Steven Brokaw Photography

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Photowalk with an Olympus OM-D E-M1



I got to take this little beauty for a test drive yesterday evening.  Roberts Camera in downtown Indianapolis hosted a photowalk sponsored by Olympus.  I've done a couple of these photowalks before, and they are always fun.  The best part of the walk is that the Olympus regional rep brought cameras for everyone to try.  I checked out the OM-D E-M1. 

I was curious to see how the Olympus handled & performed.  As you probably know I use full frame Nikon kit for my studio work, and until recently used a DSLR for my street work.  For street photography I wanted to go a little stealthier, so I moved from the DSLR to a FujiFilm X-20.  I love that little guy, but decided I needed to upgrade to a micro 4/3 or an ILC with an APS-C sensor.  I bought a Sony Alpha A6000. 

However, I looked at the Olympus line, but at the end decided to go with the Sony line.  Absolutely no knock on Olympus or other manufacturers.  So in a way, this walk was an opportunity to see what I missed. 

Thought I would give you my impressions of the EM-1.  Please be aware, this ISN'T a product review.  There are lots of other blogs and reviews out there that have fully reviewed the EM-1.  This is simply my impression based on 1 walk.  For a side by side, I also brought my A6000. 

First impression - it's sturdy.  This is not an inexpensive feeling camera.  For approximately $1,300 US you are getting a substancially built piece of kit.  I used the f/2.8 12-40mm lens which is a good focal range for street.  Plenty bright.  So with that here are my observations:

> Lots of buttons and dials.  My impression is that the camera looks cluttered.  Several dials and buttons on the top of the camera and on the back. 

> I noticed a very slight shutter lag in single frame mode.  This is compared to my Nikon DSLR (really not a fair comparison), and my Sony A6000. 

> I constantly changed the single focal point (I set it to center focus point so I could focus & recompose) by hitting the right arrow button on the back of the camera.  If there is a way to lock the center focus point I couldn't find it. 

> The menu is well laid out and easy to navigate.  I had no problems finding the primary functions

> The adjustable monitor on the back is easy to view even in bright light.  My A6000 sucks in bright light

> The on/off button is on the wrong side of the camera.  What gives with this? 

> Another personal observation, but the camera felt off balanced in my hand.  The grip is very deep, but it just felt off

> The burst mode is SUPER fast and focused on every shot on 3 tests I did

> The ART filters are hipsterish, but they were fun

> Image quality is solid

Overall, a fun / solid camera.  Anyone looking for a DSLR replacement or a top end micro 4/3 should give this a look. 

Thanks to Roberts for a well run photowalk and to Olympus for letting us play with their kit. 

Model Emily Gregory

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