15 AP readers recently spent a gloriously sunny day in Brighton with Olympus, road testing the latest kit. Here’s how they got on
Last month AP gave a second group of AP readers a chance to try out the latest Olympus cameras and lenses on a walk around Brighton. AP Editor and local resident Nigel Atherton was the host and tour guide for the day, accompanied by Olympus’s finest technical experts – there to help the participants get the best out of the equipment. Here’s a selection of the superb pictures taken during the day, along with a few thoughts on the camera system. ‘To find out more about why so many are making the switch to Olympus mirrorless cameras visit www.itsnotyouitsme.co.uk
Current camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark III
I borrowed an OMD EM5 Mark ii with a 25mm f/1.2 Pro lens. I quickly familiarised myself with it and managed to customise it for my preferred way of shooting – these Olympus cameras are infinitely customisable so I felt at home with it almost straight away. I shot a variety of subjects to test the speed and capabilities of the image stabilisation in both the camera and the lens – they are both a joy to use. The camera is ideal for street photography as it is discreet and unobtrusive. The tilting back LCD screen allowed me to “shoot from the hip” without drawing attention – perfect for candids. Coming from a full frame Canon it was a pleasure to carry this for the day.
Current camera: Sony Alpha 7R III
I used the Pen_F and there’s a lot to like about it. Aesthetically it looks the part, with a quality, all-metal body and a solid feel. I liked the articulating screen, which folds in on itself to protect it from scratches when in your pocket. The 17mm f/1.8 was a great general-purpose lens – sharp, fast to focus and silent. The Pen-F’s compact form factor was great for candid shots, especially using silent shutter mode. The camera produced good colour JPEGs straight out of the camera, and the raw files provided plenty of latitude for painless editing. My only criticisms were that the rear screen was difficult to see in very bright sunlight, and the body isn’t weather-sealed. But I really enjoyed using it and didn’t want to hand it back at the end of the day.
Billy Rae Cawte
Current camera: Sony Alpha 7S II
I struggle to carry big kit due to having fibromyalgia and hypermobility syndrome, which makes the Olympus Pen-F with the 17mm f/1.8 lens perfect for me. I like the fact it’s a beautiful camera that’s also discreet. It’s easy to operate – lots of buttons make it simple to adjust settings. The menu takes a bit of getting used to as some of the usual terms are different but I quickly picked it up. The start-up time from sleep mode is incredibly quick – by the time I‘d half pressed the shutter the camera was awake and ready to shoot. The EVF is also beautiful – very clear even on a bright day. It felt like I was using an optical viewfinder but with all the additional info that an EVF offers. Despite having a smaller sensor the files were a pleasure to work with.
Current cameras: Sony Alpha 7, Fujifilm X70
I used the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with 7–14mm 1:2.8 PRO lens – a combination that suited my style of ‘ultra wideangle’ photography. I found that the lens had exceptional handling and very sharp image delivery when examining the raw files. However, I am not used to so many dials on the camera, which I continually touched, displaying lots of random options! But overall I was very impressed with the Olympus gear and the quality of images delivered by the Four Thirds sensor-and-lens combination. If I was in the market for a digital camera system – Olympus would certainly rate highly.
Current camera: Olympus Pen E-P3
I used a Pen-F with a 12mm lens. It’s a great size to stick in a coat pocket or small bag. Small enough that people don’t really notice it, so great for sneaky candids, esecially when there is no shutter sound either. The attached grip made it a bit heavier, but felt better in the hand. There are lots of customisation options and having the dial on the front to switch quickly between colour, black & white and art effects was handy. The viewfinder was great and was a godsend on the day as the weather was so bright it was difficult to see the rear screen.
Current camera: Canon EOS 7D Mk I
I usually carry cameras on a wrist strap for which the EM-1 Mk II with its deep grip was ideally sized. It was responsive and the lenses I tried (17 f/1.2 and 12-40 f/2.8) were sharp, even wide open. The Raw files were surprisingly malleable. I initially thought that the highlights had blown on some shots and was surprised at how much detail I was able to recover in Lightroom, especially allowing for the smaller m43 sensor, which demonstrated excellent dynamic range.
Current camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
I used an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II with a 12-40mm lens and really enjoyed it. I mainly shoot film or on an old Canon, so the sheer amount of menu options had me stumped for a few minutes. But once I’d set it up to shoot at a low ISO with aperture priority, I enjoyed using it. The JPEGs were superb, with great colour and detail. It was my first time using a mirrorless camera – the electronic viewfinder was no problem at all.
Current camera: Sony A700
I enjoyed the time with the Olympus EM1 MK.II and the 12-40mm lens. It was compact, comfortable, easy to use, and the results were better than I expected for a first use. More time would be required to get to grips with the deeper settings and customisation options.