My Hands On With EM-1 (Long Post)

Started Sep 28, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Darrell500
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My Hands On With EM-1 (Long Post)
Sep 28, 2013

I attended the Olympus EM-1 event last night in Seattle, they had a two hour meet and greet where we could try out the EM-1 with various lenses. Following the meet and greet there was a two hour presentation by Larry Price who is a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist. I understand why m4/3 appeals to Larry Price, this small easy to carry gear would be easy to pack and lug around in his globe hoping adventures, while still giving acceptable results.

Let me start with the viewfinder it immediately put a smile on my face, it's almost like looking through a HUGE OVF. I was so astonished with the quality of the EVF that someone questioned whether it was as good as I was making it out to be, or if my eyesight was that bad. It's worth noting that my only experience with an EVF was on one of the old superzooms back in the early days, boy have these things gotten good, almost like looking through a window!

I have now confirmed for myself what others have said, this camera focuses our 4/3rds lenses just a quickly as the Ex's in good light, but I can't say the same for lowlight. The EM-1 with PL 14-150, 12-60 and 50-200 seemed to snap to focus just as on my E-5, but when pointed at a dimly lit section of the gallery the 12-60 really had a difficult time, on my E-5 it would have easily focused in this building. The quickest focusing lens seemed to be the 50-200 and for some reason it didn't struggle as much even in the lowlight. The 50-200 looked huge and out of place sitting on the table along side the m4/3rds lenses man those things are small!

The battery grip and large protruding grip in front allowed me to hold the camera steady enough with larger lenses, but it felt awkward trying to grip the small body. The rep said that I have large hands, which is true enough, but this camera didn't give me that same comfortable "ahhhh" feeling I got when I picked up an E3 for the first time. I don't think I would ever let a large lens dangle on the front of this body like I will occasionally do for a moment with the E-5, it's just so small I think you would be inviting disaster.

All said the EM-1 is an extremely nice camera it has a wonderful EVF, and the construction seems to be at the same level of the Ex's. The 12-40 is light and looks extremely well made, I think this lens coupled with the upcoming 40-150 f2.8 would cover most situations very well. I was looking at the 75mm for the first time and was taken by it's small size, I asked how it compared to our 50mm quality wise, the Olympus Rep said the 75mm was closer to the 150 f2 and is very sharp. Overall the EM-1 camera looks to be the perfect companion for photojournalist and also a great camera for street shooting and travel.

While having the ability to use our 4/3rds lenses on this body is nice, I don't think I would be a fan of bastardizing this system with 4/3rds lenses over the long haul, it doesn't look built for them. I could probably get used to holding this camera but I don't think it would ever feel as though it was made for my hands as the E-3/5 did. I carry two bodies attached to a cotton carrier at weddings so maybe the weight savings would more then make up for having to hold this with my fingers, I just don't know at this point.

The 35-100 is my go to lens for weddings and a second body with either the 12-60 or 14-35, I'm not sure which m4/3rds lenses would be best, please chime in if you have any experience here. My initial thoughts are the 12 f2 for WA 14-150 for long shots and versatility, and maybe carry the 75mm for formals and of course a macro for close-ups. I thought about the Panny 12-35 f2.8 but just don't see anything giving the shallow DOF of the 35-100 except maybe the 75mm. Another concern is the 35-100 is big and with a cotton carrier it's dangling from the front of the camera all day so that will not be an option.

My wife told me to make a list of all the things I like about this camera and a list of all the things I don't then see which one is longer.

1. Great EVF can't say it enough I love it!

2. I can use my lenses and keep my investment

3. The 12-40, 40-150 f2.8, rumored WA f2.8 and that 75mm looks like something I would enjoy.

4. The camera is weather sealed which is important in my part of the world.

5. It's light and a whole lot easier to carry around then my E-5 with grip.

6. Built in autofocus light (finally)

7. 5 axis IS

8. Built in HDR would love to try it out

9. Oh yeah the Glazers Camera guy was showing me the Android App, very nice to be able to see your pictures immediately on your phone or tablet, from there it's just a couple clicks and it's on my facebook or website, nice.

That about does it with the upside, here are my choices for downside.

1. I hate tiny cameras, not because I want to look macho, I have larger hands than most guys and probably all girls, a 5DMKIII or D800 would be a better fit for me size wise 

2. 4/3rds lenses seem struggle in lowlight on the EM-1, I like to shoot weddings and concerts so guess what I need..................duh

3. My lenses look stupid on this little camera, the 50-200 looks like hanging a 300 f2.8 off the front of a cell phone it just didn't feel balanced. (maybe it's not fair to make this judgment after just a few minutes)

4. Olympus says if you need absolute image quality or more megapixels then FF is better, well after a little thought I do want the best image quality I can get. I understand that in reality it's about the photograher, many on this forum could make great images with a disposable camera, but bottom line is FF has advantages like shallow DOF.

5. Only one card slot another vote for FF.

6. Short battery life comparatively speaking, I would have liked to see a little larger grip using the E5 batteries.

7. FF would give me a little better IQ, better lens selection, a larger body (a downside for many), better local support and easy to find accessories.

Looks like a tie or close to it for me so that didn't help, I can tell my wife because of her idea I now have to buy a new camera  

It comes down to I can have a modern sensor camera for a relatively small outlay while keeping my lenses, or I can have a modern FF which will exceed my needs and be more comfortable in hand but will break the family budget. Not helping matters going the FF route are the fire sale prices 4/3 lenses are selling for, but that becomes a plus if going the EM-1 route.

Guess I've rambled on enough and bored you to tears so what are your thoughts?

(I know my punctuation stinks but you'll figure it out)

"Don't Be Afraid To See What You See"
Darrell

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Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Olympus E-500 Olympus E-520 Olympus E-5 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 50mm 1:2.0 Macro +27 more
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