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Best Olympus Cameras of 2019: Unique Cameras for Adventurous Professionals

Rating: 3.00 based on 2 Ratings
Igor Letilovic
  By Igor Letilovic
Best Olympus Cameras of 2019: Unique Cameras for Adventurous Professionals www.sleeklens.com

Love it or hate it, Olympus is a brand with an undeniable tradition on crafting stylish products, not to the extent of Leica, but end-consumer cameras that can catch the interest of any dedicated photographer.

With a large range of mirrorless, adventure and point-and-shoot cameras to explore, let’s go through what we consider are the best models provided by Olympus to date in the following list.

Olympus Tough TG-5Go to Amazon
This is the best rugged camera you can get from Olympus and one that is most feature packed. It’s built around a 1/2.3 inch 12 megapixels sensor which are coupled with a very powerful TruePic VIII processor.
Overall rating:
85
Design:
0
97
100
Price:
0
72
100
Image Quality:
0
84
100
Features:
0
86
100
Pros
  • Rugged body and the resistance to the elements
  • Great Macro mode
  • Image stabilization
  • 4K recording
  • 20 fps burst rate
  • Wi-Fi
  • GPS
  • RAW support
Cons
  • Average image quality
  • Limited zoom range
  • No viewfinder
  • No touchscreen
  • Average screen resolution
Click to read the full Review
Capable of shooting at ISO values up to 12800, it allows you to shoot in RAW and at a very impressive framerate of 20 fps. You also get a great deal of flexibility with the included lens. It’s an optically stabilized unit with a focal length ranging from 25 to 100 mm and a maximum aperture of f2 at its widest and f4.9 at the longest end. It’s also powered by a 25-point contrast detect based AF system and has the ability to focus as close as 10 cm during normal operation and 1 cm in a dedicated macro mode. The TG-5 also comes with a 3 inch TFT LCD screen with a resolution of 460,000 dots, an integrated Xenon flash unit, two stereo microphones, micro-HDMI port, Wi-Fi and GPS. The GPS unit itself supports features like the compass, manometer and thermometer. To round up the impressive package of built in features, you can also record 4K videos with this camera at a very high bit-rate of 102 Mbps or slow-motion ones at 60 fps in 1080p and 120 fps in 720p resolution.

While the specifications themselves are pretty good for a point-and-shoot camera, the main selling point of the Though TG-5 is its rugged nature. It’s waterproof up to the depth of 15 m, dustproof due to its airtight construction, can withstand falls form up to 2.1 m, crushproof to up to 100 kg of force with its highly durable interior protective structure and can also deal with temperatures as low as -10 degrees and still work perfectly. The TG-5 also comes with a new feature not present on any other Tough models, the Anti-fog. In a nutshell, this technology protects the lens and minimizes the effects of condensation which occurs during sudden changes in temperature. What’s also impressive about this camera is its macro abilities. You can use the Microscope mode to capture subjects at a distance of only 1 cm from the lens and at a focal length of 100 mm, activate the Microscope control mode and view that subject in even more detail (up to a magnification of 4x), gain even deeper depth of field for your macro shots thanks to the Focus stacking mode or use Focus bracketing mode to make sure that you’ll get an image that’s in perfect focus even at such high magnifications. In addition to the traditional shooting modes, the TG-5 also comes with some that are optimized specifically for shooting underwater like Wide, Macro, HDR and Snapshot modes.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark IIGo to Amazon
This is the best camera that Olympus has to offer and a truly impressive one. It comes equipped with the newest 20 megapixel Live MOS sensor and a capable TruePic VIII processor which enables its impressively fast burst rate of 60 fps (18 fps with continuous AF).
Overall rating:
84
Design:
0
74
100
Price:
0
80
100
Image Quality:
0
93
100
Features:
0
87
100
Pros
  • Good image quality
  • Well-made body with lots of physical controls
  • Excellent EVF and screen combination
  • 4K recording
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  •  Weather-sealing
  • 50-megapixel High-Res Shot mode
  • USB 3.0 support
  • 60 fps burst rate
  • Microphone and headphone jacks
Cons
  • Image quality still not up to par with the best APS-C and full frame cameras
  • average battery life
  • No GPS
Click to read the full Review
Its sensor is also optically stabilized and can account for up to 5.5 stops of shake reduction. The EM-1 Mark II also possesses impressive focusing capability thanks to its hybrid AF system which consists of both 121 cross-type phase detection and 121 contrast AF points. You’re also getting a very well-built camera which is made out of magnesium alloy and a lot of physical controls found all over its body. You’ll also enjoy composing photos and recording videos with both a very good screen and the EVF. The screen itself is fully articulated, touch enabled and has a very respectable resolution of 1,037,000 dots. The EVF comes with 100& coverage, 0.74x magnification and a very high resolution of 2,360,000 dots. Thanks to also having an electronic shutter beside the mechanical one, the EM-1 Mark II can shoot at a very fast maximum shutter speed of 1/32000, which makes it very easy to capture motion in well-lit conditions. You also get dual SD card slots, USB 3.0 support, a micro-HDMI port, microphone and headphone jacks as well as Wi-Fi. Lastly, the video capabilities are also impressive as you can record 4K videos with a bit-rate of up to 237 Mbps or 1080p videos at 202 Mbps.

