Micro Four Thirds vs DSLR Camera Considerations

Warm greetings to my fellow Photography Life readers! My name is Sharif and I am the photographer behind Alpha Whiskey Photography. I have been very kindly asked by Nasim to write an article for Photography Life, which has proved to be an excellent resource for photographers all over our planet. Nasim specifically invited me to write about my experience with my Olympus Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera, the lenses I choose to use with it, and why I prefer it to my DSLR system, along with some examples of images I have produced with it.

Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, ISO 200 , Virtually the first image I shot with my EM-5

E-M5 + LUMIX G 20/F1.7 @ 20mm, ISO 200, 1/80, f/1.8

Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, ISO 200, Virtually the first image I shot with my EM-5

While I would be the first to assert that photographic equipment has little to do with the creative process behind seeing and constructing a worthwhile image, we have to accept it does have some influence in how we capture it.

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 200, 20 secs. Waterfall Country, Wales.

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 200, 20 secs. Waterfall Country, Wales.

Nasim has rightly said that many people will buy expensive and bulky equipment that they don’t necessarily need, and then try to justify it to themselves. In a sense, I have gone the other way, downsizing my gear, and hopefully I can explain the value of doing so.

Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, ISO 200, 2 secs

Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, ISO 200, 2 secs. More info.

Having used DSLRs for quite a few years, a twist of fate led me to the world of mirrorless last year, and I haven’t looked back. After photographing some birds of prey with my Nikon D600 and Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8, both that camera and lens fell out of my open camera bag, and the weight of the lens drove the camera body into the parking lot gravel. Hard! And even though Nikon repaired the camera free of charge, it took them six weeks and that’s an eternity for any photographer to be without a camera. My sister’s wedding was soon approaching and, of course, I was the designated photographer. I needed a camera!

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 200, 0.8 secs hand-held

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 200, 0.8 secs hand-held. More info.

So I used the opportunity to act on my growing desire for a smaller system. I had been looking for something lighter and more compact but still packing enough quality, and which didn’t feel like I was hauling a space shuttle up Mount Everest every time I went out to shoot; preferably a world away from the massive, cumbersome camera bags with a ton of gear compressing my spine.

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 2500, 1/50 secs

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 2500, 1/50 secs. More info.

After all the inevitable research, I purchased the Olympus EM-5 and three primes: the Olympus 45mm f/1.8, the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, and the Panasonic 14mm f/2.8.

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 200, 0.8 secs hand-held

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 200, 0.8 secs hand-held. More info.

The EM-5 was a revelation to me; it was the perfect blend of size and quality. The newer Olympus EM-1 approaches DSLR size, which I was trying to get away from; and the smaller PEN cameras were too small for me and lacked a viewfinder. The feature set of the EM-5 was actually useful, not simply a glut of gimmicks and megapixels to look good on a spec sheet. It was as if someone sat down and thought about what a photographer might really need for the shooting experience.

Olympus 45mm F/1.8, ISO 200. My friend Genka.

Olympus 45mm f/1.8, ISO 200. My friend Genka.

Furthermore, the available lens options for the Micro 4/3 system are vast, with access to both Olympus’s and Panasonic’s inventory, much of which is excellent.

Olympus 60mm F/2.8, ISO 200, My friend, Jena, a great photographer herself.

Olympus 60mm f/2.8, ISO 200, My friend, Jena, a great photographer herself.

My two favorite features on the EM-5, which helped clinch my decision to purchase it, include the excellent image stabilization, allowing me to make exposures as slow as 1 second hand-held! This means I can take night shots or slow down waterfalls without a tripod. And as I enjoy taking long exposures at dusk, the Live Time feature, which allows you to see the exposure developing on the LCD, is a fantastic time saver. I no longer have to wait to see the result and then take it again at a different shutter speed.

Olympus 60mm F/2.8, ISO 200. Heron in Regent’s Park, London.

Olympus 60mm f/2.8, ISO 200. Heron in Regent’s Park, London.

The real surprise, however, was the terrific quality of the sensor, complemented by the superb lenses. Yes, the sensor is smaller than FF or APS-C sensors, but I have printed images made at ISO 6400 and they look great. The noise pattern and dynamic range of the RAW files are excellent in my humble opinion. Many people obsess over noise, but it has never really bothered me. If anything, it adds an aesthetic texture to (especially black and white) images.

Olympus 60mm F/2.8, ISO 800

E-M5 + OLYMPUS M.60mm F2.8 Macro @ 60mm, ISO 800, 1/50, f/2.8

Olympus 60mm f/2.8, ISO 800. More info.

Depth of field is another issue for some, and while I love the creamy DOF from my FX Nikon and primes, Olympus make some beautiful fast glass, such as the 45mm f/1.8 (which I used almost exclusively on the London photo walk with Nasim) and the 60mm f/2.8 macro, both of which have excellent sharpness and beautiful bokeh.

Olympus 60mm F/2.8, ISO 200. Richmond Park, London.

Olympus 60mm f/2.8, ISO 200. Richmond Park, London.

One disadvantage of the Micro 4/3 system in contrast to DSLRs is the continuous AF. While fast for static subjects, the AF on these cameras can struggle with moving subjects. It is possible to achieve focus on a moving subject, but it often involves pre-focusing and a little luck. Certainly, not the hit rate of a DSLR.

Olympus 45mm F/1.8, ISO 200

E-M5 + OLYMPUS M.45mm F1.8 @ 45mm, ISO 200, 1/1600, f/1.8

Olympus 45mm f/1.8, ISO 200. More info.

Additionally, I occasionally miss ultra wide shooting with my DSLR, and I’m waiting for Olympus to bring out its 7-14mm f/2.8 so I can get back to some wide-angle fun!

Olympus 60mm F/2.8, ISO 200. View from Cam Peak, Gloucestershire.

Olympus 60mm f/2.8, ISO 200. View from Cam Peak, Gloucestershire.

The Panasonic 14mm is a great little fast pancake lens, and some of the images I have made with it have been published in magazines and leaflets. But I have since sold it and acquired the Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8, which is wider at the wide end, and has less distortion and chromatic aberration. I have happily taken and shot with my three primes overseas and all over the UK, but the 12-40mm will make a great travel lens, albeit bulkier. I am keeping the Olympus 45mm f/1.8, which is excellent, and may keep the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 simply because of the fast aperture and its amenability to street photography. The Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro makes an excellent portrait lens without forfeiting AF speed like most macro lenses.

Olympus 45mm F/1.8, ISO 6400. Not a bad result for such a high ISO.

Olympus 45mm f/1.8, ISO 6400. Not a bad result for such a high ISO.

It does seem that my lens choices are slowly making the system bulkier again, especially as I hope to acquire the impending Olympus 40-150mm f/2.8 and 7-14mm f/2.8, but remember these are all much smaller than their DSLR counterparts, and would only be used for specific subjects. The bulk of my shooting is done with the small primes, since having a compact kit makes shooting more efficient, more challenging, and more enjoyable.

Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, ISO 500, 0.4 secs hand-held

Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, ISO 500, 0.4 secs hand-held. More info.

