Flashback Friday: Olympus OM-D EM5 Images

The Olympus OM-D EM5 (right) next to the Olympus M-1 (original OM-1).

The original 16mp Olympus OM-D EM5 was introduced by Olympus in 2012 and quickly became a favorite of mirrorless camera fans.

Its retro styling brought back memories of the classic Olympus OM cameras of yore such as the OM-1 film camera.

When I first saw it in the flesh, I knew I had to have one. So in late 2012 or early 2013, I did something I don’t normally do. I bought the camera new!

Right away I was impressed with the OM-D’s performance and image quality. It was the first mirrorless camera that I felt gave me images as good as what I was getting from my full frame DSLR cameras. And I’d used many of the highly rated mirrorless cameras before it, ie, Olympus E-P1, E-P2, Panasonic GF1, GH1, GH2 and a few others.

“Twins” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital lens. The EM5 captured these “twins” with beautiful color and depth of tones.

I loved the fast touch shutter, it was great for quick and rapid street work.

Indeed, the Olympus OM-D EM5 became one of my favorite cameras to use and you know that’s not easy considering all the cameras I’ve tried 😊

I had originally planned to do a review on this camera but it was not to be. Why?

Because last year the shutter started to conk out on me. It started taking blank images. Checking further it seems the shutter curtain is no longer opening.

A little research on the internet shows that many other people have the same issue with this first generation of the OM-D.

This is indeed disappointing as I bought the camera new, it has probably less than 5k on the shutter, and never been dropped or abused.

It’s out of warranty and I hear Olympus will charge around $175 to fix it. To me, that’s pretty unacceptable for a camera with such low shutter count. I have a Nikon D700 bought USED with over 200k that still takes great pictures!

Of course you can say that the D700 is a more pro oriented body. But 200k and still shooting vs 5k and dead? Come on now Olympus!

So Olympus, if you come across this and you want to do right please contact me! 😊

Sounds like I’m joking but I’m not. I’m seriously disappointed as I loved the camera. I know cameras can give out at any time but I think there must be more to these EM5 shutter issues. Just do a search.

Anyway sorry for my rant, here’s a few OM-D EM5 images during better days. Have a great weekend folks!

“The Mean Lady” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital lens. Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. The kids called this lady “the mean lady” but to me she was always nice! The EM5 performed admirably on black and white images too.

“The Human Touch” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Samut Prakan, Thailand. As Rick Springfield once said, we all need the “human touch” 🙂

“Smoker” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Samut Prakan, Thailand. A charming fellow who enjoyed his smokes 🙂

“Thai Miyagi” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Samut Prakan, Thailand. Maybe I’m nuts, but this man reminded me a lot of “Miyagi-San” Pat Morita.

“Asiatique” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Bangkok, Thailand. The EM5 was superb at capturing night and low light images.

“Gator Riders” 2013. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Pattaya, Thailand.

“Big Hair” 2015. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Did Baby Zay have big hair or what?! 🙂

“Blue Pool” 2016. Olympus OM-D EM5. Olympus OM-D EM5, 45mm f/1.8 Zuiko Digital. Manila, Philippines. Kids in a portable “baby” pool. It works! 🙂

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Photo Of The Day: “Near Miss”

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“Angry Bunnies” 2015. Canon EOS-1Ds Classic, Zuiko 35-80mm f/2.8

Easter weekend to me is about reflecting and celebrating the victory of Jesus. It’s also about spending time with the family.

Number one, Jesus, I need to work on. I need to go to church more often. I believe, I respect, and I love Jesus, but maybe that’s not enough.

Number two, I have no problem with. I’m always spending as much time as I can with my family, specifically my girls, although they may sometimes find Papa annoying, as you can see in this photo 🙂

Anyway, here’s a good example of missing the moment because you’re fiddling with equipment. I was playing around with my 11mp EOS-1Ds Classic (2001) and one of my favorite zoom lenses, the Zuiko 35-80mm f/2.8 OM lens when all of a sudden my eight year old (with a piece of gum dangling out of her mouth) and my (then) six month old went into “angry” mode!

The 1Ds is old school. It doesn’t have focus peaking or any fancy way to help with manual focus, other than your eyes. The shot wasn’t in critical focus, but I got it just enough where I could use it on Facebook or send to family. I would’ve preferred it if it were in critical focus and if I had my trusty EF 50mm f/1.8 on the 1Ds, I probably would have gotten that.

But since I was fiddling around with a manual focus lens, I barely got the moment which as you can imagine with kids, was gone right after I took the shot.

