If you’re looking for the best Olympus camera or the best OM System camera, really you’re looking for the same thing. ‘OM System’ is just the name that has been given to the rejuvenated line of Olympus digital cameras, following the sale of the imaging division to OM Digital Solutions. Ultimately, you’re still choosing from a fantastic range of Micro Four Thirds mirrorless and compact cameras that have a great deal to offer photographers and videographers at all ability levels. So – which to choose? That’s where we come in.

You might like the look of the brand-new OM System OM-1 Mark II, an update to the flagship that boasts super-fast shooting speeds and clever computational features. Or, you might prefer the travel-friendly OM-System OM-5 – one of AP editor Nigel Atherton’s favourite recent cameras. We’ve also seen the waterproof OM-System Tough TG-7 come along as an update to a popular series of tough compacts. At AP, we’ve tested and reviewed all these cameras, and so we have a keen sense as to which ones are worth your time and money. However, as well as including the new stuff, we’ve also made space in this guide for some of the best used cameras – as we know that budgets can be tight, especially nowadays.

If you choose a mirrorless camera from Olympus or OM System, you’ll be using the Micro Four Thirds system, meaning you’ll need to pick up some of the best Micro Four Thirds lenses (or the best Micro Four Thirds zoom lenses) to go with it. Don’t worry if all this is already sounding complicated – we’ve included an explainer section at the bottom of this page, complete with answers to questions we often get asked. For now though, here’s a quick-view list of the Olympus and OM System cameras we’ve picked.


Want to cut to the chase? Here’s our quick list of the best OM System and Olympus cameras today:

  • Best Olympus camera overall: OM System OM-1 Mark II – buy now
  • Best Olympus/OM System camera for travel: OM System OM-5 – buy now
  • Best Olympus camera for beginners: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV – buy now
  • Best Olympus camera for enthusiasts: OM System Olympus OM-1 – buy now
  • Best Olympus camera for Instagram: Olympus PEN E-P7 – buy now
  • Best waterproof Olympus camera: OM System Tough TG-7 – buy now

And the best used Olympus cameras to buy:

  • Best used Olympus camera for influencers: Olympus PEN E-PL10 – buy now
  • Best used Olympus camera for professionals: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III – buy now
  • Best used Olympus camera for sports and action: Olympus OM-D E-M1X – buy now
  • Best used Olympus camera for travel: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III – buy now
  • Best budget used Olympus camera for enthusiasts: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II – buy now

So now, let’s get started with the best Olympus and OM-System cameras you can buy, for all users and budgets…

Best OM-System and Olympus cameras in 2024

These are the OM System and Olympus cameras you can still buy new. There are plenty of older models still worth buying on the used market, and we have a section on the best used Olympus cameras below. Here, though, are the best OM System cameras to buy right now.


Best Olympus camera overall: OM System OM-1 Mark II

OM System OM-1 Mark II. Photo Andy Westlake
OM System OM-1 Mark II. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

OM System’s flagship camera gets one step better – the OM-1 Mark II is a welcome update to what was already an impressively intelligent high-speed shooter.
Pros
  • Outstanding computational features
  • Built-in Live Grad ND
  • Super-fast burst shooting
Cons
  • Some limitations in video
  • Not a huge jump from OM-1

At a glance:

  • 20MP Four Thirds Stacked BSI Live MOS sensor
  • 50fps with C-AF, 120fps fixed AF with extended buffer
  • ISO 80 – ISO 102,400 (extended)
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation (8.5EV with Sync IS)
  • IP53 rating with specific lenses
  • Price $2,399 / £2,199 body only

The latest flagship camera from OM System, the OM-1 Mark II doesn’t exactly reinvent the wheel from the inaugural OM-1 (which you’ll meet further down this list). However, it adds a number of clever upgrades that make it a worthwhile investment for anyone who wants an outstanding Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, particularly for stills photography. We gave it the full five stars in our review, finding the OM-1 Mark II to be a delightful camera to use – and to be streets ahead of the competition in a lot of ways.

