My new crush is the Olympus OM-D. Or is it the E-M5?

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Say hello to my little friend. I’m still figuring out what he’s all about, but I’ve got a feeling this might be the start of something big.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 can sit in the palm of your hand rather comfortably but don’t get sucked in by its cuteness, he’s tough as nails, with a sturdy, weather-sealed body. The reviews, and I read a lot of them before deciding on my purchase, were overwhelmingly positive.

The little guy packs a DSLR-sized sensor and … oh, wait …. this isn’t going to be a technical review. The only thing I’m really qualified to talk about is my thought process behind the decision to sink a nice chunk of change into the still evolving mirrorless market.

I didn’t really need a new camera (does any non-pro ever really need a new camera?). My Nikon D7000 is just over two years old and still a fantastic camera. Sure, it has been discontinued and replaced in the Nikon lineup with the souped-up D7100, but I’m not so gear-obsessed that I have to replace my kit with every new release.

The problem is the more I traveled, the more I found myself dreading the thought of having to lug the D7000 around all day, along with one or two extra lenses. I’m still a relatively young guy and in decent physical condition but at the end of the day, the camera bag feels a lot more like a ball and chain.

Of course, I had read Trey Ratcliff’s piece on the death of the DSLR and the rise of mirrorless technology. I’m not convinced that the DSLR will become obsolete anytime soon but the more I looked at what I really needed and what best fit my current skill level, it seemed the mirrorless cameras had a lot more pros going for them than cons.

Originally, I was going to buy the Fuji x100s because of great testimonials from Zack Arias and David Hobby (an old college buddy of mine). In fact, I had a Fuji x100s on back-order from B&H when I changed my mind and decided to go with an interchangeable lens system, instead. I considered the Fuji X-Pro but the available selection of lenses for the Fuji system isn’t even close to being in the same ballpark as to what’s available for the Olympus micro four thirds system.

I’ve had the E-M5 for a month now and I can’t say enough good things about it (I’m not affiliated or connected to Olympus in any way).

It’s not only my travel camera but it’s also my every-day-walking-around-town camera. Again, go read some of the technical reviews if you want to know about how it performs in terms of its specs. All I know is it handles great, it’s real easy to learn and I can carry it around all day and not even notice it. Oh, and the resolution on the photos is pretty damn good.

I first used it on this post about World Bonsai Day and have used it on every post since then. I haven’t had an occasion to go back to my Nikon and I’m not really sure when I will.

I was fortunate enough to be able to buy the Olympus E-M5 and several prime lenses, along with the attachable battery grip. And so far, the main drawback is the lagging auto-focus. This is not a camera that would be good to shoot sports or anything where you’re trying to take photos of a moving subject. I’ve even got used to the electronic viewfinder, though I’d still much prefer an optical one. The other issue is that the Olympus raw files are not viewable in Adobe Lightroom (there might be a plug-in solution but I haven’t gotten around to researching). This means you have to use the Olympus software, which, frankly, sucks.

I don’t think I’ve given up on DSLRs. I still think I’d like to buy a nice full-frame Nikon or Canon for landscape and action photography. But for now, the Olympus E-M5 is more than enough camera for me.

 

 

Joe Newman

I'm Joe Newman, multi-media story teller, non-profit do-gooder, international street photographer, serious poker player, intrepid traveler. Bourbon drinker.