Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of imagery, and inchoate ramblings on coffee, and geekery.

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Six Days with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8

I took advantage of a borrowlenses.com Independence Day deal to rent an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens (Equivalent to 24-70mm). Over 6 days starting July 1st I used the camera and lens in a variety of situations. I loved the kit and didn’t want to send it back. It took photos that looked excellent on a computer screen but still something felt lacking.

I had intended to use the kit to shoot some fireworks photos but is a rush didn’t read the manual. In my defense I received the package from FedEx that same night. However, I didn’t get the OM-D E-M1 to pair with my iPhone via wi-fi and opted to shoot fireworks on my Nikon. I did get a few late evening photos of the open fields and my family which was a good test of the low-light ability of the E-M1. As you can see the camera performed admirably.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14361 E M1 20140701 7010012 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14363 E M1 20140701 7010032 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14365 E M1 20140701 7010034 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14367 E M1 20140701 7010047 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14369 E M1 20140701 7010053 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14371 E M1 20140701 7010059 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14373 E M1 20140701 7010080 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14375 E M1 20140701 7010085 1024x1365

Since I had the camera the week, I got to experiment with the various features and menus. The E-M1 has an overwhelming number of menu options. It seemed daunting at first but the various on-camera prompts helped me find my way through them. Unlike the Fuji X-T1 which has a lot of manual control knobs, the E-M1 is more like my Nikon. Changing camera settings required me to stare at the read LCD while turning a camera dial. It’s not a failing of the E-M1. This is how most DSLR cameras work. I just like the knobs and dials of the X-T1 more.

I had a change to shoot flowers, food, and people during the 6 days. The micro 4/3 12-35 mm lens gives the same view-point as 24-70mm lens on a 35mm format. Just wide enough for some landscape and groups photos but close enough for portrait shots.

The lens and camera took excellent shots but I felt that I did not like the quality of the background blur (booked). Something just didn’t feel right.

I experimented with the focus packing mode. The results were mixed but I think the failing was in my skill, not the camera. It’s something that if I had more time with the camera I could get better at.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14377 E M1 20140702 7020021 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14379 E M1 20140703 7030040 1024x713

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14382 E M1 20140705 7050013 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14384 E M1 20140705 7050037 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14386 E M1 20140705 7050068 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14388 E M1 20140705 7050082 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14390 E M1 20140705 7050117 1024x768

Most of the reviews I have read about mirror-less cameras complain that auto-focus isn’t quite up to par with a DSLR. While there is some truth to that, I think most of the criticism is hogwash. I used the continuous autofocus mode with object tracking and was able to nail action shots just fine. I didn’t test the camera in high-speed sports situations but in my experience, for most consumers, the camera will perform well.

These are action shots of my kids having fun at the Community Park Pool in Princeton.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14392 E M1 20140706 7060134 1024x1390

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14394 E M1 20140706 7060002 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14396 E M1 20140706 7060006 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14398 E M1 20140706 7060030 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14400 E M1 20140706 7060038 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14402 E M1 20140706 7060060 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14404 E M1 20140706 7060077 1024x768

As I mentioned the bokeh was lacking. I think this is illustrated nicely by the photo of the beer bottle.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14406 E M1 20140706 7060007 1024x1365

As with the Fuji X-T1, the E-M1 has built-in wi-fi and iOS software. Using the Olympus Image Share app I connected the E-M1 to my iPhone. I was able to control the E-M1 and snap some photos as well as download images to my iPhone (or iPad). I don’t recall the details, but I feel the Fuji app was easier to set up and use, especially when it came to geotagging.

I think all new DSLR must include a Wi-Fi option. I loved taking photos, downloading to my iPhone, making slight adjustments in Photogene, and sharing them to social media. With my Nikon D5100, I use an Eye-Fi mobi card to do the same trick but having it built-in to the camera means I can use any brand of SD card and access to higher capacity.

So … the OM-D E-M1 is a capable camera. That’s my opinion. With the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens, the entire kit gets quite expensive. More expensive than the X-T1 with a similar lens. The X-T1 body is slightly smaller and lighter (without lens) and, in my opinion, produces better results. However, the E-M1 would definitely be on my main camera if I owned micro 4/3 lenses.