formats, 120FPS high-speed movies are achievable, which have the option to be monitored or recorded through the HDMI output, with microphone and headphone jacks also included.

4K video for the E-M1 Mark III

Built-in Image Processing
If you're someone who likes to produce everything in camera, then the E-M1 Mark III has you covered. There's plenty of Art filters and styles to apply a particular look to any image. Raw and JPEG images can be processed with features such as the Clarity and Dehaze editing filters and Art filters, while there are options to correct fisheye images, keystone compensation just like a shift lens or you can opt. to use the OI.Share smartphone app. or Olympus Workspace to quickly process footage or even replace audio in a video file.

You're also not going to be short of accessories with this camera, with everything to finish off the stills and video workflow from lighting kits to to video mounts.

In many ways, we have only scratched the surface of what the E-M1 Mark III is capable of. With so many facilities packed into the box, this latest version can only be appreciated in the flesh. Visit the Park Cameras main website or pop into our store to check out this compact wonder for yourself.

If you want to check out some fantastic tutorials and how to get the best from the Mark III, then visit our YouTube page for a wonderful selection of videos.

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By Park Cameras on 12/02/2020

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