I was recently given the opportunity to try out the OM-D E-M1 Mark III along with the M. Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO, 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 and the 60mm f/2.8 Macro lenses. I’ll share with you here my initial thoughts and reactions to this camera.
Let me preface this by saying I normally photograph using a Canon 6D, Canon 17-40 f/4L, Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro and the Tamron 100-400 f/4.5-6.3 lenses. I was going into the E-M1 Mark III with no Olympus experience at all. I learn by doing, trying and when I can’t figure something out, then I look it up.
So, out I went with this new-to-me camera and setup. I loaded all of it into my bag so I could feel the weight difference I kept hearing about.
Easy to use
First off, I found it super easy to figure out, just by asking myself, what does this dial do, which one of these buttons controls my ISO, aperture and shutter speed? I had that down in relatively no time at all. The ISO took me a bit of playing to find because it also uses the same dial as aperture, you just have to press the ISO button with your thumb first and then move the dial. You can easily see your settings both on the screen or in the viewfinder. I used manual mode most of the time and always used the viewfinder to compose and change my settings.
My biggest frustration was one that was easily solved when I figured out the purpose of the focus ring on the 7-14mm lens. Olympus calls this the MF (manual focus) clutch. There is a ring just past the zoom ring that moves forward and back. When it is in the forward position it goes into autofocus mode. When the ring is pulled back toward the camera it goes into manual focus.
Several times as I was using this lens, I inadvertently pulled the ring back and missed my shot because I didn’t refocus manually. Can you learn to work with this? Of course, you can. After realizing what was going on it I made sure to be aware of the ‘beep’ and green focus square for autofocus before I clicked the shutter.
The weight of it all
I took the camera and lenses in my usual bag, a Lowepro Passport Sling III. I don’t carry a lot of gear when I’m out so the smaller, easier bag, the better for me. All of the Olympus gear I had fit easily into this bag. Did I feel like it was lighter than my usual load? Not at all. But in reality, it is slightly less than what I normally carry. Here is the comparison for you numbers people.
Olympus setup: 4.93 pounds
- Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III camera: Approx. 1.28 lbs. (with 1 BLH-1 battery and 1 memory card, based on CIPA standards, without eyecup)
- M.Zuiko ED 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO: 1.18 lbs.
- M.Zuiko ED 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3: 2.47 lbs. without tripod adapter, lens rear cap and lens hood
- M.Zuiko ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro: 0.41 lbs.
Canon setup: 6 pounds
- Canon 6D camera: Approx. 1.66 lbs. (based on CIPA standards)
- Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM: 1.1 lbs.
- Tamron 100-400 f/4.5-6.3: 2.50 lbs.
- Canon EF 60mm f/2.8 Macro: 0.74 lbs.
- Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro: 1.3 lbs. I included this because it’s always in my bag.
I usually only ever carry 1-2 lenses and the body I’m using. So the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, the 7-14mm and 100-400mm lenses come in at 3.75 lbs. versus my Canon 6D, the 17-40mm and Tamron 100-400mm at 4.16 lbs.
As you can see by the numbers, it comes out to about one pound difference overall and less than that with specific lenses. If you’re a photographer who likes to carry all the gear with you, then I’m quite sure when you add in more lenses and camera bodies, the difference in weight will add up. If you’re like me and tend to take out only what you need or shoot with only one lens at a time a lot, then the weight difference isn’t really going to matter in my opinion.
You may be able to fit MORE gear in your bag depending on which lenses you typically carry. If I were a macro photographer and used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III, I would definitely have more space in my bag for lenses and another camera body. The size difference between the Canon 100mm (3.1″ x 4.8″) and the Olympus 60mm (2.2″ x 3.3″) is quite substantial. (Disclaimer: I carry a Lowepro Passport Sling III bag, which is relatively small.)
Other observations about the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III
Something else I learned after the fact was that while Olympus’ in-camera “world’s best” image stabilization is great, once you attach that 100-400mm lens you only have IS on the lens. The 7-14mm has both lens and body IS. So I walked away with quite a few non-sharp images when I used the 100-400 handheld. (This could also be due to the fact that I’m not an overly patient photographer.)
I think as I became used to the difference in this camera/lens combination and what I normally use, my images would improve.
For the first two times I’ve taken this camera and lenses out I really enjoyed it. It was fun to play around to see what I could do with it. I’m looking forward to digging further into the in-camera Live ND, Live Composite and seeing what else I can do with it creatively.
Want an in-depth look at the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III? Click here.