Up until this week, I carried the Canon 5D Mark 3 and Canon 7D cameras in my camera bag, along with the Canon 24-105, Canon EF-S 10-22 and 70-200 lens.
This week I replaced the 7D and EF-S 10-22 lens with the Olympus OM-D EM – 1 Micro Four-Thirds camera plus the Olympus M Zuiko 14-40 lens.
Why did I do this?
Main reason was to reduce the weight of the gear I carry. I usually carry two cameras with two different lenses to photograph various items. I carry both on a harness set up for two cameras. Recent events impacting my physical strength has made me rethink all the gear I carry. I felt I needed to reduce weight and the Micro Four Thirds Cameras seems to be a possible solution.
Several photographers whom I highly respect are currently using the Olympus OM E-M1. So I decided to lease one from lensrentals.com . I then used the camera to photograph some of my favorite subjects. This was not a scientific analysis. It also wasn’t a comparison of the 7D or 5D vs the E-M1. It was simply a study to see if using this camera would meet the quality expectations I have and support my shooting style.
1) The negatives
The user interface to the camera takes some time to figure out and get used to. The manual is not written in proper English so it takes some to figure out how to set up the camera for your required configuration. For example you can place the lens into manual focus mode by pulling the focusing ring on the lens. Finding documentation on how to get out of manual focus mode took a Google search.
Also this camera is not for low light situations. At over 4000 ISO images become unacceptably grainy. This is the same as the 7D. Where the 5D is far superior in low lighting.
White balance is not always perfect and needs adjustment in Lightroom. Here I am spoiled by the 5D M3 which gets white balance correct almost always.
2) The Positives
Light weight. Smaller and easy to handle with equivalent performance to a 7D.
Speed. 6.5 frames per second. Superfast response for Auto focus in various conditions.
Comfort. The body feel comfortable in the palm of my hand. Easy to carry around all day.
Quality of images. Very happy with the image quality. The Auto Exposure needs to be compensated but am happy with the results. Here are a few images.
Support for HDR. Built-in bracketing to support HDR is really nice but wish the bracketing was 1 stop instead of 2 and 3 stops.
Build-in WiFi. Really nice to have a seamless link between my camera and my IPad to transfer images.
Immediate results shown through the viewfinder. A great feature of the Micro-Two Thirds Cameras is that they are mirrorless. This means that your viewfinder is actually a LCD display. This opens up all sorts of possibilities to the camera designers in Japan. The coolest thing is being able to see through the viewfinder the result of the capture and the ability to immediately make adjustments to get the image you want. This capability is what took me over the top to spend the money.
I purchased the camera from Hunts Photo and Video. As I have said in the past, they know how to treat people properly. They continue to really support the amateur photographer community something that is becoming harder to find in this web-based world. (I just wish they had a better website…)
So now I am a hybrid user. Canon for my high quality shoots, off camera flash photographs and in places where the full frame capabilities is needed. Olympus for my walk around photography. And both with the Canon and the 70-200 lens on a harness with the Olympus camera and the 12-40 (24-80) lens for walk around shoots.
So there it is. A new tool in my bag. I now have something I can easily carry around on day trips with the performance of a DSLR. It is a great camera.
Products mentioned in this blog post. (Links are sponsored with Amazon so click and buy something from Amazon so I can afford to pay for this camera!)