It’s often overlooked as such, but the OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a surprisingly capable video camera, and it’s one that we use regularly here at Camera Jabber. As well as its brilliant 5-Axis Image Stabilisation, the E-M5 Mark II offers Full HD recording at frame rate options of 50, 30, 25 and 24fps, and you can record 1080p footage at 60fps which can be converted to 24fps in post-production for hi-res slow motion playback.
The compression settings allow footage to be recorded in MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264) or AVI(Motion JPEG) format, with bitrates up to 77 Mbps allowing greater scope for post-production processing.
But some three years on, we’re now fully entrenched in the era of 4K and to stay relevant, the OM-D E-M5 is in need of a refresh. And that’s why we believe we’ll see an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III before too long.
So what specs can we expect to see on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III? These days, we really need to think about cameras in terms of their dual purposes.
So to examine the E-M5 Mark III’s specs we’ll break it down into video specifications and stills. Of course take what we say with a pinch of salt. These are specs we’d like to see, after all. However, we think they’re pretty firmly grounded in reality.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III video specs we’d like to see
- 4K video 30fps
- 1080p at 120fps
- Change position of ports
- Dual SD card slots
- Built in ND filter
- Log gamma curve for flat recording
- Built in audio high pass filters
- Audio monitoring without adding the grip
- Programmable focus shift
- Focus Peaking colour options
- Ability to adjust Continuous AF speed in video
Let’s take a quick look at these possible OM-D E-M5 II video specs one-by-one…
4K @ 30fps
This is the cinematic standard. And the junior OM-D E-M10 Mark III offers this, so you can bet you’ll see it on the E-M5 III.
1080p at 120fps
One of the things that made the E-M5 II so remarkable was its ability to make slow-motion movies. Olympus will up its game here and make the E-M5 Mark III one of the most affordable slow-motion cameras not named GoPro.
One of our small bugbears with the E-M5 II is that some of the ports can be partially blocked when the side articulating LCD is in certain positions. We expect a redesign on the E-M5 III body to rectify this.
Dual SD card slot
Given the E-M5 Mark II’s quiet reputation as a solid video camera and the size requirements for shooting 4K, we suspect Olympus will incorporate dual card slots into the new OM-D E-M5 Mark III body design.
Built-in ND filter
Maintaining your chosen aperture and exposure settings isn’t always easy when shooting video. An ND filter can help you reduce your shutter speed to follow the 180-degree shutter rule while keeping that exposure sound. So we wouldn’t be surprised to see Olympus add this to the E-M5 Mark III.
Log gamma curve
Understanding gamma curves in video is hard enough – communicating them is even more difficult! In a nutshell, our eyes process tonal gradations differently than our camera’s sensors. We see subtler changes in lighter tones than dark ones, while our camera picks up those slight changes in dark areas.
A gamma curve aims to produce a flat image that probably looks terrible on the back of your camera, but this enables you to apply precise colour grading in post production to achieve a more uniform, cinematic look to your footage.
The OM-D E-M1X offers an OM-Log400 mode for filmmakers. We suspect the OM-D E-M5 III will offer this as well.
Adding this to the OM-D E-M5 III would be a real boon for videographers.
Built-in audio high pass filters
A high pass filter help cut out unwanted, low-end background noise. Imagine an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III with a built-in 80Hz high-pass filter that could eliminate noise such as air conditioning or the rumble of traffic.
Built-in ND filter
The OM-D E-M1X also has a built-in ND filter, but only for stills. We’d love to see this feature in the E-M5 Mark III, but it needs to be available for video as well.
Audio monitoring without adding the grip
And while we’re thinking about audio (won’t someone please think about the audio?! We’re looking at you, GoPro) a simple headphone port on the E-M5 Mark III would go a long way to helping you get professional-quality footage.
Programmable focus shift
This is a fun feature that we probably won’t see on this iteration of the E-M5, but it’s one we’re adding here anyway. This is essentially a programmable pull focus for video over a designated distance and time frame.
If you’re filming a wedding, for instance, and you’ve got your aperture wide open at f/2.8 on the best man as he speaks, you can program the camera to shift the plane of focus to the bride and groom over, say, 5secs.
Peaking colour options
Let’s imaging the focus peaking colour on your camera is green. Now let’s imagine you’re out in the forest, crouched amongst the ferns, preparing for a shoot within this idyllic scene.
It’s going to be a little hard to ensure what’s sharp when your focus peaking is the same colour as everything around you. Being able to change the colour of your focus peaking gives you that extra contrast so you can fine tune your focus.
Ability to adjust Continuous AF speed in video
We’d like to see the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III offer users the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the AF. Why would you want this? Imagine you’re still filming that wedding, and you’re locked on to the bride and groom from across the room.
Now imagine a server walks past. If you had the option to decrease the sensitivity of the AF then you would ensure that your AF stays on the couple and doesn’t instead shift focus to the plate of crab risotto going to table four.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III specs for stills
- 20.4MP sensor
- Improved IS
- High Res Shooting mode
- Improved AF
It seems a pretty safe bet that the OM-D E-M5 Mark III will inherit a number of the E-M1 Mark II’s specifications, and chief among these will be its 20.4-megapixel Live MOS sensor.
And we had our first strong hint at this when an Olympus Wikipedia page was edited to suggest an E-M5 III was due for release this year with a 20MP sensor.
Improved Image Stabilisation
The OM-D E-M5 II’s IS system is very good, but it can’t offer the 6.5EV extension to handheld shooting that the E-M1 II’s system does, so perhaps that too will be improved for the Mark III.
High Res Shooting mode
We also expect the High Res Shooting Mode to see the improvement that we saw in the E-M1 II so that it can be used to shoot landscapes with moving elements like trees and water.
Maybe this is asking for too much, but we think it’s very possible that the OM-D E-M5 Mark III could inherit the E-M1 II’s 121-point AF system, which are all cross type.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1X boasts dual processors. So could Olympus introduce a new processor for the E-M5 III? We’d love to see this, but being realistic, we don’t think the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III will use dual processors.
Eye AF & Subject recognition
Again, more tech we think will trickle down from the OM-D E-M1X. The E-M1X has a ridiculously good subject detection system that can identify and focus on subjects connected with motorsports, aeroplanes and trains. If the E-M5 Mark III inherits this – and we think there’s a good chance it will – it could join our lists for both the best cameras for 4K video and best mirrorless cameras.
Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III release date
With the E-M10 III launched last year, that leaves the E-M5 Mark II as the lone camera in the OM-D range due for an update. We wouldn’t be surprised to see an announcement at Photokina in September, with an E-M5 III release date shortly thereafter.