Steve's Conclusion

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Steve's SnapShot
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  • 16-Megapixel Live MOS Imaging Sensor
  • TruePic VII Image Processor
  • 3.0-Inch Touch LCD Screen
  • 1,440k dot EVF
  • Micro 4/3 Mount
  • 3-Axis sensor-shift Image Stabilization
  • Dedicated Video Record Button
  • iAuto mode
  • Full 1080p HD video recording
  • Auto HDR shooting
  • 12 Art filters
  • Built-in Flash unit
  • WiFi built in
  • FastAF
  • 8fps burst shooting
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card compatible
  • Rechargeable Li-Ion battery
Pros
  • All shooting modes were fast and accurate
  • Dedicated Video Capture Button is always ready to record
  • AF system is quick in all conditions
  • Great image quality 
  • 3-Axis I.S. works well handheld and on the move
  • Compact and portable camera body and small lenses
  • Easy to handle with full, on-body controls
  • LCD is bright and features high resolution
  • EVF provides LCD information with dSLR feel
  • Hot Shoe for external flash unit
  • Great shooting performance
  • Excellent Battery Life
  • Competitively priced
Cons
  • iAuto looked almost unrealistic with over saturated colors
  • Built-in flash is very weak
Timing Test Results
  • Power up to first image captured = 2.1 seconds
  • Shutter lag when prefocused  = less than 1/10 of a second
  • Shutter lag with autofocus = approx. 1/10 to 3/10 of a second
  • Shot to shot delay wo/flash = 0.52 seconds
  • Shot to shot delay w/flash = 1.14 seconds
  • Sequential burst =  3.70fps 
  • High Speed Burst = 7.14fps
  • All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise.
Bottom Line
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is a portable and compact ILC with great performance and image quality. Loaded with useful features and coming in at $700 for the basic kit, this is a fantastic entry-level ILC or travel camera.
Pick This Up If...
You are looking for dSLR quality and performance in a much smaller package. This is a great step up from a point-n-shoot camera or awesome as a smaller travel alternative.
As the smallest and most affordable camera in the Olympus OM-D lineup, the E-M10 brings the quality and versatility of these great little interchangeable cameras to a new demographic. The E-M10 sports a 16-Megapixel 4/3 Live MOS image sensor and TruePic VII processor, you get the best Olympus has to offer in a compact and easy to use body. They have also included a 3.0-inch touch LCD, high resolution EVF, built-in WiFi and a slew of creative shooting modes to make sure that you get the best possible images from any shooting situation. Full 1080p HD video capture with loads of control compliments the still image shooting modes and capabilities nicely.

Assisting with both still and video, you will find Olympus's 3-axis, sensor shift optical image stabilization system helps greatly when shooting in low-light situations as well as shooting and recording on the move. The standard kit comes with the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R lens which works well as an everyday lens. Olympus has also put together a Premium kit that includes the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ power-zoom lens and several additional body and accessory color options. 

Portability and convenience are enriched by a few of the great features that have been built into this very compact camera. This is the first OM-D model to include a tilting touchscreen LCD, built-in WiFi and a built-in flash unit. While these features may sound standard for most point-n-shoot and mega-zoom camera's today, we are not seeing all of these features on most ILC's in the attempt to keep the size down. Olympus has achieved keeping the size incredibly compact while still including all of the features that you are looking for. These features allow you to carry the camera with ease, even to places that most people don't want to lug a large dSLR. Once you are there, you access to a flash if needed, the ability to shoot over or around difficult objects and the option to share your images almost instantly via WiFi with a smartphone. 

Since the camera is very small, Olympus has taken the steps necessary to make it as easy as possible to operate. Well placed and comfortable grips let you get a good hold of the camera and wield it without worry. The camera has a firm and sturdy feel in your hands. Large dials and well placed controls let everyone, even those with large hands, operate it with ease. Common settings, both on the camera controls and in the main menus, are convenient and easy to find, which also keeps these menus clean and direct. The custom menu on the other hand, offers an amazing amount of additional control and customization to the camera, but is very large and can be a little intimidating or troublesome if you do not know exactly what/where you need to look. 

Composing and viewing your images is accomplished with either the 3.0-inch, 1,037k-dot Touch LCD screen or the 1,440k-dot EVF (electronic viewfinder). Both of these options are great and each has there advantages. The large LCD is bright and very detailed making it easy to see in all situations. Its tilting ability allows you to adjust to remove reflections or shoot around objects. It also features plenty of touch features that allow for easy and unique control of the camera. Secondly there is the high resolution EVF. This gives you the feel of a dSLR with a few more advantages. With the EVF you also get to see all of the information that is seen on the LCD screen. All of your changes, minor or major, will show in real time so you can see their effects while you are shooting. Focus peaking also allows you to fine-tune with manual focus through the EVF. 

