I can now announce that I am a fully fledged professional micro 4/3 user. Thats right I have ditched my Full-frame Nikon system for a camera that is probably less than a quarter of the weight. How did I get to this point, you ask? Let me explain. A couple of months ago I bought a Panasonic GX1. I bought it for use in my street and documentary photography, due to its size and focusing speed, it really lent itself to this type of photography. I didn't buy it to use in a professional capacity, but as a tool take nice photos when I was out and about with the view to sell prints and just add to my street portfolio. However I have since been blown away by its image quality and lowlight performance.
As you can see on the above image the quality at ISO 1600 is still excellent and noise and details in the shadows are handled very well indeed.
I was impressed and certainly thought that the micro 4/3 system had come on to a point where you could easily use this on a job and produce images with enough quality to satisfy most clients. I was still sure my Nikon system was safe at this point, I had no intentions of doing away with it, even though I was actually using it less and less.
Then came my encounter with the Olympus OMD-EM5. This is Olympus' flag ship Micro 4/3 camera, and is the pinnacle of the entire system to date. I was amazed at the size and build quality of the EM5. It has a metal chassis and is weather sealed. I took some images with the camera and was surprised at the level of detail in the files. I was also quite amazed at how different the files were from the GX1 which uses the same 16mp sensor.
With the GX1 files I could quite easily see those taken with the panasonic and those taken with my Nikon, but the Olympus is completely different. Even zooming 100% into the RAW file I could not instantly tell and this was a big moment for me. I realised at this point, that i could quite happily swap my Nikon system for an Olympus one and not notice any real drop in quality. People will point out that Nikon D3 will produce slightly better files at say ISO4000, but in all honestly those are negligible differences, especially when viewing on a screen or in a magazine. I very rarely pushed the ISO higher than 2000 on most occasions, so its not really an issue.
I am not saying that the Olympus has the Nikon beaten. In all honestly I would say that my Nikon system was better in terms of build quality and noise performance over ISO4000. Tracking auto focus and frame rate too, is in the Nikons favour. To complain about that is missing the point though.
When it comes to cameras I think some people are so concerned about what a camera can't do as apposed to what it can do. There are list of things that the Olympus struggles with compared to the Nikon, at the same time there are just situations when the D3 would have been overkill or just a plain hindrance. At the end of the day the camera is just a tool. A tool a photographer uses to express themselves and create images. The Olympus does this as well as the D3 and it doesn't break my back.
I now have two of the things and even with my bag full of my whole kit, it still weighs less than the D3 and one lens. This is a massive bonus for me as I spend most of my time walking around the streets or travelling with my camera.
Its still early doors in my journey with Micro 4/3 but so far I feel liberated. When I had my Nikon gear I was constantly obsessed with the latest gizmo and the new zoom lens. Now I have all I need in one bag, I can be a photographer again. My kit has limitations, but thats just part of the fun. At the end of the day the images speak for themselves.
My Olympus kit consists of 2 OMD bodies, Olympus 12mm f2 Zuiko, Panasonic 25mm f1.4 Leica summilux and Olympus 45mm f1.8 Zuiko. I will also be adding an Olympus 75mm f1.8 when it is finally available.
If you would like to ask about the Olympus system or about anything else please contact me through the contact page or at firstname.lastname@example.org