The OM-1 Mark II can burst-shoot at up to 120fps with fixed AF, or 50fps with continuous AF. To get the equivalent on a full-frame system, you’d have to triple your budget and opt for the Sony A9 III, a notion that’s simply a non-starter for most people. While the previous OM-1 could also achieve these speeds, the buffer for the Mark II has been significantly improved – doubled, in fact. It can now manage more than 200 continuous raw shots in both modes. Other new additions include the world’s first in-camera live graduated ND filter, helping you to control those bright skies for balanced exposure. Stabilisation has been improved, autofocus is snappier, with effective subject-detection. It’s a real triumph of a camera.

True, if you already own the OM-1, it’s unlikely these updates are enough to justify the expense of upgrading. And indeed, the release of the Mark II has already seen discounts coming to the OM-1 in some territories, making it perhaps a more tempting choice for budget-conscious photographers. However, if you want the best that Olympus and OM System have to offer, this is it right here.

Best for: professional and serious amateur photographers who want the best

Read our full five-star review of the OM System OM-1 Mark II


Best Olympus/OM System camera for travel: OM SYSTEM OM-5

The OM System OM-5 with 45mm f1.8 lens. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

If size and weather-sealing is of a priority, then the OM-5 can take advantage of a range of weather-sealed lenses making this a particularly compact overall system.
Pros
  • Robust, IP53 weather sealing
  • Exceptionally good stabilisation
  • Terrific JPEG output
Cons
  • Uses old-style Olympus menus
  • Buffer fills up fast at 30fps

At a glance:

  • 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor
  • ISO 200-6400 (extended: L64-25600)
  • 30fps shooting
  • 4K 30p video
  • 2.36m-dot EVF, 3in, 1.04m-dot vari-angle LCD
  • Price: $999 / £915 body only

After the success of the ‘Olympus’ OM-1, the OM SYSTEM OM-5 represented the difficult second album. The revitalised brand had shown promise under its new hands, but consistency would be the key to seeing if there was a long-term future. Fears proved unfounded – the OM System OM-5 has turned out to be a delight and triumph. As a replacement for the E-M5 series, it represents the middle of the range, and so delivers a lightweight build with high-speed shooting, and comes at a significantly lower price than the OM-1.

One key advantage the OM-5 brings compared to the previous E-M5 cameras is its significantly improved weather-sealing. The OM-5 is IP53 rated, and is the most affordable camera with that rating currently available. It means you can venture fearlessly into nature without worrying about a sudden downpour ruining your camera. Image quality is great too, with the OM-5 producing great-looking JPEGs that need minimal editing to look fantastic – perfect for those who’d rather be behind a camera than in front of a computer.

The OM-5’s relatively slim dimensions, robust weather-sealing and array of shooting options should on paper make it an excellent option for travel photography. Our editor Nigel Atherton put this theory into practice with an OM-System OM-5 field test on holiday in Cape Town, South Africa. His conclusion was that the O-M5 was pretty much the perfect travel camera, giving him all the features he needed and a few extras on top of that. It nailed the shots time and again, in pristine quality – can you ask much more of a camera than that?

Fine, if we have to gripe, we do wish OM System could have found room to include the newer style of menus brought in with the OM-1, rather than relying on the old Olympus menu system, in which features can often be maddeningly difficult to find. Softening the blow a little is the MyMenu section, which does make it easier to jump to your preferred functions.

Fast, high-quality and robust, the OM System OM-5 heralds great things for the future of the brand, and injects some real life into the Micro Four Thirds system. We’re huge fans, and gave it the full five stars in our review.

Best for: wildlife and outdoor photography

Read our full review of the OM SYSTEM OM-5


Best Olympus camera for beginners: Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is a great option for beginners. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

A lovely little camera that’s a joy to use and delivers great pictures, it’s compatible with a wide range of small, light and relatively affordable lenses, making it an excellent choice for beginners
Pros
  • Optimised for beginners
  • Front-facing screen option
  • Well-made handgrip
Cons
  • Flip-screen doesn’t work with tripod
  • No mic socket

At a glance:  

  • 20MP Four Thirds sensor
  • ISO 200-6400, ISO 80-25,600 (extended)
  • Up to 15 frames per second shooting
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • 4K video
  • Price $699 / £649 body only

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV is an enduringly popular mirrorless camera, and if you’re looking for an entry-level model in the Olympus / OM-System range, it’s currently your best option. This will continue to be the case until OM-System brings out an OM-10, which we’re hoping they do soon. Still, the E-M10 is a cracking camera in its own right, achieving a near-perfect score in our review.

