The Olympus OM-D system has proven an excellent partner for me on expeditions and challenging tours in the past years. A previous model of the OM-D system has already been with me to Bolivia, Peru, northern Sweden and the Alps. Even rain, hail, freezing temperatures of -35°C and heights of up to 5.500 meters have never caused any difficulties for this brilliant system. Above all, the rather small size and light weight compared to a DSLR camera including all the gear, won me over me as a photographer. The low total system weight allowed me to pack more lenses than before like a telephoto zoom, when I took off for another mountain tour.
Summing up the three most important attributes for demanding tours: flexibility, reliability and performance.
To test the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III, I decided to travel to the region around the Zugspitze and Saxon Switzerland, which are two of the most beautiful and exciting landscapes in the German area. I began my journey at Eibsee, a mountain lake lying perfectly in front of the Zugspitze mountain, Germany’s highest.
I could not have asked for better test conditions: It was raining cats and dogs and I was very curious whether the E-M5 Mark III could match the weather resistance of the E-M1 Mark II. To come straight to the point: Yes! The rain did not cause any problems. The camera performed very well, totally unaffected by the wet, even though I only carried it around my shoulder so it was directly exposed to heavy rain.
When I arrived at my desired photo spot, I put the camera onto a tripod to test the HiRes mode which I had already used easily with other models. When I had a closer look at the result on the computer, I was really impressed by the details of the raw files. The pictures taken without the HiRes really delivered with their level of detail and realistic colours.
At the second photo spot, the Partnach Gorge, I left my backpack and took only the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO lens with me. Even in the bad lightning conditions of the gorge, the camera performed very well and the wide-angle lens was perfect for capturing the whole depth of the gorge in one picture. What impressed me most in this context is how effective the image stabilizer system is - allowing me to shoot with a shutter speed of 1/2s, hand held. This way, I could keep the ISO sensitivity quite low and do without a tripod. One thing less to carry.
During the hike, the low weight once again stood out. Together with the M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO and the M.Zuiko Digital 12-40mm F2.8 PRO I could cover everything I wanted without feeling overloaded.
In the end I can safely say that the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III more than passed my test – it proved to be a reliable tool for my photography. Rain and dust didn’t harm its performance and I had no limits to my creativity at all. I can totally rely on this system.
Author and Photographer: Daniel Ernst