Street photography with the Olympus E-M10 Mark III

Traditionally, I always bring a new camera to the streets to shoot for review. For the recently launched Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III (full review here), I decided to shoot a different variety of sample shots which included sports, outdoor portrait and landscape. I am all game when it comes to doing something different to keep my reviews fresh. Still, since I had the E-M10 Mark III with me for a few more days, I had to satisfy the itch to have my shutter therapy on the streets.

Some of you must have been asking, how can a Robin Wong review be complete without a tight, close up portrait of a stranger? Or a random street cat? Must have felt like something was missing, no?

Not sure if MT will approve of the cat but here is a collection of my recent street photographs, all taken with the E-M10 Mark III during the recent long weekend in Malaysia. I consider the images shown here an extension of the sample images taken with the E-M10 Mark III. You may view the EXIF data from the Google Photos gallery here.

While street photography may not be the best genre to torture a camera with, it is where the Micro Four Thirds system shines. The combination of small footprint, lightweight body, fast and reliable autofocus and availability of an assortment of sharp, small prime lenses helps immensely. The Olympus E-M10 Mark III performed as expected, nailing focus perfectly and responding quickly in general, to practical operations. Handling with the small prime lenses was comfortable, even for a solid 3 hour long walk through city streets. For this session, I used the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8, 17mm F1.8 and 12mm F2 lenses.

The images you see here are almost straight out of camera JPEG output. I shot everything in RAW, then processed the files via Olympus Viewer 3 (an early, unreleased edition). I did not modify the white balance setting and the color profile is the same as the SOOC JPEG colors. Noise Filter was set to “OFF”, picture mode set to “Natural”, and everything else (contrast, saturation, sharpness) were set to default “0”. The only tweaks that I did was perhaps some balancing in exposure adjustments, and boosted the contrast a little. The Truepic 8 engine in the E-M10 Mark III works well in producing excellent images.

I understand the general frustration (yes I do read what people are discussing over at the forums) on the omission of some features (RC Wireless Flash mode) as well as simplification of the controls and customization options. I too, am not too happy with this decision from Olympus. Having said that, as a photography tool, the E-M10 Mark III still carries the most important advantages of an OM-D camera: the super fast AF, great JPEG engine, reliable 5-Axis IS for both stills and video, good EVF, and generally, a camera that just works. It is small and light enough that you want to pick it up and carry with you, and still capable enough for some serious use. Most importantly, I have enjoyed using the E-M10 Mark III tremendously during my street shooting session.

Isn’t having fun the most important thing when photography is a hobby?

So where does the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III stand? If you are new to photography, a beginner stepping up to a system camera, the E-M10 Mark III will serve you well. It produces pleasing JPEGs and performs well even in some demanding conditions. On the other hand, if you’ve owned any Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras from the past 2-3 years, then the next practical upgrade for you is probably the flagship – the E-M1 Mark II.

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III is available from B&H


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Images and content copyright Robin Wong 2017 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Hello! I have been on the fence for quite some time about this model from Olympus. I shoot Canon and sometimes Nikon but prefer Canon. I need a new camera because I have basically used mine well beyond it’s years! Lol! I don’t really do video, just some time lapse videos once in a while but use my iPhone for that. My question is, would this be a good camera for wildflowers, fine art, abstract photography and just all things plant life? Much appreciated! Thanks!

  2. i dont know if its the mark III or ur postproduction, but i think the skintones are better than usual. they use to look good. but they look great in the to posts. can it be the removal of the antialias filter? nice pictures.

  3. Despite street photography not being my cup of tea, I really liked your photos Robin. Very glad to be introduced to you via Ming’s excellent site. I hope to see more! Thank you.

  4. The good thing about wearing those RED Crocks is that your subjects are distracted by looking at your feet and don’t see you photographing them! Henri Cartier Bresson could have learned something from you.

    • I should probably write a book about the effective street wear for street photography. I bet it will sell.

  5. Martin Cohen says:

    I have a E-M10 II which I find great for street photography. My goto lens is the Oly 14-150, which is good for just about everything.

  6. Robin, you say you use an ‘early unreleased’ version of Oly Viewer 3 – why not use the publicly available one? Or do you mean you have a beta version of a newer version?

    • Robin Wong says:

      Because the public version does not have support for the new cameras RAW file yet. Bear in mind at the time of review and even now, the em10 mark III is not available yet (only pre-order).

  7. An awesome set of images Robin. I just absolutely love street photography so, thank you 🙂

  8. Robin, What would you recommend between e-m10 mark ii and iii assuming I am not interested in 4K video?

  9. Seems like a competent little streeter for anyone looking to up their game from a smartphone. For me, I’m particularly happy to see the E-M10III because it signals the countdown to the next Olympus roll out, the E-M5 Mark III. Olympus, for whatever reason, likes to introduce newer/better features on the 5’s (probably because the E-M5 started it all), For example Hi-rez shot mode was first introduced on the 5 MIII as was the more advanced 5 Axis IS. Perhaps the 5 MIII will be the body that brings hand-held pixel shift? Should be interesting non-theless Great shots Robin!

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks! I think the hand-held high resolution mode is a bit difficult to make happen. Technically, hand-movement is difficult to predict, and the Image Stabilization is technically turned off to allow for the pixel shifting to happen. But I do wish it is possible and lets hope for the best.

