Wednesday, December 09, 2015

I Bought A New Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II, and I Shot A Wedding Assignment With It

Surprise, or not really a surprise to many, I have just purchased the new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II! Which colour you asked? This time, a SILVER one. 

Yes, I know this is a direct contradiction to my previous blog entry about not upgrading your gear. Please hear me out first. 

My trusty workhorse, the now aging OM-D E-M5 (original, first version) is dying. If you know me well and have seen the way I use my gear, you would actually be amazed that how the E-M5 has taken the torture, beating and excessive use over the years, and still survived. In case you did not know, I did not buy the E-M5 new, when I got it two years ago, it was a used unit, which also contributed to the shortened life. I cannot say that the camera can survive a full rigorous photography assignment, and that lack of confidence drove me to the option of purchasing a new camera. 

That is the point: I do take in photography jobs from time to time (so that I can eat some fancy food and buy that new lens) and I need to replace the dying camera. Instead of spending money for repair and service, I thought it is time to put the battle-scarred E-M5 to rest, and invest in a new camera. I was deciding between the E-M1 and E-M10 Mark II and went with the cheaper version: I do not need weather sealing for my photography shooting, and the E-M10 Mark II proved to be more than sufficient for my photography needs after many rounds of using it in my review sessions as well as casual shooting with it. With all the latest Olympus specific features, 5-Axis Image Stabilization, large Electronic Viewfinder, super fast AF, and very, very low entry price point, it is difficult for me to look elsewhere.  Also, this may not be something entirely unpredictable, I have sold off the Fujifilm X100 which I did come to love, but I cannot justify keeping too many cameras. 

My current gear list? 
Main camera: The new Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II Silver
Secondary Camera: The suspected stolen Olympus PEN E-P5 Silver (no one claimed from me, so I am keeping it)
Lenses: M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit lens (I use this mainly for 2 purposes, the 12mm wide angle, as well as the special macro mode), 25mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8
Flash: Olympus FL-50R and FL-36R

What was the first thing I did with the new E-M10 Mark II? I brought it along with all the above gear list to a wedding shoot. 

Photographs are shown with permission from Yew Hoong and Chia Ching, the newly weds. Take note that the following photos are preliminary edits. 











Since I shot weddings mostly with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 over the years I shall do a quick comparison between the old E-M5 and the new E-M10 Mark II. I understand that there really is no point in doing so practically, since the E-M10 mark II is released 3 years later than the E-M5. Nonetheless, I do think the improvements are significant, and the information I am sharing here may be useful to some readers who are considering to make the jump from the older E-M5 to either the new E-M5 Mark II or the E-M10 Mark II. 

1) Improved Autofocus

The first and most important improvement using the new E-M10 Mark II, is the much improved autofocus system. The E-M5 was by no means slow, it was superbly fast and reliable and I have shot many wedding assignments and other photography jobs with it, with high hit rate. The AF was improved firstly in E-M1, which was a jump up from the E-M5, offering 81 focusing points instead of 35, and the AF response was generally faster. This same improved AF speed and reliability is built into the E-M10 Mark II. Focusing was almost always instantaneous, and rarely do I have a miss-focused shot. You have no idea how crucial AF is for a wedding shoot, everything is always, always moving and nothing stays static for too long. Having a camera system that quickly responds to the half-press of the shutter button to acquire focus made the job so much easier: I do not have to worry about focusing at all and just focus on capturing moments. 

2) Better JPEG Engine: Truepic 7 vs Truepic 6

My image processing workflow depends largely on the default image processing engine of the camera. For wedding shoots in Malaysia, the photographers are usually required to do a Same Day Edit photo slideshow of images taken during the morning wedding ceremony to be presented during the dinner reception. Typically the photographers will only have a few hours to complete the slideshow of a few hundred photographs. There really is no time to sit down and process images one by one, and the out of camera output is extremely crucial here. I shot JPEG + RAW and used the JPEG for the slideshow. E-M10 Mark II JPEG files are so much easier to work with, having more optimized output in comparison with the older JPEG files from the E-M5. The new image processing engine, similarly found in E-M5 Mark II and E-M1, is noticeably superior, rendering the signature true to life Olympus colors, optimized sharpness and incredible dynamic range (you can see many scenes with direct, harsh morning sunlight). Very little needs to be done to the photos before I throw them into the slideshow, just some minor cropping, levelling and perhaps brightness/contrast adjustments. The images you are seeing here in this blog entry? Mostly almost straight out of camera. 

