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Olympus OMD EM10 Short Review

December 27 2015 UPDATE: While this review still reflects little of my point of view on the Olympus camera system, I have sold it off in the end because it simply doesn't produce the kind of images I can be happy with. More on it here: http://yannickkhong.com/blog/2015/9/25/wrapping-up-the-olympus-journey-final-review-of-the-m43-system

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What can I say that hasn't been said? Although well bullied by the tech review community of the Internet due to its technical size (not fullframe/not aps-c = not good image quality... right), the em10 represents the best compromise of size, performance and image quality in 2014. I bought mine with the Leica 15mm lens and I shoot mostly with this combination. We can list down all the criteria I have for a camera of such use:

  • Size: small, light, metal.
  • Ergonomics: strong and polished buttons, satisfying grip for such a small body, great highres screen, decent evf. No lag on refresh rate. Doesn't feel like using a television unlike that S.... No "please wait" screen, just fast operation aside from long exposure experience. Touch screen turns this into a fun and near organic experience : you press on what you shoot just like a smartphone. No other mirrorless camera system implements this as good. Flip screen makes shooting a blast for low to high point of view. Getting the eye off the viewfinder is a liberating experience and turns you into a giant or a child.
  • Performance: very fast, as fast as a middle high end dslr. There is no lag, except after a long exposure.
  • Image Quality: nicely film grainy up to iso5000. I don't expect the tones to grade in a geek perfect way (I have the d750 to measure how big is my Di...dynamic range and iso). What I appreciate most of shooting with olympus is the clinical look that the overall lens system gives. My Leica lens, like any other m43 prime lenses, is Sigma Art sharp, and provides nikon gold beating colors and decent very interesting bokeh.
  • Bonus stuff: Wi-Fi mode is nearly good with all manual modes except I can't record video remotely and distance could distract the signal. I also use the Wi-Fi mode to upload my photos to my phone then Vsco then Instagram :D

It has been honeymoon from day one. I had the em5 last year and the em10 is the one they made by learning off from the mistakes of the em5. I have brought this camera everywhere and it has delivered on so many level of satisfying image quality to document my daily life. I call my camera Ollie, like the skateboard jump for those about to make a trick. :)

The optical lens library is superb edge to edge if you stick to fast 1.8 prime lenses and the modern Lumix kit lenses. Unfortunately, using zuiko pro zoom lens on it is unbalanced and perhaps one would be better served using a beefier body like the gh4 or the em1.

I love this camera to death as it pretty much kills all the camera lust I have for other things. Let's see.

  • Em10 vs Fullframe dslr: The em10 ibis, lens clinical sharp rendering, portability, flip touch screen, wifi has leg up over dslr. The only place it lacks it's the background killing possibilities and the ability to make a subject pop since dSLR can use lenses with better transmission. I have kept my d750 to cover this.
  • Em10 vs a fuji dslm: em10 will win for ibis, operation speed, AF reliability, flip touchscreen. But fuji has more "interesting" optics and pushes retro shooting further with arguably better color science.
  • Em10 vs a Sony dslm: em10 has better ibis, lenses, lens to body balance, AF reliability, iso noise structure, operation speed. Sony definitely has more geeks on board using numbers and size as an argument to convince. Also Sony has at least two years of work to reach maturity whereas em10 is a mature camera.
  • Em10 vs a Lumix rival: Lumix will have better video but will lack ibis. You can always use lumix zoom lenses on an EM10 and the em10 axis stabilization will perform better than the OIS.

I love this camera to death and I can't stop talking about it, but I shall leave you with some portraits I did with the system. :)

Yannick Khong13 Comments