When the team at Olympus contacted me about getting a pre-release sample of the recently announced OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and whether I would be interested inn working with it, I jumped at the opportunity to test this body in the field. Living in the mountains of the Chihuahuan Desert is a great place to test the camera for wildlife, landscape, nightscape, and macro images! It is also a great location for the challenging weather and environmental conditions that camera gear must face. I had planned to give this camera body a thorough workout when I received it.
A brief summary of my experience could be wrapped up in the phrase: “The OM-D EM10 Mark IV is more than capable of handling a wide variety of shooting situations that most photographers will experience; it was very surprising at how well the graphical user interface was done; and I have dubbed this camera body ‘The Smartphone Killer.”
Putting it through the Paces
I want to let the reader know that I don’t baby any of my camera equipment. I buy it to use it, not to look at how pretty or clean it is. I live in the desert. I shoot in dusty, hot, cold, wet conditions as a professional wildlife and landscape photographer. I am not walking down the street with a bag over my shoulder shooting in “clean” areas. I left this camera out on my cliff side property in the remote Davis Mountains of west Texas overnight to shoot star trails. I shot my stepsons jumping in a pool in Georgetown, Texas while I was standing in the pool getting splashed and the camera gear as well. I put the Olympus STF-8 Macro Flash on the body for use indoors and out and used the camera for high speed hummingbird photography with flash and with natural light as well.
The key question I wanted to know was, “How well would the E-M10 Mark IV handle the typical photography situations for which I primarily relied on my E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III?” In short, well played Olympus, well played!
When the box arrived, I opened it with tremendous anticipation as I knew that this camera would be oriented toward the consumer end of the Olympus bodies but that it would offer features found on the pro bodies. As I pulled it out of the box, I was first struck by the light weight of this body which is one of the reasons I switched to Olympus back in April 2019. It was small but still felt like a camera I could use regularly. The second feature that caught my eye was the overall ergonomics, which is a critically important concern to someone like myself who photographs in many different physical positions and not having to strain my wrists, elbows, fingers, and such to get an image is important to me. I immediately formatted an SD card and began to work through the menu to establish many of the base settings with which I shoot. While the menu is certainly reduced from the E-M1X (which is my standard of comparison for all other bodies I use), it is not without great features!
When I saw the graphical user interface for the advanced photography modes, my first thought was “I want that on all my bodies!” In attempting to keep in my mind the thoughts of a beginning photographer or someone new to Olympus, I was immediately impressed by how easy it was to find, use and setup even the advanced features.
I even went into the Scene Modes to try them which isn’t something I would normally ever do on my own. Let’s just say, I used them more than I ever have before because I wanted my experience to be as thorough as possible.
Advanced Photography Features
When you can get Focus Stacking, Live Composite Mode, Panorama Mode, Keystone Compensation, and HDR on an entry level camera, now we are talking! No one can ever say, “Well, my smartphone does pano’s like this and your camera doesn’t?” Olympus has taken that from them as well! It is one reason I call it the Smartphone Killer! For the price of this body, you are getting some very advanced features that have been simplified but still very effective!
The fact I was able to do star trails using Live Composite mode just like on my E-M1X and E-M1 Mark III was so satisfying. I simply walked down my property here in the Davis Mountains and set it up for a total of 3 hours of exposures. I went to bed, woke up the next morning and retrieved my camera. Uploaded the RAW image of star trails and was reminded of why I went to Olympus! Olympus brings technology and features that no other camera can offer!
I used Keystone Compensation to correct the angle of the Prada Store exhibit outside of Marfa, Texas. Focus Stacking was used to increase my depth of field on a beetle. And the built in Panorama Mode is just too easy to use and eliminates the need to stitch images for those who don’t want to take the time. Again, advanced features for the non-advanced photographer! What more can you ask for?
Olympus has produced THE camera body that I would love to buy for family and friends! If they aren’t pros, but want to capture images like a pro, the E-M10 Mark IV is just the ticket. Lightweight, in camera battery charging, a great lineup of lenses, advanced photography features with a simple to use interface, excellent ergonomic design, and all for a great price!
I know that I will be recommending this camera to a wide range of users without any qualms or concerns. As an Olympus educator, I am very proud to serve a company dedicated to providing outstanding quality products at incredibly affordable prices.
So, next time you head outdoors, please, leave the smartphone on the charger, you won’t need it with the E-M10 Mark IV!
Lee is a professional photographer and owner/guide of Big Bend Birding & Photo Tours and also leads photography workshops for Wildside Nature Tours. He lives in the Davis Mountains of west Texas where the night sky and wildlife keep him busy!