Do I stay or do I go. Complete or Complement

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bferg New Member • Posts: 22
Do I stay or do I go. Complete or Complement

Looking for support and advice on my camera system development.

Long version...(sorry spilling my past, collecting thoughts...shorter version below)

I've always enjoyed photography. My mom lent me her camera when I was a Boy Scout to take on local hikes or longer excursions such as witnessing the spawning salmon on BC's Adams River or hiking the gold rush Chilkoot trail. When I was old enough and had the money, I bought my own camera, a 35 mm film Pentax ME with 50 f2. I later picked up 70-200 a flash and tripod. Was a great little kit, helped me on hikes, climbs, family and friends weddings, raising a young family, all those good times in my youth and early adult years.

Fast forward 2002, I purchased my first digital camera, a small Nikon Coolpix 4300. Great little camera, many hiking and ski adventures, used it for 16 years. Batteries a bit weak but lens had a zoom range of 8-24 (28-114) and the great Nikon colors.

Retired from regular 8-4 work July 2017, now more leisure time, I started looking into new camera technology a few years ago, YouTube videos and reading the reviews and forums on this site.

A light mirrorless camera, one that stood out for me was the OM-D EM5iii, was to be released soon, sounded very promising, was light and feature packed. Time dragged on waiting for the release. In 2018 while waiting I picked up an Olympus TG5 to replace the aged Coolpix 4300. The TG was freeze proof, water proof (for use on my kayak), had some interesting microscope features and the camera had tough written all over it.

October 2018 found a deal on a used Olympus OM-D E-M5i kit. It came with a collection of lens, basically each half price from retail and the body at no cost (17 1.8, 12-50, 9-18, 75-300) whole kit for $1500 cdn. It was a Mk5i, but it would get me through until the illustrious m5iii arrived.

Using the M5i has allowed me to have fun with photography, learning better compositions, try different lenses and understand features of more modern digital cameras. The m5i is contrast detect with 35 focus points, at times perfect focus is a challenge. For the most part I have enjoyed the camera, great colors, menu was similar to the TG5 so I quickly got used to it. The small size made it easy to carry while hiking or skiing, the extra lens helped with my compositions. The batteries are a bit weak and the fn buttons are very small. Still waiting on the M5iii I picked up a small travel carbon fiber tripod and a Gordox TT350 flash for some additional camera experiences. Fast forward to the release of the M5iii, it was almost the camera I wanted, had a better focus system, lots of fun settings, but I didn’t like the idea of a plastic bottom for tripod use (over the long term) and the batteries being different that previous M5 versions and the grip didn’t feel right the thumb knob too pronounced.

Short version..

I wanted the m5iii, but not sure I want it anymore, the larger M1ii felt better in my hand, but so did some others…yikes

Good marketing and sale prices have allowed me to increased my budget (m5iii<xt3<m1ii<a7iii<z6<m1iii<xt4 $2300-$3500). The price range is now into some very worthy cameras and my future choices may also change, extra future cost is ok as long as I get what I need.

My photographic subjects are mostly landscapes, street and indoor abstracts, some macro, some flash, sunrise and sunsets, the moon and stars, also have access to five small dogs I try to capture in action, BIF perhaps. I'm not a professional, I enjoy the art of photography. I may print some enlargements of some nice captures up to 16x20”. The focus system is important, joystick or while using evf allow focus placement on the touch screen (35 points is rather limiting so is a contrast only system). I don’t shoot video much at all. I use ibis for the slow hand held shots, a swap to a faster lens or tripod is also possible.

Priority of lenses (ff focal length shown) 1. Allround zoom (24-80), 2. Wide angle low light fast prime (35), 3. Ultra wide angle zoom (15-36), 4. Telephoto (70-200)

Do I build on my existing Olympus kit and add a new body (m1ii/m1iii) and pro lens or two and enjoy the compatibility with my existing gear?

