Sony A7III vs A7IV

Sony A7III vs A7IV

In this post I am putting the Sony A7III vs A7IV to see how the two compare. Is the Sony A7IV worth upgrading to from the Sony A7III?

I originally owned a Sony A7III back when it was released in 2018. I was pretty impressed with it as you can see in my review at the time. The Sony A7IV intrigued me as I wanted to see how they could improve upon what is still one of the best hybrid cameras, even in 2022.

In this article I am going to cover everything that you need to know when considering the Sony A7III vs A7IV including image quality, video quality, ergonomics, menus and all the upgraded features. If you would rather watch then my video comparison of the Sony A7III vs A7IV Can be found here . The video shows screen recordings of the AF in action, the IBIS and video quality as well as everything else.

Sony A7III vs A7IV – Ergonomics

The first thing that you notice when you put the Sony A7IV next to the A7III is that the new camera has gained a little size over its predecessor. In terms of weight they are within a few grams of each other but the size difference, particularly the depth of the camera is more noticeable than the figures would have you believe. The mark III feels quite small and dinky in comparison to the latest mark IV version. The A7IV is deeper due to Sony adding a fully articulating screen (more on that later) and improving the heat management of the camera.

The grip has also grown and now offers more depth and provides more purchase on the camera, particularly when operating it one handed. Those with larger hands will definitely appreciate the added space and comfort. The A7 IV now weighs in at a measured 658g with the battery which is only 8g more than the mark III.

One of the most obvious changes to the A7IV is the switch to a fully articulated rear LCD screen. The previous model had a tilting mechanism often favoured by purely stills photographers but the new, articulated screen works much better for hybrid shooters like myself.


Not only is the new screen fully articulating it has also increased the resolution from 0.92 million dots to 1.04 million dots. More importantly the screen now has a 3:2 aspect ratio which matches the cameras sensor resulting in less wasted space on the screen.

The Sony A7IV’s screen now uses the touch screen functions to much greater effect, allowing you to use it to navigate the menus as well as the usual AF funtionality. The A7 III touchscreen was mainly limited to selecting AF points. The new one feels much more modern and in keeping with what we have become used to with modern gadgets like phones and tablets.

The EVF on the Sony A7IV has also been upgraded to 3.69m dots from 2.36m dots on the A7III. The improvement is welcome and a noticeable one but it is not class leading compared to some of the competition. The refresh rate can also be boosted to 120hz, double that of the older model. Everything else remains the same on the viewfinder.

One of the ergonomic changes that I find most satisfying is the increased size of the buttons on the mk IV. The AF-On button is now substantially larger and the AF joystick has also been enalarged and also flattened slightly which definitely makes it easier to move your AF point as desired.

The record button has been moved to the top of the camera instead of to the right of the viewfinder. In all honesty I don’t mind either location but given the choice I prefer the new placement as it is more in keeping with the other cameras that I use such as the Canon R5 and Nikon Z series bodies. I would prefer the Menu button to be on the right hand side like Nikon and Panasonic cameras so that it can be selected one handed.

There is now a dial below the PASM dial which allows you to switch between photo, video and S&Q modes. The dial is lockable as is the unmarked exposure compensation dial (it can be set to whatever you want now). There are also 3 custom setting slots on the PASM dial as opposed to 2 on the A7III.

The Sony A7 IV now has dual UHS-II card slots with slot 1 also accepting CF Express type A cards. You will need either V90 rated SD or CF Express A cards to record in the higher video resolutions/bitrates now available on the A7 IV. The A7 IV wont allow me to even try using a Sandisk Extreme Pro 170mb/s card for these higher quality video settings. I ordered a couple of these cards to enable recording using the higher quality video modes and they work well.

There is also a new locking mechanism on the memory card door. You now have to slide the lock (similar to the A7III) and at the same time slide the memory card door towards you. It is kind of awkward to be honest and one of the things that I prefer on the Sony A7III. Also the strap lugs on my A7IV are quite thick and can get in the way of the memory card door when opening. It’s not a big deal but something that I have noticed.



The A7IV uses the latest Sony menu system and my goodness what a difference it makes. The old Sony menus were a confused mess fo the most part. I often still find myself searching through them to find certain options and settings.

The new menu system is now much better laid out and for the most part it is logical and much quicker to find what you need. I particularly appreciate that it gives you a preview of the items contained within the selected menu option so that you don’t waste time diving into a menu only to find that the setting you needed is not there. I’d go as far as to say it is now one of the best menu systems available.

One thing that has caught me out and something that I find annoying is that when you set the camera up to use a picture profile in video mode, the camera carries this across when you switch back to photo mode. So I shot a bunch of images this morning with the log profile set for photos. Why Sony thought this was a good idea I do not know. Luckily I shoot in RAW + Jpeg so had the RAW files to fall back on.

Sony A7III vs A7IV – Image quality

The main headline grabbing upgrade for the A7IV is probably the increase in resolution from 24mp to 33mp. In all honesty, if this were the only reason that you are considering an upgrade from the Sony A7 III then I would save your money.

The increased resolution is nice to have as it enables a little more cropping room but the difference is not enough to justify the expense of an upgrade. You’re going from images measuring 6000×4000 pixels to 7008x 4672.

Yes, there is a little more detail in the 33mp images but it’s only just about enough to go up one print size. It does make the A7IV a more interesting proposition for landscape photographers who also have a hybrid workflow, perhaps aspiring youtubers who focus on landscape photography may give the A7IV more consideration but for most people resolution alone, while nice to have, likley isn’t the main reason to upgrade.

From my testing dynamic range remains essentially the same so at least that resolution bump has not come at the cost of dynamic range.

Here is an A7IV raw file with no adjustments. The blacks and highlights have clipped
And here is the same file with the exposure increased by 1 stop along with a 100 push on both the blacks and shadows as well as -100 pull on the highlights. It looks hideous but gives an idea of just how flexible the RAW files are.

In terms of high ISO noise performance, you can see from my test shots below that the A7III and A7IV perform very similarly.

A7III Raw ISO 3200, Converted in Lightroom, no adjustments
A7IV Raw ISO 3200 converted in Lightroom, no adjustments
A7III Raw ISO 6400, converted in Lightroom, No adjustments
A7IV Raw ISO 6400, converted in Lightroom, no adjustments
Sony A7III compared to A7IV 100% crop, ISO 6400


The A7III does slightly better once above ISO 6400 but once you down size the A7IV file to match the A7III dimensions it is actually a tiny amount better.

A7IV Tiff resized to A7III dimensions, converted in Lightroom, no adjustments
A7IV downsized to A7III dimensions, ISO 6400, 100% view


One thing that I have noticed is that the auto white balance in the A7IV does a better job than the A7III. I often had to apply fairly significant corrections to the A7 III images as they sometimes gave a magenta or yellow tint depending on the lighting conditions.  I have not found this to be an issue with the mark IV. Outdoors the colours are very similar as seen below.

A7III (left) vs A7IV

Skintones have also been improved on the A7IV vs A7III, particularly in mixed lighting conditions. This quick portrait was shot in window light with auto white balance and auto ISO. The AF nailed shot after shot. It really is impressive and the more I use it the more I appreciate just how easy the A7IV makes everything.

A7IV, Sony 85mm 1.4GM @ 1.4, 1/250, ISO1250 – RAW file, no editing done

The A7 IV now also adds the ability to shoot lossless compressed RAW files which helps to save some card and hard drive space without compromising image quality.

You can also shoot in 10bit HEIF format instead of Jpeg. In theory this should give more colour information than the 8bit Jpeg files but in use I haven’t noticed any difference. You also have to consider that HEIF is a relatively new format so before shooting chekc that they are compatible with your device/PC.

A7 IV vs A7 III – IBIS

The IBIS in the A7 IV is said to give 5.5 stops of image stabilisation compared with the 5 stops quoted for the A7 III.


I wanted to test out whether there was any real world difference so I shot my usual tests handheld at 24 mm on the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8.

I found that results were so similar as to not warranty any further testing.

It is impossible to explain the difference in IBIS performance for video without showing the footage so please see my video here


This is where the A7IV shines against the A7III – Auto Focus

The AF in the Sony A7 III was always pretty good, especially as Sony updated the firmware to add better Eye AF as well as animal detection. However this has been improved again, with the A7 IV taking advantage of the BionZ XR which Sony claims is 8x faster than the BionZ X found in the mark III.

