I Love the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Camera

March 3, 2012

I love photography and I am not a pro, just an amateur photographer. If you are like me, you probably are doing other things in your life other than photography, but photography is an integral part of you. You are creative, love nature and always try to make some spare time to take the camera with you and grab some great photos. Photos which you can share with other people, with your family and friends on Facebook. Other than that, you might have tried to setup a small tabletop studio to take some shots and upload them to iStockPhoto, and maybe earn some bucks on the way – as I said, an amateur photographer.

It’s a beautiful day outside, and it’s the perfect day to take my Nikon D3100, 18-55mm VR and 70-300mm VR lens and grab some beautiful shots, which I can edit afterwards in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. However, when shooting with my Nikon gear I feel a bit annoyed carrying my Lowepro SlingShot 202 AW bag with all that gear. Other than that, I don’t like changing lenses. I missed so many shots due to the need of changing lenses. I thought to myself that maybe I should by a 18-200mm or other long range zoom lens so I won’t have to change lenses. I really wanted a all-in-one solution, but it doesn’t really fit my needs. I really enjoy taking photos with shallow depth-of-field, an if it was comfortable, I would have shot all my photos with fast prime lenses. I had a Canon DSLR before and a few cheapo lenses. I really didn’t like the image quality, poor contrast, bad sharpness.. just wasn’t the image I was looking for. Yes, you can make correction with Photoshop, but I want my image to look great from the start. I start shooting Raw and enjoyed editing my files with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom / Photoshop CS5.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera and landscape background with hearts

I ♥ My Oly

When Olympus and Panasonic start showing their Micro Four Thirds cameras, I really wanted one. A compact camera with (relative) compact lenses. It seems like the perfect solution for a photographer like me. However, the EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) gave me a very poor experience when I tried it in the camera shop, and I don’t enjoy composing via the LCD display. The GH2 is certainly a very nice camera, but it seems that I was waiting for a pro Micro Four Thirds camera.

When Olympus announced the OM-D E-M5, for the first time, I felt that this is the camera I was looking for. A few years ago, we just can’t deny that the high ISO performance and image quality in general just wasn’t good enough. If you compared ISO800/ISO1600 images to an APS-C camera, you can clearly see that APS-C won hands down. I know that Sony NEX cameras have APS-C sensor and the Sony NEX-5N high ISO performance is top notch, but it’s a compromise and have a few flaws in my opinion (for my needs of course). First of all the sensor is as large as my Nikon D3100. That means that you won’t get to have small and lightweight lenses, at least not as small as those ones who can be created for the Micro Four Thirds. That’s physics and I can’t do (not me, Sony) anything about it (maybe in the future they could). Other than that, the camera is way too small, and I love having a good grip when holding my camera. I don’t need a large camera, but not “too” small either.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 (although criticized for its relative large height, due to the EVF) seems like the best balance between size and features.  I also understand the advantages of owning a Micro Four Thirds camera, like a wide range of lenses from various manufacturers, keep the lenses and upgrade to another M43 camera without the need to sell your lenses, smaller and lighter lenses, etc. The Olympus E-M5 has a 1,440K-dots high resolution 1005 Field-of-view Electronic viewfinder. EVF has it’s cons and pros, but can easily live with those n the sake of portability.

Having a camera like the E-M5 will make it easier to carry around, even with two lenses, in a small bag, smaller than the Lowerpro one which I have right now. Don’t get me wrong, professional photographers have their own reasons why they should by a DSLR, but I am not a pro, and without the right camera, it would just be left at home because I don’t want to carry a large bag with me for many places that I go. So it’s a compromise that you should make, and as I said, I am ready to make those compromises.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has some really useful features for a photographer like me:

  • High resolution EVF (has it’s own advantages over optical one, I won’t get to it in this article though)
  • Durable weather-sealed body made with Magnesium-alloy chassis (love that feeling of a durable high quality product)
  • Articulating high-res OLED touch screen – As long as it’s big and has high resolution it’s fine for me
  • 5-axis image stabilization – WOW! how I love that. I paid too much just to get that incredibly useful VR, now with sensor-shift IS, it works with every lens I ever buy! More than that, it’s a 5-axis IS, better than what I’ve seen from any other company on any other camera
  • 9fps continuous shooting – great to have, although I am not into sports photography, but it can be useful at times
  • 1080i60 video recording – not a videographer, but I like taking videos from time to time. Again, Don’t really care about that, but it certainly give you high quality videos that’s for sure (unless you are searching for 1080p24, etc.
  • Ultra fast AF- Olympus claims that Worl’d fastest AF! – What I understand that the AF is very fast and it’s great to have it

The Olympus OMD EM5 is an excellent camera. I spent time viewing high ISO sample images (hate noise in photos) and I found the E-M5 to perform incredibly well. The image quality it top notch, beating my Nikon D3100 in terms of noise in high ISO (don’t forget, the Nikon D3100 has a larger APS-C size sensor).

So it’s a beautiful day outside, and I ask myself if I would enjoyed putting a strap on my E-M5 (which I don’t have right now, just imagining) , mount a 12-50mm lens and go out shooting OR taking my bag with two lenses and my Nikon D3100? – certainly I would have preferred to take the E-M5 with me. Maybe I would buy a fast pancake lens which I can put in my pocket :)

I really belive in the Micro Four Thirds standard, and even my first camera was an Olympus one. JPEG images looks wonderful on the Oly, I just can’t explain, they just look good.  Although I will be shooting RAW, many of you migh prefer to shoot JPEG instead (everyone and what he or she feels more comfortable with).

I thought about selling my Nikon great and get the Oly, and I think I might do that. It’s all about taking great photos, which I can do great with those two cameras, but there are times that you will prefer not taking the camera with you because it’s heavy and big, but if you had the Olympus E-M5 (or any other mirrorless camera in that matter), you would have taken it with you. That’s why I love shooting with my phone from time to time, but the image quality is bad and my creative options are very limited. I got some great shots with my mobile phone, and I just wished I had my Nikon with me that time. So Mirrorless camera (with interchangeable lenses) are a good compromise.

If you are planning to purchase a new camera and debating between a DSLR or ILC (Interchangeable Lens Compact) camera, mark my words and try to connect with what I’ve wrote. You might make a different decision than what you previously though. I would certainly recommend getting the Olympus OM-D E-M5, a magnificent piece of photographic equipment that will give you the option to be very creative, everywhere you go!

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