To get to the meat of the article, Yes, it looks like a toy but it takes very good images. Done. Now, on to the details !!
I’ve been eyeing a micro four thirds camera for a while now, something between my D700 boat anchor and my iPhone. I have a Canon G11 but I hate the controls and I find the picture quality to be marginal in high contrast situations. I also despise the noise control of the G11. I’ve been hearing a lot of good things on the Olympus OM-D and a deal popped up to get the camera body, a 17mm F/ 1.8 lens, a 12-50mm zoom, a grip and the TTL flash for a good price. So I decided to go for it and pick it up.
I have to say, while it’s small, the build quality is very good. The 17mm lens has a very nice feel to it when I’m using it and the body while small in my hands, has just enough heft to keep me from thinking it’s a lomo toy camera. The flip screen is lovely but like every other LCD I’ve ever used, bright light just kills the display. But the OMD has a cool proximity sensor so when you put your face up the the viewfinder, it automagically switches from the preview screen to the viewfinder. The stabilization is to die for. I wish very much that Nikon would take a lesson and use something like this over their VR system.
I’ve added in an assortment of images that show the camera used from a moving car, bright daylight, night time and some snapshots. All the images were shot in RAW then processed in Lightroom 5 and sometimes, CC6 Photoshop.
I would not hesitate at all to shoot one of my professional sessions using this camera. I would think twice or three times about shooting a wedding with it. I find the controls to be awkward and small for my hands. I do not like the low light performance compared to a FX sensor. And there is the perception issue of using a “Consumer” camera while being paid to be a “Professional”. Yes, size does matter at times. When a bride is paying upwards of five thousand dollars for the full deal, she generally wants to see something that her mum is not shooting with.
This first gallery is using my 17mm F/1.8 lens and natural night with the camera to aperture priority.
The next gallery shows off the ability to shoot outside in bright light and handle extreme contrasts.
The final gallery shows off using the OMD at high ISO (1600) and slow shutter speeds. These were all hand held shots and you can see how sharp they are even with the slow shutter. The OM-D holds up pretty well in the noise arena but my D700 can go to ISO 3200 with less noise so for now, full frame (FX) sensors work better. This not to say the OM-D is a slouch, it’s not but it’s not up to beating a full frame camera just yet.