I have been frustrated lately at the speed at which my son moves. Sadly, it’s far faster than my fingers can focus. I can’t expose and focus fast enough. I could zone-focus, yes, or I could expose early in anticipation, but that’s harder than it sounds with kids. I decided that I wanted something I could carry around with and capture the candid moments of his life with. I used to use my Nikon D700 for this, but got sick and tired of lugging that tank around and sold it.
I finally took the plunge and got back into the world of digital cameras. After unloading my trusty (and heavy) Nikon D700 and all of my F lenses, I got back into the world of Micro Four-Thirds. I had a GF1 years ago that I thoroughly enjoyed but sold after M4/3 got a bit stale as a format. After I sold it Olympus got serious about optics, and has been releasing excellent glass for their cameras for a while now. I have tried the Sony NEX-series of cameras, and even went out today to try the NEX-6 as a finalist for my new digital, but after playing with it for about an hour at Best Buy, I decided it felt more like a computer than a camera. I really wanted to like the NEX-6. I wanted it to be a good fit for me, to maybe mount my old M-mount lenses on, to have a large sensor (that is quite excellent) and a built-in viewfinder, but…it wasn’t meant to be. It’s not enjoyable to hold or use, and that means a lot. And holding the camera doesn’t have to be enjoyable, per se, but it needs to feel like a camera. I guess it’s hard to put into words, but the NEX-6 wasn’t a camera I enjoyed using.
So on to the next store to try my other finalist: the Olympus PEN series. I looked at the EP-5, but ultimately I have decided that any camera I buy has to have a viewfinder. I enjoy using them. I got into photography with an old digital point-and-shoot, but I’m over that style of camera. I don’t want to hold my camera out in front of me anymore to take a photo–though I will do so with my phone–and so I tried the EP-5. The viewfinder is nice, but mounting it on top makes the camera bulky and ugly. So, as I was about to leave I tried one last camera: the Olympus OM-D EM-5.
As you can probably guess by now, I wound up leaving with the OM-D. It’s small–far smaller than I thought it would be from photos online–but not too small. It fits in my hand, but I sure wouldn’t want it any smaller. In fact, it could be a bit larger for my taste if I’m being picky, but it’s fine. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is quite good, and the autofocus speed (AF) is blazing fast. I shot probably ~100 photos in the store and it never missed focus once, and was instantly focused. Honestly, I don’t think you could have AF be any faster unless it was predicting for you where you might want to focus. Seriously, it’s that quick. At least, for a single exposure; I’m not sure about continuous or tracking focus. Time will tell. It has a bunch of other awesome features as well, and I got a good deal on it in my local camera shop.
I picked up the kit with the zoom lens, and added the excellent (by reputation) and very tiny 45/1.8 lens. I plan on adding other lenses at some point, but this gets me started today. I’m intrigued by the 75/1.8 but put off by the cost; I like 12/2 but am also wary of the cost. There are good lenses to be had for cheaper so I’ll try to nab one of them soon. I like the Panasonic 25/1.4 and also the 14/2.5 and 20/1.7 from Panasonic. The raison d’etre of the M4/3 system is size–so anything has to be small to make sense with this body, in my opinion.
So yeah…I have an OMD now. I’m excited to try it out. I will post a lengthier reaction with my thoughts later on. For now, I’m off to shoot a bit.
(The image at the top is a jpeg straight out of the camera. Not unimpressive at all.)