December 03, 2013
A year ago I decided to get more serious about taking photos. I've always loved photography and I took classes in college, I used to do bottle shots in the Napa wine industry, and I love portraiture. There was one problem: I hate lugging around a DSLR and lenses, I hate how much DSLR lenses cost, and I always end up shooting everything fun in my life with my iPhone unless go leave the house thinking "today is a day dedicated to shooting photos." I hate using a flash and taking terrible flat photos with a DSLR, I hate having to use a flash because the only lens I could afford had an unacceptably high f-stop floor (anything above f/2.0 is unacceptable to me).
This lead to my Canon Rebel XT sitting in the closet for months at a time. After hearing of the advancements and affordability in the Micro 4/3 standard of camera and lenses, I decided to take the plunge. I decided to invest in a new, smaller camera so that I could have with me without it being an event in itself, one that people would not be intimidated by when I point it at their faces, one that has an affordable but killer range of lenses available. I did not want to skimp on quality.
That camera was the Olympus E-PL5. It's been a great year with the E-PL5, and I've taken the best pictures of my life with it for a fraction of the cost of a DSLR, without sacrificing any tangible quality (to my eyes). In fact, I would say the quality is actually better and more fully realized since I could now afford a wealth of lenses with much greater ease and no guilt! I now have a full range of amazing lenses to use with it from 24mm - 150mm (in micro 4/3 parlance that would be 12mm-75mm, you simply divide by 2).
Also notable is that I do not buy any lens with an f-stop floor over f2.0 - this keeps me able to shoot excellent photos in natural light even indoors with no flash required at ISO 800-1600. I never go higher than that because I hate noise in my photos. And this also means that since I require lenses at f/2.0 or below, that I will only shoot prime lenses - no zooms. It must be the physics of zoom lenses but you cannot find one under f/2.8. This means I zoom with my feet, not with the barrel of the lens. It's an adjustment but ultimately worth it for the types of things I like to shoot.
I just the sold the E-PL5 and am now rocking an Olympus E-M1, which has many similar components within it but is pretty much improved all around. It has excellent improved 5-axis image stabilization which makes my grip on the camera even steadier, enabling me to work with slightly slower shutter speeds at lower ISOs, reducing noise and the necessity of using a flash in low light. It has dedicated hardware knobs for adjusting shutter speed, aperture and ISO - so no more taking my eyes off the viewfinder to dig through software to adjust. It's got a ridiculously rugged magnesium alloy exterior and is weather proof, freeze proof and dust proof. It can connect to iOS devices through a wifi network it spawns itself, no external network needed. It takes 10 photos per second to make sure I get the one you didn't blink in. And best of all, my lenses still work with it.
Can't recommend the micro 4/3 camera world enough. I wrote this because I have never been happier shooting photos in my life, and if I were me transported back before this photographic evolution, I would want to read this review. So I hope if you experience any of the frustrations I mentioned above, that you liked this quick rant.
The E-M1 is the best experience the Micro 4/3 world has to offer. I'm amazed.
December 02, 2013
I STARTED WITH THE OM-1 AND NOW I HAVE THE E-M1 AND SOME OTHER MODELS AS WELL. ALL THE OLYMPUS CAMERS AND LENSES HAVE GIVEN ME THE BEST PICTURES I COULD HOPE FOR .I HAVE NEVER DISAPPOINTED A CUSTOMER WITH THE PHOTOS I HAVE DELIVERED TO THEM.I TEACH AND WHEN ASKED TO RECOMMEND CAMERAS I SAY THE BEST BUY IS OLYMPUS .JL
December 01, 2013
very rugged camera--the on off switch is in a bad spot for me--I'm always going for the right not the left--still have to get a handle on the auto focus system--tried flying birds in bright light--about 50% rate of focus--they were soaring above and below--I'm still learning the camera so probably results will be better later. shot some 12,5oo ISO pics from a moving boat in the dark--they came out great! not for big prints but look good for the web.
The Art BW gunge look is very fun for Landscapes--the camera makes some great Landscape Black and Whites--Battery life was ok but I would have a second one for backup if shooting heavy--the little rubber covers for the hot shoe are funky--would be easy to drop and lose them-they are small and it takes to of them to cover things up. I really like the front and back dials for shutter speed and Apeture. its very similar to my Nikon's. Would really like to have some pro glass to really see what this camera can do. Hopefully my 12-40mm F2.8 will show up by dec 5th.
really looking forward to the performance match with this camera body. Overall I'm up in the air somewhat, but am sure that I will get more proficent with the controls and auto focus so will be more positive. I've been using a Nikon D4 with pro glass for last year and half so I'm used that level of overall performance.
thank you Olympus for making this camera, it has one super good thing I like--the light tiny waterproof size!!
hope this comes off as a positive overall statement--would recomend the E-M1 to other photographers
November 27, 2013
How can we come so far so fast? Well, not "we". How can Olympus do it? I received my EM-1 a week ago and the 12-40 today. It is so shockingly, blindingly, unwaveringly perfect. In every respect and in every single detail. The design is as if I had done it myself. The craftsmanship, the utility and the quality of the results are not simply incrementally better. They are not even "game changer" better. It is much more than that. No, these items were designed and built by people and a company with a passion for doing it right. You can tell it is something special when you hold it. I suspect these people actually use what they build in their spare time. I liquidated 15 years of Canon "L" gear and I look back at that stuff and laugh. Sell it while you can. This is the future and these 2 items are maybe that and a little beyond. In this day of i-everything and "form over function" this takes me back to a time when more honorable things mattered. Like pride in what you produce. These items are a pleasure to use and to hold. Congratulations Olympus, and thank you.
