Moving Toward Mirrorless Camera

It’s inevitable that a mirrorless camera is in my future. I shot with Nikon film cameras for 15 years. Then I moved to Canon for digital SLRs and have been happy for 16 years. Will I make a brand shift when I go to mirrorless?

The nice folks at Olympus were kind enough to send me an OM-D E-M1 Mark II to test. (Thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Camera & Video for your help!) This camera retails at $1,699 with a 20.4 megapixel sensor and 15 frames per second shooting. Check, check, and check on price, file size, and shooting speed.

There were some other features that were intriguing. The camera can shoot 60 frames per second is silent mode which would be amazing for birds. It has in-camera focus stacking and in-camera time lapse. Both of these are important to me.

I’ve used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II for a week and here are my initial impressions. (Check back tomorrow for more.)

  • Weight — Let’s get that out of the way first. I thought there would be more difference.
    • 4.9 lbs OM-D E-M1 Mark II with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
    • 4.9 lbs Canon 5D Mark IV with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
    • 4.7 lbs Canon Rebel T6i with 300mm lens & 1.4x teleconverter
  • Size — Smaller than my DSLR camera by an inch.
    • 5-inches wide by 2.25-inches deep on the Olympus
    • 6-inches wide by 3-inches deep on the Canon 5D Mark IV
    • 5-inches wide by 3.25-inches deep on the Canon Rebel T6i

Set-up — I wasn’t looking forward to this step. I’ve taught photography for 25-years and know Canon and Nikon cameras well. The Canon R was intuitive right out of the box. Sony, Olympus, and Fuji tend to put things in different places and call them by different names.

The OM-D E-M1 forced me to go to the user’s manual. I was able to get the camera set to my liking with the help of the manual. Dials and Fn buttons have to do double duty since the camera body is smaller.

Once I got the camera set-up to my liking, the features I needed were easy to reach and adjust. ISO, exposure adjustment, focus points were at my finger tips and I could shoot.

But — What about the picture quality? So far, I’m impressed.

Check back tomorrow for more about this camera and the OM-D M1X. Once again, thanks to Gary Farber at Hunt’s Photo & Video for your help with this loaner.

Travel Tip — Be Neat

Travel Neat

I’ve learned over the years that airline employees seem to ignore “neat” travelers.  The employees at the check-in counter and gate seem to look right past a passenger with a small backpack and legal-size roller bag.  Every business traveler has that small backpack and roller bag.  For females, sometimes it’s that stylish tote and roller bag.  My camera gear now mimics the business look so I don’t standout during check-in or at the gate.

I carry all my camera gear in a Think Tank Roller Derby camera bag when I travel. The bag is clean and efficient so it gets me on the plane with no hassles.

Several years ago I arrived at the check-in counter and saw four women with all their photography gear spread out on the airport floor.  Their carry-ons were huge, gaudy, plastic grocery shopping bags loaded with individual pieces of camera equipment plus pillows, blankets, candy, etc.  The check-in counter staff had rejected the carry-ons because each was over-weight and didn’t meet size regulations.  Yep, the ladies were going to be part of my group. I slipped past them and waited for them past security at the gate.  When the ladies arrived at the gate their gaudy plastic shopping bags were a bit more under control but the gate staff gave the grief again before boarding the plane.  By the time we reached our destination one lady had already lost a laptop.

After that incident I started noticing that airlines employees notice things out of the ordinary.  Airline employees notice floppy, dangling straps.  They notice a bag that’s too heavy to lift.  They notice a huge backpack.  My strategy is to blend with the crowd of frequent fliers and get on the plane with all my gear.

My travel neat philosophy also applies to my checked bag.  TSA is going to scan and maybe open your checked bag.  That’s just the way it is.  My checked bag has my clothes on the bottom in small travel cubes called Lugs.  Anything hard, like my tripod or toiletry bag is on top of the clothes.  I put all non-essential camera gear in a bag on top of the clothes.  The scanner is going to show my tripod, shutter release, flash, etc., so why not let the inspectors have easy access.  I’d rather show the contents on top versus hide those things under my clothes.  This way the inspectors can get in my bag, see what they need to see, and get out of my bag.