It’s immensely easy to just pick up and use, with superb JPEG output resulting in images that look very attractive straight out of camera. Though the body is small, the controls are sensibly laid out and the handling never feels cramped. The stabilisation is highly effective too – some of the best you can get on an entry-level mirrorless camera, in fact.

The E-M10 Mark IV is one of our favourite small mirrorless cameras, especially given that the MFT system is blessed with a terrific range of portable, high-quality lenses. If you’re looking for a travel-friendly mirrorless camera, it’s one of the best choices you can make.

Best for: budding and emerging photographers

An almost perfect score – read our opinion on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV


Best Olympus camera for enthusiasts: OM System ‘Olympus’ OM-1

OM System Olympus OM-1 in hand
OM System OM-1. Photo: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

It goes beyond what you would expect from a £2000 camera in terms of subject detection AF, high-speed performance, and the sheer number of useful shooting features available.
Pros
  • Incredible burst capabilities
  • Streamlined handling
  • IP53 weather-rating
  • Price drop after release of Mark II
Cons
  • Menus not touch sensitive

At a glance:  

  • 20MP Four Thirds Stacked BSI Live MOS sensor
  • 50fps with C-AF, up to 120fps fixed AF
  • ISO 80 – ISO 102,400 (extended)
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation (up to 8EV)
  • IP53 rating with specific lenses
  • Price $1,999 / £1,869 body only

How much do we love the OM-System OM-1? Well, first we gave it the full five stars in our review. We came away from our time with this camera seriously impressed, praising its super-fast shooting speeds and sophisticated AF enabled by its new BSI stacked live MOS sensor. Absolutely packed with features, this camera had a lot to live up to given that it was the first representative of the new OM-System range, following the sale of Olympus to OM Digital Solutions. It passed with flying colours.

We then wanted to see how the OM-1 would cope with high-speed bird photography and getting bird-in-flight images, so we took it out for a bird photography field test with wildlife photographer Tesni Ward. The camera performed extremely well, with the blackout-free burst shooting making it easy to get super-sharp images of fleeting moments. Then there’s the weatherproofing, the superb image quality, the high-resolution viewfinder… we could go on. While it has since been eclipsed by the OM-1 Mark II, the ‘Olympus’ OM-1 is still plentifully available – and we’ve spotted a few tempting discounts that could make it the superior choice for the enthusiast rather than the professional.

Best for: Professional photographers and high-speed shooting

We gave the OM System Olympus OM-1 5 Stars – read our review


Best Olympus camera for Instagram: Olympus PEN E-P7

The Olympus PEN E-P7 is a great choice for selfie addicts, thanks to its 3-inch tilting touchscreen. Photo credit: Joshua Waller

Amateur Photographer verdict

Combined with the 14-42mm EZ pancake lens, the E-P7 is a compact, go-anywhere camera, that produces some great looking images, but the price is hard to swallow.
Pros
  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Very good image quality
  • Physical control dials
Cons
  • Body build a little flimsy
  • Expensive asking price (try second-hand)
  • Not available in the US

At a glance:  

  • 20.3MP Four Thirds Live MOS Sensor
  • ISO 100 – ISO 25600 (extended)
  • Up to 15fps with electronic shutter
  • 4K UHD 30, 25, 24fps video recording
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • Price $1037 / £799 with 14-42mm lens

While the OM-1 was technically the first branded OM-System camera, the first model to be launched under the new management was actually this one – the capable little Olympus PEN E-P7. The PEN range is sometimes forgotten about in discussions of the various merits of Micro Four Thirds cameras, but the PEN E-P7 is well worth considering.

For a start, it’s very light, weighing in at just 337g body-only (and there are plenty of MFT lenses that won’t add a lot to that total). It’s a sprightly shooter, able to manage up to 8.7fps with its mechanical shutter or up to 15fps if you switch to the electronic. It’s an ideal choice for those who don’t want to spend too much time editing their images in post-processing – the JPEG output is first-rate, and it also includes a number of stylish monochrome and colour picture profiles for giving your images a specific look.

