I was lucky to learn and appreciate at a very early stage that in order to create great imagery you have to know and love your camera. During 2012 I was an early adopter and switched entirely to micro fourth thirds technology and I can truly relate to the saying "Sometimes less is more" I have never looked back. Whilst this page may look like I have sold my right arm to fund my photography passion, Micro fourth thirds has enabled me to own a great selection of high quality glass at a fraction of the cost.
After testing the E-M1 in Dublin with Olympus I knew it was another milestone for Olympus, ergonomically it is a dream to shoot with and cosmetically it oozes style and quality. Whilst the E-M5 is still an amazing camera, with the additional added features in the E-M1 it is now my go to camera. Olympus have pushed the boundaries once again and the new EVF in the E-M1 is outstanding (seriously go and try it for yourself). I truly feel very fortunate at this precise point in time, Olympus have delivered yet another amazing OM-D which compliments it's smaller sister extremely well.
It goes without saying the E-M1 is protected from the elements being splash and freeze proof and has a range of accessories to go with it including the HLD-7 portrait grip. Olympus continues to listen to all the feedback we give them and as a result they keep delivering.
Still an amazing body and I often still use this for Urban and street work. It is available with a weather-proof kit lens which I still have and use. I additionally bought the HLD-6 grip, this comes in two parts, which I build up and break down depending on the genre of photography I am shooting. When designing this camera it is clear that Olympus invested significant time and listened to consumer feedback and as a result they are now producing amazing cameras again. like the days of the film OM bodies Olympus new line up will become a major part of the long Olympus history and I am delighted to say the OM-D and PEN line-up looks as good now as it did back then.
Adding to the amazing features of the body, Olympus has continued to release a series of fantastic prime lenses. After shooting with this camera for some time now I still have the same affection for it as the day I bought it. Technically there a few aspects of the camera that Olympus need to improve but as a result of listening to their customers they have addressed most of these in firmware upgrades.
Zoom lenses have their place and the performance of the 12-40 Pro f/2.8 is up there with any of the big full frame pro zoom lenses I have used in the past but a fraction of their size. But for me nothing will replace the optical performance and compactness of the Olympus Micro four thirds prime line-up. I will always reach for a prime over a zoom, the problem I face now is which one. Across the Olympus and Panasonic line-up we are spoilt for choice but through real life testing I personally prefer the Olympus lenses on a Olympus body.
Below is my current prime lens line-up.
Hard to believe such a small lens can produce such high quality results. the 12mm prime lens is an amazing landscape lens, oozing quality and feels great in the hand. Optically it has had plenty of glowing reports and although it is not the cheapest in the Olympus line-up if Landscape is your thing then it is a must have. Invest on glass over body.
My go to street lens (well it was until the 25mm was launched and now it is a close run). inheriting build quality from it's older brother "12mm f/2.0" the 17mm oozes quality and feels great in the hand, fast f/1.8 aperture this lens is sharp throughout the image. Once again the snap ring is a great addition and feels silky smooth to operate when manual focusing. Being extremely light and compact it comes along with me almost everywhere I go.
This is the newest edition to my bag and after owning the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 this lens had a lot to live up to. Comparing the two the Olympus is clearly significantly smaller but not as bright being f/1.8. Both lenses produce fantastic results and the Olympus had to work hard to win a place in my bag and replace the Panasonic.
The Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for Micro 4/3
My favourite portrait lens in my bag (well was until I purchased the 75mm and now they are on par for several reasons). This lens is perfect for portrait work but equally suited to other genres. It is a must buy for any Micro 4/3 owner's. Fantastically sharp lens for the price.
Simply put "I love this lens, it is my personal favourite", and whilst it has a slightly longer focal range than you may typically use everyday you soon forget about this when you start shooting with it and in fact I find myself looking for reasons to use it. Once again Olympus has produced another fantastic prime lens, the first time I picked this lens up it had a presence about it. In comparison to the other M43 lenses it has a larger face and barrel and with a wide open aperture of f/1.8 it performs amazingly well in low light conditions. Focusing is sharp and quiet and with a silky smooth manual focusing ring you won't want to put it down. I particularly love the soft round Bokeh that this lens is able to achieve.
