The Olympus E-M10 and 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom Mini Review
With Olympus continually being on top of their own mirrorless camera game I admit…I was a bit hesitant when the E-M10 was announced. I mean, was Olympus going the way of Panasonic who in the past released cheap, dumbed down tiny bodies just to make a quick sale and find a market for their camera bodies? Let’s face it, the OM-D E-M5 is stellar. The OM-D E-M1 is stellar. The PEN E-P5 is fantastic and beautiful and one of my faves of all time in Micro 4/3. These are three Micro 4/3 mirrorless models that are truly state of the art and can easily provide anyone with gorgeous quality photos while offering speed, build and features that would make any shutter bug happy and many other mirror less camera companies a little nervous.
So why an “E-M10” that is smaller?
Well, that was the question I had when it was announced. I glossed over it and while it looked cool I had doubts about why anyone would want it over an E-m5. Then I saw the cost of only $699 and thought..“well, if it is as great as the E-M5 in use, it will be a BARGAIN of epic proportions”! Then I realized that it had even better performance than the E-M5 and equaled the E-M1 for IQ and Af Speed. That was all I needed to hear. Done deal.
The E-M10 and 12-40 2.8 – This combo is lightning fast, sharp, amazing prime IQ and the very 1st zoom I have ever really wanted to buy in the mirror less world. The IQ is stellar. The color reproduction is rich. The contrast is striking. This lens is truly a pro zoom with a constant f/2.8 aperture across the range.
ALL images in this review are JPEGS shot with the E-M10 and 12-40 2.8 Lens!
So one day I received a UPS box from the wonderful B&H Photo who sent me the little black Olympus E-M10 to check out and review. When I opened it up I was impressed with the look, the style and the design..which is basically just like the OM-D E-M5, just in a mini format. It felt solid, booted up quickly and had that blazing Olympus AF speed I have come to love and trust. It surprised me really as I was expecting it to be a little “laggy” seeing that it is a “mini”model that is cheaper.
I ended up deciding to just shoot this camera over a weekend with the Olympus 12-40 Pro Zoom. WHY? Well, I have not yet reviewed this lens and figured it would be a nice test of the camera and lens. AN ALL IN ONE. No need to worry or stress over lenses to use or take with. Easy Squeezy.
So me, the E-M10 and the 12-40 2.8. That is all. That was the plan.
So how did it do? Read on to find out. Please note! This is not a normal tech “review” but it will be more of my thoughts using this camera over a weekend along with the photos I was able to casually snap. I always prefer real world use of a camera and have been doing these types of reviews and write ups for almost 6 years now. It is IMO, the only way to test a camera for what it is meant to be used for. TAKING PHOTOS and ENJOYING IT!
So one morning Debby and I took a 4 hour drive to Las Vegas and decided to just walk around and shoot the scenery. I did end up bringing along my Leica M 240 and 50 1.5 Nokton but only fired off 6 shots. The Olympus was so much fun, so fast and so GOOD that I did not want to stop using it! Seriously. It did have some faults but only in the handling. Basically, when using the 12-40 and the E-M10 I would highly recommend the accessory grip as the body is a little small for the Zoom as is.
“Orgasim Clinic” – what happens in vegas stays in vegas…
Olympus and Micro 4/3
I have been a fan of Olympus forever. From the OM film cameras to the 1st real flagship E-1 digital back in the day. The PEN series..yes, I have shot with them all (The E-P5 is the best of PEN’s) and of course the OM-D series all the way to the top of the Micro 4/3 heap with the Professional E-M1. ALL of these cameras have been wonderful to use and to shoot but especially these new camera bodies Olympus have been releasing over the past couple of years. The E-M5, E-P5, E-M1 are stellar, and I mean that 100%. I have said it a million times about these Olympus bodies but they have something about them that are special.
I have finally figured it out though..as to just what that special thing is. It is a combo of things actually that no other camera manufacturer has been able to accomplish as of yet besides Olympus.
In my opinion, the reason these latest Olympus bodies have been so special is because they offer it all and do it all very well without any real compromise:
1. Build quality – This E-M10 is built just like the current and more expensive E-M5 which is built very good. Solid, smooth dials, precision. It feels “right”. The Pro E-M1 is even better. All are built VERY well with the E-M1 being as good as it gets in the build for a mirrorless camera.
2. Speed – The E-M10 and other OM-D bodies have blazing fast and accurate AF. It is pretty much instant. No hunting, no slowdown, no misses. I had no AF misses with the E-M10 and 12-40 2.8 lens. Focus was instant and so fast that I was just having fun testing it to try to make it miss or slow down! In super low indoor light at night it did slow down but still locked on and fired and nailed the shot. The Olympus bodies all have stellar AF speed and accuracy. They lose out a bit on CONTINUOUS tracking AF but for shot to shot, they are hard to beat. No other mirrorless body I have tried has the AF speed of the E-M1, E-M5 and E-M10.
3. EVF – The EVF in the E-M10 is NOT the best EVF around. The E-M1 and Fuji X-T1 share that honor but the EVF in the E-M10 is good, just a but on the small side. But this is not a “flagship” body. It is an affordable entry into the OM-D series. The fact that it has an EVF is great, as these days I avoid cameras without them. But overall, the E-M1 has one of the top EVF’s on the market. Huge, clear and VERY easy to use and frame with.
4. Image Stabilization – Olympus has the best IS in the business, no contest. I have never used anything like it. The E-M10 has “3 Axis” IS instead of the higher end bodies “5-Axis” but it works almost just as well. It is so cool to have this feature in a small, more affordable OM-D. If you have not yet experienced the 5-Axis IS or even 3 Axis IS you are in for a treat.
5. LENSES – Again, Olympus and Panasonic are at the top of the mirrorless heap (next to Leica of course) when it comes to lenses for the Micro 4/3 system. I have shot with all Fuji lenses. All Sony lenses. All Panasonic lenses and mostly all Leica lenses. IMO, these little Olympus primes and now the 12-40 Pro Zoom are some of the best I have shot with next to Leica glass. The size, weight, feel, silence, speed and IQ are stellar on almost ALL of them. I a NOT a zoom guy but this $999 12-40 Pro Zoom equals or surpasses what I have seen from the Canon 24-70 and equals the Nikon 24-70 as well while being smaller and much less expensive. This is an amazing zoom lens. Fast, silent, small (in comparison to full frame and APS-C) and beautiful rich color and contrast/sharpness. Olympus lenses as well as Panasonic make some of the best mirrorless glass. Compared to Fuji lenses, these are faster to AF, all silent in operation, smaller and just as good with IQ.
6. Image Quality – IQ from the Olympus bodies, including the E-M10 is as good as 98% of us will need. Pro’s use them for high paying jobs. They are that good. What it comes down to is preference of “look” when you decide on a camera body or sensor size. You can print large with Micro 4/3, no issues. You can print large with APS-C and full frame. All will give you a different look and feel but Micro 4/3 is no longer lacking in IQ in any way. The JPEGS are also fantastic out of camera and no special processing software is needed for the RAW files 🙂
I saw this guy getting ready to give a high-five. I turned around, aide and fired and hit the moment. No hesitation on the camera or lens. THIS is what makes a camera enjoyable.
Sure, many cameras have these 6 features but Olympus is at the top of the entire mirror less game when it comes to mostly all of them. Micro 4/3 has established itself as a serious format and those who have predicted its demise over the past 3-4 years have been wrong as it is still going and growing in popularity because nothing offers a mixture of getting everything so close to being right that Olympus in the mirror less body world. Others are getting close, but for me, Olympus still rules the mirrorless roost. They do so much right and so little wrong. That is what it is all about because if a camera is frustrating to use, it will fall by the wayside and be forgotten.
So how is the E-M10 and 12-40 in real use?