Anyway, I’m just glad I got this funny moment enough where I can have a good memory of it.

Have you ever missed a shot because you were fiddling around with a new (or old) lens? Fiddling around with a new camera or its settings?

Hey, have a blessed Easter weekend good people! 🙂

Celebrating The Olympus Pen

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The Olympus Pen FT and Zuiko 38mm f/2.8 pancake lens.

With the release of the new Olympus Pen-F digital, I thought this would be a good time to celebrate the old Olympus Pen film series and the original “Digital Pen” the Olympus E-P1 🙂

Before we do that, just a few notes on the new Pen-F digital. It is a 20mp mirrorless camera in the Micro 4/3’s format. It has a built-in 5-axis image stabilizer in the body, much like the OM-D (which I love) series or the EP-5. 1080P HD Video. Nice touches include the electronic viewfinder (EVF), the 80/50mp (raw/jpeg) high-res mode, and customizable modes. There’s a lot more to it of course.

The funny thing is that when Olympus released the E-P1 in 2009, they marketed it as the new “Digital Pen” yet with this new Pen F, we are being told (as seen on the Dpreview video) that this is a whole new class of Pen cameras, and priced accordingly at $1199. Yeah, ok 🙂

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“Decade Of Digital” From left, my first digital camera bought in 1999, the Olympus C-3000 Zoom and the Olympus E-P1 from 2009.

Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Olympus fan going way back. I’m sure the new Pen F digital will be awesome and just on the specs alone, it looks to be 1000 times better than the original E-P1, but I probably won’t be getting one any time soon. Not now anyway. Price is an issue, yes. Don’t have, and don’t want to shell out that much for a Micro 4/3’s camera.

And nothing against Olympus, but coming from the old film school, while I love the new Pen’s retro looks, I just see it as a digital camera dressed up in a film camera’s suit. Much like the Fuji X series, Nikon DF, or any number of cameras riding on the retro wave. This has been an enormously successful formula for many companies and more power to them. While I love the way they look, I’m just not as easily pulled in by it.

In addition, it’s really hard for me to get excited about the latest and greatest these days. The truth of the matter is that most of the cameras from the last five years (and going back even further actually) have been extremely capable.

I may sound a little less than enthusiastic, but I’m still young enough to realize that whether it looks like a film camera or not, whether I like the retro looks or not, learn to love it because (and my fellow film fanatics might not like this) let’s face it…This IS the “Digital Era.” Film may be around for a long time, who knows. But the “Film Era” has passed and it will never be the film era again.

But if you got the dough for the new Pen F, I’m sure it’s going to be an awesome new toy for you!

If you want to see all the new Olympus cameras, you can do so right HERE which is an easy link to everything. You can also pre-order there or here Olympus PEN-F if you want to be among the first to get one. My favorite might be that “Faux Leather” OM-D EM10 II!! 🙂

Below are some images from the Olympus Pen F and FT half-frame film cameras and the Olympus E-P1. I’ll dig up more if I can find them. I’ll keep shooting with these oldies until I can save enough for the new digital Pen F 🙂

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“Order & Chaos” 2009. Olympus Pen FT, Zuiko 38mm /2.8 pancake lens, Tri-X. These two sequential frames from the half-frame Pen FT shows how order can turn into chaos in a minute if Grandma is babysitting you 🙂

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“On Life & Love” 2010. Olympus Pen F, Zuiko 100mm f/3.5, Tri-X. As in life, love grows like the weeds, is full of hope and promise, but eventually grows old like last week’s bouquet of roses 🙂

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“Beauty & The Beast” 2009. Olympus Pen FT, Zuiko 38mm f/1.8, Tri-X. Both a little scared, neither one prepared, beauty and the beast 🙂

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“Aging In a Digital World” 2010. Olympus E-P1, Lumix 20mm f/1.7

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“RGB” 2010. Olympus E-P1, Lumix 20mm f/1.7, Brooklyn, NYC.

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“Sex & Religion” 2010. Olympus E-P1, Lumix 20mm f/1.7, Atlantic City, NJ. You might not be able to see it, but there’s a gentlemen’s club on the left and a church on the right. I’m still trying to figure out why WordPress is not letting me post larger pics.

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“Digital Buddies” 2009. Olympus E-P1, Lumix 20mm f/1.7 ASPH. Had a little fun with this one 🙂

Flashback Friday: The Olympus M-1 Film Camera

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The Olympus M-1 35mm slr. Basically an OM-1 with a few external and internal differences. The most obvious give away is the “M-1” logo on the top plate of the camera. Otherwise, the M-1 and OM-1 are cosmetically and functionally the same.

