New Camera Week - Olympus
This last weekend I got to test-drive the new Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII camera with a variety of lenses - and the Olympus company were kind enough to match the optics to the tasks I normally do. It gave me a chance to exercise the camera in the studio and out covering a long distance subject. Every equipment test is, inevitably, a comparison with other systems - so it is as well to subject the test gear to the same experiences as the normal rig.
As the Olympus representative pointed out, however, and as I have certainly discovered, there can be a world of difference in the ways the manufacturers ask you what you want to do ( menu communication ) and accept your instructions ( control operation ). We have to second guess how the engineers wish to refer to a function. If we're lucky we know what we want to do, but the question of how may arise.
When you do, you'll note that the original premise of the mirror-less cameras - small, light, simplified - has been somewhat set aside. This thing is solid and weighty. So are the optics, particularly the pro-glass models of the Zuiko lenses. The ergonomics are good as the hand grip is deep enough to provide good finger clearance and the placement of the finger and thumb wheel as well as the shutter release are perfect. The on/off switch is somewhat disconcerting until you remember that Olympus used to put the thing on the left top plate under the rewind crank. No crank these days, but the switch is over there.
I switched off the touch-screen apparatus as I find it disconcerting - others love this facility. In my case I accessed the most-needed controls by pressing the menu and getting what is essentially an extended " Q " display on the LCD screen. Had I not had some coaching from Burke, the Olympus representative, I don't think I would have found half of the controls.
This week's experiments were conducted entirely in the JPEG mode - my processing programs will not decode RAW files on something as new as this camera. No matter - the programs I wanted to try all responded in this mode and with a bit of enlargement I was able to do clear comparisons on the computer. But one thing I would like to mention at the start is the facility that Olympus put in this camera ( and in their Pen F ) for in-camera processing of images. This will give the sort of results that you might produce in an editing program on your main computer. Were you out on the road without access to a computer, you could still edit quite a lot with the camera as you shoot.
Note that the camera came from Burke with a 70% charge and shot all afternoon in the studio - with a number of electricity - hungry programs and screens in use all the time - and still had 22% left at quitting time. I found out why when I brought it home and opened it up the do the charging.
So tomorrow we start in the studio...