For some, the E-M10 will be much too small but as I said, the slick grip for this camera will add the size most need.. IMO, the E-M10 is one hell of a camera and paired with the 12-40 is one of the, if not the, most fun and reliably good camera and lens combos I have shot with. The good thing about the small size is that it makes it LIGHT. The lens is large on the body though so maybe a pancake lens with E-M10 would make a perfect coat pocket companion. Imagine a 17 1.8 or 20 1.7 on the camera. You could slide it in a coat pocket and have it with you at anytime. That kind of quality in your pocket beats any iPhone 🙂
With the 12-40 being a wide-angle and medium telephoto all in one I was able to walk around and gran shots in different ways. As I walked around Las Vegas I was doing some street sniping as well as normal photos with the stop and frame. With the fast AF and response the E-M10 was able to catch what I wanted without a problem. Something I could not do with any Fuji or Sony I have shot with to date (for example, the high-five guy above would have been missed with the Fuji or Sony). As much as I love the Sony RX1 and A7, they are nowhere near as fast and responsive as the Olympus bodies (though the IQ is GORGEOUS from the full frame sensor – much richer, a different league really). As much as I liked the Fuji X-T1, it is no match for the speed and response of any recent Olympus body.
IQ wise, I like them all but the Olympus colors and IQ always do it for me and I never am left wanting or regretting taking one out. For my tastes, I prefer the Sony RX1 and Leica M 240 IQ the best overall but the Olympus Micro 4/3 next, ahead of ANY APS-C camera. The fact that these Olympus bodies work better (the 6 things listed above) than any APS-C I have shot with also helps seal the deal.
Olympus JPEGS are always bright, crisp and colorful.
Here is what Olympus has to say about the sensor in the E-M10 along with the processor:
Unprecedented Image Quality That Exceeds Others in its Class
“The lens technology, sensor and image processor are the core of any digital camera. The OM-D E-M10’s partner in photographic excellence is the acclaimed Olympus M.ZUIKO lens system, a family of professional-grade glass that delivers unsurpassed resolution and overall image quality. The E-M10 ups the ante by pairing a 16MP Live MOS sensor with our most powerful TruePic VII image processor for extraordinary resolution and accurate color rendition. Add 3-axis in-body image stabilization that compensates for horizontal and vertical angular shifts (yaw/pitch) as well as camera shake along the optical axis (roll), and you have a camera that captures incredibly sharp images and video, yet is compact enough to bring just about anywhere.”
Walking around the crowds and grabbing shots was not an issue for the E-M10 and 12-40. Speed was fantastic.
IQ that equals the E-M1. For $699.
The more I used the E-M10 the more I enjoyed it but I also was starting to realize just how good the lens is. The 12-40 lens is giving us a 28-80 full frame field of view equivalent but in a much smaller package than those huge and unruly and expensive 24-70 full frame zooms. I reviewed the previous Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 zoom HERE but I enjoyed the Olympus a little bit more. It just seems like a more polished lens and when using it on a Olympus body it is one of those lenses that just “works”. This lens has been a huge seller for Olympus and for good reason as I was finding out. The IQ that comes from this E-M10 and 12-40 is just as good as what I have been seeing from my E-M1 and E-M5, no question about it.
Both of these are JPEGS from the E-M10 and 12-40 Zoom. EXIF is embedded. Click them for larger/better. The 1st one is a full size camera JPEG. NOT from RAW.
The E-M10 or the E-M5? That is the question.
Many are wondering..E-M5 or E-M10? Well, after using the E-M10 more and more I came to realize that for me, it beats the E-M5 in almost every way (except it is just a smaller body which I do not prefer..so the grip would be mandatory). It has better Auto Focus implementation. It has a better LCD. It has E-M1 IQ. All for $699. Amazing. Add a nice prime lens and you have a powerhouse capable of pro quality photos and speed. It also has video on par with the other Olympus bodies (which I enjoy and have used for personal projects on many occasions). Today, if I were buying and had to choose between the E-M5 and E-M10, it would have to be the E-M10 and grip.
BUT! There are areas where the E-M5 excel. One, the E-M10 is not weather sealed so if you shoot in rain, dust or rough environments the E-M5 or E-M1 will be the best bet. Also, the 3 Axis is not as good as the revolutionary 5 Axis IS of the E-M5 and E-M1. It is still superb, just loses out a little to the bigger and more expensive brothers.
If you want the ultimate OM-D, go for the E-M1 as it is the best in all areas but this E-M10 is about HALF the price of the $1400 E-M1 while giving the same IQ, speed and performance. Hmmmm.
This one has a vintage Alien Skin filter applied which is giving it the soft look..but I like it.
12-40 Zoom or Primes?
I am a HUGE believer in PRIME lenses. Especially FAST prime lenses. I love the 12 f/2, the 20 1.8, 45 1.8, 75 1.8, 17 1.8, etc. They are small, well made, silent and provide the best IQ with the Olympus and Micro 4.3 system. You can achieve shallow DOF and crisp images without an issue. I have avoided Zooms in the past for two reasons. The first reason is that usually, unless you buy a “pro” zoom there is always a compromise in image quality. Cheap zoom are horrible IMO. Kit Zooms are usually horrible as well (though the Fuji 18-55 is nice). Zooms like the Canon and Nikon and Sony 24-70 offerings are nice but they are full frame, horribly large and insanely expensive.
One reason I haven’t used this Olympus 12-40 yet is because I did not think it could offer the IQ of the primes as well as the fact that it is an f/2.8 design. No f/1.8, etc. I like f/1.4, 1.8 lenses!
Well…after using it I realized that it will be sorely missed when I send it back and I may have to just add it to my Olympus collection when I can fund it. It is so well worth the $999, in fact, if it were $1400 it would be worth it. This lens is versatility and IQ and speed all in one package that comes in at half the size and less than half the cost of those full frame 24-70 counterparts while giving up nothing in performance. Of course full frame sensors offer better everything but in the Micro 4/3 world, THIS 12-40 f/2.8 PRO ZOOM is a must own if you want ONE lens to take out that will deliver prime lens image quality.
It is one hell of a lens and while larger than the primes, it offers much more with a field of view from 24-80mm. This means if you go inside you can shoot at 12mm(24mm)..go outside and zoom out to catch a face at 40mm (80mm)..whatever you need without swapping lenses.
The 12-40 also has a fantastic close focus feature that allows you to focus close when wide. You also have the Olympus Manual Focus clutch for instant switching between AF and MF. The lens is freeze, shock, dust and weather proof. It is silent for movie recording so no rattles, noise or irritating audibles. Olympus designed this one just right and it is an impressive zoom.
With a constant semi-fast f/2.8 aperture, it is the real deal in the Micro 4/3 Zoom world.
I will always love my primes but this is a lens I can see taking out on those days when I just need one lens to cover all I need. Yes…it WILL be mine one day!
All of the images below are JPEG’s ranging from base ISO to ISO 1600. EXIF is embedded.
When I wrote my Fuji X-T1 review HERE I mentioned that I had some issues with blown highlights and the Fuji X-Trans sensor. Where I live here in Phx AZ the sun can get quite harsh..in fact, some of the harshest light I have ever come across. It is usually a torture test for most cameras and I have had issues with previous Fuji bodies in this light with flat files, blown highlights and dull looking photos. I have always said that if you give a Fuji some great light it will reward you with amazing image quality. Give it tough light and it can be a tricky situation. Low light can make the Fuji files muddy and ruddy.
One thing that I also have loved about Olympus is that I have never had issues with blown highlights. One reason is that the sensor with these latest OM-D cameras have a very good Dynamic Range and if you do blow the highlights they are easily recovered with the RAW file and a slider or two, even under extreme blow outs. Many think that the DR of the Olympus Micro 4/3 bodies suffer because the sensor is smaller than APS-C or full frame. Usually this would be true but these Olympus sensors always test high on the DR scale and in my real world experience, I have found this to be true.
An OOC JPEG in mid day Las Vegas sun with the white water fountain going full steam.
My conclusion on the Olympus E-M10 and 12-40 Pro Zoom.