The EM-1 Mark II wouldn’t be considered a flagship camera if it didn’t have some unique features. The first one has to be the High-res shot mode. In this mode, the camera moves the sensor around to capture more of the scene and combines the results into one 50 megapixel image. While something like this isn’t suitable for moving subjects and the use of a tripod is highly recommended, the sharpness and detail are noticeably increased over the regular 20-megapixel images, so this mode certainly has its uses. The Pro Capture mode is another interesting feature included on this camera. When activated, it captures up to 14 photos before you press the shutter button and an additional 85 photos while it’s being pressed, all at an of speed either 18 or 60 fps. This means that you can easily capture a moment you would have otherwise missed while shooting outside of this mode, which would be really helpful to those photographers who plan to use the E-M1 Mark II as a sports or action camera. The last interesting feature we would like to mention is the AF limiter. It allows you to set a distance range at which a lens can focus, so you can get better-focusing performance if you know that you’ll only be shooting at certain distances and you don’t need for the lens to be able to focus on its entire range. You can store different profiles each with different values and switch between them using the L-Fn button.
Olympus PEN E-PL9Go to Amazon
As of the moment, Olympus is one of the biggest players on the mirrorless camera market (at least when it comes to the micro 4/3 systems) and thus they offer a wide range of impressive cameras from entry-level to professional models. They are also well-known for following a retro-design language that spans across their entire line up and has been attracting the attention of many users that care about the look of their cameras, as well as functionality.
Overall rating:
89
Design:
0
100
100
Price:
0
81
100
Image Quality:
0
83
100
Features:
0
90
100
Pros
  • Good image quality
  • Powerful processor
  • Stylish and lightweight body
  • W-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Micro-HDMI port
  • 4K recording
  • Built-in flash unit
  • 8.6 fps burst rate
  • 1/16000 sec maximum burst rate
  • Sharp and flexible touchscreen
  • Capable 121-point AF system
  • Slow-motion recording at 720p 120 fps
  • Wi-Fi
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Affordable price point
Cons
  • No viewfinder
  • No USB 3.0 support
  • Average battery life
  • No microphone or headphone jacks
  • No weather sealing
Click to read the full Review
The Olympus PEN E-PL9 (a successor to the E-PL8) is an entry-level mirrorless camera that aims to bring everything the company is known for in one small, capable and aggressively priced package. The PEN line up of cameras has enjoyed somewhat of a cult following among those that like to keep their cameras as small as possible, but still won’t to reap all the benefits of being able to change lenses and adapt as many different types of them as they like (that has been the boon of micro 4/3 cameras for a long time now).

Starting with its sensor, the Olympus PEN E-PL9 brings a last gen 16-megapixel CMOS unit (which may not please many enthusiasts) but still a capable sensor by today’s standards set by the entry-level camera market. It manages to bring both the decent dynamic range and noise performance, as well as very nice JPEG processing and color balance. No matter if you shoot in RAW or in JPEG, the E-PL9 will bring you pleasing images both in daylight and in dimly lit conditions. The same sensor is coupled with a very capable TruePic VIII processor (the same dual quad-core system that is featured in the E-M1 Mark II and the E-M10 Mark III), which means that the E-PL9 will exhibit great responsiveness while being used and also provide a boost for the JPEG algorithms by bringing more mature sharpening and noise reduction.