It is still on the pricey side arguably, especially when you consider that the cheaper E-M10 Mark IV gives you better build quality and an electronic viewfinder. Still, you may prefer the slim, stylish form factor of the PEN EP-7.

Best for: Social media

Olympus PEN E-P7 in-depth review


Best waterproof OM System camera: OM System Tough TG-7

The TG-7 is a capable tough compact. Image: OM Digital Solutions

Amateur Photographer verdict

Waterproof, freezeproof, shockproof, with a 12MP sensor, 4x optical zoom and a bright F2.0 aperture. With its compact size and durable design it is an obvious choice for adventurers
Pros
  • Incredibly tough
  • Optical zoom lens
  • Huge number of accessories available
Cons
  • Small sensor impacts image quality

At a glance:  

  • 12MP 1/2.33” CMOS image sensor
  • 4x optical zoom. 25-100mm (35mm equivalent)
  • Waterproof down to 15m
  • Shock resistant – 2.1m (dropping from height), crushproof (100kg), freezeproof (-10°C)
  • 4K video
  • Price: $549 / £499

The Tough TG-7 is OM-System’s quick update to a much-loved series of tough cameras. It doesn’t change a great deal from the previous Olympus Tough TG-6 – it’s still based around the combination of a 12MP 1/2.3-inch sensor and a 25-100mm equivalent optical zoom lens. All this is encased in a super-tough body that’s waterproof, shockproof, freezeproof, etc. Again, much the same deal as the TG-6.

Lots of the key additions to the TG-7 are subtle, but welcome. The micro USB connection has been upgraded to the faster and more robust USB-C; you can now create time-lapse movies in-camera; the TG-7 supports vertical video recording (handy for TikTok / Instagram Reels); and the camera is now compatible with a separately sold remote.

There’s also a raft of accessories available to customise the TG-7, including a protective silicone jacket, some macro lights, underwater housing to extend the diving depth of the camera, fisheye/telephoto lens converters, and more. All this goes to assure the TG series’ continued dominance as the best tough compacts on the market.

Best for: Amateurs and adventurous types

Learn more about the OM-System Tough TG-7


Best used Olympus cameras

The pace of development of Olympus cameras has been relatively slow compared to other brands, but this has an upside, as cameras several years old can offer much of the power and performance of the later models. Better still, Olympus cameras don’t have the same cult following as some recently discontinued models from Fujifilm, for example, so the prices are much more realistic – the only exception is the beautiful Olympus PEN-F.

So here are some used Olympus cameras that are still definitely worth buying today. You can pick up pristine examples for half of what they originally cost and still have a camera every bit as capable as modern rivals.


Best used Olympus camera for influencers: Olympus PEN E-PL10

The Olympus PEN E-PL10, a slim choice for travelling light.

Amateur Photographer verdict

A beginner-friendly, lightweight camera with 4K video capability, flip-down LCD screen and in-body image stabilisation
Pros
  • Silent shooting mode
  • In-camera Raw processing
  • Handy for beginners
Cons
  • Not much improvement on E-PL9
  • No viewfinder

At a glance: 

  • 20.1 MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • ISO LOW – 25600 in 1/3 or 1 EV ISO steps
  • Tiltable LCD Touch Panel
  • Video: Up to 4K resolution
  • Price: around $300 / £300 used, body only

The Olympus PEN E-PL10 has been designed very much with the amateur photographer in mind. It comes with lots of beginner friendly shooting modes as well as advanced helpful features like in-body image stabilisation and in-camera Raw editing. This camera also includes a silent shooting mode, tiltable LCD screen and 4K movie quality making it a desirable choice.

The Olympus E-PL10 is the upgrade to the E-PL9 and in all honesty there is little to distinguish the two although the image processor has been swapped to the faster TruePic VIII, which is found in many of Olympus higher end models. These days, new models seem to have vanished from the shelves, but you can generally find it for a decent price online. Look out for the E-PL9 too – it may be available even cheaper.

