Olympus E-M10 III vs E-M5 II
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2017 and February 2015. Both the E-M10 III and the E-M5 II are mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that are equipped with a Four Thirds sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 15.9 megapixels.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-M5 II. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
Both cameras are available in two different colors (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-M5 II is somewhat larger (3 percent) than the Olympus E-M10 III. Moreover, the E-M5 II is markedly heavier (14 percent) than the E-M10 III. It is noteworthy in this context that the E-M5 II is splash and dust-proof, while the E-M10 III does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Micro Four Thirds Lens Catalog. Mirrorless cameras, such as the two under consideration, have the additional advantage of having a short flange to focal plane distance, which makes it possible to mount many lenses from other systems onto the camera via adapters.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Olympus E-M10 III||122 mm||84 mm||50 mm||410 g||330||n||Aug 2017||649|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||124 mm||85 mm||45 mm||469 g||310||Y||Feb 2015||1,099|
|3.||Olympus E-M10 IV||122 mm||84 mm||49 mm||383 g||360||n||Aug 2020||699|
|4.||Olympus E-M5 III||125 mm||85 mm||50 mm||414 g||310||Y||Oct 2019||1,199|
|5.||Olympus E-PL10||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Oct 2019||599|
|6.||Olympus E-PL9||117 mm||68 mm||39 mm||380 g||350||n||Feb 2018||599|
|7.||Olympus E-PL8||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Sep 2016||549|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||125 mm||72 mm||37 mm||427 g||330||n||Jan 2016||1,199|
|9.||Olympus E-M10 II||120 mm||83 mm||47 mm||390 g||320||n||Aug 2015||649|
|10.||Olympus E-M10||119 mm||82 mm||46 mm||396 g||320||n||Jan 2014||699|
|11.||Olympus E-PL7||115 mm||67 mm||38 mm||357 g||350||n||Aug 2014||599|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||130 mm||94 mm||63 mm||497 g||350||Y||Sep 2013||1,399|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||111 mm||64 mm||38 mm||325 g||360||n||May 2013||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M5||122 mm||89 mm||43 mm||425 g||360||Y||Feb 2012||1,299|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||122 mm||71 mm||44 mm||426 g||290||n||Apr 2016||799|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The E-M10 III was launched at a markedly lower price (by 41 percent) than the E-M5 II, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a Four Thirds sensor and have a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 2.0. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the review cameras among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
In terms of chip-set technology, the E-M10 III uses a more advanced image processing engine (TruePic VIII) than the E-M5 II (TruePic VII), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
The two cameras under review do not only share the same sensor size, but also offer an identical resolution of 15.9 megapixels. This similarity in sensor specs implies that both the E-M10 III and the E-M5 II have the same pixel density, as well as the same pixel size. It should, however, be noted that the E-M10 III is much more recent (by 2 years and 6 months) than the E-M5 II, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the E-M10 III has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
Unlike the E-M10 III, the E-M5 II has the capacity to capture high quality composite images (40MP) by combining multiple shots after shifting its sensor by miniscule distances. This multi-shot, pixel-shift mode is most suitable for photography of stationary objects (landscapes, studio scenes).
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 25600, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II offers exactly the same ISO settings.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Olympus E-M10 III||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1120||74|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.0||12.5||842||73|
|3.||Olympus E-M10 IV||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.3||13.2||1402||76|
|4.||Olympus E-M5 III||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/30p||23.3||13.1||1324||76|
|5.||Olympus E-PL10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.3||13.1||1324||76|
|6.||Olympus E-PL9||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||23.1||12.8||1162||74|
|7.||Olympus E-PL8||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.6||1030||73|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||1080/60p||23.1||12.4||894||74|
|9.||Olympus E-M10 II||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||23.1||12.5||842||73|
|10.||Olympus E-M10||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.8||12.3||884||72|
|11.||Olympus E-PL7||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.7||12.4||873||72|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||23.0||12.7||757||73|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/30p||22.5||12.0||717||68|
|14.||Olympus E-M5||Four Thirds||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60i||22.8||12.3||826||71|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||4K/30p||22.9||12.6||662||71|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The two cameras under consideration both have sensors whose read-out speed is fast enough to capture moving pictures, but the E-M10 III provides a higher video resolution than the E-M5 II. It can shoot video footage at 4K/30p, while the E-M5 II is limited to 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The E-M10 III and the E-M5 II are similar in the sense that both feature an electronic viewfinder, which is helpful when framing images in bright sunlight. Moreover, their viewfinders offer an identical resolution of 2360k dots. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Olympus E-M10 III and Olympus E-M5 II in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Olympus E-M10 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|3.||Olympus E-M10 IV||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||15.0||Y||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-M5 III||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-PL10||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-PL9||none||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.6||Y||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL8||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|9.||Olympus E-M10 II||2360||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|10.||Olympus E-M10||1440||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
|11.||Olympus E-PL7||optional||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||2360||n||3.0 / 1037||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0||n||Y|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||optional||n||3.0 / 460||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||n||Y|
|14.||Olympus E-M5||1440||n||3.0 / 610||tilting||Y||1/4000s||9.0||n||Y|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||2765||n||3.0 / 1040||tilting||Y||1/4000s||8.0||Y||Y|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The E-M10 III has one, while the E-M5 II does not. While the built-in flash of the E-M10 III is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.The E-M5 II has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the E-M10 III does not have a selfie-screen.
