Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

The $500 E-M10 is the entry level model in Olympus’s respected OM-D range. It has a 16 megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor that they claim can compete with the larger sensors found in entry level DSLRs. The model I reviewed came with the 14–42mm, f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Power Zoom Pancake kit lens, available now from Amazon for $500.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm 2RK lens (Silver) Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm 2RK lens (Silver) Amazon's Choice for a great travel camera Buy Now At Amazon $999.99

Mirrorless cameras are becoming more popular as they close the gap in image quality and feature set with DSLRs. Their small size and light weight make them far easier to carry around. A good mirrorless camera, like the E-M10, will shoot RAW files, have full manual controls, and use interchangeable lenses — many of the things people have traditionally bought DSLRs for.

As one of the most popular cameras in the mirrorless field, we decided to take a look to see how the EM10 fared – and at the end of this review, we’re giving it away to one lucky reader!

The Image Quality

First things first: if the images the E-M10 took weren’t up to par, it wouldn’t matter how great everything else about the camera was. Fortunately, the E-M10 takes great pictures with a 16 MP Micro Four Thirds sensor.

Olympus_Review_029_P1010036

Ads by Google

The RAW files have great dynamic range. I was able to recover a lot of highlight and shadow detail, even in poorly exposed files. If you nail the exposure in camera, you’ll have a lot of data to work with in the post process. Straight out of camera, they looked a little flat to me but 30 seconds in Lightroom was enough to bring them to life. I also took the E-M10 along with me on a model shoot and edited the pictures fully–the results were great.

Compared to my old Canon 650D, the E-M10 stacks up well. My Canon cost more than twice as much three years ago and until recently was my primary camera. That the E-M10’s images are of the same quality, is a ringing endorsement of what Olympus has put together.

Olympus_Review_037_P1010013

In theory, the E-M10’s smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor should have worse low light performance than the APS-C sensors in most entry level DSLRs. However, I found that even at relatively high working ISOs — 1000 to 1600 — the images never lost too much detail. Above 1600, there was some noticeable noise but that’s to be expected. Perhaps you might get a little more useable ISO range with a camera that has a slightly bigger sensor but it shouldn’t be a deciding factor.

Shooting with the E-M10

The E-M10 is pretty nice to shoot with. The main controls are great although things can be a little cramped.

My favourite thing about the E-M10 was the two control dials on top of the camera. If you shoot in manual mode, one is mapped to shutter speed and the other to exposure. If you shoot in a priority mode, one controls the priority setting while the other handles exposure compensation. This is a big deal – two dedicated exposure dials is a feature not found on many entry level DSLRs. Instead, they use a single dial and a modifier button. Having the main exposure controls readily to hand makes it easy to adjust settings on the fly.

dials

Everything other than the exposure is controlled through the onscreen menu system. The 3 inch touch screen works, although hardware controls would be better (where you’d squeeze them on the tiny body, I’m not sure). The menu is fairly intuitive with important settings — such as ISO, and focus — accessible with one or two taps. It’s not how I like to do things, but for anyone transitioning from a smartphone, it will all feel very familiar.

back

The E-M10 has a built in electronic viewfinder. It’s better than using the screen on the back but not much more. The EVF screen is relatively low resolution so everything looks a little muddy. The quality of the images the Olympus actually took far exceeded what I was seeing through the viewfinder. It’s perfectly adequate for framing shots but a definite step down from a mirrored viewfinder. Again, if you’re transitioning from a smartphone this will be a step up but if you’re used to DSLRs it will take some adjustment.

Olympus_Review_002_P1010070

Autofocus with the E-M10 is really good. It’s fast, accurate and, with the touch screen, you can choose pretty much any point on the sensor to focus with. I was never shooting with a very wide aperture so I can’t say how it will handle focusing with very shallow depth of fields, but for almost everything above f/3.5 or so, it’s never going to struggle.

The one issue I found shooting with the E-M10 was that the grip was tiny. I found I was holding the camera between my fingers rather than fully gripped in my hand. This meant accessing anything but the two main dials and shutter button required a bit of finger contortion. Olympus clearly prioritised keeping things small. Once you get used to it, the grip is fine but it is smaller than ideal. It’s far from a deal breaker.

