Central Illinois has been snugly tucked under a foot of snow in the last 24 hours and the local school officials have cancelled school today. For the kids, then, it's a snow day. I made a few photographs with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 while they were out of the regular Monday morning routine.
I've been shooting a lot with the E-M5 the past couple months. In fact, I used it as my second body at the Hearts at Home conference last weekend.
The E-M5, part of the Micro Four Thirds system, is a much smaller camera than my Nikon D700 but still performs very nicely. There's an excellent and growing selection of lenses available (these photos were all made with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 prime) and it handles well despite its diminutive body. My hands are not small and at times the small buttons on the camera can be a bit fiddly but I'm learning to adjust. While the D700 has one of the most capable sensors and autofocus systems of any camera available today, I reach for the E-M5 more often than not. It's simply fun to shoot.
If the Nikon is "better," why would I use the Olympus? A few reasons:
- Very good image quality.
- The E-M5 is small and light. The D700 requires a commitment to lug around.
- The E-M5 has an amazing in-body stabilization system that works for ANY lens, whether shooting still or video. You can get Steadicam-like results out of the camera.
- Great choice of lenses made by Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma, and others.
- Flip-out monitor gives you more flexibility for shooting/composing.
- Weather-sealed body means you can use it in the rain or snow.
- Love the styling (I have the black model).
In short, the E-M5 strikes a nice balance between size, performance, handling, features, and price. My D700 is getting a bit long in the tooth (for a digital camera body) and the logical upgrade is Nikon's new D800. All of the reviews and press indicate that it's an outstanding piece of gear. Frankly, though, I'm really not drawn to it.
Surprisingly, a number of professional photographers are moving away from larger "full-frame" DSLR systems and into smaller camera systems. Nature photographer Scott Bourne, fashion shooter Jonathan Posner, fashion shooter Giulio Sciorio, and others have moved to Micro Four Thirds (MFT) cameras. At the moment, I'm on the fence but the grass is looking pretty green in the MFT playground.
At least, I think it's green. We'll have to see once we clear away all this snow.
A note on the photos in this post: these were shot as JPEGs using the E-M5's black & white settings in-camera. I usually shoot RAW and handle color conversion in Lightroom but I want to see what I can get straight out of the camera. More to come.