I got my first interchangeable lens camera in 2009, at the advice of a good friend. It was a Nikon. The D40 served me well and continues to serve my sister-in-law equally well. It’s a very friendly DSLR, but it has it’s limitations—not in picture quality, but rather in advanced functionality. Once you master the D40, it’s a great little camera… but when you discover its limitations, they can be really limiting.
So it wasn’t long after I got the D40 that I moved to the D7000. The 7K was a delight. It was fast. It took lots and lots of pictures on a single battery. The pictures it took were crisp, vibrant, had little noise, and the camera was a lot of fun to use.
For a few years.
However, for the past two years, I’ve found myself leaving the trusty Nikon in the closet. I wanted to have the camera, but it was just too bulky. Too heavy. Too inconvenient. It was time for a change.
So once again, Steve pushed me in the right direction. For the past few weeks, I’ve been carrying a camera again. It doesn’t have the Nikon name on the front of it. The lenses are not Nikkor either.
I’m now carrying an Olympus. It’s not as easy to handle as the Nikon was. It doesn’t have quite the capacity of the Nikon. There’s some really nice features of the Nikon that I miss.
On the other hand, I’m taking pictures. The camera isn’t too heavy to carry around. The lenses are small and fit in pockets. I have yet to master the quirks of the OM-D EM-5, but I was comfortable taking photos at a wedding this past weekend. I was never comfortable doing that with my Nikon; the sheer bulk of it made me feel like a photographer—an outsider. The diminutive Olympus is much more personal.
The noise is a little higher and the focus isn’t as steady. But the images are nice and my workflow hasn’t really changed despite the new equipment.
And I have a whole new world of lenses to desire. It’s different. Not simply better, nor is it really worse. Just different.
- The Olympus is harder to manipulate (the controls are not as easy to fiddle), and yet is easier to manipulate (the advanced control panel and Electronic View Finder make less common changes trivial)
- I miss my 70-200f/2.8 VR Nikkor, but the the M.Zuiko 12-40mm (equivalent to a Nikkor 18-60 f/2.8 on the D7000) has been rather a lot of fun too.
- I don’t miss the shoulder aches at all. And I love that all my lenses fit in pockets.
- The photos seem to be a little noisier, just a little. The color is great and over time I think I’ll learn how to get more out of the RAW photos I’m taking.
- I find myself a little nervous about taking many photos without transferring them off the SD card. I’ve never had a card failure, but I loved having the redundant cards in the Nikon and miss that. Similarly, I haven’t run the battery dead mid-shoot, but have a fear that I will; I never worried about the life of my Nikon battery, even in the highlands of Scotland.
- I don’t really miss the extremely good focus performance of the Nikon. The Olympus seems to be “good enough” for what I do. That said, I’m not trying to photograph moving birds or sports.