The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is sleek, stylish and unbelievably lightweight. With an upgraded 20MP sensor and improvements made to the autofocus, this Micro Four Thirds camera looks set to impress.
Olympus may have recently grabbed headlines with its shock sale, but the launch of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV shows that it’s very much business as usual for the imaging company. With some interesting improvements made on the Mark IV’s predecessor, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III, this camera looks set to make Olympus enthusiasts very happy indeed.
We had great affection for the E-M10 Mark III, as it’s a fantastic little camera with plenty of useful features to crow about. Thanks to its compact body, 5-axis image stabilization and 4K video capability, it has sat squarely at the top of our best travel cameras guide for quite some time.
• Read more: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV vs Mark III vs Mark II
However, the Mk III wasn’t without its foibles. Released at a time when 24MP APS-C sensors were standard, the Mk III’s 16MP sensor was a little disappointing. There were also concerns over how well the camera handled moving subjects with its Continuous AF.
However, with an updated 20MP sensor and the promise of improvements made to the Continuous AF focusing, could the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV be the perfect camera for those looking for something compact, yet powerful?
Sensor: 20.3MP 4/3” Live MOS sensor
Image processor: TruePic VIII
AF points: 121 point Contrast Detection AF system
ISO range: Low (approx. 80) - 25,600
Metering modes: ESP light metering, Spot metering, Centre weighted metering, Highlight, Shadow
Video: 4K at 30p, 25p, 24p, Full HD at 60p, 50p, IPB (F,N)
Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360K dots
Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS I/ UHS II)
LCD: 3-inch tiltable touchscreen, 1,037K dots
Max burst: 8.7fps high, 5fps low
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
Size: 121.7mm x 84.4mm x 49mm
Weight: 383g (body only, including battery and memory card)
One of the key new features for the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is the welcome addition of a 20MP Live MOS sensor, which is a boost from the previous generation’s 16MP sensor. This brings the E-M10 series in line with the latest versions of the E-M5 and E-M1 series, which are both also using 20MP sensors.
The Mark IV also features a compact in-body image stabilization unit with up to 4.5 EV steps of compensation and 15 fps high-speed sequential shooting. There’s also improved Continuous AF precision for continuous focusing on moving subjects. Meanwhile, the Face Priority/ Eye Priority AF is now able to focus on faces in profile or looking down, which should help ensure that users can capture sharp portraits even at unconventional angles.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV also has a variety of shooting modes, including AUTO, SCN (Scene), AP (Advanced Photo) and Art Filter. The AP mode brings challenging shooting techniques to a beginner’s level, such as panoramas, HDR and more. Meanwhile, the Art Filter mode includes a variety of filters that, while not particularly useful for more serious shooting situations, are great fun for families and friends to play around with.
The Mark IV retains the 4K video capabilities of the Mark III, but has the added advantage of a tilting LCD monitor that can flip down 180º for self-facing video shooting and vlogging. Meanwhile, as you would expect in a camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, there is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built into the camera body as well.
Build and handling
Just like its predecessor, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is incredibly lightweight and compact. However, Olympus has managed to shave 27g off the Mark IV, making it even more portable. The trade-off with a light camera tends to come down to the body material used to construct it. The Mark IV is made out of plastic, compared to the metal body of more expensive cameras, such as the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III.
Externally, the OM-D E-M10 IV looks very similar to the previous Mark III version, retaining the same vintage styling and ergonomic dials. Speaking of the camera controls – the power switch is easy to find, even when you’re not looking directly at the camera. It slides to each position easily, with just the right amount of resistance. In a clever design quirk, you can slide the power switch past the ‘On’ position so that it’s facing forwards in order to pop the flash up.
Meanwhile, the right side of the top of the camera has three dials. The first is the mode dial, which enables you to select which shooting mode you want to work in, including Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Auto, Video and more. The other two dials can be used to select settings such as aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation. Each dial is large enough to be easily found without looking, but compact enough that it fits in nicely with the stylish design. Adjusting the dials is pleasantly ergonomic, with each dial providing just enough resistance to prevent it from being accidentally knocked.
One of the main aspects of the E-M10 Mark IV we wanted to test was how well the Continuous AF worked. With many reviews reporting that the Mark III has trouble retaining focus on moving objects, and the promise of an improved C-AF performance in the Mark IV, we were curious to see just how much difference there would be.
