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Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III: world-best 7.5 stops IBIS, handheld astro, 60fps burst + 80MP images!

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III: world-best 7.5 stops IBIS, handheld astro, 60fps burst + 80MP images!
(Image credit: Olympus)

Olympus has announced its latest flagship professional camera, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III – which boasts a number of remarkable specs, including a world-best 7.5 stops of in-body image stabilization, which makes it possible to shoot handheld astrophotography. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is a return to form factor for the company’s pro offering, going back to the same compact chassis as the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II (opens in new tab) that weighs in at just 504g body only. Disappointingly, though, it also uses the same 20.4MP sensor as its predecessor. 

• Hands on: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III review

However, it ports across some of the new hardware features from the heavyweight 2019 “flagship reimagined” Olympus OM-D E-M1X (opens in new tab) (a confusing sister product, which features a pro DSLR-sized frame). These include a joystick and dedicated ISO button, along with a more robust shutter mechanism that’s rated to 400,000 actuations (doubling the Mark II’s 200,000). 

The E-M1 Mark III boasts a brand new TruePix IX processor, which means that it can also incorporate some of the E-M1X’ cutting-edge software technology (which required a pair of Truepic XIII processors to execute, illustrating just how powerful the new chip is). 

These include features like 50MP handheld and 80MP tripod High Res Shot (both achieved via pixel shift), modes like Live ND Filters (offering up to 5-stop virtual neutral density filters), significantly improved AF tracking and acquisition, custom AF targeting (enabling you create bespoke AF-point groupings, such as vertical lines) and an improved Pro Capture mode (which records 35 images when the shutter is half-pressed, and now up to 120 afterwards).

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III now boasts a joystick and a dedicated ISO button (Image credit: Olympus)
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The E-M1 Mark III also maintains flagship features such as 60fps burst shooting with locked AF/AE, and 18fps burst shooting with AF/AE and tracking, along with 4K and C4K video up to 30 frames per second, 1080p video up to 120 frames, on-chip phase detection autofocus with 121 cross-type points, and world-class weather sealing. 

Still, arguably the most significant feature added to the E-M1 Mark III is the aforementioned stabilization improvement – which provides 7 stops of stabilization as standard, and 7.5 stops when paired with Olympus’ Sync IS professional lenses. This facilitates the new Starry Sky AF mode – one of a number of nods towards astrophotographers, whom Olympus appears to be targeting with its new camera. 

Starry Sky features a bespoke algorithm that can perform precision autofocus on even the smallest stars – and in its Speed Priority mode capitalizes on the IBIS for handheld astro shooting with a wide-angle lens. Meanwhile, the Accuracy Priority mode uses a fine-tuned focus scanning for shooting specific stars with telephoto lenses.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is available from late February for $1,799 / £1,599.99 / AU$3,099 body only, in a kit with the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro for $2,499 / £2,199.99 / AU$4,199, or with the 12-100mm f/4 Pro for $2,899 / £2,499.99 / AU$4,799. 

Preorder the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III at Adorama (opens in new tab)

Preorder the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III at Park Cameras (opens in new tab)

Read more: 

Hands on: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III review (opens in new tab)
The best cameras for professionals (opens in new tab) in 2020: which pro camera system is best?
Olympus 12-45mm f/4 Pro lens is as light as an apple!  (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.