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Oppo Watch Review – An Ok Wear OS Experience, But Still Forgettable


The Oppo Watch is the company’s first Wear OS smartwatch. Utilizing a trendy and familiar design and some unique features. Source: Oppo Watch Review – An Ok Wear OS Experience, But Still Forgettable

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Fujifilm X-T200 review – Pocket-lint



(Pocket-lint) – When we reviewed the Fujifilm X-T100 back in 2018 we were a bit flummoxed about how it was supposed to sit within this high-end camera series. Two years on and its follow-up, the X-T200, has arrived. Featuring an updated design and new feature set, can it convince us where its predecessor could not?

We’ve long been fans of Fujifilm’s mirrorless cameras, because the X series is all about doing things differently. Whether that’s the unique viewfinder of the X100V, or the impressive sensor technology in the X-T4. Except the X-T200 doesn’t leverage any of that, largely because it doesn’t use the X-Trans CMOS sensor design of the rest of the X-T mirrorless range.

The Fujifilm X-T200 is therefore the company’s unabashed entry-level push in the interchangeable lens market. It’s the camera that wants you to ditch your smartphone. But does it all add up?

Design & Lens Mount

  • Fujifilm X mount (for XF lenses)
  • Built-in electronic viewfinder (0.39in, 2,360k-dot OLED)
  • Vari-angle mounted screen, with touch controls (3.5in, 2,760k-dot LCD)

While many camera makers release incremental updates of a series, Fujifilm has re-thought things a little more for the X-T200. It’s redesigned, thus about 80g lighter than its predecessor (just 370g for the body), the intent being to appeal to those who baulk at the idea of carrying a big and heavy camera around.

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That’s why it comes equipped with a retracting power-zoom lens, too, rather than depending on the pricier and more advanced lens options in the range. These XF lenses do still fit the camera, of course, if you wish to buy any for your collection – that’s always part of the appeal and point of an interchangeable camera.

The retro looks are appealing, but the X-T200 avoids the mass of labelled dials that the more traditional models in the series feature. Instead there’s a mode dial with manual controls, plus a bunch of scene modes. It makes sense, in that we get it, but it doesn’t make sense, in that it feels like the outlier in the X-T series.

Elsewhere the X-T200 comes fully featured on the screen and viewfinder front. The fact is has the latter built-in will be as much an appealing element as it may be a deterrent for some others; it’s a good finder, though, with ample resolution and helpful for when sunlight is too bright.

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The 3.5-inch rear touchscreen is now bracket mounted, so it can open through 180-degrees or rotated between 90-to-180-degrees. That’s useful for overhead shooting, waist-level work, or rotating the camera between portrait and landscape when in such scenarios.

Performance

  • Autofocus with 117 selectable areas
  • Face Detection & Eye Detection AF
  • Adjustable AF point size
  • Up to 8fps burst

Let’s explain the X-T100’s smattering of dials: there’s a Film Simulator to one side; a mode dial, and twin top dials (this pair change their function depending on selected mode) to the other side.

When clicking between Film types using the top dial, there’s a neat effect where the camera shows you the live image, a line drawn down the middle, to compare current selection (Provia) and whatever else you’re looking to use (Velvia – vivid, Astia – soft, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg – Hi/Std, Monochrome (with Yellow/Red/Green filter options), and Sepia. It’s a nice touch – even if the frame-rate slows somewhat due to the processing asks.

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The pre-set scene modes on the main mode dial seem like a compact camera feature that’s trying to creep into a more serious camera, but the inclusion of Night (for completeness: there’s also Sport, Landscape, Portrait) shows the camera is able to push settings beyond their normal restrictions, which can be really handy.

That’s one of the things about the X-T200: the included power-zoom lens has its limitations given its limited maximum aperture. By default you might find it will mean a very limited shutter speed is selected, which may not be appropriate for the scene. That said, the optical stabilisation (OIS) system is rather impressive: we’ve been able to shoot at 1/15th second without much bother, which is something you won’t get away with on your phone.

Elsewhere the X-T200 improves upon the autofocus system of its predecessor. With a total of 117 areas to select from, incuding area size adjustment, it’s possible to select one, an area/group, and move the focus area around using the touchscreen or rear lever (a physical control that lacked on its predecessor).