The Olympus M-1 is a 35mm SLR introduced by Olympus in 1972. It is the original OM-1.

The M-1 was originally a part of the Olympus “M System” as they called it. They were all set to go, even having a full set of lenses made to support the M-1. Only one thing they forgot…Leica already had an “M System” out!

From all accounts, Olympus changed the designation of the M-1 to the “OM-1” because Leica protested the use of the “M” and “M System” as it conflicted with their M series rangefinders and their lenses.

The M-1 is basically an OM-1, which is among the finest and most iconic systems camera ever made. A modern masterpiece from the brilliant mind of the late great Yoshihisa Maitani, the genius camera designer of Olympus.

There are some differences between the M-1 and OM-1. Main thing you need to know is that the M-1 says “M-1” on the top plate and it cannot accept a motor drive.

There is a wonderful page that tells you everything you need to know about the M-1 if you google “Olympus M-1 film camera.”

As a camera, it has an all manual 1s-1/1000s plus bulb shutter and originally took a PX-13 mercury battery, which has long been outdated/outlawed. The battery is only needed for the meter and yes, the camera can operate without a battery. You can use a replacement battery and my recommendation would be the Wein MRB625 Zinc battery which at 1.35v is closest to the original mercury cells.

RARITY, PRICE AND COLLECTABILTY

This one is not as easy as it looks. While the M-1 is certainly not as common as the OM-1, I don’t think I would call it rare either. “Rarer” would be a better word I guess.

They don’t seem to come up for sale often, but you do see them at fairly regular intervals on eBay, usually by sellers who stress that it’s “RARE.” I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but you know what I mean 🙂

I got mine for $40. It is not in perfect condition, eyepiece and focus screen looks to need replacing, viewfinder needs cleaning, but the shutter works though I haven’t tested it for accuracy. It’s going to be a fixer-upper for me which should be fun.

I have seen people asking up to $500 for this camera, usually on eBay, but they ain’t getting $500! 🙂

Most camera lovers will know or search and find out that the M-1 is basically an OM-1, a camera you can get anywhere from $10-150 dollars depending on condition and how much you want to spend.

A more consistent and fair price for this camera I think is around $150-250 in excellent condition and preferably with a lens thrown in.

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“Zuikoholic” 2009. With the black Olympus OM-1 and 40mm f/2 Zuiko lens. As far as I know, the M-1’s were only made in chrome.

Of course, for a collector with money, and if you are a true Zuikoholic you probably wouldn’t mind paying extra just to have that “M-1” in the house 🙂

BOTTOM LINE

The Olympus OM-1 is one of my favorite manual SLR’s of all time. The beautiful styling, mechanical shutter and all manual exposure makes it a pleasure to use just for the pure joy of photography.

When I gave up on my Minolta X-700 from 1985 and after trying Canon and Nikon in the 90s, I settled on a couple of OM-1’s and it carried me through the rest of the decade giving me thousands of precious memories on film. And as the 90s came to an end and digital was dawning, my first digital camera was an Olympus C-3000.

The M-1 being the “rarer” version of the OM-1 makes it just a little more special.

These cameras live on in their OM-D incarnations although I think all the OM-D’s lack the true heft and feel of the classic film OM cameras. As imagers, I think the OM-D’s are great!

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“Generations” 2015. The Olympus M-1 film camera on the left and the OM-D EM-5 on the right. Yes, I know that OM-D needs a little dusting off 🙂

In closing, there is no doubt that the Olympus M-1 (and OM-1) is a true Camera Legend that inspired a whole generation of photographers and continues to influence photographers and camera designers, even today.



The Olympus E-1

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“Cuckoo” 2014. Olympus E-1, Zuiko Digital 25mm f/2.8 pancake lens. Sorry for the funky treatment…one really did fly over the cuckoo’s nest 🙂

The Olympus E-1 is a digital slr that was introduced by Olympus Corporation in 2003.

It was their first digital interchangeable lens slr and an attempt to tap into the prestigious pro digital market that was dominated by giants Canon and Nikon.

The E-1 was also the first dslr to sport the new “Four Thirds” or 4/3’s sensor that was heavily promoted at that time by Olympus and Panasonic.