The A7 IV has 759 phase detect AF points giving 94% coverage vs 693 with 93% coverage on the A7 III. The increase doesn’t sound like much but more importantly it puts it in line with the A1 and A7SIII which I suspect will allow it to benefit from any AF improvements added to those bodies.

The phase detect points now work down to f/22 (vs f11 on the A7III) and the AF will work in -4 EV vs the A7III’s -3 EV.

When I first noticed that you can now change the AF point selection colour from white to red I gave a little prayer to the camera gods as this was something that I often had issue with in previous generation Sony cameras. When using the A7III and the A7R2 I owned before that, it could sometimes be incredibly difficult to know which focus point was being activated if the colour matched the background. It’s funny how small things can sometimes turn out to be instrumental in giving you a feel for whether you will like to use a camera or not.

The A7 IV has ported over the same AF algorithms found in the top of the line Sony A1 which adds real time eye AF and subject tracking. The A7 IV also adds human/animal AF that works  in both photo and video mode. There is also vehicle tracking for photography as well as the ability to select bird eye AF.

Having tested this out on some not too challenging geese and pigeons I can say it does a great job.

Bird Eye Af works flawlessly for subjects such as this goose.

Again, it is best to watch the video for demonstrations of just how good the AF in the Sony A7IV is.

In use I have found it to be as good as anything available (including my Canon R5). In fact I would even put it a notch above the R5. It locks on really quickly and is accurate. To see this in action subscribe to my Youtube channel and hit the notifications bell as the full video will be released soon which includes footage of the AF captured on an Atomos Ninja V. You can now see the video here

With Eye AF turned on it is the quickest system that I have used to pick up the subjects eyes and it can do it even when the subject is quite small in the frame. Mind you, the Sony A7III is no slouch in this area either.

I could see a discernible difference when shooting the Sony A7IV vs A7III. It is simply much quicker to react, pick up the subject and place that green box over the eye.

When the subject either turned away from the camera or left and then returned to frame it was significantly quicker to regain focus on the eye than the A7III. The MK III  did not always pick up the subject’s eyes again quickly and on some ocassions even failed to do so at all. I believe this is due to the older algorithm scanning the entire scene to re-aqquire the subjects eyes whereas the Sony A7 IV has been programmed using machine learning to prioritise looking for a subjects eyes in the same area as it last detected them. Whatever the technicalities it is a marked improvement.



The Sony A7III was one of the first true hybrid cameras, bringing together great stills and at the time, excellent video specs. However times have moved on and the lack of 10 bit internal video as well as 4k is starting to show against the competition.

The A7IV has adressed this and now offers upto 4k30 with no crop whereas the A7III tops out at 4k25 without a crop. Once you go to 4k30 there is a 1.2x crop on the A7III. The recording limit of 30 minutes found on the A7III has now been removed too.

As well as the usual S-log options the A7IV now includes S-Cinetone.

Importantly the A7IV now offers 4k60 full pixel readout (no binning) but this does crop to APS-C or 1.5x.

Where the A7IV has definitely taken things up by several notches vs the A7III is with the codecs and colour depth available. This is great news for those wishing to colour grade their footage in post.

The A7III only offers 8bit 4:2:0 internal shooting options whereas the A7IV now shoots 10 bit 4:2:2 internally with the option to use the H.265 codec or All Intra H.264 at a bit rate of 300mbps for 30p or 600mbps for 60p footage. Lower data rates are also available for those who don’t need the added grading headroom or simply want to save on disk space.

Below are the various 4k codecs and bit rates available.

4k H.265 24p bit rates
4k H.265 60p bit rates
4k H.264 24p Bit rates
4k H.264 30p bit rates
4k H.264 60p bit rates

4K All intra has fixed settings as follows :

24p – 4:2:2 10 bit 240mbps

30P – 4:2:2 10 bit 300mbps

60p – 4:2:2 10 bit 600mbps


The A7IV does away with the Micro HDMI port and replaces it with a full sized HDMI which is so much more sturdy.

It also adds what Sony call Active stabilisation. This is basically a digital stabilisation using information from the gyro on the IBIS. The field of view crops in a little to allow this. This is something that I tested for my video review and will show there.

The A7IV now lets you adjust (in 7 steps) how quickly focus transitions are performed as well as 5 steps of control for how quickly the AF will switch from one subject to another.


An interesting concept and one that I have seen carried out extremely well by DJI is the focus mapping option. This shows you which areas of your image are in and out of focus by colouring the areas. I’m still not convinced on its usefulness so will report back when I have had time to use it a little more.

Sony A7III vs A7IV – Conclusion

When I saw the specs for the Sony A7IV I wasn’t blown away. There was no one aspect that really stood out to me as groundbreaking or a must have. A little more resolution, an articulating screen, a new menu (again), a few extra video modes and promised AF improvements didn’t really seem like that much considering how groundbreaking the A7III was back in 2018 and how long it has been since then.

I have had and owned at least one of each generation of Sony’s A7 series bodies since the A7R. I have always appreciated their technical abilities, groundbreaking specs and ability to push the boundaries for autofocus. However, I have never gelled with one the way I have with say, the Fuji X-Pro 1 & 3 or the Nikon Z7II or Canon R5. The difference, I have always felt is that those feel like cameras made by a camera company that understands photographers. They get the little things right in terms of button placement, menus, ergonomics, design and handling.  These things really do make a massive difference when it comes time to pick up a camera and shoot.


The Sony A7IV is the first Sony camera that I have picked up and felt like it is finally designed by a company that understands what we as photographers/videographers want. There are no headline grabbing features that blow your mind the way that the Canon R5, Sony A1 or Nikon Z9 did at release but the whole is definitely more than the sum of its parts when it comes to the A7IV.

After having shot a lot with both of these cameras side by side, if it were my money and I had to decide between the Sony A7III vs A7IV , I would buy the A7IV without doubt. It feels like a camera, makes everything easy and gets out of your way and lets you shoot. Not to mention that I would no longer consider a camera without 4k60 video.


I hope that you found some value in this article and it helps with your decision. Please don’t forget to help out in anyway you can by subscribing to this blog, my yotube channel or buying through my links. Any help is much appreciated and allows me to spend more time creating content like this.

Sony A7 IV Best Settings

Sony A7 IV best settings

In this post I’m going to walk you through the best settings for your Sony A7 IV. I’ll start by helping you to setup the camera out of the box and then move on to the best settings for photography on the Sony A7 IV. If you are looking for the best video settings for the Sony A7 IV then these will be available soon in a separate article.  The Sony A7 IV allows you to setup completely seperate custom settings and options for photography and video.

I’ve been lucky enough to get my hands on the Sony A7 IV pretty quickly even though you can’t find one in stock at a lot of stores. If you would prefer to watch then checkout my video instead.

Being a previous user of the Sony A7 III (Sony A7III video review) I’m very familiar with the Sony system but there are a few worthwhile changes on the Sony A7 IV that make setting it up a little different.


Let’s dive straight into setting up your brand new Sony A7 IV out of the box.

Setting up the Sony A7 IV – out of the box

When you turn your camera on for the first time you need to set your menu language. I’ll select English here.

Then set your time zone. I’ll be selecting Lisbon/London. You can also turn daylight saving on/off. As we are in January this is set to off in the UK at the moment.

Now select the way you want your date to be formatted. As I’m British I’ll go with D-M-Y or day, month then year. My American friends can choose M-D-Y.


Set the date and time accordingly (note the format is using the 24 hour clock).



Next you can choose to register your phone with the smartphone app. I’ll do this later via the smartphone regist option in the menu system.


That’s the basics setup.


Sony A7 IV setup – menu options for photography

Hit the menu button to the left of the viewfinder and you will notice that the Sony A7 IV is using the latest Sony menu system.

To select any option you can either press the direction on the rear dial or you can rotate it to scroll up and down through the options. Right is enter and left is to go back a step.

Here are the settings that I use for photography.