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The autofocus system is adept, as it’s utilising an improved on-sensor system, but some of the implementation isn’t perfect. For example: when the cameras sometimes throws back “AF!” in a red box when it’s unable to focus, it isn’t over-ridden with a half press of the shutter button, as you would expect. Which isn’t intuitive for a camera of this type. 

However, the inclusion of Face/Eye detection (including left/right eye priority) is really useful for portraits and group scenes. This used to be the reserve of higher-end cameras only.

Image Quality

  • ‘New’ 24.2 million pixel sensor, APS-C size
  • Standard primary colour filter (not X-Trans CMOS)
  • Video capture: 4K at 30fps, Full HD (1080p) at 60fps

The X-T200 also includes a brand new sensor. Yes, it’s the same 24.2-megapixels of resolution as the outgoing X-T100’s, but it’s been engineered differently, has phase-detection autofocus points on the sensor itself – hence that improved focus ability compared to the last model – and a processor that’s three-and-a-half times quicker than its predecessor too.

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That additional speed means burst shooting to eight frames per second (8fps) at full resolution, while 4K video is also possible to 30fps. That’s knocking on the door of much more expensive cameras in both departments.

What you really want to know about is what the pictures are like. As the X-T200 does things differently to its X-series family – there’s no X-Trans CMOS sensor, it’s a ‘normal’ sensor and colour array here – it’s something of a departure in process.

But that doesn’t mean the pictures are poor. Indeed, it’s quite the opposite. Which is a major reason to consider buying the X-T200 in the first place.

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The thing that really stands-out from a camera with a large sensor such as this is two fold: one, how good image quality can be in low-light conditions; two, how standout the blurred background effect is, giving much more pro-looking results.

Despite the power zoom lens’ limited aperture, we’ve been shooting indoors and the camera has handled limited light really well by pushing the ISO sensitivity up. Even at ISO 3200 when shooting trinkets inside the home (we’re locked down, okay?) the lack of image noise is impressive.

At the lower end of ISO sensitivity the quality is even more striking. Having shot buildings and flowers, the clarity provided by this sensor and lens combination is great. Better still, Fujifilm makes even better lenses that could give you yet more creative control and impressive results.

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It might not have the hallmark X-Trans CMOS sensor in tow, but even without it the X-T200’s images speak for themselves in terms of quality.

Verdict

While we still think the X-T200 is the outlier in the X-series – it feels like a different proposition that’s not 100 per cent in line with the range – but it’s a vast improvement over its X-T100 predecessor, making for a solid entry-level interchangeable lens camera.

If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera that doesn’t over-complicate, the X-T200 is a good proposition. Its inclusion of scene modes, film modes, face/eye detection, decent autofocus that’s well beyond its predecessor, and great image quality (despite using a different sensor setup to the rest of the X-T series) all add up to a greater whole.

Also consider

Pocket-lint

Panasonic Lumix G90

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Ditch the retro looks, opt for this Panasonic, and you get a more classic control setup, more advanced feature set and included lens. It’ll cost you a little bit more cash though.

Writing by Mike Lowe.





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Huawei P40 Pro Plus camera review: Zooming into the future


With an impressive 10X optical zoom, Huawei’s P40 Pro Plus is the most versatile smartphone camera ever… with a catch. Source: Huawei P40 Pro Plus camera review: Zooming into the future | Android Central

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Sony ZV-1 review: Vlogging champ



Sony has been working hard on its video chops over the past five years or so. Its high-end full-frame Alpha series is a firm favourite in the video-making community, while smaller cameras like the A6600 have sought to offer similar capabilities in a much more compact form.

With features like fast autofocus, advanced real-time face- and eye-tracking, you’d have thought that’s where it ends. Apparently not. There’s one specific breed of video-maker that Sony wants under its wings: vloggers.

Enter the Sony ZV-1. This powerful, very compact and functional camera offers all the tools you need – whether you’re just starting at vlogging, or a seasoned pro who needs some extra tools.

