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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Arrives: Flagship Performance for Demanding Image Makers

- 4 years ago

With the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II now knocking on a bit in terms of modern camera lifespans, we’re over the moon to announce the all-new successor to the throne – the OM-D E-M1 Mark III.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Body only
The all-new Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Body.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark III arrives as a pro-level camera that’s been built to give users outstanding mobility. Even with the arrival of the joint-flagship OM-D E-M1X with its integrated vertical grip, this latest OM-D model boasts some really impressive specifications and features that are sure to impress even the most seasoned photographers and videographers.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III rear

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Features;

  • Compact & lightweight but rugged magnesium alloy body built for superior mobility
  • World’s best image stabilization performance with up to 7.5 EV steps of compensation
  • Olympus’ acclaimed weather-sealing ensuring dust-, splash-, & freezeproof[ness]
  • New TruePic IX image processor ensuring high-speed responsiveness and unique shooting features 
  • 20.4 MP Live MOS sensor with renowned SSWF technology and special coating for dust reduction
  • 121-point all cross-type on-chip phase-detection AF system with various AF target modes and settings
  • Multi-selector for quickly shifting AF area
  • “OM-D Movie” video features: Handheld 4K and C4K, OM-Log400, different levels of IS, 120 fps high-speed shooting in FullHD, High Res sound recording
  • 50MP Handheld High Res Shot feature & Tripod High-Res Shot for 80M high-resolution images
  • Live ND for slow shutter effects without optical filter
  • Starry Sky AF for astrophotography and advanced face/eye priority
  • Unique Live Composite mode for light painting and star trails
  • Focus Bracketing & Focus Stacking for close-up shots
  • High durability high-speed mechanical shutter rated for 400,000 operations
  • Dual SD card slot (one UHS-II compatible slot)
  • High-speed Wi-Fi image transfer to smartphones, connectivity via Bluetooth
  • USB charging and powering on the go
  • Anti-flicker shooting and flicker scan
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III top

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is truly a statement of what Micro Four Thirds cameras can be, and we believe the new camera challenges even the larger sensor rivals in the features and specs departments. Being exceptionally compact and lightweight, the overall E-M1 Mark III system [including any M.Zuiko lens] maintains superb mobility while offering high image quality and performance.

When synchronizing the in-lens image stabilisation of supported lenses with the in-body 5-axis image stabilization, the E-M1 Mark III achieves the performance of 7.5 stops of compensation with 5-axis sync IS. This level of stabilisation allows for shooting in dark situations and during super-telephoto photography without a tripod, opening up new possibilities for photographers and filmmakers. Without sync IS, the in-body image stabilisation assures image stabilisation with any Micro Four Thirds lens of up to 7.0 stops of compensation.

Along with the new image processing engine TruePic IX, a 20.4 Megapixel Live MOS sensor, and an extensive line-up of high-resolution M.Zuiko lenses, the 5-axis IS ensures minimal noise even at high-sensitivity settings and top-class image quality with minimal distortion up to the edges of the shot.

For users in need of higher resolutions, the 50MP Handheld High Res Shot feature makes it possible to capture approximately 50 Megapixel high-resolution images without using a tripod. The Tripod High Res Shot function allows for recording ultra-high-resolution [approx. 80 Megapixel equivalent] RAW and JPEG images.

Live ND, which was very popular on the OM-D E-M1X, is also included in this model. Users can select the effect level from ND2 [one step] to ND32 [5 steps], and check the slow shutter effects in the viewfinder before capturing.

Weather-sealing and acclaimed Olympus technologies ensure absolute reliability

The lithium-ion battery BLH-1 can be fully charged in as little as two hours when installed in camera and attached to a power source via USB. The E-M1 Mark III is compatible with the USB PD [USB Power Delivery] standard to run the camera with energy supply from an external power bank, making it possible to shoot for long periods of time – especially convenient for astrophotography or photography in cold environments.

With Olympus’ advanced SSWF [Super Sonic Wave Filter] technology [which vibrates the image sensor filter with an acceleration of several thousand G 30,000 times per second to powerfully shake off dust and dirt] and a new sensor coating introduced with the OM-D E-M1X, dirt cannot stick to the sensor, reducing spots in images to 1/10th of that in conventional models. The high-durability shutter unit in the E-M1 Mark III clears 400,000 operation tests and therefore offers a high level of reliability.

High-speed, high-precision autofocus capabilities with innovative Starry Sky AF and Advanced Face Priority / Eye Priority AF

The OM-D E-M1 Mark III is equipped with a 121-point all cross-type On-chip Phase Detection AF sensor for focusing on various areas of the screen. It offers 75% vertical coverage and 80% horizontal coverage of the screen for a wide focusing area. Paired with an advanced AF algorithm, this feature can continually focus on fast-moving subjects with a high degree of precision. Unlike DSLR cameras, there is no degradation in AF precision when using a fast lens. The E-M1 Mark III offers high-precision focusing that can sufficiently bring out the capabilities even of large-diameter lenses such as those with a maximum aperture of f1.2. AF/AE tracking is possible at maximum 18 fps high-speed sequential shooting while maintaining the full pixel count of 20.4 Megapixels. The subject can also be checked in the viewfinder during high-speed sequential shooting for accurate tracking.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with 12-45mm, PRO.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III with 12-45mm, PRO.

