Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review - The Olympus OM-D E-M10 follows on from a pair of award winning OM-D models. Find out how it performs in our full review
It meets this market with certain compromises made, including the omission of the weatherproofing seen in its stablemates. The E-M10 does, however, retain the same 16MP sensor seen in the E-M5 and inherits the TruPic VII processor from the E-M1.
This is a combination which could well make the E-M10 one of the best CSCs on the market.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review – Features
One of the eye-catching features of the OM-D E-M10 is its EVF. Quite often it’s an area overlooked by manufacturers when producing a smaller CSC at this price point, but that’s not the case with the E-M10.
The viewfinder features a resolution of 1,440k-dots and is well specified, including full dioptre adjustment, 100% field of view coverage and a stated lag time of as little as 0.027 seconds.
The viewfinder is accompanied by an impressive LCD screen. The screen measures in at 3in and, with a resolution of 1,040k-dots, is certainly in keeping with its mid-range CSC peers.
Furthermore, the LCD screen features full touch technology as well as being of the vari-angle type, and as such allows for shooting at a variety of angles.
One new addition to the OM-D range arriving on the E-M10 is the presence of a built-in flash. Where previously the OM-D series had relied upon a hot-shoe to mount an optional flash, the E-M10 features a built-in unit with a 1/250 sec sync speed.
Sensor and connectivity
In terms of the camera’s sensor, the OM-D E-M10 inherits the same chip that debuted on the OM-D E-M5. The sensor is a Four Thirds unit, delivering a 16.1MP effective resolution.
The sensor is paired with Olympus’s TruePic VII image processor – the very same found on the flagship E-M1 – which delivers some impressive shooting figures including a continuous shooting speed of 8fps.
The E-M10 also features a 3-axis image stabilisation system which should help with the sharpness of images at slower shutter speeds, although it’s worth noting that this system is a touch inferior to the 5-axis system seen on the E-M1 and E-M5.
One of the main areas Olympus highlight in the promotional material for the E-M10 is that it comes with a host of functionality built-in – as seen with the addition of the built-in flash.
That’s also the case when it comes to the camera’s connectivity, as the E-M10 features built-in Wi-fi functionality. With this, photographers can control their camera remotely from either smartphone or tablet, as well as wirelessly transfer their images thanks to the Olympus OI.Share app.
The Wi-fi functionality also allows for the geotagging of images, and on the whole it’s a fairly comprehensive set of wireless functionality.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review – Design
This appearance is further enhanced by the presence of the viewfinder, as although it’s an EVF and as such doesn’t necessitate a traditional pentaprism, it still takes up that position of the top of the camera.
The rest of the camera is well designed in terms of ergonomics, with the camera’s substantial hand grip and rear textured thumb grip allowing for a secure hold over the camera, and even one handed shooting should the need arise.
Dual control dials
The E-M10, as you might expect, features a host of controls around the camera body including a pair of standard control dials on the camera’s top plate. These are accompanied by a pair of customisable ‘Fn’ buttons, with this combination delivering an intuitive shooting experience.
In terms of build quality, the E-M10 is formed from a combination of polycarbonate elements and a magnesium alloy shell, meaning that although it’s not fully weather sealed like its peers, it still has a quality feel in the hand.
The use of magnesium alloy does make the camera one of the heavier in its class, although it is small enough to mean that it isn’t exactly bulky.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review – Performance
One area where the Olympus OM-D series has done well in the past is with regards to the performance of the series’ AF system. Although the E-M10 is technically placed below the E-M5 in the OM-D line-up, the camera still benefits from an 81-segment AF set-up – a significant improvement on the 35-point system found in the E-M5.
Thanks to this substantial AF point coverage, the E-M10 delivers impressive focusing performance with a good level of accuracy, as well as impressive speed in good lighting conditions.
When shooting in darker conditions, the presence of the camera’s AF-assist beam is certainly welcome. Even though the focusing speed is slower, the E-M10 rarely has to hunt to find focus.