On top of providing an ISO range of 200-6400 (expandable to 100 and 25600), it is also graced with 3-axis image stabilization rated at 3.5 stops of shake reduction (not as the 5-axis stabilization built into some of the more advanced models but still a very useful addition nevertheless). When it comes to performance, the E-PL9 is also well-equipped for a budget-oriented camera; the already mentioned powerful processor, 121-point contrast detect AF system, 8.6 fps burst rate, 1/16000 sec fastest available shutter speed (courtesy of the included electronic shutter) and an endurance of 350 shots all paint a pretty picture for this latest entry-level model from Olympus. It also manages to surprise with its video recording capabilities despite lacking features such as the microphone and headphone jacks or Zebra patterns and Log profiles and the reason for that is the surprising inclusion of full-fledged 4K 30 fps recording at a bitrate of 102 Mbps (as well as 720p 120 fps recording that will be of big use for those that like to play around with slow-motion effects). This essentially puts the E-PL9 in a similar position to a modern flagship sensor (but with the added benefits of changing lenses and the bigger sensor size).

Lastly, we wouldn’t be talking about a PEN camera without mentioning its design. Despite not being made out of very premium materials and lacking weather sealing, the E-PL9 is still a very attractive and nicely made camera that manages to provide a nice brand of eye-catching looks and good handling and usability. It also features a nice 3-inch tilting TFT LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots and also other useful addition such as a built-in flash unit with a range of 7.6 meters, standard USB and HDMI ports and also all the hardware necessary to enable its 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 LE connectivity options.
Olympus PEN-FGo to Amazon
The PEN-F is certainly an interesting camera. It has the guts of an enthusiast mirrorless camera, but in a body that could almost pass as a compact camera. This is its main selling point, a stylish, portable and elegant design, but with almost no compromise to the functionality and the overall specifications. Like the rest up to date mirrorless cameras, it also comes with a 20 megapixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor. This means that it has the ability to produce great photos in all lighting conditions.
Overall rating:
83
Design:
0
89
100
Price:
0
76
100
Image Quality:
0
87
100
Features:
0
81
100
Pros
  • Good image quality
  • Well-made body with lots of physical controls
  • Wi-Fi
  • 60 fps video recording
  • 10 fps burst rate
  • Excellent viewfinder and screen combination
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  • 50 megapixel High-Res Shot mode
Cons
  • No 4K recording
  • No weather-sealing
  • Average battery life
  • No microphone and headphone jacks
  • No GPS
  • No built-in flash unit
Click to read the full Review
The sensor also features 5-axis image stabilization, which should help immensely in getting smoother video footage or when taking photos in low light. Thanks to the powerful TruePic VII processor it can shoot at a burst rate of 10 fps and take less noisy images at high ISO values. For its focusing needs, the PEN-F comes equipped with a 81-point contrast detect based AF system and also comes with an electronic shutter that allows it to shoot at a very fast shutter speed of 1/16000 sec. Besides its eye-catching design, the PEN-F is also a quality made camera thanks to it being made out of magnesium alloy and aluminum. While it doesn’t have a built-in flash unit, it does come with an excellent 3 inch fully articulated touchscreen and a large sharp EVF with a resolution of 2,360,000 dots and a magnification of 1.23x. It also has a micro-HDMI port, Wi-Fi, stereo microphones and an orientation sensor, but no microphone or headphone jacks. Lastly, what sets the PEN-F apart from some of its more expensive brothers is the lack of 4K recording, as you’ll only get a 1080p mode here. The positive thing is that it can be recorded at a high framerate of 60 fps, which will result in a very smooth looking footage.

