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Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.12
Reviewed Jul 26, 2021 at 10:19 am
Latest change: Test bench update Apr 24, 2023 at 01:26 pm
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III Picture
7.7
Travel Photography
7.8
Landscape Photography
7.4
Sport & Wildlife Photography
8.7
Vlogging
7.9
Studio Video
5.9
Action Video

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera with retro styling that calls to mind Olympus's classic line of 'OM' SLR cameras. It's a small, lightweight interchangeable lens camera that delivers excellent image quality, rivaling cameras with larger sensors. It's a great option for vlogging thanks to its good video quality, low light capability, and excellent in-body image stabilization. It also has a fully articulated screen to monitor yourself as you record or help you take photos from unconventional angles. Its autofocus system is excellent at tracking moving subjects when shooting video, but it's just okay for photography using its out-of-the-box settings. Unfortunately, its battery life is mediocre, though this can vary with real-world conditions, and you can't use it while it charges.

Our Verdict

7.7 Travel Photography

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is good for travel photography. It's small and lightweight, making it easy to take with you wherever you go. It also has excellent image quality, with photos that look sharp and relatively noise-free even at higher ISO levels. Unfortunately, its battery life is mediocre, although this can vary depending on your usage habits and choice of settings. That said, it feels well-built, and the screen gets bright enough to overcome glare in sunny conditions.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Well-built, portable design.
  • Bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Wide shutter speed range.
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life.
  • May be too small for extra large hands to hold comfortably.
  • Photo autofocus is just okay.
7.8 Landscape Photography

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is great for landscape photography. Its image quality is excellent, with superb dynamic range to bring out lots of detail in landscape shots. It also feels well-built with a fully articulated screen that gets bright enough to overcome glare from the sun, and it's weather-sealed, although we don't currently test for this. It's lightweight and portable, making it easy to take to remote shooting locations, but its small size can make it uncomfortable to hold for those with larger hands.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Well-built, portable design.
  • Bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Wide shutter speed range.
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life.
  • May be too small for extra large hands to hold comfortably.
  • Photo autofocus is just okay.
7.4 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is very good for sport and wildlife photography. Its image quality is excellent, as photos stay sharp and relatively noise-free at higher ISO levels. It also has a very good shooting speed with a virtually instant buffer empty time, so you can capture fast action in quick bursts without slowing down. It has an amazing in-body image stabilization feature, which can help reduce camera shake when shooting at long focal lengths without a tripod. However, its autofocus system is just okay for photography, as it does a poor job of tracking moving faces.

Pros
  • Excellent image quality.
  • Very good shooting speed.
  • Amazing in-body image stabilization.
  • Wide shutter speed range.
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life.
  • May be too small for extra large hands to hold comfortably.
  • Photo autofocus is just okay.
8.7 Vlogging

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is amazing for vlogging. It's relatively compact and lightweight, making it easy to take on the go, and it has a fully articulated screen to help you monitor yourself while recording. Its five-axis in-body stabilization feature does an excellent job of smoothing out camera shake. The autofocus system also does a great job of tracking faces, ensuring you stay in focus while vlogging. It also delivers fantastic video quality when shooting in low light in either 4k or FHD, but it introduces more noise in brighter conditions, especially in FHD.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
  • Bright, fully articulated screen.
  • Amazing in-body image stabilization.
  • Great autofocus performance for video.
Cons
  • Mediocre battery life.
  • May be too small for extra large hands to hold comfortably.
  • Video has a 2x crop.
7.9 Studio Video

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is good for studio video. Its video quality is great overall, and it looks especially good in low light, with minimal noise and grain. The menu system is passable but can be somewhat hard to navigate. On the upside, it has a good array of inputs and outputs, including a microphone jack and a micro HDMI port that supports clean HDMI output, so you can connect an external recorder without any overlays. However, it doesn't have a headphone jack. For those who prefer to work with higher quality video files, it also supports All-I compression in FHD.

