Really disappointed with my new E-M10IV

pake

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So... Just noticed a week ago that my E-M5III has a broken mic. And what's "lovely" is that I noticed it by browsing through the latest videos I've recorded of our puppy. 47 videos in total and all of them without sounds. So there goes 1,5 months worth of videos to the trashcan (well, not really since the material needs to be kept even without sounds). So you can imagine the mood I was in once I figured out what had happened.

I have a a few photography gigs coming up so sending the E-M5III to Portugal for 3 weeks wasn't an option. Also looking at the prices for (new/used) E-M5IIIs made it clear there is no point in buying such an expensive backup camera. Also noticed that Olympus Pro Service (or whatever it's called) isn't available for such toy models as E-M5 - it's only available for users with E-M1 or E-M1X series. That's once again one good indication how much OMDS values their E-M5 series. Also the E-M5III with its swivel screen is pretty much unusable for macro work of mine so what to do...?

Answer: Upgrade my macro workhorse and backup cam E-M10II to E-M10IV! I had been thinking about it since spring so it was easy to make the call. I thought I could manage a few photo shoots with the new camera while my E-M5III is visiting the repair center. Placed the order on Amazon.de on Saturday and today I got the camera. Aaaand... Not happy. Not happy at all.

I knew Olympus/OMDS had decided to "dumb down" the E-M10 series after the brilliant mk2 but I honestly didn't think they would go THIS far in destroying the camera with the best quality/price ratio. I mean... The list of features they've removed is INSANE! Here's a few of them:

- No more custom settings (you can reset to factory settings and that's it)
- You cannot change burst speeds. No more 1-5 pics per second for L-setting. It is what it is. Dunno what the speed actually is. Haven't checked it yet.
- No more shutter priority. The camera will not take photos until the AF has locked into something. If the focus hunts, it will hunt and you will end up with no pic at all - or one taken a couple of seconds too late. I mean... REALLY?!
- No more HP. You cannot select the "default" AF point. I'm used to having one button dedicated for quick "return AF to center"-feature but that's not possible anymore.
- Fewer AF point/box options.
- No more direct AF selection with the cursors. You need to press Left Cursor or assign another button for that (which would mean 2 buttons do the same thing!) before you can change the focus point.
- Only 4-5 options for button assignments. VERY limited compared to the mk2.
- I'd estimate that half of the menu items have been removed from the mk2.
- Can't change the dial directions! Thank God I've used the default rotation always and haven't switched it like my wife. It would be agony to have E-M5III dials working the right way and this the wrong.

I did some quick test shots with my O60mm f/2.8 in low light and looking at the ISO-1600 shots I got the IQ is noticeably worse than with my E-M5III. I hope I'm delusional and that's not the case but time will tell.

The AF seems a bit snappier than on my old E-M10II and the EVF might be better. Also the ergonomics are a bit better. That's about it. I cannot understand how OMDS has
turned such a fine camera into something so stupid/simple that it hurts. I mean... Yes, I understand they want people to buy the E-M5 instead but what do they REALLY gain from removing features that were already there? It in fact takes R&D costs to dumb down the camera and strip down the features from the previous models. And I always thought that E-M10s were the perfect choice for 2nd cameras. It used to be a fun camera to use. Now? Far from it. I'll put my money on the E-M10V to only have iAuto-mode and that's it. The camera (maker) will make all the decisions and the user can only press the shutter.

I honestly don't know what's next for me. E-M5s are out of question for macro work as the screen won't tilt from the base position. OMDS will not put any money into developing a multifunctional swivel screen (like Nikon, Fuji and Lumix have done) that's for sure. E-M10s were great for my kind of people who prefer tilt screens. Now if you want a tilt screen, it only comes with the most dumbed down camera model there is on the market. Most of us don't want that.