Fortunately, we were pretty happy with how the camera performed. The autofocus was fast, responsive and mostly able to keep up with our model as she ran towards the camera. The only time the focus began to slip was when the model came within a meter of the camera. However, the amount of times that you’d realistically be using Continuous AF on a subject within a couple of meters of you is likely pretty low.
The 15fps sequential shooting felt nice and speedy, which was handy when capturing fast-moving subjects. The Silent version of the Sequential High burst mode also felt appropriately responsive – and was particularly useful when photographing the local wildlife up close.
We were also pleased to reap the benefits of the new 20MP Live MOS sensor – which is a welcome upgrade from the Mark III’s 16MP sensor. While a Micro Four Thirds sensor is never going to deliver the sheer image quality that a full frame camera would, it was perfectly serviceable for capturing full body and close-up portraits. The Eye AF worked well, with the camera automatically finding the subject’s eyes without any trouble.
We were only able to test the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV with the 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ lens, which, while very capable, doesn’t have a particularly wide maximum aperture. However, the Mark IV features in-body 5-axis image stabilization with up to 4.5 EV steps of compensation (which is a slight improvement on the Mark III’s 4 EV steps), which meant that even images shot in low light with a slower shutter speed still came out sharp.
The 5-axis image stabilization was even more impressive when we tried out the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV’s video functionality, providing smooth footage when walking with the camera handheld. The E-M10 Mark IV is the first camera in the OMD series to feature a flip-down LCD monitor, which makes capturing self-facing vlogging footage super simple. This screen is also particularly helpful when photographing high- or low-angle photos.
Scroll through our carousel of images below to see more example photos.
We tested the O-MD E-M10 Mark IV alongside entry-level mirrorless rival cameras like the Fujifilm X-T200 and Sony Alpha A6100, as well as the E-M10 Mark III, to see just how well the new Olympus compares to its predecessor.
The move to a 20.3MP sensor has definitely given the E-M10 IV an advantage over its predecessor when it comes to resolving fine detail, and the new Olympus is even able to equal the 24MP Fujifilm X-T200 for detail capture at lower sensitivities. However, the E-M10 IV's smaller sensor and lower megapixel count can't match the image clarity from the Sony and Fujifilm cameras at higher ISOs.
Olympus O-MD cameras have traditionally been strong for dynamic range, and the new E-M10 IV is no exception. While the old Mark III scores slightly better at lower sensitivities, things are reversed at ISO 6400 and above. Both Olympus cameras are capable of capturing significantly greater dynamic range than their rival APS-C cameras from Fujifilm and Sony. The X-T200's suspicious dynamic range increase at ISO 6400 is most likely due to automatic in-camera enhancement.
Signal to noise ratio:
Our signal to noise test measures image clarity, specifically the ratio of the actual image 'data' you want to capture, versus the image noise that you don't want, but will inevitably be visible when shooting at higher ISO sensitivities. The higher the score at a given ISO sensitivity, the better.
An increase in megapixel count has the potential to increase image noise, as smaller pixels are usually less light-sensitive. However, Olympus has mostly managed to avoid this pitfall, as the E-M10 IV's images contain similarly low levels of image noise to those from the Mark III, and indeed the APS-C Fujifilm X-T200 for that matter. Sony's A6100 doesn't fare quite so well, with its images containing noticeably more noise at higher ISOs.
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a fantastic little camera with plenty to offer. With a new 20MP sensor and improved Continuous Autofocus, the Mark IV boasts some useful upgrades over its predecessor, the Mark III. While the other improvements are admittedly incremental, we’re still impressed with what the Mark IV brings to the table.
If we had any criticisms, it would be that we’d love to see a mic port to go along with the 4K video capabilities and flip down screen. However, this would likely start to step on the toes of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 line, so we can understand why Olympus didn’t include this on their entry-level camera.
Whether you’re a smartphone enthusiast looking to make the jump to a ‘proper’ camera, you want to capture high quality family snaps, or you’re simply searching for a lightweight camera to take with you on your travels, the Mark IV could be the perfect camera for you.
• Pre-order the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV from Adorama (USA)
• Pre-order the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV from B&H (USA)
• Pre-order the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV from Park Cameras (UK)
• Pre-order the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV from Wex (UK)
• Pre-order the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV from Ted's Camera (Australia)