Problem Statement

I was planning a trip to Germany and Italy in the summer. I had a bunch of expensive and heavy camera gear that I wanted to bring to take pictures, but the thought of carrying it all around with me sounded crazy.

I was going for a wedding so I needed normal focal length. I was also going to travel and wanted a little bit of reach and maybe some ultra wide stuff.

The most important part, though, was quality of image. I like looking back on my photos in the future and seeing where I’ve been.

Was there a solution out there that could accomplish roughly the same quality as my Nikon gear but weigh less and be cheaper?

The short answer


The full story

I went to the store to look at the Fuji X-T1. My friend FlannelForBreakfast had bought one and traded in his Canon gear to do everything with the Fuji. While in the store I checked out the Sony, but it was almost as heavy as my Nikon and had a higher price tag. The salesman also said I should look at the Olympus. I fell in love with the Olympus almost immediately, some of the reasons are pretty silly, so bear with me.

Firstly, the E-M5ii has a fully articulating screen. This means you can turn it up so you don’t ahve the LCD in your face at all times. On digitial cameras, the LCDs are known for eating up a ton of the battery power. Hiding the LCD means better battery performance. Also, for some reason, this made the camera feel more robust.

Secondly, the camera comes in a chrome finish which makes it look like an old Olympus OM, hiding the fact that it is a digital camera. Also, I felt like this was a very cool looking color.

Thirdly, the E-M5ii is an Micro Four Thirds(MFT) mount. This means I can mount lenses made from multiple different manufacturers. When you buy a Fuji you are somewhat limited by what they offer, when you buy Sony, you have more options, but they keep changing the mount, and they don’t always develop lenses as fast. The current ecosystem of lenses for the MFT system is actually pretty diverse. Since the platform is adopted by both Olympus and Panasonic you can get some interesting combinations. For example, there is a Leica designed, Panasonic manufactured 42.5mm f1.2 lens that is just amazing.

Fourthly, the E-M5ii is weather sealed. Now, I still cover it, but it is supposed to be pretty durable. This durability is a large factor when traveling. Having a camera that can hold up to a little bit of abuse is always a good thing.

Fifthly, The E-M5ii is significantly less expensive than my Nikon. The body was just over $1000 but it is now found under $800 at times. The professional lenses all cost around $1000 compared to the Nikon lenses that are easily double that. If I lose my camera or break it, I feel less guilty knowing it costs less to replace.

Sixthly, the camera is small and light. Compared to my Nikon it is easily a third the size and probably less than half the weight. This is very handy for hiking, traveling, or just fitting into a bag. I’ve been very happy with the amount of gear that is still portable.

Lucky number seven, the camera’s pictures were close enough in quality to the Nikon that I felt I could get away with it for traveling. Now there are some cases where this isn’t the case, and I’ll get into that later, but in general, the camera took really crisp, clean pictures

To be continued. I started writing this post a while ago and while there are many more things I have to say, I decided to break it up a bit. This is only part one of many