Happy 1st Birthday Anniversary, Olympus OM-D/E-M5!

Oh how time flies. A full year-and a day, has passed since the official revelation of the E-M5, a camera that came at a very crucial moment in Olympus history, the company still shaking by the aftermath of the financial misbehaving of its board. This little cam took the limelight away from all that, and has carried it far and away: The E-M5 must be the most awarded and decorated digital camera so far, having received a 'camera of the year' award by most major photography sites worth their affiliate links, and of course, by me.

Here is my 'best camera' definition: It is the one you can carry with you to as many places as possible, under as many environmental conditions as possible, and can deliver reliable output, day or night. And by that definition the Olympus E-M5 is the best camera that I've ever had, and I've been using digital cameras since 2001. I've been through almost all of Canon's EOS range, up to and including the 7D and the 5D Mark III, an untold number of prosumer cameras, both pocket sized and superzooms, and a couple of earlier micro 4/3 models from Olympus and Panasonic, even some NExes.

None (with the possible exception of the-brilliant for its time, Minolta A1) has ever come close to the versatility provided by the E-M5. As an old dog, I'm way past the point of being super excited by new cameras, but the E-M5 has given me many 'Tom-on-Oprah's-couch' moments. Is it perfect? No, no no no, far from it, but what camera is?

As a starter, its menu system makes the Hampton Court maze look like a straight white line on black background. Furthermore, most of its buttons are small and mushy, and the cameras implementation of custom user settings is...ok, let's not spoil the Birthday mood here. But, for the money required, i would expect-if not Wi-Fi and GPS, at least a goddamn built-in interval timer. But that's pretty much everything seriously negative I could come up with, everything else would be nitpicking.

Oh, and more thing, lenses. Olympus has graced us with a number of exquisite primes, but seems to have forgotten the fast zoom lineage of the 4/3 system. Oly, you're losing money on this, i bet more users of the E-M5  buy into Lumix f2.8 zooms than Panasonic camera owners. We need the holy quad (you very well know what I'm talking about) of fast zoomers ASAP, and while you're at it, how' bout a 150mm f2.8? (with a matching tele-converter, of course)

Most of the pics to the right were taken with the 12-50mm kit lens. I DO have primes, and sharper zooms too. But as an all dancing-all singing-all purpose lens, the 12-50mm is unbeatable. Rain, snow, sea(shore) and sandy beaches, no problem. It also comes with a useable macro mode, and is optically in the same league as the $1000 Canon 24-105mm f4L IS USM lens: Not very sharp, but sharp enough. If i need to change to another lens I just slide it in my pocket, as a matter of fact a whole m4/3 lens system can be carried within the nooks and crannies of my vest, complete with filters, batteries, and my new best friend, the MAL-1 Macro Arm Light.

 Now, i could rant go on forever about about the OM-D's other merits, but the birthday baby needs a thorough washing in the sink, and that cake ain't gonna eat itself.



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