Despite the few limitations of these systems, I can see myself eventually selling off all my remaining DSLR gear and sticking to mirrorless. For my hobbyist needs, and increasingly the needs of many professionals, it has proved itself capable of excellent quality in a smaller package, and I can see mirrorless cameras becoming ever more popular.

Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, ISO 5000, 7-shot composite. Thanks to the EM-5’s burst rate.

Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, ISO 5000, 7-shot composite. Thanks to the EM-5’s burst rate.

As much as I stress the importance of composition, framing, timing and skill, I hope my photographs demonstrate (perhaps reassure) what can be achieved with this system and the range of subjects it can be used for, and perhaps even save a few more compressed spines and achy arms along the way.

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 200, Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria.

E-M5 + LUMIX G 14/F2.5 @ 14mm, ISO 200, 1/160, f/8.0

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 200, Pirin Mountains, Bulgaria.

It has been a privilege to write for Photography Life, and I hope you enjoy my photographs.

Olympus 45mm F/1.8, ISO 200

Olympus 45mm f/1.8, ISO 200. More info.

Warmest Regards,

Olympus 45mm F/1.8, ISO 200

Olympus 45mm f/1.8, ISO 200. More info.

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 1000

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 1000. More info.

Panasonic 14mm F/2.5, ISO 200

Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, ISO 200. More info.

Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, ISO 200

Panasonic 20mm f/1.7, ISO 200. More info.

Olympus 60mm F/2.8, ISO 1600

Olympus 60mm f/2.8, ISO 1600


  1. 1) Geoff C. Bassett
    May 30, 2014 at 11:06 pm

    After seeing the images coming from the new line of Mirrorless camera’s I am more and more tempted to switch away from my D800 and lenses. It gives me fantastic images, but I almost always leave it at home when walk out the door and only use it on shoots for work. Tempted to switch to an a6000 or A7.

    • 1.1) Jon McGuffin
      May 30, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Geoff, I’d highly recommend renting some gear and trying it out to see if it’s a good for for you.

      • 1.1.1) Geoff C. Bassett
        May 31, 2014 at 11:26 am

        I have tried the gear out, both the a6000 and a A7 and love the viewfinders and handling. But I was not able to try either with long lenses, nor investigate the autofocus with their professional lenses.

        My worst experiences on shoots have been incorrect exposures. My nightmare occurred one day on a wedding shoot when I had actually changed from A to M by mistake and blew out the photo’s making them barely recoverable. For this reason I LOVE the viewfinders because they show you what your going to get before you pull the trigger.

        I might get the a6000 as a stop-gap. But I’m going to wait an see what the A7s turns out. If what Sony is touting of it’s low light and video abilities turn out to be true, then I will no longer be shooting on Nikon camera’s.

    • 1.2) Ido Scharf
      May 31, 2014 at 5:24 am

      Well, the Sony Alpha 7R (a.k.a. a7R) has presumably the same exact sensor as the Nikon D800E, so you may want to spend some more money and go for what you’re somewhat familiar with. However, as Jon McGuffin has written already, you’d be better off renting the gear before making any decisions that may cost you over $10,000.

  2. 2) Jon McGuffin
    May 30, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    Wonderful images and article. Thanks so much for sharing, I recently rented a Fuji XT-1 along with the 23mm 1.4. My takeaway was that though the IQ is absolutely there, as a system and “photographic tool” I still find my d700 and d7100 offer a better option. The EVF which is supposedly the best on XT-1 was fine though the blackout on shutter release was annoying for me. Also, despite loving the light weight, it was actually too small and my hands would feel a little cramped around the small body. Not small enough to fit in a pocket anyway so why not have it a little larger?

    A mirror less system is likely in my future but I think I’m a generation or two away from leaving my DSLR’s..

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 2.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 1:38 am

      Thanks Jon! I hope when you finally take the plunge into mirrorless you will not be disappointed! :)

  3. 3) Milu
    May 30, 2014 at 11:47 pm

    I’m looking for an alternate option for my DSLR, for exactly the same reason: I often leave it at home. I need something small enough to take out with me anywhere I’d go.
    I also found E-M5 interesting, but I also want good jpeg straight from the camera. Considering E-M5’a lack of distortion / lateral CA corrections in body, would you still recommend it to someone who doesn’t have lots of time for post-processing?

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 3.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 12:35 am

      Hi Milu,

      In reality, I think that the EM5 does offer some CA/distortion control with Olympus lenses, less so with Panasonic lenses. When I tried to find lens profiles for Lightroom, I discovered there weren’t any because Olympus does its own corrections. I shoot RAW, but the jpegs SOOC are pretty decent from what I’ve seen.
      Yes, I can recommend it :)

      • 3.1.1) Milu
        May 31, 2014 at 2:53 am

        Thanks for your reply, Alpha :)
        I investigated a little bit further, I found that E-M5 is doing distortion correction, but not lateral CA correction. E-M1 can do both, even for (some) Panasonic m4/3 lenses, according to DPreview and other sites.

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          May 31, 2014 at 2:57 am

          Cool beans Milu!
          I tend to reduce the CA in Lightroom if necessary. It’s just a matter of moving a couple of sliders :)
          Most of the time it isn’t enough of an issue to bother me :)

    • 3.2) Ido Scharf
      May 31, 2014 at 5:33 am

      Olympus has the reputation of having one of the best Raw processing in-camera. I, like Sharif, shoot Raw exclusively, but I did try shooting JPEG for one day, and if you choose the right settings (Picture Mode, WB, etc.), they can be beautifully colorful (without looking unnatural), sharp and crisp. I’ve read that the B&W settings are pretty nice, too, but I haven’t tried those out.
      Remember that these mirrorless cameras have a great advantage over DSLRs for JPEG shooters: You can see exactly how the image will look like as a SOOC JPEG before even taking the picture, while looking through the electronic viewfinder. To do that with a DSLR, you have to turn on Live View, and shoot with the camera away from your eye. You can even see a live histogram or clipping warnings while shooting, which is really neat.

      • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 3.2.1) Alpha Whiskey
        May 31, 2014 at 6:50 am

        Very good points Ido.
        In fact, last week I did a photowalk in London where I only used the B+W Art filter on the EM-5, just to try something different. I was so pleased with how the images looked SOOC that I did virtually no post-processing, other than resizing and applying watermark and borders.

        You can see those images here:

  4. 4) Martin
    May 31, 2014 at 12:00 am

    Hi Sharif

    This was a serendipitous occurrence as I was trying to contact you about the EM-5! I am just off for a walking and photo holiday in the Trossachs( in 10 minutes and can hear my wife calling!) and have got a bag full of heavy cameras, but do I need them, probably not. I would love to run up tp the top of Ben A’an with a single small camera.
    As I said after the London PhotoWalk, you have a very good eye, as shown by the above images.
    Thanks for this helpful article.


    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 4.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 12:35 am

      Thanks Martin :) Hope you’re enjoying your holiday!

      • 4.1.1) Martin
        June 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm

        Hi Sharif

        Greetings from Scotland where the midges are out in force, so if you venture out you need to have a liberal ammount of DEET/ Incognito or Smidge on any exposed skin; I have been wearing an anti- midge mesh over my hat to keep them out.

