The Olympus OMD Camera System
I get to work with a lot of different cameras, and as you have probably noticed from prior posts, I’m a huge fan of mirrorless cameras. One of the camera bodies that I have been happiest with is the Olympus OM-D. I presently own an OM-D E-MI, an E-M5II, and a PEN-F. It won’t be long before I add the new Olympus OM-D E-MII to my arsenal!
I have been buying Olympus cameras since the 80’s, dating back to the Olympus OM Film cameras. Olympus lenses were top notch in those days, and today, they are even better. As shown in the video above, the Olympus OM-D is a micro 4/3 format. This means it uses a smaller chip. That said, it still yields an impressive image. In other words, the OM-D E-MI is a little camera capable of big things.
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I believe the OM-D is one of the finest camera systems ever made. The only drawback is that I like to make large prints, and the micro 4/3 chip is only 16 MP, which limits the size of the images I can create. I’m not your typical photo enthusiast. As I have confessed in previous articles, I suffer from GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I bought into this system (and enjoy it), but did so knowing that the maximum image I could print would be around 17″ x 22″.
Frankly, over the past two years, my wife has slowly commandeered this system. She absolutely loves it. It is the perfect size and fit for her. She may be quite the photographer, but she doesn’t want to emulate me with an oversized backpack full of gear. Heck, with what I normally carry around, she’d probably fall over backwards.
We (my wife and I) currently own three Olympus bodies. The OM-D E-M1, the E-M5II, and the PEN-F. We have five compatible lenses: an 8mm, a 7-14mm, a 12-40mm, a 40-150mm, and a 300mm. We also have some regular 4/3 lenses, but we’ve hardly touched them since the micro 4/3 “Pro Line” lenses came out.
As you can see in the video, all of these pieces (with the exception of the 300mm lens) fit nicely into a shoulder bag (bag pictured: the ThinkTank Turnstyle 20) and weigh less than 10 pounds total. Where else can you find a system with a full-frame equivalent of 16mm to 600mm, that fits into a shoulder bag, and delivers the features the OM-D kit offers?
I know a few photographers who rely primarily on Olympus cameras for their work, including Steve Gosling, a regular contributor here on Luminous-Landscape. This system performs better and offers more features than many DSLR systems. The Pro Line lenses offer great optics and are especially well-built.
If you like to hike, travel, or just need a small, but capable system, look no further than the Olympus OM-D. Michael turned me on to this system back in 2013, and I immediately jumped on the bandwagon, as Michael usually has great instincts with these things. Since then, I have added to my system, and will continue to add more compatible pieces before the year is out. Please see related articles (linked on your right) for more Olympus coverage over the last few years.
The new offerings from Olympus look very appealing, and these are what I plan to add to my inventory over the next few months. Olympus has introduced the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, as well as two new Pro Line lenses, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 PRO Lens, and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS PRO Lens. I’ll have more to say about these later this week!
The bottom line is, the Olympus OM-D has come of age. The Pro Line lenses now cover just about any focal length you could want. The Pro Line lens operation, including the push-pull auto-manual focus is excellent, and best of all, it has a rotate and stop at infinity feature. This is great for those night shots where you need to find infinity. The auto-focus is both fast and accurate. Combine all of these features with an OM-D or PEN-F camera body, and you’ll have a system that will yield high-quality images every time. These cameras are even loaded with a few artistic filters, which are fun to play with every now and then, as well as a touch-sensitive rear screen, for easy camera settings, and a focus-and-shoot. If you haven’t checked out the OM-D line from Olympus, it’s past time you did.
More news on Olympus later this week.