I will make this easy. If you are leaning towards a Micro 4/3 system but do not want to break the bank with an E-M1, go for the E-M10. It is a WONDERFUL camera that can do just about anything anyone would need. If you want simplicity and versatility as well, buy the 12-40 f/2.8 Zoom and have an all in one kit. This would be a perfect street kit, portrait kit, family kit, vacation and walk around kit. Basically, a jack of all trades and master of most. With the E-M10 and zoom you will only lose out on those shallow DOF effects but if you desire that from time to time add in a 45 1.8 at $399.
In my opinion, Olympus has done it again and are on a constant winning streak with these new cameras and technology. The 3 Axis IS is so good, almost as good as the 5 Axis. The whole speed and user experience of the camera is so pleasurable you just want to keep shooting.
I love the E-M10. It is another camera in the OM-D line that is just a WIN and does not make any real compromises to offer us a more affordable entry unto the Olympus system. Bravo!
WHERE TO BUY?
My review sample came from B&H Photo, and they sell the E-M10 at their web site HERE. I highly recommend B&H Photo!
You can also buy the 12-40 f/2.8 Pro Zoom at B&H HERE as well as the accessory Grip HERE.
Amazon sells the E-M10 HERE, the Grip HERE and the 12-40 2.8 Zoom HERE.
PopFlash also sells the Olympus line HERE.
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Hi Steve, may I ask you a question please ?
I actually own several Canon pro bodies and stuff (that I find too heavy for weddings and reports) and a Fuji X-E2 + 35mm f2 WR that I really felt in love with.
Today I have the opportunity to buy the first OM-D E-M10 with 12-42 and 40-150mm for 200€. I’ve never tried MFT and Olympus but I love the retro look and when I read your review I think, even if it’s the first generation of E-M10, may be I should resell the cheap zoom lenses, find a prime lens and give it a try…I don’t know if 200€ sounds a good price for that generation of E-M10…Should I pass on it or take it ???
If you have the Fuji, I see no point in the EM10 MKI. Your Fuji will do all the Old can do and the 12-42 and the 49-150 are average at best. Now if you were talking about the PEN-F and a fast prime, would be a different story. I doubt you would enjoy it over your Fuji though, the EM10 MKI
Thx a lot Steve, I really appreciate ! I’m gonna keep that money to invest into an other Fuji X prime lens or a back up body 😉
Ahah now I can get a OM-D E-M5 MKI for 200€, do you think it’s a better option ?
Steve, what would you recommend–Olympus OM D E-M10 II or Olympus OM D E-M5 II?
EM5 without question.
Good article. I’m facing some of these issues
Hello there! I was wondering what is “Alien Skin Filter”? Is this a Photoshop or Lightroom filter or what?
This was very helpful. Thank you.
I have the Panasonic 20 1.7 and the Olympus 45 1.8 to use with my OMD-EM10. I am considering adding the Panasonic 14mm 2.5 just to give me something wider, and because it so reasonably priced and I like the pancake lenses for their small size. Do you think that lens would be a good choice and a good compliment to the lenses I own? Thanks.
I just purchased a new Black OMD-EM10 from B&H (I used your link Steve). Thanks for giving your opinion on the EM10 vs the Panny GX7. I was riding the fence on that one until I saw that you recommended the EM10 in the comments above. Many thanks for the great reviews on your website!
Hi Steve – I really enjoy your reviews, regardless of which camera/lens combo you are reviewing! I have the EM10 body + the 25mm, 45mm and kit lens. I would just like to know what ‘mode’ you shot the photos for this review in or is that a trade secret!!? Thanks in advance.
I think these were almost all JPEG, some in Vivid mode, thats about it! No secrets 😉
My apologies Steve – I meant were you shooting in Manual/Programme/Aperture or Shutter Priority mode? I trust I am not offending you! Thanks once again.
Oh, I always shoot in Aperture Priority
Thanks so much. I have noticed in many review articles, the person doing the review does not state what shooting mode they took the shots in, which makes it difficult for beginners to attempt. Thank you again. Regards
Is the EM10 the same sensor as the EM5 but with a more modern processor? So RAW image quality should be similar or identical?
Wow what a choice between EM5 and EM10! I carry the camera up hillsides, so weather proofing is a wonderful feature for me. I’ve had to be so careful with my old DSLR and bought plastic covers for it, hoping they worked well enough. Though I miss the popup flash for those “kids doing something interesting” moments at home. EM10 has popup flash, as well as WiFi and all that stuff.
EM5 is very affordable at the moment, with the MkII now out and the price knocked down.
Hi anyone please let me know, what is the best wide angle lens for my new Olympus OMD EM10
Thanks so much for this review, i noticed that the camera photos are showing the 12-42mm power zoom, while your review and photos are made using the 12-40 pro zoom, maybe you should clarify this below the camera photos?
Please put a small comparison or remark on the ability of the 12-42 power zoom as many will start by getting this in the kit, before they can afford the pro!
As stated clearly, all photos were with the 12-40. You are looking at Olympus stock pictures of the E-M10 with various lenses attached.
other commenters got confused too; look how the statement in the start of the otherwise excellent article appears;
“I ended up deciding to just shoot this camera over a weekend with the Olympus 12-40 Pro Zoom…AN ALL IN ONE…”
*** PICTURE OF M10 WITH THE 12-42 POWER ZOOM ***
Bold title; “So me, the E-M10 and the 12-40 2.8. That is all. That was the plan.”
I was just about to buy the M10 kit with the power zoom inspired by your review, assuming the “all in one” and title referred to the readily available kit, when i realised the error…
Now i have to rethink and maybe plan on the LX100 instead, since the small price of
M10 is overshadowed by the $999 of the 12-40 lens, and the power zoom probably wont do anything near what you show in these pictures:(
Thanks for replying and always good to see your nice reviews!!!
Hey, I’m thinking of upgrading my (old) EPL1 body to EMD10. I only use a Panasonic 20 1.7 cupcake lens and it’s mainly for travel. I don’t want to spend too much (EMD1) as my main camera is a Canon DSLR for more professional photos. Good move?
Steve. In real life use would you choose the Em1 over the Em10? I know the EM1 has weather sealing but realistically is it a worth the price difference?
I would 100%, yes.
Steve – big question would you buy OMD 10 or Pan GX7? That’s what I need help with
Both are fantastic, and between those two probably the E-M10.
Thanks for your great reviews. You gave both, the a6000 and the E-M10 a very enthusiastic review. Which one is better for whom in your opinion? Thanks
I like both. I may have a better connection with the E-M10 but the A6000 is fantastic as well. I would decide based on the glass.
I am also trying to choose between the a6000 and the E-M10. Which camera has the better kit lens? No way can I afford the Oly 12-40 zoom lens. I ‘d have to go with the kit lens for either camera, at least for now. Image quality is most important to me. Thanks.
Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. I used to read your reviews before I buy every single item now. 🙂
I am thinking to buy either E-M10 or E-P5 and I expected that I will use 14-42EZ most of the time due to its smaller size. And my major usage for the m43 system is to take pictures on my dog who likes to run a lot!
In this case, which machine: E-P5 or E-M10 is better fit for purpose with 14-42EZ lens? I don’t consider E-M1 is an attractive option due to its size is much bigger.
Thanks for your comments.
Well, using the zoom will mean it doesn’t really matter. The Zoom will not exploit the full potential or quality of either of these cameras but if it were me, and was only going to use the zoom, then I’d go E-M10 for the small size and EVF.
One more question. Which machine, E-M10 or E-P5 has faster AF tracking?
The spec. didn’t say anything.
Both machine claims they are using “High-speed imager AF”.
The only different is E-M10 has 81-area multiple AF which is more than E-P5’s 35-area multiple AF
However, E-P5 has a faster Sequential shooting speed (5fps) vs E-M10’s (3.5fps).