3) Overall Better Handling

Ergonomics and handling on the E-M5 was good, though I do admit that using it for longer hours, I did wish that it has a beefier grip like the E-M1. I did not purchase the HLD-6 battery grip, but I had a third party add on grip instead. Strangely, I would expect similar experience with the E-M10 Mark II since the camera is smaller and lighter than the E-M5. That was not the case. I found shooting with the E-M10 Mark II to be more comfortable and easier to handle than the E-M5. Besides the E-M1, I think the E-M10 Mark II has got the best ergonomics for all Olympus cameras. The hand-holding felt just right in hand (enhanced with the ECG-3 hand grip of course), Furthermore, I especially like the more rugged, raised dual control dials (front and back), which was positioned at exactly where the fingers could reach quickly. The rough texture on the dial was an improvement over the smoother finish from the E-M5. Clearly a lot of thought was put into designing the camera, based on feedback from users using the E-M5 and E-M10 (first version). 

4) Larger, Higher Resolution Electronic Viewfinder

I have my list of complains in the E-M5's EVF, and the main one being the different color profile, not consistent with the OLED display at the back of the camera panel. While this problem was fixed in the E-M1 (both EVF and camera monitor panel were LCD), the E-M10 Mark II has OLED EVF. I still think the best EVF for Olympus is in the E-M1, but the new EVF in E-M10 Mark II is a big step up from the E-M5. The high resolution and high refresh rate rendered very smooth looking view, with no lag. While the color can still be improved (you can read my original complain in my E-M10 Mark II review), the higher resolution was a big welcome. 









Micro Four Thirds System vs DSLR: A Game of False Perception

I think the biggest concern when shooting wedding with a Micro Four thirds system in Malaysia, is the kind of look and judgemental comments from the clients or their guests about small and "less-serious" looking cameras. It has been built into the mentality of the locals here that bigger camera is better, and DSLR is the work camera for anything professional and serious. Often, those who use smaller camera formats such as Micro Four Thirds will be looked down, and their photography skills in question. 

Thankfully, I have never encountered such situation yet. Most of my clients come to me from two sources: either through recommendation of family and friends, or through direct correspondence via this blog. Those seeking me through this blog are mostly familiar with my work and my shooting style, and have hired me for that. They know well what kind of photographs they will be receiving and no doubt, having thousands of blog entries in this blog helped assured that. In my many jobs I have shot, I was never questioned, and clients have been happy and satisfied. 

The way I see it, the Olympus OM-D system is more than capable for shooting weddings. Too many wedding photographers have been too comfortable with the DSLR system, and being in the comfort zone, it was easy to just continue using something so familiar. There is absolutely nothing wrong in that, and there is no need for a change if you do not see a need to. I have known several respectable, highly successful wedding photographers in Malaysia who still use a 5 years old DSLR and produce incredible, beautiful photographs. 

The problem lies with the game of perception: how do you convince your clients that you are good enough, and that your gear does not define you? There is no easy answer to that. For me, I have sufficient body of work to show, and my own unique style of shooting, which is rare these days considering many, many wedding photographers are following the trend of "overcooking" their photographs. I show my wedding photos as naturally as possible, results looking true to life, and that is my strongest selling point. 












I was sure glad the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II made it into my collection of gear. The wedding shoot was a success, the slideshow shown during the wedding reception was a hit, and I am receiving thumbs up from the newly weds! Yes, the camera performed well, and shooting with it was an improved experience from my older E-M5. 

I think the question of which camera to upgrade from E-M5 was a simple one to answer: choosing between E-M5 Mark II and E-M10 Mark II (simplifying choices by the two latest Olympus camera OM-D bodies), the deciding factor comes down to weather-sealing. To some photographers, this is a must have feature due to the nature of their work and photography shoots, then the answer is obvious: E-M5 Mark II. If you are like me, afraid of the rain and not really an adventurous kind of guy, just staying within the boundaries of the concrete jungle most of the time, why spend more money for weather sealing? Save it up and fund for that next lens purchase!

