1.28.2016

Infatuation with a camera. It's that damn OMD that's gotten under my skin. Once you've snuggled up with an EM5.2 it's hard to get it out of your mind. Once you've had Olympus you'll ........

I've been under the spell of the big Nikons lately. It's the old story; you'll never get fired for recommending IBM. Which meant, in the early days of computing, that IBM was the way everyone always did things and so buying IBM was so logical you felt as though you didn't have to explain your choice. But guess what? KayPro, Apple, Dell, Compaq and others stepped in and changed the computer market forever.

In a certain way the analogy is true, lately, when applied to photography. Used to be that the "big irons" from Nikon and Canon were universally acknowledged to be the pro solution and showing up with something different might get you a sidelong look that signified trouble.

I worked all last week with the Nikons and boy are those files lovely. And nobody questioned my choice of cameras. But even the most addicted Nikon (or Canon) power user would have to admit, after working with a good, EVF endowed camera for a few weeks, that their choice of tools is growing kludgy and long in the tooth. It's not a question of lenses and sensors but
everything in between.

So, when I pulled the EM5.2 out of the drawer yesterday to shoot the still life  stuff, with the hi-res setting, I felt like I'd gone on vacation and everything had gotten much easier for a day. Which led me to keeping the chrome model out today for my portrait shoot of a corporate superstar. And I set up the camera to detect faces, and to focus on the closer eye and I was freed from worrying about front or back focus and able to really engage with the guy on the other side of the camera. Wonderful.

Sometimes we let all that extra testosterone get in the way of doing our best work.

I'm thinking that the Olympus camera might need to return to the Pelican case as my day-to-day camera and I may need to put the Nikons into a slimmer rotation. Bringing them out when I want to do incredibly high resolution photography with subject motion and stuff like that. Oh, yeah, and when I need to show off how butch my camera is..... Better get some Zeiss Otus lenses to go with that D810. Wouldn't want those special clients to think I might be under-equipped. 

19 comments:

amolitor said...

If cameras were women you would be paying SO MUCH child support.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

About IBM: they're my employers and so they pay my bills, but yes, you're right with your comparison. Too many new and disruptive technologies, and more often than not it takes too much time to steer a big tanker like IBM into the opposite direction...

And about the comparison of the ("full frame") Nikons to Olympus: heard it yesterday again when a colleague, friend, and owner of a D800 and D700 talked with another one (Canon 5D3) about new cameras (like D5, D500, and the upcoming ones from Canon whose numbers I forgot).

What they longed for were more focus points, distributed over a greater area of the image, because with 36 Megapixels, focus & recompose doesn't work that good anymore. And live view is slow as molasses as they say.

I showed them the focus points of my E-M10, and they were all going like "Oh yeah, mirrorless, I wish Nikon (Canon, whoever) came up with something like this..."

And yes, I see the advantage of bigger sensors and longer lenses for blurring away the background when doing full-body shots out on the streets. But for everything else these days, Olympus (or others like Panasonic which I haven't tried) win.

I've started a series of portraits last end of May or so, and when doing head/shoulder photos with the 45mm/1.8 wide open, I get asked if I have the ears unsharp on purpose (see my set on Flickr in case you're interested). So it's always the old question about the right tool for the job. For me, the really wonderful eye detection (I use that almost each time), the small form factor and the general advantages of having an EVF trumps everything these days.

Oh, and younger models - and aren't they all younger than we are by now? - don't look on the brand of your camera. And if they do, hey, David Bailey (and David Hemmings who played his role in "Blow Up") were using these as well. Still with mirrors, but then this was still film. ;-)

Kirk Tuck said...

Andrew, hilarious observation.

Adam Ansell said...

Kirk,

Electronic finders don't work for some of us. Tried the Olympus and the Fuji - and can't live with them. Jumpy to the tune of motion sickness. A good optical finder does not do that for me. Yes, I'm in the minority as I don't have a TV either, partly due to that problem.
Add in the electronic finder and dightal back screen being on ruins my night vision adn spotlights me in dimly lit jazz clubs, etc - and you have another reason I don't like them.
They are advances but not the answer for everyone.

Kirk Tuck said...

Fair enough Adam. I'm sure we'll have good OVFs around at least as long as it takes the camera makers to perfect the EVFs and make them rock solid. Thanks for the reminder that what I like is not the same as what everyone likes.

Dwight Parker said...

...wen you gonna get a Pen-F ??

Kirk Tuck said...