The OMD Em1 ii/iii cameras have a nice feeling in the hand, the weather sealing and dust control is awesome. I've also had some time with the menus are ok. The evf and screen I’m ok with what is being offered, I figure less screen dots may use less battery. The tilting screen was ok, the fully articulating screen will be new and I’ll get use to it. The Olympus/JIP/OM Solutions future is unknown. Possibly the correct way forward, let the camera divisions make or break itself. The camera will function for years to come. I like the lighter kit and the extended focal range the mft format provides. I miss the ability with my existing kit to easily move the focus accurately around, the lower dynamic range and older sensor (16mp) and to ability to isolate a subject (existing 12-50 is f3.5-6.3) and yes lower light subjects have iso noise.

Will the new E1ii/iii and F2.8 lens provide me with the dynamic range and low light satisfaction I think it might?


Continue my photography journey and pick a new brand (Fuji, Sony, Nikon) to suit lower light conditions and specific lenses for the task and build this additional kit over the next while. I would continue to use the smaller m5i kit when I need something lightweight for hiking and skiing.

APSC/FF will lead to bigger and heavier glass but will aid in low light and more dynamic range. I'm left eye dominant so APSC Sony doesn’t feel right that’s where Fuji comes in. Nikon colors were super, but Nikon future is also struggling. Sony glass is next level expensive, but then again anything really good in any system is over $1000. The price and functions are close. Olympus has some interesting features and compatibility with my existing $1500, the others have larger sensors and better low light and AF systems.

Olympus m1ii/iii (2498) or $401 more m1iii each with the 12-40 f2.8 (2899) - familiarity with menu and compatibility with existing lenses, bags, tripods, flash, a whole raft of Olympus improvements from AF capture, custom area settings, joystick, starry sky af (I've poor eyes this will help), hand held and tripod high resolution, industry leading image stabilization, extreme weather proofing, live composition, live time, custom menu, wifi, and usb charging, flash not provided with e1iii. The m1ii is no slouch neither, but for the extra cost for the m1iii I might regret it later. This system is sort of light and compatible with existing kit.

Fuji xt3 - 18-55 f2.8-4 ois (1899). Body doesn’t have ibis but the lens does, will allow me to check the fuji system out, purchase a low light prime 23 f1.4 (1050 = 2949) with money saved on no ibis. The battery performance is not as good, will be fun anyhow to work with dials over buttons, low light work on a tripod. Recent firmware update on AF is typical good Fuji news.

Sony a7iii - 28-70 kit (2499). The kit lens is a bit weak but could make due and also get the wide angle prime (Sony FE 35mm f1.8 $800 = 3299). Purchase a better all round zoom (tamron or sony) in a year. Has excellent continuous autofocus (for my dog shots rather than a focus trap), superior battery. Jpg/raw colors are a bit cool so more work will be needed (use a preset). FF glass is heavy and expensive. With the a7iv coming, prices on the iii could be marked down more often.

Nikon z6 - 24-70 f4 (2799) love the nikon colors. This is the heaviest with this lens. I would capture more dynamic range, have better low light performance, better autofocus functionality, grip is really nice. It would be my new around the house and short walk camera. Would buy a low light prime in the future and this will be my night shot system. FF glass is heavy and expensive. I have no need for dual card slots so the 6ii is not needed, maybe the z5 could also be a good start.

Fuji xt4 - 18-55 f2.8-4 (2839) with ibis and video is awesome (I don’t excel in video) but it also captures wonderful stills. Battery performance is excellent. Overall the Fuji system is lighter than full frame, heaver than the mft's, has a larger pixel over the existing, not quite ff. Use this combination and add the low light prime in a year. Lens also work with their smaller xt30 system so that could be a future light weight system to consider.

Fuji X-S10 - 16-80 f4 (2049) - cost effective fuji with ibis*. Learn color science and menu system. Low light prime in a year.

I’m stuck and over thinking this. I could just forget OMD is about to possibly change my world and get a m1iii or, let the m5i kit be as it is and get a complementary new system (xt3, a7iii, z6, xt4).

Sort of feels like looking over a landscape scene trying to get the best composition and being in a rut. Looking for support and advice on my camera system development.

Thanks for your help,


 bferg's gear list:bferg's gear list
Olympus TG-5 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm F4.0-5.6 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II +1 more
Fujifilm X-T3 Fujifilm X-T4 Nikon Z6 Olympus E-M1 III Sony a7 III
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