[H]ere are some findings, thoughts and reflexions on having an OMD for 9 months. As you will see our Facebook status is “It's complicated”
I usually never get exited about new cameras, I usually look and move one. One exception for this was the Olympus OMD. I had the original Olympus PEN E-P1 and had a pretty much bad experience with it. I did not like the IQ at all beyond a certain ISO and changing the settings was awkward. When Olympus made its pre launch campaign, I jumped on the boat and actually preordered it.
Why the OMD attracted me
I use to be a DSLR guy, until I discovered mirrorless cameras, how small and compact they are yet with great quality. The OMD was going to be my DSLR replacement for more commercial work.
I jumped when I saw this, I only knew of DSLRs having this kind of speed, and most of them tipped beyond the 1G price point.
– Ultra fast AF
Finally a camera that could keep up with rapidly changing situations
– Integrated EVF
Those came optional on most mirrorless cameras
– Double dials
For me, a serious camera must have the double dials, one for shutter speed and the other for aperture
– Double battery grip
One of the big reasons I jumped on the OMD was because of the grip. When doing a wedding or something, one battery will not last you, two or even 3 batteries are necessary. The OMD was the only mirrorless camera that had a battery grip and was a huge factor in me buying the OMD. I must say that if I knew the price, I might have held off the purchase.
– 1080p video
I don't do video, but having such capability is always useful.
9 months later and loving it
What I really love about the OMD is what I hoped the Samsung NX was: A small DSLR. I think this ad says it all:
The OMD has the looks, the specs and everything else to compete in the big boys league. I bought it to be a DSLR replacement (Had a Pentax K20D) and it sure does the job very well, I don't break a sweat at events knowing that I have good, sharp glass, killer AF and good low light IQ. It successfully bridges the gap between the traditional mirrorless cameras (average – good enough ISO, AF and FPS) with higher end DLSRs (High FPS, GreatISO performance, Fast AF, Double battery, etc). For me and my purposes (speaking of commercial stuff) it makes DSLRs obsolete.
It doesn't matter if the body has good specs, if there is no good glass in front of it, the output will suck. What I really like with the whole m43 system is the low cost of good prime lenses. I come from a background of the lens lust inducing Pentax Limited lenses, and I love sharp lenses. Each “Limited” lens would circle around at least $600, and with that money you can get (albeit used) an Olympus 45 1.8 and a Panasonic 20mm 1.7 for m43. These lenses are small and sharp, couple with the high AF of the OMD it's wining theme.
I love this camera, it is small and packs a huge punch, it has great Image Quality and is able to do some serious work.
In 9 months we fought a couple of times
But as I love the OMD, I also hate it. The first thing that gets in the way of my love is the interface, I believed it would grow on me but no. The slippery grip still feels weird, and the optional grip should have been included in the entry price. I am still not used to the mushy buttons and even less the on-off switch. But this is more than an aesthetic problem for me, I still do not TRUST the camera like I should. So far the interface still gets in the way of my vision, making me sometimes miss my focus or steal my attention too long. Sometimes I focus directly on the ye only to find out later in Lightrrom that the ears are in focus. Sometimes in Single servo mode, I focus and recompose, only to find later that my focus changed. I know this is a reliable camera but it still does not want to open up to me!
One thing I found, it is that when your battery is running extremely low, something weird happens. The camera does not turn off, you can actually take pictures but these will have a sort of solarisation effect on them. I like this because you can squeeze some shots on extra low battery but do not like it because it might create nasty surprises when reviewing.
One gripe I have is with some of the m43 lenses. I love / hate them too. They are absolutely GREAT lenses, but geez some of the are wimpy and plastic looking! This has a psychological effect on me that they are toy lenses. I can't take my 45mm 1.8 seriously because of this! Of course this has nothing to do with Image Quality but I creates a barrier for me to fully trust the camera. Just compare the 45mm 1.8 with the 40mm 1.4 Voightlander lens and you will understand what I mean.
The OMD is an absoletely great camera, and I know we can do good together, but it will take time. Until I can learn to bypass the interface and know the inner workings of the camera I will not trust it enough to fully love it. I know this camera has the potential, it has the “stuff”, but these are only available to those who take the time to master it like any other camera. For some reason I feel like the OMD is here to stay, as in even if an OMD2 was to come out, it will still have a great following. I love my OMD and will work on compensating for the shortcomings because this camera is worth mastering.