Review EM10ii to EM5iii upgrade thoughts

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Jan 19, 2018
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Columbus, Ohio, US
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Mark
I've had my EM5iii for a couple of weeks now and thought it was time to write up my impressions with respect to comparisons against the EM10ii from which I upgraded. This was intended to be a drop-in replacement for my EM10ii which has been dying from a progressive shutter lock up for a few months now. When the EM5iii went on sale at Amazon for under $900 I jumped as I don't expect to see it at that price again for a while

I carry my camera everywhere in a small bag as I don't really like the quality of phone images so size was important to me and the reason I didn't move to an EM1ii. From a handling perspective, the size and weight are similar enough to me to make no difference. For me, that's a positive as I love my EM10ii and think that, excluding autofocus, it's a perfect camera for me.

I'm not feeling a huge difference in the way it feels in my hand even though much has been made of the plastic body. I will most likely pick up a grip for it (leaning towards the STC Fogrip once it hits Amazon) and use that when I want to put it on a tripod or use my Peak Design capture plate with it to prevent any stress to the tripod mount point. My expectation/hope is that this camera should last me 5 years minimum.

I shoot back-button focus most of the time and I'm also left-eye dominant. The EM5iii has a dedicated ISO button on it where the EM10ii has the AEL/AFL button. The EM5iii has an additional AEF/AFL button just to the right of the viewfinder. As a left-eye dominant shooter, my face is usually pressed up against the back of the camera in such a way that it's difficult and uncomfortable to use the AEL/AFL button as situated on the EM5iii for back button focus so I remapped buttons to use the ISO button for back button focus and mapped the exposure compensation button to ISO.

The reason I bought the EM5iii instead of trying to hold out for the EM10iv is that I suspected (correctly) that the EM10iv would not have PDAF autofocus. Far and away this is the biggest difference between the cameras and, for me, it's a HUGE one. I've seen others on the forum say that the EM1ii and EM1iii focus lenses better and faster than the Olympus bodies with contrast detection autofocus and I suspect that is true of the EM5iii as well. In single autofocus, it definitely focuses faster and I feel that it focuses more accurately and with less hunting than the EM10ii. Even the famously slow-focusing Panasonic 20mm seems to focus better and faster.

And now we come to continuous autofocus. Having continuous autofocus on the EM10ii was kind of a joke. It just didn't work. It absolutely works on the EM5iii. At a baseball game my son was on third base and I set myself up behind the fence at home plate. I put the AF select box on him, held down the back button to engage continuous autofocus, and with the shutter on continuous low I hit and held the shutter button. What happened next was what you would expect to happen. I got a series of in-focus shots of my son running to home base. That simply wasn’t what happened with the EM10ii. This makes the EM5iii a camera I can use for everything.

One area where the EM5iii lags behind the EM10ii is in custom shooting setups. The EM10ii has 4 MySets where one can set a variety of shooting presets. Yes you have to go into the menus to use them, but it’s a great way to switch between shooting scenarios (portrait to sports or nature) quickly. The EM5iii is a step back in this regards. There are only 3 presets available. The first of these can be set to the (C) on the dial, which is nice, but you still lose one preset and have to go into the menu to use the others.

I’m also not a fan of the articulating screen. I actually really liked the EM10ii’s tilt screen. It made it easy to do sneaky, candid portraits of kids who would otherwise run from the camera. The articulating screen makes it abundantly clear you’re still using the camera even if it’s down.

Overall, I find that the improved autofocus, by itself, makes the EM5iii a compelling upgrade over the EM10ii even with the “downgrades” of fewer shooting presets and the articulating screen. There are other upsides to the EM5iii like weather resistance and high-res mode but they aren’t compelling improvements for me but maybe they are for you.

Overall rating *****. Better than "Cats". Would buy again. Minty. A+++++++
 

pake

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Teemu
Lots of things I agree on. While I've learned to appreciate the swivel screen in SOME situations I would be much happier if I could simply tilt the screen upwards from its base position. Tilt screen has its undeniable benefits. And I did use all 4 custom modes on my E-M5 and E-M10II so I share you feelings on that as well... Why on earth did they have to take away the 4th slot?

And while the camera is not perfect, I can see me using it as my main camera for the next 5 years. Easily. Unless they get the organic sensor with global shutter and 2-3 stops better IQ before that. And put that inside the E-M5IV. :D
 

GBarrington

Mu-43 Top Veteran
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
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797
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Springfield, Illinois
Lots of things I agree on. While I've learned to appreciate the swivel screen in SOME situations I would be much happier if I could simply tilt the screen upwards from its base position. Tilt screen has its undeniable benefits. And I did use all 4 custom modes on my E-M5 and E-M10II so I share you feelings on that as well... Why on earth did they have to take away the 4th slot?

And while the camera is not perfect, I can see me using it as my main camera for the next 5 years. Easily. Unless they get the organic sensor with global shutter and 2-3 stops better IQ before that. And put that inside the E-M5IV. :D
Well, if there ever will be an E-M5 IV, it will have to add something like that. There just isn't much left in the E-M1 III that could move 'downmarket' that would appeal to me. The 5.3 can pretty much be described as my dream m43s camera.

I'm pretty much an articulating screen agnostic. I've had cameras of both types, and in my eyes, neither is what I need at all times.
 

stevedo

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Joined
May 12, 2012
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438
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UK
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Steve Douglas
I’m also not a fan of the articulating screen. I actually really liked the EM10ii’s tilt screen. It made it easy to do sneaky, candid portraits of kids who would otherwise run from the camera. The articulating screen makes it abundantly clear you’re still using the camera even if it’s down.
You could try using the Olympus OI.Share app to give you stealth mode. Keep the screen on the camera folded in, camera in a "stealth" position, and control the camera from the app on your phone (all you need to do really is press the "shutter" in the app). Shoot in silent mode and people won't even know you've taken a photo.
 

Darmok N Jalad

Temba, his aperture wide
Joined
Sep 6, 2019
Messages
814
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Tanagra (not really)
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Randy
I was on the fence for a long time getting the E-M5iii, and now that I finally did, I’m quite happy with it. I think it’s even improved my results to some degree. It’s an awesome little camera that is as light as a feather, especially with a prime.
 

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