Mark C Hughes Photography
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Adventures in Light

Details of my adventures in photography

Why I shoot with Olympus Cameras.... Pt 1 of 2

There are lots of great cameras out there.  Pretty much any recent camera produced within the last three years are great at producing images.  You pretty much can't go wrong.  This blog post will give you an understanding of why I chose the cameras I use.

As and engineer, I am bit of technology geek (always have been).  As a photographer, I explore this geekiness coupled with my creative side.  I like to think I have evolved over time and I am a pretty balanced photographer. I try to use the technology to achieve my creative goals.

But some may ask.... why shoot with Olympus?  It is not a big name camera.  Most people think of Canon or Nikon for "serious" photographers.  To understand my decision, you have to understand my deep dive into photography geekness.

My backup camera, the EM5 mkii with the 25mm f1.2 PRO lens

The things that separate cameras nowadays are pretty much just features and specialization rather than image quality.  This is a big change from the past.  The race for high megapixels is pretty much dead and they are reaching the reasonable limits of physics for some camera properties.  Coupled with the dominance of cameras on phones, the camera industry has effectively peaked and is currently in a state of decline (cameras will be coming out slower and be more expensive is my prediction).  The problem with the camera industry is that they are not selling many cameras anymore (too many people just use their cellphones).

When I shot film, I shot Pentax for years.  As a firm we decided to transition to digital around 2007.  We tried both Pentax and Canon digital cameras at that time and ran them for a while in parallel.  At that time the Canon cameras totally outperformed the Pentax cameras.  Then, and for the next 8 years I was a pretty much just a Canon shooter with lots of cameras and lenses to show for it.  I traveled lots with my Canon equipment, but it was big and bulky.  I loved my camera and shot with it lots.  I have lots of lenses and think that Canon makes great gear.  I was starting to get lots of good results with my gear.

Now many photographers think that if you don't shoot "full frame" cameras (cameras with a sensor the size of a 35 mm negative) then you can't be serious.  There are two technical reasons why bigger sensors are better than smaller ones:  better low light performance and better subject separation for portraits.  The first is not nearly as significant as it was years ago and the second can almost be overcome by fast lenses.

Around 2015, I was really intrigued with the micro 4/3 system (using a older Panasonic Gh2).  They are quite a bit smaller and I really liked the mirrorless concept.  With a smaller sensor you had smaller lenses and with no mirrors you had smaller bodies too.  It was great for static stills but they were really slow to focus on moving subjects because of constantly using the sensor for the viewfinder.  Shortly after playing around with a couple of other mirrorless cameras, I became interested in the new Olympus system, the OMD EM-1 and their Pro lenses.  They were fast and light.  They had incredible build quality and all the features I prized including speed and weather sealing.  I liked the way the system worked and how much smaller the lenses were.  I did my research and took the plunge and picked up an OMD EM1.  The top of the line Olympus with a lens, the 12-40 mm F2.8 PRO (24 - 80mm FF equivalent)

To be continued....