|OM-D E-M5 showing weather seals on body, 12-50mm lens, grips, and flash.|
I have, since the release of the E-5, led something of a tortured existence with Olympus. I was not happy with Olympus' releases, and when Bill isn't happy, ain't nobody happy. I certainly expressed my unhappiness in various blog postings, and not just with the E-5, but with the E-P3 as well.
That unhappiness motivated me to try and find an alternative camera system with Canon, Leica (yes, Leica), Nikon, Pentax and Sony. It was good to go out and really compare and contrast, because I learned a lot. But at the end of the process I wasn't motivated strongly enough to make a switch away from Olympus. The biggest de-motivator was the price of all those camera systems. I've already spent a fair amount of money purchasing Olympus equipment as well as a fair amount of time learning how to use it. As good as all those brands were, there was nothing that leaped out and inspired me to want to take that double hit. And so I stayed with what I already had. I even enhanced the µ4/3rds system with the purchase of three native µ4/3rds new lenses.
It was the lenses that turned the trick. The lenses went a long way to enhancing the capabilities of the nearly two-year-old E-P2. Before the purchase of those lenses I'd had the 14-42mm and 17mm kit lenses. All the other lenses I used were adapted from regular 4/3rds or from the OM film series. That was all well and good, but the system lacked the speed of my E-3 with its lenses, especially when it came to auto focusing. I could achieve something very similar if I used a manual focus lens and pre-focused on an area. Then the E-P2 would make exposures as fast as the E-3. But no matter what little tricks I employed, the E-P2 was for a more measured approach to photography, something that's not really a liability, but makes it the wrong tool for photographing certain frenetic situations.
The purchase and use of the 20mm, 45mm, and 40-150mm zoom changed that view of the E-P2 and the µ4/3rds. No, the whole µ4/3rds didn't suddenly become as fast as the E-3 system, but it got a lot faster. And it became a lot more enjoyable in other styles of photography (for me), such as candid photography in public settings. The lenses were faster and quieter than the original stock lenses. I also discovered, especially on travel, that I could carry the same quality and capability in far less space than compared with the regular 4/3rds system. Using the new µ4/3rds lenses with the E-P2 became more enjoyable and expanded the scope where I could use the whole system.
Then the rumors about the OM-D, and later the E-M5, began to "leak". And the rumors were remarkably good. As if they were almost deliberate. I paid about as much attention to the E-M5 leaks as I would to any other major leak at that time (Canon 1D X, Nikon D800, Fuji X-Pro1) until the rumor came out about the weather sealing. Then I really sat up and started to pay attention.
By the time the E-M5 was officially announced 9pm on the 7th, I was ready with credit card in hand. Yes, I've done the unthinkable. I placed a pre-order for this camera, sight-unseen. I've purchased the black body with the M.Zuiko 12-50mm.
I'm going to enjoy this latest iteration of the digital Pen family, because that's what the E-M5 is. You can google all over and read about the announcements, or take this shortcut over to Kirk Tuck's take on it. This camera answers all my complaints about the E-5 and E-P3, and then goes even further with capabilities. I don't know when I'll get my copy, so I'll just have to wait patiently until it arrives sometime in April. Even though I've not held the camera, I'm pretty certain this is the Olympus camera I've been looking for since the my disappointment with the E-5. I couldn't have asked for a better camera than if I'd sat down and built it by hand myself.