Olympus OM-D E-M5 On Its Way!

Cameras May 10, 2012

I got an e-mail yesterday that my camera dealer has an Olympus OM-D E-M5 + Grip with my name on it! The camera will be winging its way to me very shortly and I will be able to start testing this little puppy. Based on a lot of shots and videos that I already have seen, this camera may well meet my rather stringent needs.

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What kind of photography do I shoot that has such “stringent needs”, you ask?

Professional dance and stagecraft. Professional ballet in particular.

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Photographing professional dance requires that a camera have several things going for it in order to be able to produce images like the one above:

  1. Good high-ISO capabilities – lighting in professional dance varies from venue to venue and even on the production being performed. The shot above was positively drenched with light compared to say, Act 2 of Swan Lake.
  2. Fast AF in low light – with people bounding all over the place, the AF system had better be able to track them quickly and accurately. Some old hands swear by zone focusing, but you will get a lot of misses that way, in my opinion.
  3. Fast telephoto zooms – some venues let you sit up close to the action. Other stuff you in a corner somewhere. Some have a fishbowl specially prepared for photographers. In any case, you will need a fast zoom to gather the light needed.
  4. Quiet operation – I have shot some modern dance productions that had the troupe whispering on stage for most of the show. Triggering my Nikon D700 sounded like someone fired a .38 pistol in the theater. I have been banned from one venue until I replace my camera with a quieter one.

What am I expecting from the OM-D?

I have seen several low-light images posted on various sites that lead me to believe that the OM-D can handle the lighting situations I usually find myself in. In a test video by digitalrev.tv, Kai and the gang show the OM-D tracking a fast-moving belly dancer in fairly low light conditions. On top of that, Olympus makes the fastest 70-200 (equivalent) zoom I have ever seen @ f/2.0. The lens is a Four-Thirds mount lens so I will have to use an adapter. The OM-D’s mirror-less design will keep the noise down along with the smaller physical size of its shutter.

What’s next?

Once the OM-D arrives and I get it all set up, I will begin to familiarize myself with its operation and imaging capabilities. I am working on getting LensRentals.com to sponsor the Zuiko 35-100mm f/2 SHG lens for the tests. I will let keep you posted.

Can’t wait for this camera to arrive!

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