Olympus OM-D E-M10 review: Olympus OM-D E-M10

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Olympus OM-D E-M10 (with 14-42mm Lens, Silver)

(Part #: V207021SU000)
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4 stars

CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Compact design. Very similar image quality to the rest of the OM-D range. Built-in Wi-Fi. Fast autofocus. Competitively priced compared to an SLR.

The Bad No weather sealing like other OM-D cameras. Hand grip is quite small, might be a challenge for larger hands. Rear dial is not always comfortable to reach. AF can very occasionally hit the wrong target.

The Bottom Line As long as you don't need weatherproofing and you are comfortable with a smaller body size, you don't miss out on too much by choosing the E-M10 over the other cameras.

8.4 Overall

Looking to buy into the Olympus line of interchangeable lens cameras? With three OM-D models currently on the market, there is plenty of choice. First up, the original E-M5 that started off the line in 2012. It was then followed on by the enthusiast-grade E-M1 , and now, the baby E-M10 makes its debut.

As demonstrated from the naming convention, the E-M10 is the cheapest of the bunch, delivering many of the same features as the other OM-D cameras in a smaller and lighter body. It's so petite, in fact, that it weighs only 490 grams with the kit 14-42mm lens attached.

Design and features

Just because it's the baby model doesn't mean you scrimp on all the features found in the other cameras. The E-M10 features an all-metal construction and the same twin-dial system as found on the other two OM-D cameras. You do, however, miss out on the weather sealing benefits.

The body is small enough to be confused for a high-end enthusiast compact camera, especially with the new pancake-like 14-42mm lens. Larger hands might find the camera grip a bit small, so there is an optional extra grip that can be attached on to the body. It doesn't give you any extra battery life though, unlike the grips for the other cameras.

Buttons and dials are similarly placed to the older models, which is reassuring if you are thinking of using this as a second body. The mode dial at the top houses all the main controls, including the iAuto mode, full manual PASM options, art filters, scene, movie and framing options. At the rear, the dual control dials give you access to exposure control, though the dial furthest back can be difficult to reach naturally with your thumb when the camera is at your eye, resulting in some awkward nose swipes.

Just because this is the littlest member of the OM-D family, it doesn't mean you miss out on useful features like the dual control dials.
(Credit: CBSi)

If you are a beginner to the world of ILCs, or just want to let the camera do the work for you, the E-M10 will suit your needs nicely. Leave the camera in the iAuto mode and it will automatically recognise 42 scenes for optimal image capture.

Around the back of the camera is a tilting 3-inch touchscreen. All the regular touch options are available, including focus selection or tapping the screen to take a photo.

Let's move on to some of the internal features now. The E-M10 borrows the same 16-megapixel Live MOS image sensor as the E-M5, except it is now coupled with the newer TruePic VII processor.

The built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) is no different in size or resolution to that found on the E-M5. However, it does come with a backlight adjustment that automatically detects ambient lighting, and also boasts a 0.007 second latency.

On the image stabilisation front, the E-M10 comes with a 3-axis system rather than the 5-axis system on its more sophisticated sibling cameras. This means that the compensation occurs across the three axes of yaw, pitch and roll. Olympus claims that the system offers 3.5 steps of stabilisation. Because the IS system is in-body, this means that all lenses are automatically stabilised.

Overall the stabilisation system on the E-M10 is effective, but you really do notice the difference of not having a 5-axis system when you come from the E-M1. A photo at a slower shutter speed that would normally turn out shake-free when taken on the E-M5 or E-M1 is definitely not as sharp on the baby camera.

In terms of connectivity, built-in Wi-Fi is included. The Olympus Image Share app (iOS and Android) allows you to control the zoom of the new 14-42mm lens directly from the device's screen. This zoom functionality is also backwards-compatible with the 12-50mm lens. Plus, there are the standard options like transferring photos and videos, as well as remote capture using your tablet or smartphone.

For the first time on the OM-D range, a pop-up flash comes as standard. However, it does come at a price, and that is the lack of accessory port on the E-M10. This means if you want to use other accessories like the macro arm lights or a microphone, you're out of luck. Still, we dare say the target audience for this camera will appreciate the pop-up flash much more than an accessory port. Sync speed for the flash is maintained at 1/250 second.

An example of the macro detail you can achieve with the kit lens.
(Credit: CBSi)

During video recording, the E-M10 can capture 3200 x 1800 still images in 16:9. On top of regular still capture, the camera comes with the 12 art filters that appear on other Olympus models, which can be combined to achieve up to 150 different effects in total.

Another new feature on the camera is a built-in live composite mode. This lets photographers stack a series of exposures, with only the changes appearing in the composite image. This will be very useful for those working on long exposures, such as capturing images of light trails.

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