Product photos by Dan Bracaglia
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is the entry-level model in the company’s DSLR-style lineup of Micro Four Thirds cameras (the PEN models, such as the E-PL10, are rangefinder-style). It’s a step up from the beginner-focused E-PL series, offering more controls, better build quality and a broader feature set. It sports a 20MP Four Thirds sensor, in-body image stabilization, flip-down touchscreen with a simple interface and 4K video capture.
- 20 Megapixel Live MOS sensor (Four Thirds)
- TruePic VIII processor
- 5-axis in-body image stabilization (up to 4.5 stops)
- 121-point contrast-detect AF system
- Flip-down touchscreen display
- Electronic viewfinder
- 4.5 fps burst shooting w/AF
- USB charging
- Wi-Fi + Bluetooth
- 360 shots per charge (with LCD)
The E-M10 IV is available now in two kits, in your choice of silver or black: body only with an MSRP of $699 USD and with the very compact 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ lens for an MSRP of $799 USD. You may be able to find some better deals if you shop around, though.
The E-M10 IV has inherited what is likely the very same 20MP Four Thirds sensor and TruePic VIII processor as the E-M5 Mark III. This sensor has noticeably less noise at high ISOs compared to the older 16 Megapixel chip found in previous generations.
JPEGs from Olympus cameras have always been pleasant, and the same is true on the E-M10 IV, as you can see in our sample gallery.
Improved continuous AF
The camera’s continuous AF has been re-worked using algorithms from the E-M1X. These see the camera spend slightly longer checking that it has the correct subject before fine-tuning the focus. This reduces – but doesn’t eliminate – instances of the camera locking focus on the background and ignoring your intended subject.
Keep in mind that the E-M10 IV is still using a contrast-detect AF system, so there can still be noticeable ‘hunting’ in some situations as it tries it fine-tune focus. We didn’t find it too distracting though, even in 4K video capture.
Flip-down LCD and selfies
Olympus swapped out the tilting display on the E-M10 III for one that flips down 180° for taking selfies. Unfortunately, the downward-tilting design means the display is either blocked by or potentially even fouled by both tripods and selfie sticks, so framing handheld is your only option.
When the 3″, 1.04 million-dot display is flipped down, the camera switches into a selfie mode, which puts virtual shutter release, movie capture and ‘brightness’ (exposure comp.) buttons on the screen. There’s also a button that turns on a two second self-timer that takes three photos in a row, and in Auto mode, a new One-Touch e-Portrait button that yields artificially-smoothed, plasticky-looking skin.
The One-Touch e-Portrait button available for Auto-mode selfies yield overly-smooth, plasticky-looking skin, and isn’t very well blended either. Half my eyebrows are blurred into my face in this example.
Photos by Mike Tomkins
Other design tweaks
You need a sharp eye to spot the differences between the E-M10 IV and its predecessor, but they do exist. The front grip has a more pronounced position for your middle finger, which gave us a bit more confidence when holding the camera with heavier lenses.
A very subtle change can be found on the rear, between the LCD and buttons. It’s a small rubberized strip that gives you a little something to hold onto when you’re holding the camera at arm’s length taking selfies.
A useful addition is USB charging , something that has been missing from lower-end Olympus cameras for far too long. It takes hours to fully charge the battery, but being able to top up on the road is a must-have these days. We wish Olympus still included an external charger, which is now a $60 option.
The camera is not compatible with the USB PD standard, so you can’t charge it with high-power chargers.
A better low-light viewfinder
Olympus has also added a new Live View Boost mode that can make both focusing and framing in low-light conditions much easier. The E-M10 III’s Live View Boost function merely boosted viewfinder gain, but on the E-M10 IV it can optionally reduce the frame rate significantly, as well. This allows a significantly brighter viewfinder image, at the expense of some jerkiness.
Updated Olympus Image Share app
The E-M10 IV supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and you’ll use the Olympus Image Share app to shoot and transfer photos. As before, you can control the camera with full live view and access to settings, or just use your smartphone as a remote shutter release. New to the app are how-to videos (very similar to those for the E-M10 III on the MyOlympus Academy site) and a night (red) display mode.
The how-to videos can be downloaded for offline viewing, but they’re very light on detail and we aren’t sure beginners will find them terribly useful.