If you want to get into all the technical aspects for the 4/3’s sensor, just go to the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Thirds_system

Basically, 4/3’s is a sensor smaller than full-frame or APS-C, but still much larger than any point and shoot camera in 2003. The sensor has a 2X factor, meaning for example, a 50mm lens will translate to a 100mm lens on the E-1 and other 4/3’s cameras. Olympus definitely went against the stream on this one, as they did many times in the past. I’ve always been an Olympus fan, so this is one for the “little guys” 🙂

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“The Fly” 2005. Olympus E-1, Zuiko 90mm f/2 macro.

The E-1 used a 5mp Kodak sensor, back in the days when Kodak made some amazing sensors. In fact, one of the main reasons for the E-1’s cult-like following is due to what Olympus enthusiasts like to call “those Oly colors” and of course, a large part of that is due to the Kodak CCD in the camera. The mount was also highly adaptable to use with “alternative” lenses and I greatly enjoyed using the camera with various Leica, OM, and Contax lenses.

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“Evergreen” 2009. Olympus E-1, Leica 90mm f/2 Summicron-R. My little girl used to pick flowers for me. How I miss those days 🙂

The E-1 had superb build quality utilizing a magnesium-alloy, “splash-proof” body. I found the ergonomics to be great with the controls nicely laid out. The AF was sure and speedy in daylight, but struggled a bit in low light conditions. The ISO range was from 100-800 with ISO 1600 and 3200 available in the settings as “ISO BOOST.” I tended to stay within the 100-800 range as I found the “boosted” settings too noisy for me.

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“Sprouts Of Life” 2005. Olympus E-1, Zuiko 90mm f/2 macro.

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“Fields Of Gold” 2007. Olympus E-1, Panasonic 14-50mm f/2.8-3.5 Vario-Elmarit, ISO 800. Note the “noise” beginning to show. I don’t find it objectionable, but some might.

The E-1 also had one of the most quiet and smooth shutters I’ve ever used in a camera, and one of the most effective dust reduction systems. I’ve never seen a speck of dust in my E-1 images and I’ve used these cameras a lot over the past ten years.

If you’re looking for one of these, prices are trending at $65-200, with the average around $100 or less for the body alone which I feel is a killer deal for a fantastic camera.

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“The Kill Master” 2005. Olympus E-1. For less than $100, the E-1 is a “killer” deal for a Camera Legend.

Around 2004, I was in the (sadly) now defunct J&R electronics store in lower Manhattan. There were a lot of beautiful prints hung up on the wall of their photography department. Still a firm believer in film at the time, I was marveling at the prints and saying to myself…wow, look at what people are giving up by not shooting film! Guess what? All those shots I admired were done with an Olympus E-1 🙂

It’s hard to believe that the Olympus E-1 was introduced almost twelve years ago. It still remains a favorite among Olympus fans for its great color, superb build, and reliability. Although 4/3’s is now a dead system, it doesn’t mean you can’t use those cameras and lenses to take great shots.

The Olympus E-1 was the first of its kind and it has left a legacy that continues today with its successful Micro 4/3’s offsprings, which became the true fruition of what 4/3’s was supposed to be. The Olympus E-1 is a classic and will go down in history as a digital Camera Legend.

Pros: Superb build quality, splash-proof; Colors; Good AF in good light; Cheap in today’s world, a bargain!

Cons: “Only” five megapixels; Slow start-up; Slow write times to CF card; Digital grain begins to get objectionably “noisy” at ISO 800 and up; Part of the now dead 4/3’s system.

Important Note: While they share the same sensor size, please remember that 4/3’s and Micro 4/3’s are not compatible. For example, if you have a mirrorless OM-D EM-1 or EM-5, or a Panasonic Micro 4/3’s camera, you CANNOT use your Micro 4/3’s lenses on a 4/3’s body like the E-1. You CAN however use the 4/3’s lenses on Micro 4/3’s with the right adapter. Thanks for stopping by!

The Olympus Pen F/FT Series

The Olympus Pen FT with the 35mm f/2.8 Zuiko pancake lens.

Classic half-frame camera from the brilliant mind of legendary Olympus camera designer Yoshihisa Maitani.

The camera takes two frames on one 35mm frame. That’s why it’s called a “half-frame” camera. So on a 24 exposure roll, you get 48 shots.

You might be inclined to think that this would lead to inferior quality photos as compared to a full sized 35mm shot.

However, in my experience, the quality of the Zuiko lenses for the Pen F film system were so good that you really can’t tell the difference.

Mr. Maitaini was such a brilliant, brilliant camera designer and his Pen F/FT creation lives on in the Olympus Digital Pen series of cameras.

Note: Sorry this was meant to be a short post. I will be updating this with images from the Pen film cameras in the near future. Thanks for stopping by!