Best for: Beginners on a budget


Best used Olympus camera for professionals: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III has a rugged, weather-sealed body. Credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

A camera that lets you take pictures that would be practically impossible with almost any other, particularly when shooting hand-held
Pros
  • Good control layout with AF joystick
  • Effective in-body stabilisation
  • Loads of shooting options
Cons
  • Menus can be hard to navigate
  • Relatively low resolution viewfinder

At a glance:  

  • 20.4MP Four Thirds Live MOS sensor
  • 2.36M-dot EVF
  • 121-point phase detection AF
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • Movie 4K
  • 18fps shooting with C-AF
  • ISO 64-25,600 (extended)
  • Weight: 504g
  • Price around $900 / £720 used, body only

Released in February 2020, the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III upgraded the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II that was released three years prior. At first glance we found the Mark III to look very similar to its predecessor but with the welcome addition of a joystick for selecting the AF area.

The biggest upgrade though was inside because the E-M1 Mark III debuted a new processor, the TruePic IX. This new processor allowed features from the E-M1X, including LiveND that mimics the effect of neutral density filters up to 5 stops, and a hand-held high-resolution multi-shot mode that outputs 50MP images. Essentially the E-M1 Mark III was the camera the E-M1X should have been all along!

Other impressive features the E-M1 Mark III includes are a 4K movie shooting mode, 121-point  superfast phase detection AF and an incredibly effective 5-axis in-body stabilisation. For those photographers whose profession takes them out and about such as wildlife and sport, we also found the sturdy extensive weather sealed body to live up to its promise.

The arrival of the OM-1 from OM SYSTEM has all but eclipsed the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, and it seems to have been effectively discontinued. You’ll probably have the best luck finding it on the used market, where you’ll get a fantastic discount on this all-around excellent camera.

Best for: Sports photographers on a budget

Read our review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III


Best used Olympus camera for sports and action: Olympus OM-D E-M1X

With the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, you’ll need to hunt around on the second-hand market. Credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

high-speed shooting, autofocus tracking, in-body stabilisation and durability – and cranks the dial to up 11
Pros
  • Very effective stabilisation
  • Attractive, colour-accurate JPEGs
  • Available at a good price second-hand
Cons
  • Big for MFT
  • Expensive when new

At a glance:  

  • 20.4MP Four Thirds MOS sensor
  • 121-point phase-detection AF
  • 15fps shooting (10fps with C-AF)
  • 36m-dot EVF, 0.83x magnification
  • 3-in fully-articulated touchscreen
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • Weight: 997g (with batteries and cards)
  • Price around $700 / £700 used, body only

Announced back in January 2019 the Olympus OM-D E-M1X was well received and included some great specs and influential technology, however since its launch other Olympus cameras (such as the E-M1 Mark III and the subsequent OM-1) have outperformed the E-M1X, pushing it down the pecking order.

On the plus side we found this camera to support a huge range of useful additional photographic features like its in-body stabilisation (up to 7.5 stops), support an efficient continuous autofocus and subject detection mode, and put out excellent JPEGs that are accurate in colour exposure. However on the down side the lower ISO range compared to its peers was disappointing as well as its bulky and heavier body build compared with other Micro Four Thirds cameras in the Olympus range.

If you have a shop around on the second hand market you can pick up a model in good condition for around £700.

Best for: Second hand buyers, and shooting wildlife and sports

Our review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1X.


Best used Olympus camera for travel: Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is a perfect option for those after lightweight camera. Credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

It’s compact size, lightweight, and access to a range of small, high-quality lenses makes the OM-D E-M5 ideal for travel photography
Pros
  • Lightweight build
  • Good weather-sealing
  • Very effective stabilisation
Cons
  • No AF-point joystick
  • Small grip won’t suit everyone

At a glance: 

  • 20.4MP Four Thirds sensor
  • 121-point phase detection autofocus
  • 10fps shooting with continuous AF
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • ISO sensitivity (extended): 64-25,600
  • Cinema 4K video recording
  • Weight: 414g
  • Price around $750 / £600 used, body-only

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III is another 5 star AP awarded camera that houses some impressive features. These include its small and lightweight body build that is also weather sealed, 121 AF point phase detection that we found to perform quickly and accurately, and its effective 5 -axis in-body stabilisation that delivers sharper images when hand-held. This means you can reduce the shutter speed to a lower setting compared with previous models rather than pushing up the ISO and risking more noise.

