I recently switched from a Canon DSLR setup to an Olympus OM-D EM5 MkII. Here are some thoughts on what it’s meant for me as well as list of my new gear.
Ever since my previous gear was stolen on a Cathay Pacific flight I’ve been wanting to start replacing my gear. My previous camera was the awesome Canon 70D. In terms of glass I was using:
The Sigma was beautiful. It was like having multiple primes in one and it hardly ever came off the camera. I’d use the 50mm 1.4 for portrait shots and the Canon 18-135, which came with the camera, hardly ever got a look in.
There was one problem though, and that was bulk. The 70D paired with the beefy Sigma 18-35 wasn’t the smallest of kits and I’ll admit that I often felt as though taking it out was a cumbersome affair. It was so cumbersome that when travelling around I’d often leave it in the hotel room unless I knew I was definitely wanting to take pictures.
The thing about a camera though is that it’s incredibly useful to always have it with you. More often than not, for me at least, the pictures I enjoy the most are the ones I took when opportunity presented itself. Not taking the camera either meant not having photos or having to put up with whatever my Galaxy S6 Edge could manage. The S6 Edge is a fine camera for a mobile phone but it really doesn’t compare to the real thing.
So armed with the knowledge that I no longer wanted something that I’d consider burdensome I did a bit of research and got hung up on two cameras, both of which are made by Olympus.
The first was the OMD EM-1 and the second was the OMD EM-5 MkII. On paper they were very similar and indeed most reviews were saying that, despite the EM-1 being the flagship, the EM-5II was its equal. I held both in my hands and the EM5II was smaller and I preferred the articulated touch screen to the screen on the EM1 – decision made.
Since first picking up the camera, I’ve been adding a few bits and pieces and my gear is now:
- Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40 F2.8 PRO
- Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150 F2.8 PRO
- Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8
- Olympus HLD-8G External Grip
- Ona Bags – The Bowery
I’ve also got the M.Zuiko 40-150 F4-5.6 as it’s incredibly small and light for what it is. It doesn’t have the low light performance or image quality of the F2.8 PRO but it performs well enough in good light that I’m thinking about keeping it.
I’m slowly starting to get better at using the camera. It feels entirely different to using the Canon 70D and in all honesty I’m not yet 100% comfortable with it. I don’t yet know how to change things quickly and am finding that I’m missing a lot of shots as a result but each time I go out with it I’m improving.
I can honestly say that if I had to choose again to make the switch from Canon to Olympus I’d definitely do it. There’s no longer any hesitation when it comes to taking the camera out – if I truly want to minimise the amount of gear I’m taking then I’ll simply take the 17mm prime and the body. Together they make a tiny and lightweight pair and I’m loving that combination for candid shots.
I’m also pretty besotted with the 40-150mm F2.8 PRO. It wasn’t cheap but wow is it an impressive lens! It’s probably the biggest lens you can buy for the Micro Four Thirds cameras at the moment (though I hear the upcoming 300mm F2.8 is going to be bigger) but even so, it’s nothing when compared to the 70-200 F2.8 offerings from the likes of Canon, Nikon, Tamron, etc and it’s got a longer focal length (in 35mm equivalence terms).
There’s a wonderful review of this lens by Robin Wong which you can check out here
There are some trade-offs moving to mirrorless, even when coming from APS-C as opposed to full frame cameras. Predominantly high ISO performance (though I’m fairly certain that as I get better so will my shots in that regard), depth of field with equivalent F stops (larger sensors just do this better) and battery life. I could get upwards of 800-900 shots on the 70D with a single battery. I’m lucky to get half of that with the EM5II so it means carrying a couple of spare batteries in my bag. Thankfully they’re tiny.
I’m looking forward to posting up pictures taken with this camera, particularly from my trip to upcoming trip to Europe next month!