This blog entry is a continuation from my Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV review article. If you have not read that, please do so here (click) before continuing with this post. I am only discussing specifically the video performance of E-M10 Mark IV here. 

The E-M10 Mark IV is an interesting camera, being released in 2020, taking the latest entry level OM-D model with very respectable photography-centric features (updated 20MP image sensor, improved 5-Axis IS, revised hand-gripping for better handling, tilt-down screen for selfie). However when it comes to video recording front, the camera seems a little conflicted. On one hand, Olympus has rock-steady video stabilization for hand-held footage, improved C-AF algorithm and respectable 4K video quality. On the other hand, Olympus missed two very critical features for video: microphone input and a swivel/fully articulated LCD screen. I am sharing my experience using the E-M10 Mark IV shooting video in this blog entry. 

Here is my video version of this article - which carries some examples of what I am discussing here. Video was also almost entirely recorded with E-M10 Mark IV, with exception of B-Rolls shot with E-M5 Mark III, which I have indicated clearly. 

Basic video specifications on E-M10 Mark IV
4K up to 30p, Full HD 1080 up to 60p,
HD 720 up to 120fps slow motion capture
5-Axis IS for video stabilization shooting hand-held
Improved C-AF algorithm
Full manual control over ISO, aperture and shutter speed in dedicated video mode

I am going to be entirely honest, I am not a cinematography, I am noob when it comes to film making, so I won't consider this as a review for E-M10 Mark IV's video performance. I am simply not qualified to do so. I am sure some other videographers who are more experienced will be able to give you a better assessment. What I can do is to share my experience shooting with the E-M10 Mark IV in two very specific uses: live stage music performance as well as my usual vlogging activities. 

I have brought the E-M10 Mark IV to shoot Bihzhu, a friend and singer-songwriter who performed live recently, and I recorded a 5 minutes long of her performance which was shot in one take, uncut. You may find the previous blog entry about Bihzhu here (click). Please do watch that video, because what I am discussing here is also heavily based on that 4K video sample. 

The image stabilization is the main differentiating factor for E-M10 Mark IV vs other entry level interchangeable cameras in the same category. The 5-Axis IS stabilizes the footage so well, that it was smooth, jitters free and almost gimbal-like, if there is not too much movement involved. Bear in mind in the Bihzhu-Nowness 4K video sample, I was shooting with the M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8, which has an equivalent focal length of 150mm. At such long lens, yet shooting the entire 5 minutes video hand-held was a breeze and the whole footage was shake free and almost perfectly smooth. If you don't intend to carry gimbals, steadycams or tripods and do a lot of video shooting hand-held, you may want to look at what Olympus' 5-Axis IS can do, no competition comes close at this moment, especially not at this price point. 

To drive this point home, imagine you are using any other cameras, with or without IS, then mount the 70-200mm lens onto the camera. Zoom to 150mm, and shoot a video hand-held for 5 minutes. And tell me you can accomplish similar level of stabilization with what I have shown you in the E-M10 Mark IV footage. I don't think any other entry level DSLR/mirrorless cameras can do this!

C-AF has always been one of the weaknesses for Olympus cameras, both for stills and videos with exception to high end flagships such as E-M1 series, and more recently, the E-M5 Mark III. The main reason being not having phase detection AF built onto the image sensor. E-M1 series (including the latest E-M5 Mark III) has built in phase detection sensors to help better subject tracking and continuous focusing operations, and they have proven to work very well. Olympus claimed that they have used the same C-AF algorithm from flagship E-M1 Mark III and worked it into the contrast detection AF of E-M10 Mark IV, improving it from previous incarnations of E-M10 cameras. 

From my experience shooting the live music performance, it the C-AF worked very well, keeping the most fore-front subject to be in focus. Bear in mind that the lighting was also quite good, the stage was well lit, and I did not have too many messy subjects to deal with. The face detect did fail a little there and here but it was probably me not using the camera enough to operate it more efficiently. If you have seen this vlog of me explaining the E-M10 Mark IV, you will also see how the C-AF sticks to my face the entire time, with no issue at all. 

