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Mirrorless Madness Professional Cameras

A New Paradigm Shift In Photography

Back in April during our Maui photography workshop I did something a photographer should never do, I turned my back to the ocean while I adjusted my portable Hensel flash system for one of our photographers. Within seconds, the Pacific Ocean decided it would devour my Canon 5D Mark II digital camera with my Canon 85mm f/1.2 lens still attached.

It was a heartbreaking moment as that camera was given to me after I did five PowerPoint presentations in one weekend to help raise money for the ARC Foundation of Austin, a charity that helps children with special needs. The lens I had paid for is not cheap at f/1.2, and now it too was destroyed.

Model Fashion Photo, Olympus OM-D, E-M1

From our “Fall Fashion” series my muse, Heather and I captured this photo with the new Olympus OM-D, E-M1 system and an Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens.

I looked over at my model muse and love, Heather Carden, shrugged my shoulders and said, “Things happen for a reason.” She knows my driving force is my God and faith, so $5,000 of equipment down the drain wasn’t going to bring me down. Now I think I’ve found the reason why planet Earth took my tools away from me, so I could think outside of the normal professional photographer’s box.

And I mean this literally; I’ve shifted my thoughts from the bigger, bulkier, boxy and heavier DSLR’s to the compact, lightweight, and just as professional mirrorless cameras. This weekend when my friend from Olympus, Steve Ball, sent me the Olympus OM-D, E-M1 mirrorless camera to try out for a few weeks along with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens, which in full-frame DSLR terms is actually a 150mm lens, Heather and I set out to do a “Fall Fashion” photo series.

Model Photo, Olympus Mirrorless Camera System Photo

One of about 50 photos we shot in about an hour with the Olympus mirrorless camera system.

I just started trying out this system, and I still have three other lenses to try out including the 75mm – 300mm zoom lens that has an equivalent of a 150-600mm DSLR full-frame lens. During my shoot, I actually was able to put that lens in my jeans front pocket, now try that with a DSLR 600mm lens.

So look for a future review blog article on this new Olympus system here on LensDiaries.com. I want to test this camera and the lenses very thoroughly before I give my final verdict, but I will give you a bit of a spoiler alert, so far it’s not only impressed me, but my muse too.

In fact, the few photos you see here were from about 50 photos Heather and I created in about an hour this weekend and when we downloaded the images in Adobe Lightroom, she starred (she’s read my number one viewed article, Editing Photos vs. Photo Editing, Know the Difference.) almost every image and stated, “With your Canon system, I usually star just a few and with this camera, I like almost every photo, unbelievable.”

I don’t like making rushed decisions, so I’m still doing research, not just physically testing this Olympus digital camera system. One thing I’ve noticed is a paradigm shift throughout the Internet of professional photographers moving from bulky-mirrored camera systems to the new mirrorless digital cameras. If you search Google, you’ll find DSLR vs. mirrorless cameras debates all day long, but the shift is real.

Model Photo, Olympus Digital Mirrorless Camera Photo

This was one of the first photos we took for our “Fall Fashion” series using the mirrorless Olympus OM-D, E-M1 with the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens.

As an example, after posting a few of these new photos on my personal Facebook account, two photographers, Michael Dean from Pennsylvania and Darwin Young from Georgia, both revealed they dumped their Canon photography gear then took the money of their used equipment sales and did a complete switch to the Olympus system with money left to spare. Darwin actually took his money and purchased a Corvette Z06, then invested a small amount into the Olympus system. These were unsolicited testimonials.

According to the photo industry, DSLR’s currently outsell CSC’s, one of the acronyms given to these compact mirrorless cameras. The photo industry points at many factors including how Canon and Nikon, the two big dogs in the DSLR market, have been slow to adopt and expand this system, unlike Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic and Sony. The industry noted that consumers purchase DSLR’s because they are labeled “Pro” more than CSC’s, which is merely a perception issue and has nothing to do with the quality of the products or the results they produce.

Both Heather and I are impressed with the Olympus mirrorless digital camera system.

Heather and I are impressed with the Olympus mirrorless digital camera system.

Well I’m here to tell you, the Olympus system does everything you can imagine, from auto-ISO to face recognition with focus tracking—it’s a professional system and with their new M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens just being introduced, what part of “Pro” can you miss?

Ironically, at the same Maui photography workshop where I lost my Canon system, Todd Mizomi, professional photographer, photographed our models about 95% of the time with his Sony mirrorless system. I really don’t remember which Sony camera he had, but I do remember it had a fixed 24-200mm F/2.8 lens and sync’d with flash at up to 1/1000th shutter speed.

For outdoor shooting where you have to fight the Sunny 16 rule, especially if you want to overpower the sun with flash and use a low aperture, I was impressed that Todd’s little camera could outshoot my Canon 5D Mark II in that type of situation. The Olympus system I’m using, with their flash, will sync up to 1/8000th, though I don’t have that flash to try it out yet, I’m sure I will eventually have the opportunity and can’t wait.

