Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Olympus OMD E-M5 Review

Well here it is my review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 as well as the accessory battery grip.  I have had my E-M5 for a little over a month now and truly love this camera.  I have shot at my nephews birthday party, around town, and a short trip up to Portland Oregon.

The overall feel of the E-M5 is in one word great.  Some others have complained about the size of the buttons on this camera.  I can see how some might feel the buttons are small but I believe that if some time  spent with the camera it becomes a lot easier.  The one button that seemed to take the most getting used to was the playback button but it becomes easy to operate with a little practice.  Everything on the E-M5 feels solid and well built, from the battery and SD card latches to the buttons and dials. The camera has a very nice weight to it and great overall feel (without the grip).  The only thing when the grip is not attached I have found my hand has a tendency to cramp.  This is where the optional battery grip accessory comes in.  I found that I have been leaving the battery part at home and just been shooting with the grip due to the added comfort it provides.

The dynamics of this little camera change a bit when the accessory battery grip is installed.  It looks more "pro" to start and adds a new level of functionality.  The added shutter releases and dials are great and easy to use.  The battery grip works seamlessly and easily.  This is my first time owning a camera with an attached grip that has the portrait button and dials and I have found that they can get in the way when shooting in landscape mode.  I find that the palm of my had rests on the adjuster dial changing the aperture (or whatever you have your settings to, shutter speed, exposure etc) when I am shooting.  I do not know if this is a common issue with these types of add ons or not.  Their is a lock switch which will disable  the buttons on the battery attachment but I find that it makes for a clumsy transition from shooting landscape to portrait if going for a quick shot.  Overall I greatly appreciated the added versatility of the battery grip.

My first real shooting day with this camera was for my nephews birthday party.  I brought my one light and muslin background and decided to shoot some of the kids just for fun.  This resulted in some really great shots and a lot of learning about the camera.  I played with the RC flash mode and was very impressed with the added versatility it provides.

I also had the opportunity to shoot around with my father's Leica (a real one) Summilux 50mm 1.4.  What a great little lens.  This allowed me to try out the EVF and really get a feel for its clarity and resolution. I really like the EVF when shooting and the feel it gives.  I found that the EVF made it very easy to focus accurately and quickly.  This lens also just looks amazing attached to the E-M5.

Shot with GF1 Panasonic Leica 25mm 1.4
Leica 50mm 1.4 on E-M5

Lastly I took the E-M5 on vacation to Portland Oregon (which I hope will become home sometime soon but thats another tale).  I was able to shoot in a variety of conditions including the Saturday market, the rose garden, Chinese garden, and Apex bar to just name a few (which are associated with the photos below :).  I did get a little hung up a few times with my neck strap on, which has little to do with the camera and more my setup but was something to note for those wanting a quick switch from landscape to portrait shooting (with battery grip attached).  Here are a few shots from my trip and one with the in camera art filter.  I found the versatility of the camera really nice.  Being able to easily leave the grip behind to run out to dinner with a prime lens is an amazing advantage over a DSLR.  The E-M5 with the panasonic 20mm 1.7 is just great for a night out.  
Saturday Market  25mm 1.4

Ramien Dinner 20mm 1.7

Apex Bar 25mm 1.4
Rose Garden 25mm 1.4

In Camera Art Filter

Chinese garden 25mm 1.4

Overall I feel that this camera has a lot to offer.  I am very excited to use it to help me document my upcoming Alaska trip.  The only thing that I find I am missing in my photography is DOF at a distance.  This is not a camera issue but a mFT issue.  It is not always a problem but sometimes I wish I was able to have a little more control.  With the primes though this system is really able to create some amazing shots. For me the must have lens at the moment are the 20mm 1.7 and 25mm 1.4.  The zooms are useful but at the moment just can't compete with the primes.  The new Panasonic zooms should really add some good lens to the mFT system.  Personally I will be skipping on the 12-35 but am patently awaiting the 35-100 reviews.  I have not used the Olympus primes as of now due to being able to shoot with my father's Leica 50mm which covers a close enough focal length to the Olympus 45mm F1.8.  If I did not have access to the amazing Leica glass I would defiantly pick up the 45mm.  I really see the 20mm, 25mm, and 45mm a must have set for mFT.  I know a lot of people will say you need the 12mm or the 14mm but I find that for my type of shooting I rarely need the wide angle.  I personally would chose the 20mm over the 14mm for my intended purposes of night time portability shooting ( i.e. out to dinner or a show) due to the increased speed of the lens 1.7 vs 2.5.  

