Sixteen months and tens of thousands of photos later I’m glad I did. This small article shares some of the reasons why.
What I especially like about the E-M5 is that it’s really small and light. So small and light that I often just wear it strapped over the shoulder and hardly realise it’s there.
Wearing it like that means I’m always ready to take a photo and don’t need to reach into a camera bag and maybe miss a shot. Or even worse, have no camera at all because it was left at home. The best camera is the one you have, as they say.
One unexpected advantage of having a small camera is that it allows better eye-contact with people I’m photographing and feels somewhat less agressive than a large DSLR that hides the photographer from the subject.
I’m also really happy with the image quality. Even with the “kit” 12-50 the shots come out consistently sharp, balanced and with excellent dynamic range. Good enough for me anyway.
It’s also a very easy camera to use. Most of the time I shoot in Program mode (yes, I know, real photographers only shoot in manual!), and tweak the shutter and aperture via the rear top dial, and the exposure compensation via the front top dial. I’ve also assigned the ISO selection to the Fn2 button. All the other settings are quickly available on the rear touch-enabled LCD screen.
Basically I don’t “see” the camera anymore, which is a good thing as it means I can concentrate on the subjects I’m trying to photograph!
One of the things that makes Olympus cameras different is the in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). This really does work well, and I’ve found that I can shoot sharp photos at least 3-stops below what what I’d shoot normally. The photograph below, for example, was shot at 1/4 of a second where normally 1/25th of a second would be the minimum recommended as it’s shot at 26mm equivalent.
IBIS also means the Olympus lenses do not need image stabilisation built into them, making them smaller and relatively cheap. More on the lenses I have (12-50, 17, 25, 45 and 75-300) in another article.
Another feature I really like is the electronic view finder. Call me old-fashioned but I much prefer composing my shots by having the camera up to my eye. I especially like have visual guides to make the photo horizontally and vertically level, really useful for landscapes and architecture photos that I take quite a lot of.
Dust & waterproof
Another unique feature is that it’s dust and waterproof. This along with the weather-proof lenses means that I have no excuses to leave the camera at home or in its bag. Like this I simply have more photo opportunities than I would with a “normal” camera.
OK, so those are the “pros”. What are the “cons”? Not many, but I do have to mention that sometimes the first shot I take on any given day comes out completely dark. No idea why.
I had to glue back on the top-rear dial casing which came loose just recently. Shooting above ISO 5000 is where I find the image quality degrades, but that is something the IBIS compensates for in poorly lit situations.
Battery life is quite decent, but the indicator goes from full to empty in only something like 40 shots, so I always have a spare battery handy.
All things considered, my E-M5 has been, and still is, a great camera for my project allowing me to take many photos that I’m proud of. And isn’t that what a 365 project is all about?