I'm in love
OK, all of this is quite subjective, so take it for what it is. That out of the way, I've never been happier with a camera.
Quite a few years ago, I thought Olympus was on to something with their 4/3 camera system: small (properly proportioned) sensor means small body and lens, and when they came out with in-camera image stabilization in the e-510 I was interested enough to buy in. It was a pretty nice camera, easy to shoot with, but not the greatest high ISO IQ, nor the best autofocus in low light. Then the e-3 came out nad while that camera addressed some of the shortcomings with the e-510, plus it was weather sealed, it was way too big and heavy--I might as well buy a full sized Canon or Nikon. Then the e-30 came out and I bought one, as I really loved the Zuiko glass collection I had started; while bigger than the e-510, it's IQ and autofocus was much better, just not what I'd call great. Still I didn't feel that these 4/3 Olys had realized the potentials offered by the 4/3 sensor concept. Then the OM-D E-M5 was announced. Everything I was reading about this camera sounded like Olympus had finally hit the nail on the head. I put my order in, and after an insufferable wait, I had (I believe) the first OM-D in Philadelphia.
I marveled at how it felt in my hand when I snapped on the 25mm Pan/Leica f1.4 lens. Small. Solid. Precise. Detailed right down to the bezel cut knobs. As I held it in my hands I suddenly remembered how the old OM-1 camera felt years ago. Without even taking a picture yet, I knew this camera was "right." After taking about 8,000 photos so far, I now know that this camera isn't "right," it's "even righter." I do a lot of super-low-light photography, typically around 1/50 at f1.4 and an ISO of 3200; the shadow noise and dynamic range far exceeds my e-30 at ISO 1600. The autofocus is blistering fast, even in those dim environments. The zoom feature when manually focussing through the bright viewfinder makes the autofocus an option anyhow.
Now, after shooting with it for nine months, I pick up the camera, compose my subject in the viewfinder, and the OM-D gives me the images that had only existed within my mind's eye moments before--everytime. Even when I wind up performing multiple adjustments while taking a shot, it all seems to happen automatically, without thinking about pressing this button or that (admittedly after quite a bit of fine tuning the camera's settings through the menu system). In over 40 years of photography, I have never had a camera which has become such a perfect extension of my very being as this OM-D. With it, photography has become the sensual experience I had once only dreamed that it might someday be.
But I have to add one more thing about the OM-D. The greatest promise that the 4/3 sensor system held was that it would offer high quality photography in cameras small enough to carry with you anywhere. The OM-D has fulfilled that promise. No camera, however good it may be, is of any use if it is sitting on your desk, instead of being at your side when a photographic opportunity arises. My OM-D is with me, hanging over my shoulder, everyday. And I have already taken quite a few amazing photograhs to prove it.
I'm deeply ambivalent about the menu system. So many wonderful ways to customize the coomands and features, yet such a long string of options to browse through.
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