Camera Icon menu option 2/52

JPEG/HEIF switch – Jpeg

Image quality settings

File format : Raw + Jpeg

Raw File Type : Lossless Compressed (gives the best quality raw files but saves space over uncompressed)

Jpeg Quality : Extra Fine (again gives the best Jpeg quality)

Jpeg size: 33m (if you want smaller Jpegs for social media or as backup then select medium 14mp or small 8.2mp)

Aspect ratio: I leave it to the native 3:2 aspect ratio and do any cropping on the image in post. You can select between this, 4:3 slightly shorter on the long edge,  16:9 standard film aspect ration and 1:1 for square format

I often use Sandisk cards with my cameras as I have found them to be very tough and reliable. If you are looking for a card for your Sony A7 IV then I always buy from Amazon as they have a great returns policy and usually the best pricing. Cards linked below:

Skip to

Long exposure noise reduction – I leave this on as it captures a black frame at the same shutter speed after a long exposure in order to map hot pixels and noise and remove them. You can do this in post if you prefer. Having this option on will result in the camera taking a second exposure for the same length of time as your first, so can involve a lot of waiting around if your exposure is 1 minute or more.

Scroll down and you will move to Option 3/52

High ISO NR : Low. I like to do most of my noise reduction in post so I keep this set to low. This will only affect your Jpeg files.

Colour Space : Adobe RGB if you plan to edit, sRGB if you are going to post images directly online. Adobe RGB gives more colours but sRGB is the standard used online.

Lens compensation: Leave at defaults (shading comp- auto, chromatic aberration comp auto, distortion comp- off)

Camera Icon menu  (Option 4/52)

Format– Always format your memory cards before use to minimise the chance of corrupt files and data loss.

Rec Media Settings: This is where you can select how the camera records to your memory cards. You can choose between slot 1 for photos and slot 2 for video, Simultaneous recording which saves the same files to both cards at the same time ie backup, or auto switch which will automaticall record to the other card when one becomes full. I choose the first option to keep things simple when transferring my media to the computer.

Camera Icon Menu  (Option 5/52)

File/Folder settings:

File Number: Set to series

Set file name : I set this to ‘A74’ so that I know which camera has recorded the images when I load them onto my computer. You can choose any name you prefer.

Copyright Info: 

Write Copyright info: On

Set Photographer: Add your name

Set Copyright: Add your name or company name.

I shoot in Manual mode but if you shoot in aperture or shutter priority with auto ISO then you will need to set your ISO values using option 13/52 and 14/52.

Sony A7 IV best settings for landscapes and non moving subjects

Choosing your autofocus settings will depend on your subject.

Option 20/52: Single Shot AF

Priority Set in AF-S : AF

Focus Area: Spot Small

Face/Eye Prior in AF : Off

For manually focusing set 20/52 to manual focus and turn peaking on as below.


Peaking display: On

Peaking level: High

Peaking colour: Red


Sony A7 IV best settings for portraits

Focus mode: Continuous AF: On

Priority set in AF-C: Balanced

AF Tracking sensititvity: 4

Focus area: Wide

Face/Eye priority in AF : On


The Sony A7 IV does an amazing job picking up a subjects eye, locking on and sticking with it even when they turn away from the camera for a second. It quickly locks back on to the same subject so I almost always use eye AF when shooting portraits.

Finally if you don’t want to hear the autofocus beep everytime the camera attains focus then head over to option 49/52 and turn audio signals off.



I hope you found this useful and hopefully it saved you a bit of time scrolling through the vast menu system of the Sony A7 IV. If you got some value from this post then please share it with your friends or anyone that you think would also find it helpful.

In a future article I shall be going through the best settings for video on the Sony A7 IV as well as showing how I set up the custom modes and function buttons for photography and video.










Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3

Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3


If you are new to Fujifilm or simply looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest that Fuji has to offer you have probably looked for comparisons of the Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 but how do you choose between them. What are the main differences and more importantly what are they like to use?

I’m fortunate enough to own both of these top of the range APS-C models from Fujifilm and have used them both extensively. I bought mine from Amazon as I like their returns policy and customer service.


I love them both for very different reasons which I shall go through after explaining the more obvious differences in this Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 article. If you want a more detailed review of the Fuji XT4 then click here or watch my Fuji XT4 video review on youtube. You can also see the video version of this Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 article here

One thing that I should mention straight off the bat is that if you are a videographer then you can skip the rest of the article and just purchase the Fujifilm X-T4 as it is much more suited to video work due to its larger battery, fully articulating screen and better video specs including 4k 60 and 10 bit internal recording as well as IBIS.


For those of you who are primarily stills shooters then the choice is somewhat more difficult.

The Fuji X-T4 is like a sports saloon car, it can go fast and do virtually everything that a 2 seater convertible can do but with a bit less style and of course you can’t put the roof down on a sunny day (the roof in this case being the X-Pro 3’s hybrid viewfinder).


So let’s start with what the Fuji XT4 and X Pro 3 have in common:

26.1MP X-Trans IV CMOS APS-C sensor

X-Processor 4

weather resistance

maximum continuous shooting speed of 30fps (with crop) or 20fps when using the e-shutter

hybrid autofocus system with contrast and phase detection (max. 425 points)

dual SD card slot (UHS-II compatible)

Both cameras are using the same 26mp X-Trans IV sensor which results in identical image quality. They are both powered by the latest X-Processor 4 and offer the same hybrid AF system and in use they appear to be pretty much equally as fast. Neither are laggy when switching between menus items or indeed switching the camera on. The X-T4 may have a very slight edge in face detect AF due to the latest algorithm being employed but in the real world they are pretty much neck and neck.

XF 55-200mm, F/7.1, 1/480, ISO 160

Both are weather resistant and I have no issue using either of them in less than perfect weather. The feel in the hand offers very similar build quality but in a different way. The XT4 feels more dense and solid and it should as it weighs 609g vs the X-Pro 3 at 497g.

They are so similar in size that it is not even worth writing down the measurements. However when you pick them up they feel worlds apart.

The XT4 feels very solid, weighty and like a workhorse with its enlarged grip (compared to the XT3). It is a very nice design and I must admit that I do like the look of the camera. However the X-Pro 3 feels different to other cameras due to its range finder esque styling, beautifully machined and subtle finish. I should say that I have the standard black version not one of the Dura coated models.

The X-Pro 3 is probably the most beautiful camera that I have ever owned and that includes models such as the X100T (in silver) and a Silver Pen F, both of which are among the best looking digital cameras ever created. Pictures on the internet don’t do it justice. They really don’t.

In use there is no denying that the XT4 makes more sense for most people.  It offers an individual ISO dial rather than the slightly fiddly design on the X-Pro 3 where you have to lift the shutter speed dial and twist it to your desired ISO speed. This also feels like a weak point that may be prone to break in the future but to be fair it hasn’t yet.

The XT4 also continues to use the D-Pad which offers up extra Fn buttons that can be programmed to your liking. I can happily accept cameras from Fuji with or without the D-Pad but if given the choice I would retain it.


That X-Pro 3 LCD Screen

The other main physical difference which may or may not affect you depending on your shooting style is the XT4’s fully articulating LCD screen vs the highly contentious inward facing screen on the X-Pro3. The Screen on the X-Pro 3 faces inward and only opens downward. This Is supposed to encourage you to use the viewfinder and avoid constantly chimping your images giving a pure and authentic photographic experience. Okay, I made that last bit up but I think that is the general idea.

The screen on the X-Pro3 while not conventional is actually not a dealbreaker for me unlike for some. It actually works well in practise and as I use the camera purely for stills, particularly, street, candid portraits and documentary photography it offers the only function I would ever want in those scenarios which is the ability to shoot from the hip on the street in order to be discreet. Plus if I want to review my photos I can easily do so via the EVF.

The rear of the screen has a second display which is permanently on and shows the current film simulation with what looks like the label of old Fujifilm film emulsions. Maybe it’s a bit cheesy but I quite like it. The display can also be changed to show your current shooting setting.

As much as I like the X-Pro 3’s rather novel LCD screen there’s no denying that for most, it is not as useful as the fully articulating one found on the XT4. If I was solely a street shooter or just taking travel/documentary type stills then my opinion would be different but as I shoot a lot of landscapes as well as some video too, the fully articulating screen offers more flexibility. I can reverse it to check framing when creating video and it offers a variety of positions should I be shooting at high or low angles as well as in portrait orientation. It also closes with the LCD screen facing inward which means  it is protected and you can ignore it altogether should you wish.

In the end which screen you prefer will depend on what type of photographer you are and how you shoot. I imagine that someone coming from using their mobile phone for photography would find the X-Pro 3’s screen quite limiting. However I very rarely use the LCD screen on any camera to compose my photos so being forced to use the viewfinder simply is not an issue for me.

Prime or Zoom?