Coming from a pana Gx1 with a few primes pana 20 mm / 25mm and the pana 35/100 I bought the OM10 and the 12-40…so far so good but it’s worth mention a few things…the built in Flash and the 12-40 is a no go Olympus placed the flash too low and there is no option to tilt it either 99% of the pictures I take with built in Flash will show the lens big shadow ruining the image leaving you to crop out part of it …that is to me a a big oversight on Olympus part I do not like to use flash a lot but when I do I expect to be able to make full use of it, I like the lens even tought it is on the heavier side the 35/100 attached is much lighter and easier to handle while giving superb pictures with the camera and no Issues with the built in flash image quality of the 12-40 is comparable to the 12-35 – 35/100 wich is nice the OMD10 has quite a few annoyances however there is no option to do movie recording using the ios or android app the rear screen stays on when wifi connected with no option to disable or turn off or swith to viefinder only …the picture transferred to the camera are smaller in size and take too long to transfer and can only be xfer one by one …battery life is mediocre even with all bell and whistle disabled to save power and I can easily drain 2 batteries faster than with gx1 (and this is withouth usinf wifi and using lilltle viefinder time. love the option for language and video option for pal/ntsc and the Ibis is real nice…interface is a bit messy and not very user friendly…they should take the Pana interface and video part and the Oly cams for still and merge them…that would be a powerhouse….Oly needs to come out of last century for battery charger as welll really a brick with a powercord to lug around c’mon….I am in no way bashing Oly I love the camera the built quality and the lens but it needs work and I find my old GX1 to be more user friendly for interface battery life and positioning of the flash …poor AWB and lack of Ibis however suck on GX1 and built quality of the silver GX1 for rear panel and battery compartment is flimsy and breaks easily…my 2 cents for those considering the Oly it’s a gret little camera once you customize it and work out the interface but don’t expect to be able to use built in flash on the Oly 12-40 the charger brick is a pain and plan for a few extra batteries …one last thing I noticed auto iso is kind of out of wack in a lots of indoor pictures if I set auto iso in all modes and a max of 3200 /6400 the camera seems to always go for the highest iso no matter the light conditions my GX1 same shoots same lights manages just fine I resetted the cam updated firmware no changes it always seems to go for the higher Iso on auto and when using he flash the opposite is true the cam will always go for the lowest iso settting when flash is in use….not a big deal I can fix going manually but worth pointing out to those that sometimes want to relax and let the cam make the choice or for those that are getting into interchang. lenses system from a compact camera or moving over from a dslr system
Update , found a option in the olympus app after update to choose the quality of the transferred picture Oly should ask on first time run what size picture we want to transfer, still no option to transfer Raw pictures even on new version of the app nor to start movie record using the app…too bad that would be nice to have and should be easy to implement, Ibis on movies i’s nice to have, found a way to have screen off when using wifi connection with app just reduce timeout to 1 minute and seems to work now and save some battery…lowest iso automatically picked when using built in flash still there hopefully that will be cleared on future firmware update, camera always going to higher Iso on auto iso than it needs to still there on other body of camera so pretty sure it is not just my cam…Olympus not enabling super control panel and best image quality selection out of the box leaves me perplexed as those should be the default settings and then if we want to reduce those we can do on our own…love the option to edit WB directly in cam on raw and jpeg for those times the cam does not get it right so far enjoying the camera despite the quirks….too bad for the Flash being too low causing lens cast shadow with the 12-40 and no option to fix it in a DIY manner either I wonder if other Oly camera EM1 and EM5 have the same Issue with the Oly 12-40 lens mounted and their clip on Flash
Hi Steve, thanks for your reviews!
I came from a sony Nex-5 for family use. But I like to be a Viewfinder. I just buy used (like new) bargain. A omd-em10 combo with 14-42mm II (no EZ) & 40-150mm f4-5.6 – 400€
Do you think that I’ll miss something from nex-5?
I konw these lenses are not the best. Do you think have enough quality for family use? (I was disappointing with sony kit lens 18-55mm)
I own a nikon d800 with severeal prime lenses that plan use with em10, is a good idea?
Thank for your comments!
The E-M10 is a great camera. The lenses are average (kit 14-42) but you can always add a lens later.
I just take a look in the olympus menus. I’m really surprised! There are a lot of custom options!
For example, you can chose the resolution and compression of Jpegs..
I think omd-emd10 will be a great caemera for me, but I´ll need some days to immerse into menus options..
My same dilema. The EM 10 is only $100 cheaper. For the almost identical cost do you get the EM 5 or 10?
My dilemma. The em10 + 12-40 costs here in the netherlands 1600 euro. The em5 +12-40 and free grip for 1500 euro. What would be wise?
Hi Steve, Thanks for the review.
On newest model Em10 we lost 1/8000 shutter speed of Em1 and Ep5. Do you think that is matter?
Well it could if you like to shoot lenses like the Nocticron wide open. If not then no worries.
How about to freeze the water fall splash, do you think 1/4000 is enough?
The picture over the text “So me, the E-M10 and the 12-40 2.8. That is all. That was the plan.” shows a different lens, you may want to correct that mistake.
I have OMD E-10 and when using video the AF is hunting pretty badly all the time. Is there any special function I need to enable where AF would work better / at least faster what I am seeing.
I know this is an old thread, but I wanted to ask: Doesn’t the E-M10 feel front heavy with the 12-40?
I would guess the accessory grip is a must have.
Sorry wide open…
Just curious, what’s the iq comparison between the 12-40 and 17mm 2.8 at same fl white open??
The 17 2.8 or 1.8? The 17 2.8 was not that great of a lens, it was good, I liked it…but compared to the 17 1.8 and 12-40 it falls short.
For new olympus users who wishes to grow with the camera… E-P5 or EM-10?
Also any macro lens suggestion?
Hello Steve – Great site and knowledge and reviews!!
So, EM-10 vs Sony A6000 vs Panasonic GX7. What do you think? I am thinking the EM-10 or the A6000. I want the Sony but feel with this review and better comments on usability, I should get the EM-10. Thoughts?
what would be your recommendation for jpeg settings? Sharpness / color / …
I’m torn between Ep5 or em10, upgrading from a ep3. Since you’ve use both what would be your choice, factoring I’m not coming from having used an evf? Olympus have a cashback on ep5 so it would cost$600au.
Are image quality on par?
The E-P5 is awesome and would be my choice. It has 5-Axis, superb build and feel, and it like a work of art in design. Same IQ. E-P5 will not give you the built in EVF but it’s a killer camera.
Much thanks Steve.
Thanks for your help Steve, I’m now an E-P5 owner, its a big jump from my E-P3. I ended up getting the 17mm + EVF kit, as it was $960au after cashback which seemed too good value to pass up a $500 lens and $300 for and extra $400. Now the option for a small setup (sans EVF) or the full machine.
I’m AB’ing my Pana 20 1.7 against the 17mm to see whether its worth selling one to get the 45mm.
My advised my father in law to purchased the EM-10 as he wanted all in one, so I’ll get a good chance to play with both now. Initial feeling E-P5 feels nicer in hold feels less compact in.
Steve, there is a push bottom “L-Fn” on 12-40 Pro, what function it is? Thanks.
here in Australia Olympus is running a rebate program. EM5 with Oly 12-40 only cost AUD1230.
Would this be a good set up as for zoom work. I already have a Fuji X100s which I love!
Would be awesome for zoom work!
I’ll be getting the em10 soon. I’m very excited about. I was wondering how slow were u able to shoot with the 3-axis since it’s “technically speaking” less good than the 5-axis. My potential lenses are the leica 15, zuiko 25, zuiko 45.
Thanks for sharing your fun with the camera 🙂
Great review. And I bookmarked the Amazon link. You do a great service with this site.
Thanks so much, I really appreciate it.
“This lens is versatility and IQ and speed all in one package that comes in at half the size and less than half the cost of those full frame 24-70 counterparts while giving up nothing in performance”
the comparison is so ridiculous.
