Olympus EM-1 iii For Video?

Is The Olympus OM-D EM-1 iii a good choice for video?

The OM-D EM-1 Mark 3 is the latest, miniaturised Micro Four thirds body to be released from Olympus. Featuring a 20.4 MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor and TruePIC IX processor, it’s capable of recording Cinema 4k at up to 30FPS. 

Impressively it features a solid Hybrid AF system and a vloggers dream Image stabilisation system, offering up to 7.5 stops of stabilising. 

The body itself is incredibly palm sized, standing at just 90mm tall. Yet this miniature size hasn’t stopped Olympus from cramming in all the focus, exposure and setting controls and buttons you could hope for. This includes the brilliant, fully articulating, front facing touchscreen and 2 SD card slots, 1 of which is UHS 2 Compliant. The later obviously being really important for recording Cinema 4k, where your bit rates in this camera will top over 105 mbps.

So on paper, there’s a lot like about the EM1 iii, so lets get using it, and looking at the good bits of this vlog friendly M4/3’s body.

The Good Bits

Moving beyond the specs and there really is a lot to enjoy for the video shooter, with the EM1 Mark 3. And first of these things is how nice this camera is to actually use.

For a small, mirrorless micro 4/3 camera, the EM1 iii feels really premium in hand. It has a weighty reassurance about it. The integral hand grip and well placed control dials and buttons on the rear, make using this camera really very nice. There’s practically no learning curve to it all and I found it really easy to get up and running straight away. 

Image stabilisation, for me, is one of the most important features for a modern, vlog friendly camera and this is where this camera really shines. 

Offering several IS modes, you can get up to a total of 7.5 stops of stabilisation. It’s probably some of the best you’ll see, especially in this form factor. It almost feels unnatural to use, it’s that good at smoothing out your footage and removing the micro jitters associated with handheld video. 

In all honesty this, combined with that fully articulating touchscreen alone, make this a great choice for any vloggers. 

What I do like about the EM1 Mark 3 is that it feels like Olympus have really put attention onto their video features, they’ve shown some love to us video shooters with this camera. 

The menu is filled with creative options for the video shooter, including a fair amount of codec, profile & compression options. In line with this you of course have the option for shooting in the flat OM-Log400 profile, for greater versatility in post. Olympus have even included the ability to preview this log footage in a 709 equivalence, to make shot assessment even easier, when filming in OM-Log400. 

The slow motion options are solid too, with up 120FPS available, for those after that Peter McKinnon Style, treacley broll. It’s not something I ever particularly look for, but I’m happy to acknowledge that it’s a very popular look and one that Olympus have catered for here. 

Also, key practical parts like the fantastically enduring battery life and snappy, reliable auto focus system, make filming, even as a solo shooter, a real pleasure with the EM1 Mark 3. But enough of the good bits, lets dig a little deeper and take a look at the points of this camera. 

The Bad Bits

As always, whenever I’m looking at the positives or negatives of a camera, I do so with it’s price point and intended audience in mind. And with that context we do have to look at The price point. 

In of itself the pricing of the OM-D E-M1 iii isn’t crazy, coming in at around £1600 for the body. For that your getting a incredibly well built & rugged 4K video companion. However for the same budget you could pick up a GH5 with lenses. Admittedly an older camera, but it is still the high water mark of cameras when it comes to video in the M4/3 format. 

The EM1 iii isn’t pailed by comparison to the GH5, there’s a lot that this has to offer, but it doesn’t quite reach the high water mark of it. 

It’s also a shame that the dual card slots featured weren’t both made to be UHS 2 compliant. That in itself ins’t a dealbreaker, but is a shortcoming that jumped out to me.

Final Thoughts

The hardest thing about this job is to see past the excitement of new camera gear and give concise observations. And maybe I’m still in that honeymoon phase with the EM1iii, but there is something I really love about it.

The combination of great ergonomics, that awesome IS system and general usability for video, make it in many ways a perfect choice for vloggers and casual video creators. Also, and this one is just for me, the M4/3 mount and my recent obsession with adapting vintage lenses, make this body a great companion for anyone looking at using some vintage glass for their videos. 

Anyway, enough of the vintage thing, that is a whole different post. But for some more information on this camera, there’s some links below. 

🛒 Olympus EM-1 Mark 3: https://geni.us/Vz3GB
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1 comment
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