The Ecosystem

A camera is only one half of the equation. To take great pictures you need great lenses. The kit lens — which I’ll cover in a moment — is decent, but if you’re looking to shoot something more specialised like portraits, landscapes, wildlife, or sports, isn’t up to scratch. Olympus has invested a lot in developing their Micro Four Thirds ecosystem and it’s paid off well. There’s plenty of great lenses available for the E-M10.

If you want to shoot sports or wildlife, you can get affordable telephoto lenses that have an equivalent focal length of 400mm. On the other hand, if portraits are your thing, the Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 with it’s 90mm equivalent focal length is a decent counterpart to the 85mm lens I use on my full frame camera.

lenses

The bottom line is, if you buy the E-M10, you won’t be stuck for good glass. Canon and Nikon with their decades of development may have more expansive ranges, but the Micro Four Thirds collection has something for almost everything.

The Kit Lens

The 14–42mm, f/3.5-f/5.6 Zuiko Power Zoom Pancake that comes with the E-M10 is surprisingly great. It has an equivalent range of around 28mm to 84mm which is perfect for a lot of situations. However, it’s not the photos it takes that make it so good, but the size. When the camera is powered off, the kit lens sits close to the body maintaining the camera’s low profile. Turn it on and the lens basically triples in size.

Most lenses this small have very limited focal ranges, that Olympus is able to squeeze such a decent walk-around zoom into such a tiny package is impressive. If you’re buying a mirrorless camera, the odds are size and weight are major considerations and the kit lens fits the bill. I was impressed.

The Build Quality

It’s built completely of metal so it has a nice heft to it without being too heavy. The entry level DSLRs it’s competing with are overwhelmingly made of plastics so this is a big advantage. A metal body offers much better protection and durability. It’s not weatherproofed, so taking it out in a thunderstorm is a bad idea, but I don’t think you need to lock an E-M10 in a plastic bag at the first sign of rain. Similarly, don’t play basketball with it, but it feels like it will handle a drop or two with only a few scuffs.

leftside

Everything else about the E-M10’s build is to the same standard. The buttons and dials are all nice and tactile. The LCD screen is high quality. It’s bright, the colors look accurate and the touch controls are responsive. It’s no iPhone, but there’s nothing to complain about. All in all, for a $500 camera, it’s very well made.

The Extra Features

The E-M10 comes with a whole host of extra features that may, or may not, matter to you.

It has WiFi so you can connect to your smartphone and use it to trigger the camera. It works well though the use cases are limited.

rightside

The camera can record video though it’s functionality is limited too. There’ s no port for an external mic so sound quality is awful on the videos. There’s not a lot of control over things like framerates and other things that matter if you’re serious about shooting videos. If you want to record your kids’ football game, it’s fine, but otherwise it’s more of a stills-only camera.

There are also built-in “Art Effects” which aren’t terrible but certainly don’t offer the kind of control over your images you get with a proper post processing workflow.

The EM–10 can shoot bracketed HDR images and combine them in camera. Again, this is something that works but isn’t as good as blending them using Photoshop or another image editing app.

What’s Not to Like?

There’s very little not to like about the E-M10. Most of my issues — the small grip, EVF, and hit or miss extras — are flagged above and are relatively minor. They’re certainly not reasons to avoid the camera. If you’re looking at a mirrorless camera, you’re going to have to get a small body, An EVF is a bonus on mirrorless cameras and far better than just using the back screen. Every camera comes with heaps of questionable “features” that do little more than fill out the spec sheet.

The only other gripe I had with the E-M10 was that something — and it’s not the lens’s focusing motor — makes a weird hum when you’re using it. It’s not so loud as to distract other people, but when you’re holding the camera up to your face it can be irritating.

If I was to buy a mirrorless camera today I would give serious thought to the E-M10. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. It’s no replacement for a professional DSLR, but it stacks up well against — and exceeds — most entry level DSLRs. It’s hard not to like the size and weight savings of going with a mirrorless camera.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm 2RK lens (Silver) Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 14-42mm 2RK lens (Silver) Amazon's Choice for a great travel camera Buy Now At Amazon $999.99
If you’re looking for a mirrorless camera, you can’t go wrong with the E-M10.

