So I am starting to really enjoy blogging, do not know what took me so long but there you go.
Last summer I took on the biggest challenge of my personal life so far, I walked up Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania raising money for St Oswald’s Hospice along the way. Obviously being a photographer, everyone seemed to be expecting ‘fabulous’ pictures from me. It was hard to explain that being a wedding and portrait photographer was a tad different to capturing the stunning landscapes of Tanzania.
I’m a Canon user and always have been from deciding to pursue photography as a career. One problem with this is the professional DSLR’s and the lenses that come with them are heavy. The critical thing for me during the trek was to minimise the amount I would have to carry but still have the quality that I require of my images. I have spent quite a bit of time with Damian McGillicuddy over the past few years, he is no the principal photographer of Olympus no less. So I have of course been exposed to their OM-D series over the last 18 months or so. Their is of course the Fuji system cameras that my friends have let me play with at PTO, however they just like Nikon camera’s never sit right in my hand. This is important to me. So off I went cap in hand to Olympus and asked if I could borrow one (secretly hoping I could keep it, shy bairns and all that 😉 Thankfully Damian and Olympus came to my rescue and shipped me the OM-D EM5 camera with its kit lens.
So here is my little review of the camera itself.
For me, the OM-D EM5 is a lovely bit of kit, not perfect by any means but I have yet to find the perfect camera. That said I had a little over 24 hours to get used to the camera and it was very intuitive to use. It is very light weight, build quality seems to be very solid and it got a good 2 week test either around my neck being exposed to extreme weather & temperatures, dust and even a bit of water when my mouth piece came off taking a drink (sorry D). No problems what so ever.
The body itself is packed full of technology, image stabilisation built in. I recommend that you turn this off if you are on a trek such as this as this feature does wear the battery down but boy does it work well! so keep it in mind. The movable view screen on the back is fantastic and allows you to compose images without putting your eye to the camera, allowing for surreptitious images to be taken with a simple tap on the back of the screen, great for street photography as it just looks like you are reviewing images!
The kit lens was nice but a little frustrating for this photographer as I am used to working with f.stops of f4 or f2.8, so the variable max aperture was a pain. That said this is a very handy lens for traveling with, wish the new 12-40 2.8 had been available then though 🙂
Going from an SLR viewfinder to the digital viewfinder was a little awkward for me and I am not overly convinced by the EM5 viewfinder, its good but not good enough for me. But I have since had a play with an EM1 viewfinder and that is amazing! The great feature you have however is that you can set it so that a preview of the image comes up for a few seconds in the eyepiece, so you can check the image without having to chimp on the back of the screen, brilliant!
Overall I am so impressed with the OM-D system. Olympus seem to have designed the system from the ground up rather than trying to fit bodies around old style lenses and limiting themselves. They have integrated impressive technology into a small light package that now has me thinking about ditching my heavy Canon kit permanently and not just for when I go trekking up mountains.
As much as I thought I would not like such a feature, the built in art filters can make for some really impressive images, allowing you to play with your creativity. I especially like the heavy contrast effect 🙂
For me the EM1 system is the one that I will by shortly. I have played with it on a few occasions at different events and I am very satisfied that Olympus have made many refinements following user feedback on the EM5.
If you get chance to give one a go, you really should. If you are looking for a great lightweight, professional grade system then the OM-D is definitely for you.