Michael Rammell

Moving to Mirrorless

Michael Rammell13 Comments

I was chatting to good friend and fellow photographer Paul Griffiths over a coffee one evening in London and we were discussing the place of mirrorless cameras in the world. We both fully agree that all cameras have their place. We aren't foolish enough to believe that DSLR's are dead at all and they are the champions of sports photography and some other niche's too, but it's also no secret that both Paul and I are big  fans of Mirrorless. One thing we also agree on is that they have managed to successfully move in on areas of photography such as portraiture, street photography and even wedding photography.

 Natalie, photographed during a recent engagement shoot | Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8

Natalie, photographed during a recent engagement shoot | Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8

My own particular fascination with these cameras has lead me down the Olympus Micro Four Thirds path (more on that in a minute), but during our conversation in a coffee shop on the Embankment I finally managed to conjure up the right combination of words to finally explain one of the things that I love most about mirrorless:

The part of photography I used to find most exciting and get the most gratification from was the part where I imported all of my photographs onto the big screen of the computer to see what they turned out like (sure they look okay on the back of the camera but you always need to check them on a proper screen). The use of an EVF in a mirrorless though takes that exciting moment of seeing your photographs in Lightroom for the first time and puts it in the electronic viewfinder. Everything you're seeing is exciting as you're shooting it! You can see it all in real-time, in black and white (if you so wish). You don't have to visualise light and shadows, you can see them and you can expose for them through the EVF.

It's just more fun :) All cameras have their places though.



So, after a year of using the wonderful Olympus OM-D E-M5, with it working it's way into my workflow and kit bag for professional shoots it actually started to take over. Slowly at first, but then the last few shoots were all-Olympus.

So, as a result I've decided to sell off all my Canon Gear and become an all-Olympus Photographer.

I'm still waiting on the 40-150 f/2.8 (with extender) to be delivered, but otherwise this is my new gear setup.

I've just ditched Canon. It's all gone. The 7d, the 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM II, the wonderful 85mm, the nifty 50mm and everything else. It's all been sold and the money put back into the Olympus pot.

Equipment list

So, this move to Olympus has seen me pickup the following items as a replacement for all my Canon equipment:

  1. Olympus OM-D E-M1
  2. Olympus HLD-9 Battery Grip
  3. Olympus M.Zuiko 12-40 f/2.8 Pro
  4. Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150 f/2.8 Pro
  5. Olympus 1.4 Teleconverter
  6. Olympus 25mm f/1.8 (With cap)
  7. Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro
  8. Olympus 9mm f/8.0 Body Cap Lens (With cap)
  9. Olympus 600flr Flash

Add to this the Olympus gear I already had from 2014:

  1. Olympus OM-D E-M5
  2. Olympus HLD-7 Grip
  3. Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8
  4. Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8
  5. Olympus ED 12-50 f/3.5-5.6

Anita - Photographed at the Olympus Image Space | Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Olympus ED 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro Lens

Olympus for Professional Use

For a camera, or camera brand to be suitable for professional use it requires a few things in my opinion, besides having to be up to the task of making professional-grade photographs of course. When looking at whether it was viable to move to an all-Olympus system I found Olympus offered everything I needed:

Weather Sealed

The OM-D's are resilient and will carry on shooting in adverse weather conditions. This is an absolute must when it comes to wedding photography. But it's not only adverse weather conditions though, it's just temperatures too. We could be shooting in cold conditions, or very hot temperatures and my gear has to be able to continue to function without missing a beat in whatever climate I shoot in. The Olympus system, with E-M1 and now the E-M5ii offering exactly this. 

Just check out these videos:

So, I have no doubt about how sturdy and battle-ready these cameras are. They're sublime!

Professional Lenses

Further than that though, the lenses are all constant aperture, sharp and built to a professional standard too. Many of the Olympus lenses I have feature an all-metal construction, whilst some are built using high-quality plastics. That may not sound so good, but Canon and Nikon do the exact same thing with their big lenses, so in fact this isn't a bad thing at all.

Warranties and Professional Support from Olympus

All of my equipment is registered with extended warranties and signed up to Olympus' 'Service Plus' ensuring a quick turn-around should any gear need to go in for repair etc. Many of the Olympus photographers I have spoken to have said that the typical turnaround time on a repair (or sometimes a replacement) is just 3 days!! That means should I damage something at a wedding or a shoot one weekend, I could potentially have the gear repaired and back with me in time for the very next wedding or portrait shoot.

Low Light

One criticism often aimed at Micro Four Thirds cameras such as the Olympus is that they're not great in low-light. But in all honesty I can't agree with this statement. I have found the E-M5 and E-M1 both excellent performers up to ISO6400, which is about the maximum I ever go to.

 A doorman outside a Leicester Square Hotel, London | Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 @ ISO 5000

A doorman outside a Leicester Square Hotel, London | Olympus OM-D E-M5 with the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 @ ISO 5000

BUT! (and this is a big BUT)...a revelation for me is that the OM-D's in-body stabilisation and light weight of the Olympus cameras means I can shoot hand-held down to 1/15th of a second exposures, giving me a huge advantage over my old DSLR, which was only really capable of shooting down to 1/60th. So, I am gaining some stops of light back through shutter speeds. In addition to that though, the EVF allows me to expose so much more accurately vs just relying purely on the exposure indicator.

There are another 10 or so reasons I've moved, all of which I'll explain in another blog post in due course, but in summary I enjoy the OM-D so much more and am more pleased with the results the OM-D's are giving me.

So that's it folks. As of February all of my Canon equipment was sold (barring my 580EXii) The DSLR is gone.

I'm all-Olympus OM-D and proud.

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