Long Story of E-M1mkII and 12-100 f/4 Life

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daleeight Senior Member • Posts: 2,220
Long Story of E-M1mkII and 12-100 f/4 Life

I know this is going to be boring for some, a waste for some, so there is that. Also, this isn't a pro m43 or an anti FF, or the opposite. Just a view from doing a few days of away shooting and lessons learned and thoughts provoked.

Went away for 3 days on a great away, vacation, mind numb, etc. Of course, before going there was deep thoughts and mind sets and then reversals, and then confirmations, back and forth, as to what to take. In the end, given it isn't a pro shoot, I'm not a pro shooter, I'm there to enjoy AND to capture some memories in better detail than a phone, I decided and settled.

I ended up taking just an Olympus E-M1mkII, the Olympus 12-100 f.4, the Oly 25mm f./1.2, and the Pany 8-18 f/2.8-4... and just a tiny 6" Manfrotto tripod (just in case). No other lenses, no other bodies, no Pen-F, no Oly 12-40, no Oly 40-150 f/2.8, nada.

So what did I learn? Well, the 25mm f/1.2 should have stayed home. Didn't need it, didn't use it. The 8-18mm probably should have stayed home, or not been bought. Say what? For far off scenes, in my head anyway, 8mm was too wide and made something just too small. I think the 8-18mm, or anything wider than maybe 12mm (or choose your own mm value) is best used for a scene with no real focal point or reference item. The focal point or reference needs to be the massive scene itself. A barn or bridge or boat with all the world around it doesn't help the barn or bridge or boat in my head. Even 12mm doesn't sometimes. Maybe it is me. Maybe I'm not a wide vista with a tiny subject kind fo person. Oh well.

The Olympus 12-100 f/4 is a great lens. Sometimes. Maybe. I say maybe because I think it is the lens, but might be the camera, or both. I used this lens far and away the majority of the time. Why? Just too convenient and useful. The focal range on it is great, it is big, but not too big at all. It is heavy, but not too heavy. On the E-M1mkII it is a well balanced and useful combo. Wait, you said maybe... in looking back at some images I wanted better sharpness, better this and that, better something. Just thought I was missing something that i see in some FF images online. The combo left me lacking to be honest.

But, one night we set out on our bikes (the pedal kind) for about 2-3 miles to a spot that might give a good shot of some sunset with a lot of clouds and a storm looking scene. Well, you ever try to put a Peak Design sling strapped E-M1mkII with 12-100 f/4 lens sideways across the body from your neck? AND pedal a bike? The combo sit okay in the middle of my back for a ways and it kept trying to find a lower point of gravitational pull, so I'd have to keep tossing it back there and so forth. So need a better method of bike carrying. yeah, I know if I used my sling bag it would have been easier, but then I'd have a sling bag for just that one camera and lens. Decisions and compromises.

Did I mention the rain? yeah, when we got out there, it started sprinkling. Then raining. Then not quitting. Hiding under a tree helped, a bit. No end in sight. So, fling that combo back sideways around the neck and pedal away in the rain. Unprotected E-M1mkII and 12-100 f/4 just hanging out on my back while getting soaked. But, this combo is weather-sealed and that is a HUGE plus and a welcomed one too. Sure gets a 10 out of 10 on that. I had no hood, no hat, and rain soaking the head and running down my face and glasses was a complete disaster, but the combo back there, it cared a lot less about being soaked than my cursing did.

Good lord, shorten this story up. Okay. After revisiting the images and messing a big in LR, my initial frustration changed. The images got better. World class? No. Am I Olympus Visionary now? Oh heck now. Olympus Ambassador? Well, i don't think they would accept me, but the gear I could be a walking advertisement for. Is it wonderful and the best in the all the camera land? Nope. No matter what any homer says, it isn't, Would FF be better? On some of the images I think it would have been. But would I have LIKED the EXPERIENCE as much? Probably not. Would it have bounced around on my back in the rain while pedaling a bike better? Nah. Would have been more tiring biking and hiking with it too.

I can honestly say that a couple days the E-M1mkII and 12-100 f/4 was sideways on my neck for more than 8 hours, and I never really felt neck strain or tired. My back tightened and hurt but that is more because I'm fat and out of shape, not from the combo. I'd give the E-M1mkII a solid thumbs up for what it did, after thinking and looking and rolling the whole experience through my head and LR screen too. Best there is? No. I did miss the 12-40 f/2.8 and the 40-150 f.2.8 pair sometimes, but looking back, not so much. I realize I can live with zooms, so some primes might have to go to a useful home. They should, it is just hard to part ways. But they should, and I should.

Am I happy in the Olympus, or more like the m43 camp? Sure. Have been since the E-M5 came out. But with all the talk and press and love for the FF mirrorless world, and the Nikon Z7 calling me, I'm not too sure they can complete in a lot of real world just shoot whatever type situations. Don't think they have as good a combo as I used on this excursion. Of course some will argue and some will say take this lens and that lens and blah blah. But there is a lot to it that some don't think about. They have to experience. Sure twice as many pixels on a sensor 4 times bigger would help. But would it? Do I need it? I think not. Not on a trip or getaway like this. Would I look at the results and be happier? Sure. Will my neck or back or my hard drive or LR catalog? I'd think not. And I only have so much wall space. How many 60 inch prints from a Z7 could I hang on these walls?

I think I'll be okay with what I have. I think I don't need the hassle. Unless I really need a targeted system for something. I think the m43 combos you can find and use fit the vast majority or most anything. So enjoy, like I did, and find your way....

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 daleeight's gear list:daleeight's gear list
Olympus PEN-F Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm F2.8 Macro Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 +7 more
Nikon Z7 Olympus 12-100mm F4.0 Olympus E-M1 II Olympus PEN-F
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