Design

  • Dimensions: 105.4 x 60 x 44mm / Weight: 294g
  • 3.5mm, Micro-USB, mini HDMI out/in
  • Flip-out rotating screen

Sony says it designed the ZV-1 from the ground up for vloggers. That means the appearance is quite different from the RX series, the latter designed predominantly for stills shooting. So the ZV-1 may be a very similar size to the RX100, but it’s certainly not the same.

The design is minimal, crafted from a subtly textured black plastic. Unlike the RX100, the ZV-1 has a rubber grip sticking out of the left side. It’s quite narrow, but that’s so there’s enough of a gap between it and the lens to give you somewhere to put your thumb when shooting yourself front-on.

While the grip isn’t large enough to get a proper grip on when shooting the other way around, it does help add a bit of ‘stickiness’ when holding the camera. We felt like we were less likely to lose grip or drop it.

That’s not the only element of the camera’s design that makes the ZV-1 more tuned to a vlogger’s needs. Sony has put a proper flip-out touchscreen on this video-focused camera, which is so much better than any of the ones that flip over the top of the camera (like in the RX100 series).

Having the screen flip out to the side of the camera means it’s at the same level as the lens and – more importantly – means it can never be blocked by any accessories you might want to mount to the top of the camera, on the hotshoe, or plugged into the ports on the opposite side.

The screen also acts as a sort-of power button. Flipping the screen out of its shut state automatically powers up the camera, ready for shooting. It’s really useful, especially when you just want to open up the display and capture the shot, without having to search for the small on/off button on the top edge. That’s a good thing, because with the included wind-killing deadcat in place, the on/off button is covered by the deadcat’s fluff.

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The top itself is mostly flat. There are no protruding buttons or dials, but it still manages to squeeze in five functional buttons: on/off button, a mode button, a big movie button (with a bright red ring around it), the usual shutter button (with zoom dial surrounding it to control the lens), plus a dedicated button for switching background defocus on.

The inclusion of background defocus is yet another vlogger-targeted feature. Those who want to create a bokeh effect – that’s the soft, melty background blur called by its proper name – while speaking to the camera can do so at the press of a button.

Battery and SD Card access is achieved by opening the door on the underside of the camera. It’s not a great placement for anyone who likes to mount their camera to a tripod. We’ve often found access blocked in these instances, so we have to unmount the camera to get to the memory card. Still, this camera is designed to be used primarily handheld.

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For the pro user who wants to be able to capture audio from a dedicated microphone, Sony has included a 3.5mm port on the right, just above the Micro-USB port and mini HDMI, each of which is covered in its own individual plastic door. 

Lastly – as if any further evidence that this is a vlogger’s camera was required – there’s no viewfinder. You just get the screen. The space normally taken up by a pop-up viewfinder in the RX100 has been replaced by a three capsule mic system and shoe mount – which is hidden by quite a large mesh grille.

Processing, tracking and smart exposure

  • Real-time eye and face tracking (with human and animal modes)
  • Instant bokeh and face smoothing modes
  • 315 autofocus points

A lot of what makes Sony’s cameras so appealing is the brains running the show. In the ZV-1 there’s the Sony BIONZ X image signal processor. It’s similar to the one you’ll find inside the top-end A9, which means that all of the super fast, super smart auto-focusing and tracking you find higher up the Sony camera chain are present in the ZV-1. 

The joy of the sensor is that you stick the camera in intelligent auto (iA) mode, or auto movie mode, and the brains of the camera will generally suss out what’s going on in the scene pretty quickly and adjust settings to match. If that’s you recording a vlog to camera, it’ll automatically focus on your eye and then base the exposure of the entire frame on ensuring that your face is well lit and natural looking. 

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Having tested this in a few different lighting situations, both indoors and outdoors, with bright backlighting and even with our face shaded by an over-hanging tree, the results are surprisingly good. It does seem to take a second or two to adjust and expose, but when we stood in shade that covered our face, it still managed to pull out the details and make our face clearly visible. Similarly, with bright light shining on our face, it adjusted to tone it down. You can see the before/after in the image above.

As you’d expect, in extreme contrasting conditions like this the background can end up looking bleached out and overexposed, but the priority for the vlog is seeing the person clearly, so that’s what you get. Sony says this works regardless of skin colour and ethnicity. 