I guess I'll just have to wait and see what's the path OMDS has chosen. I don't have any faith they would introduce a "hybrid screen" that tilts nicely. That means I need something else for macro. And what else is there in m4/3 format? Not that many options, eh? So... I'm starting to fear my next camera will be something completely different than m4/3. I've lost my faith and OMDS or Lumix better bring SOMETHING that would win me back. And the funny (or sad) thing is that a tilt screen on a "normal" camera would suffice. I'm not asking for all the bells and whistles. I just want a camera that isn't dumbed down to the smart phones' level. It seems I was asking for waaaay too much.
 
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Robstar1963

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The worst thing for me with the EM10/4 is the really cheap plasticky lightweight feel of it
The EM5/3 is now constructed from mainly plastic components but that at least has a good feel and reasonable feeling of weight - the EM10/4 just feels too light to give any impression of quality - just hasn’t got that jewel like feeling that the Mk2 had
 
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MarcioK

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Maybe try the GX9? I'm leaving m43 but still had my E-M10 III and the GX9 here, and I think it is a very underrated camera.

The E-M10 III is dumbed down form the MK II, as your camera. Completely agree with you.

The GX9 have a tilt screen, a movable EVF (terrific for tripod work, for holding the camera as a old TLR for a more solid position, and maybe even for some of your macro work), 20mp, very good IQ (look like it have the G9 color science, much better than previous Panasonic), a good IBIS (not E-M5 MK III level, but very good indeed), physical switch for af modes (a must for me), back dial that could be pressed for enlarged view id manual focus (perfect for adapted lenses).

Worse than the E-M10s? Maybe the looks (albeit the black version is very classy), dials (the Olys dials are the best that I know, from all brands), the EVF (smaller and, for some people, could have some color tearing - never occured to me), and lacking the Live Bulb mode (for me, the best Oly feature). Since you work with macro, check the stacking options, I don't remember them.

For video, only one caveat - it have an additional crop in 4k, not in 1080p. The video is gorgeous, great colors, IBIS works fine. Video AF wise, better than older Panasonics, probably in the ballpark of the E-M10 IV, worse then the PDAF Olys.

Very good, very underrated camera. Got it used in a kit because I wanted the 12-60 zoom, original intention was keep the lens and sell the body, but instead my GX85 body was sold. It is much better.
 

pake

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The worst thing for me with the EM10/4 is the really cheap plasticky lightweight feel of it
The EM5/3 is now constructed from mainly plastic components but that at least has a good feel and reasonable feeling of weight - the EM10/4 just feels too light to give any impression of quality - just hasn’t got that jewel like feeling that the Mk2
I don't mind that. In fact I prefer the lightness and wished it were even lighter. Most of the time there will be a "huge" Godox TT685o on top of it and jumping in the bushes shooting in awkward positions for an hour or two with that combo can stress my wrist a bit. The lighter the better. :)
 

pake

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Maybe try the GX9? I'm leaving m43 but still had my E-M10 III and the GX9 here, and I think it is a very underrated camera.

The E-M10 III is dumbed down form the MK II, as your camera. Completely agree with you.

The GX9 have a tilt screen, a movable EVF (terrific for tripod work, for holding the camera as a old TLR for a more solid position, and maybe even for some of your macro work), 20mp, very good IQ (look like it have the G9 color science, much better than previous Panasonic), a good IBIS (not E-M5 MK III level, but very good indeed), physical switch for af modes (a must for me), back dial that could be pressed for enlarged view id manual focus (perfect for adapted lenses).

Worse than the E-M10s? Maybe the looks (albeit the black version is very classy), dials (the Olys dials are the best that I know, from all brands), the EVF (smaller and, for some people, could have some color tearing - never occured to me), and lacking the Live Bulb mode (for me, the best Oly feature). Since you work with macro, check the stacking options, I don't remember them.

For video, only one caveat - it have an additional crop in 4k, not in 1080p. The video is gorgeous, great colors, IBIS works fine. Video AF wise, better than older Panasonics, probably in the ballpark of the E-M10 IV, worse then the PDAF Olys.