Pros
  • Great autofocus performance for video.
  • Supports clean HDMI output.
  • Impressive video quality in low light.
  • Supports All-I compression in FHD.
Cons
  • May be too small for extra large hands to hold comfortably.
  • No headphone jack.
  • Video has a 2x crop.
5.9 Action Video

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is okay for action video but isn't meant for this use. It's portable and lightweight but isn't designed to mount on a helmet or action camera rig. Also, while it's weather-sealed to protect it from some dust and rain, it's not fully waterproof, although this isn't something we currently test. While it can't record at frame rates above 30 fps in 4k, it does have a slow-motion feature in FHD that can record at 120 fps for slow-motion playback.

Pros
  • Well-built, portable design.
  • Amazing in-body image stabilization.
  • Great autofocus performance for video.
  • Impressive video quality in low light.
Cons
  • Not designed for helmet rigs and action cam mounts.
  • Not waterproof.
  • Video has a 2x crop.
  • Frame rates are somewhat limited for action video.
  • 7.7 Travel Photography
  • 7.8 Landscape Photography
  • 7.4 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 8.7 Vlogging
  • 7.9 Studio Video
  • 5.9 Action Video
  1. Updated Apr 24, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 0.12.
  2. Updated Mar 21, 2023: Converted to Test Bench 0.11.
  3. Updated Mar 03, 2023: Added a link to the OM SYSTEM OM-1 in the 'Build Quality' box.
  4. Updated Feb 22, 2023: We incorrectly showed 'Yes' in the 'Built-in Flash' comparison of this review. That's been corrected to reflect that the camera doesn't have a built-in flash but does come with an external flash in the box.
  5. Updated Sep 23, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.10.
  6. Updated Aug 05, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.9.
  7. Updated May 27, 2022: After reevaluating our results in relation to comparable cameras, we've adjusted the object tracking score for both 4k and FHD to more accurately reflect this camera's autofocus performance.
  8. Updated Apr 22, 2022: Converted to Test Bench 0.8.
  9. Updated Sep 23, 2021: Updated 'USB Charging' from 'No' to 'Yes'.
  10. Updated Sep 23, 2021: Reuploaded 4k and FHD test scene extracts without crop.
  11. Updated Jul 26, 2021: Review published.
  12. Updated Jul 21, 2021: Early access published.
  13. Updated Jun 21, 2021: Our testers have started testing this product.
  14. Updated Jun 17, 2021: The product has arrived in our lab, and our testers will start evaluating it soon.
  15. Updated Jun 12, 2021: We've purchased the product and are waiting for it to arrive in our lab.
  16. Updated Jun 08, 2021: The product has won our suggestion poll, so weโ€™ll buy and test it soon.

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Black (Body Only)
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Black W/ 12-45mm Lens
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Silver (Body Only)
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Silver W/ 12-45mm Lens
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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III comes in two color variants: 'Black' and 'Silver'. We tested the 'Silver' variant with an Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO lens, but we expect the 'Black' version to perform the same. You can also purchase this camera in either color without a lens.

If you come across another variant or your Olympus OM-D E-M5 doesn't correspond to our review, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update the review.

You can see our unit's label here.

Compared To Other Cameras

OM SYSTEM OM-1

The OM SYSTEM OM-1 is a step up from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, with a newer stacked sensor that gives it better overall image quality and low-light performance, along with significantly better video specs. It also has a higher-resolution EVF and feels better constructed. That said, the E-M5 Mark III is a much more portable camera and offers a lot of the same computational photography features, like a high-res composite photo mode.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III is more well-rounded than the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III. It has a faster max continuous shooting speed, offers better battery life, and feels more comfortable to shoot with thanks to its larger handgrip and slightly larger EVF. It also has an extra SD card slot, a headphone jack, and records video at higher bit rates. On top of that, the E-M1 III has some extra features that the E-M5 III lacks, like a digital ND filter. That said, if portability is your priority for something like travel or vlogging, the E-M5 Mark III is more compact and offers roughly equivalent image quality, since both cameras use the same sensor with similar processors.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
8.1
Design
Portability
Height
3.3" (8.4 cm)
Width
5.2" (13.1 cm)
Depth
1.9" (4.8 cm)
Volume
32.2 inยณ (528.0 cmยณ)
Weight
0.83 lbs (0.38 kg)
7.5
Design
Build Quality

