Olympus OM-D E-M5 (initial reaction)

I managed to get my hands on a new Olympus OM-D E-M5 (silver edition) with the weather sealed 12-50mm lens about a week ago, and while I haven't had much time to put it through some good testing, this camera has just been so much "fun" to use I have not ben able to put it down.  The box it came in was so small compared to my other DSLR cameras, I thought they had left something out of the packaging.  As I was preparing for my daughters birthday (to be held the next day) I decided to try and abstain from using the camera and placed the battery on the charger and worked hard on party preparations occassionaly glancing at the camera that was begging me to touch it and play with it.  The thing with this camera is that it is so different, so retro in many ways that it does just beg to be played with - I suppose at times it feels like a fun toy camera.

 Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Sun Sniper Sling

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Sun Sniper Sling and 12-50mm lens

 Saturday morning came and the day of the party came, so it was time to put this camera to its real use - taking pictures and memories of a birthday girls party.  I started by using fairly much the default setup on the camera which annoyed me to no end.  I needed to customise this thing and customise it quickly - the party had started.  I wanted things to be where I could use them.  For some reason I kept hitting the exposure control with my fingers and decided I needed to swap a few settings around for the buttons and dials.  This process was so easy I really did not have to even read the manual (luckily, as I did not have time for this).  I have the Voigtlander 25mm and Voigtlander 17.5mm manual lenses so I also wanted to work out how to zoom in while using manual focus.  I found the electric view finder (EVF) of extremely good quality, though at times I would accidently put my eye up to the small flash mounted on top.  Don't ask me why this occurred - but it just did.  Often it was not necessary to even zoom in on various subjects to check focus while using the EVF. 

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12-50mm lens @ f/8

For comfort of shooting I had added the first part of the hand grip to the camera and found that it just felt better with this and really did not add too much extra weight.  My only issue really was that I was using this small, light, fun camera thinking that there is no way the quality is going to match my much bigger heavier DSLR's - how could it!  I kept thinking to myself that perhaps I should go grab the bigger camera in case I miss any of those great birthday shots.  However, I was determined to use the new camera and to trust my instinct that the photos would be of sufficient quality.  Now while it is smaller it is so much quieter to use as well.  When you press the shutter button (or tap the screen), you know a photo has been taken but it just doesn't sound like a camera shutter.  Its really just so quiet and just focuses so quickly - it really is the quickest auto focus I have ever used on a camera!  Though a word of warning - sort out how you want the camera to focus before starting to photograph an event.  Did I say how quickly this thing focuses!!!

The evening following the party I decided to edit and process a few photos with Adobe Lightroom 4.1 RC2 (they have support for the raw images even though I shot Raw + JPG).  I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality and glad I didn't grab my huge DSLR out for the birthday party.  I think I chose the right camera for this particular scenario - it was fun, small, light and not as intimidating as a large camera so you could get up nice and close and take photos while also holding a child or controlling music for a pass the parcel game.  It feels like a camera that anyone could pick up and take great photos.  I just knew from this short experience that I would need to get it out on the street and have some fun with it.  

I have posted a few teaser photos below from the street walk that I did over the next couple of days with this camera and will post a more indepth review once I get a chance to spend some serious time with this camera.

The Violinist - Olympus OM-D E-M5, 45mm, f2.0

The Roaming Busker - Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Voigtlander 17.5mm lens

Street Lunch - Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Voigtlander 17.5mm lens

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Voigtlander 17.5mm lens

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Voigtlander 17.5mm lens

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Voigtlander 17.5mm lens


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