        I digress, what I wanted to say is that I am fed up lugging my D800 and trio of heavy lenses! My main interest is that of travel photography and when I get home I will sell the D800, keep my D610 and go mirrorless. I have been carefully following the correspondence that you stimulated and am going to go with the Fuji XT1 rather than Olympus.

        Many thanks for being the catalyst for me taking the plunge.



        Ps I will look out for your London walks- do you post them on the AW site?

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          June 5, 2014 at 5:50 pm

          Hi Martin,

          The Fujis are excellent cameras and I am sure you will be happy with your choice :) I completely understand what you say about all the heavy lenses!

          Yes, I post all the photos from my photo walks on my blog. My most recent ones are there. Did some shooting tonight too!

          Hope your having a great time in spite of the midges. I know what it’s like to be eaten alive by those guys! :)

          Warm Regards,

  5. 5) SwapZ
    May 31, 2014 at 12:09 am

    A few weeks back, I did not take my D5000 camera when visiting Point Lobos (a state park in California) primarily because I did not want to lug around a huge DSLR on a family vacation. And consequently moved to EM10. It has been a joy to use the EM10 along with 45mm and 17mm primes. Soon, I will sell my D5000 camera and all the lenses. Atleast for my needs (family pictures, nature photography, …), the EM10 is more than sufficient.

  6. 6) Terry WCN
    May 31, 2014 at 1:07 am

    thanks for the article and astounding pictures

    Like most of all I have the same problems: my D800 is nice but the whole day with a backpack (24-70 and 70-200) is really a pain now… most of the time I leave the 70-200 in the suitcase, at the hotel….

    One major problem you mention with the Olympus, that I also found with the Fuji X-E1, is that you can really take photos (in focus) of moving subjects…let’s talk about kids for example…. I noticed that most of your photos were static

    what could be your suggestions for a light camera, with a quality equivalent to the EM5, but usable for action ( not really sports but moving people)


    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 6.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 1:37 am

      Hi Terry,

      I think the EM-1 has a better focusing system, although it is slightly bigger, and it features phase-detect AF points on the sensor which allow it to autofocus more quickly and continuously.
      The smaller Sony NEX range (NEX 5/6 and the new A6000) also use phase detection which is better for moving subjects. (What puts me off about the Sony cameras is their lenses are quite big relative to the camera, although they are fabulous cameras and great innovators).
      The Nikon 1 also uses phase detection.

      I have occasionally shot moving subjects with my EM-5. Just last night I was on a photowalk with a friend in London and got some neat shots of skateboarders and cyclists.
      Undoubtedly each newer generation of m4/3 camera will have better AF as consumers such as your good self will demand it :)
      Hope this has helped a little :)

    • 6.2) Ido Scharf
      May 31, 2014 at 5:41 am

      Well, The Camera Store TV recently published a video that may answer your question: http://youtu.be/up8K_xd_iwU

  7. 7) Arne List
    May 31, 2014 at 3:00 am

    I bought an Olympus E-PL5 last year with kit zoom, but never loved it, because it was too small and you accidentally press buttons all the time, and never can be sure, that the camera settings hasn’t changed, the next shoot. This is still annoying, but I started to love it for leisure photography. Besides the kit zoom, I use legacy Nikon lenses, most preferred the AiS 55/2.8 Micro and the AiS 135/2.8. This is of course only enjoyable with the EVF-4, which is an excellent viewfinder.

    Now I am seriously thinking about enhancing my MFT kit. The next lenses would be a Panasonic 20/1.7, 12-32 pancake and 100-300 for wildlife. I have learned, that the 14 mm of my kit lens is not wide enough, that it is not fast enough for people, and small enough for carrying in the jacket, and that shooting wildlife with a small camera and tele lens is fun, but that I miss AF with my Nikon glass.

    My next body would be an E-P5, since I already have the EVF-4 viewfinder, and only miss a more professional handling with wheels for aperture and shutter speed, and such things like a flash when using the viewfinder.

    By the way: Very impressing photos :)

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 7.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 7:26 am

      Thank you Arne! I must say, I always wanted the viewfinder on the EM-5, but I actually find myself using it less and less, and composing with the flip-out LCD allows me to get shots that would be too awkward with my DSLR :)

  8. 8) Pierre Claquin
    May 31, 2014 at 3:33 am

    Great pictures and amazing colours . Bravo
    As British people say “Horses for races”. I have had the same experience: I use more and more my 2 OMD5 with 12, 20, 45 and the standard zoom kit and the great 35-100. It is light and easy at the end of the day (I am 67). The great thing is that I can also use my prime Contarex lenses with an adaptor.
    I still use my D800 for wildlife or for large wall prints.
    Thank you for sharing

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 8.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 4:35 am

      Thank you Pierre!
      I am still keeping my DSLR and 70-200mm for wildlife too, but if the upcoming Olympus 40-150mm F/2.8 proves to be a winner I’ll be selling off the DSLR and zoom!
      The Olympus zoom will give me an 80-300mm equivalent focal length, although with the smaller sensor I will have to see about the DOF and subject isolation, which I must say is beautiful with the 70-200mm F/2.8 wide open. On MFT F/2.8 will probably act like F/5.6, which may still be ok at 300mm, but we’ll see… :)

      • 8.1.1) Alis Dobler
        May 31, 2014 at 8:42 am

        Then, sell it to me ;-) My main subject in photography are working dogs, so I need a good autofocus. My next lens will be the 70-200 2.8 or 4 and I am seriously thinking to switch from APC sensor (d7100) to full frame (but which one?!).

        But I also own the Fuji x100s for walkaround and I must say the IQ is stunning.

  9. 9) Noons
    May 31, 2014 at 3:51 am

    Got my EPL1 shortly after it became available. And I was immediately sold on the concept of m4/3 and mirrorfree! Been slowly building up a great stable of lenses for it, as well as re-using my older 35mm and MF lenses.
    I’ve now been using a EM5 since it became available and it’s all I could ever want from a camera.

    Still interested in trying out the A7R at some stage, if Sony ever fixes the shutter shaking.
    But it’s a close call between that and the Pana GH4: I used to do a lot of video and I’ve now had the chance to use a GH3 for a coupla days. It is AMAZING!

    Mirrorfree makes so much sense, I can’t even believe how folks are still hang up on a flipping mirror!
    It made sense 50 years ago, with film. Now, it’s a complete anachronism full of QA errors!

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 9.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 4:30 am

      All good points Noons! And I must also say that even though the sensor (or at least the filter in front of it) is even more exposed without the mirror, I have not had any dust issues thus far with EM-5. And using the primes I do change lenses quite frequently. :)

  10. 10) Richard Drew
    May 31, 2014 at 4:18 am

    Absolutely beautiful pictures and an article with the usual blend of information, humility and consideration which makes this site such a pleasure to visit. It is also interesting to note that the tone of the website is echoed by those who comment. My own experience is similar in that I went from a D700 with a range of good but bulky lenses to a Nikon V1 when they were at bargain basement prices. Although I am very fond of the little Nikon and was holding on to the system in the hope of even better cameras to follow, the lack of an inbuilt EVF in the V3 has started me searching again. This article has persuaded me that for my needs, the MFT system is more than adequate. Many thanks.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 10.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 4:28 am

      Thank you Richard! Appreciate the feedback. Hopefully, you will be just as impressed as I was with MFT, and with this article I hope can reassure others that for most needs MFT is a perfectly good system.

