6 Months with Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

July 05, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Well, it's been a full 6 months since I started (nearly exclusively) using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II so I thought I'd share some of my thoughts for those of you considering make the jump. In short: Do it!

I'm flagging topics in this post in case you want to jump to what interests you. Each of these probably could have been their own blog post, and may be someday if anyone wants me to go over certain topics more thoroughly.

Why I Switched (and has it validated those reasons)

Weight (Yes) - Waterproof (Yes) - Wallet (Yes) - Wifi (sorta)

Set Up I Have

2 OM-D E-M1 Mark II Bodies - 7-14mm f/2.8 - 12-40mm f/2.8 - 25mm f/1.2 - 40-150mm f/2.8 - 300mm f/4

What I've Covered

Football - Basketball - Soccer - Ice Hockey - Baseball - Golf - Tennis - Water Polo - 

Thailand - Wedding - Event - My Own Engagement Photos - My Own Headshot

What Has Surprised Me (in a good way)

Supercontrol Panel - The Rotating LCD screen - Customization - Lens quality - 

What's Left to Be Desired (firmware and hardware)

ISO - Manual/Autofocus Lens Switching - Wifi Connection Limitations aka come back EyeFi!! - 

Tips

Get fast SD cards - Facial Recognition - C-AF v C-AF+Tracking - 

Set Up I'd Recommend

OM-D E-M1 Mark II - 12-40mm f/2.8 - 40-150mm f/2.8 - ThinkTank Roller Derby

Things I'm Looking Forward To

LED Lighting - 

Things I'm Still On the Lookout For - Suggestions Please?

Faster SD wifi cards - Better Olympus App - Better Website

 

 

Why I Switched (and has it validated those reasons)

Weight (Yes) - Whether I'm running up and down a sideline all day or letting cameras hang from me for hours during an all day wedding, my gear is no longer weighing me down. I'm not taking off my cameras at the end of the day and needing to lay flat on the couch/ground a few minutes to try and straighten out. I know SO many photographers who have back problems, many who have had surgeries that don't necessarily help. It's not about being strong and being able to lift these cameras, it's about the dead weight that hangs from your shoulders when the cameras aren't actively in use.

Waterproof  (Yes)- Kyle Terada once said, if he won the lottery, he would never put rain gear on his cameras again. Or you could spend less on your cameras and just not need rain gear. *Note Most of the PRO lenses are weathsealed but not ALL of the Olympus line is weather sealed.

Wallet (Yes)- The price of canon (combined with the way the sports industry is going) made me know it would take YEARS to get the return on investment for a new 200-400mm or even just upgrading to the newer 300mm. Olympus is MUCH more reasonably priced. Not for the hobbyists who view camera gear as a fun expense, but for the professionals who view camera gear as a business expense that needs to be justified by the work you create with it.

Wifi (Sorta)- It's in camera and you don't need a transmitter, camranger, or WiFi enabled card, but it isn't yet as good as it could be.

 

Set Up I Have

2 OM-D E-M1 Mark II Bodies - 7-14mm f/2.8 - 12-40mm f/2.8 - 25mm f/1.2 - 40-150mm f/2.8 - 300mm f/4

 

What I've Covered

Football - Basketball - Soccer - Ice Hockey - Baseball - Golf - Tennis - Water Polo - 

Thailand - Wedding - Event - My Own Engagement Photos - My Own Headshot

 

What Has Surprised Me (in a good way)

Supercontrol Panel - I was very concerned about being able to re-program a button so that I could easily switch ISO along with my thumb spin as aperture and pointer finger spin as shutter. While I figured out a fast and easy way to program this, I find myself more often than not, still using the super control panel. Also quickly using it to adjust white balance, my focus point, and just everything the super control panel offers

The Rotating LCD screen - This is a game changer. I like it for a photographic purpose, being able to see what you are getting without bringing the camera to your eye, be it quickly switching to your wide as the play comes at you, holding it above a huddle, or keeping your camera angle low without having to be laying stomach down on the ground along with it. I like it for a practical purpose which is being able to flip it closed while it's in my bag or bouncing along my hip on a hike without worrying about damaging the screen. And I like it for a silly purpose which is how great it is for taking timed selfies!

