Saturday, 15 July 2017

Olympus OM-D EM5 micro Four Thirds

Before I had my Canon 5D2 DSLRs  was an Olympus user.
I started with the E330 4/3 DSLR which was OK for the time but not really useable over 800 ISO, then when Olympus dropped the 4/3 cameras and started with the Micro 4/3 I bought a Pen E-PL1 which with an adapter I could use my existing 4/3 lenses.

I really liked the images the little Pen could produce, especially from jpg, my preference was for the Vivid setting. I seldom shot RAW with this camera. 

I later sold my E330 and the lenses staying with two lenses, the standard Pen kit 14-42mm f 3.5-5.6 and a Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f4-5.6 which in actual fact is 4/3 lens with a MFT adapter.

I find both lenses fast to focus and pretty sharp.

What I don't enjoy about the Pen is that it does not have a viewfinder, call me old fashioned but I like to have the camera to my eye to shoot. A screen is very useful, but not for the majority of my workflow. Also with a the sun on it you can't see a bloody thing.

I tried the clip-on viewfinder for the Pen but didn't like it at all, and it stuck up very prominently and felt too fragile, so I persisted using the screen.

Then, recently whilst browsing the internet, I saw that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 were available used very cheaply.

I recalled my brother had one and had rated it. I asked him again what he thought of the M5 and he said that he had really liked it, so much so that when the Mk2 version was released bought that hoping for even more but was sadly disappointed as in his opinion the ergonomics were not as good on the Mk2 and so he swapped it for the Pen F.

So, to keep things brief, I pushed the button and bought a used OM-D E-M5 in excellent condition complete with original box etc from Wex for just over £200 with free delivery.

The day after it arrived I was due to shoot a graduation for a University department, the usual smiling graduates and their parents. The photos were destined for social media so I thought with its quick AF and accurate face recognition the OM-D would be perfect.

I was right, it was the correct tool for the job. Unfortunately I can't display any of the images here to prove it though.

I'll give the camera another test in the next couple of days and post those results and my further thoughts on this camera.

OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 14-42mm MFT and 40-150mm
I went out today for a stroll around a university campus, the weather was pretty much perfect.
I took the OM-D M5 with me with both the lenses.

The OM-D was a joy to use,  these are my observations:
  • The AF is quick and accurate.
  • The 5 axis IS is very impressive
  • EVF is good, fast, and accurate.
  • Super Control Panel menu system is very easy to use.
  • Its very well made and feels good "in the hand"
  • jpg OOTC are perfect for on-line and web use with little post production necessary.
  • The 14-42mm kit lens is not that bad, likewise the old 4/3 40-15mm with MFT adapter.
OOTC jpg on Vivid setting no Post Production Olympus 40-150mm

OOTC jpg on Vivid setting no Post Production Olympus 40-150mm

Processed to taste in Lr CC from Olympus ORF raw file

Processed to taste in Lr CC from Olympus ORF raw file

Processed to taste in Lr CC from Olympus ORF raw file

Processed to taste in Lr CC from Olympus ORF raw file
So far I'm very impressed with the OM-D E-M5, as a second system to the Canon 5DII kit it makes for a hight quality, lightweight solution.

To compare it to my previous other system the Fuji XPro-1.
The Olympus is smaller, definitely lighter, just was well built - with the benefit of being weather proof - has much faster AF that works. The EVF is much better. The whole camera just feels more "finished".
The Fuji did have a bigger sensor and certainly a better kit lens, perhaps not in terms of sharpness but aperture. I've not got any of the Olympus Pro f2.8 lenses for the OM-D so can't compare that aspect to the fantastic Fuji primes I had for the X-Pro1.
The biggest advantage that I can see for the OM-D over the X-Pro1 is that it is so much faster, to use, something I value highly in a second system.

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