I was out recreating in my little roadster yesterday* when I found myself in the vicinity of a small, out-of-the-way camera shop I seldom visit. In fact, it's been so long since I've been there that they've remodeled the place since the last time I was in it. I got waited on by the prettiest camera-store salesperson in the entire history of the Universe**. (Maybe she's in love; she did have that glow. Or maybe she's just young, intelligent and charming. Not the right generation for me, alas.) So there I was, chatting with her, trying to find something interesting to look at amidst the store's modest selection of cameras—and there it was, sitting on the shelf, batting its eyelashes at me—the OM-D. The Olympus E-M5. First one I've actually seen.
So you know how sometimes you just really get enthusiastic about something for some reason? It doesn't happen to me that much any more. I think that's called being jaded. The connotations of the word "jaded" never seemed quite right to me—with my essentially visual brain, visions of carved green stone pop to mind unbidden whenever the word comes up. But when it comes to cameras, despite being an avowed photography nutter, I'm pretty jaded.
Even so, I think I'm in love. With the E-M5, that would be. (As we grow older, our ambitions for love become more modest. A dog here, a camera there, a perfect day with perfect weather, the air charged with the scent of spring.) The shutter sound is marvelous (assuming it's real—?), I can see the entire EVF with my glasses on, and the flip-up viewing screen is the perfect faux-Rolleiflex experience that I've been looking for for years. It's very small in reality, but it feels just right in the hand—exquisite without being too delicate. Of course I didn't work out all the controls in my short introduction to it, but I sure like the way it feels.
I put down a down payment (they only had the kit in stock, and I already have lenses for it). They're ordering a black body for me. (As an Affiliate of Amazon and B&H Photo, I'm not allowed to order my own stuff through my own links.) I would have suspected undue influence from the elegant and personable saleslady with the glow, except that I've already publicly declared my intentions, which armors me against charges of impulsiveness.
How long will it take for them to get it in? They didn't know. But oh my OM-D, I'm one step closer to thee.***
*Miatatherapy. For those rare occasions when I get to unchain my ankle from the leg of the desk.
**And I've been in enough camera stores in my time to know, believe me.
***I kid. I'm not giving my heart away without testing it thoroughly first. Attraction only goes so far.
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Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by John F. Opie: "I saw one in the flesh on Wednesday. I looked at, stopped drooling, and immediately left the store. My younger daughter is heading off for college and acquiring it would have gone over like a lead balloon. :-( Sigh. It was gone the next day. Good thing, too. My buy-it-now-reflex was a-twitching. I think I have it under control, but to make sure I do, no camera stores for the next four years... :-)"
Featured Comment by Steve Jacob: "This year's three most significant (in my view) announcements, namely the OMD E-M5, Fuji X-pro1 and Nikon D800, are profoundly different approaches to the same thing. To build the perfect camera for someone, but clearly not for everyone.
"Finally the market is discovering the value of niches. Each represents the pinnacle of its niche, each uses a different sensor technology, each has a different form factor and philosophy. In fact the only thing any of them have in common is a sensor and a lens and some very nice output.
"I admit to a complete emotional attachment to my new Fuji X-pro1. It put the fun back into taking pictures. It's not something I could explain or justify rationally. I just love using it.
"By the same token I can intellectually appreciate the appeal of the other two, but they leave me cold. They don't speak to me at all.
"Mike said, 'As we grow older, our ambitions for love become more modest. A dog here, a camera there, a perfect day with perfect weather, the air charged with the scent of spring.'
"I would change that somewhat. 'As we grow older, our ambitions for love become much less idealistic and much more personal.'
"We no longer love dogs, and people, and travel, and sunny days and cameras. What gives us joy is our dog, our select group of friends, our favourite type of journey, weather that excites our senses...and a very small selection of cameras.
"If anything we are harder to please, but know far better how to please ourselves."
Featured Comment by Bitmatt: "I've had my silver OM-D since April 13. I jumped into the whole Micro 4/3 system headfirst (after shooting 5D's for years) without even seeing one. In one pass I bought the camera + 12-50, the grip(s), a legacy adaptor and three prime lenses (plus filters). I have not picked up my 5D's even once since, and have come to realize I sort of hate those giant brutes and the toll they have taken on my shoulder and back throughout the years.
"The 5-axis stabilization in combination with the very nice electronic viewfinder are a revelation for those of us who manually focus long zooms. The handheld shots you can get are staggering, and I would go so far as to say nearly impossible, unless you have a stone-still grip.
"In the end, beyond the attractive style and pro-level specs (or nearly pro-level, tracking focus is nowhere near ready for prime time), I think it will be the IBIS that people will see as being the most important contribution the E-M5 has made. There's nothing like it."
Mike replies: I'm so happy to hear that. I love that feature, when it works reliably and right.