The night display mode is notably more useful, but applies only to the Remote Shutter screen, which is hidden from the interface by default. Once enabled, its red scheme helps protect your night vision while shooting stars and other celestial bodies, and it also allows your phone’s backlight to be quickly adjusted with a vertical swipe on the screen, and reduced to a very low level indeed.
How it compares
|The Canon EOS M50, Olympus E-M10 IV and Fujifilm X-T200|
The E-M10 IV’s most obvious competitors are the Canon EOS M50 MK II, Fujifilm X-T200 and Sony a6100. All three cameras are compact and offer electronic viewfinders, selfie-friendly LCDs and are relatively easy to use. They’re all priced around the $800 mark with a kit lens. Here’s how they compare in terms of specs:
|Olympus E-M10 IV||Canon EOS M50 Mk II||Fujifilm X-T200||Sony a6100|
|Sensor||20MP Four Thirds||24MP APS-C||24MP APS-C||24MP APS-C|
|Image stab.||In-body||Lens only||Lens only||Lens only|
|LCD size (res.)||3″ (1.04M-dot)||3″ (1.04M-dot)||3.5″ (2.8M-dot)||3″ (921k-dot)|
|LCD type||Tilting (80° up, 180° down)||Fully articulating||Fully articulating||Tilting (180° up, 74° down)|
|EVF panel||2.36M-dot OLED||2.36M-dot OLED||2.36M-dot OLED||1.44M-dot OLED|
|Burst rate (w/AF)||5 fps||7.4 fps||8 fps||11 fps|
|Mic/headphone socket||No / No||Yes / No||Yes / Yes||Yes / No|
|Battery life (LCD)||360 shots||305 shots||270 shots||420 shots|
|Dimensions||122 x 84 x 49mm||116 x 88 x 59mm||121 x 84 x 55mm||120 x 67 x 59mm|
In most respects the E-M10 IV doesn’t stand out from the crowd. The real highlight is its in-body image stabilization, which reduces shake on any Micro Four Thirds lens you attach, and there are many to choose from. Battery life is above average, as well.
Body and handling
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 IV is a compact and attractive camera, just like its predecessors. Its SLR-styled body and numerous dials may look imposing to some beginners, but Olympus has put effort into making it it easy to use for those who want to avoid those controls.
Throw on the 14-42mm kit lens and the E-M10 IV is lightweight and almost pocketable. While the front and top plate (and the dials) are metal, there’s a fair amount of plastic on this camera, which is to be expected given its price. It still feels well-built, but be aware there are no claims of weather-sealing on this camera (also expected given its price).
The changes to the front grip may be subtle, but it’s more secure and keeps your hand positioned further up the camera for additional stability. The thumb grip is substantial and is positioned to keep you from accidentally pressing buttons.
While the back of the camera has a conventional control layout, the top plate is loaded: perhaps too loaded. It has two control dials (good news for enthusiasts), a mode dial, and three tiny buttons, two of which can be customized (more on that later).
The button at the top-left is a shortcut button, which opens the Live Control or Super Control Panel (more on those later), the red one is for video recording, and the one with the magnifying glass turns on a 2X ‘digital teleconverter’.
The digital teleconverter captures a five-megapixel image at the center of the frame and then enlarges it to 20 megapixels. As you might imagine, image quality takes a hit when this is enabled, and it’s extremely easy to bump the button by mistake. Thankfully, you can change its function.
LCD and EVF
The LCD display on the E-M10 IV is 3″ in size and has 1.04 million dots: a pretty standard spec. We already know that it can flip downward by 180°, but it can also lock into 90° up and 45° down positions. The camera has two ‘Live View Boost’ modes for shooting in very low light. Naturally, the boost modes do not reflect actual exposure.
The electronic viewfinder’s specs are also typical for this class. It’s an OLED panel with 2.36 million dots, and 0.62X magnification. An eye sensor switches between the EVF and LCD automatically, or you can do so with a button press. Something very much appreciated is that the sensor is disabled when you pull the LCD away from the camera, so you don’t accidentally trigger it during waist-level shooting.
Memory card and battery
Under a plastic door on the bottom of the camera you’ll find the E-M10 IV’s battery and memory card compartment. The memory card slot supports high-speed UHS-II cards – a pleasant surprise for a camera in this price range – and you can tell by how quickly it clears its buffer.