  11. 11) Dave
    May 31, 2014 at 5:09 am

    How much post production do you do on your photos?

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 11.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 5:34 am

      I adjust things like contrast and colour in Lightroom, and sometimes noise reduction. LR seems to have some pretty good algorithms. But I tend to shoot things precisely because the colour and light are good at the location in the first place (e.g. The Shard at dusk). For B+W, I’ll hit the B+W button in LR and play with the WB sliders until I get the look I want, then maybe adjust the contrast and deepen the blacks too.
      I have the watermark, borders and resizing saved as one action in CS5, so once I’ve edited in LR, I open everything in CS5, hit the action for all images and in a few seconds they’re all done. :)

  12. Profile photo of Daniel Michael 12) Daniel Michael
    May 31, 2014 at 6:10 am


    An awesome article and again, stunning pictures. You make a very compelling argument! Although I recently got hold of a mirror less (not MFT though), I can say the portability is brilliant. The image quality too, is superb, and it actually makes you think more about your composition and settings than even an dSLR on full manual.

    There are still places that both setups differ, as you and many have said before, like the fast moving / sports / kids not wanting to stay still in darker environments type places.

    The one difference I feel isn’t mentioned much is the type of images differ also. I feel MFT / mirrorless photographs look a bit more shall we say “arty”? They have a different feel to dSLR shots. Now maybe it’s a product of the type of photographer that picks up a mirror less or the subjects that tend to be shot with it’s brand of focus. Maybe its the way I perceive the images, but I also seem to shoot differently with my dSLR and my mirrorless and not just in the physical sense. I see the images and the results as having a different feel.

    Which brings me to a dilemma I’m sure many people have: which system do I continue to expand? For me its not clear cut because both systems don’t seem to be all inclusive. They overlap sure, but they fulfil different roles at the moment. In the long run it’s a more expensive dilemma (do I get the Fuji 56 1.2mm or the Sigma 50mm 1.4 ART??), but I think on the mirrorless I can get away with fewer lenses, and keep that system nice and small.

    Pretty soon though the AF on these things will get so good, we will sell all our dSLR stuff!

    Thanks again, old friend!


    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 12.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 6:40 am

      Hi Daniel,

      Cheers buddy!
      Yep, I take all your points in hand. I shoot RAW so the images don’t look especially arty to me. (The SOOC jpegs can do.)
      I think much of the look from my images is determined by the lenses, IMHO. But yes, certainly a difference with DSLR images, although I’m sure each can be processed to look like each other!
      That Sigma 50mm is getting great reviews, and may be the sharpest 50mm out there, but it’s still too big for me to lug around (it’s big for a 50mm!), and speaking personally, my main criteria for going mirrorless was to lose the bulk and size of the gear (without hopefully losing quality!).
      Furthermore, I like to challenge myself from time to time to use just one lens to keep my compositional skills fresh. So, as on the photowalk we did with Nasim, I’ll do a whole shoot with just the one lens, which keeps everything compact and light.

      Hey, if you’re in town and want to do another photowalk some time let me know. Doesn’t have to be another 10 years! (I was on one last night!)

      Warm Regards.

      • Profile photo of Daniel Michael 12.1.1) Daniel Michael
        May 31, 2014 at 6:50 am

        Indeed it could be the lenses too! For me the dSLR is mainly for event photography, so the weight isn’t an issue, although it’s totally liberating doing events with a small mirrorless. It can be so inconspicuous you can really take nice candids with it. The other advantage is that ultra-wide angle lenses tend to be cheaper than the full-frame counterparts, and thats got to be a bonus :)

        I’d love to do another photo walk! I was reading your article this morning and all I wanted to do was go out and take pics! I’ll drop you a line and see when is suitable!



  13. 13) Mark
    May 31, 2014 at 7:46 am

    You state that your prints look good. How big can you print, and how sharp are they?

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 13.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 8:56 am

      I’ve made A2 calendars for people and they look pretty good. They’re the largest I’ve made with the EM-5 so far. Certainly no one has complained about them :)
      Of course, the print technology has some impact on the final print; I have a found slight differences depending on who I send to.

  14. 14) Steve E
    May 31, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Sharif, awesome pictures and extremely inspiring to me!

    Question, I bought the fuji X E1 then the X2, I haven’t even picked up my D 700 in a year and my D 600 only to compare it to the Fuji. I was wondering if you have tried the Fuji’s and if so how they compare with the EM5.
    Do the panasonic lenses have full functionality on the EM5?
    Again, outstanding work and a great article. Thanks for taking the time to write this!

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 14.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 9:50 am

      Hi Steve,
      Thanks so much for the kind words!

      I haven’t tried the Fuji’s, but I do acknowledge that they are superb cameras. And this is utterly superficial, but I prefer the aesthetic of the EM-5 to the Fujis! And I think it’s a little lighter too. Fuji lenses for their ILC mirror less cameras seems a little too big for me, compared to equivalent focal length primes from Olympus/Panasonic. But that’s purely personal perception and choice :)
      I have read that Fuji uses a lot of in-camera processing to get cleaner images at higher ISOs, whereas Olympus and Panasonic prioritise sharpness (with a little more noise). Personally, I’ll take a sharper image since noise just doesn’t bother me that much :) Someone else found that Fuji and MFT RAW files could be made as sharp or as clean as each other with editing software. I guess there isn’t much in it these days; the margins of difference are becoming ever smaller!

      Yes, the Panasonic lenses have full functionality on the EM-5, although I suspect they would be even freer of CA and distortion on Panasonic bodies. I have used (and sold) the Panasonic 14mm F/2.5 and still have the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7.

      Thanks again for the feedback and hope I’ve helped a little! :)

      • 14.1.1) Steve E
        May 31, 2014 at 10:15 am

        Thanks Sharif this is very helpful! I do like the smaller size of the EM5.
        BTW Were the articles posted fireworks pics shot with BOTH the 600 and the EM5? Were they all hand held?

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          May 31, 2014 at 10:23 am

          Yes, Steve, on that blog post of the New Year fireworks I have shots from both the D600 and EM-5 (mostly with the D600 that night). All were shot hand-held (no room for a tripod squashed inside a crowd of New Year revellers!), reasonably fast shutter speeds (greater than 1/the focal length) and high-ish ISOs. :)

  15. May 31, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Hi Sharif, I just wanted to say how much we enjoyed your beautiful photographs. You sure have a great eye!

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 15.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 9:57 am

      Thanks so much Mark! I really appreciate that! :)

  16. 16) Paul Howard
    May 31, 2014 at 11:24 am

    Thank you for the e-m5 Q&As I’m using my e-m5 with a 75-300mm lens for moving aircraft and wild life, any info on focusing please.

  17. 17) Vipul Kapadia
    May 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Great article. Helps me now decide for Micro 4/3s! How did you do the 7 image composite? Is there a software that does this or it’s built-in feature? Thank you.

  18. Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 18) Alpha Whiskey
    May 31, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Hi Vipul.

    I used Auto-Blend Layers in Photoshop. You basically load all the images you want and photoshop does the work for you! This tutorial may help you:

    Cheers! :)

    • 18.1) Vipul Kapadia
      June 2, 2014 at 9:27 am

      Thank you so much for your reply and sharing this info. I appreciate it.

  19. 19) Nancy S.
    May 31, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    I have visited your photoblog (Alpha Whiskey) after reading this article and would love to follow it so that I receive all new posts. Is there a way to follow via email subscription? Thanks for this very informative article and for sharing your beautiful photos.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 19.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 12:22 pm

      Hi Nancy,
      I’m not sure if there is a way. I’ll ask the site-keepers and find out. But I’m irregular with my posts; sometimes every day and sometimes every few days. So feel free to check in every so often and there’s bound to be a new posting!
      Thank you for your kind words :)

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 19.2) Alpha Whiskey
      June 2, 2014 at 1:21 pm

      Dear Nancy,

      Slickpic got back to me and said that this notification method is currently not available for the blog but is in their future development plans. Hope to see it installed soon! In the meantime, please feel free to visit my blog from time to time :)

      Warm Regards,

  20. 20) Nancy S.
    May 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I tried to enter the URL into FeedBlitz, so as not to bother you, but it would not accept the request. Thanks for checking into it for me. So much easier to follow when new posts come right to one’s inbox, no matter the frequency. I wish all blogs did that automatically.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 20.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      You wouldn’t be bothering me at all! But amen to that, it would make it easier to follow if blogs did that! :)

  21. 21) Muhammad Omer
    May 31, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    As i see your photos Mr Sharif, it is clear that you are very good at using the light. You are probably the kind of guy who can do professional wedding photography with a DX and a zoom lens like 18-140 mm and still make lots of money.
    Especially that photo of the deer with the beautiful flare from the top makes it look other worldly. Is is also evident from these photos that they have precious little to do with the equipment and mostly these pictures are wonderful because of your skill as a photographer. People who really know photography can figure out how to use the best features of any equipment to their advantage. Novices like me will struggle even with the best of equipments.
    Mr Sharif, these wonderfull photos and your short introduction at the bottom of the page make me interested in a short biography of yours( your photkgraphic journey). Maybe you can post that here someday.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 21.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 12:51 pm

      Thank you Muhammad. If Nasim invites me to do so, and if he thinks his readers might be interested in reading it, I’d be happy to oblige!
      Everyone’s a novice to start with; we get better with persistent practice and experimentation. And you’re right, of course, it’s more about the art and the vision than the gear. Keep shooting and before you know it you’ll be inspiring others :)
      Cheers! :)

  22. 22) Lillian
    May 31, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    With photography like this ..a good reason to go smaller!!
    but really not sure I could be with all ”my gear”
    but those images above speak out a lot of messages!
    thank you for sharing

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 22.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 4:30 pm

      Thank you Lillian! :)

  23. 23) Parrish
    May 31, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    While i was sceptic and thinking the mirrorless campaign was a false sense of dslr v micro four thirds warfare…. i opted to buy the EM5 and find out for myself just how good these little cameras and lenses are.

    Armed with the EM5 and kit lens of 12-50mm i joined up with my friend Sharif yesterday for a walk around London. Guided by his expertise in this camera and my own way of shooting, i believe we had a successful shoot and the upshot is – im buying into the system.
    Not because Sharif says so, but purely for the fact its such a versatile camera , light, compact, lenses look good and you know what……it performs well in an amateurs hands.

    Thanks again Sharif

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 23.1) Alpha Whiskey
      May 31, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      I think you’re hands are noticeably more advanced than amateur, Parrish! Great to go shooting with you again, my friend; I think we both learned something from it! Hope to do it again soon! :)
      Thanks buddy!

  24. 24) Brian
    May 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    On the strength of you review alone I bought an OM-D5 on eBay. It should be here by Wednesday! My wife won’t pick up my 5d mk III without complaining. So I bought it for me. I mean, her!

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 24.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 1, 2014 at 12:31 am

      I’m flattered you’d use my recommendation, Brian!
      I am certain you will enjoy it and won’t be disappointed! I wish you great fun shooting with it! :)

    • 24.2) Martin
      June 1, 2014 at 1:34 am

      Hey Brian

      Like me you are the man in our house! I use this ruse with Mrs G.


      Am trying to do some night photography in Scotland. beware the we Scottish midges; despite wearing my germ warfare kit and being covered in Deet, they are still swarming.

  25. 25) VanWeddings
    June 1, 2014 at 1:48 am

    I think there are some misprints for some of the shooting info. Panasonic 14mm f/1.7 doesn’t exist, the 14mm tops out at f/2.5

    personally I’ve long since used both DSLR and mirrorless systems. mirrorless is sufficient for all personal stuff, and a lot of the professional stuff as well, and it’s only going to get better.

  26. 26) Steve Easley
    June 1, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Did this camera come out in 2012. And if so has it been updated?

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 26.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 1, 2014 at 11:06 am

      Yes it did, Steve. It hasn’t been updated itself as such, but it occupies the line between the smaller EM-10 and the larger EM-1, both of which are newer. But the EM-5 is so good I may not need to upgrade it for quite some time! (Unless they drastically improve the C-AF).

  27. 27) Gary S
    June 1, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Yesterday, I traded my Nikon D610 and lenses and purchased a Sony A7R and Vario-Tessar FE 24-70mm F4 lens. I am very happy with the weight-loss. The images are outstanding. I know that I made the right choice. I just do not know why it took me so long to give up my DSLR, well after using SLRs and DSLRs since 1976, old habits die-hard.

  28. 28) CastawayPlanet
    June 1, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I switched to the Panasonic/Lumix m4/3 platform last year and have never looked back. I love this system. I use GH3 and GX7 bodies and 12-35 f/2.8 – 35-100 f/2.8 lenses, and the ability to carry this in a shoulder bag makes this format so easy/fun to use. Images, when compared to my previous FF system, are slightly less contrasty, but making minor/easy adjustments in LR corrects this nicely. For the convenience, there is very little trade-off in image quality. I’m happy, my customers are happy, ’nuff said. And the video output is first-rate, which is why I went the Panasonic/Lumix route instead of Olympus. I shoot almost exclusively in RAW, so any advantages in stills due to in-camera jpeg processing is a mute point to me. I agree about the moving objects/focusing challenge, but I can typically overcome this using zone focusing.

  29. 29) Patrick O'Connor
    June 2, 2014 at 5:33 am

    Great pictures and a very informative article. The photos on your website are really good, too. I’m just not sure why a few readers have to sh*t on dSLRs, though. As for Nasim’s comment about people buying bulky, expensive equipment and then trying to justify it, I’m sure that’s true; I know a few people like that. I even tried to talk a couple of them out of getting a dSLR in the first place. Personally, I wouldn’t own a mirrorless camera, regardless of size or quality, but that’s just me. They’re great for a lot of people. To each their own.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 29.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 2, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Thank you Patrick :)
      I don’t take anything away from DSLRs at all. I have used them for years and they have returned wonderful images to me. But for me personally, the idea of getting away from carrying the bulk of them and the weighty lenses that come with them is appealing. Especially for travel and everyday shooting. But as yet, I would be the first to admit they have some crucial advantages over mirrorless, especially in AF speed. Image quality is catching up, though, so much so that many people (including professionals) are using mirrorless as a preference.

      • 29.1.1) Patrick O'Connor
        June 2, 2014 at 9:33 am

        I wasn’t referring to you. Obviously, there are advantages to mirrorless cameras and for a lot of people, that’s the way to go. No argument there.

  30. 30) Miran
    June 2, 2014 at 5:56 am

    Lovely article and some nice photographs to demonstrate the ability of the MFT system. However there’s a recurring mistake throughout the article regarding exif info underneath the photographs. The Panasonic 14mm lens is mentioned multiple times at f/1.7 which is impossible, because the Panasonic 14mm has the widest aperture at f/2.5. I’m guessing you mistook it for the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7. You might want to correct that.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 30.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 2, 2014 at 8:34 am

      Thank you Miran :)
      Yes, you’re absolutely right. It should be 14mm F/2.5. I think the mistake is mine. Cutting and pasting to save time when providing Nasim with the image info, but I forgot to change the aperture detail. My bad :)

  31. 31) Brad
    June 2, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Nice article – I’m also a Micro4/3 shooter (Panasonic bodies) and have been occasionally tempted to move to the EM5 (or even EM10 or EM1) for in body stabilization and general improvements over my G5 (which is a very good camera itself).

    While I expect the upcoming 7-14 f2.8 will be excellent, don’t discount the existing Panasonic 7-14 f4, which is a great lens and I have used on many occasions. I enjoy ultrawide photography and I have done indoor and out door architecture, landscapes and other subjects with it.

    I also like the flexibility of using various legacy lenses on mirrorless cameras. I own a variety of old manual focus lenses and it’s fun to still be able to use them. It also means I can more cheaply do things like using a bellows rig.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 31.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 2, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Thanks Brad.
      From what I’ve read and seen, that Panny 7-14mm works great on Panny bodies, but the CA and distortion isn’t corrected as much on Olympus bodies. Each camera maker seems to provide lens correction profiles within the camera body for their own lenses, but not those of other makers. So I’m assuming it would be the same for the impending Olympus 7-14mm F/2.8.
      I had such an experience using the Panasonic 14mm F/2.5 on my EM-5. That’s a great little lens, but using the Olympus 12-40mm I notice there is virtually no CA and far less distortion. :)

      • 31.1.1) Brad
        June 2, 2014 at 10:27 am

        The lens corrections are stored in the lens firmware, not the camera bodies (otherwise you’d need to update cameras whenever a new lens was released). In theory, both Panny and Oly bodies will read the corrections from the lens firmwares and apply them to the output, regardless of who made the lens. I don’t have an Oly body to compare side-by-side to check, but it wouldn’t be hard to do if someone had one of each body sitting around.

        • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey Alpha Whiskey
          June 2, 2014 at 11:07 am

          I stand corrected Brad. Thanks for that :) Only from what I’ve read online the lens from each maker seems to respond differently to different bodies. But you could well be right :)

  32. 32) Wes
    June 2, 2014 at 9:27 am

    I’m a big fan of m43 gear. I have been using a m43 system for the past 18 months or so, and it is great for general use. In most cases I prefer the m43 system because it is inconspicuous, focuses very quickly with the new m43 lenses, AF is accurate, and IQ is good. The area where it fails me is for wildlife photography. While the wide through short telephoto lenses are good, the longer telephoto options are slow and noticeably soft. And so I keep two camera systems.

  33. 33) joaocs
    June 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Amazing photos, excellent article. Congratulations, Sharif.

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 33.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Thank you joaocs! :)

  34. 34) sceptical1
    June 3, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    I have been going smaller for awhile, trying to downsize both cameras and lenses. First was the move from FX to DX and selling off some very long pro lenses in favor of newer and shorter ones (sold both Nikon 200-400 and 300mm F4 and purchased new 80-400G VR) Since I make my money from photography shooting pets (wildlife provides some supplemental income through stock) I use D7100’s with mostly 35, 50, and 85mm primes. I also have a 70-200 2.8 for action with very active dogs or horses. I am satisfied with this setup, but wanted to add an even lighter system for both pet photography and for travel / fun.
    I took the plunge 2 months ago and purchased an Olympus OMD-10. This is the least expensive OMD and I loved its size / build / features. I wasn’t entirely sure I could get the quality I wanted from it from both a depth of field and low light perspective, but I was sure I would like it as a light everyday shooter.
    I also got a 12-40mm f2.8 and a 45mm F1.8. After spending a bunch of time with it learning all its features and making sure I could handle it in a real shoot, I used it as a second camera during some shoots. I must say, I am impressed with the results in general, especially with the 45mm prime. Here is what I found. My concerns about depth of field were largely unfounded. I found the main limitation (with the 12-40mm f2.8) was at the lower focal distances. From 12 to about 20mm I had to get very close to get reasonable depth of field. Of course, using a longer focal length always helped and I found that it was actually easy to get good results with the 45mm prime. Further, the bokeh with that lens is very good.
    Now a small amount of bad news – low light performance. I figure I lose about one stop of low light performance on this camera vs the D7100 with a similar quality lens. This is actually quite a bit and for this reason, I don’t usually use the Olympus indoors unless it is really bright outside and its easy to find good ambient light through a window. Of course, if I lug around strobes or multiple speedlights the Olympus works fine.
    Overall, I think its fantastic and will consider switching completely as budget allows. To switch completely I would need to have some even faster prime lenses for the few situations where I need more low light performance.
    For those looking to make the jump to this system, just take the time to figure out the strengths and weaknesses of the camera / lenses and become comfortable with what it can do. Then shoot within those limitations. You will get great results. BTW – that advice applies to any camera system!

  35. 35) Joe
    June 5, 2014 at 9:22 am

    This is a very well done piece showing how he uses his MFT system. The pics are beautiful and show the skill of the photographer as the true driver of quality work.

    I have a Nikon1 J3 and a D600. I also have very large hands and can easily palm a basketball. I find the to be quite convenient for inconspicuous photography and easy to carry around. My favorite use in underwater in the WP-N2 housing where it performs exceptionally well. However, it feels like a toy camera and is a bit awkward for me in regular use.

    On a recent visit to Istanbul, I had only the J3 and got a lot of really good shots. It also does really well with the FT-1 and the 70-300 lens. However, the size and heft of the D600 really feel more comfortable to me for landscape and wildlife work. Yes, I like the convenience and compact size but really “need” the larger camera for most of my above water work.

    I would love to get a V3 or J4 but will stick with the D600 as it really fits my hands and my shooting habits.

  36. 36) Vipul Kapadia
    June 6, 2014 at 9:30 am

    This greatly influenced my thinking to go for a Micro 4/3 and especially Olympus. I am considering OM-D EM1. I checked it out at a local store and although it’s bigger in size compared to EM-5, it felt great and I loved all the controls. I am considering 3 lenses and was wondering if you would like to know if you have used these and prefer one over the other. I am looking at 12-40 f/2.8 Pro, Panasonic Leica 25 f/1.4 and upcoming Panasonic Leica 15 f/1.7.

    Lastly, have you experienced hot pixels issue during long exposures? Has Olympus resolved this issue through firmware? I am seeing it reported by Gordon Liang on his Camera Labs web site at:

    Thank you for the wonderful review. You certainly had me thinking about Olympus over Fuji. BTW, I did checkout Fuji X-T1 but I liked the ergonomics of Oly over Fuji. Besides, Oly is nappy and has unrivaled AF speed!

    • Profile photo of Alpha Whiskey 36.1) Alpha Whiskey
      June 10, 2014 at 3:21 am

      Hi Vipul,

      I have the 12-40m F/2.8 and it’s a super lens. Very sharp, and beautiful bokeh when shooting close up at 40mm (very good close focusing ability). Also weather sealed. It does make my EM5 a little heavy but it’s a great travel lens. I also have the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7, which is also pretty sharp. Haven’t used the other lenses you mentioned.
      I haven’t experienced any hot pixel issues with my EM5. My understanding is that if you leave the noise reduction set to Auto, the camera will automatically take a second (dark frame?) exposure to cancel out noise and hot pixels. Not entirely sure if I got that right :)
      Hope this help! :)

    • 36.2) Marco
      December 10, 2014 at 1:49 am

      The Panasonic 15mm has better contrast and slightly better corner sharpness than the Olympus 17mm. But that’s about it. Neither lens is impressive optically, because of the huge distortion correction.

      When you add a small grip to the E-M5 (a big ergonomic improvement) it’s almost as big as an E-M1. Get the best camera you can afford. In this case I’d choose the E-M1.

  37. 37) Vipul Kapadia
    June 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Has Olympus addressed the long exposure hot pixel issue reported with OM-D EM1 with the firmware? Thank you.

  38. 38) Narasimhan Gopalakrishnan
    June 18, 2014 at 3:36 am

    I am impressed by the content. Feel lucky to be here. Got EM1 after considerable dilemma whether to go for EM5 or EM1, considering I am novice to photography. This blog gives me lot of inspiration. Soon I look forward to an article how to customize EM1 (if it is there already link please). At present have 12-40 Pro lens and 40-150 lens of Olympus. If you suggest I will go for more :-). Thanks and regards.

    • 38.1) sceptical1
      June 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Hi Narsimhan,

      You decided on a fantastic camera! I don’t think you need anything else in terms of lenses. The 12-40 Pro (as others have noticed) is outstanding and the 40-150 covers an excellent range and I am sure it can produce good results with proper use.
      The best thing you can do to improve your photography is huge amounts of practice. Learn your camera inside out. Learn to love your manual or find a good guide. Then practice taking all kinds of pictures in all kinds of conditions.
      After you are comfortable with your camera and have some experience, I have found two things that will help improve your photography (depends on what type of photography you do)
      1. Lighting. Consider getting a nice flash. The OMD-M1 has excellent flash control and learning how to properly use flash and flash modifiers is the quickest way I know of to help with most kinds of photography. It is a given that it helps with any type of portraits, but is also very useful for lots of action photography where you might need to freeze the action or use fill flash.
      2. Stabilization. The OMD-M1 has excellent built in optical stabilization. It is fine for most uses, but if you get serious about wildlife photography (or macro photography) having a good tripod with a good ball head (or similar) is invaluable. Many photographers downplay this and I also love shooting as much as I can hand held, but there are many times where having a stable platform is essential to getting great results.

      I hope this helps. There are so many great resources on the web that you can get as much as you need. I always like to recommend that new photographers, after they have a little experience, look at the Strobist site: http://strobist.blogspot.com/ This site is all about using flash to get better results and it contains a wealth of useful information. Good luck, and I am sure you can find many many more great resources from others.

      • 38.1.1) Narasimhan Gopalakrishnan
        June 19, 2014 at 7:23 am


        Thanks a lot for your valuable information. I will soon practice with flash too as suggested. Looking forward to learn many more things.

  39. 39) Jorge Balarin
    June 23, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Thank you very much Sharif for your nice article and superb photos. I think Olympus must keep the EM-5 in production. The EM-5 line could stick to its originally size, updating only the components. Beside the great technical quality, the EM-5 was a success because of its small size. That must not change. Best wishes.

    • June 23, 2014 at 2:25 pm

      Thank you Jorge. It certainly works well for me :) If they update the AF I’d be very happy :)

  40. 40) Petra de Bruin
    November 12, 2014 at 4:46 am

    I came across this article because I’m thinking about switching back to a Nikon dslr. I often find the RAW files of both my EPM2 and OMD EM10 to be very ugly and full of artefacts. There is also a harshness and more digital look to the photos I find, if this makes any sense. Many of the photos above look overly sharp, not a natural sharpness that comes from good lenses.
    Doesn’t anyone notice that some of the above photos have ugly skies? Like the one from the Pirin mountains? My Nikon V1 skies look better than the M4/3 ones. And even though the Nikon 1 has a smaller sensor, and more noise, I find that better looking noise than that from the Olympus. So if this is the case, I think for me it’s time to go back to the Nikon dslr.

  41. 41) Vince
    February 25, 2015 at 1:22 am

    Hello Sharif. First of all those are amazing photos. I really enjoyed your style, and as Panasonic GH4 and soon to be GX7 user, they were truly inspiring. Congratulations on your success. Just one question if you don’t mind. I truly enjoy shooting with primes but I’m truly considering buying into the pro zoom lenses, either panasonic or olympus. You mentioned your zoom lenses will only be used on certain subjects. Can you expand on that? What certain situations would you prefer your zooms over primes? Thanks again and I’ll sure to be following your work.

    • 41.1) sceptical1
      February 25, 2015 at 11:48 am

      Hi Vince,
      I have both the 12-40 and 40-150 Olympus “Pro” zooms. I like both of them very much and find them useful vs primes for most situations. There are two areas where I think primes do a better job. The first and most obvious is low light. I frequently take pet pictures indoors using window light. The 1.8 speed allows for photos with lower ISO and more background separation. The other area is for portrait ranges. For whatever reason, 40mm is weaker than the rest of the range on the 12-40. When I want that range, I almost always go for the prime.
      Note that that 40-150 is a fantastic lens even for wildlife and can be paired effectively with both the 1.4 and 2x teleconverters with little loss of sharpness. Obviously, you need great light to use the TC’s so keep expectation in check :)
      I can’t recommend these lenses enough. Note that I also think the Panasonic 35-100 is an amazing lens and would have purchased it if I didn’t know that 40-150 was coming out. They are very similar and it really depends on what range you want.

      • 41.1.1) Vince
        February 25, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        Thanks sceptical1.
        I appreciate you taking your time to give me some of your insight. Any reccommended lenses for m4/3 system? I mostly shoot with a metabones speedbooster and some prime legacy lenses, but I want to get some native lenses for the the AF and being able to adjust my setting more easily in manual. I like shooting landscapes, architecture, portraits, and also video is important to me as is the ability to manual focus while shooting video. I’ll be using a rig or stabilizers to shoot video but only have my gx7 for in camera stabilization when shooting stills. Also with that type of shooting do you think the 40-150 or 35-100 are must have lenses? Thanks again in advance. My plan right now is to get the Pani 20mm, and Olympus 12-40 over the Pani 12-35 for the manual focus ability. Also probably the Olympus 45mm and 60mm macro.

        • sceptical1
          February 25, 2015 at 6:47 pm

          Hi Vince,

          I use these cameras mostly for pet photography with a combination of both portraits and action shots. The Olympus OMD-EM1 has excellent in body stabilization, which the GH4 lacks (amazing camera regardless, btw!) For this reason, the most versatile zoom I would consider is the Panasonic 12-35 2.8. I haven’t used this lens, but if its anything like the 35-100, its fantastic and it has optical stabilization. I don’t think the 12-40 is better and you would be limited to using it on the GX7 to get stabilization. I guess it depends on how important manual focus is to you. If it were me, I would get the Panasonic, because the GH4 has such excellent video and having image stabilization is a big plus. Note though that video is not my strong suit (still learning the finer points….)
          As for the need for the 35-100 or 40-150, I definitely need it for pet photography action shots. These action shots are frequently taken at some distance, hence the need for the longer range (100mm is fine, I rarely go beyond that) For your purposes, I am not sure the longer lengths are as necessary. You might be able to get away with just having the 12-35, then use longer primes when necessary.
          I love the other choices you are considering. The 45mm Oly is great. I can’t speak to the 60mm, but it would be great for the longer range (assuming it is an excellent lens) I haven’t used the Pani 20mm either, but it is very well reviewed and I am sure it would be your go to lens for architectural photography. That said, I would prefer a shorter prime. I tend to shoot slightly shorter or slightly longer, but this is personal preference, and I don’t shoot architecture.

          • Vince
            February 26, 2015 at 12:24 am

            Hey Sceptical1,

            Thanks again. I’m still torn between the Panasonic 12-35 or Olympus 12-40, as manual focus with hard stops is so nice to have with video as I won’t be depending on AF. Then again IS would be nice for the few times I decide to do handheld without a rig/steadicam/tripod, and aslo for stills. For now though I think you did convince me to get one of the longer zoom lenses (still not sure which one though!) probably the Pana as longer distances will make IS even more crucial. I do like the shorter primes also and will need to find a good native lens. For now I have the Tokina 11-16 f/2.8, and when adapted to the Metabones Speedbooster becomes a 35mm equiv. of 15.6-22.7 f/2.0. As for the Pani pancake 20mm lens, I’m just excited to have it on me with the gx7 as an everyday never miss a shot option. I have never had a camera and lens combo this awesome, I can stick in my coat pocket! Anyway thanks again.Though I do wish it had that 5-axis IBS the OMD-EM1. Guess I’ll just have to keep on saving so I can have them all. Cheers.

            • sceptical1
              February 26, 2015 at 8:35 am

              Hi Vince,

              Happy to share the information. I really like what you said about the small Panasonic. That would be a perfect walk around lens for a small camera.
              As for the OMD-EM1, the IBIS is great, but the GH4 is a more rounded machine if you want great video. I choose the OMD-EM1 because I am mostly a stills photographer. What is great is that there seems to be a camera for almost every need!
              Good luck with your decisions. The good news is that it is really hard to go too far wrong considering the choices.

    • July 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

      Vince, I can speak for the 12-40mm F/2.8 and 40-150mm F/2.8, which I have found to be excellent pieces of glass. I use the 12-40mm as a general all-purpose lens, especially on my travels. I use the 40-150mm to shoot wildlife and sports (see my blog for examples from South America and here in the UK). I take my 45mm F/1.8 and 60mm F/2.8 with me but hardly used them, the Pro zooms were so good and versatile. Fortunately the 45mm and 60mm are so small they don’t take up much weight or space in my bag.
      (Apologies for the late reply. Apparently when comments switched to disqus my subscription to this thread inadvertently ended).

  42. 42) Monica
    March 16, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Hi – your photos are amazing and between your discussion with Skeptical 1 I find I am still at a crossroads. I have a little Sony RX100 iii which is great. I just started volunteering at a horse non profit last summer and tried to use the RX100 and the Sony NEX6 with a zoom lens for indoor arena events – not much luck and in fact the RX100 shots were better. I am still on a learning curve but want one camera with a bigger zoom to complement the RX100. After discussions with local photographers at a camera store, I am close to choosing the Olympus EM10 with an appropriate zoom lens as I don’t really want to bulk up on DSLR’s and gear…..however, from some discussions below I think the occasional indoor arena event may mean I should invest in a used SLR and appropriate lens. At this point I was hoping to stay around the $1,000 mark but I could also wait and save – after the impulse last year of getting rid of very old SLRs (Canon) and the impulse buy of the Sony NEX6 in an effort to downsize, I don’t want to make another impulsive mistake now that I know what it is I want to be shooting. Basically I need the RX100 with a good zoom! Thanks for any direction.

    • 42.1) sceptical1
      March 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Monica,
      I am not a huge fan of the Olympus EM10 for this purpose. As much as I love this camera, focus tracking is a clear weak point. Without getting into the weeds too much, the EM10 lacks phase detection auto-focus and relies on a different method called contrast auto-focus, which does not do a great job of tracking movement. It is merely okay…and that means it is difficult to know if you nailed the focus. It is not close to even an entry level Nikon DSLR in terms of tracking ability. A bummer I know.
      The OMD-M1 (their top model) has both focus types and would be much better suited for something like sports. Further, you must pair this camera with native micro-four thirds lenses to get the phase detection AF. I shoot fast moving pets successfully all the time…but I wouldn’t even consider it without their best glass. Again, another bummer in terms of cost. Note that even the M1 with the best glass does not track as well as my D7100…the reason I use that camera instead for wildlife (birds in flight). The M1 is more adequate for subjects that are close – like a dog running around 50-100 feet away…but focus accuracy deteriorates with distance.

      In your case, budget is clearly an issue. I would seriously consider getting a used DSLR / lens or wait until you can afford an M1. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I don’t want you to spend hard earned money on a camera that won’t perform.

      • 42.1.1) Monica
        March 16, 2015 at 7:05 pm

        Thanks so much Sceptical1 – after reading your post and this discussion I figured as much but I really appreciate your reply. This will help me be patient and watch for a good used DSLR and lens. Even if this is only a hobby I want to do the best I can with the budget I have, otherwise I am just making another costly mistake (NEX 6) and setting myself up for disappointment. Thanks again for your response and for helping me figure out my homework!

    • July 14, 2015 at 3:31 pm

      “Basically I need the RX100 with a good zoom” The Sony RX10 has the same sensor (or as good I believe) with a 24-200mm F/2.8 lens. Looks like it could meet your needs? :)

  43. 43) Rony
    April 14, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    Well , reading this and looking at the photos , I think I know what to do . The problem is the choice between the Oly em 5 mk II and the Fuji X-T1. Maybe the Fuji has a little better IQ , but still the Oly looks superb and has more to offer ! So sell my D7000 and all these heavy lenses and buy the Olympus Em-d 5Mk II. YES ! Thanks for the article.

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