Why my Olympus E5 Mark 2 is the best
I have to be completely honest. I know next to nothing about cameras despite "being into photography" for the past couple of years. What I mean specifically is that I know nothing about cameras that aren't my Olympus E5 M2 apart from a ridiculously expensive Fuji GFX 50S which isn't mine. So how exactly did this all this happen?
2 years ago when I was looking to get into photography I did some basic research. I'd had a couple of point and shoot cameras but I wanted my first real camera. I wanted one that could be set to manual mode and aperture mode as they sounded like something I would need if I wanted to become a photographer one day. It also had to be dust proof, splashproof and tough as I'm not the most delicate or careful person and I tend to throw things around and travel in dusty places.
I happened to come across a review in The Age about these smaller, new mirrorless (whatever that meant, I thought at the time) cameras and this one was mentioned as being quite a good one. I looked it up, thought it looked really cool, read a few reviews which seemed favourable and off I trotted to the camera store with the Mrs, took a few snaps of Bourke st, reckoned they looked alright and came away with a funky retro- style camera with the 12-40mm PRO lens which I thought sounded quite professional.
So what have I learned about my camera and others since? Well, It looks really cool and lots of others thinks so too. Although this doesn't affect the function of the camera it does make for some interesting conversation. Some people have thought it looks like an old film camera which maybe makes them think I actually know what I'm doing since I may have been doing this for ages... gotcha!!
It certainly is tough. I had it stored in the side pouch of my camera bag which I had thoughtlessly left open and when I swung the bag onto my shoulder like a sack of potatoes the camera and lens flew out at high speed and hit the floorboards skittleling across it like a bowling ball trying to score a strike against the skirting boards. Nervously I picked it up, turned it on, took a few snaps and thought geez that was close! No damage done.
My whole kit is pretty robust actually. Recently I was swapping lenses while walking (really shouldn't be attempting two complex tasks at once) and dropped my Laowa lens onto the concrete as part of the pre show entertainment for some punters waiting outside Luna Park. After it bounced loudly a couple of times and rolled away, I picked it up and once the nausea had settled, bolted it on and took a few snaps and - magic! No harm done. Now, I wouldn't recommend trying this at home, it's enough that I did!
Size or lack of it, was also its major selling point. Being mirrorless (yes I know what that means now) means that it's about 2/3 smaller than a full frame Nikon or Canon. The last thing I wanted was a massive plastic looking giant camera with a huge lens that screamed tourist or full on professional wherever I went, particularly as its first outing was to India. Being smaller means it's lighter as well and while many of my friends have huge set ups with massive camera bags that weigh as much as a 5-year-old, I often cruise around smugly as my equipment mostly fits into the side pouch of my bag leaving the majority of the bag for fun stuff like sandwiches, cake and a coffee flask. I've even managed to cobble together a super light kit for long exposures which could almost fit into a handbag.... if I ever carried one.
While these practical features add to its desirability you may be wondering about image quality because apparently it's not all about appearances here. Again, I think it's holding up pretty well. I've blown images up to 160cm x 120cm and the resolution and noise have been remarkably good. My only head to head comparison was with a mates Canon 5D Mark 2 and it blew it out of the water. I felt sorry for him that day as he grasped the enormity of the realisation that his older but more expensive Canon had just been smacked down. I guess if I ever want to enlarge images the size of a house I might need to borrow that Fuji GFX again. More on that terrifying experience later.
Apart from great prints, the other fantastic aspect for a beginner was the Live Time feature which allows real time viewing of an exposure during long exposures. It was the ability to do this easy version of LE that got me hooked and although I now can calculate exposures, it no doubt fast tracked my interest in this genre. So all in all I'm happy with my initial uneducated choice and one day I may actually hold a Canon or Nikon and wonder if I need it but it won't be for a while yet.