E-M1 Mark ii – Game changer for micro four thirds

I have used quite a lot of camera’s in the digital era. I checked my library and this is the list I came up with. Most of them are consumers cameras.

For pro level camera I have tried  D3s from friends. And the D500 and tried Sony’s, Fuji’s and Canon in stores. There are few that stood  out in the first try  D60, Panasonic LX-1, iPhone 4, E-P2, LX-100, D700, D500 and R-7s ii.

Why a Pro Camera

Since I am not pro photographer, I never thought I would need a pro camera. I usually  go for the cheapest camera with the same sensor, that’s the reason I bought FM-10 as first camera. Only problem, I was the only one who take good pictures in that full manual body.

I frequently used Nikon’s D3000 series, then D5000 series and then the D7000, and the similar Canon’s as well. I started seeing the short comings in the lower priced body, slower auto focus, only one dial to make changes, not easy to compensate the exposure. Need to look at the back menu, to make the changes. Very tough in dark settings. Then I started using D700, every control I wanted to make is there and is easily accessible. I tried D3s, it was in different level, though a great camera, I didn’t like they bulkiness of the body.

Same with the Olympus, tried E-P series, E-PL and the E-M5’s. Realized the shortcoming in E-PL, but preferred the builtin E-M5’s with view finder. I started with m4/3 mainly for the smaller body, but realized I actually need smaller lenses. Hence continued with m4/3 and not much interest in the smaller Sony FF’s due to the bulkiness of the lenses.

Now on to E-M5 Mark ii, Do I even need a  Pro level camera…

First thing.., the price. Is it even worth it, that was the biggest question I had in mind before I decided buy this camera. I was happy with Pen-F and from the review IQ is just marginally better any way. What do I get for extra grand and do I even need that for my shooting style.

What I liked in this camera..

E-M1 Mark II First Impression

The default layout is really good. With out taking the eye of the view finder or going to menu I can change,

  1. Exp/ Shutter / Compensation
  2. ISO/ White Balance
  3. Focus Point/ Focus Area/ Focus type
  4. Magnify (Fn2)
  5. One touch white balance
  6. Multiple shot, Timer function
  7. Focus area, Focus type
  8. Exposure Modes

Then there are many great specs. 60 fps, 15fps. All he specs means nothing unless it helps in my normal shooting.

Let me share my experience with the camera for the last few months in various shooting scenarios and why I think this camera with the lens combo is the Goldilocks camera.

Indoor party at night time , no flash.

I had both camera’s at hand D810 with 24-70 f/2.8 and E-M1 ii with 12-35 f/2.8. I was alternatively shooting both the cameras, but didn’t find any advantage with the D810, since most of them are small group of people I had to go to f/4 to have enough DoF,   where as with m4/3 I continued to shoot at f/2.8 with out concern for shallow DoF.

I choose just to continue with E-M1 for most of shots, since  these photos are just going to be shared online and not really going to be printed. Most of the photos are shot at 1/60sec with few pushed unto 1/125s when the kids are moving fast, So my ISO stayed between ISO 1600 and ISO 3200. With Nikon FF my shots were at ISO 2500 to ISO 6400. For online viewing I couldn’t differentiate between the shots.

Advantage of Handheld continues shooting with for group photos

Though E-M1 ii had high frame rate of 60 frames per second, since the focus is going to be fixed, I wondered what’s going to be real use of it.

I found the use for group photo. When I had to pose 20+ people for a group photo, I just did the continues shooting and easily I could find the frame when everyone is looking properly, Even if I had to merge to photos to pick the good looking shots of each person, I can easily do it as the frames are shot so fast and all are in the same spot.

Previously this was never possible, even if I shoot with stand people move little bit, and has to preview ask people to pose for multiple shots, it’s like 5-10 minute exercise. With this high speed shooting, I just asked them pose, took batches of 30+ shots, did a quick review of each person eye at least in one of the shots. Done in couple of seconds.

In Skating Ring.. 15 frames per second with continues focus

Though I can shoot 15 frames per second with focus, this is not perfect, as there is  dirty fibre glass between the lens and subject, not all the shots were in perfect focus. But was able to keep 7-8 shots in focus.

It may not be sufficient for a pro sports photographer, for what I shoot for kids events this is perfect, I can take a a full raw image which I can blow up and print with the motion perfectly in focus.

I tried with C-AF and S-AF, I felt conformable with single A-F when I lower the fps to 7 shots, I got almost everything perfectly in focus.

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Next week, will complete the review in following areas..

Indoor School Drama..

City skyline in blue hour

Nighttime city skyline

Outdoor full Sun on Memorial Day

Summary and Advantages with the Pro Camera..

Why I think E-M1 ii is the Goldilocks camera


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