I choose whichever one will serve me best for whatever I plan to shoot on that occasion. If I’m heading out for landscapes I grab the XT4 along with the 10-24mm and 55-200mm lenses. If I am going on vacation with the family and just want a camera with me for candid shots of them and anything else encountered then I usually put the X-Pro3 with the 23mm 1.4 or 35mm f/2 in a small bag along with the 56mm 1.2, a spare battery and a powerbank. IMO the X-Pro 3 suits prime lenses and the XT4 works better with the zooms. Both of course can work well with either.

Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 EVF/OVF

The EVF on both models is virtually the same although the XT4 offers a little more magnification at 0.75x vs 0.66x and aa much larger viewfinder eye cup which helps to shield the viewfinder when shooting in bright sunlight. . In use the differences are hardly noticeable. Even though I am left eye dominant I am fortunate to be able to use either eye. The range finder style viewfinder on the left of the X-Pro 3 does have some advantages when shooting people as you are not quite so hidden behind the camera. This allows me to  feel more connected with my subjects and be more aware of what is happening outside of the field of view of the viewfinder.

The hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro 3 offers all the benefits of an EVF as well as providing an OVF. Using the lever on the front of the camera you can very quickly change between the two. You can also superimpose a small electronic image onto the OVF which can aid in focusing.

The design is excellent and although I have preferred EVF’s for sometime now the OVF can come in very useful when shooting on the street.  For instance, it would allow you to perfectly time someone walking into frame and capture them in exactly the right position in your image due to the lack of any delay.


100% Crop @200mm 1/10

Of course, the XT4 now has IBIS which can be useful when wanting to keep your ISO as low as possible as it allows you to shoot at shutter speeds not otherwise possible. If you shoot mostly people then the benefits of IBIS are probably not all that important as you will usually be using a faster shutter speed. It does allow for a little bit more creative control by enabling you to add motion to your images, for instance blurring the motion of subjects while retaining perfect sharpness of the surrounding scene.

If you are a travel/ landscape photographer and would rather not bring along your tripod then the IBIS in the XT4 is at its most useful. Allowing you to keep the ISO as low as possible to ensure the best possible image quality. I have found that with the Fuji 10-24mm lens I can consistantly handhold shots at the wide end down to 0.5 seconds. As useful as this is, if I am going out to do landscape photography then my tripod will be coming with me and so the IBIS becomes redundant. It is useful for grabbing quick shots which would otherwise require bumping up the ISO so it does add a level of flexibility that the X-Pro 3 lacks.


Staying Power

The XT4 also uses the larger capacity NP-W235 battery which offers significantly more shots than the NP-W236s used in the X-Pro 3. I get about 900 shots from the former and around 500 from the latter. Both cameras can be charged via USB-C so I usually only carry one spare for each and then recharge from a power bank. So although the new battery in the XT4 is definitely welcome it is perhaps not quite the deal breaker it would have been had neither of the cameras been capable of charging over USB-C.

The NP-W235 battery in the XT4 is much better.

When out and about shooting street and documentary photography I have noticed that I get a better reaction to the X-Pro 3 than the XT4. The design is minimalistic with no obvious Fuji logo on the front of the X-Pro3 and the classic range finder esque styling seems to be viewed as less threatening. I guess it looks more like an old film camera, a novelty if you will and so people pay it less attention or they enquire in a positive way about what camera it is. Yes you will get asked if it is a film camera quite a lot. Either way the reaction or lack of definitely makes me feel a little more confident and comfortable pointing it at strangers on the street.

Fuji XT4 vs X Pro 3 Conclusion

In the end the choice will come down to what type of photographer you are as much as the specs.

As an owner of both models my opinion is that for pure stills, perhaps with a focus on candid/street/documentary photography the sheer pleasure of owning and using such a unique camera would have me gravitate towards the X-Pro3 even though it is less flexible, less fully featured and actually more expensive than the XT4. For this type of photography I prefer using prime lenses and that is where the X-Pro 3 makes sense and shines. Attach the 23mm, 35mm or 50mm f/2 prime lens on the X-Pro 3 and you have a  discreet, lightweight, weather sealed and very capable camera that (without sounding too poncy) epitomises the joy of photography, at least for me. It is a pleasure to use and it doesn’t hurt that it is as beautiful as it is capable.


With all that said, for 90% of photographers the XT4 is probably going to make more sense. It is cheaper, more capable, more comfortable to hold for long periods has better battery life and works better with Fuji’s zoom lenses (especially the red badge lenses) thanks to the larger grip and the option of a battery grip.

Add in the IBIS, fully articulating screen and better video options and it is one of the most well rounded mirrorless cameras available in any format and despite my love of the X-Pro 3, it is the one I would choose if I had to pick only one camera. However it doesn’t make me feel the way that the X-Pro 3 does and there is definitely something to be said for that.

Which one would you choose? I’d love to hear in the comments below.


My latest article on the Sony A7IV can be found here 

Fujifilm XT4 Review in 2021

Fujilm XT4 Review in 2021

The Fujifilm XT4 was released in April 2020. In that time many other cameras have been released by various manufacturers. So I wanted to review the Fujifilm XT4 in 2021 to see how it performs. If you want to see how the Fuji XT4 compares with the X-Pro 3 then take a look at this article 

If you would prefer to see a quick video on why you should buy the Fuji XT4 then you may want to check out my latest video instead. Alternatively you can see my Fuji XT4 video review which is now up on Youtube

The Fujifilm XT4 that I am reviewing is my own. I purchased it in October 2020 as it featured several important upgrades over the XT3 that convinced me that the XT series could finally be my main camera system. So here I am in 2021 reviewing the Fujifilm XT4.

The XT4 is Fujifilm’s top of the range X series camera. It uses the same 26mp X-Trans sensor as the previous generation of X series bodies. Having experience with the XT3 I already knew that the image quality that can be achieved with this sensor is excellent both in terms of resolution, dynamic range and high ISO performance. I will include sample images below just in case you are unaware of how this sensor performs.

Original raw capture
Shadows pushed all the way in Lightroom
100% crop of above image shows very little noise in the shadows

For me, the image quality that I would get was a known quantity and one that I knew I was happy with. However, the upgrades that made me look more closely at the XT4 were more on the handling side of things.

As I spend a lot of time out shooting with my family in tow, I often find that I don’t carry a tripod on these types of trips. Having been a long-time user of Olympus cameras and their excellent IBIS (in body image stabilisation) the inclusion of IBIS in the XT4 was a very welcome addition. So how well does the IBIS work?


With the Fuji 10-24mm f/4 lens attached the IBIS in the XT4 works alongside the OIS in the lens to give a claimed 6 stops of image stabilisation.

100% crop @10mm 0.4 Seconds

I took a series of images to see just how effective the IBIS was. Normally I can get sharp hand held images on the 10mm end of this lens shooting at 1/20th second. If the shutter speed drops any lower then my keeper rate goes down. 1/15 of a second and below and it becomes a bit hit and miss.

With the IBIS turned on I found that I could consistently get sharp handheld photos at 1/3

to ½ a second. This is with excellent technique. If I shoot in a more casual manner, then I cannot achieve sharp images with slower shutter speeds than 1/5 second.

So, the XT4 IBIS in combination with the OIS in the 10-24mm lens is giving me approximately 4 stops of stabilisation at the wide end.

100% Crop @200mm 1/10

I repeated this experiment using the Fuji 55-200mm lens and found that I could consistently get sharp handheld images at the 200mm end at 1/10 second whereas normally I would have to be shooting at 1/320 giving me around 5 stops of stabilisation.  This is pretty much in line with what Fuji says the XT4 IBIS will give you alone and about a stop under the 6 stops they claim the combined IBIS and OIS of the lens will give.

Overall the IBIS is not quite as effective as that found on the Olympus EM1 III where I could regularly handhold wide angel images at 1-2 seconds but I’m still happy with it when you take into account the larger APS-C sensor found in the XT4 giving you better ISO performance. It allows me to just about get down to speeds where I can add an element of motion to water which is the main reason I would be shooting at those shutter speeds.

Build quality and handling

When I first opened the slick black packaging of the Fuji XT4 and held the camera in my hand I was very pleasantly surprised. My previous experience with the XT series ( I have owned the XT1 and XT2 and tested out the XT3) was that they are well made but always felt a little hollow. I was not a fan of this feeling as I like a camera to feel solid in my hand. I take my gear all over the World and I want it to feel as if it can stand up to some serious work.

