For the purpose of this review i am going to be referring to the above camera as Oly because that name is just a mouthful and too long to be typing over and over again!
If you are reading this, welcome to my first blog post on this website and thank you for taking the time to come along and see if what i'm about to write is total garbage or something you might find helpful in some way (which i hope it is).
Ok first off, this will not be a technical review where i examine sample images at 100% crop to see how sharp this camera is. There are plenty of websites that can do that for you such as www.dpreview.com or www.cameralabs.com which i highly recommend if you are into full detailed in depth reviews which these guys do very well. Me, however, sometimes like to read short, to the point reviews for the everyday person ranging from beginner to enthusiast, maybe even pro. So lets get into it.
I purchased my Oly after i sold my Nikon D7200. I know what your thinking, why did he go from an excellent 24mp Crop sensor camera to a 16mp Micro Four Thirds, simple answer: I wanted a camera that would help me shoot better video. I recently acquired a drone and have started shooting more video and putting footage together (Sean O' Riordan on youtube, cheeky plug) and i felt that the 5 Axis In body stabilisation on the Oly would drastically improve my cinematography along with 4k, flippy screen and other features (more on them later).
Looks and Form Factor:
It is well built and the magnesium alloy body with leather finish feels good. I love the look of this camera. It has that cool, vintage, retro look that will turn the heads of even those who have never held a camera in their life. Albeit it does not look that "professional" like a large heavy DSLR but that is another big advantage of the Oly, its size and weight. Now in most reviews i've read so far about this camera they rave about the weight, size and how compact this is, particularly as a travel camera and i thoroughly agree. Although I never found lugging around my DSLR that cumbersome and i travelled extensively with it so i would not put the Oly's form factor as its No1 selling point because quite frankly if you love your camera and your photography you will travel with it, be it a heavy full frame Nikon D850 powerhouse or a nifty Canon Powershot Bridge camera.
I bought the body only and purchased the Olympus Mzuiko 12-40mm F/2.8 Pro lens. I will be writing a seperate review for this lens in the coming weeks however a quick word on it- Superb. Ill leave it at that. Anyway the reason i mentioned the lens is because the following images have been shot with the oly and this lens. I am not a professional landscape photographer nor do i pretend to be however i am quite pleased with these shots and have sold them as prints to clients who are also quite pleased so thats Aces in my books. The following shots were Raw Files edited in lightroom.
I appreciate that the lens you put on the camera is really what dictates your image quality but for review purposes i felt i needed to include a few images i have shot with this camera. ISO performance is very good up to around 3200. Even at that the grain is quite pleasing as noise goes! Dynamic range is also quite good, though i have found it tends to overexpose and blow out the highlights at times so watch that however i do not see this as much of an issue because harsh daylight conditions do not make ideal shooting conditions for any camera.
Quick note on image formats: I shoot RAW all the time, essentially to get the most out of the image however with Oly i am very pleased with its JPEGs, they offer excellent colour rendition and sharpness. very handy if you need to shoot quick shot and put them into a slideshow or do quick edits which i often do on my smartphone after importing them from the camera. (Yes i discuss the cameras wifi connectivity below)
Video and Key Features:
I mentioned the video features on this camera and these are without a doubt the reason i will be holding onto this for a while. Firstly the stabilization, i can get sharp handheld shots up to shutter speeds of 1.5 and even 2 seconds (example below)
This for me is huge. No need to be fumbling with a tripod for that quick shot to get motion blur. When shooting video this is also massive as you do not have to purchase an expensive gimbal to stabilise your camera. I use other techniques such as keeping the strap tight to my body while panning a shot, or anchoring my hand on something. Combining these with the 5 Axis IBIS and you get clean, smooth, dreamy footage that looks professional and eliminates that horrid handheld shake. Oly shoots 4k. Not a massive deal breaker for me at the moment as i feel 1080p is sufficient for a lot of people yet its a nice feature to have and nice that you can capture 4k stills. It has a flip out tilt screen. It does not rotate so all you vlogger fanatics out there may need to look elsewhere but for those low angle shots i've found this screen invaluable. I never noticed how useful this type of screen would be until i bought this camera. Other nice features include like the touchscreen and electronic viewfinder are enjoyable and nice touches on a compact body.
The camera also has wifi meaning you can connect it to your smartphone using the Olympus share app and use your phone as a remote shutter, live view screen and directly import photos onto your phone for editing on a mobile platform such as lightroom CC.
Minor Gripes and Dislikes:
There is not much i don't like about this camera. If your a megapixels snob you may not like the fact it has a 16MP sensor however it does not bother me i'm not printing huge prints and so far neither have any of my clients. This sensor is plenty sharp and 16mp is enough for most peoples needs. One memory card slot- now this is something i do not like and perhaps limits this camera for professional use. Not having a second card slot where you can have a backup card incase your primary one fails can be a problem for photographers who are shooting a lot of paid and professional work. I have large hands, so handling this camera can be finicky at times, though you can purchase a handheld grip which screws into the tripod mount so no biggy. Speaking of grips, there is currently no option for a battery grip for the Oly M10 III. Again maybe a deal breaker for some? Not for me, i just carry around spare batteries. Ive found battery life quite good maybe getting 300-320 shots per charge.
Other Technical Details:
121 autofocus points which cover most of the frame
8.6fps burst shooting (not bad)
ISO expandable from 100-25,600
Advanced Photography mode (handy for star trails, focus bracketing, HDR)
AF is good however if you shoot wildlife or sports then maybe look elsewhere as the focus tracking on Oly sometimes struggles with fast moving objects. I do not shoot sports so this does not bother me but it might bother you.
Who is this camera for?
I have always found this a tough question to answer because everyone is different and i am not going to tell you go out and buy this camera however in my opinion if you are entering the photography world and want something that is compact, feature packed, unobtrusive (for street shooting) then go for this. If you have a dslr and are thinking of switching to mirrorless without breaking the bank yet still getting an excellent stills and video camera then go for this. I am aware there are other higher end options in the Mirrorless industry with Sony making huge advances in recent years but not all of us have that kind of cash.
Who is this camera not for?
Those looking to shoot solo with this camera for paid work. It could be a brilliant secondary shooter and it is what i intend using for a secondary camera alongside my D750 however the lack of dual memory card slots is a biggie. Also high iso performance is naturally not going to be as good as your crop sensor or Full Frame DSLR so astrophotographers might look to other alternatives.
Ok, i said i was going to keep it to the point, not sure if i have done that or confused you even more. I hope you enjoyed this review and if you have feel free to share it. Subscribe to my youtube channel and follow me on instagram where i post majority of my content.
I have more than likely missed some things in this review, if i have let me know but be nice- no need to get all keyboard warrior on me :-)