Olympus has had as big a hand as any in kicking off the compact-but-capable mirrorless camera movement; it co-created the Micro Four Thirds format with Panasonic, and its PEN cameras set the blueprint for the retro, rangefinder-style bodies commonly seen today. But in recent years, its OM-D line has been more exciting — the SLR-inspired E-M5 was one of the first mirrorless cameras that advanced photographers could take seriously, and last year's E-M1 was targeted squarely at pros. With the latest entry in the series, the E-M10, Olympus is aiming to take that same formula to a wider audience.

Taking the OM-D formula to a wider audience

The E-M10 looks strikingly similar to the E-M5 and uses the same 16-megapixel sensor, but the newer camera is quite a bit smaller; in particular, the viewfinder hump has been reduced in height despite now housing a pop-up flash, making for a more attractively proportioned package. What's most impressive about the E-M10 is its build quality — its metal body feels no less premium than the E-M5's, and if anything the smaller size makes it feel more solid. Other camera companies have turned to plastic at similar price points, so Olympus is to be commended here.

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In fact, the E-M10 might be a better option for some than the two-year-old E-M5, even without taking price into account. The smaller camera features Wi-Fi connectivity, a more advanced autofocus system, a sharper screen, and the same image processor found in the high-end E-M1. Where the E-M5 retains a lead is in its 5-axis image stablization — the E-M10 does have in-body IS, but only along 3 axes — and its weather sealing. But at $699.99 this March, or $799.99 bundled with a 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens, you're getting a lot of camera for your money with the E-M10.

The E-M10 might be a better option for some than the two-year-old E-M5

Olympus is launching the camera alongside a host of new lenses. There's a new 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 power zoom lens at $349.99 that's impressively tiny when retracted — roughly the size of Olympus' 17mm f/2.8 pancake — and a lightweight $399.99 25mm f/1.8 prime lens that will be a fast, versatile option for Micro Four Thirds shooters at its 50mm-equivalent focal length. Both will be available in late February.

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Olympus is also releasing some more left-field optics in response to what it says has been high demand for the company's unusual 15mm f/8 "body cap lens;" a similarly thin and inexpensive 9mm f/8 fisheye is on the way, alongside a macro converter that will screw onto various Olympus lenses and increase their magnification. Pricing information is not yet available for these.