The XT4 immediately felt better and much more solid. Yes, it weighs a little more at 607g vs 539g for the XT3 but it feels much better built, does not have that hollow feeling and the grip has been enlarged which makes it much more comfortable in the hand. It is now 2mm wider and 5mm deeper than the XT3 at 135 x93x 64mm. The size now seems just about a perfect compromise between feeling solid, well-built and comfortable in the hand without being too bulky or heavy. Please do not change this Fuji as I think you nailed it this time.

The shutter mechanism is now rated to 300k actuations compared with 150k on the XT3. This alone speaks to the improved build quality and gives me confidence that the XT4 will easily cope with professional use.

LCD Screen

One of the most significant (and controversial) changes comes in the form of a fully articulating rear LCD. I know that some Fuji fans prefer a standard or 3-way tilt screen as found on previous generations, but I find a fully articulating rear screen to be the most flexible solution. It allows you to tilt up and down as well as front facing when horizontal and it also allows you to flip it 90 degrees to the camera body when shooting in portrait orientation. Not to mention that you can conveniently close it so that the screen faces in towards the body and is protected from being scratched or damaged. I understand that for ‘from the hip’ street shooting it may be less balanced and subtle but I rarely do that so don’t miss that ability.


The fully articulating screen is great but note the mic prot cover which is fiddly in use.

While I love the screen, I do have one gripe with it. Well actually its not with the screen itself but with the cheap flappy port covers for the mic and remote sockets. They get in the way when you are setup for video and then want to flip the screen from rear facing to forward facing. I wish Fuji would have made them removable but they didn’t. Inexplicably they did decide to make the memory card door removable. Surely that is the wrong way around.


Lastly the other change that was especially important to me was the use of the new NP-W235 battery which lasts much longer than the older generation NP-W126s found in the older generation cameras. I can now shoot well over 500 shots on one battery and as I have the battery grip and two additional batteries this can easily see me through a long weekend landscape photography shoot. The camera itself can also be charged by USB-C which is great as I have a ton of power banks lying around so I can just bring one or two power banks on my trips and charge all my devices including the camera.

Something that I am not so fond of is that Fuji does not include a proper charger in the box. Only a cheap looking Phone style USB charger and USB-C cable is included so you must charge the batteries up while in the camera. Not great if you need to charge batteries while using the camera. The same can be said of the batter grip as there is no way to charge this separately. You must attach it to the camera and then charge all 3 batteries together. Again, not really the best solution as it would be nice to be able to charge the batteries in the grip while using the camera. It’s not a big deal though because the batteries now easily get me through a day’s shooting and I can simply plug everything in to a power bank at night to charge them.

There are a few other additions to the XT4 which may be of interest to you but are not that significant for my use. One is the addition of Classic Chrome film simulation. This is a beautiful filmic looking preset that I find works very well for side lit scenes and Caucasian skin. However, as I shoot a lot of my portraits in Asia it doesn’t work so well for Asian skin tones, so I only tend to use it when I’m back in Europe.

Classic Chrome (used for this shot) suits Asian skintone better than the new Classic Neg but I tend to use one of the Pro Neg film simulations the most.
100% crop of above image using the 56mm 1.2@ 1.2, 1/125, ISO 160

The Fujifilm XT4 now also allows for 240 fps HD video capture but I must admit I have not used it thus far being primarily a stills shooter. The video specs of the XT4 are excellent and varied, offering a lot of options for professional video capture which I will be exploring more later in the year if I can get back to the UK once this damned pandemic is dealt with. The Eterna profile along with very good 10 bit 4k video means that the Xt4 is more than good enough for my video needs.

Image Quality

Finally, as promised here are some image quality samples for those of you who are unfamiliar with what the 26mp X-Trans sensor can produce. The image quality is basically unchanged from the XT3 and X-Pro 3. I own an X-Pro 3 and get exactly the same images from it as I do the XT4.

The AF performance and in particular face and eye detection is slightly improved in the XT4.

XF 55-200mm, F/7.1, 1/480, ISO 160
XF 56mm @ f/1.2, 1/4400, ISO 160

So why would I (and you) choose the Fujifilm XT4 over rivals such as the Sony A7II (which I have also owned)?

For me there are 3 main reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly (for me) the handling, ergonomics and joy of using the XT4 is beyond the A7III. The XT4 feels like a ‘real’ camera with its manual dials for ISO, shutter speed and aperture. The Sony feels like a smart phone on steroids and as a bit of a techno dinosaur I prefer the more analogue feel of Fujis. If I enjoy using a camera and it makes me feel inspired then I generally get better images with it.

Secondly, I wanted a rugged but lightweight camera system (note I said system) and while the XT4 may not be much smaller than the A7III/Z6/EOS R etc, when you combine it with the vast array of Fuji lenses (particularly the Zooms) then the kit as a whole is still significantly smaller than a full frame kit. My go to lenses for travel are the trio of 10-24mm, 18-55mm, 55-200mm and the 35mm f/2. This all fits easily in my bag ( Lowepro Flipside 400AW) with room for a spare body, batteries, filters, laptop, hard drives, mics, Mavic 2 Pro drone + 3x batteries and more.

You can build out quite a small full frame mirrorless kit but I always found it limiting to only stick to the smaller cheaper lenses and having used Sony cameras with the GM series of lenses in the past I found them unbalanced and unwieldy on the A7 series bodes. I understand why many use them and would never discourage that but for me the Fuji system does what I want at a size and weight that I am happy with.

Finally, an important factor in any decision is price. The Fuji system has options from cheap to expensive but overall, the cost of building a comprehensive kit around Fuji is cheaper than that of full frame and IMO the difference in image quality between APS-C and full frame is not worth the additional cost. In fact, I skipped it altogether and also added a medium format camera to my kit for those occasions where I need it.


For an alternative view from a talented photographer check out Jonas Rask’s Fuji XT4 article



5 Reasons to buy the Fujfilm XT4

Olympus’ recent announcement that they were selling their camera business gave me the final push (which I’d been considering anyway) to sell off the last of my Micro 43 gear and switch to one system.

I am planning to get back to much more photography than I have been able to over the last few years now that my daughter is growing up.

As you probably know I have the chance to test out all the latest gear quite regularly from all the main manufacturers.

In the end I made the move to Fuji. I have been a Fuji user on and off since 2013 with the X-Pro1 and have used all their models since. However the XT4 has finally banished any last remaining issue that I had with the Fuji XT3.

The inclusion of IBIS was a big one for me as well as a few other important upgrades that I go through in my latest Youtube video.

Speaking of Youtube, now that I have more free time I will be dedicating quite a lot of it this year to producing content on there. Not only will I include reviews of all the current kit that I am using but I will also delve more into the how and why of photography, take trips (once this pandemic finally leaves us) and vlog about my various phtoographic exploits. I hope you will join me there.




Panasonic GX9 vs Olympus OMD EM5 III vs Fuji XT30

In this post I’m going to compare the Panasonic GX9 vs Olympus OMD EM5 III vs Fuji Xt30. As you probably know, I’ve shot Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji cameras for years now, going back to the the Panasonic G3, EM5 and X Pro1. I want a compact and lightweight camera that I can use mainly with prime lenses for some projects that I have planned in the Philippines later in the year. The project will be documentary and involve lots of candid portraits as well as some street photography. I plan to use whichever camera I choose with a (35mm equivalent focal lengths) 50mm and 85 ish mm prime lenses as those are my preferred focal lengths for the kind of shooting that I have planned. On the Panasonic and Olympus I shot the Pana-Leica 25mm 1.4,Olympus 45mm 1.2 and Sigma 56mm 1.4 while on the Fuji I paired it with the 35mm 1.4. I had planned on using the 56mm 1.2 as well but in the end couldn’t get hold of one in time for my testing but the AF performance is pretty much on par with the Fuji 35mm lens and having owned the 56mm previously I know how it performs.


Firstly let me say that all the specs are available online so I’m not going to go through them all here. I’ll just talk about those that mattered to me for the project that I have planned. Those being image quality, AF, handling and performance.