You can – if you want – also enable skin smoothing modes, and adjust how much smoothing you want. If you want your skin looking all natural, with all of your pores and wrinkles on show, you can have that. Likewise, if you want to hide them for that smoother airbrushed look, you can do that too. 

Another major feature is the instant background defocus mode. So how does this work? Watching the lens mechanism when you press the dedicated mode button, we could see the ZV-1 mechanically switching to a wider aperture. Checking image metadata from stills we took in the same scene, but having switched background defocus on and off, revealed as much to be true. The defocus setting has the aperture set to f/1.8 by default, then adjusts exposure time and ISO sensitivity accordingly.

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As for the auto-tracking and autofocusing, that’s as fast and accurate an experience as it is on any of Sony’s modern cameras. That’s thanks largely down to the 1-inch sensor featuring both phase-detection points on its surface, use in conjunction with contrast-detection autofocus. We recorded our cats, then messed around with touching to focus on the screen, and the camera was quick to detect changes and lock in on the newly selected area. 

For the mobile generation, those who share more videos on vertical-centric platforms like TikTok, Sony’s latest camera automatically detects when it’s shooting video in portrait mode and at stays in vertical mode once it’s transferred onto a device for sharing. 

Those who shoot product-based videos, or make-up tutorials, or other types of videos where you’re often bringing products close to the lens to show it briefly and then move it away, there’s also a product-specific mode you can switch it to.

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When activated, you can hold your product – whether it be a lipstick, a Lego figure, a phone, or whatever – up to the camera, and it’ll quickly focus on it, blurring you out in the background, then quickly switching back again to focus on your face when you remove the product from the frame. There is a little bit of focusing noise as the adjustment happens, but it’s not especially loud, and if you’re talking at the same time, it’s not all that noticeable. 

Audio power

  • Three capsule mic
  • Wind/noise reduction features
  • Included windshield/deadcat 
  • 3.5mm input

With video, the image is only one part of the story. Sony’s additional effort in the ZV-1 was to include a built-in microphone system that’s good enough to use on the fly without any additional mic equipment. And, for the most part, that effort has paid off. 

Recording video and speaking to camera results in clear and loud audio. It wasn’t the nasty, muffled type of sound you’d perhaps expect to get from a camera’s own microphone. We tested it in a few different scenarios and found our voice was clear and pronounced and had enough natural timbre to it that it didn’t sound flat and broken. 

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Of course, using a professional microphone will yield better results, and you can either use the 3.5mm input for that, or use a hotshoe adapter to connect up an XLR cable.

The ZV-1 also comes with a dedicated deadcat – a small fluffy ‘wind-shield’ – that attaches to the hotshoe and covers the mic grille. We tested this out on a particularly blustery day and while you could hear the wind it never resulted in any tearing sounds, regardless of how bad the wind got. 

Now, there is also a wind reduction feature that you can enable within the camera’s menus, but this is more of an ambient noise killer than a dedicated wind noise filter. It essentially switches off the two wide mic capsules, leaving only the central one picking up your voice. The difference is stark – it doesn’t completely kill traffic or wind noise, but it does reduce it. The downside to this filter, however, is that it can make the sound seem quite flat.

Video pro

  • 4K at 30fps/1080p at 60fps
  • Slow motion modes
  • Multiple picture profiles – ideal for colour grading
  • Proxy support

This isn’t just a camera for people who want to pop a camera on a tripod and shoot a TikTok dance in vertical, full-automatic mode. Sony knows what video creators want, and so has included a bunch of features to try and keep those people happy too. 

Sadly, one of those features isn’t 4K video at 60 frames per second. The ZV-1 maxes out at 30fps at its full resolution setting, but it can shoot up to 60fps in 1080p.

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It’s also pre-loaded with a bunch of preset picture profiles – which you can customise – that allow you to shoot with a variety of different S-log, cine and gamma profiles. So if you want to you can set it to a nice, flat, desaturated profile giving you the scope to colour grade it to your liking.

You can also enable proxies, which are supported by the likes of Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, enabling fast editing and rendering without losing detail in the final product. 

You’ll need to do a bit of digging into settings with the camera set to the manual video mode in order to choose one of these options. It took us a little while to figure a lot of those menus – as there’s a lot in there. 

