Review Olympus Om-D E-M5 Mkiii. Early thoughts. One week road trip.

saladin

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Testing for Wakefulness

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A few days before Melbourne went into full Covid lockdown, I was working down near the Maribyrnong River and discovered that the Australian Wakeboard Championships were being held. This was a fortunate eventuality given i was keen to find a way to shoot a fast moving sport. Even more fortunate was that the Em5iii was in the car. So, too, was the Oly 40-150 Pro and teleconverter. Everyone carries such a combo as their everyday carry camera, don't they? Err, no? Ok, probably not.

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I actually cant recall why i had the big zoom. But I did. So i spent a (somewhat extended!) lunch break (and then a short stint again the next day) putting the Em5iii AF through its paces. How could i not?

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Essentially, i dialled in the smallest central AF point and at first ran standard C-AF. As always, the biggest limiting factor for me was keeping the AF point on the target. Particularly as the wakeboarders became closer and their relative speed naturally increased across the EVF. I had many shots with the backround in focus, but i was also more than happy with many shots. The 5 and the Pro get along just fine.

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I used AF-Tracking for a short time but i found it less intuitive for me and i wasn't terribly confident in the system. I'll be frank - at the time of use, i wasn't entirely sure on how the system works, or how to make it work best for me. Quite often, it wouldnt lock on what i wanted it to lock on and I'd watch the target frame vanish off the edge of the evf as i panned with the competitor.

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I will definitely experiment further with tracking down the track. As time wasn't entirely my own to spend ( I was meant to be working!) , i switched back to C-AF but this time i set the maximum focus distance to 100 meters.

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Obviously, this restricted the potential photo's to a closer area, but I thought it may help the AF if i wandered off target and prevented it having to rack back from a theoretical infinity setting. I did feel that this helped, but i also felt that I improved my panning ability too, so its not a clear cut case. Sports is absolutely a genre that benefits immensely from practice and familiarity. Both will be more useful to the photographer than a new camera.

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Overall, i'm very pleased with my results. The camera handled perfectly fine with the big Pro lens and i never once thought i really needed the optional grip. Yes, it may have helped, and yes, I'll probably get one when they're on discount. But it's far from essential. Incidentally, the camera balanced beautifully with the standard grip from my fingertips with the 40-150. With smaller lenses, it doesn't. The extra weight out front actually helps in this regard.

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I'd love to do some more testing. And i will. I considered holding off on this section for at least another sporting event, but at the moment that seems quite a distance into the Covid future. Australian Rules footy would be ideal, its a sport i've shot often so that removes one variable. But Wakeboarding is a seriously tough sport. Most of the competitors when i was there were juniors - the senior events were held over for the Saturday and Sunday - and it was remarkable to see what they could do. It was rare to see two clean passes, falls were commonplace. Which was of little surprise given some of the tricks they were trying to pull off. And sometimes did!

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If nothing else, it reinforced what i'd suspected early - this is a seriously capable allrounder. I am now comfortable that the Em5iii is incredibly versatile. If I need something done, chances are that the Em5 Mkiii won't be the reason I cant do it.

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All photo's are jpegs with tweeking done in snapseed on my phone. I kept a close eye on shutter speed and often shot a bit underexposed to protect the whites. Lighting conditions varied and ISO was adjusted to suit. And I'd have no hesitation recommending the small 5iii with the 40-150 Pro. Both are top quality, and work together beautifully.


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The learning continues. Thanks for reading.
 
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ac12

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Pretty good shots.

I shoot High School games, and in my gym, my exposure is:
ISO = 3200, 1/500 sec, f/2.8

If I shoot with my dSLR and the 35/1.8 lens (at f/2), I can bump the shutter speed up to 1/1000.
That is better for volleyball, which has a wicked fast spike.

BB players are too close together to use group AF, so I have to use single point AF.
Agree that it is hard to hold the AF point on a running subject.
Most of my OOF shots are when I swing the camera from player A to player B, and overshoot player B, and focus on the wall on the other side of the gym. :(
 

Darmok N Jalad

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So if my reading/skimming is right, you still own a G9? Do you still used both, or has the EM5.3 won you over? If there's one thing I wished for from my G9, was that it was closer in size/weight to the G85 it replaced. The 5.3 really has my eye at the moment, and your write-up isn't helping me fight the urge. 💸
 

saladin

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So if my reading/skimming is right, you still own a G9? Do you still used both, or has the EM5.3 won you over? If there's one thing I wished for from my G9, was that it was closer in size/weight to the G85 it replaced. The 5.3 really has my eye at the moment, and your write-up isn't helping me fight the urge. 💸

Not so much "won me over". Its more along the lines of just seeing what the 5iii can do. I'll probably shoot it alongside the G9 one day , but i still lean towards the G9 for longer lenses and the 5iii as an everyday carry.
 

saladin

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Wakeboard photo day thoughts added to saved post position above.

My next post will be a summation of the camera as I've found it overall. Covid has made life difficult for putting a camera through it's paces, but it's probably time to wrap this up.
 
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DaPonti

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I just wanted to say thank you for a very good and detailed write-up, with nice pictures too (and, I'll give you that, some funny lines). It's particularly interesting to read your follow-up impressions after some time.
 

saladin

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Cheers . I'll be posting at least one more largish post soon-ish.
 

Jay2233

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Thank you for the review. Amazing pictures. I'm planning to get this when i save up a bit more money.
 
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