  • Body is made of premium-feeling plastic
  • Comes with an external flash that can be attached to the hot shoe and feels sturdy
  • SD card and battery compartment are covered by locking hinged doors
  • Inputs are covered by flimsy, loose-fitting rubber flaps
  • Battery grip connection door is just an unconnected plastic cover that may be easily lost
  • Buttons feel okay
  • If you'd prefer a better-built camera with similar features, check out the OM SYSTEM OM-1

Design
Body
Body Type
SLR-Style
Water Resistance
Weather-Sealed
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
Yes
Customizable Button
Yes
Command Dial
2
Tripod Mount
Yes
Lens Mount
Micro Four Thirds
Built-In Flash
No (accessory included)
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s
Design
In The Box

  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III camera body
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4.0 PRO lens
  • Microfiber sleeve
  • Lens pouch
  • Front and rear lens caps
  • Sensor cap
  • Lens hood
  • Olympus FL-LM3 external flash
  • Olympus BLS-50 battery
  • Olympus BCS-5 battery charger
  • AC adapter
  • USB-A to micro-USB cable
  • Shoulder strap
  • Lens pamphlet
  • User manual

7.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Large Hand
Yes
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No

  • Suitable for most hand sizes and grips but may be too small for extra large hands
  • Handgrip is shallow and not as grippy as some other cameras
  • Thumb rest feels very comfortable
  • Easy to change ISO, aperture, and shutter speed when looking through the viewfinder with your right eye
  • Rubber on viewfinder is okay but can get uncomfortable after longer periods
  • D-pad on back to navigate menu, but placement may be a bit awkward for larger hands
  • Easy access to battery and SD card compartments, even when mounted on a tripod
  • If you'd prefer a camera that's more comfortable to shoot with, check out the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
Electronic
Advertised Coverage
100%
Advertised Resolution
2.36 million dots
Advertised Magnification
0.68
8.9
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
Fully-Articulated
Screen Max Brightness
870 cd/mยฒ
Advertised Resolution
1.04 million dots
Size
3.0" (7.6 cm)
Touchscreen
Limited
6.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
Yes
App Name
Olympus Image Share

  • Menu system is passable but many settings are buried within submenus
  • Navigating using the D-pad feels intuitive
  • Some customizable buttons can help make it easier to adjust commonly used settings
  • Quick menu is haphazardly organized but includes many commonly used settings, which is nice
  • Guide mode to explain features and settings

not tested
Design
Built-In Lens
Maximum Aperture
No built-in lens
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Minimum Focal Length
N/A
Maximum Focal Length
N/A
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
N/A
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
N/A
Light Falloff
N/A

Note: The camera's native minimum ISO is 200, so we conducted this test using ISO 200 as opposed to our usual test methodology of ISO 100. The results may not be fully comparable with other cameras we've tested.

Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
20.4 MP
Sensor Size
4/3 (MFT)
Processor
TruePic VIII
Extended ISO Minimum
64
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
200
Native ISO Maximum
6,400
Tested Firmware
1.6

Note: The camera's maximum native ISO is 6400, but it has an extended max ISO of 25600. Also, to update the camera's firmware, you need to download the complementary 'Olympus Workspace' software, which also lets you edit photos.