One of the most useful settings to enable, we found, was adjusting the the focus speed. With the camera set to ‘touch focus’, then changing the focus speed to slow, it allowes for automatic slow pull focus effects. That’s useful if you want to add a bit of extra motion to a frame where nothing is moving.

It takes stills too

  • 20-megapixel 1-inch size CMOS sensor
  • 24-70mm (equivalent) zoom lens
  • 24fps burst mode

It may be a ‘vlogger camera’ but you can take pictures with the ZV-1 too – and the results aren’t half bad.

It still uses that same eye-tracking, fast autofocusing tech too. Pointing at a pet with the animal tracking on locks quickly onto an eye and focuses. Even if that cat’s eye is half-shut because the cat is inevitably asleep. 

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We found the results to be detailed, with good colour and dynamic range in good light. Sometimes they might come out a bit too contrasty in automatic mode, but there are enough opportunities to adjust settings, including switching off a lot of the automatic scene suggestions.

Perhaps the only thing that makes this less versatile as a stills camera is the zoom length. It only has a 3x optical zoom (a 24-70mm equivalent), which isn’t anywhere near as versatile in that regard as the RX100 (which has an 8.5x, 24-200mm optic). 

A note on battery life

Being a small camera means quite a small battery capacity. Sony claims the ZV-1 can get you up to 45 minutes of recording.

Having tested this at 4K video resolution, we find that rather ambitious. We didn’t get close to 45 minutes capture in our own use, but then a lot of our time testing was spent digging through menus, playing with different settings, and testing different features – all of which eats into battery life.

Thankfully, it’s one of those cameras that’s convenient to keep topped up. You just need to plug it in with the Micro-USB cable, so plug it into a power supply at home when you’re done or keep a battery pack with you when out and about.

Verdict

The way we see it, the ZV-1 could fulfil two needs. It’s a great step up in video and audio quality for those who would normally use the front-facing selfie camera on their smartphone. It’s also a great, compact secondary camera for those who shoot more professionally, but need a pocketable and compact tool that still has a lot of the features you need (like mic in, picture profiles and proxies). 

However, photographers might not flock to it. There’s no viewfinder, battery life is short, and the zoom is limited.

On the whole, the ZV-1 seems to nail Sony’s vision. It’s nimble, lightweight and powerful. With its advanced processing capabilities, fast autofocus and real-time tracking, combined with the impressively clear audio capture and the useful flip-out screen, it really is a great option for vloggers. 

Also consider

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Canon PowerShot G7 X III

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Sony RX100 VII

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk3 review: Technological powerhouse



Sensor size. Yes, it still matters. The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is part of the Micro Four Thirds format system, which uses a smaller sensor size than you’ll find in many other competitor DSLR and mirrorless cameras. But this sensor format is both its Achilles’ heel and its launchpad. 

On the one hand, a larger sensor would mean greater light gathering capacity and resolution potential. But it also means added bulk – something this Olympus doesn’t suffer. Its equivalent lenses are smaller too.

Furthermore, the E-M1 Mk3 brings a host of innovative tech, truly going to town with a bounty of shooting modes that make this camera a technological powerhouse that stands apart from its peers. 

An answer for everyday photography

  • Image Stabilisation up to 7.5EV
  • High-Res Shot up to 80MP
  • Live ND Shooting up to 5EV
  • Starry Sky AF 
  • Focusing Stacking in-camera
  • Pro-Capture High Time-lapse with 4K video output
  • Cine 4K video, plus Slow motion Full HD videos up to 120fps
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity 

The E-M1 MkIII packs a remarkable feature list – and we’ve only included the highlights above. That’s something Olympus continues to do: unearth new ideas that are genuinely useful. Scroll down page after page of the jungle of a menu system – in itself a problem that takes some navigational learning – and you’ll find heaps of extra goodies.

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But it’s not just the shooting modes that are the reason to buy this camera. It also packs a super image stabilisation system, which is a key reason why the E-M1 Mark III is so easy to use. It’s now rated up to 7.5EV (depending on which lens is being used), so it’s completely possible to get sharp detail in handheld shots with an exposure a couple of seconds long. That’s truly mind-boggling stuff.   