While the GX9 and EM5 III uses a 20mp Micro 43 sensor the Fuji XT30 makes use of the larger 26mp APS-C sensor found in the XT3 so it should be a no brainer that the image coming out of the Fuji is better and it performs better when pushing your ISO higher. The thing is that when reading forums on the internet they would lead you to believe that the difference is night and day and this simply is not the case. Yes the Fuji is slightly better once you get up to 3200+ ISO but the differences wont be enough to make or break an image. For me the more interesting question was about the colour each camera produced and I was particularly interested in the Acros black and white profile of the XT30 as a lot of my project will be shot in black and white. Quite frankly I chose the XT30 as one of the most affordable ways to get the Acros profile.  In my opinion the image quality produced by all the cameras is good enough for what I had in mind.


Fuji are heralded within the media for being excellent for portraits, skin tones and the Acros profile and in a lot of situations I know why. I love the organic look of the colours coming off the X-Trans sensor and under the right lighting conditions the Acros profile produces some beautiful black and white images. However sometimes the colours can feel just a little flat while the Panasonic and Olympus in my opinion actually produce more pleasing colours more of the time. I am a big fan of the colours that both Panasonic and Olympus cameras put out SOOC. For me they win when shooting colour images but the Fuji does well for black and white work. This is why I bought an XT 30 just for this project. However I like the Fuji and Panasonic black and white rendering equally and it really depends upon the subject and light as to which is better in a given situation.

In terms of handling all the cameras are small, lightweight and discreet. They are quick in use and it is easy to quickly change settings on them. I prefer that the Olympus has a separate door for memory cards and I still prefer the PASM system employed by virtually every camera manufacturer rather than the separate dials for shutter speed employed by Fuji. (note the XT30 has a shutter speed dial which when using most Fuji lenses combines with the Aperture ring to give control over exposure). The XT30 does not have and ISO dial unlike its big brother the XT3.

All the cameras feel well built although I’d have to give the nod to the GX9 and Em5III (although I have heard issues reported around the strength of the tripod plate on the EM5II) as they just feel a little higher quality finish and of course the Em5III is weather sealed.

I had fully expected to love the little Fuji XT30 but there were 2 major issues for me once I had a little time with the camera. Firstly, I wanted to shoot the 35mm 1.4 and 56mm 1.2 for my project and quite frankly the AF motors on these lenses still proved to be pretty poor. I had hoped that with the latest generation of camera bodies the AF when using these lenses would have improved but unfortunately (and this is no fault of the XT30’s) it hasn’t. Now I know that a lot of Fuji users love these lenses and in terms of their image quality, yes they are gems but the problem I had while testing the gear out (on not very trying subjects) was that it took multiple shot to get perfect focus. No, it wasn’t a bad copy of the lens, this is exactly how I remember my previous version being as well. I guess it is my own fault for hoping for an improvement that simply can’t be provided by a newer camera. These lenses desperately need updating and I really hope Fuji is working on this as their more modern lenses perform much faster. However it is these lenses that I particularly wanted to use. I’m not interested in the f/2 primes as I’m giving up some of the benefits of that APS-C sensor when shooting with them. In all honesty I like the ergonomics and handling of the EM5 III the most, so unless the XT30 is going to give me tangible benefits (which it would if these lenses auto focussed quickly enough) over it then I’m not going to choose it. The EM5 III is simply more fun and gives me more confidence that I can nail the focus every time.


Fuji Acros ISO 4000

While the Fuji XT-30 does offer slightly improved High ISO performance the differences are minimal and I’d still place my limit of acceptable IQ for portraits at ISO 3200, exactly the same as the Micro 43 cameras.

Olympus EM5III Monochrome + Green filter , ISO 2000
GX9 , L Monochrome Pofile, ISO 200

The second major issue (and one which even had me and my wife spend and evening trying to figure out) was the Fuji App to transfer images to your mobile device. I have used this app before, along with the ones form every other major camera manufacturer (except Canon). The best ones are from Olympus and Panasonic, Sony’s is fine too and Nikon’s although temperamental usually works. Well this Fuji App is a complete and utter bag of S**t. I spent hours trying to get it to connect to my phone, my wifes phone, my tablet and in the end gave up. When I’m out in the middle of nowhere taking photos and I want to quickly transfer some images then this is a big no no for Fuji. I didn’t previously have this issue when I owned the XT2 so I can only assume that the updated app is either useless, has compatibility issues or it’s the XT30’s fault. Either way in the end no matter how beautiful the Acros black and white images were, far too many were out of focus and when they were in focus the app made viewing them on my mobile device impossible. The Fuji is sadly out of the race and has been sent back.. As you saw in my Olympus OMD EM5 III Review this camera does everything that 90% of people will need it to do with no fuss. It makes photography easy and fun and dare I say it, quite cool too.


However I already own the Panasonic GX9 and a GH5 so is the Olympus at approximatley £1000 twice as good as the Panasonic GX9 which can be had for under £500 (as of early 2020)?


In the Olympus’ favour it has slightly better IBIS, is weather sealed, has a better viewfinder and offers Hi Res mode as well as the useful long exposure modes such as Live Bulb and Live view. In the Panasonic’s favour for me is the fact that it uses the same menu system and has the same colour profile as my existing GH5 and so using the two together would be a more seemless experience and mean my lazy ass doesn’t have to memorise two menu systems. It is of course half the price.


When I wrote my Olympus EM5III review it was before the Coronoavirus Pandemic had really hit the UK hard. Money and business was quite good and I could afford the additional cost of the EM5III over the GX9. However as I sit here writing this (early April) the UK economy has basically shut down, business has dried up and I am now putting a much higher priority on bang for buck to ensure that I get the most out of any investment that I make in to a camera or system. This puts cost way higher up my list of priorities than would previously have been the case and I’m sure like many photographers out there I am now really asking myself the question, do I honestly need these extra features and are they really going to make a difference to my work and earning potential.


For me, in the end it comes down to the image I can produce. Yes it is nice to have the better viewfinder but the one in the GX9 does not hinder me from getting the shot. I also quite like the tilt mechanism on it. Yes, hi res mode would be nice to have and I can see myself using it quite a lot for landscapes but the projects that I have lined up will be fine with 20mp of resolution. Am I going to suddenly start doing a lot of long exposure photography to make use of live bulb and live view…..If I’m bluntly honest with myself then no, that just isn’t going to happen.

Does my camera need to be weather sealed? Well a lot of us like to kid ourselves that a certain specification is an absolute must. I hear people all the time saying that weather sealing is absolutely essential. I don’t buy it for the most part. I used to live in the Outer hebrides, a place where the weather could not be more challenging to a photographer. My cameras back then didn’t offer top notch weather sealing and you know what I did when the heavens opened… I popped my camera back in my camera bag and waited for the torrential wind blasted downpour to pass. Just before and just after the storm is the best time to photograph anyway not during it. Even if the cameras were weather sealed like a tank the front element of the lens woud be covered in rain and ruin any image. The philippinnes, just like the Outer Hebrides is prone to sudden torrential downpours but for the subjects that I plan on shooting it is irrelevant as I doubt many portrait subjects will be willing to stand out in the rain while I photograph them. Long story short, weather sealing is nice to have but not essential for me.


Both the GX9 and EM5 III have fast enough AF speed for my needs. Yes the Olympus may be a little better at tracking thanks to its phase detect Af points but it doesn’t make a difference for what I shoot as the GX9 is quick to focus and has decent face and eye detect AF.


The crux of the matter comes down to which camera offers the features that I need in the cheapest package and this is where the GX9 delivers in spades. IMO it is probably the best value camera in the photographic universe at the moment.

In terms of output it is virtually identical to the Olympus EM5 III however it actually bests it in my opinion in one area that is vital to my project. The black and white profiles of the latest generation of Panasonic cameras and in particular L Monochrome D is just about my favourite black and white profile of any camera.


Despite wanting the Fuji XT30’s black and white output the |fuji sytem currently has too many compromises to work for me (Slow AF, No IBIS, Poor Wifi App, No PASM). Despite quite liking a lot of the EM5III features I don’t really need them. My Panasonic GX9 takes beautiful black and white images (particularly in the L Mono and L Mono D profile) and offers everything that I need in a small lightweight package. It doesn’t hurt that it looks beautiful too. So I’ll be using it alongside my GH5 for my projects this year.




Olympus OMD EM5 III Review

Today I am going to share my Olympus OMD EM5 III review with you.

