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Olympus beefs up the the E-M10 with the 4K-capable Mark III

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More good things in a small package

Olympus is refreshing the E-M10, a camera that was last updated two years ago. The new E-M10 Mark III will be out in late September and will run $649 for the body only. It’s not a radical departure from the small, classically-styled versions of the camera before it. But there are some cosmetic changes, and a few new features like 4K video, that bring the camera in line with the modern competition.

Like smartphones, cameras tend to get smaller and maybe even lighter as they evolve with each product release. The E-M10 Mark III bucks that trend, though. It’s 2mm wider, 0.5mm taller, and 3mm deeper than the Mark II. It’s also 11 grams heavier. This makes the camera feel more substantial without totally changing the character or profile. The dials are more robust, and the camera’s grip is deeper than before.

I liked these changes when toyed around with the camera for a few minutes at a briefing earlier this month. I don’t like interchangeable lens cameras to be too small, but the E-M10 Mark III felt more significant in my hands, and more like something I’d be comfortable shooting with than its predecessor — even though it’s still practically palm-sized.

It’s more capable, too. The Mark III carries over some of the best features from the Mark II — 5-axis image stabilization, a flip-out screen, and a 2.36-million dot EVF. Olympus has added 4K video into the mix, as well as the ability to shoot 120 frames per second at 1080p. The camera uses Olympus’ latest TruePic VIII image processor to handle all this, so there should be a small image quality bump as well. And the Mark III has an improved autofocus system, too, with 121 AF points versus the 81 found on the Mark II.

The E-M10 Mark III, like its Olympus brethren, is a Micro Four Thirds camera, so it’s always going to struggle a bit in certain situations compared to cameras with bigger sensors. But Olympus has done a fantastic job over the last few years giving its cameras just about every other feature possible to balance out the small sensor, while obviously being able to offer the advantage of improved portability. The Mark III looks like no exception to that rule.