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.
The E-M10 II has three important features going for it - size, power and image quality. Let's look at each.
The E-M10 II is incredibly compact. It measures 119.5mm (W) x 83.1mm (H) x 46.7mm (D) and weighs 390g with battery and memory card. At a glance, those numbers may not mean much, but when compared to some other cameras, the E-M10 Mark II is 40% smaller and 22% lighter than the E-M1, and approximately 55% smaller than the typical dSLR with an APS-C sensor.
Practically speaking, this means that the E-M10 II can go almost anywhere without weighing you down. I use it to capture landscapes, but at that size I can also take it anywhere else - my grandkids' school concert, a restaurant, or out for some street photography. If I only want to take one camera, this is the one that I pack. It easily fits into a coat pocket, small camera bag or a purse (my wife's purse in my case).
This is where the E-M10 II really shines. I am thoroughly impressed with the feature set built into this camera. For a complete list, check out the Olympus website, but for me some of the important features include;
Of course, image quality is highly dependent on the lens that you put in front of the sensor, and that leads me to the second part of the my post.
The M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f/2.0
When I first picked up the 12mm f/2.0 I couldn't get over the small size - a mere 56mm (diameter) by 43mm. But don't let the size fool you. This piece of glass ranks as one of my favourite landscape and astrophotography lenses. At a maximum aperture of f/2.0, it can easily handle low-light conditions, both indoors and out, and has a wide field of view, almost 90 degrees, that is perfect for many shooting situations.
With all-metal construction it feels solid in the hand, yet adds very little weight to camera - only 130 g. The total weight of the body and lens combination is 520g - just a little more than a 16-ounce Grande at Starbucks!
Perhaps my favourite feature of this lens (and many Olympus lenses) is the focus-ring clutch mechanism. Retract the focus ring to engage manual focusing. The lens includes distance and depth-of-field markings that makes zone focusing easier - a useful feature for street shooting. It also has solid stops at both ends of the focusing range. With a minimum focusing distance of 20cm you can also get incredibly close to your subject.
Final Words and Photos
If you are looking for a great camera and lens combination, the E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 is it. I use it as a supplementary landscape camera and all-round everyday shooter. It also makes a great camera for travel, where packing light is key. Of course, a single lens won't handle every situation. Olympus offers a variety of other prime lenses that you might want to consider packing in your pocket. Both the 17mm f/1.8 and the 25mm f/1.8 are solidly built lenses that will allow you to travel light but never sacrifice image quality.
If you are looking for an entry-level camera that you can grow into, a supplementary model that you can add to your present kit, or a great travel option, the E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko 12mm f/2.0 combination is something you may want to consider.
Peter Baumgarten is a professional photographer and educator. He is also an Olympus Visionary and NiSi Official Photographer.