Customization - Everything can be customized. Whatever the button reads, it not what the button has to be. I forget how many of the settings I have customized until I go grab an older body EM-1 that I never customized and realize aperture and shutter dials are reversed.

Lens quality - A camera body is only as good as the available lenses. No matter how great the sensor is, if the lens isn't fast it won't focus in time and if the lens isn't sharp, that beautiful sensor will make it even more obvious. I have been incredibly impressed with the lens quality.

 

What's Left to Be Desired (firmware and hardware)

ISO: The ISO is not as capable. Fact. It's plenty for what I'm doing 99% of the time. But if you only shoot high school football/basketball games in the "light" that even the best ISO can't make look pretty, you might have a slightly higher keep rate with a full frame sensor. 

Manual/Autofocus Lens Switching: It's rare that I need to switch from auto focus to manual focus in a split second. If that were the case, the sliding of the barrel for M/AF would be a dream. Instead I'm often accidentally flipping on manual focus while pulling the camera out of my bag, and then being confused why auto focus isn't working and in a split second I do need to switch BACK to auto focus. But I do prefer canon on this one and having a small swtich you could tape over as opposed to a whole barrel being the M/AF

Review/Adjust while Writing: It takes a while to fill the buffer, but even if you haven't maxed out the buffer, if you are shooting 18 fps as I often am, it will be a significant number of seconds before you can "chimp" your photos. During this time 

Wifi Connection Limitations - The camera connects every time (which I couldn't say for Eye-Fi) but it also is unable to shoot while the wifi is on and there is a delay between it turning on and off. I would suggest importing regularly so you don't have a giant batch at the end and take FULL advantage of the share tag.

 

Tips

Get fast SD cards: This makes a difference. Use that SD II slot. The jump from 95mb/s to 250mb/s is dramatic. 

Abandon Facial/Eye Recognition: There is almost only one time when facial/eye recognition works, and that is a still portrait. At events I've covered when people are mingling in a group, facial recognition will hop to the most apparent face, not necessarily the face you want to focus on.

C-AF v C-AF+Tracking: C-AF + Tracking sounds awesome, and when it works, it's incredible. It works great when I can focus on the batter's face, hold that point, move left/right to get in frame where bat will be swinging and as they swing, it remains dialed on their face. But it can have it's drawbacks, more often at closer ranges. If you are trying to use C-AF + Tracking during basketball, high chance it will hop (center point is not fixed with C-AF + Tracking) to another player and try to lock focus on them while the guy you're trying to follow goes completely out of focus.

Watch Out for Rolling Shutter: I didn't know what rolling shutter was when I was first looking at Olympus gear. I learned quickly, it's what makes walls angle while you pan someone running and it's what makes bats bend before they strike the ball. The best work around, increase your shutter and don't pan. When I'm tracking a guy running around the bases I'll try to grab him at a certain point, let him move through my frame and then catch up with him again instead of panning his entire run.

 

Set Up I'd Recommend

OM-D E-M1 Mark II with at least 12-40mm f/2.8,  40-150mm f/2.8 ... add something wider if you can/need, longer if you can/need. ThinkTank and MindShift bags to carry.

 

Things I'm Looking Forward To

LED Lighting - Just picked up two sets of LED lights. Looking forward to putting them to use!

 

Things I'm Still On the Lookout For - Suggestions Please!

SD wifi cards - With EyeFi shutting down Keenai has bought an app that is effectively useless. I have some Toshiba W-04 FlashAir cards (hopefully) arriving soon via ebay. Previous FlashAir cards are not compatible with Olympus. I'm hoping the new FlashAir solves all my problems since it's licensed and branded as the new and improved EyeFi.

Better SD cards in general - SD cards are so flimsy and I have broken many just pulling them in and out of card readers.

Better Olympus app - The app is an embarrassment for Olympus. It works great to import photos and even add a custom watermark, but as a editing or posting software it's useless. My biggest pet peeve being that if you post to twitter through the app, it tries to add #OLYMPUS to the tweet. That's annoying in itself, but even more annoying because the Olympus twitter account promotes #GetOlympus so their branding is inconsistent.

A Mobile Organization app- I'm sending live but there's no way to add caption or rename the filename. I've tried photogene but it is not compatible with future iPhones and left much to be desired.

Other secrets. What other tips do you have for me for better photos or better life! Let me know!!

 

 

 


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