The forums in the DP Review site seems to indicate that the EM10 lens mount is so tight, people are having trouble mounting and dismounting lenses. Several people have returned or bought multiple EM10s until they found one with a mount that was not so tight. Given the number of discussions on the forum, this appears to be a real issue. It has been addressed with OLY as well. Steve, have you tried other lenses to see if this is the case, such as the Panasonic 20, 1.7 and Oly 45mm 1.8, etc. I’ve been researching cameras and almost narrowed down to EM10 for a vacation in Croatia starting end of May but now I’m concerned about this issue on that camera. I have an E-PL1 that is having mechanical problems. I use the Panasonic Pancake 20 1.7 lense, and M./zuiko 9-18mm 4-5.6 lenses. The EM10 attracted me because I could use the same battery and lenses and it has quite a bit more features since the E-PL1, great initial reviews and price is reasonable.
I would appreciate yours or anyone else’s input on this.
Thank you so much.
I had no issues mounting lenses to the EM10….
I am still deciding between GX7 and EM10 and it is not easy. I am going from a point and shoot / bridge camera to the M43 system. Will the more customization options of GX7 and the back button focus (using AE/AF lock button) help me better to improve as I learn and grow? Here in Singapore I get GX7 with 20mm kit for 150 USD more than the EM10 with 14-42 PZ kit. I am concerned about the slow focus of the 20mm lens and non-availability of IS in video mode (just casual family videos) if I go with GX7+20mm combo.
I know your prefer the IQ and color output of Olympus compared to Panasonic. So leaving that aside what advantage do you see for GX7 or EM10 over the other. Appreciate your input.
thanks for the great review, enjoyed reading it!
i’m thinking about starting new with an interchangeable lens system in addition to my beloved fuji x100s. after taking a look at aps-c-alternatives (pentax, fuji), m43 came up as an affordable and especially lightweight and fast alternative. so i’m thinking om-d e-m10 + 3 fast little primes.
my questions, in comparison to the x100s, are:
– can i expect faster AF? (that occasional hunting on my x100s is definitely annoying from time to time)
– how do the EVF compare? on paper the fuji has the higher resolution, but the om-d got the bigger coverage and magnification? how does this turn out in real world use? i don’t wanna make a compromise in this regard – so the EVF of the e-m10 should at least be on par with the fuji
looking forward to your answer, keep up the good work (pentay k3-review soon? :-))
Thank you Steve, for sharing your fab site with us, your enthusiasm for your subject is great.
I am Panasonic bridge camera user and am pleased with the results I achieve but from time to time I find myself envying the quality that my OH achieves with his Canon DSLR setup. Sadly that is way too heavy for me to lug around but after reading your reviews and the comments on here I decided that micro four thirds is the way to go.
Yesterday I took the plunge and am now the proud owner of an E-M10. I went in the shop intending to buy a second-hand E-M5 but the E-M10 was much more comfortable to hold. I also tried a Lumix GX7 but the shutter button was not within easy reach. I love the size of the E-M10 as it is a perfect fit for my small hands and short fingers! It came with a M.Zuiko 14.42 1:3.5 – 5.6 lens which makes the whole thing very neat and easy to carry around. (It is currently in my handbag in case I get a chance to escape the office for a few minutes!) The few shots I have fired off so far look good and I can’t wait to get out there and try it out properly. Thank you for helping me make a decision and I shall come back regularly for your thoughts on various lenses. Keep up the good work.
Steve how would you compared the E-M10 to the GX7. I’m going to be upgrading my E-P3 in a bout a month or 2 While I have the money for an E-M1 it’s probably an overkill for my needs. But I have not rule it out yet. If I buy an E-M10 or a GX7 I can also buy the new Olympus 25mm 1.8. If I buy an E-M1 I would need to wait before I can add the 25mm 1.8. Although I already own the 12mm, and 45mm lenses.
Bill.. . .
E-M10 is smaller but feels better built. EVF is about the same, both are small. E-M10 is quicker and more responsive. I would say get the grip if going with an E-M10. The 3 Axis IS beats the IS in the GX7. If you go E-M10 go for the 25 1.8. If you go GX7, go 25 1.4 if you can swing it. Since yo own the 12 and 45 Id go for an E-M10 and grip.
Any chance a more detailed comparison of the E-M10 vs the E-M5 will be coming soon? Trying to decide between the two and am really struggling with the 5 axis vs 3 axis and lack of weather sealing. Any input would be appreciated.
Go E-M10 if between E-M5 and E-M10. To me, it is the better camera. If you NEED weather sealing, go E-M5 (or better yet, E-M1) but if you do not (and light rain is OK with non weather sealed bodies) then go E-M10.
So EP5 or EM10?
Great move by Olympus – a stern reminder to CaNikon that “entry level” doesn’t necessarily means dumbed down/stripped down and wanting you for more… wait… yep, now I’ve seen what they have done… 😉
Steve, by chance did you try the Panasonic 25 1.4 on the M10? Out of the two 25mm’s that is still the one I’m looking at. I know that the rattlesnake sound was fixed with the M5. Heard it doesn’t make it with the EP5. . . . .
Thanks for your review on the EM1. I have been using that camera and 45 1,8 prime for 3 months and love it so much. The camera almost everyday go with me in my backpack. I just passed my 3 years old Canon 60D to my nephew with no regret at all. Also my wife took my backup Sony RX100.
However, I find trouble to change lens and do not like it actually.
I like to shoot indoor without flash.Thus I am searching to buy another camera with 35 or 50 lens.
Would you suggest Nikon Df or Sony RX1R? Will I be dissapointed with their auto focus speed and image stabilizer? I have been spoiled by the EM1. Or should I just buy the EM10 with 20 or 25 lens?
Need your input. Thanks.
Why wouldnt you just buy the 25 1.4 or 17 1.8 for the E-M1? Better yet, the 17.5 0.95 🙂
How tight fitting is that additional grip? Flexing or gaps?
thank you steve, because of you i am a olympus om d e10 owner now (btw: paired with a zuiko 17 1.8) and i have to say … wow … incredible damn close to my d800 even in lower light (thanks to the IS) and so nice and small 🙂
As a newbie, your site has been a wonderful source of insights! 🙂
I was just wondering, if I were to get a EM-10 (as my first set of camera), which lens should I get? 12-40mm f/2.8 or Panasonic 25 f/1.4? Should I even bother with the given kit?
Thank you so much!
I’d go body only and then pick a good lens or two. All depends on your preferences and likes. All of the primes are superb and teh zoom is just as good as the primes.
Well I must say I like my omd em-1 HOWEVER no one mentions difficulties with raw images. You’ll need adobe’s dng converter v 8.3 took me lots of time tonight to fig this out. v 8.1 will ignore your .orf files. Google it lots of people having trouble with .orf files. I tried Olympus View software couldn’t get it to do anything but view it. I read it is slow too. So Adobe DNG Converter v8.3 it’s free you’ll need some type of Photoshop or Lightroom to use the files too.
Great review. It looks like the 12-40/2.8 is really nice and sharp. Though I decidedly prefer your photos with the different micro four thirds prime lenses.
This review is begging to be followed up by the following comparison: http://camerasize.com/compact/#487.393,482.412,ha,t
Hi Steve, ccomparing to the Panny 12-35, which one you prefer? (The selling prices of them are very similar here).
Both are great. I reviewed the Panasonic over a year ago and loved it. The Panasonic is shorter and smaller but I slightly prefer the Olympus for IQ. If I shot with a Panasonic I would buy the Panasonic lens and vice versa.
Thanks Steve…your reviews are awesome and make me want to buy everything. Seriously though, I’m new to mirrorless cameras market. I mostly shoot with a Nikon D600. Recently, I purchased a Sony NEX6, and it was so much fun. However, I sold it to get the upcoming Sony A6000 or this Olympus E-M10.
Your review had me clicking on the B&H link, to purchase immediately. I just had a question about the crop factor before I pull the trigger. Will choosing the 4/3 format really create a huge crop in image? I shoot mostly wide angle photos. Also, does this difference in crop ratio effect the IQ…or does this not even matter among mirrorless cameras.