The PEN-F shares the impressive High-Res Shot mode with the more expensive EM-1 Mark II and it can also get a very high quality 50 megapixel image which will be of use to those planning to take landscape photos or shoot portraiture. It also features an impressive number of different physical controls (two control dials, exposure compensation dial, as well as a main mode dial with four customizable modes). For those craving for a lot of options when it comes to changing the look of their images, Olympus have included a Monochrome Profile Control feature which lets you use some of the predefined filters, as well adjust different image parameters including the highlights and shadows. You can also do the same with color images with the Color Profile Control. Additionally, you can also use the Color Creator feature to play around with hue and color saturation. While you can’t record 4K videos with the PEN-F, you can at least create stunning 4K time-lapse movies. You can record a maximum of 999 images for as long as 24 hours or you can automatically create a 200 second time-lapse movie at a framerate of 5 fps.
Olympus OM-D E-M10 IIGo to Amazon
The E-M10 II is certainly one of the more interesting cameras on this list and that’s because of the two main reasons: its price and its feature set. While the PEN E-PL8 is still your go to camera it you’re on a really tight budget, the E-M10 II is step above that camera and should be your fist pick if you want a camera with more control and better specifications, but you don’t mind the moderate increase in price and some cost in terms of portability. At the heart of the E-M10 II we find the very familiar and proven 16 megapixel Four Thirds Live MOS sensor, which should provide ample image quality that should be satisfactory to all the potential buyers.
Overall rating:
70
Design:
0
74
100
Price:
0
64
100
Image Quality:
0
70
100
Features:
0
72
100
Pros
  • Respectable image quality
  • High-resolution touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • 8.5 fps burst rate
  • 81-point AF system
  • RAW support
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  •  Excellent EVF
  • Lots of manual controls
Cons
  • No 4K recording
  • Average battery life
  • No microphone or headphone jacks
  • No GPS
Click to read the full Review
The sensor in question is also benefits from the 5-axis image stabilization, the capable TruePic VII processor and can also shoot at a respectably high ISO value of 25600. The AF system built into the E-M10 II is a contrast detect based solution which consists of 81 focus points and will certainly provide ample focusing performance in all shooting conditions, as well as give enough power to drive the very useful burst rate speed of 8.5 fps. There’s also an electronic shutter on board which allows the camera to take photos at a very fast shutter speed of 1/16000 sec. Body-wise, the EM-10 II is a very capable camera for its price point. It features enough physical controls to satisfy the more advanced users out there and build quality that should have no problems standing the test of time (despite not being weather-sealed). It features an integrated flash unit with a range of 5.8 m and a hotshoe that will allow you to connect an external one, an articulated TFT LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1,040,000 dots and a very impressive EVF with a large magnification of 1.23x and a very high resolution of 2,360,000 dots and on top of that, it also has built-in Wi-Fi. One area where the lower price point of the E-M10 shows the most is when it comes to video recording capabilities. You can take some good-looking 1080p footage at 60 fps, but there’s no option to record 4K videos (other than time lapses) or the necessary jacks to connect an external microphone or a pair of headphones. Instead, you’ll have to rely on the integrated stereo microphones for all of your audio recording needs.

A large emphasis has been put on the 5-axis images stabilization when marketing the EM-10 II and that is understandable since a feature like that is rarely included on amateur oriented mirrorless cameras. The stabilization helps in four major areas: Nightscapes (where it’s important to compensate for the camera roll), Macro (where it’s necessary to correct for the shift movement), Telephoto (when mostly the angular shake appears) and for Single-handed shooting (when both the angular shake and roll occur). You also get a lot of options to expand your creativity in form of different filters and effects. Art Filters like Vintage, Partial Color and Grainy Film or Effects like Soft Focus, Pin Hole and Art Frame. There’s also the Photo Story feature that lets you combine multiple photos into one and add change the way they are arranged. You can create the effect of fast movement with Speed mode, change the perspective of your images with Zoom In/Out or add the Fun Frame effect to make your images look more lively and special.
Olympus Stylus 1sGo to Amazon
Now this is certainly a rather unique and interesting camera. The Stylus 1s is aimed at those users who want a premium compact camera in a body that resembles a mirrorless one. The benefit of having such a combination is control scheme and the handling that’s unmatched by any other traditional compact camera. So, let’s do a quick roundup of its most notable specifications.
Overall rating:
81
Design:
0
81
100
Price:
0
87
100
Image Quality:
0
82
100
Features:
0
74
100
Pros
  • Good image quality
  • Bright and versatile lens
  • Decent build quality
  • Lots of manual control
  • Good battery life
  • Wi-Fi
  • Excellent screen
  • 7 fps burst mode
Cons
  • Average low light performance
  • Mediocre viewfinder
  • No GPS
  • Average focusing performance
  • No 4K recording
  • No microphone and headphone jacks
Click to read the full Review
The Stylus 1s comes equipped with a 12 megapixel 1/1.7 inch sensor, which sits right in the middle in terms of its size when compared to other compact cameras on the market. What’s more impressive is the lens it's paired with. It’s an optically stabilized 28-300 mm equivalent lens with a constant aperture of f2.8 through its entire range. This means that the Stylus 1s will perform very well in low light conditions and will also give a lot of room to play around with your depth of field. The lens itself can also focus as close as 10 cm (5 in a dedicated macro mode) and is powered by the 35-point contrast detect AF system. In terms of shooting speed, the Stylus 1s can take photos at the fastest shutter speed of 1/2000 and at a burst rate of 7 fps. Body-wise, there’s a lot to like about this camera. Despite not being made out of metal like some more expensive offerings, it still offers a build quality that’s better than most of compact cameras we’ve seen. It also has a lot going for it in terms of different features. Here we find an integrated flash unit with an impressive range of 10.5 m, an EVF with a resolution of 1,440,000 dots and magnification of 1.15x, a 3 inch articulating touchscreen with resolution of 1,040,000 dots, a micro-HDMI port, orientation sensor and also Wi-Fi. There’s also an excellent battery pack on board, which gives the camera a very good battery life of around 450 shots per charge. Sadly, there’s one particular thing about the Stylus 1s that isn’t very impressive and that’s its video recording capabilities. Aside from not being given the option to connect an external microphone or headphones, you are also limited to only being able to shoot in 1080p at 30 fps. This will be fine for those wanting to record a casual video or two, but the Stylus 1s certainly isn’t a camera you should primarily buy for that type of work.