This system is used in other creative ways too. Take in-camera focus stacking. This bracketing mode can composite multiple images at different focus planes to create a final image with greater depth of field. All in-camera, shot handheld, with manual control over the depth range and number of shots. It’s a macro photographer’s dream, plus that Micro Four Thirds sensor already has greater depth of field than larger sensor rivals at equivalent aperture settings.

Or how about High-Res Shot. Effective for static scenes, this uses the stabilisation system to move the focus by a pixel at a time, to multiply the sensor and capture a super-high resolution image. You’ll get a 50MP image (rather than the 20.4MP native resolution of that sensor). There’s also a tripod mode that results in an 80MP image – but you’ll need greater attention to technique with this mode, ensuring the camera (and subject) is very steady.

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Live ND Shooting is now part of the arsenal too. It creates the effect of a Neutral Density filter up to a strength of 5EV – useful for reducing the incoming light equivalent, enabling longer exposures that may be useful when capturing intentional movement. You may think that reducing light for a small sensor is a bad idea, but for making long(er) exposure shots in bright light it’s useful.

Yet that’s the beauty of the technology – in a number of scenarios the E-M1 Mark III does away with the need for extra kit like a tripod or remote release or ND filter. It’s about making life easier for the image maker. 

Elsewhere there’s Starry Sky AF. If you are into astrophotography, this mode breathes new life into the Olympus system. It really does exactly what it says on the tin: you’ll get sharp detail of the stars every time, with ease. No need for manual focus, or for any degree of uncertainty or guesswork. 

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Olympus continues to up the video game, too. We still have Cine 4K (24fps) and 4K (30fps) video recording, plus slow-motion HD video (up to 120fps).Crucially, there’s a flat colour profile and an ‘OMLog 400’ profile now included, meaning you can get a wonderful colour rendition.

Pro-Capture mode is perfect if your reactions are not quite up to scratch for action. When the shutter is half-pressed, the camera now buffers up to 35 shots before the shutter is fully pressed for capture, enabling a delayed reaction of up to 3 seconds.  

So, while the E-M1 Mark III has a smaller-scale sensor, there are so many occasions where shots are made possible by Olympus innovation.

King of action?

  • Electronic viewfinder (EVF), 2.36m-dot resolution
  • Fully articulated 3-inch touchscreen
  • 121-point phase-detection autofocus system
  • 18fps silent shutter with continuous AF
  • Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
  • 400,000 shutter cycles
  • 420-shot battery life
  • AF joystick control
  • Dual SD card slot

Last year Olympus launched a new flagship camera, the E-M1 X. The E-M1 inherits much of the best bits from this camera – but in a smaller form-factor that costs a lot less. Like the E-M1 X, its magnesium alloy body is weather-sealed to an IPX1 rating, making this one tough camera.

A battery life of 420-shots is par for the course. However, charging via USB is now possible, so you can keep the battery topped up on-the-go between shots by using a power bank. Also, with a vertical handgrip added that life can be doubled. The compatible batteries and handgrip are the same ones used in the E-M1 Mark II, which could make an upgrade kinder on the pocket.

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It’s the viewing experience where the E-M1 Mark III is let down a little. There has been no update of the 2.36-million dot EVF. With a 0.74x magnification, the view is not quite as crisp or immersive as larger examples like the E-M1 X and Panasonic Lumix G9. That said, it’s still a good viewfinder with a solid 120fps refresh rate.

It’s not just the screen’s refresh rate that’s fast – the E-M1 Mark III gets out of the blocks at great speed. Start it up and the shutter and finder are all ready to respond with no real lag.

Wade through the AF modes; Eye Detection, Face Detection, Tracking. It all seems to work rapidly and for the best part reliably. For example, Tracking AF sticks to a subject very quickly – and even right up to the near edges of the frame. 

There is some groundwork to put in to ensure the best possible performance, though. For example, if you stick to the entire 121-AF-point array for a single subject, you’ll experience focus dropping to the background. The single point or 9-AF point options are more consistently sharp in our experience.

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We tracked a bike moving at reasonable speed towards and away from the camera. Continuous Tracking AF did lag a fraction, especially closer to the camera, so we’re not top of the pile here. However, lateral movement is fine. 

