Quite a lot ask me the questions, why switch? Why Micro Four Thirds? On this post I'm going to answer those 2 questions based on my experiences and research. I want to reiterate that this is my own personal opinion based on the data I was able to gather. I'm quite sure others out there will agree or disagree and I'm all ears to what you have to say. Leave a comment please as I want to hear what you have in mind.
NOTE: I might add a part 2 to this after I have used a M 4/3 system particularly the Olympus OM-D E-M5.
1. Why switch?
- I don't really need a full frame camera for my style of shooting. Sure it's nice to have but for what I do a smaller system would work I'd say 99% of the time.
- If I have the money I would have kept my 5D Mark II, Canon lenses and accessories. Don't get me wrong, I love my 5D Mark II and I know the controls by heart but I don't make money from shooting. I sometimes get paid assignments but those seldom happen. I'm simply a photography enthusiast and I have a family to support, mortgage payments, etc. Basically, I'm not rich and I only have a limited budget to support this hobby of mine. So in short I have to let go of my Canon system in order to get another system. As mentioned I have a limited budget and since Canon quality glass is so expensive I cannot afford to buy the lenses I "want". The difference in price with a quality glass on a M 4/3 system is big enough. Heck, if I can afford to buy L lenses for my Canon full frame body I can easily buy a M 4/3 system, right? I know people who owns a M 4/3 system as back up, or as a second system, or as a light weight camera that they can bring with them if they don't want to haul a big honking DSLR. If you can keep two systems why not. I think at that point it's just a matter of justifying if you need both. In my case I cannot justify owning both.
- I love photography so much that I always want my camera with me no matter where I go. I simply cannot do this with the 5D Mark II. It is too big and always needs a separate bag when travelling. I do have my iPhone, a 3GS version but come on, I think most of you would agree it has limitations. It may work sometimes but it just frustrates me if I cannot do what I want to do if I'm presented the opportunity to capture a spectacular or interesting moment. Getting a smaller system will allow me to bring it with me all the time without having to worry about weight and space. It is small enough that I don't need a bag for it sometimes and I can simply just put it in my jacket pocket.
2. Why M 4/3? Or why Olympus and not Fuji, Sony, Nikon or Canon. Some of the reasons I'm going to state below are partly why I'm switching as well.
- Availability of lenses. I believe (and please correct me if I'm wrong) there are more choice of lenses for M 4/3 compared to competing Fuji, Sony, Nikon or Canon cameras. I also think in terms of adapters there are more options but I'm not sure about this. Anyway, I think with M 4/3 lenses alone there are a number of choices and there's more to come.
- For me M 4/3 is the leader in this category or field right now. Some will disagree (or maybe a lot) but again this is my own opinion. I'd be glad to hear your thoughts as to why you think others might be ahead of Olympus. Maybe Sony is ahead but I have not researched it enough so prove me wrong if you think Sony or another is ahead of the race.
- I like the technology and image processing of Olympus compared to others. I have read that Olympus has the best JPEG processing software or engine out there. I often find this subject is heavily dependent on the viewer but from what I have seen I totally like how the colors are rendered. For me, color is on top of the priority list when I'm looking at a photograph. The implementation of a thinner anti-alias filter helps make results sharper/crispier but still look natural and not over-sharpened.
- The introduction of the E-M5. A lot about the camera and initial results really excite me. It's very promising, it has a solid body, it's weather sealed, its high-ISO performance is quite awesome for a smallish sensor and is has a 5-axis image stabilization. All of that in a small package and oh it looks quite vintage too. What more can I ask for?
- Olympus users are loyal and they really love it. I'm not saying other system users are not loyal but I've never seen such enthusiasm and loyalty from Olympus users. From when I started shooting I remember that whenever I encounter or meet an Olympus user they really love their gear and the results they get despite of short comings in dynamic range and high-ISO results. I often hear having IS in the body is a great advantage but there is that special connection that I often feel when I speak with Olympus followers.