The biggest selling point of this camera aside from its excellent lens, has to be the amount of control you’re given at your disposal. First, beside all the usual shooting modes, you can create two custom ones that you can switch to at any time just by using the main mode dial. You can also customize the functionality of up to five different buttons and make the camera act just the way you want it. There’s also a lever on the side of the lens which can be programmed to act as a zoom lever and thus give you smoother zoom operation than with the one located on the shutter button. You also get a lot of functionality in terms of Wi-Fi with the Stylus 1s. All of the usual features are available, but there’s also a very extensive remote control feature on board, which gives you a lot of control of your exposure and allows you to adjust everything from shutter speed, ISO, aperture and exposure compensation.
Olympus Stylus SH-3[]Go to Amazon[]
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This wouldn’t be a complete list without a point-and-shoot camera, so we decided that the Stylus SH-3 deserves this spot. One quick look at its specifications reveals that it’s a very capable camera, despite being targeted at beginners and amateur photographers. All of the pictures you take and the videos you record are handled by the 16 megapixel 1/2.3 BSI-CMOS sensor that works in tandem with the TruePic VII processor.
Overall rating:
60
Design:
0
45
100
Price:
0
65
100
Image Quality:
0
60
100
Features:
0
71
100
Pros
  • Decent image quality
  • 4K recording
  • Touch enabled screen
  • 11.5 fps burst rate
  • Good build quality
  • Wi-Fi
  • 5-axis image stabilization
  •  Great zoom range
  • Good slow-motion capabilities
  • RAW support
  • Good battery life
Cons
  • Average focusing performance
  • 4K only available at 15 fps
  • No GPS
  • No viewfinder
  • Limited low light performance
  • No microphone or headphone jacks
Click to read the full Review
This means that you can take some decent quality images with the Stylus SH-3, but also at a very respectable speed. So, you can use shutter speed as high as 1/2000 sec and shoot at a very respectable burst rate of 11.5 fps. What’s also great about the camera is its lens. It has a 25 – 600 mm equivalent zoom range and a maximum aperture of f3 at its widest angle and f6.9 at the telephoto end. This means that you have the flexibility to shoot everything from landscapes, portraits and even wild life, all in one lens. It can also focus as close as 10 cm (3 cm in the macro mode) and should also focus fast and accurately in most shooting conditions thanks to the built-in contrast detect AF system. What’s also of great benefit for the camera is the 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, which should help you immensely in getting sharper pictures when shooting at slower shutter speeds or making your videos look a lot smoother than with the traditional stabilization solutions. We also like that Olympus decided to include the RAW support on the Stylus SH-3, something that is often missing on point-and-shoot cameras.