Olympus has implemented an AF joystick. This is a tool that most action photographers want in order to select AF points quickly. Here it feels lovely and operates smoothly, whether viewing on screen or through the viewfinder. A side benefit of the joystick is that the limited functions of the touchscreen are less relevant. 

You also have some seriously impressive high-speed burst rates: 18fps silent shutter with continuous AF (silence is a dream for wildlife photography); and up to 60fps with the electronic shutter. For more intense action sequences, we feel the continuous ‘low’ burst rate of 9fps (mechanical shutter) is best, delivering consistently sharp AF and longer sequences. 

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Yes, high-speed sequences are handled quickly by the new TruePic IX processor and can be recorded onto a UHS-II SD card. The second SD slot is not UHS-II compatible, so you’re relying on slot one for optimum performance.

Expect approximately 65 frames before the camera slows (when shooting Raw & JPEG – or approximately double that in JPEG only). No sooner have you finished a new sequence and the camera is virtually ready to go again – surely a benefit of smaller file sizes compared to rival cameras?

Micro Four Thirds sensor quality

  • 20.4MP Micro Four Thirds sensor
  • ISO 200-25,600 (extd. ISO 64)
  • Image Stabilisation to 7.5EV
  • TruePic IX processor

The elephant in the room is sensor size. We’re looking at the same 20.4MP Micro Four Thirds sensor as found in the E-M1 Mark II, with a sensitivity range of ISO 200 to ISO 25,600. Bottom line, there are other cameras for the same price packing larger sensors and more pixels. 

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Studio tests analysing resolution and image noise with its impact on detail will show that the E-M1 Mark III does not compete with those larger sensor cameras in like-for-like tests.  

Image noise is relatively absent in images up to ISO 800, though, and it’s really only from ISO 3200 that we’re starting to lose detail and contrast. Also, default noise reduction for JPEG images is heavy handed in our view.

However, images are not taken in a lab but in the real world – and that is where the Olympus technology (and vast choice of sharp, wide aperture lenses) comes into play.

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Image stabilisation up to 7.5EV means a slower shutter speed can be used, where appropriate. Any increase in light intake, such as through increasing shutter speed (or a fast aperture lens), can make a big difference in image quality. 

And what is the point of more pixels if the picture is not sharp in the first place? We feel that the E-M1 Mark III is very reliable across a wide range of scenarios to at least get focusing right and minimise motion blur. 

With regards to how images look, Olympus has long given us a beautifully warm and natural colour rendition. The plentiful Art Filters are more suited to the entry-level cameras, but here the natural picture mode with auto white balance are a great combo. Like some other camera systems, in JPEG images there is a small loss of detail in bright magentas/reds.

Pocket-lint

We should also note that the evaluative metering system is one of the most reliable out there. You also get manual control at your fingertips through exposure compensation, plus a handy range of spot metering modes. 

Verdict

The more you use the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, the more you’ll appreciate how effective a camera it is. Its technological weaponry makes light work of macro, portraits, landscapes and wildlife – whatever you want to throw at this camera, it’ll eat it up, thanks to a huge range of creative shooting modes and a sensational image stabilisation system. 

This is all achieved in a truly compact and robust camera that slots into the hand perfectly and provides all the manual control needed, positioned exactly where you’d want it to be. Sure, the Micro Four Thirds sensor does have an impact on image quality – especially as light contrast fades – but the image quality is still good, and Olympus’ progress is focused elsewhere. 

The E-M1 Mark III is all about providing technology that further ensures shots are sharp, or effects that can be achieved easily in the camera. The range of lenses is great. The camera’s accurate face and eye detection is super. And we’ve already said it – but that stabilisation system will elevate your handheld shots to the next level.

The battle between sensor sizes just got more interesting. The third-gen OM-D E-M1 is a technological powerhouse that thinks differently.

Also consider

Pocket-lint

Panasonic Lumix G9

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Another high-speed, weather-sealed camera with Micro Four Thirds sensor. Image quality is similar, plus you get each company’s best image stabilisation and a fully articulated rear LCD touchscreen. Both are robust cameras, with the G9 including a top LCD and a superior viewfinder.





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