Furthermore, the presence of touch ‘focus and shoot’ via the rear screen delivers an even quicker and more accurate shooting experience. It allows for the precise focusing on the subject in almost any area of the frame, and as such is an especially accurate way of shooting.
Finally, there are a wide range of focus modes on hand including single AF, continuous AF, manual focus with magnification and focus peaking.
The aforementioned EVF is one of the camera’s real highlights, being inherited from the manufacturer’s more high-end E-M5. Although it’s not quite as impressive at that on the flagship E-M1, its 120fps refresh rate means that the lag is barely noticeable while the 1.15x magnification and 100% field of view are also welcome.
The EVF, perhaps most usefully, also has the ability to display exposure adjustments, colour mode options and art filter effect as they are applied.
The LCD screen, meanwhile, is an improvement on that found in the E-M5. The higher resolution and brightness adjustment range, as well as the tiltable technology, mean that the screen offers a good level of image reproduction even in bright lighting conditions.
The touchscreen technology is also particularly effect, allowing for snappy and efficient scrolling through the camera’s menu system and images captured with the camera.
In fact, the level of responsiveness is so impressive that you could fairly say it matches that of some of the best touchscreens found on high-end DSLRs.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review – Image Quality
Colour and white balance
The E-M10’s auto white balance capabilities are impressive, managing to set the correct mode almost always and displaying no real tendency to either end of the scale.
Even when shooting in settings featuring mixed lighting sources, the E-M10 managed a faithful reproduction of the scene being captured.
As a result, the general colour palette is also fairly true to life, while there is a broad range of different colour modes and filters which can be applied should you want more of an adventurous finish to your images.
The E-M10 inherits its metering system from Olympus’s PEN range – much like the OM-D E-M5.
The good news is that this metering system generally performs well – managing to judge shadows and highlights precisely and make the relevant corrections, and as such manage to not under or overexpose images.
The E-M10 also delivers in terms of dynamic range performance, managing to delivering a range almost matching the level of performance given by similarly-priced DSLRs. There is the odd time when highlights display slightly clipped detail, although that does mean that there is more detail in shadowy areas.
Resolution and Noise
In terms of the level of detail the Olympus is capable of resolving the E-M10 performs pretty well, managing a readout of around 28lpmm at the lowest extended ISO setting of ISO 100.
In terms of image noise, the in-camera noise reduction does a great job at the lower settings, right up to ISO 1600. Above this there is an impact on the rendering of fine detail, although on the whole the E-M10 is a capable performer in this regard.
Raw v JPEG
Although noise does become more apparent, more quickly in Raw files, that does mean that a greater level of detail is captured. In post production it’s a simple enough process to reduce the apparent noise.
The only real criticism in this area is that the E-M10 is a touch too aggressive when it comes to sharpening of JPEG files. Although this effect can be toned down using the shipped Olympus Viewer 3 image processing software, the performance straight out of camera is a touch disappointing.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review – Verdict
The OM-D E-M10 continues the OM-D series tradition of producing quality cameras built to last the test of time.
Although it might not be weather sealed like its stablemates, the chances are that those looking to purchase an OM-D at a lower price point won’t really miss that build feature.
The E-M10 is certainly up against some stiff competition at its price tag – which isn’t as cheap as some would have liked – including Panasonic’s impressive GX7.
While the E-M10 might not quite have the edge over its DSLR price-rivals, it features enough DSLR-esque functionality to potentially get the nod for enthusiasts ahead of the GX7.
When you consider the impressive standard of images, along with the growing OM-D system to which the E-M10 belongs, it looks more and more like a wise investment in a competitive CSC market.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Review – Sample Image Gallery
These are just a small selection of images captured with the Olympus OM-D E-M10. For a wider range of images head on over to the Olympus OM-D E-M10 review sample image gallery.