I do admit that, having tested the E-M10 Mark IV extensively, I still find the C-AF in E-M1 series and E-M5 Mark III to work more effectively and efficiently. The C-AF locks quicker, more confidently and sticks on the face better. It is no surprise, since E-M10 Mark IV does not have phase detection AF, but I do admit it is a big improvement over previous E-M10 series cameras that really did much poorer job in C-AF and face detection in video shooting. 

Unlike E-M1 Mark III or E-M5 Mark III, the E-M10 Mark IV does not have cinema 4K with 237Mbps bitrate. The 4K video is the standard UHD resolution with unknown bitrate, but I find the 4K video to be quite good, sharp with plenty of details and does handle colors, dynamic range and contrast very well. Olympus plays their strength in excellent JPEG engine for video shooting and the straight out of camera footage looks very pleasing and perfectly usable without much grading. In fact, I did only minimal grading to the footage (shifted the color a little toward colder tone, the original capture was a little too warm for my own taste). For those who use Full HD, downscaling the 4K resolution to 1080p gives excellent results. 

Unfortunately this is where the good news ends. 

That is quite an unforgiveable sin. I don't know how to defend Olympus even if I wanted to, and I believe they should have included some way to connect to a microphone, even if it means allowing the use of the micro USB port via some adapter. There is no way to have audio in. If you are considering to get E-M10 Mark IV, your only solution is to record audio separately via a voice recorder and sync the audio later in post-production. There is built in microphone of course but I won't recommend using that for any serious video work. 

It would have been great if a swivel screen is included, but Olympus decided to do a tiltable screen, which tilts downward for selfie. It would have been more helpful if the screen tilts upward instead, so that when used with tripod, the screen is not blocked. On one hand, it is clear that the tilt screen is not suitable for video work, but it is also very obvious Olympus designed the E-M10 Mark IV more specifically for photography/stills shooters. 

To be fair, Olympus did not mention or promise anything about E-M10 Mark IV being a video shooting camera, or a vlogging camera, which some companies did with their recent products and not fulfilling their own claims satisfactorily. Those deserve much harsher criticism. The solution here is quite clear - if you want to vlog or do anything video with Olympus Micro Four Thirds - go for E-M5 Mark III, or higher. E-M5 Mark III has everything checked from swivel articulating screen to microphone input and even Cinema 4K mode, and 120fps Full HD slow motion, I have been using the E-M5 Mark III for my vlogs on my YouTube channel for more than half a year now and it worked extremely well. I'd expect many photographers would welcome E-M10 Mark IV being a more stills oriented camera - the tilt sreen arguably works better for quicker response time, especially for street photography, and is more stealthy too. 

Having said that, I do hope that moving forward, in future Olympus product strategies, after the transfer to JIP is complete, they would consider more serious video features offerings in their lower level cameras, such as the E-M10 series and E-PL series. It is not difficult to predict that the sales would have gone up further for E-M10 Mark IV, if these two video features (microphone input and swivel screen) were included. 

Any other important video features that you think a camera must have in 2020? Share your thoughts! 

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Now that we are free to move around again after the lockdown is relaxed about a month ago in Malaysia, I have been shooting almost non-stop. It started with the shooting frenzy for reviews of the two recently released Olympus products: E-M10 Mark IV and M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS lens, which required me to go to various locations for sample images and to put the products through their paces. Then I have also been getting a few photography jobs, not many, but good enough to recover some financial losses during the 3 months full lockdown period since March. In between with some spare time that I have, I have been occupying myself with shutter therapy sessions! I have been shooting on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. 

One fine day I brought out the E-M1 Mark III and M.Zuiko 75mm F1.8, and attacked Petaling Street with my friend, Tang Chun Cheuh. It was a good day with plenty of good light, and I managed to get some keepers. I have also shared these images in one of my recent videos (follow up to the Malaysian government banning video posting on social media), I thought it would be great to have these photographs displayed here in my blog as well. I do have some photos that I really like from this session. 

