Everything You Want to Know About the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Camera
I've done a tremendous deal of research on mirrorless cameras over the last several weeks. This has proven quite helpful in not only understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the system, but also which specific body to purchase. While I already own two DSLRs including a full frame Canon 6D, I wanted a lightweight option that could be with me at all times. I've long hoped for a camera with the functionality of a DSLR, and the convenience and connectivity of an iPhone. With the Olympus OMD E-M10, I believe that is now a reality.
Before getting into the specifics of this camera, I thought it might be helpful to start with an overview of the technology. If you're wondering what advantages mirrorless cameras offer, this video is for you. It's called "Migration to Mirrorless Digital Cameras".
My search for information then led me to this informative video from Tony Northrup. He's a photographer rather than a paid spokesperson, so the info is clearly legit with a focus on features that really matter. At 20 minutes, it's a bit long, but I appreciated the thorough review. Check that out here.
Anytime I'm considering a gear purchase, I trust the incredibly detailed reports from DPReview. They're team of experts has put nearly every camera on the market through it's paces, and offer a no-nonsense breakdown of the pros and cons. Amazing, the OMD E-M10 has most of the technology in the more expensive E-M5 model. The big differences were: 1) no weather sealing 2) 3 axis Image Stabilization as opposed to the 5 axis system. Since I rarely shoot in the rain, and don't use IS, these had little to do with the decision. In fact, the M-10 actually received some great new features such as built in wifi. The reviewers gave it their gold award stating, "The E-M10 offers almost everything the E-M5 did, plus a bit more, at a much lower starting price." Read the whole thing here.
The heartbeat of a digital camera is largely controled by the processor. With the TruePic VII Image Processor, the E-M10 has the same technology as the flagship model, the OM-D E-M1. It also has a similar sensor at 16.1 megapixels. A a result, the top of the line E-M1 barely beats out the E-M10. A closer look will also reveal better noise levels at higher ISOs. Granted, there are other differences between the two models, but where it counts most in image quality, the two are essentially a draw.
My Top 10 List of Features
Besides the Olympus lineup, there are so many models to choose from including Sony, Fuji, and recent models from Canon and Nikon. Of course the best fit ultimately depends on your specific needs. In addition to great image quality, these were the top 10 features that made a difference to me.
1) Dedicated buttons for adjusting the aperture, shutter, ISO and White Balance. Some camera sacrifices this to make the body smaller, forcing users to dig into the menu. For the type of photography I do, the ability to quickly change settings is a must. You can actually customize the purpose of every button and dial on the camera.
2) Small and light - see the size difference compared to a DSLR above.
3) Built in wifi that's easy to set up with a QR code. Definitely one of the best implementations of wifi I've seen on a camera. You have to get the free Olympus app to get it started.
4) Multiple exposure mode. These types of options make photography fun with all kinds of creative ways to use it. Let your imagination guide the way.
5) Amazing time lapse feature. I remember how involved my first time lapse efforts were. You had to have a special QuickTime Pro account, and a specific remote control, etc. Now, this camera actually assembles a finished time lapse movie ready for viewing.
6) Live bulb mode for very long night time exposures. This is vastly different and much more useful than a DSLRs bulb mode as you can watch the picture get developed in real time! To understand how this works, here's a great example.
7) High ISO capability up to 25,600. While ISOs this high used to be a novelty, I consistently find myself in situations where it's necessary. While the noise does get more noticeable over 1600, it's very easy to clean this up with one adjustment in Lightroom.
8) Adjustable lcd screen for working in awkward angles. The best views are often on the ground. By tilting the screen you can see what you're doing without contorting your body and neck in a painful position.
9) Quick autofocus - according to Adorama "The autofocus system is said to be Olympus's fastest ever, based on 81 target areas that cover the entire frame." You can even use the touch screen to achieve focus on your subject.
10) A great family of lenses to choose from. The micro 4/3rds format has a huge selection of lenses from Panasonic, Olympus, and more. I started with the Olympus 17mm f2.8 which is a sweet pancake lens with a nice wide aperture. More lens options here.
Over the next few days and weeks I'll be sharing images captured with the camera. Check back for more here and on Facebook.