Week 44, 2016: Great headphones under $100, Olympus E-M10 and E-M10 Mk. II


Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 44, 2016

Q. I would like to get headphones to use with my tablet. I will mostly use them for watching videos and listening to music in bed. Bluetooth wireless would be nice. What do you recommend under $100?

-S.B., Columbus, OH

A. Bluetooth is great for lots of reasons, but watching video isn’t one of them. You may experience audio synchronization issues so if you get Bluetooth headphones, make sure they have a wired connection as a backup.

Starting with Bluetooth models, for under $30 the Vomercy VC-60 Bluetooth headphones feel a bit flimsy but sound decent. Vomercy does not have a website but you can easily find them online.

The $80 Avantree Audition headphones have tons of fans and are worth checking out. They have very long battery life and I had pretty good luck with video sound synchronization over Bluetooth, too. avantree.com

For wired models, Audio-Technica’s ATH-M30x sells for $59 and are far superior to “fashionable” headphones you see in a big-box store selling for the same price. They are comfortable, fold for easy portability, have a 9-foot cord and come with a soft pouch. audio-technica.com

Grado’s $79 SR60e and $99 SR80e have fantastic sound, but their open-back design lets sound both in and out so there is very little isolation from the outside world. If that is ok with you, you will be sure to love them. gradolabs.com

Here is a trick you can use to get a pair of superb $149 Koss Pro 4S headphones for about $100. Go to koss.com and sign up for their mailing list. They regularly send out 30% off promotions, bringing the price under $105. They come with a case, have a lifetime warranty and are the best-sounding headphones on this list.

Olympus OM-D EM-10 and EM-10 Mk II: I have always loved Olympus Micro Four Thirds mirrorless cameras because they are, first and foremost, supremely good picture takers. They also create beautiful pictures effortlessly, no matter the situation. I often show travel pictures on my iPad and people ask, “What kind of camera did you use? Amazing pictures!” I use a lot of cameras, but when I get this comment it is usually my Olympus pictures they are praising. You, too, can get gorgeous pictures easily with today’s holiday product highlight.

The OM-D EM-10 and EM-10 Mark II are Olympus’ least expensive mirrorless cameras with an electronic viewfinder. They look like smaller versions of the ubiquitous and inferior SLRs you see littering the shelves in big-box stores. Unless you are photographing sports, mirrorless is better than SLR in most every way. I feel very strongly about this, and have come to see a lot of photographers and writers join me in this opinion.

The EM-10 with 14-42mm kit lens currently sells on Amazon for $449 and absolutely has no equal at the price. The updated $699 EM-10 Mk. II gets you a better electronic viewfinder, better image stabilization and a host of other updates. It is worth the extra investment but if want the absolute best $450 camera you can buy, snap up an EM-10 while you can.

You can add the excellent Olympus 40-150mm telephoto zoom lens for only $99. Together, the two lenses provide great range that will cover most all the needs of the average photographer. It all fits nicely in a small bag for an outfit that is both powerful and lightweight. Learn more at http://tinyurl.com/olympusem10 (direct product link) or getolympus.com.