Micro four thirds
Not so long ago, I decided to sell my trusty old Pentax K5 camera and buy a Micro Four Thirds body. It took me some time to make that decision though, I did love that old thing. It was probably the best camera I’d ever owned. But it was a DSLR, which meant it was big and heavy (even though the K5 is one of the most compact DSLR’s out there it still weighs a bunch). Big and heavy also means you don’t take it with you nearly as much as you might want to. And when I finally had gotten around to taking it with me, it wasn’t all that easy to get the camera out of the bag in time to not miss the shot. Having a brick slung around your neck all day also felt a little cumbersome (hence the in-bag placement). And one of the most important things; DSLR’s tend to be slightly intimidating for subjects. Looking into a giant piece of glass that reflects their own startled faces doesn’t make a person all ready and nice for a candid street shot.
But times change, technology has matured, and the monopoly of DSLR’s in the world of quality image making has somewhat disappeared. Cameras like the Fuji X-pro 1, X100(s) and the Olympus OM-d have proven to be excellent machines for high quality shots. Sony’s development of the RX and NEX cameras also saved a lot of backs and necks from breaking to pieces under the awful weight of pounds and pounds of camera gear.
I myself went for one of the most stylish and compact options in the line-up; The Olympus OM-d EM 5. This little guy gives you a modernized version of a micro four thirds sensor that promises high quality images and also some proper ISO performance (unlike the old M4/3 sensors). One of the big advantages of this camera as opposed to the K5 is the very small body which retains a very good weather resistant build quality.
The Micro four thirds system also has another advantage; Loads and loads of lenses available. Unlike many other interchangeable system cameras such as the Nikon 1 and the Fuji X series, the micro four thirds system’s got some third party brands onboard like Sigma for instance. And the many available adapters will give you the opportunity to fit all sorts of other lenses.
I must say though, that this camera is probably not for everyone. If you’re the kind of person that expects nothing short full frame performance, this camera will not bring it. The small sensor competes happily with some APS-C size sensors out there, but definitely plays a different game in an entirely different ball park than any modern full frame sensor machine out there. But at ¼ the size of a professional DSLR body, you can’t really expect it to bring the same kind of performance. Rest assured, for its size this camera packs one hell of a punch and will do fine for any semi-pro/enthousiast photographer, once you get the hang of it.
But before recommending any type of equipment to any type of photographer, I’d like to quote one of the greater photographers known to us:
“The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.” – Ansel Adams
It is not the camera that composes your pictures, it is you, the photographer. And for me I have chosen a camera that doesn’t get in my way, while still delivering the quality I need for my photographs to have. And that’s something every photographer needs to ask themselves, what suites me best? And not, which camera has the best spec sheet?
I haven’t really gotten around to testing this thing out the way I should, but I’ll be in Newcastle upon Tyne this weekend. I’ll try and make soms nice shots for you all, look for them in a next post!