Olympus OM-D EM-10 Mirrorless Camera Giveaway (Worth $499!)

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. Jassiem Maynard
    November 25, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Did anyone win?

  2. John
    November 24, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Is there a winner?

  3. Zsolt Pinter
    November 24, 2015 at 8:03 am

    Winner?

  4. financial analyst
    November 24, 2015 at 6:54 am

    whos the winner ?

  5. McKay
    November 23, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Have you guys announced the winner already?

  6. WuWonK
    November 23, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Winner?

  7. Ayyad Ilyass
    November 21, 2015 at 11:08 pm

    we all need this haha

  8. Brian
    November 21, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Mount Olympus here we come

  9. financial analyst
    November 21, 2015 at 8:45 am

    if i win this it ll be my biggest day

  10. apple boy
    November 21, 2015 at 8:43 am

    omg ! i realllyyy love this camera , i want to win it

  11. tanya d
    November 21, 2015 at 8:41 am

    may god and the force be in my favour ,

  12. VAIBHAVE
    November 21, 2015 at 8:40 am

    i need to win this no matter what

  13. Phil Bowell
    November 20, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Fingers crossed for me to win

  14. David Raju Kalapala
    November 19, 2015 at 10:59 am

    Nice to have one

  15. Naveen Perumalla
    November 16, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    is it international Giveaway? Coz so far most of the winners are from USA and Canada

  16. Richard
    November 15, 2015 at 11:35 am

    interchangeable lens makes this great

  17. Carolyn Banks
    November 13, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    I really need this camera. I've been trying to win a camera for the longest because I can't afford one. This is an amazing giveaway.

  18. Jeje Joseph
    November 13, 2015 at 4:49 am

    Love to win this please :(

  19. Larry
    November 12, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Great review guys! I hope business is booming... In need of a camera for business and great competition. Either way, great site and really good info in this vides :)

  20. cristopher
    November 12, 2015 at 2:16 am

    I love photography, i have a dslr but not like this, i need a small camera for easy to bring.

  21. nancy
    November 11, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Was avid photographer in college. Would be fun to do again! Sounds like a great camera

  22. Tom
    November 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Daughter Wants to take Photography in College and this would help her education and learning to be the best she can be.

  23. Luc Zontrop
    November 11, 2015 at 7:40 am

    Nice review, need a replacement for my olympus e-520 :)

  24. julianangue
    November 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Thanks for the detailed review! It would be great to win this as a current photography student. Fingers crossed! :)

  25. Fady Magdy
    November 10, 2015 at 11:16 am

    love the review, and this camera is amazing

  26. thrtk3
    November 10, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Great video need to win to replace the camera I just lost.

  27. Maria Cristina Cellerino
    November 9, 2015 at 10:46 pm

    great review,video and giveaway

  28. Glo Ria
    November 9, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    The referral link doesn't work...

  29. Bjørnar Berntsen
    November 7, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Referal link dont work

  30. Sherry Keef
    November 7, 2015 at 2:26 am

    I found the video and a code but the code will not be taken ?

  31. Sherry Keef
    November 7, 2015 at 2:00 am

    I cannot find the video to watch for Bonus points.

  32. Jay Kay
    November 6, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Please fix the referral link.

  33. Jon Glass
    November 6, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    That hum you hear is probably the anti-shake feature doing its double-duty of shaking dust off the lens. That's a feature not a bug. ;-)

  34. Dimitris Prountzos
    November 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Friend refferal doesn't work :/

  35. Roger J. Caldwell
    November 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    It won't accept the video code. :(

    • James Bruce
      November 6, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      Ahh, this camera has such a stupid name! Fixed - try now!

  36. secretlittlestars
    November 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm

    Aww fingers and toes crossed!!! REALLY REALLY want this!!! Blogger's essential :) Great review, video and giveaway!

    Tatyana
    http://www.secretlittlestars.com/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *