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turandot

Olympus OMD E-M10 Mark III Underwater Review?

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I'd like to read a underwater review of Olympus OMD E-M10 Mark III.  I can't find any review about this camera for underwater use:  uwphotographyguide.com, bluewaterphotostore.com, backscatter.com, mikesdivecameras.com, housingcamera.com, uwpmag.com, etc.......

The E-M10.3 is the little brother (price and size) of the Olympus OMD E-M range of cameras. The Olympus E-M10III in Nauticam NA-EM10III It's a perfect package for light travel and compact size, it only weight 1470gr (camera+housing) and only measures 138mm height.

Compare with others OMD models:

E-M1 Mark II 1.799€ (574gr)  + NA-EM1II 1.908€ ( 1950gr, 175mm (H)) = 3.707€ (2524gr)
20MP - Four Thirds CMOS Sensor, TruePic VIII processor, Weather Sealed Body, No Built-in flash (accessory flash FL‑LM3) :-(, AF Phase Detection 121 points

E-M5 Mark III 1.199€ (414gr) + NA-EM5II 1.585€ ( 1300gr, 166mm (H) ) = 2.784€ (1714gr)
20MP - Four Thirds CMOS Sensor, TruePic VIII processor, Weather Sealed Body, No Built-in flash (accessory flash FL‑LM3) :-(, AF Phase Detection 121 points

E-M10 Mark III 649€ (410gr) + NA-EM10III 1.585€ ( 1060gr, 138mm (H)) = 2.234€ (1470gr)
16MP - Four Thirds CMOS Sensor, TruePic VIII processor, Built-in flash :-), No Weather Sealed Body :-(, No AF Phase Detection :-(

 

 

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If you want smaller and cheaper get the Panasonic GX9. 

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19 minutes ago, hyp said:

If you want smaller and cheaper get the Panasonic GX9. 

I just wrote the same in longer form but my post never made it not sure why

Panasonic GX9+housing 510+1535 and lighter sensor is 20 MP image quality ultimately the same

Olympus other than the OMD EM1 MKII that is the best still MFT camera has below average options for mid range cameras now

 

EDIT it was another thread hahahaa

Edited by Interceptor121
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The Em5mkIII at least has better AF than the GX9. It's just too expensive to compete against the EM1mkII. 

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The Em5mkIII at least has better AF than the GX9. It's just too expensive to compete against the EM1mkII. 

Who trusts autofocus underwater anyway? It is the cause of most blurred videos and photos


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1 hour ago, Interceptor121 said:


Who trusts autofocus underwater anyway? It is the cause of most blurred videos and photos

And PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus)? Is It very important for underwater use? Or is it enough with AF Contrast Detection?

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58 minutes ago, turandot said:

And PDAF (Phase Detection Auto Focus)? Is It very important for underwater use? Or is it enough with AF Contrast Detection?

Despite what people think shooting underwater is more similar to landscapes than it is to sports on land. In addition you shoot most times with closed apertures so the benefits of a phase detection system are negligible or I should say I have never had focus issues since the last 10 years even with compacts

If you are looking at shooting flying birds on land I would say get a phase detection system for underwater use only it is not essential as there will be plenty of situation where the subject is not moving so fast or you have sufficient depth of field that fast focus will be achieved regardless

On thing to consider that the olympus cameras don't have a dual IS system like Panasonic and therefore despite the ability to focus you may end up with more blurred shots at long focal length which is what you need for wildlife on land

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DUAL IS really shines in focal lengths longer than 200mm (FF equiv). Until then it's nice, but Olympus IBIS is really good enough. Remember, they were once the market leader for IBIS and they are still near the top if not the best. They have DUAL IS in their 300mm PRO and 12-100 PRO. 

Most macro lenses also don't have OIS so it is mostly not important. The only exception is standard zooms with macro converters. 

Personally, I don't think that AF (speed or accuracy) is a problem and I use an old EM5mkI. Many on this forum though note, that macro photography gets a lot easier with the better AF systems (Nikon D500 comes to mind). I use AF and if it fails, this is because of user error. I don't think I would make less errors if I only MF. For Video it is of course a different story.

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If I wanted to have a B camera for stills on top of my Panasonic GH5 I would probably consider the OMD EM 1 MKII and the Panasonic G9

This is mostly for long lens wildlife Olympus has phase detect Panasonic has animal recognition so it has gone around the issue in a different way. From what I can see since the last firmware update animal recognition works (not for fish) well so that makes my decision harder

Underwater OMD EM-1 G9 or GH5 if only for stills would pick up the OMD EM-1 II because the housing is not DSLR style and costs less. For stills and video GH5 (current choice) however I am not missing shots right now and I already have the housing so no need for Olympus underwater. I would not consider the G9 underwater as the housing is DSLR style and the camera not video capable enough

If I had any 20 Megapixel MFT I would take the same quality pictures and hit or miss the same shots as underwater I use 20% of the amazing features that work on land so I am only interested in sensor quality

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To my experience, PDAF works better than CDAF for UW use. Before I had PDAF, CDAF was very well sufficient. I became, however, spoiled by PDAF. I would say it is nice to have PDAF, especially when it does not cost a whole fortune in addition...

I assume that EM10III has similar AF than EM5II: AF with Zuiko 60mm Macro and Pana 45mm Macro became substantially faster when I switched from CDAF (EM5II) to PDAF (EM1II).

I described my experience lately in a post in DPreview generally about PDAF vs. CDAF, have  a look in case you are interested. In short: CDAF (EM5II) works fine for S-AF, while PDAF (EM1II) works in addition also with C-AF+tracking: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4455081?page=6#forum-post-63497234

Note that the example photo was even taken with Canon 100mm IS Macro lens, adapted with 0.71x Metabones adaptor, so focal length was actually 71mm (AF generally works less good when using adapters).

Here my post: "I can compare Olys EM5II (CDAF) with EM1II (PDAF) from my own experience: I take photos underwater. Especially for Macro Photography and fish portraits, where AF is difficult but very important, there is a clear difference. With wide angle the difference is not so dramatic, but exists also:

I use only the smallest field in the center for focus. With C-AF+tracking, I can first focus on the eye of the fish (that is at this moment in the center of the frame), then I keep the C-AF+tracking active (I have separated this function from the shutter-button half pressed and assigned it to another button, so I can press it with my thumb) and move the frame until I have the frame I want and then release the shutter - the eye of the fish remains in focus all the time. Here an example photo, to demonstrate what I mean:

93dee9cdb49748ef953c7d3460d579c9

View: original size

With EM5II, that also has the same C-AF+tracking function, AF is, in my hands, too unreliable and I would too often loose the focus during framing, so I use just S-AF with EM5II.

Also with EM5II I was happily taking fishportraits (I would not say CDAF has let me down), but with PDAF (EM1II) it is clearly easier. Since I am spoiled by it, I would not want to step back...

Wolfgang"

Edited by Architeuthis

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I agree with what Wolfgang says however I have taken many fish portraits with camera that had less focus ability of anything I have now and mostly the issue was shutter lag that is no longer a problem nowadays

Tracking  is based on motion vector tracking and prediction. It only works if the object does not change shape so if your fish turns tracking fails

Typically works well with a small macro subject that is still while you are moving because you cannot stand still and is a system I would not trust in any technology including DSLR to get critical shots

I have yet to get my hands on an Olympus camera but what I can say is that I do not see my current camera lacking compared to my past cropped sensor Nikon DSLR from an AF point of view. One thing though the Panasonic AF system implemented in the GH5 and even more in the G9 and GH5s have a level of complexity too high for the average person and people get lost in the experiments as there are too many settings

 

 

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Thank you all for your answers, are very very interesting about CDAF and PDAF differences. There's news or rumors for 2020, new or upgrades camera models. Will they include PDAF or weather sealing?

(FT4) New Panasonic GX10 scheduled to be released during first half of 2020
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4461268

Rumor: Olympus E-M10 Mark IV coming on 2020
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4434129

 

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Weather sealing is typically for the top part of the range (GH5, G9, EM1, EM5) not for the rest but we will see

 

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2 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:

Weather sealing is typically for the top part of the range (GH5, G9, EM1, EM5) not for the rest but we will see

 

True! But Olympus has cheaper models (TG6 399€) not only with weather sealing, but also submersible at 15 meters.

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10 minutes ago, turandot said:

True! But Olympus has cheaper models (TG6 399€) not only with weather sealing, but also submersible at 15 meters.

TG series are not MFT are tiny 1/2.5 sensors that are really not comparable

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13 hours ago, Interceptor121 said:


Who trusts autofocus underwater anyway? It is the cause of most blurred videos and photos


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Me!

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The image quality in the EM-1 MkII sensor is a nice step up from the 16MP sensors of the lower spec cameras.  It has a bigger battery and can do 3-4 dives without a battery change.    AF is a nice step up from the EM-5 MkII and I assume the EM-10 III, C-AF plus tracking works well compared to barely functioning in lesser cameras.  One thing you need to consider is that MF is not practical on the Oly 60mm macro, you need multiple turns of the focusing ring to change focus more than a minute amount and is you add the gearing effect of using a focus gear you spine it many turns to have any impact at all on the focus.  I rely of AF 100% with this lens.

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The image quality in the EM-1 MkII sensor is a nice step up from the 16MP sensors of the lower spec cameras.  It has a bigger battery and can do 3-4 dives without a battery change.    AF is a nice step up from the EM-5 MkII and I assume the EM-10 III, C-AF plus tracking works well compared to barely functioning in lesser cameras.  One thing you need to consider is that MF is not practical on the Oly 60mm macro, you need multiple turns of the focusing ring to change focus more than a minute amount and is you add the gearing effect of using a focus gear you spine it many turns to have any impact at all on the focus.  I rely of AF 100% with this lens.

Pinpoint or af on (manual) shortest distance and peaking

The focus run of the 60mm is rubbish land and water use

 

 

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The AF of the 60mm is significantly better on the EM-1 MkII than the EM-5 MkII, almost night and day,  I find AF is fine most of the time using C-AF on this camera.    I'm not sure what you mean by focus run?  you mean focus ring?

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The AF of the 60mm is significantly better on the EM-1 MkII than the EM-5 MkII, almost night and day,  I find AF is fine most of the time using C-AF on this camera.    I'm not sure what you mean by focus run?  you mean focus ring?

Yes the run of the focus ring from nearest to infinity is too long the only lens I have this problem


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13 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

Me!

Me too! I use it all the time.....

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At least someone does so there is a reason ;)

My sequence

1. tracking on stuff that is semi-moving not too small and not changing shape nudibranch for example off centre or semi static fish

2. Pinpoint stuff that does not move and is super small and centre of frame all the way down to pygmy can work but is hit and miss if you move

3. Manual focus and AF On button moving the camera and peaking for supermacro

I would never trust AF for super macro especially as not all my shots are in the centre of the frame. 

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This is somewhat of a digression, but we are comparing cameras.

Many SLR shooters use AF for almost everything (including super macro). I should qualify the latter comment by saying that I use AF to rack the focus in and then also rock the lens in and out with powerful macro conversion lenses. 

Back button activated continuous AF holds focus on subjects that are not center frame. 

I do not have manual focus gears on any of my lenses. I used to occasionally switch to manual with the D2Xs and D7000, but since the D800 have found that the camera's AF is more accurate than my eyes...

If manual focus is required with mirrorless, this kind of shows how far behind the curve their autofocus is....

Adam

 

 

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I shoot AF only with my Sony A6300, both wide/midrange (10-18mm and 16-50mm) and macro (90mm). DMF with focus peaking works quite reliably even for supermacro with a +13 diopter. 

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3 hours ago, adamhanlon said:

This is somewhat of a digression, but we are comparing cameras.

Many SLR shooters use AF for almost everything (including super macro). I should qualify the latter comment by saying that I use AF to rack the focus in and then also rock the lens in and out with powerful macro conversion lenses. 

Back button activated continuous AF holds focus on subjects that are not center frame. 

I do not have manual focus gears on any of my lenses. I used to occasionally switch to manual with the D2Xs and D7000, but since the D800 have found that the camera's AF is more accurate than my eyes...

If manual focus is required with mirrorless, this kind of shows how far behind the curve their autofocus is....

Adam

 

 

It is not required with mirrorless. There are plenty of people on here who use the exact same technique you describe with the Em1mkII. The Em5mkIII autofocus is roughly on par (maybe slightly worse) than that. 

Panasonic and C-AF is a different question. It is the one aspect where they are really behind the competition, mostly because they refuse to adapt Phase Detection-AF. However, for Video they are so far ahead the competition (the GH5 is now nearly three years old and still (one of the) best) that they can get away with that, especially because many video people will not use AF anyway (for good reason).

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