I have been waiting for what seems like an age for the release of the Olympus OMD EM5 mark III camera. As an avid Olympus user over the years I have been fortunate enough to try out all of their top tier cameras since the original EM5 right through to the EM1X. I used the EM5 II as my main camera for around a year and you can see my review of that here 

Yet somehow while I was caught up in our recent house move from the Philippines to the UK I missed the official release. It was only when I got back to the UK and had time to settle that I picked up that the third iteration of the Olympus EM5 had been announced, released and was on sale. The orignal EM5 was the camera that lured me away from shooting DSLR’s for my professional work way back in 2012. The competition has come a long way since then with Sony flooding the market with 35mm sensor sized options and Fuji providing attractive APS-C options.

I had high hopes that the OMD EM5 III would bring together everything I love about mirrorless cameras, small form factor, beautiful design, advanced features. ease of shooting and hopefully, an upgraded sensor.

On reading the specs there are two ways to look at it… We didn’t get a brand new sensor from Olympus as some had hoped but we did get the excellent one out of the EM1 II. This along with phase detect auto focus, improved image stabilisation, OLED viewfinder, 4k video and that beautiful form factor and design was enough to have me clicking the buy now button and ordering one to test.

For this Olympus OMD EM5 III review I have purchased the camera myself and will be using it in depth to see if the EM5 III is worth the money and can compete in todays even more competitive market place.

Olympus OMD EM5 III Review – Handling

The new layout on the Olympus OMD EM5 III

The Olympus EM5 and mark II had a metal construction which gave them a really substantial feel in the hand. Yes they were tiny but they felt well built and easily capable of surviving the daily scrapes our gear sometimes has to deal with. The new Olympus EM5 III has dropped the metal construction in favour of a lighter poly-carbonite shell. I must admit this had me a little concerned when I first read it as I wondered if they had shifted the EM5 series further down their product lineup and were aiming it at a different, less demanding audience.

Well in all honesty I prefer the feel of the mark III over my original and mark II versions. It feels noticeably lighter at 414g down from the mark II at 469g. It also feels a little smaller but it is actually more comfortable to hold thanks to a thumb rest that protrudes more from the back of the body. This allows for great purchase on the camera and I have no issues with the balance of the camera when combined with larger Olympus lenses like the 12-40mm Pro. There is an optional grip which would be welcome if using the pro telephoto lenses although I note that a full battery grip is no longer going to be offered as an optional accessory. I presume because Olympus wants you to purchase an EM1 series body if you require this functionality. I can understand that and although I would like the option of a battery grip I, like most other buyers probably value the light weight and compact nature of the EM5 bodies more.

When I did my Olympus OMD EM5 III unboxing video I was so interested in the feel of the camera that I didn’t even initially notice some standout changes that Olympus has made to the body of this EM5 III. I’ll go over these now in this Olympus EM5 III review.

Firstly, the control dial is now on the right hand side freeing up space for dedicated buttons to select the shutter mode (single, burst, Timer etc) and another that by default switches the LCD display from showing a live display or the Olympus Super Control panel. Damn, no single handed switching the camera on then.. A quick play around in the menus and I found my trusty option to use the function lever to turn the camera on and off, problem solved.

Another addition that I’m happy to see is a dedicated ISO button just to the right of the thumb rest. It’s not ideally position with my thumb (at least) having to stretch slightly to reach it but it works and its there, so again I’m pretty happy.

For any existing Olympus users the handling will be very familiar and now more in line with that found on the EM1 series bodies which will offer better continuity when switching between bodies. I can envisage people (myself included) using the EM5 III when they want to be lightweight and discreet (think street photography, candid portraits, family outings, long treks etc) and the EM1 series body with larger lenses for more serious work.

The Olympus EM5 III still has a 3 inch fully articulating screen (unchanged from the previous model) and it does its job more than adequately for my needs. Yes there are larger screens with more resolution available but is it really needed? In my eyes not really. Yes, more is often a good thing but this screen shows me the information I need quickly and clearly.

One change on the EM5 III that I do really appreciate is the new 2.36 million dot EVF. Although the magnification has decreased slightly (0.69x ) it is a vast improvement over the old model and provides a clear rich image. Yes higher resolution EVF’s are available on more expensive models from other brands but while these are nice I honestly don’t see them as essential as long as they are good enough to clearly frame your shots. One thing to note for those among us that wear glasses is the 27mm eye point.

Overall the handling of the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark 3 is almost exactly what I want in a small mirrorless body. Its buttons offer good tactile feedback (no more squidgy buttons here) and the front and rear control dials are the best in the business offering just the right amount of resistance to feel solid and assured in use.


I now do quite a lot of video both in my work and for my Youtube channels and I’m pleased to see that Olympus kept the mic input on the EM5 III. This along with the ability to record in 4K at 24 and 30 FPS, as well as 120 FPS in 1080 make it a pretty good option for casual video.

Having looked at the video quality produced by the EM5 III I would be quite happy using it for my Youtube channels. Combined with the excellent IBIS as well as vastly improved video AF I found it easy to get good results straight out of camera.

The colours are beautiful as I would expect from Olympus and I believe it would be more than capable of putting together very nice looking travel videos and vlogs, aided by that fully articulating screen.

I currently use a GH5 for video work which as we all know has a plethora of options but for less demanding users I believe the EM5 III will be more than good enough in terms of output quality, colour and usability as long as you don’t need 4k60 which is sadly missing.

The only issue I would mention is that the headline bit rate of 237mbps is only available for cinema 4k (including fast motion up to 8x speed) and then drops down to 102mbps for 4k at 24,25 and 30 FPS.

If slow motion is your thing the EM5 III can shoot at up to 120FPS in 1080 but the bit rates drop off significantly from the numbers above which could cause quality issues, particularly if you may grade the footage. The 120 FPS high speed option shot and re-timed in camera only offers 26 MBPS.

The highest bit rate when shooting in IPB is 52 MBPS for 1080 , regardless whether the frame rate is 24, 25, 30, 50 or 60. You can shoot 24, 25 and 30 FPS footage in All Intra at 102Mbps.

Sample video will be available once I upload my Video review to Youtube.

Auto focus

Olympus have put the sensor (including Phase detection AF) from the EM1 II into the EM5 III and it really does show. Now let me just clarify one thing, I am not a sports shooter. I hate firing away like a madman in the hope that if I spray enough bullets I’ll hit the target. Not to mention I don’t have the will to go through thousands of pictures just to find the one good one. So I have not tested the EM5 III AF for sports or birds in flight which are arguably the most demanding tasks for an auto focus system.

However I have shot a variety of subjects from portraits to my 3 year old daughter tearing around on her bike.

Single AF, S-AF in Olympus’ language is as fast as the fastest cameras out there. If you can’t get in focus shots with this camera then I’m afraid it’s not me, it’s you says the EM5 III. The focus is snappy, assured and never skips a beat. That’s to be expected these days although some do better than others and of the cameras I have used Olympus is easily up there with the best for single AF.

The interesting thing with the EM5 III is that it now has phase detect AF for the first time so in theory its continuous AF and tracking modes should be vastly improved over its predecessor. In short yes they are.

Shooting multiple portraits of my wife using eye AF and C-AF the camera locks on to her face and eyes and nails the focus almost every time. It is also doing a better job of following the subjects face even when they are not face on to the camera.

I also tested out the tracking AF using my daughter riding her push bike. The results were pretty impressive, especially when compared with previous generations of the EM5.

With the subject riding straight towards me at a jogging pace the camera picked up focus immediately and followed her through until she filled the frame and exited to the side. The last couple of images were out of focus but 80% of the remaining series were all perfectly sharp with 15% being acceptably so and just 5% being unusable.

When tracking a subject across the screen the results are better still. In fact they were all perfectly sharp.

So for normal use photographing people, kids, pets, the Olympus EM5 III is more than up to the job in terms of AF. The only issue and one I would like to see improved in a firmware update is that when several faces are in the scene I couldn’t find a way to select which face to focus on. The AF is also very usable for video and certainly better than my GH5.

Olympus OMD EM5 III Review – Image Quality

I will add a few test shots below for those of you who want to compare ISO in a more controlled manner but for the most part I find that the biggest test for a sensor in terms of high ISO performance is capturing skin tones. The smooth skin of a models face really does show up issues when using higher ISO’s and this is something that the EM5 II had started to fall significantly behind with compared to the competition.

