I very nearly changed systems completely a year or so ago, but now am so glad I didn’t. Fortunately, I listened to my own advice and didn’t give in to the temptations of ‘going full frame.’ Gladly, I stuck with my Olympus OM-D cameras.
For a couple of years I used the diminutive and excellent Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II as my main camera. My E-5 DSLR was the back-up. There was nothing wrong at all with the E-5, it was a fantastic camera. But the newer mirrorless E-M5ii produced superior images. There was better dynamic range, better noise control and the images were even more detailed than the older DSLR, which itself was renowned for its sharpness.
Shooting professionally, the E-M5 Mark II took some customers by surprise. They would comment on its size. There were no complaints about the image quality though when I gave them their photographs. But, a voice in my head nagged me to change to a 35 mm sensor. What dissuaded me was a trip to Jessops in the Metro Centre. I picked up the then current Canon 5D Mark III. It was huge and heavy. Furthermore, it had no articulated live view screen, something I use a lot.
Subsequently, three of my clients, all with earlier versions of 5D have decided to abandon them for smaller, lighter, more practical, Micro Four Thirds cameras.
I absolutely understand the desire for a 35mm sensor if you are running a commercial studio. But with most genres of photography, that larger format and any advantages it brings are outweighed by their cumbersomeness, expense and lack of features that my much smaller system cameras bring.
One of the disadvantages for me of the E-M5 Mark II was that the excellent professional-level Four Thirds lenses I own were not really compatible with it. Although fast to focus using Micro Four Thirds lenses, which were designed for contrast detect autofocussing, the E-M5 Mark II was solely equipped with contrast detect focussing. Four Thirds lenses are designed for Phase Detect.
If you use a DSLR and tried focussing with Live View, you will have noticed that it is much slower to obtain a lock, this is because in Live View you are using the slower but more accurate contrast detect autofocus. Looking through the viewfinder you are using Phase Detect autofocus, so everything is faster.
The lenses were also too big for the diminutive camera.
I didn’t want to sell these pin-sharp and fast lenses as they would not have recouped a fraction of the investment cost. So, instead I sold my E-5. With the proceeds, I bought an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. This camera has a hybrid contrast detect and phase detect autofocus. With an adaptor, it was able to handle these lenses.
I have a good friend who has an E-M1 Mark I. It was just a bit too big for her hands. My E-M5 Mark II suited her much better, so we swapped.
My all-purpose lens for landscapes and portraits was my Zuiko 12-60 mm f/2.8-4 zoom. It’s fast to focus, beautifully sharp with no sign of chromatic aberrations. So, early in the morning after receiving the E-M1 Mark I, I fitted it to my new camera, got up at 4 am and walked a mile down the road to capture the sunrise adjacent to Coquet Island. At this time of year the sun has swung much further to the north at sunrise.
Setting the camera on the tripod, I took some test shots. Then, removing the lens hood to attach an ND1000 filter, the filter ring at the front of the lens snapped off, coming away with the hood.
Luckily, I had my E-M1 II with me with the old OM mount 50 mm f/1.4 lens that I wanted to test. That was fitted to the camera using a Gobe adaptor. I shot a couple of panoramas, then walked home feeling a bit miffed. I did get a couple of reasonable shots, and it goes to show that older, legacy lenses can give great results.
My lens is off for repair, not for the first time. Those that follow my blog may remember that I once scratched the front element and had to get that changed. The cost to get it fixed is a bit over £150. On the bright side, that is a lot less than buying another lens.
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