A multi-selector [as introduced with the E-M1X] makes it possible to quickly shift AF areas with your thumb while looking through the viewfinder. Because users can move the AF areas with the multi-selector during sequential shooting, it is possible to accurately focus even on subjects that move erratically, as e.g. often found in wildlife photography. The AF target loop setting is also added, which, based on user selection, either stops the AF target at the edge of the screen or moves it to the opposite edge.

Face / Eye Priority AF, which automatically detects and focuses on people’s faces and eyes, is now more advanced. The new image processor TruePic IX features higher processing capabilities and improved AF algorithms to better detect small faces and eyes, whilst keeping stable focusing on a subject even in situations where face detection was difficult in the past [such as e.g. focusing on the sides of faces]. It is now also possible to use either the buttons or touch operations to select faces when shooting still images or videos, and detection on or off can be changed with the touch of a single button. Along with versatile video functions, this feature makes the E-M1 Mark III a great tool for vloggers.

Starry Sky AF, which is new for the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, is a feature that will revolutionize the world of astrophotography. In the past, photographers have traditionally relied on manual focusing. A new algorithm was developed to enable accurate focusing even on the tiniest stars shining in the night sky, enabling ultra-high-precision autofocusing. One of two modes in Starry Sky AF is the Speed Priority mode [default setting], which prioritizes focusing speed and complete AF operations in a short period of time. Thanks to the powerful image stabilization, this feature makes handheld astrophotography possible using a wide-angle lens. The second mode Accuracy Priority uses a fine-tuned focus scan and is effective for shooting specific stars with telephoto lenses.

Equipped with versatile shooting features such as Pro Capture and handheld 4K video fueling your creativity

Pro Capture mode makes it possible to capture scenes that are difficult to time for the photographer, such as a bird taking flight. Pro Capture starts shooting the moment the shutter release button is pressed down halfway, with a buffer that can be set to capture up to 35 frames in RAW / full resolution. The moment the button is pressed down fully, the frames are available to select from retroactively on top of the images recorded while pressing the button.

The OM-D E-M1 Mark III is equipped with Live Composite, which overlaps multiple shots recorded at the same shutter speed and composites only the sections that are brighter for capturing light trails. This feature helps prevent the common phenomenon of images that are too bright when shooting long exposures. Users can check the progress of light trails in real-time using Live View. With B mode added to the shooting mode dial, Live Composite, Live Bulb, and Live Time are now easier to access and configure.

The E-M1 Mark III features an IS mode specifically designed for video recording. Electronic stabilization combined with in-body 5-axis stabilization delivers powerful image stabilization particularly useful for videographers. This provides a high level of performance for handheld video content creation without using a tripod or other stabilizing device, even when shooting in high-resolution formats, which are susceptible to the effects of camera shake, such as 4K or Cinema 4K [C4K].

This model supports OM-Log400 shooting, which enables shooting without loss of details in shadows and highlights, along with colour grading for a high degree of freedom over images. In order to make Live View images more visible, a View Assist function is available, which converts the colour gamut to Full HD standard BT.709 equivalent for display.

To see the Olympus E-M1 Mark III in action, check out our video below where we teamed up with Gavin Hoey, an Olympus Ambassador to take us through some of the features of this great new camera. Don’t forget to like and subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss our in-depth review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, which will follow shortly.

Pricing and Availability

The OM-D E-M1 Mark III will be available late February 2020 in black and as body only. That will come in at £1,599.99 [RRP], and in different kit versions with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens at £2,199.99 [RRP] or with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100 F4.0 IS PRO lens at £2,499.99 [RRP].

Benefit from a pre-order offer whereby all orders placed by 29 February 2020 will be elible for a free copy of Capture One Pro 20, [while stocks last]. Visit for further details. 

About the author

Read Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III Arrives: Flagship Performance for Demanding Image Makers

Simon Skinner

Co-founder // Editor

Having spent many years working in various pockets of the music industry, and always with a camera in hand, Simon has worked with organisations such as Warner/Chappell, Food Records and ultimately, co-founding the innovative independent record label, Izumi Records before moving fully into the world of publishing in 2007. Amongst numerous other projects in the last decade, he has been responsible for a number of specialist photo trade magazines and journals for the filmmaking and photography communities, along with a coffee table book entitled, "Great Britons of Photography' which he produced with Peter Dench and Leica. Now heading up PhotoBite, Simon and the team have set themselves a task of delivering informative and inspirational content for photographers of all levels, from the beginner, shooting with smartphones, to the seasoned photographer and filmmaker.