Very good, very underrated camera. Got it used in a kit because I wanted the 12-60 zoom, original intention was keep the lens and sell the body, but instead my GX85 body was sold. It is much better.
If this new E-M10IV turns out to be worse than my mk2 for macro I guess I'll try that then.
 
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I shoot macro (and other things) with a GX9 and the Oly 60mm macro lens, works just fine :) I can show some photos of my setup if you're interested. I use a Meike Mk320 and a cheap and awesome 3D-printed handgrip from ebay/Amazon.
 
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@pake thanks for the complete list of woes of the post mkii models - the lack of pro services for the M5 series is a surprise for me and clearly shows they have their M5 children under consumer and not prosumer status, hence whole plastic fake metal looking body I guess..

for anyone reading these lines for OMSD, guys like me will never get in the M1 size territory so you better come out with a proper M5iv or a proper M10v - until then my M10ii stays solidly foot…errr… put!
 

Darmok N Jalad

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In regard to your audio-less videos, I assume you watched them on the camera as well to confirm? Sometimes there can be a codec issue on desktops, resulting in a lack of playback of either video or audio. Probably a long shot, but I just didn’t want you to trash them in case maybe there was a software issue at play.
 

PakkyT

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- No more HP. You cannot select the "default" AF point. I'm used to having one button dedicated for quick "return AF to center"-feature but that's not possible anymore.
No idea if this is the case with the E-M10 series but on some models, like my E-M1.1 for example, you can return the AF to center by pressing and holding the OK button (that is when you are already in the screen to move the AF point around; you still have to get there first). This works even on cameras that have a HP setting and is set for a different point.

I had thought this was the case for all models, but I found out on my recently acquired E-PM2 that this is not the case as it doesn't work on that one. Let us know how it works on the E-M10.4.
 
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The only trick dedicated camera makers have is to cripple their hardware and software (firmware) for price tier differentiation. Their chipsets and power management cannot accommodate robust software platforms like smartphones, so to force upselling into the E-M1 series, they can only cripple the firmware and cheapen the hardware on lower end models. It’s the only trick they have, reliant on 1970s industry practices. It’s especially true when effectively forced to use the same sensor across all models.

Everything in the list of complaints here is precisely to compel an internal consumer decision to pay more for the upper tier models.
 

SteveNunez

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Are you sure the "mic' is broken- are you recording with an external mic- if so you might have to put the "power on" setting for external mics w/o power (non batt powered)?
 

Cederic

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In addition to the suggestions regarding audio formats and power to an external mic, if the mic is broken but the rest of the camera is fine, an external microphone may be the cheap answer and let you send back the M10 that's clearly disappointed you.
 

comment23

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No idea if this is the case with the E-M10 series but on some models, like my E-M1.1 for example, you can return the AF to center by pressing and holding the OK button (that is when you are already in the screen to move the AF point around; you still have to get there first). This works even on cameras that have a HP setting and is set for a different point.

I had thought this was the case for all models, but I found out on my recently acquired E-PM2 that this is not the case as it doesn't work on that one. Let us know how it works on the E-M10.4.
Yes, holding down the OK button whilst on focus point selection screen recentres the focus point on the E-M10 Mark IV too.
 

comment23

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The worst thing for me with the EM10/4 is the really cheap plasticky lightweight feel of it
The EM5/3 is now constructed from mainly plastic components but that at least has a good feel and reasonable feeling of weight - the EM10/4 just feels too light to give any impression of quality - just hasn’t got that jewel like feeling that the Mk2
Interesting. I prefer the feel of the plastic on the E-M10 Mark IV to the E-M5 Mark III or the PEN E-P7.
 

comment23

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@pake I can’t deny that this does seem to be a big backwards step for your use case. I’m not sure about your findings on the quality vs your E-M1 Mark III though, it would be good to hear more about that after you do further comparison.

My use case for the E-M10 Mark IV is different though: small lightweight body for use with primes and small zooms when out with the family and my E-M1 Mark III would be overkill.

