Olympus – Still the best choice

It has been a while since my last story was published in Olympus Passion Magazine, in Edition #23, April 2019, and I am delighted to submit this story to a magazine that I very much enjoy reading each month. As the title suggests, Olympus, in my humble opinion is still, in 2021, the best choice when it comes to user friendly, rugged and feature packed mirrorless cameras!

A great deal has happened in the world since the last time my words graced the Olympus Passion magazines’ pages, the world has been plunged into a global pandemic, travel has been severely restricted or halted and Olympus has made the decision to sell off its imaging business to JIP!

All three of the things have caused a great deal of heartache and distress to many millions of people around the world, but the sale of the Olympus imaging brand really concerned me and like so many other die hard Olympus users, made me fearful that the system I loved could possibly fade out!

With the thought in my mind that Olympus, may go the way of the Dodo, I, and I suspect, a great many other Olympus users started to do some research into possible replacements to my much-loved Olympus cameras. My reluctant research had me looking at the mirrorless offerings from Sony to Fujifilm, from Canon to Nikon and almost everything in between, and as a result of all of this research, the conclusion I came too was that none of these other systems could come close to offering the same features, form factor and user experience I had come to expect and love in my Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII which at the time, was my primary camera.

This realisation was troubling, until the OM-D E-M1 MkIII was announced which offered me the chance to retain all of the features that I loved from my E-M1 MkII along with a host of new and very welcomed features from the E-M1X, features such as;
• An Updated Image Sensor the same as found in the E-M1X;
• The new and very powerful TruePic IX Processor;
• A more Durable Shutter rated to 400,000 actuations;
• Better SSWF dust resistance;
• A new and improved Autofocusing algorithm and improved face and eye detection;
• USB Charging and power delivery to make breaking free and travelling lighter a real possibility;
• The new Starry Sky AF to improve focusing during Astrophotography;
• The AF joystick to improve what was already a great camera to handle;
• Enhanced Video Settings;
• The Live ND built-in;
• The Handheld High Resolution added, and
• Extended Battery Life.

This for me was fantastic news, making a camera system I already loved, that much better.

So, it was a no brainer, I doubled down, and purchased an E-M1 MkIII without hesitation!

The E-M1 MkIII has become my primary shooter and I could not be happier. This, however, was not the only expansion to my Quiver of Fantastic Olympus gear, in the last two years, I have also been lucky to add the 17mm F1.2 Pro, The 8mm F1.8 Fisheye Pro the 75mm F1.8 and the MC-20 2X Teleconverter (to increase the range of the 40-150mm F2.8 Pro) along with a used Olympus PEN-F which I love, both as a work of art and a great fun camera to shoot with.

I am still hopeful that I can further feed my gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) with the hopeful future additions of the 45mm F1.2 Pro, the 300mm F4 Pro and the Olympus 100-400mm Superzoom, I would also love the new Olympus 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO which I think is amazing but at this stage a little out of my price range, I will continue to live in hope!

This combination has brought me not only a great deal of pleasure and added to the overall experience of shooting with a truly great camera system, but it has also brought me success, with all six of the images I entered into the Australian Photographer of the Year awards for the Year 2020 being awarded Commended Ratings, an achievement I am very proud of! And due to recent news and announcements from JIP, I am very confident that Olympus will continue to innovate and further expand what I consider to be the best choice of camera system for my shooting style.

I particularly like the live composite and live time modes of the Olympus cameras, I often use these to great effect when creating extreme long exposure images like star trails of Smooth Serene Seascapes and I have found myself using the new live ND feature very often to produce fantastic handheld long exposure look images, it is a feature that has helped me “Break free” on short trips and leave my tripod and ND Filters behind, to travel that bit lighter which, I guess all photographers would appreciate.

With my land-based photography requirements well and truly covered by my Olympus kit, I recently began thinking about adding a drone to my kit in an attempt to find new angles and let’s face it, have some fun. After looking into the options, I went forward with the purchase of a DJI Mavic Pro drone, a drone that is available now for very reasonable prices given it is a few years old. I chose this drone mainly because of its’ small size and low weight making it easy to fit into my camera bag and take on adventures.

Whilst the images from my drone are not as good or as high quality as I can achieve with the OM-D cameras, I have enjoyed taking it with me on my travels and have really enjoyed the ability to find new angles and interesting compositions that only a few short years ago required you to rent an aircraft at great expense. I can only advise you all, if you are thinking of a drone, check with the laws where you live or where you are planning to travel to ensure it is legal to own and operate a drone and if it is, go for it, you won’t regret the decision!

I look forward to a future shooting with my Olympus cameras and hopefully the many wonderful creations and technological advances that are to come from Olympus in the future! I hope that all of you stay safe and well and that you continue to enjoy using your gear, furthering your photographic skills!