The OM-D series has become a trio with the announcement of the Olympus OM-D E-M10, which packs a high-speed electronic viewfinder, the TruePic VII image processor and ultrafast autofocus into a compact all-metal body.
We were lucky enough to get a hands on look at the OM-D E-M10, watch our first look video above and read on for Richard Sibley’s first impressions.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 combines a lot of its features from what has gone before in the series, with its 16MP Live MOS sensor and TruePic VII processor having been seen before in the OM-D E-M5 and E-M1.
The TruePic processor allows the E-M10 Fine Detail II Technology that adapts the camera’s processing to the characteristics of individual lenses and aperture settings, as well as a moiré removal feature.
Even by Micro Four Thirds standards, the E-M10 is compact. When fitted with the new M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 EZ electronic standard lens, as pictured above, the camera measures 63.9mm from the rim of the lens to the viewfinder. Its body eschews moulded plastic in favour of an all-metal build. In a first for the OM-D series, the Em-10 also sports a built in pop-up flash.
The E-M10 also comes with a 3-axis image stabilisation system, a stripped down version of the 5-axis version we saw in the E-M1 and E-M5. Olympus says the 3-axis system will counteract yaw, roll and pitch with both still images and HD movies, even in low light or when using an exposure of 1/15sec or less. The E-M10 is capable of shooting at speeds of up to 8fps.
Image: The E-M10 shown alongside an Olympus Stylus 1 for comparison
The electronic viewfinder on the E-M10 is lifted from the E-M5. The large, high-speed EVF has 1,440,000 dots of resolution and uses Adaptive Brightness Technology from the E-M1 to accurately reproduce both light and dark scenes. The Creative Control feature in the viewfinder allows users to quickly adjust composition, focus and colour and see the results practically in real time in the viewfinder.
Olympus’s FAST AF system uses 81 points over the entire image, and can also make use of Small AF Target and Super Spot AF modes to zoom in and focus accurately on specific sections of the frame.
Image: The LCD screen is the same 3in articulated screen found on other O-MDs
The E-M10 is compatible with Olympus’s family of 35 mirrorless lenses. The introduction of the E-M10 also marks that of two new lenses to the Micro Four Thirds lineup: the M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 EZ pancake lens, which at 22.5mm deep is (according to Olympus) the world’s slimmest standard zoom kit lens, and the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm 1:1.8. These two bring the Micro Four Thirds family to 15 members.
A number of accessories are also being released to complement the E-M10: the ECG-1 ergonomic grip (£54.99), the BCL-0980 9mm* Fish-Eye Body Cap lens (£89.99), the LC-37C Stylish automatic lens cap (£39.99), the C-44SF Premium padded camera case (£44.99) and the MCON-P02 macro converter for Micro Four Thirds lenses (£59.99).
Image: Michael Topham gets a first-hand look at the diminuitive O-MD E-M10
The OM-D E-M10 is available in black or silver for £529.99 body-only, and will be on sale from mid-February. Alternatively, it comes as a kit with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm, priced together at £699.99. The M.Zuiko 14-42 lens is priced at £299.99 on its own, the 25mm £369.99. Both will be available from March.
Reassuringly, the build quality of the E-M10 is of the same high standard as the other cameras in the OM-D range. In the hand it feel somewhat like a smaller version of the E-M5, however the controls are a little simpler and generally feel more pleasant to handle. It’s unfortunate that the E-M10 lacks weather sealing, and this means the E-M1 is still probably the better choice for those who like to get out in all conditions.
While the speed of the focusing is a little slower than the competition, it didn’t seem that significant in practice during the short time we had with the camera. We’ll have to see how much of a difference it makes once we subject the camera to a full test. When used with the new M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6mm EZ lens the E-M10 allows for control with a smartphone, and this system appears to be very comprehensive and should be useful for long exposure or wildlife photography.
The build quality of the E-M10 is certainly impressive – we’ll have to wait and see if the image quality measures up.