Back in December 2013, I spent the night in Sydney with AskMen, Olympus and about 30 other photography enthusiasts and professionals testing out the newly released Olympus Micro 4/3 camera, the OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm PRO lens.
The evening started with me just introducing myself and meeting with people from AskMen, Olympus and some of their friends that gathered to attend this event. We settled on the balcony talking everything photography with a couple of prohibition-era whisky cocktails provided by Chivas Regal . I am not usually a spirit drinker but I took the plunge and Chivas provided me with a beautiful new drinking experience. My only issue was that it went down way to smooth and much too quickly. Obviously that is a typical beginner’s mistake but at least I got to test out the highly regarded 5 axis stabilisation of the OMD.
Some chose to take a break from photography and sit back in the hot seat with a cut throat treatment provided by Rose from Wicked Hair Salon.
There was a competition going throughout all of this with the best picture to win the Olympus flagship OMD E-M1. This was such a teaser as I knew I did not have the knowledge to win it. However, I concentrated on putting the camera through its paces and having some fun with the studio setup and installations. Given there were other more seasoned photographers I concentrated on odd angles for that point of difference just in case a lucky snap created magic.
So after a couple of cocktails, Olympus in their wisdom loaned us their latest flag ship OMD E-M1 with 12-40mm Pro lens for the night.
I was impressed immediately as it feels like a sturdy pro-built body and with the inclusion of the side grip provides a much nicer feel than the E-M5. So with camera in hand I made myself familiar with the dials and functions and started shooting. I traditionally shoot in both RAW and JPEG formats however, we were only provided with a small SD card so I set the images to JPEG only and commenced shooting. I played with controls shooting in Manual, Aperture (as I always shoot), Shutter priority and got carried away with the grainy black and white art filter. I forgot that I turned off the RAW setting and therefore a lot of my shots ended in grainy black and white.
With the 12-40mm 2.8 PRO lens attached I did notice there was a considerable difference in weight to my usual set up (EM5 with 17mmor 45mm 1.8 prime lens). However, it is much lighter than this standard of SLR and the extra weight was easily justified with easier control, better access to dials and a noticeable improvement in low light auto focusing ability.
“Is the improvement of the OMD E-M1 over theE-M5 worth the upgrade?”
If you can afford the upgrade and desire better ergonomics, WiFi capability and superior focusing go for it and you will not be disappointed. The E-M1 takes the E-M5 into an advanced or even professional level. The phase and contrast focus detection and ability to shoot with Micro 4/3 lenses as well as 4/3 glass make it so much more flexibly than the E-M5. I believe this will capture a whole new audience for Olympus.
However, this photo shoot was a brief affair for me with the OMD E-M1 as the kind hearted Claire Porter won the camera with a very elegant portrait. I will share this if Claire allows me to in the near future.
Unfortunately, I cannot justify the purchase in my financial position. However, my scratched and bruised OMD EM-5 still does an amazing job and is capturing all my moments with ease. I can continue to ramble with all the specs and its differences however this is not a review and I believe the best real time review is provided by Steve Huff who declared this camera as the 2013 release of the year.
I must close this post with a big thanks to AskMen, Olympus, Chivas Regal, BREITLING, and M.J. Bale on putting on a great night that demonstrated their innovation, professionalism and their fun side. Well done. The night is captured in full the highlights video by AskMen click here.
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