Olympus E-M10 III Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Olympus E-M10 III's image quality at various ISOs to that of its predecessor, the E-M10 Mark II, as well as against several competing models at similar price points or in similar categories: the Canon M6, Fuji X-A5, Panasonic GX85 and Sony A6000.

NOTE: These images are from best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings) except where mentioned. All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested in working with the RAW files involved, click these links to visit each camera's respective sample image thumbnail page: Olympus E-M10 III, Olympus E-M10 II, Canon M6, Fuji X-A5, Panasonic GX85 and Sony A6000 -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world-renowned Comparometer to compare the Olympus E-M10 III to any camera we've ever tested!

Olympus E-M10 III: ISO Low (approx. ISO 100) vs ISO 200

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 100
Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 200

Like all recent OM-D and PEN models, the Olympus E-M10 III offers an expanded low ISO setting down to approximately ISO 100 equivalent. We usually avoid expanded low ISO settings for our image quality comparisons as we don't normally see much improvement in image quality, and they often come at the cost of reduced dynamic range. However, like the E-M10 and E-M10 II before it, the Olympus E-M10 III produces significantly more detail in its ISO 100 JPEGs compared to the lowest standard ISO of 200, especially evident in the mosaic and fabric crops as shown above. Dynamic range is definitely lower with extended-low ISO settings, but if your subject and lighting suits, you may want to use the E-M10 III's extended low-ISO setting for maximum detail.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Olympus E-M10 II at Base ISO

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 200

Here at base ISO, we can see the E-M10 III's image quality is very similar to its predecessor's, the E-M10 Mark II, although looking closely, it appears the Mark III does a slightly better job at controlling chroma noise in the shadows. Unfortunately, it also doesn't do quite as well in our tricky red-leaf fabric, which is often a casualty of chroma noise reduction.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Canon EOS M6 at Base ISO

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 200
Canon EOS M6 at ISO 100

As expected, the 24-megapixel APS-C Canon M6 out-resolves the 16-megapixel Micro Four Thirds E-M10 III, offering better detail in most areas of our test target, especially in our tricky red-leaf fabric, although the M6 generated some aliasing artifacts there. The Olympus image is however crisper and colors are more vibrant, as well as a little warmer. Both exhibit visible sharpening haloes around high-contrast edges, but the E-M10 III's haloes have a tighter radius.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Fujifilm X-A5 at Base ISO

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 200

Here we compare the Olympus E-M10 III to another 24-megapixel APS-C mirrorless camera, the Fuji X-A5. Both cameras produce very sharp images with visible sharpening artifacts here at base ISO, though sharpening haloes are more obvious from the Fuji around high-contrast elements. The X-A5 out-resolves the E-M10 III, though the Olympus offers somewhat higher contrast which helps it to appear a little crisper than the X-A5 in some areas. Noise is actually lower from the E-M10 III. however its JPEG engine does generate a few unwanted artifacts while smoothing noise out. Both cameras produce pleasing colors, though the Fuji's are generally a little brighter.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX85 at Base ISO

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 200
Panasonic GX85 at ISO 200

Like the Olympus E-M10 III, the 16-megapxiel Panasonic GX85 also does not have an OLPF to maximize sharpness at the risk of higher aliasing artifacts. Here at base ISO we see both cameras offer very similar resolving power, but the E-M10 III's default processing is a bit more aggressive, with stronger sharpening, higher contrast and brighter, more vibrant colors, giving the Olympus image more "pop". The E-M10 III's noise reduction also appears to be a bit stronger, producing slightly lower noise but at the cost of reduced detail in some areas, such as in our red-leaf swatch.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Sony A6000 at Base ISO

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 200
Sony A6000 at ISO 100

Yet another comparison with a 24-megapixel APS-C mirrorless, and again, the higher resolution offered by the Sony A6000 out-resolves the E-M10 III, performing noticeably better in the mosaic and fabric crops. And the Sony manages to produce a crisp image without obvious sharpening haloes, though the Olympus does better with colors.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 1600
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 1600

Both E-M10 iterations produced similar image quality here at ISO 1600, but the Mark III appears to hold onto a little more detail than its predecessor, while producing similar noise levels.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Canon EOS M6 at ISO 1600

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 1600
Canon EOS M6 at ISO 1600

The Canon M6 continues to capture a little more detail than the E-M10 III at ISO 1600, but it also leaves behind a lot more noise. The Canon does much better with our tricky red-leaf fabric, though.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 1600

The X-A5 continues to out-resolve the E-M10 III here at ISO 1600, though its luma noise levels are higher in flatter areas. The E-M10 III works hard at smoothing away noise while still doing a good job of holding onto fine detail, however it does generate more noise reduction artifacts than the X-A5.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX85 at ISO 1600

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 1600
Panasonic GX85 at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, the E-M10 III produces a crisper, smoother, more vibrant image than the GX85, but noise reduction artifacts in the form of smudging and speckling are generally more evident. The GX85 produces fewer artifacts in areas with fine detail, but its area-specific noise reduction does leave some areas a bit rough and noisy. Both cameras struggle with our tricky red-lead swatch, but the GX85 retains a bit more detail.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 1600
Sony A6000 at ISO 1600

The 24-megapixel APS-C A6000 captures a bit more detail than the E-M10 III at ISO 1600, while producing fewer sharpening artifacts. Luminance noise levels are comparable, but the Olympus does a bit better at keeping chroma noise in check, while producing better color. The Sony does better in the red-leaf fabric overall, though some of the detail is false or exaggerated.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 3200
Olympus E-M10 II at ISO 3200