To Yew Hoong and Chia Ching, congratulations! We shall be catching up soon. 



32 comments :

  1. As usual my friend...great shots...from a simple and humble guy....merry christmas

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  2. First of all, great shots! I love your work (both photography and blogging).

    Now I've been using (and loving!) my E-M5 for almost 4 years now and feel there's some room for improvement (auto-focus, focus peaking, video, etc.) though. I would have bought an E-M5II if it didn't have that annoying swivel screen and therefore have turned my eyes on E-M10II. I think I can get past the lacking weathersealing but how would you rate the IBIS? I mean, the best feature in E-M5 is the IBIS and I want it to be better in my next camera (and certainly not worse). Have you noticed any difference between the IBIS on E-M5 and E-M10II?

    Keep up the good work!

    Best regards,
    Teemu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Teemu. About the difference between E-M5 and E-M10 Mark II in terms of the 5-Axis IS, I believe the E-M10 Mark II's performance is closer to E-M1, which is better than E-M5.

      Delete
  3. Very well said Robin.. Been reading your blogs since using Olympus camera (2013) and now am upgrading my e-pl5 to e-m10 mark II which is a definitely significant upgrade and satisfying. Olympus indeed is a great choice, at least for you and me currently :)

    Keep writing and keep shooting Robin!

    Cheers,
    Eko

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to know that you are upgrading from E-PL5 to E-M10 Mark II! That is a big upgrade indeed!

      Delete
  4. Hello Robin!
    Super article and great wedding photos. I follow your blog for a few years and have great respect for your work.
    I love your street photography!

    I also photograph weddings with the Olympus OMD cameras. (E-M5 & E-M1). So far I have not had problems due to the camera size .... ;-) For me, it makes the work easier and more comfortable. In a great picture quality! Here is my homepage:

    http://www.christianmari.at

    Greetings from the other side of the world (Austria / Vienna)
    Christian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Christian,
      Glad to find another wedding photographer using exclusively Olympus to shoot weddings. Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  5. Hi Robin excellent photos as usual, once again highlighting what the Olympus cameras are capable of (with the help of a good photographer of course :))
    Some months ago after much thought and deliberation I got rid of all of my full frame Canon gear and went Olympus.
    I blame you and Steve Huff :)
    It was the in-depth reviews and quality photos on the sites that finally convinced me to get the OMD EM 5mkii with the 12-40mm Pro and the 60mm macro :)
    So far I am very happy with the gear, the one and only complaint I have is the camera's weak low light focusing ability.
    In hind sight I should of probably got the M1 :)
    Once again thanks for a fantastic blog and getting me into M43 :)

    Regards,
    From Kevin in South Africa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words.
      I don't think the E-M5 Mark II is bad in low light focusing, how low light are we talking about? I would suggest disabling the AF Assist lamp (it does not help in some situations).

      Delete
    2. Low light as in ISO 3600 at f2.8. :) I shoot the ceremonies for the Buddhist temple here and sometimes all the lights are turned off and only candles are allowed. (Fortunately not often). I think I do actually have the AF Assist turned off, I will turn it on and do some tests. The exact opposite of your advice but worth a try.

      Delete
    3. no i was suggesting to turn it off. I have shot with e-PL5 and E-M5 in a candle lit temple as well.
      http://robinwong.blogspot.my/2012/11/olympus-mzuiko-17mm-f18-review.html
      http://robinwong.blogspot.my/2013/11/deepavali-festival-of-lights-my-second.html

      Both occasions, both camera performed extremely well. while my friends' DSLR were hunting like mad in such low light condition, mine was focusing so quickly.

      Delete
  6. congratulations on having acquired new gear ...:):)

    Boy! Am I excited..:)

    ReplyDelete
  7. H Robin, great shots! Any reason you went with EM10 II instead of the original EM10? Did you make use of the silent shutter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wataru,
      3 reasons: Better EVF (higher resolution), 5-Axis IS, and improved handling/ergonomics.

