I’ve had the Olympus E-M5 for about nearly 19 months now, and only just realized that I haven’t done a post yet on a couple of accessories that I use with it. Over the years I’ve used DSLRs and now mirrorless cameras, I’ve found that that I routinely buy the same type of accessories for each camera body that’s come along the way.
There are a lot of add-ons one can typically pick-up for one’s camera these days, and they range from those that are purely cosmetic, to those that enhance a camera’s feature set, right to those that make possible or significantly alter the conditions one takes pictures in. Here’s the current outlay for the E-M5 then, with pictures and comments on what they do, and how much of actual utility I’ve found with them.
For many enthusiasts, and interestingly also for persons new to photography, the first must-have is a system flash-unit. Olympus manufactures several flash-units for its range of cameras, but the one I picked up was a third-party unit made by a German company, Metz. The company is well-regarded for its range of flash units across a range of camera systems, and it was available on discount at Amazon some time back (around $290 including shipping here). The particular model I bought – the 50 AF-1 – light output more than exceeds my requirements, but it had the swivel range I wanted, and also offered quick flash recharge times.
That said, I haven’t used the flash unit very much at all – much preferring to take pictures in natural light as far as possible. This is a must-have though for the sit-down family portraits that I do for my family every Chinese New Year.
The Metz 50AF-1, alongside a Sto-Fen-styled flash diffuser that I picked up for cheap.
The E-M5 and flash unit in the picture above is sitting on a new Joby Gorillapod Hybrid GP2 that I bought to replace the old Gorillapod Focus. The latter’s rubberized joints had been slowly disintegrating and falling into pieces for a year now. The GP2 is sold for around $80 in Singapore, but I bought it for $64 off an eBay retailer. The new pod is much lighter at a mere 165g, and while its load capacity is just about a kg – compared to the Focus’ super-heavy duty loading of 2.5 kg – the E-M5 is also a lot lighter. The GP2 also comes with a small bubble-level, though the E-M5 ‘s built-in electronic level makes the GP2′s bubble-level extraneous.
The Joby Gorillapod Hybrid GP2. Incredibly light and also requiring less effort to twist and wrap its legs around fixtures than the Focus.
The GP2′s bubble-level. Not really necessary when the E-M5′s sitting on top it.
The E-M5 isn’t Wifi-enabled, unlike several of the newer m4/3s models – so an independent remote trigger is what I use for pictures with all four of us at home in it, and of those family portraits. Selfies are hard when you have to squeeze four persons inside a picture! The setup below is a cheapo Chinese knock-off that’s available on eBay for around $25, but works as required. It comprises several parts: a unit that’s connected to the E-M5 via a supplied cable (this unit can also trigger shots), and the remote controller itself.
The setup makes use of four AAA batteries; two each in the controller, and connected unit.
And lastly, wrist-straps. The next picture might look a little odd – it does look as though there are not one but two wrist-straps attached to my E-M5; only that one of that isn’t a wrist strap. The BosStrap piece below is actually the tail end of a a sling-strap that I use when I’m outdoors and using two cameras simultaneously, and I leave the tail there so that it’s easier to connect the main strap when I need to. I’ve got to thank our Ang Mo bud for recommending this particular string strap; it’s a lot more comfortable than the BlackRapid strap I use for my Nikon D7000!
The actual wrist-strap below is made by a local person Andy for around $25 (you get to choose the color of the strap, wrap, and O-ring), and there are also more costly options made by Gordy, which some enthusiasts feel is more premium. Gordy also offers other connector options. I’ve got and use straps made by both persons, and honestly for my rough usage, can’t see much of a difference between the two.
Andy’s camera strap. This is a must-have for me!
These leather straps will feel quite stiff when first purchased, but will gradually soften over time after usage. You can also slide the O-ring about to wrap around your wrist quite snugly.
There’s a couple of other E-M5 accessories that I’ll write about in a next post later too – basically, eye-cups, and also batteries. One last accessory that I’ve picked up for all my Nikon DSLRs that I haven’t for the E-M5 is the vertical grip. The E-M5 does have a couple of options in this regard, including the original manufacturer’s grip (which costs a bomb), and third party ones which go for much cheaper, though at the expense of features that are only found on the OEM grip. I haven’t picked up the grip for the E-M5 this time round, on account that it would have defeated the main reason why I’ve switched from Nikon DSLRs to m4/3s a couple of years ago – a large camera is just not nearly as fun to take pictures with as a small interchangeable lens camera.=)