Despite its complex name, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a simple, compact entry-level mirrorless camera. And if you’re a beginner or keen photographer looking for a compact body that takes consistently attractive photos, it’s a camera that has to be on your list.
Sure, the E-M10 Mark IV is lacking some of the more advanced features being touted by its pricier rivals, like phase-detection autofocus, 4K/60p video and microphone/headphone inputs. But it does a brilliant job as a stills camera that can shoot a little bit of quality video when needed.
The camera’s approachable button layout and combination of Bluetooth/Wi-Fi functionality means it’s primarily designed to tempt smartphone photographers over to an interchangeable lens camera. And as a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) camera, it has one of the widest selection of lenses around.
Although the Micro Four Thirds system was originally created by Panasonic and Olympus, a wide range of companies have now produced quality, affordable lenses for MFT-compatible cameras. This makes it a great system for beginners to invest in.
One big thing this camera has in its favor is superb in-body image stabilization (IBIS). This system is the same as the one used in Olympus’ award-winning flagship E-M1 series, and it works a treat for capturing images at slower shutter speeds handheld.
The E-M10 Mark IV is Olympus’ answer to cameras like the Panasonic Lumix G100, Fujifilm X-T200 and Sony ZV-1. And it manages to stand out with its classic OM-D styling, super-compact body and that excellent IBIS system. The 20MP resolution isn’t going to grab any headlines, but it’s a significant and welcome step up over its predecessor’s 16MP sensor, and keeps it within range of the competition.
While it’s a great first camera for beginners, we’d also recommend the E-M10 Mark IV to more experienced photographers on a budget or those looking to downsize from a DSLR. It doesn’t deliver the battery or image quality performance of high-end mirrorless cameras or DSLRs, but it could be a great option as a recce or second camera.
Price and release date
The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV was released in August 2020 and was available to buy immediately for a body-only price (in black or silver) of $699 / £699.99 / AU$1,299.
Naturally, there is also a kit lens bundle available, with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ bundle we tested costing $799 / £799 / AU$1,499. Australian fans can also buy the E-M10 Mark IV with a longer M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f/4-5.6 II zoom lens from for AU$1,799 (around $1,285 / £985).
Despite being relatively new, we’ve already seen some discounts on the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV, which bring its price more in line with rivals like the Fujifilm X-T200. That said, if you’re on a tighter budget, it’s worth checking prices on this camera’s E-M10 Mark III predecessor.
While the latter lacks the new sensor or flip down screen, you can currently pick it up for $449 / £449 / AU$799, which is impressive value.
Build and handling
- Ergonomic grip and button layout
- Tough polycarbonate body
- 3-inch touchscreen more flexible than before
The first thing that strikes you about the E-M10 IV is its diminutive size. It’s small enough to fit into the pocket of regular fit trousers – and that’s with its 14-42mm M.Zuiko f/3.5-5.6 pancake kit lens attached.
We’ve always been huge fans of the twin control dial setup of the E-M10, as it allows you to make adjustments to both shutter speed, aperture or exposure compensation with ease when shooting manually.
The mode dial that sits beside them provides straightforward access to the camera’s nine shooting modes, including video. There’s also a dedicated video record button, placed sensibly on the shoulder of the camera for quick access.
There isn’t much room for buttons elsewhere on the camera, but Olympus has managed to place controls that cover most key functions without making the camera feel cluttered. There’s also touchscreen access via the rear LCD, further boosting the camera’s usability.
The 3.0-inch LCD touchscreen is the most ambitious of the series so far. This time, the E-M10 IV’s screen tilts upwards 90-degrees for shooting at hip level, and also flips downwards 180-degrees in the other direction. This positions it under the camera for selfies and vlogging. It’s good to see more flexibility introduced, but it does present a potential issue for people who want to self-shoot while using the camera on a tripod.
The E-M10 IV’s 2.36m-dot OLED viewfinder, unchanged from the previous model, provides a clear view of the scene ahead with settings overlaid on top. This means that once you’re familiar with the layout, you won’t need to take your eye away from the viewfinder to make adjustments.
The share button on the top left shoulder doubles as a quick menu when taking pictures. But in playback this provides simple access to the camera’s share-to-smart device functionality.
- Class-leading image stabilization system
- Powered by TruePic VIII imaging processor
- Advanced Photo mode is handy for beginners
The E-M10 Mark IV is powered by a TruePic VIII imaging processor, which works to deliver reduced noise in images captured in low light and has a native ISO sensitivity range of ISO 200-6400. This can be expanded to ISO 80 (LO) and ISO 25,600 (HI), but you’d be wiser to take advantage of the camera’s quality five-axis in-body image stabilization system (IBIS) before you crank the ISO up to those numbers.
This IBIS system is same as the one in Olympus’ award-winning flagship E-M1 series, and it’s excellent. It boosts the E-M10 Mark IV’s handheld shooting capabilities and means you can pack light and don’t need a tripod to get fantastic shots, even at night.
Also borrowed from the upper tier of OM-D cameras, is the updated 121-point autofocusing system, which can better detect and track faces and eyes.
Aside from these features, there aren’t other big spec or physical changes of note from the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. It’s a sensible update, one that focuses on improving the camera’s stills capabilities.
Olympus has included its trademark scene (SCN) and Art Filter modes, which function as you might imagine, placing ‘creative’ looks over images. We’re not huge fans, but they can be fun to have a play with. We’re more keen on the Advanced Photo (AP) section of the mode dial.
