Saturday, 7 March 2015
OM-D EM1 and EM5 MkII - two smokin' barrels?
I've a cupboard full of big Nikon camera equipment, but have progressively become a fan of the smaller mirrorless micro 4/3 system. Although it uses a smaller sensor and less pixels, it still takes attractive pictures with the added advantage of not needing its own rucksack to cart around a decent amount of equipment.
I'm also keen to use a viewfinder rather than just a back screen, so the Olympus cameras have been my favourite ever since the original OM-D EM-5, which was styled to look like an old film Olympus OM System camera.
My diminutive OM-D EM-5 is still great fun to use some years after its original release, and although I have all the gubbins to add handgrips and battery grips (they were a 'free gift' when I bought the camera), I still prefer to use it in its most basic form, which actually feels quite like the 35mm film camera experience.
Since then, there's been various additions to the range, like the EM-1, which is slightly more bulky and has a more grippy body, an economically priced EM-10 similar to the EM-5 but which which annoyingly uses a different type of battery. Now the revised EM-5 Mk II, which is more than a simple swap of parts, it is effectively a complete replacement with a modified form factor and different control layout.
I've been using the Mk II for a while now and aside from the current lack of RAW support in Adobe and Photo (temporary problem), it provides improvements to handling, added stealth and a bunch of new functions. I can see my EM-1 and EM-5 Mk II becoming the main combination when I am specifically out to take photographs because I can take a decent variety of kit without it becoming a weightlifting exercise.
An understated point with both of these cameras is the 5-way image stabilisation, which, in my experience, adds to picture clarity compared with bigger bodied mirror-based cameras. I also find that the electronic viewfinder of the two most recent models is very good, and it's easy to forget that it's a digital screen rather than a mirror being viewed through the camera viewfinder.
I'll have to go walkabout sometime soon to get some comparative pictures.
For now, here's somewhere I frequently pass. It's just along from Bridget Jones' flat and the alleyway used in Harry Potter's Prisoner of Azkaban. It's the lock, stock and two smoking barrels gang hideout, snapped on my original EM5.