I sold a few old kit lenses that I was no longer using and found this Olympus Pen E-P2 Micro 4/3 Digital Camera on sale used on Amazon for just under $400, which was a steal of a deal, considering that the seller included the body, kit lens, Olympus VF-2 Electronic ViewFinder, and a spare battery. Buying all those things bundled new would cost more than double the price (Olympus PEN E-P2 12.3 MP Micro Four Thirds Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera with 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 Zuiko Digital Zoom Lens and Electronic View Finder), so I’m pleased with the cost. For $25 more, I grabbed a Fotodiox Nikon(G) mount for Micro 4/3rds cameras, so I can use all my existing Nikon lenses with this little mirrorless shooter. I didn’t like the feel of the kit lens, so I’ve already packed it up and am sending it off to Amazon to sell it separately. Eventually, I’ll get a new Micro 4/3rds lens for this system, but for now, I’ve attached my Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens to the camera and am using the manual controls on the lens itself to adjust aperture and focus as I shoot. As you can see in this picture, the whole rig fits nicely (and lightly) in one hand:
This smaller size was the main reason I was interested in trying out a Micro 4/3rds camera. I wanted to see if I could get comparable shots to my Nikon D7000 in a camera I could more easily throw into my bag each day without having to lug that large DSLR around town. While I won’t be fully testing that out until Tuesday this week when I head back into the city, I have been shooting a lot with the E-P2 since it arrived, just to test it out and get used to the controls. With the manual only lens set up, it’s definitely slower to take shots and I find myself missing a few good ones (more on that in a bit), but I’m also taking more time to frame my shots and think about what I’m shooting.
Shots of Jackson are good as ever. If I zoom in to 100% in Lightroom and do a bit of pixel-peeping, I can see a tad bit more noise in my shots with this camera than with my Nikon D7000 (which only makes sense given the difference in sensor size and resolution: 12MP vs 16.2MP). However, part of that noise is me still learning how to control this camera and the noise that I am seeing is, for the most part, not digital-noise looking, but more of a graininess reminiscent of film (especially when shooting in black and white). So overall I’m very pleased with it, noise and all. I also like how quickly I can get to a lot of the controls on this camera, like changing the aspect ratios of my shots and switching between color and black and white. It’s much quicker, once you know how, to make these adjustments on the E-P2 than on my Nikon D7000. And since I shoot in RAW+JPEG, I still have the uncropped RAW file available to me at all times no matter how I shoot the original picture. Here’s a ton of sample shots…
Shot in Monochrome 6:6 on the E-P2:
Shot in Monochrome 6:6 on the E-P2 but converted back to color via the RAW file:
Notice the detail of the eyelashes here. I can get really sharp shots with this camera; Shot in Monochrome 4:3 and converted to color from RAW:
Shot highlighting the details of Misha’s feathers, pictured as shot:
Missed shots: These are both slightly out of focus thanks to me getting used to shooting in a fully manual way:
Shooting 720p video with the E-P2 (there’s something cool about shooting water in black and white)
Jackson, the suddenly pro-swimmer, shot in black and white, converted to color via RAW
(Thanks to Blake Marchewka for recommending the Stearns Puddle Jumper Basic Toddler Life Jacket 2012, which Jackson is wearing while he swims now. He loves it!)
Jackson with his Aunt Maggie
Monochrome JPEG straight from camera
Mr. Mischievous Smile:
So far I’m loving this little rig. It feels like an old school camera. It even has a very audible mechanical sounding “click” when you take a picture that is oddly comforting. This week when I take it into the city for some street shooting, I’ll have a better idea if it’s the digital-range-finder substitute that will stop me from lusting after a Leica M9. Or if it will convince me that the Micro 4/3rds platform is close enough to DSLR non-full frame that I should sell my D7000, and save up for a D800 or some other full frame alternative. Or if I should ditch everything and go with a the Olympus OM-D E-M5 16MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3.0-Inch Tilting OLED Touchscreen and 12-50mm Lens (Black). More to come.