Even more ironic, when the Pacific Ocean swallowed my Canon system, Todd broke out his other equipment case that contained a Canon 5D Mark II and a 5D Mark III plus practically every lens Canon manufactures, even the 85mm f/1.2, and he offered me to use his systems until the workshop ended because he really wasn’t using them.

While I felt a bit like a charity case, Todd’s hospitality impressed me in another way. Here’s a top Maui photographer with a massive professional Canon system, and he instead chooses a mirrorless (CSC) system for his shoots. That spoke volumes.

I have some upcoming photography workshops and I might just have that Olympus digital camera system in my hands, so if you decide to attend, I’ll let you see it and try it with your own eyes and hands. With that I close and as always I ask you to not forget the men and women who serve in our armed forces to protect our freedoms, God Bless them, their family and friends, Rolando.

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14 Comments

  1. Great article Rolando! I also sold most of my Canon gear to get the Olympus OM-D EM-5 with a few lens and I also now have an OM-D EM-1. I still keep a Canon 7D with 400mm f/5.6 to photograph birds in flight.

    • Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m glad you’re enjoying the Olympus system like I am. Thanks!

  2. I LOVE IT Rolando!!!!!! Thank you for referring to me in the blog, it means a LOT to me!!!!!!!! The system, speaks for itself. In the midst of an ongoing megapixel war, I literally threw my hands up and jumped out! I still have my Canon 1Dx, and I laugh when I look at it for the following reason. My Olympus body and 4 lenses cost LESS than just the 1Dx body! LOL!!!! In theory, I could have bought my entire Olympus system to date, AND traveled to one of your workshops AND I still would have had money left over!

    • Thank you for sharing your experience with Olympus. You’re always welcome at any of my photography workshops too! Thanks!

  3. Nice article Rolando..as you know I have health issues (Eyes and Lungs) and it was getting harder for me to carry my DSLR gear and also to keep things sharp and in focus. Then Olympus came out with the OM-D, E-M1. I did some research and decided to sell all my Cannon gear and invest in the mirror less system. I couldn’t be happier. I know you will love it and all their lenses. Keep doing what you do my friend, I always enjoy your articles.

    Mike Dean

    • Thanks Michael! I pray for your improved health and I will always cherish our friendship. You know I’ve used Olympus before and I’ve always been satisfied with their products. Thanks for sharing and stay solid my friend! rg

  4. Mahalo for the shout out Rolando,

    Great to see all the amazing work you are doing with the Olympus system. I just picked up a Sony a6000 and looking to get either an A7 or A7S next. Isn’t the weight reduction wonderful?

    For any readers who may be interested, the camera I was using for the workshop is the Sony DSC-RX10 (which is now available for under $1K). Great little workhorse – love that flash sync speed! 🙂

    • Todd, you are very welcome and keep on trucking! A special thanks for everything you’ve done for me over the many years we’ve known each other and we’ll see you next year at the next Maui workshop!

  5. Welcome, Rolando, to the enlightened side! I have been shooting Oly since OM1 days and though I have drooled over the Nikon D800 for it’s incredible resolution for big landscape photography, I am so happy with my Oly kit. I can carry 2 bodies — EM-1 and a Pen — and all my lenses 9-18, 20, 45, and a three more zooms in a messenger bag! I have the first Pro lens and it is a dream piece of glass.

    • Sheldon, thanks for your feedback. I’ve used Olympus before, including the E-300 (cover shot for Rangefinder magazine) and the E-1. It’s been a while, but I’m loving this mirrorless system and I’m going to see where it takes me in the next couple of weeks. Again, thanks for your comments! Please share this article too!

  6. I made the switch from the 5D2 to micro 4/3 too. Even have a website about that at mirrorlessjourney.com

    • Thanks for your feedback and all the best for your website.

  7. I sold all of my full frame canon gear with L lenses a few years back and went mirrorless with the micro 4/3 system. I really like having the smaller sized gear, which is much more affordable. I have a medium sized shoulder bag that can carry a three body system and *all* of my lenses; in 35mm equivalent focal lengths I am covered from 14mm up to 600mm!
    I also fully enjoy using Olympus AND Panasonic lenses and bodies together with 100% functionality.

    The Olympus 75mm F/1.8 lens is excellent, As are the Panasonic 12-35 and 35-100mm zooms.

    Since then, Canon and Nikon have been upping the megapixel count, but I haven’t seen anyone’s actual photography get any better than it was back in the 16 megapixel days with the 1Ds2.

    • Thanks for your feedback, and it’s getting interesting in the mirrorless world. Thanks again!

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Welcome to LensDiaries.com (Lens Diaries™), a hybrid photography blog with social flair. The photoblog provides photo tips, photo tutorials and photo diaries by professional photographer, author, writer, speaker and social media consultant, Rolando Gomez.

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