Hope you have a wonderful day :) Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Battery Grip

Well to my surprise my Battery grip for the E-M5 showed up in my mail box today.  Here are a few shots, so far so good but ill have a more in-depth review of it later.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

First photo shoot.

Well here I am, a few weeks of shooting around with the EM-5.  I am still learning all the little ins and outs of this amazing little camera.  This past Saturday my nephew had his second birthday so I decided to bring up my studio equipment and play around with some shots of the kids.  Overall it was a great experience.  I learned a lot about the camera, what it does well and some of the limitations, as well as my skills as a portrait photographer (More to come on this later).   There are also a few shots from today of the kids in their mother's day outfits as well.

All of the following shots were JPEG due to my computer being to slow at the moment to run any decent editing software :(  The balloon pictures were all shot with the PL 25mm 1.4 and the Sailor pictures with the panasonic 20mm 1.7.

There are two big things I learned, and they are that it is really hard to keep muslin wrinkle free with kids running around, and two I need more lights!
My Niece 


Balloon Fun

Upside Down Nephew

Mother's Day Fun

Shot by my dad with this 7D 17-55 2.8
Thanks to Nick for doing the tug of war with the kids.
Again by my dad 7D 
To check out my dad's photos and post please visit  He really does some amazing work.  

Hope you enjoy!  Let me know what you think, and have a great day :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Beauty of f1.4

The EM-5 with 25mm f1.4.

The height difference between the two is maybe a few cm.  Look at the beautiful DOF and Bokeh.

Have a great day :)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

First report. Olympus OM-D EM-5

I have been waiting patiently for my new Olympus OM-D EM-5 (EM-5 from hence forth) to arrive.  Well its here and I have it and its great!  First thing I really noticed when I picked up this camera was the size.  In all the images it really looks a lot larger then it is in person.  It really is very similar to the E-P3 in size, that I had previously.  (Shot with GF-1)
The new EM-5 really has an amazing feature set for such a small camera.  All of the things that I love about the EP-3 plus those few added features.  So far I have been shooting with the Panasonic 25 1.4 and have absolutely been loving the combo together.  Its fast, responsive, sharp, and amazing in low light.

About a week ago I had a chance to shoot a few images with a 5DMIII and thoroughly enjoyed that camera.  For me though it is a little out of my budget (ok a lot :).  I was starting to worry after shooting the 5DMIII that I would be disappointed when my new little olympus arrived.  All the standard stuff was running though my mind: full frame...lowlight...optical viewfinder...etc.  Since shooting with the little EM-5 I am very happy with the camera set I decided to go with.

A few friends and I went to see The Avengers last night so I brought my little EM-5 along to give myself some time to learn the camera a bit.  As I was playing with the camera I took a few shots to get a look at higher ISO images.  They were all shot at F1.4:


As you can see they are, in my opinion, very impressive with the way the camera handles low light.  I know when I was shooting my EP-3 I really didn't enjoy shooting anything over 800ISO.  With the new EM-5 I would be more then comfortable to shoot up at 1600.

Here are a few more shots all at ISO 200 F1.4 to take a look at.  Let me know what you think.


At this point, overall I am very happy with the little EM-5.  For me it looks great (love the black, can't wait for the battery grip!), shoots great, and has a really good feature set.  More to come on this little camera.  Thanks for stoping by :) let me know what you think.