Olympus OM-D E-M10 hands-on preview and image samples




Even smaller but this is also a more affordable OM-D

And we look at the two new lenses announced along with the OM-D E-M10


In a flurry of activity just prior to Japan's largest photography trade show, CP+, Olympus has taken the wraps off not just a new even tinier OM-D model, the E-M10, but also a new m.Zuiko pancake 14-42mm standard zoom lens, a fast 25mm f/1.8 prime standard lens, and a fisheye-style body-cap lens. We have been fortunate enough to use the new OM-D EM-10 for several days along with the m.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 pancake zoom and the m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 prime. This has enabled us to produce an extensive photo gallery exploring the new products and full-resolution sample image gallery complete with RAW files for you to download.

Not even five months after launching its premium flagship model, the E-M1, Olympus has finally addressed the need for a more affordable OM-D model. Bundled with the new pancake zoom lens the E-M10 has a guide price of 699. No price was fixed at the time of writing for the E-M10 bundled with the standard m.Zuiko 14-42mm kit lens, but we expect it to be priced at 599. This isn't bargain basement territory - Nikon and Canon continue to tempt buyers with substantially cheaper entry-level DSLRs - but the E-M10 is not a cheap-looking or low-specification camera.

For your money you get the same 1.44 million dot LCD electronic viewfinder as the best-selling OM-D E-M5, WiFi connectivity (with PASM mode control), and a mostly metal body construction. The latest version of Olympus' TruePic image processing engine (series VII), introduced with the E-M1, is also featured. Sensor-wise we understand the 16MP LiveMOS unit is the same as the E-M5's. The shutter mechanism has the same super-refined and quiet operation as the other OM-D models although it's limited to 8 frames per second sequential shooting in high-speed mode.

Being the new entry-level OM-D you don't get the option of a battery grip and the top shutter speed is limited to 1/4000th second instead of the E-M1's 1/8000th, but you do get an ISO sensitivity extension option down from ISO 200 to ISO 100. There are also two HDR modes, time-lapse shooting mode and the same 30p (only) Full HD video mode we have become familiar with from Olympus. Another familiar feature included is the dual-axis digital level.

A major disappointment for some will be the absence of E-M1 phase-detect autofocus support to enable normal focus performance with Four Thirds DSLR lenses. These lenses can of course be used on the E-M10 via an MMF adapter but autofocus performance will not be optimal. In-body image stabilisation is of course present but it's a more basic 3-axis system rather than the 5-axis system used in the E-M1. The E-M10 is not dust and weather-sealed like its OM-D stablemates and the SD memory card slot is under the camera next to the battery (which is the older BLS-5 type),

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the E-M10 is that it is even smaller than the original E-M5. Most of the controls are arranged in the same pattern as the E-M5 although some of the buttons have been re-profiled for more ergonomic operation. There are two adjustment wheels, E-M5-style, and the usual wide flexibility of function key programmability. Despite the E-M10's diminutive size it packs a built-in pop-up flash - the first OM-D model to do so. This flash can also be used as a remote commander for external RC-mode flash units and there is also a standard dedicated hot-shoe, but no support for Accessory Port devices. It hardly goes without saying that there is a 3 inch up/down tilting touch-screen in the same style as the E-M5 and E-M10.

In the short time that we've had with the E-M10 we can report that the metal construction makes for a very solid feel and the subtly re-arranged controls work better than the E-M5's. Image quality, thanks to the TruePic VII image processor, look quite similar to the E-M1. Olympus will no-doubt be hoping the E-M10 emulates the success of the Olympus OM10 film SLR from the early 1980s, which sold in really prodigious numbers.

m.Zuiko Digital pancake 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom

A surprise addition to the Micro Four Thirds m.Zuiko range is the new pancake zoom lens. It's even smaller than the similar specification Panasonic Lumix pancake zoom but, unlike Panasonic, Olympus has managed to squeeze in a manual focus ring. Zooming is power-only by rotating the zoom ring a short way left or right. The lens extends on power-up and retracts when the camera's power is turned off, although our example didn't always retract when it was supposed to. Despite the pressures the compact design must have been borne on the optical design, initial results with the pancake zoom are encouraging.

m.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8 prime standard lens

At last we have 'standard' prime from Olympus that functions as the classic film SLR 50mm f/1.8 standard lens. At first glance the 25mm f/1.8 looks very similar to the hugely popular m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. It has a similar plastic (read affordable) construction to the 45mm but Olympus says the optical design is an advanced one, backed up by Olympus new Zero lens coatings. There is no trick instant-manual focus feature seen on the 17mm f/1.8 and the 12mm f/2.0 (as well as the 12-40 f/2.8). Once again, initial results from the 25mm f/1.8 look very positive and as we have come to expect from Olympus and its m.Zuiko primes this lens looks commendably sharp even at f/1.8.



Olympus OM-D E-M10 and new lenses gallery

Here is a our exclusive set of hands-on photos of the new OM-D E-M10 and lenses. Below is a gallery of thumbnail views of the E-M10 plus the pancake zoom and 25mm f/1.8. To see a larger view of the the thumbnail, just click on the thumbnail image you are interested in to open a new page with the full-size view.

To return to the thumbnail gallery, click the home arrow at the bottom of the page, or navigate forwards or backwards through the gallery using the backwards/forwards arrow buttons.

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