I appreciate any advice or suggestions…thanks
Micro 4/3 doesn’t crop the image, it crops the Angle of view from the lens. So e.g. a 25 mm lens On micro 4/3 is the same angle of view as a 50 mm Lens on for Full frame. Any micro 4/3 lens you multiply that by a factor of 2 to get the equivalent angle of view you will see from a full frame lens
Please please please test the E-M10 with your Voigtlander lenses.
I read pretty much every reveiw you write since about three years ago.
This is one of my faves.
(Put it this way you write reviews the way I wish I could).
Steve, How about auto focus tracking and face detection compare with fuji x-t1?
Did not get a chance to try tracking but I suspect with the 12-40 lens it would be fairly quick. The lens focuses instantly on the E-M10 in normal AF mode. All depends on lens I think, with either camera.
Just the review i have been waiting for! Thanks! I am getting mine along with the grip and the 25mm f1.8!
EM-5 prices have dropped since the arrival of the EM-10.
The EM-10 is treated like it is an upgrade to the EM-5. I want the EM-5.
My question to everyone here is, is EM-5 a worthy buy over the EM-10? I am still attracted to the 5-axis stabilization. And just how big of an upgrade is the EM-10’s focusing speed and processor?
Hoping for your answers guys. Thanks!
I’m having the same dilemma,
Hoping for some answers from owners who had a chance to play with both.
I must be doing something wrong. I’ve had the Em5 for nearly 2 years and the EM1 for 4-5 months and I cant say I’ve noticed any shutter shock issues….I dont use the zooms much apart from the 12-50 which I use in wet weather occasionally for the sealing, and the primes have given me no issues whatsoever.
Same here. I have had ZERO issues with so called “shutter shock” and I tried my best to recreate it without success. Never an issue with the E-M5, E-P5, E-M1 or E-M10.
Steve, I have been looking at the color coming off these new Olympus. I am not sure but I think out of the APSC’s and Micro’s out now the EM10 has the best skin tones. Even nicer than the EM1 at least to my eyes and the few pictures I have seen. What has been your conclusion? has something changed? Thanks.
Not sure if anything has changed but Olympus as had great skin tones for a while, since the E-M5. I find it more pleasing than the Sony or Fuji skin tone rendering (which can be too red)
I’d like to mention a few of the features that I really enjoy on this camera…
The olympus share wi fi has worked great on both my iPad and iPhone 5s for both sharing and remote operation. I do a lot of long exposure stuff and watching a photo come into place while working from an iPad is very cool. Also, the Em10, for now, is the only camera with the live comp setting though that may be a future firmware upgrade on the em1. I don’t think the em5 will get it. Lastly, I have been playing with the Color Creator, a fun tool as well though the em1 also has it. Those of you who have an em1 I know enjoy it, for me…I was looking for small and light for travel. The em1 is so close in size now to my x pro, especially with the 12-40 that I went the smaller route. The em10 is all I am taking on my trip for 7 days leaving this weekend. I will miss the b/ w options with the x pro but the overall size, solidness, and compactness of the em10 should be a lot of fun.
The E-M10 has a newer processor; the E-P5 has the advantage of the 5 axis IS and the VF4 (best EVF). Does the newer TruePic VII processor confers superior IQ to the E-M10 over the E-P5 to forgo its great EVF?
Great insight Steve.
2 years is a life time in digital photography and it’s time for Olympus to put the E-M5 into the archives.
Don’t get me wrong it is still a great camera but it does lack today’s technology and does not offer the value it once did.
Sad but its progress.
is this camara compatible with old 4/3 lanss like the E-M1 ?
@gab: The E-M10 is compatible in the same way as the E-M5. That means that the 4/3 lenses will work, but AF slowly.
Gotta agree with you Steve, that 12-40 zoom is a sweet little lens! I bought my wife an OMD-EM1 with the 12-40 and a 60 Macro for Christmas. I think she used the macro once. The rest of the time the 12-40 lives on her camera. She has done so well with this combo that she was just asked to be in an art show. Not bad for someone who has not picked up a camera since her college days when her Minolta SRT-101 was the hot new camera.
SRT-101…yousers! That takes me back.
Night and day difference between that and the E-M1. Very cool that the Olympus has inspired her to want to display in an art show!
I have had this camera for about 2 weeks now and I really love shooting with it. I originally was going in to purchase the em1, but when I held this one, there was just something about the size, the feel and the aesthetic of the camera that said this was the one. I have paired it with the 17 1.8, the 25 1.4 leica/lumix, the 45 1.8 and the 75 1.8 primes. The cost savings by going with the em10 paid for the 75 1.8 given the Olympus promotion going on in Canada right now.
Thanks for the review Steve! Very informative. Keep up the “real world reviews”.
A few quick questions:
1) Some claim the 12-40 is good enough to replace several primes.
– Which prime would you pair with the 12-40, for low light work, that would not be too redundant?
(My guess is the 45 and the new Oly 25.
Perhaps the 12 and 17 perhaps are too close in optical performance and redundant?)
2) How’s the handling, not too big to pair with the EM10?
3) EVF is close to the EM5?
I would pair the 12-40 with the 45 1.8 or even 25 1.4 or 1.8. The 12 would not be needed nor would the 17 really. The Zoom, as mentioned, is a tad large with the E-M10 but if you add the E-M10 grip, it will not be an issue. The EVF is like the E-M5.
The 12-40 Olympus replaced the 12mm Olympus, the 14mm Panasonic, 17mm Panasonic 2.5, and the 20mm Panasonic 1.7 (which is a sweetheart of a lens) in my small carry bag. The funny thing is that the bag didn’t feel any lighter because it was heavier. All those straights are a bunch of waifs and the 12-40 zoom is Ella Fitzgerald. But what a voice.
I’m not ready to sell my Pan 25mm 1.4 nor the Oly 45mm 1.8, but it’s really *that* close to a perfect drop for those two along with the lenses mentioned above. The 25 and 45 just stay home more often.
The 12-40 is a heavy lens on the EM-1/EM-5 and must feel really front-heavy on smaller frames, but the results are worth trying to work with it. The 45mm Olympus 1.8 feels so agile in comparison for portrait stuff. It is razor-sharp and focuses faster than I know what I was shooting at, but the 12-40 focuses like lighting on the Oly bodies as well. I don’t own a newer Panasonic body, but I have shot the 12-40 on my GF-1 and the results are superb, but everything is slow on a GF-1 in comparison.
If I was going to go out for a month with the tightest kit I could, I would take the Oly 12-40, then add the Oly 75mm; the Oly 75 is a truly unique lens. If I could take a third lens, I would add the Oly 60mm macro, which is the best bargain lens in Olympus’ lineup. It’s phenomenally sharp for macro, and an amazing portrait lens as well.
Yeah, a great combination is the 12-40 and the 75. It’s all most people will ever need for 90% of their shooting, while offering sterling IQ.
With two lenses you have the (full-frame equiv.) of 24, 28, 35, 50, 80, and 150 focal lengths. Both those lenses are a little on the large size (for m4/3), so I would add the grip to the E-M1. Yes, the camera becomes a bit bigger, but it handles brilliantly while also doubling your battery life and giving you comfortable vertical shooting.
Having a severe case of GAS, I went a little different way. For one thing, I kept my M1 as my primary camera, but when I tried the 12-40 in place of my fixed-length lenses for about 4 months, I decided it was just a bit too unwieldy and I happily traded it, even, with another GAS-driven enthusiast, for a Lumix 12-35. Frankly I like the way the Lumix handles a lot more, and quality-wide they’re a toss-up; both are GREAT! Since I do a lot of street shooting in bad weather, the G1/12-35 combo is weather-proof and just about the same weight and bulk of the G10/12-40 combo. Also, thanks to the optical doubler function on both bodies, I happily shoot the 12-35 as a 140mm lens all the time with no loss of quality.
As for my backup camera, I was thinking of the G10, but then walked out of the store with the Lumix GX7 instead. It accommodates the same lenses, is gives me a rangefinder-like form factor, and is an ideal vehicle for my 45mm Olympus 1.8, or 25 Lumix 1.4, which are usually attached to it.
