Olympus E-M10 Field Test
Olympus E-M10 Field Tests
Olympus E-M10 Field Test Part I
I've mentioned this in some of my earlier reviews, but I began my journey into photography as a DSLR person. I've stuck with that style of camera even after mirrorless cameras came on the market. I still put a priority on good autofocus speed, the viewfinder and the fuller handgrip over sheer portability -- not to mention the extensive lens selection that the big DSLR brands offer. However, I've recently found myself leaning toward using smaller and smaller cameras (my cameras du jour are a Canon EOS M and a Sony RX100). Slowly but surely, I've realized that bigger does not always mean better. I like having a camera with me almost all the time, and, especially if I'm out doing something active like hiking, I've found I don't want -- or need -- to haul a bunch of DSLR gear around.
So, when I heard about the Olympus E-M10, I was really excited to review it, especially after the rave reviews and excellent images I've seen coming from its two sibling OM-D cameras. Furthermore, the E-M10 looks to combine lots of features I personally want in a camera: excellent AF performance, a nice viewfinder, a comfortable grip (there's also an awesome grip accessory for an extra-secure hold) all in a small, lightweight and well-priced package.
Read more about my first impressions and hands-on experience with the E-M10.
Olympus E-M10 Field Test Part II
Sports, Wildlife and Long Exposures
I was fortunate to have all the stars fall into alignment and was able to test the E-M10 on a variety of subjects, that happen to be some of my favorites -- sports, wildlife and long exposures.
Let the games begin. I had the fantastic opportunity to photograph a local college basketball game and thought it would be the perfect chance to see how a camera like the OM-D E-M10 would handle high-speed sports photography. Traditionally, sports photography is all about the DSLR -- fast phase-detect AF, rapid-fire FPS and bright wide-aperture lenses. With the ever-improving performance of contrast-detect AF systems, plus the E-M10's 8fps burst speed and a decidedly more compact setup, I was curious to see how the new Olympus E-M10 would handle a serious sporting event.
Well, as they say, all that glitters is not gold, and with the E-M10, that's surely the case. There are good things and bad things about using the E-M10 to shoot sports, or many other fast action subjects for that matter. First, the size is great. The small E-M10 and compact Micro Four Thirds lenses are much more portable, as you already know. If you're shooting for hours on end, like at a basketball game, a smaller camera like the E-M10 is much more comfortable than a large, gripped DSLR and an f/2.8 telephoto zoom. I shot the basketball game with the E-M10 plus three Olympus fast prime lenses, and all I needed to carry was a small waist pack. No heavy, back-breaking backpack for me!
See how the E-M10 held up to the challeng of shooting action, animals and night sky.
Olympus E-M10 Field Test Part III
Video Recording, Wi-Fi and Wrap-up
It's time to wrap up the shooting of the Olympus E-M10, and to finish off this popular camera. I'll go over a few features not yet covered: video and Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as address some reader questions.
Video Recording. Unlike its Micro Four Thirds consortium "frenemy" Panasonic, Olympus really hasn't put video capabilities at the forefront of their cameras' features. Instead, they've chosen to focus primarily on still image quality and performance, and this same focus applies the E-M10 as well. However, while the E-M10's video capabilities may not pique the interest of video enthusiasts or professional videographers, the camera provides a nice, basic array of Full HD video features for the beginning videographer, or those who simply want quick, high-quality video at the press of a button.
Video recording is quite straightforward on the E-M10, with a dedicated Movie Mode for access to the complete set of movie features, and a separate movie record start/stop button offering quick access to recording in most exposure modes. Like more advanced cameras, the E-M10 has full PASM exposure controls that are changed via the slide out Live Control menu. (Note: there's no option for a Super Control Panel view in the Movie Mode, which I found a little disappointing, as I like the quick overview as well as fast access to important settings.)
Read on to hear about the E-M10's video and Wi-Fi capabilities and my final thoughts.