The OM-D E-M10 IV uses the venerable BLS-50 lithium-ion battery. The CIPA estimate for battery life is 360 shots per charge using the LCD (numbers with the viewfinder are not published), which is above average. In most situations you’ll be able to take more photos than advertised, though frequent Wi-Fi use may cause the opposite.
Something that hasn’t changed much on Olympus cameras over the years are their interfaces. There’s the Live Control, which is essentially a shortcut menu, and the somewhat overwhelming Super Control Panel (which can be navigated with your finger: a real timesaver). By default, the camera uses Live Control when you press OK, but you can have it go to the Super Control Panel instead. You can choose which interface is used for Auto, Art Filter, Scene and P/A/S/M modes separately.
|The Live Control interface||The Super Control Panel|
There’s a third, less conventional menu – Live Guide – which we’ll cover in a moment.
The E-M10 IV has a decent selection of features for more experienced shooters, but what about its target audience: people new to photography?
In Auto mode, the camera selects a scene mode for you, which is usually displayed at the lower-left of the LCD. For example, if you’re focusing at something close, a macro flower icon will be shown. A third menu (of sorts) is used in Auto mode, known as Live Guide, which ‘slides out’ on the right side of the display.
|The Live Guide menu lets you use sliders to adjust settings like white balance and aperture without even knowing it.|
As you can see above, you can move sliders to change things like brightness, background blur, and ‘color image’, As with the E-PL10 that we tested recently, the camera doesn’t tell you what you’re actually adjusting – exposure compensation, aperture and white balance in this case – which makes it more challenging to gain experience.
|Photo tips can be accessed via the Live Guide menu|
Something else you’ll find in the Live Guide menu is photo tips, which gives you hints for taking various types of photos. It’s mostly useful advice about composition and suggested settings, but it doesn’t actually change any settings or direct you to the correct spot to adjust them.
The E-M10 IV has a boatload of scene modes: 28 to be exact. The camera shows an example of each option, which is helpful.
There are numerous Art Filters as well, which is where you’ll find special effects like Pop Art, Dramatic Tone and the new Instant Film option. Filters can be fine-tuned and special effects added using sliders on the screen. Basic touchscreen features are all here too: tap-to-focus or shoot, and pinch-to-zoom in playback mode.
With the addition of a new Instant Film option, there are now a whopping 31 Art Filters on offer. (Click for full-sized versions of the standard and Instant Film Art Filter samples.)
Photos by Mike Tomkins
If you’re someone who likes to manually select the function of buttons and make your own menus, the E-M10 IV is not the camera for you (the E-M5 III might be, though). The only customizations you can apply are for the AE/AF Lock, video record and digital teleconverter buttons, and even then, there aren’t many choices available.
Then again, this is an entry-level camera. And with the exception of the digital teleconverter button, we found the bulk of the E-M10 IV’s controls well-positioned and well-chosen. The digital teleconverter button is far too easily bumped, though, and we found it best configured as a lock button for the LCD touch-panel, which can also cause settings changes if accidentally brushed.
The E-M10 IV has a basic Auto ISO implementation, though there are some important things to know about how it functions in different shooting modes. There are only two settings you can adjust: the base and maximum ISO.
Auto ISO behaves differently in Auto mode than it does in the P/A/S/M modes. In Auto mode, the camera biases toward reducing motion blur. Thus it uses faster shutter speeds, which require higher ISOs. In P/A/S/M modes, keeping the ISO low is the priority, so you’ll get much slower shutter speeds risking blur from subject movement.
The takeaway? Photos taken in Auto mode tend to be noisier and have less detail than those taken in P/A/S/M mode due to the higher sensitivities used. Not a big deal for social media shooting, but worth paying attention to.
The updated 20MP sensor in the E-M10 Mark IV is very similar to the unit in the E-M5 Mark III, and so is the camera’s processor; for that reason, you can expect image quality in both JPEG and Raw to be all-but-indistinguishable from its more expensive cousin. All of the images in this review were taken with the E-M10 Mark IV, but you can check out the studio scene analysis of the E-M5 III here.
E-M5 III studio scene analysis (similar 20MP sensor and processor to E-M10 IV)
In any case, though, when it comes to image quality, the lens with which you choose to shoot is just as important as the sensor and processor. In this review, I’ve used the E-M10 IV body with three lenses: The M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ zoom which is available in the E-M10 IV kit version, plus the separately-available 17mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8 primes.
|ISO 200 | 1/640 sec | F5.6 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 40mm equiv.
