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What I really love about Olympus E-M1 Mark III (random order)

 

+ Resistance to the whims of the weather – it is so liberating not to be afraid of a tropical downpour or frost. Any unexpected changes of the weather have virtually no effect on my work – in other words, the camera can withstand everything

+ New rubber Body Coating – the camera boasts a new type of rubber coating on the body, which promises much less peeling than the E-M1 II

+ Ergonomics – the camera fits perfectly in the hand with or without the grip. Likewise, the capability to customise buttons is almost perfect for my needs

+ Customisation – the camera allows for so many variations that amaze me even after years. This makes it a completely versatile tool that can handle landscapes, animals or macros and every such theme can be enhanced by an unprecedented range of tools

+ Stabilisation – I say this over and over, I am practically addicted to Olympus stabilisation and loads of my photos would have simply never existed without it; I didn’t use to drag a tripod with me even during my long full frame era

+ Speed – naturally, I enjoy the ability to take pictures in super fast series, but that’s not the only speed I mean. The camera is extremely responsive, all controls react without delay, rotate comfortably and command responses are lightning-fast

+ C1 – C4 Buttons – I see one of the greatest benefits of the E-M1 III to the E-M1 II the ability to pre-set buttons with specific C1-C4 Modes and respond in a split second to the situation in front of you. Furthermore, the possibility to continuously update C1-C4 without accessing the Menu is priceless

+ Different buttons functions – currently, each button function can be re-assigned with one of the 37 Menu functions

+ EVF sensor – newly, the EVF sensor can be disabled when the monitor is tilted and is only turned on when it’s closed. It may be an unimportant gimmick that actually greatly improves photo composition from more complex angles. It gives you a piece of mind that even if you accidentally move your hand in front of the viewfinder or move the camera closer to your body, the LCD is not turned off

+ Live Composite Timer – the ability to set for example an hour to capture rotating stars helps achieve more accurate results without the need for continuous control

+ AF Target Mark rotation – after selecting the end AF target mark it is now possible to jump to the opposite side with one click without the need to go back again

+ Custom AF Targets – the possibility of choosing the number of AF targets available and its size is another significant shift compared to the E-M1 II. The camera responds extremely quickly to the situation in front of you, which I think is a real game changer in the Olympus autofocus capacity and I’ve loved it already on the E-M1X

+ Custom Menu – an upgrade compared to its antecedent model. Absolutely brilliant option to customise a Menu with up to 5 bookmarks of 7 items, which cannot limit anyone

+ Face/ Eye Detection – a whole new level over anything that Olympus has ever produced; a significant shift over both the E-M1 II and E-M1X. I appreciate this mainly not as an animal photographer, but as the father of two little princesses

+ Live View Boost – when activated, an unobtrusive yet easy-to-see Boost sign is displayed in the preview, which is a helpful reminder to understand why the display behaves differently than usual

 

 

Where I see the potential for improvement (random order)

 

– How are Controls Customised – although I love the possibility of assigning own roles to buttons, the mechanism itself is very inefficient. Only one item is visible at a time and if you have no idea how they are sorted (which is very likely with 37 available roles), you may need to scroll down 37 times just to see that it was possible to scroll up once. Ideally, I would see the possibility to lay the options in a grid (similar to language selection). Here the options would be in the form of an icon (which most functions already have anyway) and its title would appear in the title bar. Assigning a function would then be via a multi-selector or an arrow pad next to the “OK” button. Personally, I reckon the benefit of fast selection would be enormous

– Assigning Roles to Buttons – although there are a number of button functions, I would welcome at least two more. The Menu button moved up near the viewfinder due to a multi-selector, which I don’t mind. A friend of mine, though, who takes a completely different type of photos, complains about it. Personally, I think it would be simple enough to add the Menu option to the list of button functions and the Menu button to the programmable button list. The second thing that would significantly change my behavior in the field, would be a fast recall of the slowest time for AUTO ISO. If required, you could hold down the button, rotate the dial and select the most appropriate value. Again, it’s a minor adjustment that would take the response rate to a new level

– Exposure Bracketing order – when shooting scenes with a large dynamic range, you can vary exposure across a series of 0 / – / + shots, ie correctly exposed, underexposed and overexposed. This greatly limits the ability to track the captured gradient. Adding the options of – / 0 / + and + / 0 / – would allow me to use the automatic BKT much more often

– C-AF tracking – sometimes it works well, sometimes not so much and it is a shame. As it’s hard to predict the situation in advance, I prefer to use classic C-AF in combination with group-target focus as Center Target Priority as I described in the article. On top of this, I would be pleased, not only if the AF tracking worked better, but more importantly if it worked just as well on the eyes of animals, similarly to the Eye Detector. Perhaps, one day.

– Button-activation of C1 – C4 – if the C1-C4 options are activated via buttons, the Settings can be changed using the Supermenu after pressing the OK button. Annoyingly, the mode is canceled though as soon as you enter the Menu. The only way to re-enter the mode you need to press the assigned button or select the mode via the multi-selector

– No mechanical shutter delay in Live modes – when any Live mode is activated the camera defaults to a fixed mechanical shutter without the option to delay shutter release. Long exposures may result in blur due to the motion of the shutter. Alternatively, you can use a remote release. But the question is why worry about another external device if you can set the delay in the menu for the electronic shutter, why not here? or at least enable setting a mechanical shutter self-timer.

– Minimising the next photo after erasing – when you magnify a photo preview in a series of pictures, the preview resets itself to fit the screen when you delete the last viewed photo. It would definitely be more user friendly if erasing a picture had no effect and the next photo was at the same magnification as the previous one that I deleted.

– Focus BKT – the built-in Macro Stacking option is fabulous, but there is no real indication as to how to choose the focus shifts and number of exposures. If it were possible to activate something like Mode Guide as well as a manual setup, the built-in distance finder, activated e.g. in PreMF could be utilised (its sensitivity values would need to be higher than 1/10 of a meter). Then it would suffice to focus and confirm the closest spot coupled by the farthest one, and the camera would calculate the required number of shots and steps according to the current focal length and aperture. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

– Only 2 lenses on offer – I would be pleased if two more lenses were added to the Olympus range. The first would be 250mm/ 2.8 IS – I actually find the jump between the 40-150 and 300 lenses too big (after the conversion it’s 300, then nothing for a long time and then 600). For many situations the first one is too short, the other too long. The converter is only a temporary solution. A lens with a 500mm focal length range, 2.8 aperture, a bokeh close to F/5.6 aperture and powerful stabilisation would be an incredible hit. I can imagine that it would still exhibit very compact dimensions. Secondly, I wouldn’t mind seeing in the range a wide-angle macro lens (1:1) currently offered by Laowa for FF cameras. If I had at my disposal a camera with a lens, say 7.5mm/ 4 IS, which would have a 15mm angle of view while maintaining a 1:1 magnification and stabilisation for handheld shooting, you would probably have to carry me out of the jungle against my will … and I’d run back in again anyway

– EVF, LCD – if the camera could have a higher resolution on both displays, why not. However, unlike the above mentioned functions and lenses, it won’t guarantee better photos anyway