Image Performance, Conclusion
The sample photographs were shot with the Olympus E-M10. The originals have not been post-processed and are copyright to SPH Magazines. They are provided for your reference only and we ask that you do not reproduce them elsewhere. Click for full-resolution images.
The E-M10 matches the image quality you’d get from the two-year old E-M5, which is very nice indeed. Remember that the E-M5 was a leapfrog camera in terms of image quality for Micro Four Thirds, so it’s no surprise that two years later the quality of the image sensor still shines.
The E-M10 retains the E-M5’s ability to shoot high ISO pictures, up to ISO 3200, with minimum noise and detail loss, helping you in low-light. Colors are vibrant and true-to-life, Olympus produces some of the best looking color in digital imaging today.
Even though the E-M10 comes with ‘only’ 3-axis image stabilization, most digital cameras today don’t come with IS built-in, opting to build IS into the lens. There are arguments for each approach, but built-in IS means you gain an extra advantage when you slap a non-IS lens onto the camera, like the wonderful Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens.
Autofocus performance is fast and sure, and we like how quickly you can adjust AF points by pressing the d-pad or simply tapping on the monitor. You can also turn on focus peaking to aid with manual focusing. It’s useful how the E-M10 comes with in-camera raw processing, so you can shoot and save in raw, but then transfer a JPEG out via Wi-Fi. Linking the camera to the Olympus app is quick and easy, and built Wi-Fi is simply a must in the age of the smartphone.
Conclusion: This 'Entry-level' Mirrorless Camera Surprised Me with How Good It Was
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 comes in at entry-level price but offers much more than any entry-level camera I’ve seen yet. A responsive rear monitor and electronic viewfinder, built-in 3-axis image stabilization, excellent image quality, great handling, built-in Wi-Fi, all wrapped up in a retro-gorgeous compact body.
In some ways, we actually prefer the E-M10 to the E-M5 and Pen E-P5. The E-M10 has a richer screen than the E-M5, and while it lacks that camera’s ruggedness, the E-M10 has the same image quality and can transfer pictures out via Wi-Fi. We prefer the way the E-M10 handles compared to the E-P5, and while being slightly wider and taller, the E-M10 is actually slightly lighter than the E-P5. We don’t see ourselves missing the higher maximum shutter speed and flash sync speed of the E-P5 that much.
With this camera, the Micro Four Thirds system now has two great entry-level options for two different crowds, and neither will break the bank. The Panasonic Lumix GM1 is a solidly built, compact and beautiful starter camera, great for the beginner who doesn’t plan to stick a large lens on it. At S$999 retail, the GM1 is fantastic value. The E-M10 is an advanced camera with lots of controls readily available, and at $893 (body only) or $1,020 (with 14-42mm kit lens) is just a steal with the number of features built in. With the wide range of lenses available, Micro Four Thirds offers a comprehensive system for any level of photographer, and remains the mirrorless system I'd recommend for most.