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What An Amazing Video Camera Combo From Olympus!
I am primarily a stills shooter, but have been shooting and editing video for the last six months in response to client requests. Thankfully, all my Olympus cameras do a great job with video.
But Olympus just released a new, game-changing, camera body and lens combo that really caught my attention.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III with M.Zuiko 12-45 mm f/4 Pro Lens is very video capable.
The pair are being sold as a kit in either black or silver. I prefer black since it minimizes the possibility of stray reflections off the silver camera body.
Inside that black beauty is an amazing array of specs for a $1500 combo.
You get Olympus’ super fast TruePic VIII image processor, 20.4MP Live MOS Micro Four Thirds Sensor, a bright 2.36m-Dot 0.67x-Magnification OLED EVF and a very high-quality 3.0″ 1.04m-Dot Vari-Angle Touchscreen.
It’s an extraordinary stills camera, especially for the money, but I want to mention the video capabilities of the camera. (The image below is a three-shot, hand-held, panorama, stitched in Photoshop elements. Handheld – No tripod even for panoramic. Very basic auto-levels. No sharpening or noise reduction.)
You have DCI and USH 4K video recording. This is in a camera body that sports up to 6.5 stops of image stabilization. Who needs a gimbal? Did I mention it’s weather-sealed? Trust me when I tell you I have more than tested the Olympus claim to fame regarding weather-sealing. I’ve been on the bows of boats in the Cook Inlet of Alaska when 10-foot swells washed over me and the boat and of course the camera. The results? The camera kept shooting like nothing happened.
When evaluating a camera for video these days, you have to look at resolution. Offering DCI, a true 24.00 fps frame rate is used, along with IPB compression and a 237 Mb/s bit-rate, and UHD 4K is available in frame rates up to 29.97p and a 102 Mb/s bit-rate. Full HD 1080p and HD 720p recording is also supported.
If you aren’t familiar with it, DCI stands for Digital Cinema Initiatives and is an agreed upon standard of the film industry for 4K movie production. It’s often referred to as C4K or Cinema 4K. UHD, or Ultra High Definition, is a consumer format designed for television and online content. The two resolutions are almost the same: DCI 4K is 4096 x 2160 while UHD is 3840 x 2160.
When you look at that resolution, remember it is coming out of a kit/combo that includes a very sharp, high-quality weather-sealed, 12-45mm, f/4 lens, giving you an equivalent focal length of 24-90mm. (All for around $1500.)
Olympus added a built-in stereo microphone, and an external mic jack for improved audio recording quality. This is important because most cameras in this price range force you to use on-board audio with no direct mic input.
It’s also possible to use an external recording monitor. There is a dedicated HDMI port on the camera that supports 4:2:2 8-bit color for a greater color correction range. (Note: You will need to purchase your own Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable.)
Additionally, a Time-lapse Movie mode is also available for recording up to 4K UHD resolution with a 5 fps shooting rate to highlight subject changes or movement over a longer period of time. Full HD and HD time-lapse settings are available, too, as well as a high-speed Full HD setting with 120 fps frame rate.
The Mark III is a very capable camera. Now let’s look at the kit lens.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-45mm f/4 Pro Lens
This is the newest lens from Olympus and it provides a constant, fast, aperture of f/4 all through the zoom range. Important to video shooters will be the fact that when paired with the E-M5 Mark III, it offers super fast, super accurate, and quiet optical autofocus.
If you look at the specs I just provided, you may be saying to yourself, “That’s a kit lens?” Well just because it’s sold as a kit in this combo, don’t be fooled. The 12-45 is a professional lens, top to bottom.
It has an insane minimum close focusing distance of 12cm (less than five inches) and is designed to defeat aberrations, ghosting and flare with it’s Olympus ZERO (Zuiko Extra-low Reflection Optical) coating.
It’s compact and lightweight, weighing only 254 grams (less than nine ounces.)
The lens is sharp throughout the range and at all apertures, but it’s best under f/16.
The Mark III and the 12-45 f/4 lens, which focuses quickly and silently are a great pair for people who want a walk around camera capable of pro-image quality or who want a video camera for vlogging, creating social media videos for YouTube or Instagram or as a B-Roll camera. I plan to make this my workhorse for all such projects. It’s light and compact and can be handheld in low-light situations without sacrificing image quality. The pictures from this combo are sharp, it’s a joy to hold in the hand, and it in every way punches above its weight with best-in-class image stabilization and all the pro-features of a serious video camera like an HDMI port, USB charging, silent AF, 4K and more.
Of course if you want to use it for travel photography, street photography, general all purpose photography, you can and you should. Pound-for-pound, dollar-for-dollar, I personally believe this is the best overall VALUE you can get in an Olympus camera.
I do not believe there is a better combo with similar capabilities in this price range.
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