Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

I just caught wind of the announcement of the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, and I got really excited about the prospect of a higher resolution (20MP!) sensor.

I currently own an E-M1 Mark I that I bought just before the Mark II was released (at a steep discount). I originally planned to buy an E-M10, but the cost delta from that to the discounted E-M1 was small in late 2015, and the feature set was a huge step up. Now, coming from that E-M1 Mark I, the performance improvements of the E-M5 Mark III aren’t as pronounced as coming from an earlier generation E-M5.

I pulled together some specifications comparing the OM-D E-M1 Mark I, OM-D E-M5 Mark III, and the OM-D E-M1 Mark II (which I’ve managed to avoid splurging on over the last few years):

Camera OM-D E-M1 Mark I OM-D E-M5 Mark III OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Price $1400 (in 2013) $1200 $2000 ($1700 now)
Body type SLR-style mirrorless SLR-style mirrorless SLR-style mirrorless
Processor TruePIC VII TruePic VIII TruePic VIII
Max resolution 4608 x 3456 5184 x 3888 5184 x 3888
Effective pixels 16 MP 20.4 MP 20.4 MP
Sensor size Four Thirds Four Thirds Four Thirds
Sensor type CMOS CMOS CMOS
Sensor rate 10fps 30fps 60fps
Autofocus 81 Points 121 Points 121 Points
ISO 100-25600 64-25600 64-25600
Stabilization 5-axis, 4EV 5-axis, 6.5EV 5-axis, 5.5EV
Video 1080p @ 30fps 4k @ 30fps 4k @ 30fps
Lens mount Micro Four Thirds Micro Four Thirds Micro Four Thirds
Focal length X
Articulated LCD Tilting Fully articulated Fully articulated
Screen size 3″ 3″ 3″
Screen dots 1,037,000 LED 1,040,000 TFT LCD 1,037,000 TFT LCD
Viewfinder 2.36M 2.36M OLED 2.36M OLED
Max shutter speed 1/8000 sec 1/8000 sec 1/8000 sec
Format H.264, Motion JPEG MPEG-4, H.264 MPEG-4, H.264
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec) 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
USB Charging No Yes No
Weight 497g (1.10 lb) 414 g (0.91 lb) 574 g (1.27 lb)
Dimensions 130 x 94 x 63 mm 125 x 85 x 50 mm 134 x 91 x 67 mm
GPS None None None

These specifications really highlight DPReview’s claim that the new Olympus E-M5 Mark III is a mini E-M1 II. But, for me, I think it would be the better camera. Smaller, lighter, less expensive, and nearly as capable. The main advantages of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II are “a significantly faster burst rate with AF and a deeper, more comfortable grip”, but I don’t think that’s worth $500 to me.

The more important question is whether the benefits of the OM-D E-M5 Mark III over my current OM-D E-M1 Mark I justify the upgrade. The main benefit for me would be the higher resolution sensor; I’ve never really found myself limited by the sensor throughput, and I’ve never used the camera for video. I think I’ll wait for now to see how the camera is received when it’s released later this year.