I disagree with the argument of long lenses not being suitable for street photography. The reasoning of being disconnected with the human subject, or being too far away and not having the "close up" impact, I find them very flawed. Why must we be close and "intimate" with the subject? What is wrong with distance? What if I intentionally wanted the space between me and my subject? Being close is not necessarily the best solution for all shots. I am not saying there is anything wrong working with the popular traditional focal lengths for street shooting, typically 35mm, but I find myself gravitating toward using much longer focal lengths. I simply love what the Olympus 75mm 1.8 can do, it is non-conventional covering equivalent 150mm, which is at the longer end. I find the images cleaner, more structured, less cluttered and more focused on the main subject or story that I am telling. 

There is no right and wrong when it comes to shooting, that much I have learned from my limited experience as a photographer. You just need to work the given tool that is given to you, and find a way to get the best results you can. 

I am just thankful that things are slowly returning to normal here in Malaysia, the pandemic situation is pretty much under control, and I am free to move about and do my shutter therapy sessions. I hope that wherever you are, you are able to go out and shoot too!

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Recently I bought myself a cheap China-made 10 inch Anrdoid tablet, the Teclast P20HD and I personally think it is one great value for money buy. I needed a smart tablet for my photography shooting workflow as well as for personal media consumption, mainly reading e-books and comics. I find that the Teclast P20HD checks all the right boxes - it has decent specifications, beautiful display, runs on latest Android 10 and priced significantly well below what other bigger brands are asking for. I bought mine from Lazada for RM499 (you can find it as low as RM429 during a recent "flash sale") and have been using it for more than 2 weeks now. Here is my review of Teclast P20HD!

For those who prefer to watch a video review (click) instead of reading an article, I got you covered!

This blog entry is a follow up to the previous review article on recently released Olympus M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS lens (click here). Please read the original article if you have not already done so. I shall be exploring the use of 2x teleconverter MC-20 being attached on the 100-400mm lens in this particular post. I intentionally separate the use of teleconverter out from the original review, because I wanted the focus to be solely on the lens, and to be quite frank, 400mm (800mm equivalent in 35mm format) is plenty of reach already. 

Here is the video version of this article (click)Special thanks to Van Ligutom for behind the scenes footage. 

To test the teleconverters on Olympus 100-400mm lens, I went to Kuala Lumpur Bird Park. No, I will not be crazy to venture into the dangerous rainforest and get myself eaten by snakes or dinosaurs. I am a city boy and will not survive in the wild. I shall stay safe, and I intend to live to see what happens after the transfer of Olympus imaging to JIP is complete, whatever that may happen. The Bird Park was a safe solution to effectively test what the combination of lens and teleconverter can do. 

I initially wanted to test both the MC-14 1.4x and MC-20 2x teleconverters and give my comments on how they each perform with the use on 100-400mm lens, but I realized that may not be practical, and it was no easy task taking in and out, swapping the teleconverters when I was handling such a huge lens, the 100-400mm lens. I decided to stay with the MC-20 2x Teleconverter, but you do see some shots taken with the MC-14 from time to time. The observations made in this article is based solely on the use of MC-20 on 100-400mm lens only. 

I have also reviewed the Olympus MC-20 teleconverter before, please do read that up if you want to find out more about the teleconverter. I will not be discussing the performance of the MC-20 or 100-400mm lens separately here, let's just get straight to the point. 

Olympus has added a new camera to their OM-D line, the E-M10 Mark IV. I have had a sample review unit on loan for about 2 weeks before the official release of the camera and I have been shooting a lot with it. The E-M10 Mark IV succeeds the E-M10 Mark III as the new advanced entry level OM-D camera from Olympus. I will share my user experience and plenty of fresh sample photographs taken from the E-M10 Mark IV in this review blog entry. 

I also have a video review for the E-M10 Mark IV, for those who prefer to watch than read. 

E-M10 Mark IV, the smallest and lightest OM-D camera from Olympus, with advanced features
While the company is in the process of being sold to JIP, Olympus has not slowed down in product releases. Today Olympus launched 3 products: super telephoto zoom lensM.Zuiko 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS and two new cameras OM-D E-M10 Mark IV and Mark IIIs. I have had sample/review units of the 100-400mm lens and E-M10 Mark IV for about 2 weeks now, and let's start with the 100-400mm lens review!

I have also made a video version of Olympus M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5-6.3 IS Review here (CLICK).  
Special thanks to Van Ligutom for helping out with the behind the scenes footage, appreciate it much buddy!