Old But Gold: 5 Old Feature-Packed (and Affordable) Olympus Cameras

These feature-packed Olympus cameras from years gone by still run rings around some of today’s newer cameras.

Over the years, since Olympus waved farewell to the Four Thirds platform and adopted the more popular Micro Four Thirds system, Olympus has released many fantastic Mirrorless cameras. Not only has Olympus gone all in with the M4/3 platform, but they also managed to keep it relevant by ensuring that their cameras are feature-packed. What Olympus Micro Four Thirds cameras lack in overall sensor size they make up for it with features such as class-leading IBIS, unmatched weather-sealing, and great AF systems. If you’re in the market for a camera with features that can make even the newest models on the market take a second look, you simply must take a look at these slightly older yet fully loaded (and affordable) Olympus cameras.

Low light, no problem! Captured with the Olympus OM-D E-M1

We have been singing the praises of the Micro Four Thirds platform for many years, and while it may not be for everyone, there are definitely some excellent reasons to consider the system today. The slightly older Olympus cameras featured below punched well above their weight when they were new to the market, and still perform as well as some of today’s newer cameras from competing brands. If you want a camera loaded with tech goodies that can produce beautiful images and is fun to use, check out the Olympus cameras below.

Olympus OM-D E-M1

Olympus cameras

The E-M1 series may have just seen its latest model released (the OM-D E-M1 III), but that doesn’t mean that the OG E-M1 can no longer do a job. Released in 2013, the OM-D E-M1 set a new standard for Micro Four Thirds cameras. This camera was aimed at professionals who wanted much smaller yet still competent cameras. The E-M1 packed a 16.3MP sensor, 5-axis image stabilization, a 2.36 million dot EVF, Wi-Fi, and it could shoot at 10fps: not bad for a camera that came out seven years ago. It still goes toe to toe with many new cameras today. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Weather sealing is second to none
  • Great image quality
  • Great autofocus system that is usually accurate
  • The grip feels excellent
  • Time lapse mode
  • Viewfinder is good
  • Focus peaking

Cons

  • Image noise visible at ISO 2000, but fairly well controlled and very film-like in rendering
  • Can’t change the exposure while shooting a time lapse
  • WiFi activity can be slow at times
  • We wish there were more autofocus points and that they were smaller

Buy now: $799.95

Olympus PEN F

Olympus cameras

The Olympus Pen F is quite possibly one of the most beautiful Mirrorless cameras to have come into our lives. This tiny, pocketable camera is a throwback to Olympus’s glory days. The gorgeous, retro body houses a 20MP M4/3 sensor, incredible IBIS, a fantastic autofocus system, and it can even capture 80MP hi-res shots. This camera became an instant classic when it hit the streets in 2016. While officially discontinued, you can still buy new copies of this camera. If you want an older Olympus camera that will almost certainly turn heads, pick up the Pen F. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • The absolute best and in some ways almost perfect image quality from an Olympus ILC camera yet
  • Handles very much like an old analog camera
  • Feels amazing in the hand for street photography
  • Thumb rest is absolutely fantastic
  • Autofocus performance is more than satisfactory
  • Not too large of a camera body
  • The knob that lets you shoot in black and white mode will make you addicted to not only shooting in black and white but also very happy with the JPEGs
  • Flippin’ fantastic JPEG output
  • Great EVF
  • The electronic shutter is super nice
  • The most beautiful digital camera made thus far
  • 80MP High res mode is there

Cons

  • Price point
  • We really wish Olympus put some weather sealing into the camera

Buy now: $899

Captured with the Olympus E-M5 II

Pro Tip: The Olympus cameras we have listed were built to be used in all sorts of climates and inclement weather situations, and genuinely incredible build qualities mean these Olympus cameras will be around for a long, long time. To maximize the lifespan of these Olympus cameras, you need to take care of them. A simple cleaning routine can make your camera last years longer. Make sure you clean the contacts and the sensor and make sure you eliminate dust as often as possible. Do these things, and you’ll find that these Olympus cameras will just keep going. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a cleaning kit either. This one will do just fine.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk II

Olympus cameras

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 II graced us with its presence in 2014, and five years later, this Mirrorless camera can still hold its own. How do I know? Because I just purchased one for myself as a backup camera to my E-M1 III. This camera features a solid 16.1MP sensor, an excellent EVF, the 5-axis image stabilization that has made Olympus famous, and it even has modes like focus stacking and the terrific Live Composition baked in. The camera focus quickly, it’s lighter than a feather, and you can get one of these feature-packed cameras and a lens for under $500! Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • A beautiful wink and nod to retro ergonomics
  • Feels great in the hand
  • Good image quality
  • Fast AF
  • AF selection pad using the LCD screen is freakin’ brilliant!
  • S-OVF’s effects were simulated easily with some tweaks to previous cameras, but it’s nice that they made it more simplistic and put into one setting
  • Not a single misfocus during our testing, even in very low light conditions
  • Olympus by far leads the way when it comes to ergonomics in the mirrorless camera world. This camera is evidence of that fact.

Cons

  • Image quality is still great, but it’s starting to show its age vs APS-C sensors
  • We wish the dials would have been created with a higher quality metal

Buy now: $449

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk II

Olympus cameras

We raved about the E-M 5 II when it launched back in 2015. This little beast of a camera was so good that Olympus didn’t feel the need to update the camera until late 2019. At the time, the OM-D E-M5 II has the best ergonomics of any Mirrorless camera we have put our hands on, and Olympus continued to impress with their ability to weather seal their cameras as well as they do. The E-M5 II featured the same 16 Megapixel sensor found in a lot of Olympus bodies, and that’s okay as it is a strong performer. In fact, the E-M5 II is a reliable all-around performer. Pair it with some small, fast primes, and you have one heck of a street photography rig or great travel camera. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Excellent build quality. In some ways, it feels like a mini Nikon Df
  • We’re not kidding, excellent ergonomics
  • Very fast autofocusing performance
  • Even quieter shutter than the original
  • Nice JPEG images
  • WiFi integration
  • Weather sealing
  • Focus peaking works phenomenally

Cons

  • Despite lots of cool new features, we don’t think it’s totally worth the upgrade
  • Some issues regarding flash usage and high res shot mode

Buy now: $799

Olympus OMD E-M1 Mk II

When it comes to feature-packed Olympus cameras, the E-M1 II is up there at the top of the list with many other flagship cameras. Incredible build quality? You bet! Stellar image quality? You have to see it to believe it! Live composition, focus stacking, gorgeous 4K video, a fully articulating screen, hi-res image mode, and IBIS so good that you can get razor sharp hand-held 15-second exposures (when used in conjunction with the Olympus 12-100mm f4 Pro lens). It’s all there. This camera is nearly five years-old, and it has features many new cameras cannot match. Best of all, it’s now very affordable. Here are the pros and cons from our full review:

Pros

  • Good image quality, though you start to see shadow noise at ISO 6400
  • They’ve finally fixed the problem where ISO 6400 was marked as an extension
  • Bananas good weather sealing
  • We handheld the camera and got a blur-free image at 15 seconds
  • Comfortable to hold

Cons

  • Menus got deeper
  • The price point is hard to justify (at the time of writing)
  • Fast autofocus can sometimes miss moving subjects in low light
  • Despite having some of the best ergonomics we’ve ever felt on any camera to date, they desperately need a dedicated ISO control dial

Buy now: $1,099