The reported shutter speed information refers to the use of the mechanical shutter. Yet, some cameras only have an electronic shutter, while others have an electronic shutter in addition to a mechanical one. In fact, both cameras under consideration feature an electronic shutter, which makes completely silent shooting possible. However, this mode is less suitable for photographing moving objects (risk of rolling shutter) or shooting under artificial light sources (risk of flickering).
The Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-M5 II both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the E-M10 III and the E-M5 II write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras support UHS-II cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 312 MB/s.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III and Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Olympus E-M10 III||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|3.||Olympus E-M10 IV||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Olympus E-M5 III||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Olympus E-PL10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|6.||Olympus E-PL9||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|7.||Olympus E-PL8||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Olympus E-M10 II||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Olympus E-M10||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Olympus E-PL7||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Olympus E-M5||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||Y||stereo / mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-|
It is notable that the E-M5 II has a microphone port, which can help to improve the quality of audio recordings by attaching an external microphone. The E-M10 III does not feature such a mic input.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Olympus E-M5 II (unlike the E-M10 III) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the E-M10 III and the E-M5 II have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-M5 II was replaced by the Olympus E-M5 III, while the E-M10 III was followed by the Olympus E-M10 IV. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Olympus website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Olympus E-M10 III better than the Olympus E-M5 II or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Advantages of the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (TruePic VIII vs TruePic VII).
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 1080/60p).
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 59g or 13 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (41 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-M5 II launch.
Reasons to prefer the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- High quality composites: Can combine several shots after pixel-shifting its sensor.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.74x vs 0.62x).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8.6 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in February 2015).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the E-M5 II is the clear winner of the contest (11 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Olympus E-M10 III and the Olympus E-M5 II place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the E-M10 III or the E-M5 II perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Olympus E-M10 III||..||+||5/5||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2017||649|
|2.||Olympus E-M5 II||5/5||+ +||4.5/5||81/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2015||1,099|
|3.||Olympus E-M10 IV||4.5/5||..||5/5||81/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2020||699|
|4.||Olympus E-M5 III||5/5||+||5/5||82/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2019||1,199|
|5.||Olympus E-PL10||..||..||4/5||77/100||..||4/5||Oct 2019||599|
|6.||Olympus E-PL9||..||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Feb 2018||599|
|7.||Olympus E-PL8||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Sep 2016||549|
|8.||Olympus PEN-F||..||..||4/5||82/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,199|
|9.||Olympus E-M10 II||4.5/5||+ +||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Aug 2015||649|
|10.||Olympus E-M10||4/5||..||..||80/100||5/5||5/5||Jan 2014||699|
|11.||Olympus E-PL7||4/5||+||..||..||5/5||4/5||Aug 2014||599|
|12.||Olympus E-M1||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2013||1,399|
|13.||Olympus E-PL6||..||..||..||..||..||..||May 2013||599|
|14.||Olympus E-M5||4/5||+ +||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||1,299|
|15.||Panasonic GX85||4.5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Apr 2016||799|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 550D vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon 5DS R vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Canon 700D vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon G1 X vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Canon SX420 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Canon T6s vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Fujifilm X30 vs Olympus E-M5 II
- Nikon D4 vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic FZ1000 II
- Olympus E-M10 III vs Panasonic GF7
- Olympus E-M5 II vs Olympus TG-6
- Olympus E-M5 II vs Sony RX10 III
Specifications: Olympus E-M10 III vs Olympus E-M5 II
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Mirrorless system camera|
|Camera Lens||Micro Four Thirds lenses||Micro Four Thirds lenses|
|Launch Date||August 2017||February 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 649||USD 1,099|
|Sensor Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Sensor Format||Four Thirds Sensor||Four Thirds Sensor|
|Sensor Size||17.3 x 13.0 mm||17.3 x 13.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||224.9 mm2||224.9 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||21.6 mm||21.6 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||3.76 μm||3.76 μm|
|Pixel Density||7.08 MP/cm2||7.08 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 25,600 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||TruePic VIII||TruePic VII|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||73|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||23.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||842|
|Screen Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Viewfinder Type||Electronic viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||2360k dots||2360k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||1037k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000s||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||8.6 shutter flaps/s||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Electronic Shutter||up to 1/16000s||up to 1/16000s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Image Stabilization||In-body stabilization||In-body stabilization|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-II||UHS-II|
|Connectivity Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||Wifi built-in|
|Body Specs||Olympus E-M10 III||Olympus E-M5 II|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||330 shots per charge||310 shots per charge|
122 x 84 x 50 mm
(4.8 x 3.3 x 2.0 in)
124 x 85 x 45 mm
(4.9 x 3.3 x 1.8 in)
|Camera Weight||410 g (14.5 oz)||469 g (16.5 oz)|
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