      • Difficult? Yes of course you’re right, or we would have already seen it 🙂 I’m sure it will require more powerful on-board computations. Perhaps a combination of the “Sync IS” and “Pro Capture” whereby the camera’s computer not only pixel shifts but searches for the sharpest images to process into one hi-rez shot. It may be limited to one or two pro lenses and require lots of light with a minumu shutter speed (125+ or more) but who knows … One can only hope… 😉

  10. Excellent and enjoyable series of images Robin and thank you for sharing your thoughts. We are really spoiled with choice from all of the major manufacturers now, particularly given the static or declining sales figures. As a recent Olympus customer having gone from the original E-M1 to the E-M1 mkii, I am not entirely surprised that they have kept the 16mp sensor in the new E-M10. I understand it may be a disappointment for existing E-M10 users hoping for a small upgrade, but it is very capable and perhaps produces more manageable image sizes for newer ILC users. It would certainly be top of my list for customers looking for entry into a new and a very capable camera system.

    • Robin Wong says:

      Thanks for the kind comments, Daniel. Surely, as a camera targetted toward entry level/beginner users, the 16MP old sensor is more than adequate and can still deliver wonderful results. It is also my recommendation for new comers jumping over to Micro Four Thirds system.

  11. I’m turning into a jpeg-only family-oriented (i.e. very casual) shooter, so it didn’t make sense to own an expensive FF DSLR system. Nikon went on the block and I went shopping for something smaller and cheaper. I was a happy E-m5 shooter before, so that was the natural place to look. However, trying out E-m10 II and E-m5 II in the store changed my mind. I couldn’t time any of the shots properly – any moving people were like 40 cm off the intended position (shots fired too late). I never experienced this with the original E-m5, but
    I guess that getting used to a DSLR has changed my habits. Hopefully Olympus has reduced the shooting lag with mk III.

    Anyway, since the E-m10 III was a bit of a disappointment (beginner-orientation AND a higher release price where I live), I looked at other options. Surprisingly I had none of the timing issues with the latest Fujis – it seems they really do have a comparatively low lag. Fuji has also gotten over the worst of their arrogance and even AFL with shutter half press is now possible. I’d still prefer an Olympus body, but placed an order for X-T20. The price tag is a bit hefty, but a very high quality (optical, not material) kit zoom is available for almost no extra cost. The body also has 90% of the “advanced model features” from the flagship model, unlike E-m10.

    If anything, one thing is certain: there’s no lack of competition or altenatives in the camera market. As consumers we shouldn’t complain.

    • Robin Wong says:

      To solve your “lag” problem in Olympus cameras, you have to set the menu “Release Time Lag” to SHORT instead of the default NORMAL. When that is being done, you should have instantaneous capture response. I managed to capture exact moments in fast paced tennis competitive match from SEA Games recently.

      • They have a setting to deliberately increase shutter lag?!

        • Robin Wong says:

          For normal users they won’t be able to see any difference. Honestly I only feel the lag when I’m shooting extremely fast moving subjects, like sports. The setting solved the problem.

          • According to somewhat credible web information, the “short” setting readies the shutter with an electromagnetic mechanism, releasing whatever mechanical system is normally holding it open. Shutter release is quicker & quieter when there’s no need to take the steps at shooting time. However, it drains the battery and the shutter may bet set loose if there’s an impact on the camera (can be fixed by cycling power). Thus it makes sense to have it off by default.

            Oh, well. I’m still content with my choice. I’ll usually need fast shutter speeds, so I won’t miss the awesome stabilisation that much. Also, when moving to a cheaper and less serious camera, the exact features and output quality matter much less…

            • Robin Wong says:

              I have all my Olympus cameras set to “release lag time SHORT” and honestly, the battery life is not much different, not noticeable if any. Since it allows much less lag, why not set it on all the time?

              • Perhaps due to the (in theory) less reliable mechanism the factory setting is ‘off’. Maybe they haven’t tested it extensively or don’t want to risk unintentional shutter closings upon impact, which could scare some users (the manual warns of the possibility). As you said, most users won’t notice any difference.

                • There’s also the ‘anti shock’ feature which implements a delay between shutterpress and shot firing – try turning that off too.

      • PAUL TIRAJOH says:

        I have E-M5 and E-M10, both are 1st generation, mark 1. The E-M5 does not have “release lag time” option. As adviced by Robin I use always the option “short release lag time”.

        See how the shutter on the E-M5 II works w/4 different settings combinations. The settings that remained constant were shutter speed (1/3 second) and drive mode (single shot, anti-shock enabled).
        The following 4 combinations of settings were tested:
        1. Release Lag-Time: Short; Anti-Shock: 0sec; Start: 0:34
        2. Release Lag-Time: Short; Anti-Shock: 1/2sec; Start: 1:10
        3. Release Lag-Time: Normal; Anti-Shock: 1/2sec; Start: 1:40
        4. Release Lag-Time: Normal; Anti-Shock: 0sec; Start: 2:12

        How long is the shutter release lag time on the E-M5?
        After the shutter button is pressed halfway, it takes about 50 milliseconds to release the shutter.

    • I too considered Fuji as I have some legacy old M and LTM lenses and Olympus 2x factor is bit too big. Pity Fuji doesn’t have in body stabilisation as many interesting it`s lenses especially short primes don’t have it. On other hand they are WR which Olympus are not. What is interesting for street stuff is beside lag time, power on time as you not alway want to have it permanently turned on due to battery drain.

  12. Great pics !

  13. Augusto Poot says:

    Please, learn from the master:
    “Isn’t having fun the most important thing when photography is a hobby?”

    Still… for God sake…. maybe a new sensor would be great.

    Thank you, Robin, for the wonderful photos, as always.


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