Performance from the E-M10 was fantastic, blowing away any equivalent dSLR camera. The camera was able to capture its first image in just 2.1 seconds using either of the two lenses that we tested. With the camera pre-focused, the shutter lag was less that 1/10 of a second. Allowing the AF system to work ranged between 1/10 and 3/10 of a second, which is very quick. The shot-to-shot delay in single shot mode is just over ½ second at 0.52 seconds between shots. When turning on the flash, this slows to 1.14 seconds between shots. If you are looking for burst shooting, you will find Low and High burst modes available providing you with burst rates of 3.70fps and 7.14fps. This is just slightly shy of the 8fps that Olympus claims is capable, but still very impressive. All of our tests were completed using a SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1, 8GB SDHC memory card, Program mode, ISO auto, flash off and all other settings at the factory defaults unless noted otherwise. 

Our outdoor image samples show the camera's excellent image quality. Our standard outdoor samples where shot in both iAuto and Program shooting modes. iAuto mode took care of all of the settings for us, including choosing the correct shooting mode for our situations. These images came out with excellent exposures and sharpness, but seemed just a little overdone with color saturation. The incredibly vivid colors almost make the images look slightly unrealistic. Program on the other hand provided color that was much more accurate to what our eyes saw. Both kit lenses, the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R and the M.Zuiko 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ, were both used throughout our testing. Both lenses performed very well, and featuring the same zoom range, it comes down to your preference between having the standard lens or the much more compact power zoom lens. Our preference was the EZ lens with the power zoom feature, as it made the camera much easier to carry. 

The indoor sample shots give us an even closer look at the overall image quality of the E-M10. The tack sharp images show an amazing amount of detail and clarity up through ISO 3200. In this range, not only is the image incredibly sharp, but the noise levels are kept incredibly low. After you pass ISO 3200, the noise levels start to increase faster but are still acceptable up to ISO 6400. You will want to stay away from the settings above that, unless you have no other choice. Assisting with your low-light images is a compact, built-in flash unit. This pop-up unit is not very powerful, as you can see in our sample images, but in the right situation when you do not want to carry an external flash unit, it can come in very handy.

Shooting portraits with the E-M10 provides the ease and accuracy of a point-n-shoot or the ability to shoot like a standard dSLR, just by turning face detection on or off. Using the EVF gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to use the face detection software. This guarantees that your faces are in focus and correctly exposed every time. The camera's face detection works very well, detecting and following faces quickly and easily. Face detection works in all of the camera's shooting modes, including Portrait and iAuto modes, and may be a surprisingly new and useful feature to anyone used to shooting without it. 

Loaded with creative shooting modes, the E-M10 will be able to assist or at least spark your creative side. With modes from HDR to Panoramic to the many art filters, Olympus will help you recreate almost any of the popular types of images that you see. All of these custom images start with the high quality standard image from the camera, then the filters are applied or multiple images combined to create the final picture. 

Shooting movies with the E-M10 goes beyond both point-n-shoot cameras and most dSLR cameras with its ability to capture full 1080p HD videos with continuous AF. The dedicated video recording button keeps the camera just one button-press away from capturing video, no matter what shooting mode the camera is in. For more control and shooting options the camera also features a dedicated video shooting mode. The camera's hot shoe and USB port allow for external accessories like a video light or better external microphone to further increase the audio and video quality. 

Powering the E-M10 is a 7.2V, 1150mAh rechargeable Li-Ion battery. During our tests we were able to capture 720 images on a single charge, with approx. 350 of them being in the cameras high speed burst mode. This still left over 350 images and several short videos that were also captured, surpassing their claims of capturing up to 320 images on a single charge. This was a pleasant surprise as the 320 images is where this camera truly would fall short to a dSLR. Even with this battery life we recommend getting a second battery to have as a spare. With the included external battery charger, it is easy to keep more than one battery charged and ready to go at all times.

Bottom Line - The Olympus OM-D E-M10 is a fantastic Interchangeable Lens Camera featuring the performance and quality of a dSLR and the convenience and portability of a compact camera. The incredibly powerful Live MOS sensor and TruePic VII processor provide image quality and performance that will keep any photographer happy. Add that to the automatic and creative shooting modes and everyone in the family will enjoy shooting with this camera. The Micro 4/3 mount system adds versatility to the lens selection while keeping the size and weight to a minimum. With a MSRP of US $699.99 for the body only, this camera runs the same as an entry-level dSLR but is easier to step up to than a dSLR if you have only used a point-n-shoot before.


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