Photo by Mike Tomkins
The kit zoom is fairly sharp even wide-open, especially towards both ends of its zoom range. The primes are both very sharp lenses, especially the 45mm F1.8. The selection of Micro Four Thirds lenses is broad, so whether you favor image quality, brightness, size and weight or affordability, there should be plenty of lenses to choose from at common focal lengths.
Thanks to its upgraded 20-megapixel image sensor, the Olympus E-M10 IV resolves a little more detail than its predecessor, the 16-megapixel Mark III. It’s not a night-and-day difference, by any means, as the Mark IV only has about 12.5% more pixels on the horizontal or vertical axes, but it’s certainly enough of an improvement to be noticeable when viewed 1:1.
|ISO 160 | 1/4000 sec | F1.8 | Olympus 45mm F1.8 @ 90mm equiv.
Photo by Mike Tomkins
By switching from in-camera JPEG to Raw, I felt I could extract a bit more detail. The difference may not be enough to matter for more casual users and for sharing on social media. White balance and color are also pretty good out of the box, with the E-M10 IV turning in quite pleasing results both indoors and out, day or night.
With that being the case, the biggest reason to opt for the E-M10 IV’s Raw file format is to allow you to pull up shadow areas in contrasty scenes. I found plenty of scope for correction, so if you’re faced with a scene with a wide dynamic range – a sunset, for example – you’ll benefit from switching to Raw.
|ISO 1600 | 1/4000 sec | F1.8 | Olympus 45mm F1.8
Photo by Mike Tomkins
Of course, most entry-level shooters will prefer to stick to JPEG. But thanks to its speedy UHS-II SD card slot, there’s little penalty for shooting Raw beyond the extra storage and processing time needed.
Despite the increase in sensor resolution, noise levels have also improved a little from the E-M10 III. Noise first starts to become noticeable around ISO 1600, and while some softening is noticeable at ISO 3200, I still found it quite usable. ISO 6400 and 12800 are usable for smaller print sizes in a pinch, but quite a lot of finer detail is lost to noise reduction. ISO 25600 is best avoided for all but very small prints.
|ISO 6400 | 1/60 sec | F4.5 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 46mm equiv.
Photo by Mike Tomkins
Of course the E-M10 IV’s Four Thirds sensor is rather smaller than the APS-C sensors in most of its rivals. In particular, those rivals will show an advantage as sensitivity rises, but this is somewhat offset by the Olympus’ stabilizer; if you aren’t shooting moving subjects, you can substantially slow your shutter speed (which can allow you to keep your ISO value lower) and get cleaner overall images.
One of the main changes Olympus highlighted in its announcement of the E-M10 IV was its improvements to autofocus, and especially to continuous AF tracking. The company also improved its face and eye detection algorithms, particularly when faces are detected from extreme angles.
|ISO 200 | 1/400 sec | F2.2 | Olympus 45mm F1.8 (90mm equiv.)
Photo by Mike Tomkins
I made sure to test all of the above, and I can confirm that the face detection-related tweaks have been effective. The E-M10 IV was easily able to detect faces from a side profile or even when seen from well above with the subject not looking upwards at the camera. (And not just for actual people, but even for faces in statues and the like.) Autofocus was set just where I’d want it to be in these cases.
|ISO 200 | 1/1000 sec | F3.5 | Olympus 45mm F1.8 (90mm equiv.)
Photo by Mike Tomkins
As for continuous autofocus tracking, though, the E-M10 IV still struggled quite a bit for me. In good light and with a relatively clean background, it was up to the task of tracking a subject running directly towards the camera until the subject was fairly close. But in lower light like a shady park in the hour before sunset, or with a more complex background, the tracking point regularly jumped off the subject and onto the background instead. And it did so even when my subject’s face was clearly visible, and they were wearing a brightly-colored shirt whose colors didn’t appear anywhere in the background.
The good news is that when this happened, releasing and then re-pressing the shutter button would typically cause focus to be reacquired quite quickly and tracking could continue once more, with perhaps only a couple of frames missed. But there’s little question that the E-M10 IV’s continuous AF tracking is still not a rival for the hybrid phase-detection systems used by competitors.
