Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mirrorless Olympus OMD M 5 first impressions

I started looking at other cameras after lugging my most beloved and excellent Nikon D5200 around earlier this year in a sweet little sling pack.  
I love hiking and I took the time to hike Wildcat Mountain's Old Settler's Trail and Hemlock Trail.

There are some reviews of these trails that call the somewhat difficult.  Other reviews come them quite difficult.

Since I am now a 'native' of the area after living here 20 years, I am used to our hills and steep valleys.  It makes going to a place that is flat and well groomed rather boring.

However I missed the days when I had only a pocket camera and hiked.  Lugging the extra gear for those awesome shots took some of the joy away from the hike itself.

I have a fairly lightweight Olympus E 420.  They don't make them any more, but after over 10K clicks, I am wondering when it will give up the ghost.
I started by just browsing around and looking at mirrorless cameras.

Fuji makes an excellent one and I was lusting after the Sony a6000.  I even looked at Nikon.  Then I looked at the Olympus OMD M 5.  It is fashioned a bit like a retro film camera and looks very similar to the Olympus OM1 made in 1972. 

I had a Minolta XD similar to this one as one of my very first cameras.
I was able to take some excellent photos with this camera and enjoyed the fact that I had to figure out exposures.
This one is of my youngest son on the first day of school in 1990.

I did enjoy photography 'back then' and was pretty careful about figuring out exposures, settings, film speed, aperatures and the best lighting.

My sons playing with our pygmy cross goats.

Well imagine the nostalgia of finding this camera as a digital mirrorless camera.
Oh how I lusted after the OMD M1 when it first was introduced in 2013.  A weather proof camera?  Light?

I recall turning to my husband and saying. "I want that!"

The first OMD M 5 ran about $1,499.  Ouch, too rich for me.  But one can still hope right?
I found that this model was being 'discontinued' and replaced by a new model.
The price had dropped!  And I ordered it from B&H Photo. I will plug them ... I've never had an issue with B&H and they make sure their packages are signed for.
I've always had great quality items from lens caps to filters to lenses and cameras.

Off I went with snowshoes along the Old Settler's Trail.

You are here
This is was fairly demanding even on a groomed trail.  In places it was slippery.  But the lightweighted backpack made it much more of a pleasure.

Foot bridge

This is the foot bridge over a steep gully.  The OMD has a touch screen for focus and shooting.  The screen in back can tilt so you can get as low as you want without trying to break your neck.

It also has an electric view finder, which I didn't like at first and by the end of the day and the hike I turned it off and used the back screen only.

I found I was able to set up photos quickly with the menus once I figured them out.
Lines and angles

The bright snow and the deep shadows produced some difficulty in getting a correctly exposed shot.  I was able to change the metering and adjust for this after some experimenting.

The white balance was more accurate in RAW or .ORF format and slightly blue tinted in .jpeg.  Overall though it was comparable to my other cameras.

I decided on the way home to stop at Winchell Valley Bridge over the Kickapoo River and see if I could get some slightly longer exposures and how easy would the manual selection work?

 ISO 200, f22, 1/6 second

4X ND filter

Both of these shots were taken at the same exposure.  I set the camera on the rail of the bridge and flipped up the back screen and simply touched where I wanted the main focus to be.

Easy peasy.  I felt like I was cheating.

It only took 3 hours for me to decide that I absolutely love this camera and will be taking it on most of my hikes.
I do have yet to try a few more things.
How will it preform with a macro image?  The lens is a 12mm-50mm lens.  I went with this lens because it also is rubber sealed and weatherproof.

I may end up adding a prime at some point.

My other test will be a few shots with an Infrared filter.
And a long exposure...long long exposure.  This camera allows you to watch your shot expose on bulb shots.
You can set it to update the image to your specifications.

That sounds totally cool.

Happy shooting!

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