Olympus E-M1 III Hands-on: First Shots, Gallery Images & more; Plus new 12-45 PRO lens & E-PL10


posted Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 2:00 AM EDT

Click here for our Olympus E-M1 Mark III Preview
Hands-on PreviewFirst ShotsGallery Images


Four years in the making and the successor to the compact, rugged E-M1 II is here. The aptly-named Olympus E-M1 Mark III brings an altogether familiar styling, build quality and overall shooting experience as the previous model but introduces some new features and performance updates brought over from the E-M1X, such as better IBIS, Live ND mode, and handheld high-res mode. Plus, the camera has a few performance tweaks all its own.

The imaging pipeline is similar, based around the same 20-megapixel Live MOS sensor as the E-M1 II and E-M1X, yet the Mark III introduces an all-new TruePic IX processor; the E-M1X uses a pair of TruePic VIII chips, the E-M1 III relies solely on a single TruePic IX. With newer gyro sensors and a faster processor, the E-M1 III now offers up to 7.5 stops of image stabilization (7 stops in the body alone), plus it now features 50MP hand-held high-res shot mode, Live ND shooting, and an all-new feature: Starry Sky AF. This latter feature provides the ability to precisely focus on stars without manual focus, and also gives photographers a way to shoot astrophotography handheld.


The E-M1 III maintains the same 121-point all-cross-type hybrid AF system with on-sensor phase-detect, but the system is said to offer faster face and eye-AF functionality, called Advanced Face/Eye Detection. Burst shooting is similar too, with 10fps C-AF with mechanical shutter and 18fps with C-AF using the electronic shutter. And of course, the E-M1 III features its renowned weather sealing (IPX1-rated) and highly durable construction.

Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO: 150mm (300mm eq.), f/2.8, 1/320s, ISO 1000

We were able to get some hands-on time prior to the announcement. Not only do we have our classic First Shots series of lab sample images ready for your perusal, but we also participated in an Olympus-organized shooting experience in Costa Rica and have a large batch of real-world gallery images as well as thoughts on the cameras usability, image quality and performance.  

There's more to the E-M1 III than what's mentioned here, so for all the details, head over to our Olympus E-M1 Mark III Hands-on Preview.

Olympus 300mm f/4 IS PRO: 300mm (600mm eq.), f/4, 1/2500s, ISO 400, +0.3EV

Olympus E-M1 Mark III Preview
Hands-on PreviewFirst ShotsGallery Images

Announced alongside the new E-M1 III is brand-new Zuiko PRO zoom lens, the 12-45mm f/4 PRO. This svelte, ultracompact yet rugged Zuiko PRO lens offers Olympus shooters a small, lightweight yet weather-sealed 24-90mm-eq. zoom range that's a versatile lens for a variety of situations.

Though perhaps an odd focal length range, seeing as the 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO and the 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO lenses already exist, the 12-45mm fits a niche for those looking for a high-quality, weather-sealed zoom lens that doesn't break the bank, or your back. Priced at just $650, the lens is less expensive than both of these afformentioned Pro zooms. And its compact design weighs in at just 254 g, making it a perfect pairing to the weather-sealed E-M5 Mark III.


Offering the characteristic high image quaity Olympus's Zuiko Pro lenses are known for, the 12-45mm lens features aspherical elements and ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating to help reduces flare, ghosting and chromatic aberrations. The lens is also designed for macro shooting with 0.5x magnification across the zoom range and a close-focus distance of just 12cm at wide-angle and 23cm at telephoto.

The lens is set to go on sale on April 7, 2020 with a suggested retail price of $649.99 USD and $849.99 CAD.

Olympus E-M1 Mark III Preview
Hands-on PreviewFirst ShotsGallery Images

In addition to the new OM-D camera, Olympus is also bringing the ultracompact Olympus E-PL10 over to the North American market. Initially unveiled back in October 2019 for the Japanese and Chinese markets, the E-PL10 is the successor to the E-PL9 and offers a stylish yet easy-to-operate design.

Specs-wise, the camera is very similar to the predecessor, based around a 16MP Live MOS sensor and the TruePic VII image processor. The E-PL10 feature a 3-axis in-body image stablization system, a large 3-inch touchscreen with 180-degree flip-down design and built-in WiFi and Bluetooth for easy image sharing. The camera features a variety of Art Filters and Scene modes, offers 4K at up to 30p and allows for in-camera 4K video still frame capture.


The Olympus E-PL10 is available now in shiro白 (white), kuro 黒 (black), and mocha 茶 (brown). The body-only option has a suggested retail price of $599.99 USD and $779.99 CAD. The camera body bundled with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Lens, camera case, lens cloth and SD memory card will have a suggested retail price of $699.99 USD and $899.99 CAD.

Olympus E-M1 Mark III Preview
Hands-on PreviewFirst ShotsGallery Images

Correction, 7:30amET: An earlier version of this article had an error about the image processor used in the E-M1X camera. This has now been corrected. Apologies for the error.