100% Crop , 1/125/ f/1.2, ISO 1250 shot with the Olympus 45mm 1.2 Pro lens
1/125 f/1.6, ISO 2000

Of course a Micro 43 sensor does have an inherent disadvantage in low light performance due to its smaller size compared with APS-C and 35mm. However whenever I have tested this I am always surprised just how close to APS-C it gets. Don’t get me wrong if you want and need killer low light performance then you need a larger sensor but I am yet to produce an image at ISO 3200 or above on any camera which I would consider a true keeper. If an image is that important then I am generally shooting at lower ISO or controlling the light. I understand that some people (documentary photographers, nightlife and wedding photographers etc) do genuinely need the best possible high ISO performance but for the rest of us, is a very usable ISO 6400 not enough? If it is dark enough to need ISO 12800 or more then I honestly doubt the image is going to be that good anyway. I know I will get some angry responses and justifications to that last comment but for how and what I want to shoot I rarely go above ISO 1600 and if it’s a landscape I’m at base ISO anyway.

1/400, f/1.2, ISO 200

With that said I am pretty happy with the high ISO performance of the Olympus OMD EM5 III. ISO 3200 is very good and 6400 looks very usable too. I would even say it is a little better than my EM1 II at high ISO as the 12800 shot below doesn’t fall apart as badly on the EM5 III as it has on my previous Olympus cameras. The magenta cast that the EM1 II sometimes suffered with at high ISO’s is also no longer present on the EM5 III. Below I shot an image in near darkness as I prefer to test ISO performance like this rather than shooting in daylight and raising the ISO for the sake of it.

The Test scene how it looked to my eye.
ISO 200
ISO 200 100% Crop, ORF File Straight conversion with no noise reduction. Processed in Lightroom CC
ISO 400
ISO 400 100% Crop
ISO 800
ISO 800 , 100% Crop
ISO 1600
ISO 1600, 100% Crop
ISO 3200
ISO 3200, 100% Crop
ISO 6400
ISO 6400, 100% Crop
ISO 12800
ISO 12800, 100% Crop
ISO 25600
ISO 25600, 100% Crop

To be perfectly honest, this is the first time I have been totally happy with ISO 6400 on the Micro 43 platform. I always thought it was usable with a bit of work in post production but with the Olympus EM5 III it has now edged over into perfectly satisfactory and ISO 3200 looks very clean. Of course when shooting with the EM5 III you’re only going to need to use those higher ISO values if you need to use a faster shutter speed to stop action. Otherwise you can hand hold this camera in almost any situation thanks to the incredible in body  image stabilisation. All the test shots above were shot handheld with the 45mm Pro lens. The ISO 200 shot used a shutter speed of 1 second and was almost perfectly sharp. That would usually require a shutter speed of 1/100th to be sharp. That’s over 6 stops of image stabilisation working right there and to be honest I didn’t bother about my technique, I have so much faith in Olympus’ IBIS that I just fired away without really thinking about it. It is unlike any other IBIS system I have ever used and yes I have owned the Panasonic G9 but the EM5 III, EM1X and the EM1 II are all much better in my opinion. I know some test results put them close but that was not my personal experience.

So if people say that you need a large sensor to shoot in low light I would say it depends entirely upon what you are shooting. Yes there are scenarios where the larger sensor will be of benefit if you are shooting moving subjects and need to freeze the action but for anything else the EM5 III can shoot at ISO 200 and give you great results.

One thing I had noticed on the EM1 II and previous Olympus bodies that I have owned (so most of the higher end ones) is that the red channel was prone to becoming over saturated and clipping. I can say that this issue seems to have been resolved on the EM5 III.

The red channel no longer clips when shooting super saturated red colours such as this rose.

This is especially true if you shoot in Raw rather than JPEG as the raw files hold substantially more detail and information as you can see below.

SOOC JPEG , Natural picture profile, 100% crop shot at 1/13, f/4, ISO 200. Shot on a tripod.
Raw file with no adjustments except +25 sharpening in Lightroom CC. 1/13, f/4, ISO 200. This is the matching raw file to the above Jpeg both shot in raw + Jpeg Large Fine mode.

If you want to see all the full resolution images from this review then they are all available over on my Flickr page.

As you can see from the above image the raw files are holding substantially more detail and colour information. When I zoom in 100% on the Jpeg file here I can just see a few areas where the red channel is starting to clip slightly. However there are no such issues in the raw file. The raw file also shows more fine detail such as the veins of the petals which are not visible in the Jpeg. It should be noted that I turned in camera noise reduction down to the minimum setting but it can also be turned off altogether.

High resolution mode

The Olympus EM5 III now gives us 80mp raw files and 50mp Jpegs in high resolution mode thanks to the new 20mp sensor inside the camera.

At first glance the hi res shots show a noticeable improvement in detail but is this simply due to the larger file size?

I wanted to see how they compared with a standard raw file that was up-rezzed on my PC to match the file size of the in camera hi resolution image.

Hi Res Shot 100% crop from 80mp raw file with no adjustments.
Standard Raw file up rezzed in Adobe to match the in camera hi resolution image.

The in camera hi resolution image contains more genuine detail than the standard raw file up rezzed to match. The other main benefit that is quite obvious is that the in camera hi resolution image is giving a noise benefit too. Olympus themselves claim 2 stops improvement when using the high resolution mode. I believe this to be pretty accurate. The file is cleaner and contains more detail so if you really want to get the best output possible then it is worth using the high resolution mode. Just make sure that you take the time to ensure you are using the camera on a rock steady tripod and use a shutter delay. My first attempt to capture this hi res image resulted in softness caused by the vibrations when I pressed the shutter release. A delay of 8 seconds was sufficient to get perfectly sharp images.

I still have to test the hi resolution mode for landscapes to see if it deals with movement any better than previous generations. I’ll report back once I have thoroughly tested it.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mark 3 – Conclusion

The Olympus OMD EM5 III has been a long time coming so was it worth the wait? On the one hand if you look at the technical specifications and price some may argue that there are no standout features in such a competitive marketplace. However it is only when you actually get the camera in your hands and use it that you can appreciate all the little improvements that in the end add up to one of the best handling and performing mirror-less cameras on the market. Let’s not forget that Olympus’ IBIS is definitely still the best available.

The build quality still feels reassuringly good, the new thumb rest gives just that little more purchase to make it more comfortable to shoot with. The new EVF is crisp and clear and little additions such as the dedicated ISO button improve the handling to the point that this camera simply gets out of your way and lets you shoot. For me this is more important than an extra stop of dynamic range, a few more megapixels and being able to fire off a million shots a second. That is just the way I prefer to shoot though. I prioritise the experience when using a camera as long as it is able to give me the end results that I need.

In the last year I have heard quite a few people predicting the demise of Micro 43 and in particular Olympus, citing Sony’s A7 line as being far superior. I don’t deny that the Sony A7 series are great cameras, I have owned the A7R, A7II, A7R2, A7III and A7rIII.

While the Sony A7 series bodies are in the same size and weight bracket as the higher end Micro 43 offerings like the EM1 II and GH5 the professional grade lenses are no smaller than those on full frame DSLR’s. Yes they will get you better low light performance and more megapixels to play with and if you genuinely need those things then no doubt you will already know so.

However for the rest of us who want a fast responsive camera with good AF, a big step up in image quality from your phone, more features than pretty much any other camera on the market and a range of high quality lenses from super wide angle to super telephoto then I think the EM5 III offers that. All wrapped up in a lightweight package that you will be much more likely to carry than a bulky DSLR.. I know that I will take my Micro 43 cameras out with me on trips where I would leave the Sony cameras behind and in the end as the cliche goes, it’s the camera that you have with you that’s the best.

I get to try out a lot of cameras and I usually know which ones I would be happy to keep pretty quickly. For me the Olympus OM-D E-M5 III ticks all the boxes for what I want in a camera and I’ll be keeping mine for some time to come. In future articles on this website and videos on my Youtube channel I will be putting the EM5 III up against my Panasonic GX9 and a Fuji XT30 so be sure to check back soon for those comparisons. I’m also hoping to pick up the recently announced EM1 III and Fuji XT4 to compare those two models.

I’ll be updating this page from time to time when I have more sample images and hopefully get a chance to shoot some proper landscapes (if I ever get the time) over the coming months. I hope this Olympus OMD EM5 III review has been useful for you. Now get out and shoot.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 III Unboxing Video

I have just taken delivery of the Olympus OMD EM5 mark III to test out over the next few weeks. In the video I quickly unbox the new EM5 III and show you what comes in the box as well as take a quick look at the camera. I will be following this up with a detailed review over the next few weeks once I have had time to properly test out the new OM-D EM5 III.

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