Street photography with the Olympus OMD 10

I wanted a mirrorless that is compact, durable, and ergonomic on my hand which doesn’t need those bells and whistles (like hand grips, thumb rest) to get a steady shot. Some of my previous mirrorless compacts were plasticky, flimsy and they easily wear. After researching on brands and comparing cameras, I decided to purchase the black OMD EM10 and had it imported from Japan. It's brother, the PEN F is considered one of the best street photography cameras.

I have The 14-42 3.5-5.6 pancake zoom lens which comes with the camera is just right for my street photography work. The profile of the lens is relatively small and hardly noticeable. It gets the job done when you don’t want to be obvious doing street photography.


I’m fine with the camera as is. As for the 14-42 lens, since it’s an electronic zoom, there is a certain delay when you change focal ranges. However, this delay made me realize that I should stick with a particular focal range when doing multiple frames when on the streets.



This means, when my lens is at 28mm, I’ve learned to discipline myself not to switch to 35 or 50 when I’m already doing multiple frames. This way, I don’t have to fiddle with my lens’ focal range and risk not capturing dramatic moments in the street.


The camera has a solid feel when I grip it even if it’s small. Aesthetically it looks really stylish with its retro look. On the technical side, the photo transfer using wifi is really fast and doesn’t easily get disconnected in the middle of the transfer like other brands.


Since I shift from photographing silhouettes and shadows to regular well-lit street scenes, I always needed to switch from center-weighted metering to spot metering. Although it’s just a minor inconvenience, the camera doesn’t have a function to program the metering modes to its short cut buttons for easy switching. Good think I’ve learned to navigate quickly in the menus!


Its solid body in a compact case fitted with a small unassuming zoom lens makes the OMD EM10 my current default camera when doing street photography work.



With it's small profile, I can easily get in and out of a street scene without inviting attention. I’ve never regretted buying this camera and will make it part of my personal collection.

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13 thoughts on “Street photography with the Olympus OMD 10”

  1. You’re a “poster boy” for the “it’s not the camera, is the photographer” school of thought.

    You’re pictures are seriously impressive, kudos!

    Incidentally, should you get bored of the power zoom, the “old” kit lens 14-42 is pretty darn sharp anyway (my sample gets worse at 42mm, but it still plenty usable even for landscape shots) and the zoom is manual.

    1. I also have the em10 and use the sigma 19mm art mainly. As regards the metering switch I set up a “myset” as spot metering. I then assigned the myset to the art setting on the function wheel.
      I rarely use those and as I use raw they can be applied in post on viewer 2 anyway or through the scp panel if I want to.
      this means that switching from centre to spot is just a twist ib the mode dial.

  2. Hi,
    I have the OMD10 with 14mm-42 EZ kit lens. I just cannot get on with the power zoom. I have resorted to using the Olympus 17mm F2.8 lens on the camera for most of the time. I find Olympus menus fiddly too… BUT I do like the image quality.

    Cheers Ian

  3. Love your take on ‘street’ images and also for the fact that you’re using an EM-10, my own personal choice of camera. A great camera in a small size.
    What settings are you using for your urban adventures ?
    I’ve added one of mine from last weekend in Cambridge, hope you like it.

  4. Goes to show that pixels dont make the picture, but imagination and the ability to compose & execute. Great shots and great tool for the job. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Great photos Jasper! I really like how you work with silhouettes – very inspiring. Thanks for sharing these with us!

  6. Hey Jasper, you have certainly done your homework studying photography, not just gear and putting your own to it. Really like the shots you chose here. very nice work, congrats! looking forward to see more of your stuff in the future!

  7. Julia Coddington

    Also love your take on street photography Jasper. Thanks for showing us what a great tool the EM-10 is – certainly has made street photography much more enjoyable for me. Wish it was just a tiny bit smaller and tempted to upgrade to the Mark ii for the silent shutter because I like to get up close. Love the idea of the Pen F but not the articulating screen. Here’s one of my faves from my OM-10. Thanks for sharing Jasper!

  8. Hello there Jasper,
    Certainly enjoyed the glimpse of your visual eye! Pairing your creativity with the Olympus OMD-10 and you have a winning combo!

    I do agree the Olympus menus are fiddly but I too like the camera’s low profile when prowling the streets in search of shots. Gets the job done and my full frame now collects dust most of the time.

    Hope to see more of your work here.

  9. Enjoyed this article immensely,as it’s something I have been saying for years,it’s all about the photographer and not the gear.Now don’t get me wrong,I do realize that having the right tool for the job makes a huge difference,and having a camera with a very quick AF is for me the right tool when it comes to the streets.
    The EM10 MK3 is my first Olympus,and I must say the AF is fantastic,compared to other cameras I have owned,and the kit lens on it(14-42mm)I find great.I shoot mostly between 5.6 and F8 on the streets,normally at the 14mm end(28 in 35mm terms)and the kit lens does me fine.Keep up the good work,love the images,and hope to see more of your work online at some stage.Thanks.

  10. Great images and I have recently bought the same camera and want to get out shooting street images with it. Do you shoot RAW or Jpeg. If Jpeg which of the Olympus jpeg options do you use most often and like the best ?

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