For me the improvements in sensor, massively better face detect, and better ergonomics without noticeable increase in size are significant. And although I too miss the custom modes, I’d like at least one just to be able to return to a know baseline, I find myself making more use of the SCN dial position for quick adjustment to suit my subject. But this is for less serious work so appreciate it may not be a good solution for other needs.

At the end of the day I can see why they needed to differentiate the product lines more but I do feel they have gone a bit too far in some areas. I think I’m really hoping for an E-M5 Mark IV with better build (robust thumb grip and did somebody say PD Capture compatible base plate?), the latest face recognition, more accessible C2 and C3 modes and USB C. The icing on the cake would be a hybrid screen that can tilt and swivel.
 
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Interesting. I prefer the feel of the plastic on the E-M10 Mark IV to the E-M5 Mark III or the PEN E-P7.
Fully agree with this. Coming from E-M5 iii the 10 IV feels at least equally, if not more well-built. The camera doesn't feel cheap and hollow like some Sony or Fujifilm MILCs I've handled.
Comparing to E-M10 ii then yes, that one was metal, and it was a gem. But it wasn't a tank like the E-M1 series. And some ergonomic changes in the E-M10IV are actually welcome for me:

- The mode dial, despite its ridiculously large font, is much easier to use due to better placement and the grippy part being at the top
- larger power knob, which feels more substantial and less likely to break
- Front and rear dials are a wash between the two, but I find the newer ones to be more flat and elegant looking, and with a nicer texture
- record button recessed and less likely to be pressed accidentally
- 4-way controller with raised edges is more grippy
- Grippy? Anyone notice the grip, and how awesome it is? Better than the 10.2 or even the 5.3, perfect with primes or small zooms. Just a joy to hold
- not sure if it's considered ergonomics, but USB charging is a must for the busy man or woman travelling light

@pake I can’t deny that this does seem to be a big backwards step for your use case. I’m not sure about your findings on the quality vs your E-M1 Mark III though, it would be good to hear more about that after you do further comparison.

My use case for the E-M10 Mark IV is different though: small lightweight body for use with primes and small zooms when out with the family and my E-M1 Mark III would be overkill.

For me the improvements in sensor, massively better face detect, and better ergonomics without noticeable increase in size are significant. And although I too miss the custom modes, I’d like at least one just to be able to return to a know baseline, I find myself making more use of the SCN dial position for quick adjustment to suit my subject. But this is for less serious work so appreciate it may not be a good solution for other needs.

I was going to write a long-winded response to @pake, but I have the same use case as @comment23 (with the E-M5 iii in lieu of the E-M1).
Therefore I have the same arguments.
New sensor plus better AF plus better ergonomics plus USB charging equals better small camera for spontaneous shooting.
If I want to do something complicated I'll use the E-M5.3.
 
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Sure, OMDS/Olympus felt compelled to differentiate product tiers, but they took away features that directly compete with smartphones and their nearly unlimited customization and app options. Typically narrow-minded, constrained thinking of the dedicated camera industry, taking away features so as not to compete with their shrinking ecosystem, but at the same time crippling appeal to the wider market.

Definition of parochial.
 

bargainguy

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I have the 5.3 and 10.4. Identical 20.2 MP sensor if memory serves. Processing engine on the 10.4 might even be better (later technology than when the 5.3 came out). So if you're getting poorer results with the 10.4, something else is going on.
 

Darmok N Jalad

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I have the 5.3 and 10.4. Identical 20.2 MP sensor if memory serves. Processing engine on the 10.4 might even be better (later technology than when the 5.3 came out). So if you're getting poorer results with the 10.4, something else is going on.
The sensor on the 10.4 is not the same. It only has contrast-detect, where the EM5.3 includes phase detect. Not sure about the engine, but I‘d be surprised if it’s much of a step up from the EM5.3 since the 10.4 is an entry level body.
 
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