In addition to the kit lens I have also purchased the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-150 mm lens. This is a great walk around lens enabling me to capture a wide variety of shots. Although Olympus has now released the first of it's fixed zoom lenses (12-40mm f/2.8) this lens will still remain part of my kit due to it's versatility.
In addition to the flash that came with kit, I have also purchased the Olympus FL-600R. Whilst the OM-D performs well in low light and high ISO this shouldn't be a reason not to use additional lighting "but that is a whole separate topic". What I will say at this point is that without flash there are limitations to the direction and quality of the light and this is where flashguns come into play. If you want to use it off camera the 600R as stated by the R is RC ready via infrared. In order to use the RC feature you must have the kit flash mounted on the OM-D as a trigger. First impressions of the 600 were quick recycling time and easy to navigate.
In addition to the FL-600R I have two FL-50R's, this is not because I am flash crazy "well maybe it is going that way" but the simple fact is when adding light I prefer to use flashguns over studio lighting. Whilst there has been a fair amount of discussions on the web over the similarities of the FL-600R and FL-50R, they are different beasts. The FL-50R has a higher output than the 600R and therefore to have the mix of size and power I find the 600R is far more comfortable on body, whilst the 50R has the extra power off camera and recycling time when needed. Although it may seem trivial the ergonomics of the FL-50R is far better than the 600R. What I mean by this is there is a nice big dial to increase or decrease power without having to think to much.
A bit of an impulse buy as they look awesome on the OM-D. Since owning them they haven't missed a beat, they do what they say on the tin.
After trying a few different brands of modifiers, I kept getting drawn to Damian's 36" modifier. Whilst not cheap it is true what they say, you get what you pay for. There are several reasons I love this modifier, it is quick and easy to erect, extremely strong but light, it collapses flat, there a host of accessories to shape the light and it light's your subject beautifully.
After using Damian's 36" modifier for sometime I have been extremely impressed by the quality, versatility and durability. But for everyday use I was looking for a smaller softbox, a one piece system allowing for instant pop-up, whilst still retaining strength. After researching I came across the Westcott Rapid Octabox range and instantly invested in one. For anyone not sure about what light modifier to invest in then think no more and go and buy one of these you will not be disappointed.
This light modifying kit is amazingly versatile and great for effect lighting. Whilst I am sure the Large flash bender panel with diffuser can produce great results as a main light, I generally use this kit in addition to my main light. The panels and Honeycomb are well built and can be shaped and sculpted to produce unique lighting effects.
This is now my day bag of choice as it is perfect for my Olympus OM-D's and lenses. It is a messenger style bag with a modern twist. Highly recommended for a M43 cameras!
Whilst my kit in total is relatively small, My Crumpler is a day bag. The StreetWalker form ThinkTank allows me to take all of my equipment on location.
Awesome light weight bag but still offering sufficient protection. I carry 3 light stands, 2 x Octaboxes, 3 x flashguns and a variety of light modifiers in this bag.
The only sensor/ Lens cleaner I have ever needed!
A beautiful screen, which displays images clean and crisp.
My travel companion for when I am on the road, although I have to admit I am waiting for the launch of the new Mac Book Air 12" retina, which will hopefully be summer of 2014. Everything Apple is good to me!
Too many to mention but the two I mainly switch between are:
Sandisk Extreme PRO 95MBS 32GB SD Cards – WATERPROOF, SHOCKPROOF AND FAST!
Sony UHS-1 PRO 94MBS 32GB SD Cards – WATERPROOF, SHOCKPROOF AND FAST!
Got to have someplace to store all of these images! Very nice drive that I can trust. Without a doubt the best back-up device (in my opinion) just a shame Apple do not make the Time Machine with redundant drives! and for that reason I invested in a Synology NAS.
Well it was until Apple decided to stop developing it. I now find myself migrating over to Lightroom, but I still find the workflow of Apple Aperture quicker but I am sure that is just a matter of time.