Olympus cameras pack innovative features that make them unique, and it’s the reason why I stick with them.
Having fun with photography is something we sometimes forget to do, especially those of us who enjoy photography both as a hobby and practice it as our full-time professional jobs. I switched to Olympus cameras in late 2019 after having to sell all my Full Frame gear to pay off medical debts I incurred after almost dying. I will admit, moving to Micro Four Thirds was not my first choice, but I needed a camera so that I could resume my business, and an Olympus E-M1 II fell into my lap. I can honestly say that, since then, I have never looked back, and it’s due to how much fun I have using Olympus cameras. Let’s talk about this after the break.
We all know Olympus is in a tricky situation at the moment (if you weren’t aware, read this), but this does not take away from the fact that Olympus has some of the most unique cameras on the market. Cameras like the E-M1 III, the E-M5 III, and the Pen E-PL10 really should have found their way into the hands of many more photographers, but due to weak marketing efforts, interest simply wasn’t high, and that’s a real shame. You can read my thoughts about the pending sale of Olympus here. In this piece, I address poor marketing on the company’s part, but also talk about the bright future of Olympus. Features like Live Comp, which often get overlooked, are what make Olympus cameras stand out and need to be discussed more because they are brilliant!
The Micro Four Thirds Stigma
Let’s just get this part of the article out of the way, shall we? A lot of photographers poo-poo the Micro Four Thirds system because of the size of the sensor; trust me, it’s not that important. I have used Full Frame, APS-C, Medium Format, and of course, M4/3 cameras. I have never felt limited by a smaller sensor. If you’re a good photographer, you can create images easily with any camera if you know how to control and use light.
Many photographers simply will not give the M4/3 platform the time of day, and that’s a real shame because if they did, they would find that Olympus has been innovating in ways other manufacturers have turned a blind eye to. I use Olympus cameras for my professional and personal work, and I have been able to use all of the stunning features in Olympus cameras to great effect. I have never had a single complaint from clients about image quality either. They simply don’t care about the type of camera I am using, they only care about me capturing what they need, and thanks to features like Live Comp, I can do my job easily.
“In many Olympus cameras, you will find Live Bulb, Live Time, and Live Comp modes that enable levels of creativity other cameras simply cannot touch.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Olympus Are True Innovators
Myself, our Reviews Editor (Paul Ip), and our Editor in Chief (Chris Gampat), all agree that the Live Comp (live composition) feature found in Olympus cameras is one of the best features around. Period. I have never met a photographer who doesn’t like long exposures, but, they don’t try and create long exposures often because it can be tricky. This is not the case with Olympus cameras.
Thanks to innovations like Live Comp, you can nail long exposure shots every single time without blowing out the whole image with just three button presses, and you get to see the image build on the LCD in real-time. It’s pure genius! This is the kind of innovation that photography needs and Olympus has had this in spades for years. In many Olympus cameras, you will find Live Bulb, Live Time, and Live Comp modes that enable levels of creativity other cameras simply cannot touch. It’s these features that make the cameras incredibly fun to use.
“When you can show how much fun can be had with a camera, and you spark a fire within a person in regards to being a creator, that’s a massive win.”Brett Day. – Gear Editor
The Process Is as Easy as 1-2-3
The image above was taken from my backyard on the 4th of July. All major firework shows had been canceled, so my family and I decided to watch the fireworks in our small rural community. It’s not the greatest image in the world, but I don’t care about that, what I care about it how much fun it was to create it. I cared about seeing the excitement on my son’s face as the image was building right in front of us, and heck, it even piqued his interest in photography, and that, is awesome! When you can show how much fun can be had with a camera, and you spark a fire within a person in regards to being a creator, that’s a massive win.
Creating images like this is so easy with Olympus cameras. You simply set the picture interval time (I chose 3-second intervals), you capture a base image with an exposure that you like, and then you hit the shutter button again. It’s as easy as that.
The exposure of the base image never changes, and the camera will only capture new light in the frame. So, here we can see the fireworks that were added to the scene as they launched and exploded, star trails which formed as we spun our way through space, and the huge, bright full moon as it streaked across the sky. At the end of the 14-minute exposure, I ended up with one RAW file that was made up from all the individual 3-second exposures (yes, a RAW file, not a JPEG) to edit. It’s brilliant!
“I can’t imagine going back to bigger, bulkier systems. The amount of fun I have creating images for myself and my clients with Olympus cameras is off the charts, and that’s so important.”Brett Day – Gear Editor
Olympus Cameras Can Do That?
I posted the firework picture to social media, and the number of photographers (beginners, enthusiasts, and pros) I know who asked about the picture and how it was created was high. When I told them about Olympus cameras and Live Comp they were blown away. These photographers had no idea that there was this level of innovation in Olympus cameras, and several even mentioned that they were going to look into Olympus cameras because of it.
These reactions were of no surprise to me. If you can look past all the negativity that gets thrown around about this platform, and you actually start to look at what these Olympus cameras can do instead of what they might not be able to do, you will be impressed. Couple these Live features with industry-leading IBIS, fantastic image quality, weather sealing from the Gods, handheld hi-res modes, and truly gorgeous lenses, and you have a system that adds levels of creativity you cannot get with other systems.
I’ll be the first to admit that owning Micro Four Thirds cameras to use professionally was never on my agenda. Still, this is where I am now, and I can’t imagine going back to bigger, bulkier systems. The amount of fun I have creating images for myself and my clients with Olympus cameras is off the charts, and that’s so important.
Don’t just take my word for it and ignore the neigh sayers on the web. Go out and get some of the Olympus cameras in your hands to see what they can do for yourselves. Features and innovations like Live Comp might just change your mind.