I wonder sometimes if I suffer from minor GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome – a descriptor used among photography enthusiasts who love their photographic hardware as much, if not more, than taking pictures. I do take a lot of pictures at least, even if in the last year or so now, I’ve refrained from posting as many photos of our kids as before, due in large part to my wanting to increasingly guard their privacy as they grow older.
I was again tempted by the larger sensor serious enthusiast models, including the Fujifilm X series (the Fujifilm X-T1), and even Sony’s full-frame Alpha series cameras (the A7 Mark II), both of which were at price-points that were broadly within my budget. But I ended up staying again with the m4/3s family for multiple reasons: that neither of the two other camera systems are still offering lenses with the same breadth or depth as m4/3s, that their lenses are for the most part more expensive and heavier, and finally, the generally more shallow depth of field in the m4/3s system also meant that their cameras are routinely more forgiving of focusing errors than say the full-frame systems.
The Olympus E-M1 is widely regarded as Olympus top-dog m4/s camera that is designed for serious enthusiasts and even professional photographers. The camera is a little long in the tooth now, it being announced more than 2 years ago, but pundits still estimate that it’s a year away from being surpassed by the expected second iteration in the line. I’ve had the E-M5 for almost 3.5 years now, and thought long and hard if I should go for the next-up model this year. The E-M1 uses fundamentally the same sensor as the E-M5, but is otherwise very different in build quality, usability, the absence of a low pass AA filter, and overall performance.
The E-M1, alongside the M. Zuiko 12-40mm f2.8 ‘kit’ lens – though this lens is anything but ‘kit’ in quality, goes for around S$2.5K in recommended retail price, and about S$2.25K street price. Ouch. I got lucky finding a nominally used set from someone who bought the set 2 months ago and had barely used it, with a shutter-count of less than 200. I picked it up for S$550 less than street-price for what is really a near-mint set. Good bargain!
The E-M1 makes it the fifth m4/3s cameras I’ve picked up – four are still in possession, and incredibly, all models from Olympus. The E-M5 is wonderfully light and still offers DSLR-styled handling. So, even though the E-M1 offers function that includes all of the E-M5’s (maybe besides size and weight) and then some, I’m thinking of keeping the E-M5 as a second body for primes when I’m asked to do the occasional event photography at work. The E-PL6‘s rangefinder-esque form factor makes it also a joy to shoot, especially using touch-screen AF and shutter release. Coupled with the 14mm f2.5 pancake lens or the 17mm f1.8 (pictured above), the camera makes for a discrete photography tool that I can fish out in public faces like NTUC Fairprice and not feel too conscious!
Impressions of the E-M1 against the E-M5 in the next post.:)