by Mark Thackara

Andy Rouse talks to Mark Thackara about his first impressions of the E-M1 Mark III used on his recent trip to India and shares a few of his favourite shots so far.

Q. Welcome back, Andy. As you had the camera for an intensive few days, where do you think it fits into the range?
A. Absolutely a mini E-M1X – which is excellent. You get most of the power in a smaller body which many people will love if they do not need the whole E-M1X package. The range is very well balanced now, allowing people to choose when they dive in according to what they need and cost of course. In fact, the owls in my first shot tell the story – almost.

From left to right: E-M10 – the cute smaller one; E-M5 Mark III a step up, E-M1 Mark II in the middle and great value as a way in to the “Pro” end, now the Mark III if you want the latest spec and E-M1X for raw power. Nice.

Spotted Owlets with young, 40-150mm f2.8, ISO 400, f4.5 @ 1/3200th, -0.7 compensation, hand-held.
Taken by standing on the jeep, holding up the camera and using the screen tilted out and down so I could get the maximum height. AF was CAF + Tracking, set beforehand. It worked!

Q. Cute. Couldn’t have put it better. What are your favourite changes over the Mark II?
A. 100% the joystick. I know you like to call it a multi-selector but come on – everyone else will call it a joystick. It makes changes in focusing so much quicker. The second shot here with the subject to the left of the frame is a great example. No need to move the camera or take your eye from the finder – move the point with the stick. Plus I am just used to using them so it seems natural.

I also read that the shutter durability has doubled to 1X levels which are a bonus with the number of shots I take. Adding the PD compatible power delivery also makes sense as you can run off a big power bank forever out in the middle of nowhere.

Bengal Tiger watching deer, 300mm f4, ISO 800, f5 @ 1/2500th, -1 compensation, hand-held.
Great colours here and wonderful quality/bokeh from the awesome 300mm, my go to lens.

Q. That is a beautifully atmospheric shot. Did you notice anything else in the handling and response?
A. I knew that the IS had been ramped up to 1X levels and it shows. You can also feel the overall focusing response was snappier which always helps. It is crazy how we used to manage with manual focusing at all but now improvements to already great AF systems are taken for granted. In the end, they all help your hit rate but you still need to know where to point the camera and to get the exposure right.

Q. We have been told that a lot of work has been done on the new processor to bring an overall step up in what the camera delivers. Does that come across?
A. I need more time to look at the images in detail but they are certainly at 1X levels and that has two processors so whatever they have done is pretty clever. I think people miss the under the bonnet stuff where a ton of smaller things like faster processing and better power handling all add up. In the end, the output is great for my professional publishing needs – no complaints.

Bengal Tiger patrolling, 300mm f4, ISO 800, f4 @ 1/1600th, -1.3 compensation, hand-held CAF + TR over the eyes with 5 point “compass” AF, composition leading from the right-hand corner of the frame across to a thing of absolute beauty.

Q. You told me that you got the best out of the Olympus RAW files from Capture One. Is that true?
A. Absolutely. A lot of people have no idea how much difference it can make so all I would say is give it a go. You may have used your current software for ages but there is a big difference. In any case, you can still do tweaks in whatever programme you like but get the basics right first. I am hoping to do a small “how-to” when I get some time but there are excellent online tutorials from Capture One themselves which I used to get me started. Remember – much as you still need to know where to point the camera, there is also a “you get out what you put in” element to processing the files.

Q. Thanks, Andy – I know you off back to India with the E-M1 Mark III in March. What do you hope to bring back from that trip?
A. Simple – more cracking images and some sun!!!

By a happy piece of planning you can get a copy of Capture One Pro 20 if you pre-order the E-M1 Mark III from an authorised Olympus PRO Retailer before February 29th.