Is this true love?
9 May 2012
Of course this is a very new love affair as the Olympus OM-D E5 is a new camera but I have used the 45mm M.ZUIKO lens since November 2011 when, attached to a Olympus Pen E-PM1, it travelled to the Falkland Islands with me for a pilgrimage visit with other UK vetrans.
My favourite subject in photography is telling stories that are people focussed, I am a very active amateur photojournalist. As a Falklands War veteran this means that a lot of my stories come from events and reunions where I am also part of the story. Therefore my camera and lens of choice need to be low profile, easy to use and fast so I get to capture the right moment the first time. Given this requirement the entry of the highly anticipated Olympus OM-D E5 into the marketplace got my attention immediately.
The Olympus OM System was a line of 35mm single-lens reflex cameras, lenses and accessories sold by Olympus between 1972 and 2002 and they were very popular. When Olympus announced the OM-D range in 2011 they stated "..the OLYMPUS OM-D, picks up where the original OM series left off. Like the popular PEN Series models, the OLYMPUS OM-D features a compact, lightweight design that's fully compliant with the Micro Four Thirds System standard. But whereas the PEN Series inherited the convenience, simplicity, and high image quality offered by the PEN Series in the film age, the OLYMPUS OM-D has inherited the tradition of a true system SLR from the OM Series. The OLYMPUS OM-D is designed for serious camera buffs who want to make full use of interchangeable lenses and shoot photographic masterpieces by looking into the viewfinder, without having to worry about the weather or environmental conditions. Sand, sun, sleet, or snow, the OLYMPUS OM-D is a camera that's ready to go."
My experience with the Olympus OM-D E5 so far has been nothing short of perfection. It is light, responsive and coupled with the M.ZUIKO Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens is, for me, a perfect photojournalism tool. Some of the photographs featured here taken at the HMS Ardent 30th reunion in Plymouth required that I observed and took images as low key as possible. Not only is this a hugely dignified event but I also had to observe strict protocol rules when photographing the Duchess of Gloucester a member of the British Royal family. The 45mm lens (equivalent to 90mm in 35mm terms) gave me the required distant from my subject to stay in the background. The fast f/1.8 lens coupled with the 16 million pixel Live MOS Four Thirds sensor and TruePic VI image processor gave me the low light capabilities i needed to operate without using flash. Also, as a prime lens, the 45mm lens gave typically very sharp images and at its wide maximum aperture it produces a beautiful shallow depth of field, ideal for portraits and photojournalism when you want to isolate your subject to bring impact to your story telling.
So will this love affair stand the test of time, I think yes. I have used Olympus PEN cameras since purchasing my PEN EP2 in April 2010. The OM-D E5 camera for me is a perfect step-up from a PEN especially the great image quality and its retro appeal. And what of the M.ZUIKO Digital 45mm f/1.8 lens? Well I have a feeling that this lens is going to outlast any changes to my camera bodies over the next few years because it is just perfect for my style of photography and will be my precious for many years to come!