It’s also nice that I can fits both bodies with the 12-35mm Lumix and the 45mm Olympus attached to them, a 25 mm Lumix & a 75mm Olympus lens, and both chargers & extra batteries into a Tamrac Rally 4 bag weighing less than 6 pounds fully loaded; and have all the equipment I’m likely to need on a 2-3 week cruise to anywhere in the world.
You need a “back-up” camera? For what?
Great review and nice images. I’m almost tempted 🙂
The dynamic range measurements from techradar are completely useless. They measured the OM-D to have about the same dynamic range as they measured the D800 (around 13EV).
Sorry, but that is complete BS. DxoMark is the reference everybody else use and here the OM-D is more than 2EV below (12.3EV) the D800 (14.4EV) in dynamic range, which I think is correct when I look at images taken with my OM-D and comparing to my D800.
That’s about right. No way the OM-D will equal the D800 in dynamic range. That being said, 12.3 EVs is still really good for the vast majority of image applications.
Anyone remember how many stops of EV range we were getting back in the days of film? And chromes?! Fuhgettaboutit…!
I think a bit limitation in dynamic range for film was in the final printing stage. If you went for prints then that’s all you’d see. Owning a dark room was a revelation, with the ability to bring out shadow details in scenes such as caves with very wide range of lighting. The only problem was hours spent in a dark room with smelly chemicals, and difficulty in a domestic situation or if dodging and burning by hand getting repeatability. Every print was different, and if the chemicals got on your clothes you couldn’t clean them.
Despite this, I think digital has well surpassed film. I look at the grain from my EM5 at higher ISO, then remember the grain from even films like TMax. Shooting an event at ISO 3200 meant the grain really was a feature of the image.
I got one 2 weeks ago. Great camera. Have the 17 1.8 on it. Nice solid, compact fun camera.
Finally an OM-D that doesn’t suffer from shutter shock! I haven’t had any shutter vibration issues with the 25mm f/1.8 so far. Shutter shock was the main reason for me to get rid of my E-M5 and E-M1. The E-M1 was worse then the E-M5. Image quality of the E-M10 is great and like it’s brothers it’s a very responsive camera. I think it’s a little small without the ECG-1 grip though. Hardly anything to hold on to. I thought about the Fuji X-T1, but I’m glad I chose Olympus. This new E-M10 has got to be a homerun for Olympus!
Thanks Steve, the EM-10 sounds like a really great camera, which is no surprise given my personal experience with the EM-5. Here in Seattle people are busy unloading all of their EM-5s eager to get the next great thing, and the prices for “nearly new” EM-5 bodies are really fabulous. Also, the deals on used Fuji abound here as well. For example, XE-1 bodies for apx. 350 to 400 dollars. Yeah, I know the XE-1 is not Fuji’s best effort, but if you don’t mind a leisurely photo routine it can provide outstanding images.
Seattle (especially Microsoft-world on the Eastside) seems to be the epicenter of G.A.S. All you have to do here is wait about 6 months to a year after the introduction of new product and you have your pick of the last generation of stuff for 50 to 70 percent of what it cost new! There has never been a better time to be a photographer than right now – these truly are “the good old days”.
Where in Seattle would one look at to get these “nearly new” pre-owned cameras?
The EM10 is to the EM1 what the D700 was to the D3.
I totally agree with that. Olympus designed a winner here. No evidence of shutter shock with this camera. Could’n get a sharp photo with the E-M1 at ‘safe’ settings.
I haven’t had any shutter shock issues with my EM1. None that I can see anyway.
Very true Scott w
Im so glad with my newly owned em1 compared to the xt1, everything about the em1 feels better. I would completely agree with you on dynamic range, the em1 really shines in harsh daytime weather and the raw files are cake to work with really unbelievable compared to fuji files. Im still keeping the fuji 23 around when fuji hopefully releases a fuji x body with a different sensor layout. I hope to run into sometime here in vegas!!!!
I’m impressed with the IQ. Nice
Will be interesting to see what the mk2 e-m5 has up it’s sleeve…what do you reckon Steve?
Thanks, Steve! I am pleased to see your confidence in the 12-40mm and the E-M10. Also, I share your admiration of the E-P5, which I own. My own initial experience with the Olympus 12-40mm vs. my PanaLeica 25mm f/1.4 was disappointing; the 25mm f/1.4 was very clearly a better lens (of course, @25mm only). I’ll have to do another test or two based upon your excitement about this new Olympus zoom. For me, though, it may come down to the old reliable rule of thumb: Good primes are always better than good zooms.
@JamesPilcher: “Good primes are always better than good zooms”. Not in this case, the 12-40 is better than many primes. I found the IQ at all stops and at focal lengths to be shockingly good.
It’s generally being reported that the 12-40 f/2.8 PRO lens is optically superior to both the Zuiko 12mm and 17mm primes, though not quite as good as the 45mm and 75mm primes.
“It’s generally being reported . . .”
Now there’s a phrase to bank on.
“The 12-40 lens is giving us a 28-80 full frame field of view equivalent…”
Really? Try 24-80.
“Really? Try 24-80.”
Seriously dude? A long review, and you focus on a obvious typo?
Anyhow I liked the review, and Im starting to consider the em10 a candidate to be a secondary body to my em1
What review, Steve!!! I can tell you love this little camera. So, you confirm that OMD 10 beats OMD E-M 5 and EP5 in IQ? I have the EP5, is the E-M10 a convenient upgrade?
Great little review Steve. I was also wondering where the EM-10 was going to fit into the line up…questioned answered. The 12-40 might be the best mid range zoom ever. If Olympus ever builds a 36 megapixel full frame EM-1 style camera with no OLPF and supports it with fast primes on par with the 75 1,8 and 12-40 optics wise, my GAS will be forever cured…I think 🙂
Some nice portraits. Small correction, the Oly 12-40 is FF equivalent of 24-80mm.
Steve, you’ve confirmed that I need to pull the trigger on E-M10!
I’m making the foray from APS-C to the M43 world I did not want to break the bank on the E-M1. I was thinking that the $700 saved going with the E-M10 could go towards lenses and I’d have a perfect M43 starter kit for around $1,500. I think this baby with the 17 f1.8 and 45 f1.8 are going to be a perfect travel combo at a very affordable cost.
Thanks for the review!
I think you’ll really like it. I’ve had a Olympus Pen before and received my E-M10 a few days ago – it was a wonderful upgrade. And for people who like to share their pictures quickly it also has the wifi functionality of the E-M1. It’s a pretty impressive package for the price they are asking for.
If the 12-40mm PRO lens is a must have, which I think it is, the savings of $200 over the EM1 may not be significant. EM1 12-40 kit lens for $1,900 versus EM10 body only ($700.) + 12-40mm ($1,000).
thx for this enthusiastic review of the E-M10. I think you are right – with a statement in another review: you need boot – m43 and ff. My problem i have the Sony RX100 – which offers in good light a fantastic IQ. I think in good light it is very close to the m43 system.
For me dynamic range and DOF and a light (silent) body is important. I use LIghtroom and often boost the shadows (RX100 is not the best for this). It is very difficult to select the right mirrorless camera. I want a significant jump in IQ, Dynamic Range, DOF, Detail..
Fuji X-T1: Great Camera with great lenses – BUT: Dynamic Range is bad – and Lightroom has problems with the X-Trans-Sensor
Olympus: Great cameras – the build quality and the features are great! But: I think the IQ is too close to the RX100 (good light). And the DOF range is limited.
Sony A7: Great camera – from the IQ Point exactly what i want. BUT: Slow AF, LightLeak Problem, other Software-Problems (ISO..and so on)
Sony A6000: I will take a closer look at it.
This year other Sony FF E mount cams should released.
Its very diffcult.
“Olympus: Great cameras – the build quality and the features are great! But: I think the IQ is too close to the RX100 (good light). And the DOF range is limited.”