Design and build quality are also two things we were very impressed about on this camera. Despite its budget price point, the camera doesn’t feel cheap at all and at the same time looks very stylish and modern, which is something that every potential buyer should appreciate. What you usually don’t get with a compact camera is a viewfinder, but the Stylus SH-3 makes that omission more tolerable by including a pretty capable 3 inch touch enabled screen with a resolution of 460,000 dots. This means that everyone who is used to taking photos with their smartphone will feel right at home when using this camera, because of the included touchscreen. It’s also easy to acquire focus just by tapping the screen, another thing we certainly like. Other features included in this camera are the flash unit with a decent range of 8.3 m, 37 MB of internal storage, a pair of stereo microphones, Wi-Fi, micro-HDMI port and an orientation sensor. While the Stylus SH-3 doesn’t offer a microphone or a headphone jack to take the audio recording to the next level, it does come with a lot of different movie modes. You can record 4K videos with it, but at a limited framerate of 15 fps, meaning that you shouldn’t be using the 4K mode to record any kind of moving subjects. For that purpose, Olympus have included the 1080p 60 fps and 720p 120 fps modes and also a 240 fps mode (if you don’t mind recording your videos at a lower resolution of 432 x 324). Lastly, another thing we especially like about the Olympus Stylus SH-3 has to be the battery life. While an endurance of around 380 shots may not sound outright amazing when compared to some other cameras on the market, it’s still one of the best performances we’ve seen on any point-and-shoot camera. You could safely shoot an entire day with this camera and rarely have to worry about battery life.

Selection Criteria

There are a lot of important factors to consider when complaining a list like this one and picking the best cameras out of the bunch isn’t always an easy thing to do. The first thing we had to do is to figure out the most logical way to separate each camera into a set number of points that perfectly describe its feature set and overall capabilities. After a long thought process, we decided on a list of nine most important factors that will allow us to easily differentiate one camera from another and let you choose the best one for you with more ease. Let us examine each of those in more detail, so you can get a better understanding of how we decided what cameras deserve to be on this list.

Design – While it may sound like something that is purely subjective and only relates to how good are the looks of a particular camera, it is also something that relates to how its built and is it comfortable to use. It’s important to find a camera which has the right balance between an attractive design and comfort, but since your camera is primarily a tool for taking photos and videos we will always favor functionality over good looks in our reviews.

Price/Product rate – It’s true that there is a number of professional users out there who aren’t worrying too much about the asking price for their cameras because they need the best of the best for their work and can’t satisfy with anything less. Most of the users, however, are always on a look out for a product with great price to features ratio and we will gladly help them in making the right decision. When choosing a camera to feature on a particular list, we are always looking for a product that offers enough compelling features no matter its price point, so the end user ultimately feels happy about their purchase and that they are sure that their hard-earned money was well spent.

Weight – While it’s not the most important factor when choosing a new camera, it certainly is when you’re buying one that you’re planning to carry with you often or if you’re, for example, travelling a lot and you don’t want to be burdened by the weight of your camera too much and enjoy your trip instead. This is especially important in the case of a compact and mirrorless camera, where portability is one of their main selling points. You also need to take into account the build quality, which will also add some grams to the total weight of the camera. So, you’ll need to decide if you want a camera that’s lighter and easier to work with or you want a more durable and substantial camera that will be slightly less portable.

Waterproof capabilities – Protection from the elements may not be the first thing on someone’s mind when buying a device with electronics inside of it, but many advanced and professional users who are always shooting in different weather conditions find this an important factor when buying a new camera. To keep things in the right perspective, we usually won’t judge an entry-level or even a mid-range camera on the account of its water or dust proof capabilities, but we certainly will for a more expensive one where it’s expected that it has enough protection to be able to withstand any shooting scenario you throw at it and work its magic any time of the day.

Grip – One of the most important things to consider about your new potential purchase. It’s of utmost importance that the camera is designed in a way that it fits comfortably and securely in your hand without any chance of being dropped while you’re shooting with it or simply holding it while walking or taking a look at the scenery. This is where some manufacturers drop the ball when designing a camera with

all metal or all plastic construction, but without the necessary parts that provide a good grip like some rubber or faux leather accents on the front and the back of the camera. What’s also important, especially with larger cameras, is that it has a deep enough grip on its front and the one that allows for your fingers to comfortably wrap around it and allow you to hold your camera with confidence and without the fear of dropping it.

Image quality – This is possibly one of the main reasons to why someone decides to buy a dedicated camera. While there are many other benefits to buying a camera, as stated on this list of different metrics, image quality may be the one that takes the cake. It’s true that our smartphones have become very capable in taking decent looking photos and videos, but a lot of them still haven’t come close to most compact cameras in terms of image quality, let alone more advanced ones. So, there’s a big chance that you’re looking into buying a dedicated camera to get even better quality photos or videos and you’ll want to know how capable each model of camera is in this regard. When examining image quality of a particular camera we are always taking into account things like sharpness, color balance, noise performance, dynamic range, JPEG algorithms, lens quality and sometimes even of features that allow you to tinker with the look of your photos directly from the camera itself like different filers and picture styles. You can rest assured that you’ll easily be able to pick a camera from our list if image quality is one of your most important factors when buying a new camera.

