Tuesday 9 February 2021

Taking a Look Back - My Time with the E-M1 + E-M5 II kit

Olympus E-M1, m.Zuiko 9-18

I did a review of the images I've posted from my period shooting Olympus in 2019, as a result of the conversation that triggered my last post.

This made several things clear.

1. I prefer Olympus colour to Fuji colour for landscape work, by a fair margin. In the city it's a wash, but for landscape Olympus simply delivers the blue tones I can never quite get with any other system except Nikon.

2. I miss shooting 4:3 aspect ratio. I simply like it better than 3:2. This is not really news, I've liked squarer formats ever since I was introduced to them.

3. I do miss Olympus IBIS performance. It remains the only IBIS system I've shot that I've really found effective.

4. Fuji's LCD setup remains better. Dual-tilt beats flip/twist beats single tilt beats fixed, at least from a photographer's perspective. 

5. I'm less convinced now that the extra malleability of the Fuji files are winning me anything, since I have to push them more to get close to what I want as compared to the Olympus files. Full Frame is still better, but not by that much. I've never been sold on X-Trans anyways.

6. I'm unconvinced I would be happy with 16MP as a primary body in either Fuji or Olympus.

7. E-M1 II prices are now down to a level that I consider very reasonable. And they're USB-C but not USB Power/Charge, X-T2 is USB Micro-B 3.0, but does do power/charge. The 20MP m43 sensor is supposed to be a real improvement.

8. E-M1 II handling is MUCH better gloved than the X-T2, even with the bracket and marginally better ungloved.

9. m43 lenses are getting cheap.

What does this mean? Probably another system switch for me, and possibly something of a draw-down in my overall setup. Notionally I'd ditch the X-T2 and the 3 AF lenses, but keep the X-T1 and all my manual lenses. That would get me into the E-M1 II, another 12-50 and maybe either a 25/1.7 or a 40-150 R, rounding out my personal favourite cheap yet decent kit for m43.

I'd sell my Laowa 15mm f4 to fund a proper UWA (9-18 or a 7.5-10mm prime) and possibly sell off some Nikkors, keeping the 55/3.5 (a gift from my Aunt) and probably the 105/2.5 as well (such a good lens) long-term. Then troll the used market to add a 45/1.8, 17/1.8 and a 12-40 or 12-45and wait for the rumoured 45-200/4 Pro that's supposed to match the 12-45/4 (maybe a matching UWA zoom too?)

I'd keep the X-T1 around with the 12/18/25 primes and probably add a 35 and 55 for fun. That's just a great street shooting kit and cheap but fun. Eventually I'd want a compact body for m43 to share lenses, but that can wait. And if I sold off most of the Nikkors I'd be less tempted by another FX body.


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