switching Part TWO

10th September 2019
Written by: Karl Robertson

Why I’m switching from full frame to micro four thirds. Why I’m switching to Olympus.

I first discovered micro four thirds when working in a camera shop in Cardiff.

I fell head over heels with the Pen F almost immediately. Incredible design, exceptional build quality, intuitive ergonomics and amazing features, but I was looking for something else…

I got myself a second hand Olympus OM-D E-M1 and was smitten.

I had a Nikon D800 sitting at home. Some of the best glass ever to grace a camera, an incredible and versatile flash system capable of shooting practically anything.. but it wasn’t shooting anything. It was sitting at home. And there was a very good reason for this.

About 2 years ago I visited London. I spent a carefree day wandering around the financial heart of the capital on a Saturday. I meandered amongst the empty street, just taking in the architecture and the history, all the quirky signs and hidden culverts that most people walk past, I had a really had a good day, photographically and for me. However, toward 5 o’clock as I travelled back at the end of my pleasant peregrination to meet with friends over a cheeky Rioja and ribs, a terrible toll was to be paid.

You see that day, I was travelling light. Nikon light.

I had with me the Nikon D800, weighing in at 1000 g (2.20 lb), the 17-35 f2.8 a mere 745 g (1.64 lb), the Nikon 50mm f1.8 at a wee 185 g (0.41 lb) and an SB700 with batteries at 450 g (15.9 oz.). Excluding bottled water, a phone and the pain killers I keep for my back a total of 2380g (2.38kg !!) or 5.38lbs. Now I realise that these aren’t huge weight if you’re working out at the gym, but if your carrying them around in a shoulder bag for 7 hours, the have a profound effect.

Normally I’d also carry the Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 AF-S a mere 1470.6g (3.39 lbs) which would make my total kit 3850.6g (3.85kg) 8.8lbs!!

So, rather than spending a pleasant evening reminiscing with friends, I spent an evening on Co-Codamol whining about my back, rather than being the jovial raconteur and international man of mystery which I pride myself on being. And that really had an impact on my photography. I rarely picked up my camera.

I can’t turn off the photographer in me. He’s always been there, always looking. Turning the mundane into art, seeing the beauty in a puddle, a reflection or a cloud. And not having a camera there to record those sightings and share them is bloody frustrating! But once I had the Olympus E-M1 Mark I that changed. I could hardly put it down!

It wasn’t purely a matter of lightness. There were other options available to me like compact cameras, but those don’t really offer the control I crave in order to be creative and express myself, the Olympus E-M1 Mark I did, and did it in spades.

If I were to replace my Nikon Kit with like to like Olympus kit, I would end with the following: Olympus E-M1 Mark I 497g (1.15lbs), the 12-40 f2.8 Pro lens 382g (13.5lbs), the 40-150 f2.8 Pro 760g (1.10lbs) and the 7-14 f2.8 Pro 534g (1.3lbs). A total of 2173g (2.17kg) or 4.12lbs.

That’s half the weight!

The best camera is always the one you have in your hand, and I couldn’t put it down. In 3 weeks I took more pictures than I’d taken in 3 years.

Next Blog.. Glass, glass, glass!!

Demonstrating the Olympus OM-D EM-1 MK1
Cardiff photographed with the Olympus EM1
This is why I love Olympus and M43. It's why I can't go back, despite the new Nikon Z6 being one of the best cameras ever made. I just dig light.
Black and white fun

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