Olympus is again emphasising the size advantages of its OM-D Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera system with the launch of the third-generation E-M5 mid-range model. The E-M5 Mark III also channels the original OM-1 35mm SLR with its styling, particularly in the more accentuated “delta shape” of the EVF’s housing, but also in a reduction of its overall body size. The result is arguably the prettiest looking mirrorless camera currently on the market.

Photo: Olympus.

Despite being smaller than its predecessor, the E-M5 III is also much more capable, inheriting many features of the higher-end E-M1 II, including the 20.4 megapixels (effective) ‘Live MOS’ sensor, faster ‘TruePic VIII’ processor and hybrid 121-points autofocusing with on-sensor phase-detection AF pixels which uses all cross-type arrays. Olympus says the AF has a revised control algorithm with a noted improvement preventing the focus from unexpected jumping to the background even with mixed perspective scenes which contain both near and far subjects. Additionally, the moving subject tracking algorithm uses AF information from both the live view images and recorded images to enable more reliable tracking with both unpredictable subject movement and changes in a subject’s speed.

Continuous shooting is possible at up to 10 fps with full AF/AE adjustment. The E-M5 III also has the ‘Pro Capture’ function which operates at 30 fps with a pre-burst capability of 14 frames (recording commencing when the shutter release button is at the half-way position) when using the sensor-based shutter. There’s also a new focus bracketing function (for up to 999 frames), and Focus Stacking which combines up to eight frames in-camera. Also new is flicker detection and correction, the ‘Colour Creator’ function, the Instant Film ‘Art Filter’ effect, 4K video recording both the DCI and UHD resolutions (with a bit rate of up to 237 Mbps), Bluetooth LE connectivity to supplement the WiFi, and an increased top speed for the sensor shutter of 1/32,000 second. The FP shutter’s speed range is 60-1/8000 second with flash sync up to 1/250 second. As before, the E-M5 III doesn’t have a built-in flash, but comes bundled with a compact accessory unit (the FL-LM3). The sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 200 to 25,600 with an extension down to ISO 64.

Photo: Olympus.

The size and weight reductions have been achieved in a number of ways, including a more compact in-body image stabiliser assembly which operates over five axes and provides up to 5.5 stops of correction for camera shake (and up to 6.5 stops with certain M.Zuiko Digital PRO lenses). Sensor-shifting also provides the basis for the camera’s ‘Tripod Hi Res Capture’ mode which captures eight frames – with a half-pixel shift each time - to deliver 50 megapixels of resolution for JPEGs and 80 MP RAW files. However, you don’t get the E-M1X’s hand-held high-res shooting option.

Enhancements to the power efficiency of the circuits and components enables the use of a smaller battery pack (the BLS-50) without compromising the number of shots available per charge (quoted at 310 shots). In-camera battery charging is now available via USB. Additionally, the Mark III model has a slightly smaller viewfinder than its predecessor, but switches to an OLED-type display (rather than LCD) which gives a better dynamic range and increased contrast. It has a resolution of 2.36 megadots and a refresh rate of 60 fps. The magnesium alloy bodyshell has enhanced weather-protection sealing and insulation for shooting in sub-zero temperatures (apparently similar to that of the flagship E-M1X). As before, the monitor screen is a 7.62 cm LCD panel adjustable for both tilt and swing and has touch screen controls with the addition of an AF touchpad functionality. There’s a single memory card slot for SD format devices, and it supports UHS-II speed data transfer. A new, dedicated accessory is the ECG-5 external grip – which isn’t a battery grip, but provides a bigger handgrip (incorporating a shutter release and front input wheel) for those who prefer something more substantial to hold onto.

The OM-D E-M5 Mark III will be available in Australia from late November, priced at $1999 for the body only and $2499 when packaged with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 II zoom lens. There’s a choice of black or silver finishes. For more information visit http://www.olympus.com.au