Skip to main content

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III – Nikon Z50 killer! 20.4MP, 6.5EV IBIS, weather sealing

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III – Nikon Z50 killer! 20.4MP, 6.5EV IBIS, weather sealing
(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

Olympus has announced its long-awaited new camera to coincide with its 100th birthday celebration: the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III boasts a 20.MP sensor, up to 6.5 stops of in-body image stabilization, 4K video up to 30fps, and a High Res shot mode that delivers 50MP photographs. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III also boasts a number of features inherited from Olympus' flagship E-M1 cameras, including the celebrated Pro Capture mode (enabling you to capture 14 frames before you depress the shutter, so you never miss an action moment) and a hybrid phase detect autofocus system. 

• Hands on: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review

The camera presents top-to-bottom improvements over its 2015 predecessor, the E-M5 Mark II, notably weighing 51g less despite packing so many upgraded features. Most pertinently, however, it also manages to out-spec the recently announced Nikon Z50 APS-C camera, outpunching its larger-sensored rival in almost every category from size and resolution to stabilization and weather sealing.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is 2mm wider, 4mm deeper and 51g lighter than the Mark II

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is 2mm wider, 4mm deeper and 51g lighter than the Mark II

(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

Living up to Micro Four Thirds’ promise of compact, capable cameras, the E-M5 Mark III is truly discreet at just 125.3 x 85.2 x 49.7mm, and weighs a deceptively light 395g (body only) thanks to its new polycarbonate construction.

In the hands it feels like the Mark II has lost a considerable amount of weight, but also done some extra shoulder rolls, being a tad thicker on the top. The camera is ever-so-slightly beefier, but a whole lot lighter – and, crucially, it still features class-leading IPX-rated weather sealing. 

Inside is the 20.4MP sensor imported from the flagship Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II and Olympus OM-D E-M1X, along with the hybrid 121 cross-type phase and contrast-detect autofocus system. This supports up to 10fps sequential AF shooting with the camera’s improved and new, fully customizable autofocus system. 

The E-M5 III inherits both controls and features from the flagship E-M1 cameras

The E-M5 III inherits both controls and features from the flagship E-M1 cameras

(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

Also improved is Olympus' industry leading in-body image stabilization. This has been increased to a base performance of 5.5 stops of stabilization, going up to 6.5 stops when paired with Sync-IS lenses (such as the M.Zuiko 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro lens) that employ the in-body and in-lens systems in conjunction.

Unlike previous E-M5 iterations, the Mark III eschews the chunkier BLN-1 battery in favor of the smaller, sleeker BLS-50 used by the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Olympus PEN E-PL9. Despite having a smaller capacity, however, Olympus promises that the “lifetime in still images is the same as with E-M5 Mark II”. 

This means that we’re looking at a conservative 310 shots (closer to 360 in practice) to 750 shots (with Quick Sleep Mode enabled) per charge. And the battery can also now be charged via USB – such as a powerbank, phone charger or cigarette lighter adapter – when the camera is not in use.

The E-M5 III sheds weight with a polycarbonate body and adopting the smaller BLS-50 battery (left)

The E-M5 III sheds weight with a polycarbonate body and adopting the smaller BLS-50 battery (left)

(Image credit: James Artaius / Digital Camera World)

In terms of video, the E-M5 Mark III can capture C4K at 24fps, 4K up to 30fps, and 1080p up to 120fps for slow-motion footage. All modes feel notably better in use, thanks to the increased 5.5 stops of IBIS and the improved autofocus – and vloggers will be pleased to know that there is a microphone jack. 

While the camera doesn't feature a new processor, the TruePic VIII chip has been updated to give it superior low light performance – to the extent that Olympus has increased the auto ISO upper limit by two stops, to ISO6400 from ISO1600. 

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III goes on sale 18 November with an aggressive price of £1,099.99 ($1,390.27) body only, £1,599.99 ($2,022.22) with the M.Zuiko 12-200 f/3.5-6.3 lens, or £1699.99 ($2,148.58) with the M.Zuiko 12-40 f/2.8 Pro. 

Read more: 

Hands on: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III review
What is a mirrorless camera?
The best Olympus cameras in 2019