A new player in the house.
Hot on the heels of my Nikon D810 review I must let you know that I find it impossible (for me) to be a "one system" guy. It seems like there is always some feature or some combination of features on a different type of camera that are just the perfect complement to the other camera.
After much consideration I headed over to Precision Camera yesterday. The trip was slow and plodding as the brain trust that is the city of Austin is doing major construction to one of our two major, north/south highways in conjunction with the arrival of an extra 2 million or so people for the SXSW music festival. Observational evidence would suggest that many of the arrivals for the festival are experiencing driving in cars for the first time in their lives....but that would still make them better drivers than many native Texans.
At any rate, I made it to the optical candy store and traded in a bunch of accumulated studio bric-a-brac and duplications and walked out the door with a brand new, black, OMD EM-5 type 2. I also sprung for the HLD-8 battery grip. I made it back to the Starbucks in my neighborhood and sat down, with a cup of coffee, and started piecing the camera together while reading the manual.
As a veteran camera buyer I knew to bring along a charged battery, one of my favorite straps and a nice lens, as well as an SD card. Having the camera outfitted the way you like it makes configuring it much easier.
It is immediately obvious that the new version of the EM-5 is better built than it's predecessor. It's nice and tight. The dials make sense and I'll probably use the function buttons if I can figure out where to post the sticky notes reminding me what each one is configured for....
This morning I posted a review that called the Nikon D810 the best all around camera in the world so why in the world did I go out and buy a totally different concept of a camera if that's true?
Here's the best reason I can give you: The Image Stabilization in the new camera is so good and so useful that I would be shortchanging myself as a videographer NOT to have one of these amazing cameras as a premium tool for handheld video.
I've shot plenty of test with the original OMD EM-5 to know that the I.S. was useful. Even vital for handheld video work. But the thing that kept me from embracing the last version for production work was the video codec. The quality of the files with movement and low light. It's almost as if the in camera processing of the video files cancelled out the benefits of the I.S.
While the new, type two, codec isn't without fault and detractors it's laps ahead of its predecessor and that makes it more than useful for handheld shots. The addition of a dedicated microphone port and a headphone jack, along with manual control for both of these features provided the final tipping point to purchase.
I am currently producing a video that calls for clean, handheld movements and I'm getting up to speed as quickly as the Basque language Olympus menus allow. Already I am finding that this little package is like getting a video with its own free SteadiCan attached.
I will be working on a full review to post near the end of next week. Not just video but anything that stands out about the photographic side of the camera as well.
I am excited about having the fluidity of this camera at my fingertips for real productions. The next step is to see how well the files from the Nikon D810 cut together with the files from the EM5/2.
I still can't believe the performance of the I.S. in video. Amazing.