Adaptability – The importance of adaptability varies from one type of camera to another and so does its importance as a factor to take into account when purchasing a new camera. So, it depends if you’re buying, for example, a compact camera which usually isn’t very expandable and are made to work out of the box and with almost no input from the users aside from using the camera. On the other hand, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs are a completely different story. It’s important that they don’t come with proprietary, but with universally compatible connectors for accessories like flashes, microphones, headphones or memory cards, so a lot of choices can be given to users in choosing the right one for them. Even more important is the choice of lenses that are given at your disposal. While most of the camera manufacturers offer a decent selection of first-party lenses, some of them don’t offer much in terms of alternatives coming from third-party companies. We will certainly take something like into account when choosing the right camera for you and make sure you’ll cover as much as possible in this regard.

Ease of use – Making an intuitive user interface that’s easy to navigate and a control layout that won’t require you to relearn everything you already know about using a camera should be a top priority for every camera manufacturer out there; yet, it isn’t. For this reason, we will always carefully examine each and every camera and make sure that using it won’t become a chore no matter if you’re a beginner or an advanced user. We will also see how much the camera offers in terms of customization and how well it can adapt to your certain needs. This is especially important for mid-range cameras and above, where having a lot of programmable controls and different quick menus is always a desirable thing to have. If we’re talking about a beginner’s camera, we will make sure it has enough modes and features that will help you learn your way around photography and figure out how a particular camera works. No matter the camera type, this is certainly one of the most important things to look for and we’ve certainly got you covered.

Availability – Since we are always dealing with products that come from very respectable and globally familiar brands, availability often isn’t a big issue, except in the case where the camera becomes outdated and it stops being manufactured. When that happens, we’ll make sure to update our articles to bring you the newest models possible, so this potential problem can be avoided in its entirety. Other than that, all of our cameras can easily be purchased online and so can every important piece of gear that they can be equipped with.

FAQs

What’s the best overall Olympus camera on this list?

That has to be the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. It offers the latest and greatest 20 megapixel 4/3 sensor, an excellent burst rate of 18 fps when the continuous AF is enabled, a highly capable 242-point hybrid AF system, very good articulated screen and an excellent EVF, electronic shutter which enables the camera to capture motion more easily and lastly, it can record 4K videos at a bit-rate of 237 Mbps. Add to that a very good build quality and the amount of control you would expect from a professional camera and you really have almost a perfect camera at your hands. You’re also paying a premium price for it, but that’s certainly expected for such a well-polished product.

Which one of these cameras could be considered the best buy product?

While there are a couple of cameras in this article that could fit into that category, our first choice has to be the OM-D E-M10 II. While it may not offer the most advanced specifications out there (we certainly didn’t expect it to at its price point), it still offers good image quality, a well-made body, an 8.5 fps burst rate, a respectable 81-point contrast detect AF system, an electronic shutter that allows it to take photos at a lightning fast speed of 1/16000 sec, an excellent EVF which is rarely found on cameras of its price point and lastly, company’s trademark feature, the 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization. Its only flaw is that it’s not a camera that’s very suitable for professional video work, but other than that, it’s an excellent choice for anyone that wants a quality product, but one that’s sold at a very fair price.

I’m looking to buy a camera that offers decent feature set, but good battery life is most important to me, which one should I pick?

While it was hard to single out one camera that has battery life as its main selling point, Olympus Stylus 1s certainly has the ability to last for a very long time for a camera of its type but also manages to bring a lot of interesting features to the table. You can take around 450 shots before needing to recharge the battery, which is certainly way above average for a compact camera. When it comes to its specifications, it has a pretty capable 12-megapixel sensor, great build quality with a large number of physical controls, a very flexible 28-300 mm lens with a constant f2.8 aperture, a decent screen and EVF combination and a respectable 35-point contrast detect AF system. The only area where it feels somewhat limited is in video recording, as it only offers a 1080p 30 fps mode as its highest quality option and that won’t be good enough for those looking for a great video camera, but pretty useful for those who are more into taking photos, than video recording.

