Olympus made big news last month when it announced plans to sell its imaging division—the part of the company that makes Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses—to a holding company, Japan Industrial Partners (JIP).
While there are still some questions about where JIP will take existing product lines going forward, Olympus continues to run the imaging division in the meantime. Today it’s announcing an updated entry-level camera, as well as a telephoto lens aimed at wildlife enthusiasts.
Olympus is upgrading the entry-level E-M10 Mark III with a new edition, the Mark IV. The basics are the same; it includes the retro-chic styling we expect from an OM-D model, and support for Micro Four Lenses from Olympus, Panasonic, and others.
E-M5 Mark III, making it a bit more competitive.
The sensor is stabilized, something you don’t see in a lot of entry-level models. The five-axis IBIS system is beneficial for handheld video (the Mark IV rolls footage at 4K), and works to reduce motion blur when making still images.
There are some other improvements to the body. The grip is a slightly different shape, Olympus says it makes the E-M10 IV a bit more comfortable to handhold, and the front LCD can face forward for selfie shots. It’s a bit of an oddball design, though. The screen flips under the body, rather than over or to the side, so it’s not a good choice for vloggers who may opt for a handheld grip, selfie stick, or gimbal for walk-and-talk videos.
14-42mm EZ zoom. Canadian customers will spend more—$999.99 for the body only and $1,049.99 for the kit. The E-M10 Mark IV is available in your choice of a silver or black finish.
Customers buying the camera through Nov. 1 will also get an accessory kit. It includes a camera bag, an extra BLS-50 battery, and a 32GB memory card.
Olympus is also adding a new Micro Four Thirds lens to its catalog. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS sports an all-weather IPX1 build, image stabilization, and a focal range that’s ideal for photographing wildlife, team sports, and other types of action where you’re simply not able to get close to your subject.
Time to Buy?
The E-M10 Mark IV and 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 are the first products announced since Olympus went public with its intent to sell the imaging division. As such, there are more unknowns when thinking about buying, especially if you’re thinking about a camera that can change lenses.
The Micro Four Thirds system is supported by other manufacturers too, notably Panasonic. Because lenses and cameras are cross compatible, there’s a bit of a safety net there. Likewise, many customers buying an entry-level model won’t be shopping for loads of pricey additional lenses.
If you’re a more serious photographer, with a big investment in Micro Four Thirds gear, your concerns are likely different. The 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 looks to be another sensible, quality lens for the system.
Olympus expects the transfer of its imaging business to JIP to be done by year’s end.