Probably the day they hit the shelves at Precision Camera. Already saving up my lunch money. Begging for food in the meantime....

JerseyT said...

Interesting that the OM-D E-M5 (EM5.1 in your notation) is now selling for $379 brand new at B&H. Obviously clearing the shelves, but a really good camera at an incredible price.

HBernstein said...

Please, please, please don't start talking about the old manual-focus Pen half-frame lenses when you get the new Pen. I just got a fuji Xpro-1 and am trying to find a nice selection of them on the cheap. Their prices have already been jacked up enough, probably because you praised them in the past.

JereK said...

I am slowly saving up. I was thinking of gettin a EM1 or Em5.2 but made the error of trying the New Xpro2 for a few minutes and I just adore the ovf+evf implementation. Shame it s a bit expensive. Guess I will still go With one of the Olympus. In a week I might get to play with the pen f which looks interesting in many ways.

Michael Matthews said...

When you do get the Pen F, the blog-junkie world will be eager for your nuanced and sensible comparison / contrast of the 20MP sensor with the one now riding in your EM-5 IIs. From what I've seen online (no way to judge anything, I know) it appears to offer a little more "bite" in fine detail -- but that could easily be settings or processing. Those writing about it thus far suggest it's not a great leap forward from the image quality of the EM-5 II -- which would be great for slugs like me, lurking about, waiting for the EM-5 III to depress the selling price of the Mark II.

Kirk Tuck said...

And I am also waiting for the EM-1 mark 2 to be announced so I can finally justify getting the original model...

Ed Brooks said...

I have two Olympus M4/3 cameras and love using them. My larger and considerably heavier Canons usually ride around in the truck of my car waiting to demonstrate their "advantage." I'm sure they get lonely there, but the Olys are my preferred gear. Recently, however, I had a mini disaster with my OM-1. I was carrying it over my shoulder with the 40-150 f2.8 pro lens, when the lug [connector] that holds the strap anchored to the body gave away and the camera/lens fell to the ground. Fortunately, just a little scuff mark on the lens hood of the tele. My conclusion: The weight of some of the bigger lenses is not matched to the strength of smaller bodies. I now have black rapid straps/connectors for all cameras, no matter which lens is one these smaller bodies. That being said, I still find the Olympus cameras much more enjoyable to use and the design of everything other than the menu's is first class.

cfw said...

I'm curious how the EM5.2 does with portraits at the high resolution mode. How did it do for you?

Noons said...

I'm still in awe with the new EM5.2.
Took it for surfing shots today with a thumping big medium format CZ180/2.8 attached. A bit of a franken-lens setup: Pentacon to Nikon AI adapter, then Nikon AI to m4/3 adapter. But it actually works a treat with a monopod attached to the lens for balance.
A guy next to me had a dslr, rattling away with the motor drive and annoying other folks also watching from the lookout.
After a while he asked "how come you're shooting single images?"
Explained that I was using the silent mode 10fps electronic shutter of the EM5.2.
The guy couldn't believe it! Had to playback a few of the sequences to prove it.
That silenced his rattling... ;)
Apparently there's also a setting to turn these into a short video at 10fps. That's going to be my next challenge.
What a camera!

Adam Gray said...

@cfw From what I understand, the hi-res mode in the EM5-II is not ideal for portraits. Any small movement at all disturbs the pic during the acquisition of multiple frames. That being said, I would guess is can be done if, IF, the model is incredibly still. Not sure why you'd really need such a high res portrait pic, though.

And Kirk, I'm waiting with great anticipation your impression regarding the Pen F. It seems to be exactly what I'm looking for: a handsome Pen with EVF, new sensor, hi-res mode, and fun creative modes including amazing monochromatic renderings. I'm not too worried about weather sealing, personally since I have the EM1 for that task.

Douglas Knisely said...

I'm so glad that you pushed me over the edge to switch to Olympus, Kirk. I do miss my big luscious deep RAW Nikon FX files sometimes, but the E-M5 Mk II restores the joy of photography. I have sold all my Nikon lenses and only have a D600 looking for a home. I simply cannot imagine returning to huge lenses and utilitarian, but constantly annoying, OFVs.

thequietphotographer said...

I'm another one waiting for your impression about the new Pen, which from what I read could be my first Olympus which I'll use to complement my RF film cameras...
robert

halfmac said...

I decided to take my OMD EM5.2 on vacation with me to Hawaii and loved shooting with it. Granted my other camera is a GH4 which is use for Video. Love the OMD for stills and being so small. The files are great from this little camera.