I’m planning to shoot some wildlife, but I don’t have the budget to invest in expensive telephoto lenses, which camera should I get?

The Olympus Stylus SH-3 sounds like a perfect choice for you. It may be a rather simple camera by design, but it’s ability to reach the focal length of 600 mm is hard to beat. It does come at a cost of having a rather small sensor, but thanks to today’s advancements in technology you can still get some rather good-looking photos out of it if you know how to use the camera properly. Another thing that will certainly help with shooting any moving subjects is the included burst rate of 11.5 fps, something that is great to see on a compact camera. Also, the 5-axis image stabilization will allow you to take sharp photos in every situation, even when shooting at 600 mm. You can also easily focus just by using Touch AF and tapping anywhere on your screen and the included contrast detect AF system will make sure that the focus accuracy remains high, even in low light conditions. RAW support is here to enable you to make the most out of your photos during post processing and the ability to record 4K footage and slow-motion videos also make the Stylus SH-3 a versatile camera when it comes to making videos.

I need a camera that provides excellent image quality and gives you a lot of control, but I don’t need the latest and greatest one, what’s the right one for me?

We can recommend the Olympus PEN-F with absolutely no hesitation at all. In a way, it’s a smaller and less expensive OM-D E-M1 Mark II, which certainly can’t be a bad thing. It offers the same 20 megapixels 4/3 sensor, all-metal body, 5-axis sensor-shift image stabilization, a 10 fps burst rate, an electronic shutter, an 81-point contrast detect AF system and both the excellent touch screen and electronic viewfinder. It also borrows the very useful High-Res mode from its bigger brother, which will allow you to get even better photos in those occasions when you’re shooting static subjects and you have a tripod at hand. Still, there’s one area in which its beaten by the more advanced E-M1 Mark II and that’s video recording. While it does offer a 1080p 60fps mode, something that will make a lot of users happy, it doesn’t support 4K recording and neither does it come with a headphone or a microphone jack. So, if your main point of interest is taking photos, rather than recording videos, you’ll be very satisfied with the PEN-F and everything it has to offer.

What if I need good image quality, together with a balanced feature set and a great construction, but also at a price that won’t break the bank?

Well, in that case, the only camera we could recommend would be the Olympus PEN E-PL8. It’s the company’s most affordable mirrorless camera, but not as limited as you would think when you take into account how much it costs. It offers a well-established 16 megapixel 4/3 sensor, which is already known to bring respectable image quality to the lower-tier cameras. Besides the flexibility of being able to change lenses and really take control of your photography, you can also make use of the very respectable burst rate of 8 fps, 1/4000 sec shutter speed, a capable 81-point contrast detect AF system, as well as Wi-Fi and the included articulating 3 inch touch-screen with above average resolution of 1,037,000 dots. If you are one of those people who likes to take self-portraits on a daily basis, you will love that screen and all the features that come with it to make the experience of taking pictures of yourself more streamlined than ever. If you’re a video blogger, you’ll also benefit from some of these features (especially the image stabilization) and also the 1080p video quality this camera provides.

I’m planning to spend most of my time shooting outdoors, like in a forest or somewhere near water and I need a camera that can take some beating and also go under water. What can you recommend?

The Olympus TG-5 is certainly your best possible choice. It’s the best rugged compact camera the company has to offer and it’s filled to the brim with a lot of useful features that would be very helpful to anyone looking for this type of device. It’s resistant to water, dust, drops, crashing and freezing, meaning you can take it literally anywhere with you and it will perform as expected 99 percent of the time. It also comes with a brand new 12-megapixel sensor that provides decent image quality, but also allows you to shoot at a very impressive frame rate of 20 fps and record 4K videos as well. If macro work is your thing, then you will also be happy with the included features such as Microscope mode, which allows you to focus at a distance of mere 1 cm and get some stunning shots of things like flowers or insects. You’ll also be able to shoot in very low light conditions thanks to the lens having a very fast aperture of f2 at its widest angle and also due to the camera having a pretty capable image stabilization system.

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Igor Letilovic

Igor Letilovic

An amateur photographer, songwriter, musician, computer and technology geek and an occasional comedian, I'm a little bit of everything. I always aim to pursue things I'm passonate about and try to look on the positive side of things whenever I can. My mission is to wrap my articles in that aura of positive energy and keep a healthy balance between being serious about my work and spicing things up with a little fun now and than. After all, life's a game and there's always a different way to play it.

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