AP mode makes it super easy for people to create otherwise complex images, such as live composites for capturing star trails and light painting, long exposure images with live progress displayed on screen, multiple exposure images and more. These are a great way to explore photo creativity.
- 121-point Contrast Detect AF
- Improved face detection and subject-tracking from Mark III
- Now also has eye detection
Autofocus systems need to be predictable, even if they’re not the fastest. The E-M10 Mark IV’s autofocusing system may not be the most advanced in this camera class, but it functions consistently and that’s the main thing we want from a camera’s autofocus.
Hybrid systems that incorporate on-sensor phase detection AF, such as the AF system featured in the Sony ZV-1, are superior and better suited for things like vlogging. This is because they are quicker at detecting faces from a range of angles and will stick with them more tenaciously without hunting for focus.
If you’re more concerned with photography, though, the E-M10 Mark IV’s focusing system is capable of handling a range of moving subjects, including wildlife, field sports and planes. Although it’s worth noting that its top continuous burst mode speed of 15fps (electronic shutter) can only perform at such speeds with fixed focus.
Its 121 AF points cover a large amount of the frame, but its tracking capabilities are a little patchy, particularly when subject backgrounds are busy.
We had the most consistent and pleasing results when sticking with AF-S and centre point focus. Use that and this camera can focus fast, even in low light.
Image quality and performance
The E-M10 Mark IV is the most photo-centric camera in its category. While its rivals are more geared towards video shooters, this cameras wants to be a great stills camera first and foremost – and it does a solid job.
Carrying a high resolution 20MP Micro Four Thirds sensor helps the E-M10 Mark IV capture a significantly more impressive dynamic range compared to smartphones and other small sensor cameras. This is most visible when looking at high contrast or night mode scenes. The physical advantage of a larger sensor means the E-M10 Mark IV has great light-gathering powers.
Pushing the camera’s ISO sensitivity to its limits, the results were usable, although details begin looking smudged past ISO 6400 when viewed at 100%. The ability to take better pictures in low light is further supported by the camera’s five-axis in-body image stabilization. This manages to keep images sharp when shooting handheld as slow as 1/8th of a second, which is a significant advantage for dimly lit scenes.
The IBIS system also works quite well during video recording when walking and panning. While the E-M10 Mark IV can be used to capture attractive looking video, it’s not heavily geared towards video shooters.
The omission of a microphone input or USB-C port, which could be used to adapt a microphone or headphone input, is another giveaway that this camera isn’t focused on video. It’s also capped at 4K/30p and FHD/60p resolutions. There’s a high-speed movie mode, but it’s only 120fps at 720p resolution. In terms of video specs, this is one of the most unambitious cameras released since the E-M10 Mark III in 2017.
It is, though, a different story for stills. We were really impressed with this camera’s basic kit lens – its 14-42mm pancake lens option is a fantastic starting place for someone upgrading from a phone.
It offers a versatile focal range that covers everything from landscapes to portraits. Plus, given the super compact size of this camera/lens combo, it makes for an ideal travel companion. It will capture quality shots without attracting too much attention, so it’s also ideal if you enjoy capturing more candid imagery.
The camera’s battery is rated to around 360 shots and under 30 minutes of video. This is typical for cameras in this class and at this price point. In use, we found it got us through a day of walking around, with it powering down into battery saver mode.
If you predominantly use the electronic viewfinder (EVF) when shooting and aren’t recording a lot of video, this camera should get you through a day trip before needing to charge. There’s no dedicated battery charger in the box, mind, so you have to charge the battery in the camera via USB micro B input. Again, it’s a shame to miss out on a USB-C input here, as it also means the camera cannot be used while charging.
Should I buy the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV?
Buy it if…
You want a small, powerful camera for stills
Despite its compact size, the E-M10 Mark IV packs in a huge amount of features for stills photographers. From its class-leading image stabilization to some handy advanced photo modes, it’s a great choice for both beginners and hobbyist snappers.
You mostly shoot handheld and want good IBIS
The E-M10 Mark IV’s trump card over rivals like the Fujifilm X-T200 is its in-body image stabilization, which keep your images sharp even when shooting handheld as slow as 1/8th of a second. That’s a boon for preserving image quality in dimly lit scenes, too.
You want a camera with a wide choice of lenses
The Micro Four Thirds system has the widest selection of affordable lenses around. Despite Olympus recently selling its imaging division, the likes of Panasonic are continuing to support the lens system, which means it’s still a good one for beginners to invest in.
Don’t buy it if…
You shoot a lot of video
The E-M10 Mark IV can certainly capture some impressive video, but the rest of its features mean it isn’t built to be a vlogging machine. There’s no microphone input or USB-C port, while video quality is capped at 4K/30p and FHD/60p resolutions.
You’re looking for a camera with the latest specs
The E-M10 Mark IV is powerful for its size, but its specs remain a step behind its slightly larger mirrorless rivals. The big miss is phase-detection autofocus, while it also lacks the microphone and headphone inputs, plus the ability to shoot 4K/60p video.
You already own the OM-D E-M10 Mark III
The E-M10 Mark IV isn’t a big enough leap over the Mark III for owners of the latter to consider upgrading. The main new features it brings are a new sensor and flip-down screen, but if you don’t need those it’s worth looking at prices for the Mark III.