Over the last week I have been testing a new Olympus E-M1 4:3 mirrorless camera. While I am more than exceedingly pleased with my Canon 5D3 (okay, I pretty much love it), the thought of carrying less than 1/2 the weight, size, etc. is certainly appealing to my shoulders and back. Let’s face it, the ability to pack clothes for my many traveling adventure instead of all camera gear would be kind of nice as well.
When test driving a potential new car, you need to get off the boaring dealer-established 1 block x 1 block road path to see how it really handles the corners, accelerates and brakes. Sure, it may run good in 1st gear, but what about 4th…when the engine is revving high and the tires squeal around a turn? So too it is when test driving a new camera system.
My little foster-camera has been out with me long before sunrise, on the Miami Dolphin’s field under the bright cloudless sky, to the edge of the swampy Everglades and even seen the last light of day. All in all, it has performed without a complaint, well, once we learned how to communicate. Just like that new car, the radio controls and windshield wipers are always in a different place from your everyday driver. Yep – its the same between the fits-like-a-glove controls of my 5D3 and the potentially new Olympus E-M1. After breaking the highest cardinal rule of guy-code (reading the manual…but just barely), my foster Oly and I were finally communicating and working well as a team.
This image is one of the ones I made during one of my pre-dawn local excursions. I wanted to test the noise levels in the shadows and see how it would handle the harsh contrast to the bright sun ball. A little magic in Lightroom and a very pleasing result was received. I especially like the texture in the thick cloud ceiling hanging just above the single slot for the rising sun. The tranquil lake mirrored a stunning reflection of the tree line and sunburst. The raw color data was intact to allow the true richness to be shown. One other fun fact about this image – it was taken by holding the camera high above a fence and tilting the LCD screen down so I could see my composition. This would have been much more challenging with a larger, heavier system.
While there is no single tool that will accomplish all tasks equally well, I see a mirrorless camera as the perfect companion to my already awesome full frame beast. It’s portability and versatility allow for creativity to continue, even when there is not the time or space to carry a larger brother. While I must say a fond farewell to my borrowed system, it has opened my eyes to the possibility of a new permanent addition in our home.
Photo Stuff: Single Frame, Hand-Held. Processed in LR and Topaz Clarity
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