Pro is the way to go. Keep those Pro lenses coming. A 40-100 and then a long (200+) fast prime please...
(Read this and weep... My kit: Oly EM-1 and EM-5. Oly 75, 45 12-40 and 60 macro. Oly 100-300 (hmmm). Rokinon 7.5. Pan-Leica 25 and Voightlander 17.5. Three 600R flashes. Yes kids, that is THE kit you want AND I have cash left over from my Canon sell off!)
November 26, 2013
I've wanted to upgrade from my Nikon d90 for quite a while but didn't do anything because my options just didn't seem to fit. Nothing "jelled". Then a friend showed me this E-M1 and told me more about mirror less cameras, and I knew that was what I wanted! So I sold all my Nikon stuff and bought my E-M1, and I love it! It really is fun to use and takes gorgeous photos. Because of its size I don't feel conspicuous when taking photos in public places, either. I don't care if strangers think I've got a point and shoot! I know I've got a quality product. My only two problems will be solved with time. I knew all the controls and how to use the d90 so well, and it's going to take me some time to learn to set up and get used to Olympus controls. Also, Aperture doesn't yet have RAW support for the E-M1. But as I said, these drawbacks will be taken care of in time. This isn't a real technical review, just telling you how glad I am that I switched!
November 24, 2013
Coming from Nikon and Fuji gear, this camera combines the best from other brands. Fast focus speeds for action and very very nice JPEGs straight out of camera. I have already used the camera out in the cold rain with no issues. On the back end, the menu options are something else. It will take some time to get through the options provided. However the user is well rewarded for what Olympus has designed. I have been putting the camera and the 12-40mm lens through its paces for the last month and very pleased with what I am seeing. This camera is used professionally.
November 22, 2013
Great Photos, probably the best mirror-less camera on the market. Love the new size and weight, coming from the E-3 this is much lighter with the battery holder then the E-3 ever was. I have only one issue, the RAW image format is not supported by Apples Aperture - why would you not make the new image format available to Apple so it would be ready for day 1 launch of the new camera?
Also, un-related to the camera, my purchase experience from Oly was less then good. I ordered the camera in the beginging of October and was told it was a one week back order. Then it was two, then 3, 4 etc. So, I went to a different U.S. based on-line retail and had the camera in two days. I don't understand how you can be so bad at inventory management that your re-sellers have mor einventory then you do? High-end e-goods move Air not Ocean so how can you slip from 1 to 4 weeks? To not have avialbel inventory less then 3 weeks before Black Friday is in-excusable. Who ever manages your supply chain and inventory needs to be re-placed ASAP.
November 19, 2013
I have had my OM-D E-M1 for only a few days but am very impressed with the camera. I won't go into all the features as they have been covered by others and you can check them in countless other sites and reviews. I am an experienced photographer who used Nikon equipment up until last year, although I have also owned M43 cameras for 4 or 5 years now - mostly Panasonic G series. I also had an Olympus E-PL2 and more recently, an E-P5, which is in for repair after only 4 months. Hopefully, the E-M1 will be trouble-free.
The camera is really nice in the hand, with a substantial grip. It pays to download the manual and study it carefully as there is a bit of a learning curve due to the many features and buttons on the body. Might as well set up the function buttons to do what you want them to. Makes shooting a better experience. As there are a pile of programmable buttons, it can get confusing as to which does what until you use them regularly. I programmed the iAuto spot on the main dial to give me small JPEGs in sRGB colour space - very handy for occasional photos to send by email. Otherwise I shoot in RAW 90% of the time.
The E-M5 has a great reputation and I can see the E-M1 being a huge hit. There's something different about it compared to the many plasticky cameras out there. Sure it's expensive compared to an entry-level Nikon or Canon, but the high quality and smaller size and weight make it worth it. I should return to this site in 6 months and write a follow-up when I've had plenty of time to really use the camera. So far, so good!
November 16, 2013
Olympus did a very good job on the new EM-1 as a replacement for the E-5 and added lots of welcome improvements to make it competitive in cropped sensor market place. I most like the new tracking continuous AF and locking mode dial. I did not like the short battery life, the lack of having diamond pattern focus zone, and I can only assign one MySet to a button. On the E-5 I can assign MyMode's to mode dial and can access using the back wheel. Other than that, Olympus should not stop finding way to increase the Megapixel number as 16MP may be outgunned or no longer good enough in IQ. I also like to see Olympus making fast 75-300 2.8 or 100-400 3.5
November 16, 2013
I've been shooting Olympus since the E-10 and always believed in the promise of the 4/3 system theory. I invested in the 4/3 system Pro zooms from 7mm to 250mm.
I was concerned that my substantial investment in glass was wasted, but the EM-1 works great with my 4/3 glass and takes everything to a higher level.
The feeling of quality feels German or Swiss.
I used my 90 to 250 zoom with the 2X adaptor to shoot frieze work (at 35mm equivalent of 1000mm) from 100 yards away. I could make out the texture of the mortar and see hairline cracks, I blew the panorama up to a 3 foot X 12 foot print. Tack Sharp.
The E-M1 works great with my 4/3 lenses.
Combined with the 12 to 40 mm F2.8, the quality is much better than any other camera I have used. This new lens is as sharp as any of the 4/3 pro lenses and the weight seems like half of the E-5 with the 14-35 F2.0.
I sum the promise that Olympus made with the /3 system has finally been kept.