When Olympus released their flagship E-M1 model back in 2013 it made quite a splash. Reviewers and photographers of all stripes were thoroughly impressed with its feature-packed design. Three years later it is still a highly-regarded camera, but alas, it's time for an upgrade. After spending some time working with the new OM-D E-M1 Mark II, I have no doubt that Olympus has another success on their hands.
Before I get into any details, I must provide two important qualifiers. First, this is not a technical review. It is a 'first impressions' write-up with a few supporting details and a lot of comparison to its predecessor, the E-M1. Secondly, all of the information in this post is based on a pre-production model of the camera.
If you would rather watch a quick summary of the E-M1 Mark II, check out my video description below.
Every autumn, in the forests near my home, a massive reproductive event takes place that I just can't ignore. It starts during the warm days of summer when long tendrils of mycelium digest their way through the rotting corpses of fallen forest detritus. When autumn arrives, an asexual explosion erupts from the earth, as the fruiting bodies strive to spread their genetically identical spores throughout the forest floor. We're talking mushrooms here, people! And I love to photograph them.
Mushrooms grow remarkably quickly and decay even quicker. But if you time it right they can be quite photogenic. Many species are so small that a macro lens is an absolute necessity. Anyone who has worked with a macro lens recognizes that it can be a real challenge to achieve a sharp subject from front to back and still maintain a nice, soft, defocused background. In fact, with most subjects it's an impossible task. Enter focus stacking or focus bracketing.
If the camera was invented for only one of the four seasons, it would have to be autumn. The colours, cooler weather and threat of the long winter ahead inspires countless photographers to get out and photograph the beauty of fall. If you are one of those photographers, here are a few tips and techniques that I use.
It's a Small Thing with a Big Difference
It sounds cliché to say, "it's all a matter of perspective", but in photography a slight change in your camera's position can make a big difference to the overall look of your final image. Let me take you on a recent expedition to a local field to show you what I mean.
Each spring, the hay fields in my area are inundated with thousands of daisies. It's a wonderful sight to see and undoubtedly draws me in to try and capture a few images. This past spring was no different. One particularly pleasant evening I hopped in my car and drove down a local side road until I reached one field that was still nicely lit by the rapidly setting sun.
I grabbed my Olympus OMD E-M1 and, since I wanted to capture the expanse of this floral landscape, I attached my M.Zuiko 7-14mm PRO lens. I jumped the fence (yes, I am guilty of trespassing on occasion) and walked about 30 feet into the field. The daisies were everywhere, so finding the perfect spot was easy.
I had already pictured the image - one large, photogenic daisy, set against thousands, and nicely lit by the orange glow of the sun. I checked my camera settings, composed a shot and...
The OLYMPUS OMD E-M10 MARK II and 12mm F/2.0 LENS
As an Olympus Trailblazer I have the remarkable opportunity to shoot with practically any camera body and lens that Olympus makes. As a nature/landscape photographer I admit that I usually turn to one of the weather-sealed options from Olympus - either the E-M1 or the E-M5 II. After all, I often find myself in weather conditions that may not be favourable. So why am I writing a post on the E-M10 II and 12mm f/2.0? Quite honestly, more and more often I find myself reaching for this exceptional combination.
experimenting with time-lapse photography
As a photographer I've always been fascinated with how the camera can help to expand our vision and freeze a moment in time. But today's cameras can do far more than that. They can capture a long sequence of 'moments' that would be difficult for the human eye to really notice.
Time lapse photography has a long cinematic history. As a child I was always enthralled by the time lapse sequences that I would see produced by Walt Disney (Sunday evenings at 6 - anyone else remember those?!). Now, with your camera, some patience and a computer, anyone can capture a sequence taken over minutes, hours, days or weeks and speed up time.
Here's a cool (or rather cold) photo experiment that might help you embrace some of the coldest days that winter brings your way. Create some frozen bubbles!
Winter can be a great time to get out and do some shooting, but it comes with challenges (and opportunities) that you won’t find in any other season. Here are some thoughts that might help improve your winter-shooting experience.
Like most photographers I am always excited to try out a new lens, but the new 300mm PRO lens from Olympus is one that I’ve been eagerly looking forward to for over two years. I had the opportunity to shoot with the lens for a few days before the official announcement. Here are my thoughts, but be forewarned, this is not a technical review, rather more of an information piece with some of my first impressions thrown in.
For aspiring wildlife photographers who don’t want to go traipsing into the winter wilderness, setting up a bird feeder in your yard can provide great photo opportunities to capture the smaller members of the avian community. With a bit of planning and the right camera settings you can capture some great bird images, all while remaining within quick reach of a warm cup of cocoa.
The Feeding Station
When autumn hits I turn my attention to prepping my yard for winter and one of those chores includes setting up a few bird feeders. Like most people I set them up in front of my larger windows so that I can enjoy the various birds that frequent the Northern Ontario winter. Although I love watching them, my real aim is to photograph them.
Peter Baumgarten is a professional photographer and educator. He is also an Olympus Visionary and NiSi Official Photographer.