Testing the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

Olympus OM‑D E‑M1 Mark II

For a while now I’ve been considering the switch to mirrorless cameras. But why? For me it’s about WEIGHT and SOUND

I travel, a lot, and while photographing events, I am carrying two huge cameras, multiple lens and flashes so my current equipment is taxing on my body, especially after week long events working 10-12 hour days. Plus dealing with larger and heavier equipment while traveling is not always the easiest thing to do, especially with airlines getting more and more strict about carry-on and checked baggage.  So at the recommendation of my friend and Olympus Visionary, Alex McClure, I am now testing out the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for a few months.

There is a ton of information out there about mirrorless cameras so I won’t get into too much detail here. The short of it is, in traditional camera’s there is a mirror that flips up and down exposing the sensor to light but mirrorless cameras, as the name implies, don’t have that.  This allows cameras to be made smaller, lighter and operate quieter that traditional DSLR cameras. The viewfinder is also different because I can ‘see’ what the sensor is seeing, allowing me to have a more true vision of the final image.

Why is weight an issue, well as mentioned above, having a lighter camera means less fatigue on my body. Plus it also requires extra equipment like monopods, heavy gauge shoulder straps and over several days will affect the stability of the camera while photographing events. I’ll do a full comparison of the weight differences in my next post.

What about the sound though? Well the mirror in traditional DSLR’s is noisy and loud, you hear the ‘click’ of the camera. Manufacturers have done what they can to soften that click but it’s still noticeable. While I’m the photographer for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, a huge no-no in the golf world is that I can’t take photographs of the golfer as they swing. Also while photographing corporate events, I can take photographs without distracting the speaker or participants. With mirrorless cameras, I can be dead-silent and take a series of photographs without the golfer or anyone else hearing me, that’s huge!

There are also numerous in-depth reviews of the Olympus E-M1 Mark II but here are a few highlights. The camera earned multiple accolades in Imaging Resources 2016 Camera of the Year Awards, including; Overall Winner as 2016’s Best Camera of the YearBest Professional Mirrorless Camera and Best High-Speed Capture Camera.

OM-D E-M1 MARK II at a glance

My first impression is that I love the weight and size savings! The Olympus is significantly lighter compared to my current camera: 48.5 ounces (Canon 1D IV) vs 20.2 ounces (28.2 ounces with additional grip)

Not only is the camera itself lighter but I’m also saving weight on the lens, the backpack, the batteries, the battery charger, etc, etc. Everything is lighter and smaller! I’m saving almost 2/3 of the weight compared to my current setup!  I’ve been inclined to leave lenses, extra bodies  behind to keep the weight down, I am comfortable taking all of my kit around with me, ensuring I don’t miss out on any shots because of not having the right equipment with me at the time. I would also say that the weight truly allows me to capture images that I would otherwise miss with a heavier set up. My goal is to carry only one bag with me when traveling.

My first couple photo sessions with the camera have been great. Here’s a few sample images (hover over the image for the shot details). I’ll have another blog post soon with more updates.

ABOUT OLYMPUS VISIONARIES: The Olympus Visionary Program’s mission is to define the state of digital imaging for the professional and advanced consumer audiences, and to grow support of digital photography, video and multimedia creation.

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