When I first started photography back in 2003 with the Canon D60 (that's right, the naming conventions were different back then), I wanted to beef up my camera as much as possible. I wanted to look like a "pro". So I got the battery grip cause I couldn't afford the 1D series bodies such as the Canon 1Ds (which was $8000) nor the Canon 1D Mark. However, over the years of shooting, I realized that bigger is not better and more and more I am retreating to smaller and smaller cameras. I guess the timing is right now cause back then options were scarce. With the bigger push with mirrorless cameras and professional mirrorless cameras, the landscape of photography and video for that matter are changing quite a bit.
My old assistant "Lloyd" was on the M4/3 (micro 4/3rds) game early on and always suggested for me to give them a chance. However it would not be another 2 years before I made the jump. I suppose I was hesitant to get into another system/s cause I had everything I needed with Canon, up until recently. You see, I took a bit of a break from photography because I had to re-evaluate my profession and the agency I was with. Things were going south and I had little control so I concentrated on my other businesses. I am starting to re-enter into the photography game but so much has evolved since 2012 so it is almost like I am re-discovering it for the first time, per say.
I have talked about my use of the Sony A7 systems in my previous post but they require pro lenses as it is a pro body. You see, Pro equipment is a bit of a diva. She wants to be lugged around in nice cozy cases, wants to be cared for and looked after and want to hang out with other diva-like friends. Sometimes or most of the time, I ain't got time for that. What about the times I want to go out for a weekend trip and not have to worry about lugging around pro gear and her friends?
Enter the m43 systems. Olympus and Panasonic lead the way in this field and they offer features that are not found in traditional DSLR systems. Video guys have been flocking towards the Panasonic GH4 because of it's internal 4k action and the single time I used it, it is a solid camera. Just last week, I purchased the Olympus OM-D E-M5II and soon will be ordering the Olympus OM-D E-M1. I love the fact that the two systems are interchangeable. Can you imagine if Canon and Nikon had the same mount? Open market would be awesome but you know those two will never play that game. M43 world is like living permanently on a vacation resort where people are happy and nice, greet each other and the sun is always shinning just warm enough. DSLR realm is like living in Manhattan where each is trying to stomp the other out of existence... well at least that's what I feel lol.
My initial thoughts of the OMD E-M5II was that it is tiny! Almost too tiny cause my ring and pinky fingers hang off the body. I am an average sized guy at 5' 7" and medium sized hands. Anyone else larger than me may even have 3 fingers hanging so vertical battery grip would be necessary. When attached with the Panasonic 12-35mm 2.8 OIS G, it's slightly better balanced but I find myself holding it by the lens as it feels more balanced and secure. Since I hate wearing straps, I think something like the Peak Design Capture Pro Clip would be ideal. I tried the PD Clip with a full frame DSLR and Pro zoom lens and I was not a fan of it pulled my pants down.
The Olympus basically has all the functions you would want in a DSLR system but it is way more compact. I won't go into the specs but you can click here to find out more on it. I think I was most surprised by the HDR mode. On the fly you can click on the HDR button and it will take 3 quick photos at 3 different exposures and spit out a JPG image for your convenience. I thought it would be a worthless feature but I am a fan of it. Works great. I will post some samples below.
In this short time, I felt very comfortable with this setup. Autofocus speeds are quick and snappy, IQ seems to be clear and it is very lightweight. I would feel very comfortable leaving behind my DSLR for a vacation or getting into venues that don't allow professional gear with a small pancake prime.
One of the down sides is that like most mirrorless, battery life is short so there are features by default that cater towards conserving battery power. This camera goes to sleep literally after 3-5 secs. I know I can change it but given that it was my time to just go out and shoot, I didn't spend all that much time in the menu system (which I feel isn't setup idealistically). It could wake up from sleep mode faster but it's not a deal breaker.
Please note that I didn't spend much time trying to be creative this weekend. I just kind of acted like a "tourist with a camera" and captured the day's events. Had some lunch with some fambam and walked around Main St in Huntington Beach, CA. I did shoot Manually of course so I still had to put some work in. So don't get angry that the images aren't so artsy fartsy, ok? The images have very little or no post processing. #SOOC (straight out of camera).
I will definitely be spending some more time with this camera. It did pretty much what I expected of it and I know that there are many other features that I didn't get to take advantage of. Definitely worth a try.