If you like the sound of a camera that’s small, handles well and gives attractive images, and works out as excellent value for money, then the E-M5 Mark III should certainly be high on your shortlist. Paired with a compact Micro Four Thirds lens, you have a great travel system.

The OM-System OM-5 arrived as a continuation of the E-M5 line – as such, the OM-D E-M5 appears to have been discontinued, and you probably won’t have much luck buying it new. On the second-hand market, it currently goes for around £630-660, which is excellent value for a camera this sophisticated.

Best for: Travel, enthusiasts and hobbyists photographers

Read our review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III


Best budget used Olympus camera for enthusiasts: Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II – our Olympus choice for action photographers on a budget

Amateur Photographer verdict

Impeccably built, with a control layout that makes it a pleasure to use, its continuous shooting and autofocus abilities are extraordinary, with effective image stabilisation.
Pros
  • Twin card slots
  • Capable burst shooting
  • Good second-hand price
Cons
  • Complicated, confusing menus

At a glance: 

  • 20MP Four Thirds sensor
  • Up to 60fps continuous shooting
  • 5-axis in-body stabilisation
  • 121 AF points
  • 4K video recording
  • 36-million-dot EVF
  • Battery life: 440 shots
  • Price: varies widely, $400 / £400 would be good

When the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II was announced back in 2016 the full retail price was a steep £1,850. Fast forward 8 years and look at the second hand market or buy a reconditioned one directly from Olympus and you’ll save yourself well over £1,000!

Although this camera is not the most recent, the features and technology included are still very much impressive. This includes its 5-axis in-body stabilisation, 4K video, fully articulated touchscreen and 121 AF point feature.

One of its major selling points however was its 60fps burst mode feature at full resolution which even by today’s standards is pretty impressive! At full speed the focus is fixed, but if you want the 121-point AF system to continue tracking the subject between frames, the E-M1 II is still capable of shooting at up to 18 frames per second. This on top of twin SD card slots, and a weather sealed body makes it a great choice for any action photographer.

Best for: Wildlife and sports photographers on a budget

Our review of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II


How to choose the best Olympus camera / best OM-System camera

The current slate of Olympus and OM-System cameras consists almost entirely of Micro Four Thirds mirrorless models – with one exception, as mentioned. There’s a lot of consistency between the models – all the interchangeable-lens cameras use MFT sensors, almost all now with 20MP resolution. Many also offer advanced computational features like Pixel-Shift High Resolution modes, which use in-body stabilisation to composite several images together.

The naming conventions can be confusing, but there is something of a logic to it, so let’s quickly run through the basics. The interchangeable-lens cameras can be split into two categories – the OM-D cameras and the PEN cameras, though the PEN range seems to be dwindling. So let’s take a look at the models on offer.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 series / OM-System OM-1: Sitting at the top of the pile are the ‘1’ designated cameras, which include the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark III (and predecessors), the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and the newer OM-System OM-1 and OM-1 Mark II. These are designed for professionals and advanced enthusiasts. With thoroughly weatherproof bodies, sophisticated stabilisation and advanced computational features like Starry Sky AF, they’re some of the best Micro Four Thirds cameras you can buy.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 series / OM-System OM-5: The E-M5 cameras have long been Olympus’ lightweight, mid-range mirrorless cameras, offering a lot of the features of the E-M1 cameras such as high-speed shooting and weather-sealing, but with a few cutbacks to reduce the body size and the price. OM-System has released its own version in the form of the O-M5, which lacks the OM-1’s subject-detection autofocus, but still has IP53 weather-sealing and Starry Sky AF.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 series: The E-M10 cameras are Olympus’ entry-level option, cheaper and smaller than either the E-M5 or E-M1 models. While they aren’t weather sealed, they offer a lot of functionality for the price, and still produce great images. The latest in the series is the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark IV; we haven’t seen an OM-System successor yet, but when this arrives, we expect the OM-10 will be a familiar name to many.

Olympus PEN series: Smaller and more streamlined than the OM-D cameras, the PEN mirrorless models are stylish mirrorless cameras for those who still want to take great photos, but want a more stylish camera. The E-PLx range is more beginner friendly, whereas the E-Px range is a more premium option. PEN cameras also don’t have viewfinders, so you’ll need to be comfortable using the LCD screen.