I doubt you used anything but a kit zoom on the Olympus if you think the IQ is too close to the RX100.
“Fuji X-T1: Great Camera with great lenses – BUT: Dynamic Range is bad – and Lightroom has problems with the X-Trans-Sensor”
Burke – You need to get out more. You’re just reciting stuff you’ve “heard” that is just not true. Fuji dynamic range bad?? That’s the most laughable thing I’ve heard in awhile. And the whole X-Trans/Lightroom thing was OVER months ago with LR 5.3. I’ll show you a thousand X-Trans images processed in LR 5.3 that are knife sharp, no “watercolor effect”, and with DR that’ll make you cry. You don’t have to love Fuji, but don’t bash publicly it before you’ve actually USED it.
Check out this review for this new portrait lens for m43. The DOF range is pretty impressive.
Burk honestly I think you just need to pick one instead of worrying about things that you can’t begin to know unless you’ve handled each of the cameras. I haven’t shot the EM1 yet, but I own the XT1 and have shot the A7. They are all great, to say the DR is bad on the Fuji is just like saying you can’t get shallow DOF on a four thirds body. Find a good deal on one of them, especially the A7 right now which is all over the place as a used body. I think people get too consumed with gear and their foibles versus simply shooting. If you don’t like the A7 sell it and by the time you do that there will be a deal on the EM1 or XT1
Oh yeah, the 1600$ prime. You can get similar results for cheaper with the 56mm and slapping the Sony 55mm on an APS-C body could be even cheaper.
In what world is the dynamic range of the X-T1 bad?
It’s not “bad” it is just not as good as the Olympus M 4/3 bodies like the E-M1, E-M10, etc. This has been tested before – not just me that sees it in real world use. Look at my Fuji review – quite a few blown highlights that were NOT recoverable. Same with all X-Trans sensor bodies. This does not happen with the E-M bodies or new E-P5.
from what I can see reading x-t1 and e-m1 reviews this is not quite true. I tested e-m1 only for 1 week and I can not comment about x-t1. others seems to think quite opposite. can you post some samples?
Is that the case, or are all of these shots deliberately underexposed by the Olympus to accommodate the highlights? You would have to underexpose the Fuji to get shots like these, so i wonder if it is just the metering?
No, none are underexposed. When testing the X-T1 I had to underexpose but still blew highlights that were not recoverable. Even if you do blow a highlight with an Olympus it is easily recoverable.
So what you would comment as X-T1 owner from thumb rule of over exposing by one stop with a m4/3? Can’t you overexpose at all?
As I shoot only with 1 stop EV settings, I don’t like to scroll 1/3 or 1/2 values as I am often shooting in situations where I need to deal differences of 5-7 stops. So changing shutter/aperture/ISO just in one stop steps speeds things up a lot and still I have a wide exposure range to deal and recover if needed. This of course as E-M1 owner, I am just amazed by every day I use it how flexible camera it is just by looking EVF and its highlight/shadows values. Then when I get to sit front of computer I am amazed again how I can pull and push 4 stops forth of values in Lightroom, basicly I don’t have limits in there. And this in scenery where I have direct sunlight rear of scene and total shadow subjects in front of scene and snowfield between reflecting all lights at me but nothing behind me.
It is no wonder to me why people has come to conclusion that E-M1 lose only a 2/3 stops in exposure range when compared to current best camera, Nikon D800 and dealing in base ISO values.
I am currently wondering should I get back a smooth gradient ND filter plates to dim sky 2-3 stops so I can overexpose land by 1-2 stops and still get everything from shadows to highlights recorded without demand for HDR.
I have been considering to get X-T1 instead (sell E-M1) but I just find day after day that wouldn’t have any sense to do.
Steve, you’re making the mistake of only looking at one end of the spectrum. I own Fuju and Micro 4/3 bodies (shoot mostly with an X-E2 and E-M5, but have reviewed the X-T1 and E-M1 so have put several hundred frames through those bodies in addition to the tens of thousands on the ones I own. )
You are correct that Fuji cameras have less highlight recovery than the Olympus cams, but this is because of where the RAW files are calibrated, which leaves extra room for the highlights on Oly bodies. However, you can push the crap out of the shadows on Fuji cameras…WAY more than on Olympus cameras, and get tons of detail. Overall range is very similar between the two (if bit with a slight advantage to the Fuji).
Techniques such as Expose to the Right may make the difference in calibration less of an issue. I think experimenting with this, after having originally learned on film and a life of exposing for final image brightness, is offering so much more. The Oly may have similar or slightly worse noise performance than the DSLR it replaced, but now I have live view and can use the orange blinkies to crank up exposure safely I can capture the shot with better signal to noise.
From what I’ve read, the Fuji should be able to perform better than the Oly even when both are used correctly.
I’m not sure what dynamic range includes. I still own a Fuji XPro/XE-1, but recently moved to the EP5 because Fuji disappointed me with many things – not all.
1. I have not yet enough experience with the EP5, but the Fuji has a real problem with blown highlights. Sunsets have poor dynamic range.
2. Fuji bodies do constantly overexpose, and according to me, it’s its way to overcome other issues of the sensor, dynamic range in dark zones being one
3. The WB and/or sensor can sometimes go terribly wrong, with blueish or pinkish casts, both on landscapes or portraits. Steve’s blog was the first place where I found this exposed clearly. This is not occasional, and if ruins the pictures.
4. The colors can be fabulous, but I found after some time that they are a gimmick, that impresses or gives a pro look – but they also often mask what the sensor can not do.
I still own the Fuji bodies, as I invested a lot in lenses, and I think I would miss the pastel, tonal gradations that Fuji gave. However, I do not miss the handling, the slowness, the fragility of lenses and body, the impredictibility of the results, the hundreds of missed shots during the trips, just because too many things did not work.
I’m glad Fuji finally releases a body that seems to solve them partly, as the lenses are great and the general idea was great, but 2 things remain : 1. I have seen the charm and the limitations of the sensor, and I do not understand how people can say it comes close to FF, except for noise management 2. my trust in Fuji cameras has gone, because of technical issues (covered by guarantee) and unfinished products.
Moving back to Olympus, I found back the most important thing : the desire to take pictures, to focus on composition and not on managing quirks, and the feeling that I hold a tool that has been designed to do the job. For the rest, FF would be the
Pandipul I think it depends on what you’re shooting. If you shoot a lot of people/portraits etc then blown highlights aren’t an issue in my opinion. If you’re shooting landscapes or really taking that type of work serious an a7r or d800e is probably a better choice over the Oly or the Fuji just from a resolution standpoint. Peronsally, I like the Olympus lineup and lenses and shot with an EM5 for a few months but went back to the Fuji. In part becasue I like the way the files look. I always felt the Oly files were a little lifeless…much like I equate the Oly sensor over the Panasonic sensor. If someone really wants to make an argument for the Oly system it’s the 5 Axis IS in body, that is something that no one can touch…..something that makes that camera special and more reliable as far as hits or misses go. All of this is conjecture as I think many times poeple can obsess over the gear more than over simply shooting and making good images.
Totally agree with your points, and I also think blown highlights are not a selling point for either of these cameras, nor an issue in most cases. I love taking pictures, and the reason I did not go FF was that I want a camera that I can have (invisible) with me all the time, just as I did my film camera over the last 20 years.
In my case though, the Fuji X system (so “gear”) stood between me and the picture, because of the quirks, because it broke down, and because it (or reviewers, Steve being an exception) promised things when first released that I soon found out it did not achieve. So in my case, sometimes amazement with the colors, often frustrations.
The other point that made me react is that during the last year, Fuji released premium lenses (stellar 14mm, 23mm) that cost and size wise are in FF territory, and that you can get a FF body with primes for about the same price and volume than the Fuji body with these primes. Good as it may be, the Fuji X system just is not in the same league as FF, neither for IQ, nor build, nor resale value (if that’s an argument).
As you pointed out though, it’s a problem to become obsessed by gear, and probably we should not expect things from digital cameras that can’t be achieved.