My goodness, little did I know that such an innocent and humble blog review of mine has stirred up quite a chaotic storm over some online photography communities and forums. It was indeed scary to trace and find the reactions by many, and for whatever small things I can do here, I shall do my best to calm the weather.
Oh no, Robin is going to review the Fuji X-Pro 1 !! Oh no, Robin is being paid by Fuji to write blog reviews on the awesome Fuji X-Pro 1 Oh no, Robin is going to be a Fuji fanboy. Robin is also going to say that we no longer need any in body Image Stabilization, or extremely fast autofocus, or cool yet powerful features like wireless TTL flash. Maybe, maybe, Fuji will be paying Robin handsomely and give him a Fuji X-Pro 1 with the trinity lenses, and top that up with nice leather casing too. Oh no, Robin is going to throw all of his Olympus gear away !! Oh no, the world is coming to an end.
Seriously, enough baseless assumptions and misleading speculations?
Ok, all jokes aside, I find it odd how so many people think negatively about the X-Pro 1's built quality, I held it in my hands, and I thought it felt very good. Yes, Olympus E-M5 has a better built, due to its magnesium alloy body construction, and weather sealing. Those points apart, I don't think the X-Pro 1's handling is that bad at all, but of course I have not done any extensive shooting with it to make any good conclusions.
Lets come back to planet Olympus. I acknowledge the fact that I might have rubbed some shoulders wrongly in my review write-ups. Here are my list of clarifications, if some of you are kind enough to read:
I have stepped on many toes when I said Focus Peaking was not optimized to be used for macro. I did admit that focus peaking works well for normal shooting conditions, where precise accuracy is not a priority, and you need to nail down your focus quickly. I still stand on my ground that for extreme magnification, focus peaking is not exactly very reliable. I can get away with better results by trusting my own eyes judging the focus zone through an optical viewfinder (a good and bright one, that is).
Yes, Focus Peaking is a useful feature and important to have, and I think it is not too much to ask Olympus to put that in their cameras since it is only software based feature, which would not add any significant increase of production cost. Nonetheless, my comment was purely referring to the currently available focus peaking by Sony, which I believe can be improved much further for absolutely accurate manual focusing works. You may or may not agree with me in this, but trust me, when you are shooting an insect under a large leaf in a heavy shade under a large tree, where it was mostly shadow, dark, with low contrast, you will find yourself suffering to get what you want in focus through focus peaking.
I like the idea of being able to quickly "approximate" your focus through the focus peaking. This is better implemented for other areas of photography, say, street photography using manual focus lenses (such as the wonderful Voightlander 25mm F0.95.... *slurp). I did not say that Focus Peaking was a useless feature (which many people thought I did), I was just merely saying, it could have been better.
OLYMPUS AND ME AND MY REVIEW
I was approached by Olympus and was loaned the E-M5 for my blog review purposes. I was only given a weekend (effectively two full days and nights, Saturday and Sunday) to do whatever I wanted to do, and it was extra challenging this time because not only I have to cover my own photography part of the review, I also was working together with a friend, Sanjit, for the video part (the videos were all shot with E-M5 handheld, by Sanjit). There were so much more I wish I could do in the short period of time, I only focused on a few tests which I thought would be of interest.
I tried my best not to repeat whatever other information that would be abundantly available on the other review sites, such as comparison of image quality with other cameras. Instead, I use a more "real life experience" approach, by shooting, and from the process of shooting, I analyze the camera's capabilities. The key areas of highlight have been the weaknesses of Olympus system over the years: Dynamic Range, High ISO shooting, Limitation of resolution (to 12MP only previously). I brought the camera out to do what I can do best, street photography, macro, a bit of scenery and landscape, and if you have known me through my blog you would know that I love music as well (live band performance). Hence, I did what I love doing, I shot what I wanted to shoot, I did not just go out with the camera for the sake of testing the camera. I went out shooting with the E-M5 as if I would do the same with my own camera. I believe only by doing so, I can come home with meaningful images, because I have truly enjoyed the shooting process.
I have constantly mentioned in my blog that I am not a professional photographer, but merely a photography enthusiast. I am a full time Geotechnical Engineer, and I only do photography as a hobby (I do take freelance photography jobs, but that's to supplement my equipment purchases). My photography work is always open for debate, or critics. I am still very new to photography (I have only picked up my first DSLR in 2008). It is not difficult to see that I am a learning photographer. I acknowledge the fact that there are many better photography work out there, there are countless street photographers who can run hoops around me. My macro photography technique is not perfect, it is still flawed, and there are many areas that I can improve. Nonetheless, I am not trying to be the "best" photographer, or trying to "outdo" anyone else. I am not chasing perfection in my photography work. The most important thing I have always highlighted, and spread in this blog is "HAVING FUN" while shooting. Being passionate about photography, means being able to enjoy every single process of it, before, during the shooting process itself, and even after that, while previewing the images on screen, sharing it with friends and large communities in the world (such as with you beautiful people) and then awe at the magical moments captured through prints. Photography should not be too focused on what is right or wrong, which techniques work better, or "how things could have been done better".
What is the point of having an award winning photograph is you are not able to enjoy shooting it?
Similarly goes to my following question:
What is the point of having the world's BEST camera, if you are not able to enjoy shooting WITH it?
I am not perfect, and I do make mistakes. My photography is flawed in many ways, so is everyone else's. One size of shoes is not going to fit into all sizes of feet. I can only do what I can, within the limited time, my limited photography knowledge and experience, to tell you what I think when I shoot with the E-M5. I am sure you will be able to find tonnes and tonnes of other images and review works to better help you grasp how the E-M5 performs, and would it be able to fulfill your camera fantasies and desires. My blog reviews were never meant to be a "complete guide" to what you want to know about the gear. It is about what a photographer can do with a camera, and it is all about what photography should really be: shooting and making photographs happen.
Kirk Tuck (click), a great professional photographer whom I admired a lot, has constantly been questioned and attacked by online photography communities too, and the most recent one happened during his personal Panasonic G3 quick review (where he brought the camera out for shooting). I did not understand back then, why he needed to stand up and explain himself, because I thought that it would be wise to just keep quiet and not participate in any dramas and traumas happening out there. I guess after having more than 40,000 visits to my blog for the past 24 hours, reading hundreds of comments on my blog as well as hundreds more in the discussion everywhere else, I started to realize if I don't say anything, people will just continue to make senseless assumptions. I believe Kirk thought the same too.
I have one more part to finish off my Blog Review saga for the E-M5. I shall take a very short pause, before I compose myself to write for that last entry.