Olympus E-M1 and DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm ƒ/2.8. Tasty bokeh.
Years ago, my younger brother Scott, who I think is an uncommonly wise man, pointed out to me that I was very good at giving other people buying advice, but very bad at knowing what to buy for myself. We were talking about stereos and stereo equipment, one of the archetypal teenage-and-later male toys for my age cohort.
But I think it holds true with me for cameras too. I'm good at giving advice to others, but not great at knowing what to do for myself.
Still and all, I've decided that since I need IBIS, the most sensible option is to go back to Olympus.
Which scares me.
No, it actually does. I'm kinda scared of Olympus cameras. They're complex in a way that doesn't mesh well with my mind. Those cameras want me to think a certain way and I think a different way.
I owned an E-M5 for a while, and, to be honest, some of the pictures it took were lovely.
And I never got along with it. Never trusted it. It was not a trusty tool; it was a rogue agent, which took it upon itself to frustrate me. If I wanted it to do one thing, it would try to do another. I found I was always accidentally telling it to do something I didn't mean to tell it to do. It was like it bristled with inputs and you couldn't touch it for fear of inputting something randomly. I never knew when that damn thing would turn on me. I spent more time fiddling with that camera when I just wanted to shoot than I ever have with any other camera before or since.
I owned an E-M1 for a short time, too, and it was better, but it suffered from being a relative of the E-M5 and I never used it much. I didn't really give it a very fair chance. By an accident, the E-M1 and the Fuji X-T1 came into the house at the same time, and I took to the Fuji.
"You want IBIS? Back to Olympus for you!"
But now I think I have to go back and engage with Olympus's cameras again. Best IBIS I can afford. Let's be honest, no one does IBIS like Oly. I'm feeling wary, leery, not entirely happy. Yeah, I know some people love 'em, but some people can cook, some people can swim, and some people are good at math. We're all different and we all click with different things.
On the good side, I still have a few Micro 4/3 lenses, and at least it means I'll get to use my Panasonic Leica DG Macro-Elmarit 45mm ƒ/2.8 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. lens again. That lens has really, really pretty bokeh.
And I guess, starting now, I have to worry about what they're going to do to the E-M1 successor. (Whatever it's to be called. Surely even Olympus wouldn't call a camera the OM-D E-M1II, would they?)
Okay, all right. I can figure out any camera. I'm kinda kidding here.
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Featured Comments from:
Charlie Ewers: "I made the same choice a couple of weeks ago to drift back into Micro 4/3 (from Nikon) both because of IBIS and size (my wife always told me to 'suck it up' when I complained about the weight of the D810). I got an E-M5II and a GX85 with the idea of selling the less favorite one after trying both out. The GX85 came first, and I really do like the simple Panasonic menus and especially the images—the dual IS is incredible on the 100–400mm telephoto, and even the tiny 35–100mm ƒ/4–5.6 makes pictures that really pop. But the reviewers are right—the viewfinder is dismal, especially for somebody coming from a DSLR, and the ergonomics are kind of bad. To add insult to injury, mine came with a spot on the sensor, so it's back to Panasonic for repair.
"Enter the E-M5II. It could use a bigger grip, but overall it feels really nice in my hands, and the viewfinder is as good as the Panasonic's is bad. Images with the 12–40mm Pro lens are fine as well. But it does have Olympus gremlins. For example, last night the screen kept going dark for no obvious reason. It took a trip to Internetland to discover that there's a function called 'Quick Sleep' or some such nonsense way at the bottom of the utility menu, and that for some inexplicable reason its default setting is 'On.' Turned that off and no more problems for now. But, remembering my experiences with an E-M10, I haven't yet gotten brave enough to make the kinds of customizing adjustments that took less than 10 minutes on the GX85. You're right to fear the O."
Michael Perini: "I'm certain you can figure out any camera, but 'Many a truth, spoken in jest.' It is not at all unusual for one system to feel more comfortable than another. Knowing what suits you is part of picking the right camera—one that will work for you and one you will enjoy using. Really good cameras disappear in your hands. As you already pointed out, the fearure set that makes the camera 'disappear' will be somewhat different for each of us. I always think it's a mistake to settle, or say 'I'll get used to it.' Most times, you never do. Because all cameras have gotten so good, usability almost becomes the deciding factor."