6.3
Design
Battery
Battery Type
Olympus BLS-50
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
No
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
310 photos
Tested Battery Life In Video
92 min
Photo General
7.4
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
6 fps
High Speed Continuous
10 fps
Silent Shooting Continuous
10 fps
Raw Buffer Size
30 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
55 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
9 s

Note: This camera has several additional features that may be useful to some users:

  • Pro Capture 'H' mode: Uses the electronic shutter to capture split second moments. With the shutter button half-pressed it begins to take photos at up to 60 fps, retaining the last 14 frames after fully pressing the button.
  • Pro Capture 'Sequential L' mode: Same function as above but limits the aperture to f/8.0.
  • Focus Bracketing: Allows you to take up to 999 shots with different focal points for each shot.
  • Focus Stacking: Uses focus bracketing to take up to 8 photos with different focus points and then combines them into a composite image with a greater depth of field than is possible in any single shot.
  • Tripod High Res Shot: Shifts the image sensor by miniscule increments as the camera takes 8 shots that are then combined into a single image with an equivalent 50MP resolution. This feature requires a tripod to use effectively.
However, we don't currently test any of these features.

2.3
Photo General
Photo AF-C Tracking
Autofocus Tracking Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
16%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
22%
8.9
Photo General
Photo AF-C Center Point
Autofocus Center Point Shots
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
86%
Usable Focus Hit Rate
96%
8.8
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/6 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
Yes
Photo Image Quality
7.6
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
9.8 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
8.5 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
6.9 f-stops
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
6.4 f-stops
7.3
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,573 LW/PH
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
1,667 LW/PH
8.0
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
SNR 18% At 1/8 Exposure Time (125 ms)
34.0dB
SNR 18% At 1/125 Exposure Time (8 ms)
25.9 dB
SNR 18% At 1/1000 Exposure Time (1 ms)
N/A
SNR 18% At 1/4000 Exposure Time (0.25 ms)
N/A

Note: While this camera doesn't shoot at ISO 100, it has a RAW SNR 18% value of 40.49dB in its extended low ISO 64.

Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
Yes
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
Not Advertised
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
No
Recording Light
No

Note: There's a 1s delay after you press the record button before the camera actually starts recording, so you should keep this in mind when shooting video.

Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
Yes
Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
Yes

Note: All-I compression is only available in HD and FHD recording formats.

4k Video
8.5
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
No
60 fps In 4k
No
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

Note: When recording video in any format, the camera incurs a 2x crop due to its sensor size.

7.7
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
90 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
90 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
29 min
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
0

Note: The camera can record continuously for up to 29 minutes but separates the recording into seamless clips of 5 minutes and 20 seconds each.

8.1
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
7.5
Face Tracking In 4k
8.0
Face Detection In 4k
Yes
Eye Detection In 4k
Yes
8.3
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
8.0
Test Scene Extract In 4k
8.5
7.2
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
3.7ยฐ
Full HD Video
9.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
No
120 fps In FHD
Yes, with a Crop
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1.4 x

Note: When recording video in any format, the camera incurs a 2x crop due to its sensor size. Also, while the camera can record at 120 fps, it can only playback this footage in slow motion. You have the option to slow 120 fps footage down to 60 fps, 50 fps, 30 fps, 25 fps, or 24 fps. Using this feature incurs an additional crop.

7.5
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
50 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
16 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
29 min

Note: The camera can record continuously for up to 29 minutes, but it separates the recording into seamless clips of 10 minutes and 40 seconds each.

Using All-I compression in FHD gave us the following results:

  • Bitrate Maximum in FHD: 114 Mbps
  • Bitrate Minimum in FHD: 72 Mbps
  • Chroma Subsampling in FHD: 4:2:0
  • Bit Depth in FHD: 8

8.1
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
7.5
Face Tracking In FHD
8.0
Face Detection In FHD
Yes
Eye Detection In FHD
Yes
7.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
7.5
Test Scene Extract In FHD
7.1
7.3
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
3.3ยฐ
Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
SD Card UHS-II
Card 2 Slot
No 2nd Card Slot
7.8
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
Micro USB
HDMI
Micro (Type D)
Headphones
No
Microphone
Stereo
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes