Since my earliest memories, Mum was always behind a camera. From a young age I would play with her Kodak Brownie Starlet. She gave me my first one – an Agfa X-126 Instamatic (1976), when I was nine. From my first school trip to Glenora using that camera, I was hooked.
I studied photography as part of art class from grade 8 and into college mostly using the school’s Pentax 35mm SLR’s. As soon as I could afford a decent camera, I bought a Yashica FX-D (1984) film SLR which later got stolen from my car. Disheartened, I let photography slide for some time but the interest never waned and I purchased a 3.2MP Canon Powershot A300 (2004) when digital cameras reached a usable resolution.
I also purchased a used Kodak DC40 from The Mercury – one of the first consumer built digital cameras.
Interest re-sparked, I read Nikon had the best glass so saved for a 6MP Nikon D40 (2008) with two kit lenses – in it’s day a smallish, light weight entry level DSLR with limited features. Good for bush-walking, I shot RAW fully manual for years. Next came the D3200 (2012), again, bang for buck and small – and of course, various smart phones.
Then came the drones, where I used an iLook+ then a Xiaomi Yi for still and video, I researched and found the Sony RX100 III (2015) as the smallest, lightest, RAW capable camera and bought one second hand. Mounting on a drone didn’t work out due to budget constraints but I loved this camera, the 8 kg of Nikon gear was put aside and the RX100 literally lived with me! The only thing I missed was an extended zoom.
February 2019 I rafted the Franklin River and after much research, I bought the newly launched GoPro Hero 7 especially for the trip.
Circumstances changed, finances improved and I began contemplating another upgrade. As I loved the Sony, I was considering a move to the full frame A7 or A6000, when I met someone through Flickr who shot with Olympus. I was very impressed with his shots, we became good friends and after a play with his gear, it didn’t take much convincing.
While I saved and waited for the long anticipated EM5 III release, I gave in to a great discount on a new OM-D E-M5 II and M.Zuiko 14-150mm lens (May 2019).
I quickly came to love the Olympus micro 3/4 system, it’s compact light weight, exceptional build quality and weather-sealed gear lends itself well to my off track adventures and shooting style – and the camera with it’s unique features was simply awesome!
After the recent EM5 III release 5 months later, I decided to upgrade to a low shutter count, second hand EM1 II, so patiently kept an eye out and scored a second-hand mint condition bargain! (November 2019).
Comparing them, I prefer the tactile feel of the metal wheels, faux leather and handling of the smaller, lighter EM5 II, the quality of hardware and images is exceptional. To me the 1 II feels more plastic and rubber.
Where I would mostly carry the 5 by the lens while walking, the 1’s bigger grip makes the heavier body easier to carry. It has more programmable buttons, faster focus and tracking, a different sensor, longer battery life and a few other features that for me, made the upgrade with extra size/weight worthwhile.
This is the first “Professional” level camera I’ve ever owned, the stuff of dreams! It’s not new, it’s not the latest or perhaps the best, but I believe it’s the best bang for buck and the best camera system for my needs and I don’t see myself upgrading again for some time … though I have started considering lenses – in January 2020, I purchased a secondhand 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.
I’m selling my Olympus EM5 II
grab yourself a bargain, practically new with 2.5 year warranty – here on Gumtree. I am very tempted to keep it as a second body but I would get better use from more lenses.
Despite the passion, my photography gear has always been on a modest budget and I’ve enjoyed the challenges of working within their limits. It’s held me back a little at times, taught me LOTS, often forced me to be inventive, adapt to various situations and fully appreciate the gear I have now! However, the recent upgrades doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll take better photos but I’ll enjoy giving it my best shot, with far fewer limitations, whenever I find the time!
I love getting lost in my “photo head”, to drift away and see the world differently in composition and light, often ending up in places and seeing things I would never have expected. It makes life way more interesting, all inspired by my late Mum, who captured many fond memories that I can still look back on, thanks to her.
Happy snapping – Tone.
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