Olympus ‘Tough’ series: The odd one out in the family, Olympus’ Tough TG cameras are waterproof compacts with fixed zoom lenses and 1/2.3-inch sensors. They’re some of the most popular tough cameras out there, and the most recent OM System TG-7, and Olympus Tough TG-6 have a reputation for being one of the best you can buy.

If you want some larger-sensor options, don’t forget to check out our guide to the best full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Best Olympus / OM-System cameras – frequently asked questions

Does Olympus still make cameras?

Yes, but that’s not what they’re called. The Olympus camera division was purchased by OM Digital Solutions, which has since given it a new life under the ‘OM-System’ moniker. We’ve seen the arrival of three cameras since then – first the OM-System ‘Olympus’ OM-1, so named to bridge the gap between the two brands, the subsequent OM-5, and TG-7. The first two are effective continuations of the E-M1 and E-M5 digital lines, and share many features with their predecessors. They’re great cameras in their own right, and they also feel like Olympus cameras in use.

There are also plenty of Olympus-branded cameras that are still available and can be bought new, such as the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mark IV, the Olympus Tough TG-6 and the Olympus PEN EP-7.

Which Olympus cameras have Starry Sky AF?

The Olympus E-M1 Mark III and OM-System ‘Olympus’ OM-1 have Starry Sky AF; it has also been ported onto the newer OM-System OM-5.

Starry Sky AF is a popular feature in Olympus and OM-System cameras, a newly developed focusing algorithm that allows the camera to lock onto even the tiniest points of light in the night sky. Accurate focusing can be a real pain for when you are shooting astrophotography, and as such, this feature is highly coveted among star-shooters.

Starry sky taken with the Olympus OM-1 with Starry Sky AF (Crop, photo: Joshua Waller)

What sensor is in Olympus cameras?

Olympus and OM-SYSTEM cameras are almost all Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras (there’s one exception – the waterproof Tough TG-6 uses a smaller 1/2.3-inch sensor and has a fixed zoom lens). Micro Four Thirds is a sensor standard and lens mount; the sensor itself measures 17.3mm x 13mm and produces images with a 4:3 aspect ratio. This is a smaller sensor size than full-frame (36mm x 24mm) or APS-C (23.6mm x 15.7mm). This means a compromise in terms of raw image quality and dynamic range, however it offers up a number of advantages in other areas.

Micro Four Thirds cameras are able to offer a physically smaller camera body, as well as smaller lenses to match. This can make the system much more portable and well-suited to travel and street photography. Furthermore, the smaller sensor size of Micro Four Thirds incurs a 2x crop factor, effectively doubling the focal length of a lens. Mounted on an Olympus camera, a 50mm lens behaves like a 100mm lens, giving you telephoto reach from a smaller and cheaper lens compared to full-frame.

We think Micro Four Thirds has a lot to offer photographers and videographers alike – you can read more on why we love the system in our piece on why Micro Four Thirds offers something no-one else can.

sensor size comparison
Experienced photographers and videographers will be most familiar with Micro Four Thirds (MFT), APS-C and 35mm full-frame

Can Olympus cameras use Panasonic lenses?

Yes. Panasonic Lumix G cameras are also part of the Micro Four Thirds standard, meaning that Panasonic Lumix G, Olympus and OM-SYSTEM cameras and lenses can all be used interchangeably. However, there’s a reason we’re specifying ‘Lumix G’ there – Panasonic also offers its full-frame line of Lumix S cameras, with Lumix S lenses to match. This system uses the ‘L’ lens mount, which was born as part of an alliance between Panasonic, Leica and Sigma. Bear in mind that features like stabilisation are sometimes less effective when you’re mixing and matching brands – if you’re using a stabilised camera and lens from the same maker, they can often work in tandem to deliver a more powerful effect.

Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses are not compatible with L-mount – so double-check the branding of any Panasonic lens before you buy it for an Olympus or OM-System camera. If it’s Lumix S, it won’t fit! You’ll also find a massive range of Micro Four Thirds lenses from other brands including Sigma, Samyang/Rokinon, Meike, Lensbaby, Voigtlander, Venus/Laowa, and others.


Further Reading


Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.