By Laith Stevens, Central Coast, NSW, Australia

"My Name is Laith Stevens I am an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician and Professional Photographer based on the New South Wales, Central Coast in Australia. I consider myself an all-rounder, enjoying all genres of photography but have a real love of landscape, travel, street and portrait photography. I recently founded my photography business and hope to in the near future focus solely on photography as my profession. Onwards and upwards with absolute confidence thanks to my Olympus OMD cameras and wonderful Zuiko lenses."

12 Comments

  1. I must admit that I did the same. I took a spreadsheet and used a column for each system I was considering. At the end of the day, Olympus came out way ahead, thanks to the weight and long exposure modes, high res, and other favorite features.

    1. Thank you so much for the comment. I am glad the story rang true for you. I hope you continue to enjoy shooting with your Olympus cameras. I am excited to see the next Camera from Olympus, with a new flagship camera rumoured to be released later this year!

  2. Hi Laith,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s quite amazing how many people went through a similar experience. I for one was one of them. When I heard about JIP, I thought, uh oh, I better dump all these Olympus and Panasonic lenses and my EM5 Mk2 now’s my chance to get a Sony full frame, yay! I tested a friend’s Sony A7 III and the first thing I noted to myself was, “Gee that’s a pretty big with the lenses and heavier than I thought”. There’s no doubt the full frame quality was evident. So I went into store and made a happy mistake – I picked up the EM1 Mk3 (it was released about 3 months before) – and fell in love with it. It was such a huge jump from my EM5 Mk2, that joystick was awesome, etc. After deliberating, I thought, why waste all those good micro four-thirds lenses I have loved and plunged right back into micro four-thirds. To date I have zero regrets. I can go light with those f1.8 lenses, but I can also go “pro” with my superb Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 Pro or the Panasonic Leica 10-25mm f1.7 which I eventually bought after getting the EM1 Mk3. These are superb, excellent lenses that give such joy to taking photos. So here I am with you, happily sticking to a system that hopefully goes on and on with great innovation and lightness to the kit. Long live micro four-thirds. Thanks again for sharing.

    1. Hi Jim, Thank you so much for the comment. I am glad the story rang true for you. I hope you continue to enjoy shooting with your Olympus cameras. I am excited to see the next Camera from Olympus, with a new flagship camera rumored to be released later this year! It really is in my opinion still the best choice for my photography!

  3. Sounds familiar somehow.
    I also decided to keep on using my Olys, simply ignore what the other vendors are offering and will probably buy the 150-400 (the cheaper one because the other is way too expensive for a hobby photographer).
    There simply is no other system out there that allows me to get my equipment to my motives, shoot a whole day without being tired and cover multiple differend kinds of photography types from people over wildlife, landscape, travel and sports.
    I am keeping my fingers and toes crossed that everything works out for OMDS and that we will be able to enjoy new cameras and lenses for the next 100 years.

    Regards from Munich,
    Sabine

    btw … lots of stunning images, another proof that there are few things you cannot do with an Oly if you know how to use it.

    1. Hi Sabine, Thank you so much for the comment. I am so very glad the story rang true for you. I hope you continue to enjoy shooting with your Oly gear. I am excited to see the next Camera from Olympus, with a new flagship camera rumored to be released later this year! It really is in my opinion still the best choice for my photography!

  4. Amazing photos. Can I ask why you shot some of them in ISO 64? What do you like about that over just using ISO 200?

    1. Hi David, Thanks for the praise mate! I am so glad you like the images, I am proud of them! I know that the base ISO for the OMD cameras is 200, but where I have an extended base ISO of 64 on the E-M1 Mk3 I use it, in attempts to keep the noise to a minimum, some say that it will lead to a loss of detail, but I have found that is does keep the images cleaner and I have, so far at least, not noticed a lack of detail at all.

      I hope this helps,

      Regards

      Laith

  5. I have done some research.
    I keep my Olympus gear. I cannot find another brand with the same level of fun and creativity.
    I hope the new wow camera will be an upgraded m1.
    I found the upgrade from mark II to III, was not enough.
    So I hope for an m1 IV that moves some boudaries.

    1. Hi Kim,

      Thanks for the message, I love my Olympus gear too! I liked the upgrade from the Mk2 to the Mk3 the handheld high res is great as it is the Live ND, I use them both a bit! I am looking forward to the new flagship as well hope it has some fantastic new feature and higher resolution better high ISO performance, Olympus really is not celebrated enough in my mind for the fantastic feature packed cameras and sublime optics they produce.

      Enjoy using your gear!!!

      Kind regards

      Laith

    1. Hi Anibal,

      Thanks so much for the kind words, I am very happy that you like the images and the article. I truly love my Olympus Gear, it is fantastic and heaps of fun to use, and provides us with opportunities to produce stunning work!

      I hope you enjoy your upgraded gear and keep shooting.

      Kind regards

      Laith

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