      Delete
  8. I also photograph weddings with my old Olympus OM-D E-M5 and my new E-M5 mkII, Samyang 7,5mm FE, m.ZD 12-40 f2.8, PanaLeica 25mm f1.4, the lovely m.ZD 75mm f1.8 and two metz wireless flashes. It's all that I need! No complaints about the the size of the gear. But, sometimes, when I see most photographers with their 5D mkIII and FF lenses I feel like they are the pro and not me. It's just psychology! People doesn't matter.
    Both cameras are fantastic and really do the job! So I'm happy in the m4/3 format. The BAD is the photographer NOT the camera!! I'm bad, so I'm still learning from your pictures and blogs like this.
    Congrats!
    Sorry about my english

    My m4/3 weddings
    http://www.fremarestudio.com/fotografia/bodas/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Juan,
      thanks for commenting, and glad to find out that you also shoot weddings with Olympus OM-D system. Indeed, it is a lot to do with psychology, not the camera itself.

      Delete
  9. Really well done Robin. Both the images and post are exemplary. My only failing with the 5 mk2 is the swivel screen, takes away the discrete nature of my original OMD. That said the image quality of the newer camera has been great and I have truly loved the high-Res mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, Jeff. I am with you on the swivel screen. I also prefer the tilting up and down screen!

      Delete
  10. Hi, I know zero about photography but I just bought one of these for my wife for Christmas. I am looking for extras, can you please tell me, is the Olympus BLS-50 the only battery she can/should use? And is there a different charger or some type of adapter for the charger it comes with that will plug into the wall and get rid of the bulky cord?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "one of these". Did you mean E-M10 Mark II? Some different cameras may have different batteries, so please be specific. E-M10 Mark II does use BLS-50. And she can use the existing charger for it. NO there is no such thing as a wall plug. And I don't see a problem using cables.

      Delete
  11. My compliments for the photos. I like to see how the "street photo style" is applied to wedding photography (with, ofc, the right use!). Everything from your photos come very natural and it's a pleasure to watch because there's a story in every photo. I don't like "overcooked" photos too. Simple is better both in photography and design. My compliments!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words Adolfo. Simplicity works best, thanks for agreeing!

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete
  13. Really nice photos Robin. I had to smile about your talking about old Olympus cameras. Infact, keeping a low profile on photography I still have my E-5 and recently shot the baptism of my grandson with it. ISO 640 to 800 is the maximum the E-5 can handle with decent results. Selecting a manual exposure and sticking to that whatever frame I chose turned out to be a wise decision. Some photos came out like paintings, RAW definetely helps with that. For the time being, I'll keep my old weathersealed workhorse ;-) I turned down the offer to use a Nikon D7000 for the baptism. No way.

    Rolf

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Robin,

    Love your photos. I happened to buy exactly the same omd10 mark 2. I had ocassional problem when switching lens. It become dark ( already removr the caps). When that happened I had to remove the lens and put it back again. It will work.

    These happened quite often during my first usage. Now it became rarely happened although it just happened just now.

    Is this a flaw or something wrong with my unit? What should I do?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Robin,

    Great photos as usual! I was just wondering if you might be able to post a full list of your camera settings at all? I recently picked up an E-M10 mk2, but i'm having issues with a large number of my shots being out of focus, or focused on the wrong element of the scene. I never this issue with my Lumix G5, and was hoping that perhaps i've just got something in my settings wrong. Thank you in advance!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hello Robin,

    As usual I have found your work simply outstanding no matter which camera model you have chosen you are a very talented photographer. In fact the equipment is only a specific tool that you can mastermind without question in view of your repetitive wonderful results.

    Receive my best salutations for 2016,

    Daniel M

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  17. Great post.I'm glad to see people are still interested of Article.Thank you for an interesting read..

    Asian Wedding Photography and Videography

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Robin, i'm moving from ff to mft, the choice is between omd em10 ii and omd em5 ii, my doubt is about focus speed in c-af (non tracking, just select a focus point and follow the subject whilr the camera keep the point on focus), that is useful during the bride entrance for example, and from my research seems that omd5 mkii have a better hit rate in this regard, but there is no direct comparison around the web, it is just my assertion based on the many reviews i've read. in Italy where i live there is 300€ difference between the two model, that i can save for better lenses in case.

    ReplyDelete