With its in-body stabilizer, the E-M10 Mark IV is a solid option for those looking for easily captured, high-quality 4K video footage. The feature set isn’t the most robust (nor would we expect it to be), but the out-of-camera footage using the ‘Natural’ profile is generally really nice. We’d love to see microphone and headphone jacks, as they’re sadly absent.
For the most part, continuous autofocus is solid when shooting video. Although some hunting around the point of focus is noticeable, it’s pretty minimal and easy to ignore or not even notice, if you’re not looking for it. And it’s to be expected for a camera reliant solely on contrast-detection, so it’s about as good as you could hope for.
With that said, the system did just occasionally get confused and take significantly longer than normal before the focus adjustment started. So again, it’s not as rock-solid as the hybrid systems of rivals tend to be, but it can certainly do the job most of the time.
As for video image quality, the E-M10 IV turns in a pretty decent performance in its 30 frames-per-second 4K mode. There’s plenty of fine detail recorded, color is good and both rolling shutter and false color artifacts, while present, are pretty minimal.
I also tried the 60 fps Full HD mode, and while its resolution is obviously significantly lower than that of 4K, there’s still a fair amount of detail along with significantly smoother motion, which is especially noticeable when panning.
Finally, there’s a 4x slow-motion movie mode which records at 720p resolution without sound. This mode records at 120 fps and plays back at 30 fps, and while it does slow motion well, it’s both rather soft and quite prone to false color artifacts which are especially noticeable in the water ripples in my sample.
|What we like||What we don’t|
The Olympus E-M10 IV has a lot going for it: It’s affordable, very compact and lightweight, and pairs nicely with its similarly compact and light 14-42mm kit lens. And it offers pretty good image quality overall, as well as making a noticeable step forward from its predecessor in terms both of its detail-gathering capabilities and high ISO noise levels.
Some more experienced photographers will, however, find it a bit limiting both due to its lack of customizability, and the way some features like exposure bracketing are sequestered in the semi-guided AP (Advanced Photo) mode, where they’re can’t be combined with non-AP mode features like priority-mode exposure. But for its target customer, it provides both a good breadth of capabilities and plenty of room to grow, while offering enough hand-holding to make even relatively complex features approachable.
|ISO 3200 | 1/60 sec | F3.5 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 28mm equiv.
Photo by Mike Tomkins
Frequent sports shooters will likely want to look further up Olympus’ lineup or to a rival brand, as we found the E-M10 IV’s autofocus tracking is still something of a weak spot. But with that said, its autofocus is likely up to the task of shooting school sports and family activities, subjects that are probably more typical of the family documentarians Olympus is targeting.
We also found the body of the OM-D E-M10 IV somewhat cluttered with controls and its menu system overly complex – both points that could prove a bit intimidating initially. But the profusion of external controls help keep you out of those menus, and the touch-screen interface makes them quicker to navigate when need be. And there’s definitely something to be said for a really compact camera body, as it’s significantly less likely to be left at home when you need it most.
|ISO 200 | 1/200 sec | F6.3 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 28mm equiv.
Photo by Mike Tomkins
If you plan on shooting a lot of sports or other subjects where autofocus is key, we’d recommend considering the Sony A6100 instead. It has a best-in-class autofocus system, excellent image quality and a really long-lasting battery. And if you need the best possible image quality, especially in low light, we’d suggest taking a look at the Fujifilm X-T200 instead, as it offers low noise levels and good detail capture (but remember, the stabilization of the Olympus can mitigate this somewhat depending on your subject).
But if you want an all-rounder that’s as compact and light as possible, offers access to a vast selection of lenses and courtesy of in-body stabilization, can ensure they’re all hand-holdable to boot… well, the Olympus E-M10 IV is definitely worthy of a closer look.
|ISO 200 | 1/500 sec | F5.5 | Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ @ 74mm equiv.
Photo by Mike Tomkins
Get all the details on what Chris and Jordan think of the E-M10 Mark IV in our video review.
Please do not reproduce any of these images on a website or any newsletter / magazine without prior permission (see our copyright page).
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV sample gallery
Check out our original E-M10 Mark IV sample gallery here, complete with new additions for this review.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV sample gallery – DPRTV
Chris and Jordan from our DPReview TV team captured some images near their homes in Canada.