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Olympus E-M1 III Review: Fast, But Way Behind Flagship Camera Rivals


March. 11, 2020

Amid the excitement of so many new and interesting camera models, one company has been left out of the discussion: Olympus. Unlike its main rival, Panasonic, it has stuck to the Micro Four Thirds sensor and not jumped on the full-frame bandwagon. And while it released the larger, more professionally oriented E-M1X camera, it didn't represent a major upgrade on the 2016 E-M1 Mark II model.
Now, Olympus finally has a genuine successor. Like the E-M1X, the E-M1 Mark III promises even more speed and top-notch in-body stabilization, this time all packed into a much smaller and even more rugged body.
Disappointingly, though, it has the same 20.4-megapixel sensor as before, and for an $1,800 camera, it's lagging behind rivals from Sony, Panasonic and Fujifilm in certain features. On top of that, Olympus has had a tough time financially of late. I'm in Costa Rica with the E-M1 Mark III, and I'm going to find out if Olympus is doing enough to survive.
Excellent image stabilization
Fast shooting speeds
Compact weather-proof body
Flip-out screen
Accurate colors
Mediocre low-light capability
Autofocus can’t keep up to shooting speeds
Sub-par video features
Dated sensor
Olympus’ latest flagship camera, the O-MD E-M1 Mark III isn’t particularly exciting. It is a bit faster than the last model, and has improved and more versatile autofocus. It also features a class-leading 5-axis image stabilization system that makes handheld photography better. However, the autofocus system doesn’t hold up to rivals, especially Sony, and it’s not great for low-light shooting. It also falls short of similarly-priced rivals like the Panasonic GH5 when it comes to video. While it’s great for wildlife and action photography, for everyone else, there are better cameras out there.
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