Here at ISO 3200, the E-M10 Mark III rendered significantly more fine detail than its predecessor in our mosaic crop with much less smudging. Luminance noise levels appear a little higher than the Mark II, but we prefer the Mark III's superior detail retention.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Canon EOS M6 at ISO 3200

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 3200
Canon EOS M6 at ISO 3200

Wow, the E-M10 III pulls further ahead of the M6, producing a much sharper image with more detail here at ISO 3200, while at the same time leaving behind less noise. Colors from the Canon are also a bit drab in comparison. An easy win for the Olympus.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A5 at ISO 3200

Similar to what we saw at ISO 1600, the X-A5 retains more detail and produces a crisper, more vibrant image with fewer noise reduction artifacts, but with more obvious sharpening artifacts. Noise levels are similar in flatter areas, however the X-A5's grain pattern has a less consistent nature than the E-M10 III's.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GX85 at ISO 3200

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 3200
Panasonic GX85 at ISO 3200

The Olympus E-M10 III produced a smoother, yet more detailed, contrasty and vibrant image than the GX85 here at ISO 3200. Colors are better from the Olympus as well. Another easy win for the Olympus.

Olympus E-M10 III vs Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

Olympus E-M10 III at ISO 3200
Sony A6000 at ISO 3200

The Sony A6000 image starts to take on a bit of veiled effect, and flatter areas show more noise reduction artifacts with a more processed look here at ISO 3200. Again, contrast in the red-leaf pattern is better from the Sony, but much of the detail is false.

Olympus E-M10 III vs. Olympus E-M10 II, Canon EOS M6, Fujifilm X-A5, Panasonic GX85, Sony A6000

Olympus
E-M10 III
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Olympus
E-M10 II
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon
EOS M6
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Fujifilm
X-A5
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Panasonic
GX85
ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Sony
A6000
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. We also like to take a look at high-contrast detail, as results often differ from what we see in the tables above. Here, the E-M10 III continues the Olympus tradition of producing very good results with high-contrast detail as ISO rises, slightly besting its predecessor at ISO 6400. The Fuji X-A5 however performs the best in terms of detail here, but it does produce the most obvious sharpening haloes. The Sony A6000 also does better than the E-M10 III, but it generated the most false colors at the highest ISO. The Canon M6 drops in contrast and sharpness noticeably as ISO climbs, but still retains good detail at ISO 6400 thanks to its higher resolution. Trailing the pack in terms of contrast is the Panasonic GX85, although detail is actually very good even at ISO 6400.

 

Olympus E-M10 III Print Quality Analysis

Excellent 24 x 36 inch prints at ISO 100/200; a nice 13 x 19 at ISO 3200; a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100 and 200 prints are excellent at 24 x 36 inches, with full, rich color reproduction, crisp detail (especially at ISO 100), and a nice three-dimensionality "pop" to the printed images. At 16 megapixels the resolution doesn't allow for much larger prints, but if your intended viewing distance is not too close you can print as large as the resolution allows you to go at these ISO settings.

ISO 400 images are also good at 24 x 36 inches. They are not as super-crisp as the prints at base and extended-low ISO at this size, but still definitely pass our good seal with nice detail and color throughout, and no real sign of noise anywhere without straining your eyes. For your most critical printing a reduction in size to 20 x 30 inches will do the trick at this gain setting.

ISO 800 shots are good at 20 x 30 inches, which is a good size for this ISO and sensor size combination. There is a trace of noise in the flatter areas of our target upon closer inspection, and a definite loss of contrast detail in the red channel which is a typical phenomenon with most digital cameras in general, but otherwise it is still a good print. For critical printing a reduction to 16 x 20 inches is a wise precaution here.

ISO 1600 yields a very nice 16 x 20 inch print. There are minor issues such as the ones mentioned for the 20 x 20 inch print at ISO 800, including some apparent noise in the flatter shadow areas of our Still Life test target, but this is still a nice sized print for this ISO.

ISO 3200 delivers a solid 13 x 19 inch print, with full color representation and contrast detail remaining. Anything larger from this ISO begins to introduce too much noise in some areas, and too little detail in others, which is common for this sensor size. This is still a fairly large print for this ISO until you get into the full-frame world.

ISO 6400 and higher takes its toll on pretty much all Four Thirds cameras, and the E-M10 III is no exception. You'll need to limit your prints to an 8 x 10 inch size here, and can expect a "good" print at this size, but one still showing minor issues such as a loss of contrast detail in our tricky red-leaf fabric swatch. There is also a slight loss of fine detail in general at this size, so for your best printing projects we recommend remaining at ISO 3200 and below as a general rule with this camera (and Four Thirds cameras in general).

ISO 12,800 can deliver a sound 5 x 7 inch print. It has minor issues such as a slight loss in fine detail, but there is still enough saturation and contrast apparent to call this a good image, especially for casual family use and similar needs.

ISO 25,600 almost passes our good seal at 4 x 6 inches, but there's just not quite enough detail present to make the grade. For all but your least important prints we recommend avoiding this ISO altogether.

The Olympus E-M10 Mark III delivers very good results in the print quality department, as we've certainly come to expect from this solid line of cameras. You're in terrific hands up to ISO 1600, with larger prints abounding, and can even get by at ISO 3200 for most printing needs. Above that you really start to run out of good printing options, and for this reason we highly recommend limiting your Auto-ISO setting to ISO 3200 and below if quality prints are a part of your shooting goals.

 



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