Guest review : Olympus OM-D

Today a guest review from the Olympus OM-D camera.


Olympus OM-D Review


My name is Ferry Knijn and I am a Dutch Dance and music Photograher. I mainly shoot dancers, musicians and sometimes more commercial work for advertisement and weddings. Currently the personal project I am working is the project. For of my work please look on or


For the past two weeks I had the Olymopus OM-D in combination  with the m.zuiko 12-50 f3.5-5.6 zoom lens (also the kit lens), the 45mm 1.8 and the 17m 1.8


During the 2013 Pro Imaging trade fair I first me the OM-D, I had it seen all ready in magazines, but on the exhibition it really caught my eye for the first time. Currently my main camera is a 5DmkII with a 24-70 2.8 and 70-200 2.8.


Currently I am looking for a small/light travel and street camera. I am getting more jobs for which I have to travel or shoot on in city’s or have to do a lot of walking, so not having to carry a lot of heavy gear can be nice for my back/shoulder. This is one of the reasons I got interested in the OM-D, it is like a mini sided DSLR.


I also have tried the Fuji X-E1, but I have the feeling the Fuji X-system isn’t complete enough yet. The amount of lenses isn’t all there and the support from software programs can be an issue. Which does not take away the Image quality is really great!!!




The Camera
I am not a big specs fetishist, but for the reviews sake! The camera has a 16-megapixel Live Mos Sensor. it is a new kind of micro four third sensor. I have no exprience with the older PEN camera’s, but they say it has a better Dynamic range and Noise performance. It has 11 creative filters and 5 effects. Personally I don’t give a F about that, but it is nice it is on it. Something I think is realy great about the camera is the fast auto Focus. It is the fastest I have ever used. Especially with dance and jump shots this is a real plus.


It also has a 7.6cm Oled tilt screen.  I always thought that a flip-screen would be a fragile part of the camera, but this one is really handy, also because it is a touch screen that actually works!


The 5-axis stabilization is also really smooth. It keeps it easier to hand held it with longer shutter speeds, but also when shooting video’s. It can give an allmost steadycam feel even when walking.












In use
After playing with the camera on the street while shopping, we also did some real studio tests. the competitors where the 5DmkII with 24-70 2.8 and the Nikon D800 with the 24-70 2.8 and 85 1.8


The Olympus really held it’s own next to these DSLRs. Although it lacks the DOF you get with the full-frame cameras and has a lower megapixel count, the quality really is good enough. Below are 3 shots, the set-up was a Elinchrom BX500RI with the big white Elinchrom beauty dish, silver reflector and showercap, on a white roll of paper in our living room. The white Balance was set to auto







The first photo is the canon 5DmkII, the second the Nikon D800 and the third the OM-D. The first thing noticibale was that the OM-D has a slighty cooler look and a slightly different image size ratio Also the Color balances are different. But with the Colorchecker this is solved easily


On 100% crop the D800 is the sharpest, but with 36.3 mexapixels it also should be! But with “only” 16 megapixels the OM-D worked better than expected


The compactness of the camera was also nice during the portraiture work. It keeps you more connected with you client. The crop factor is the pain in the #ss with this camera. Because of this you have to constantly recalculate your settings. Because the apertures are of course yielding a totally different result than with the FF cameras. Also the camera claims to be at ISO200 while DxO measured it at ISO100. When using a lightmeter you really have to keep this in mind and do a proper light meter calibration.


Not having the option to shot tethered is something I also really missed.








The 12-50mm lens
The basic kitlens is the 12-50 3.5-6.3 lens. For me this is more a video or holiday lens, The quality is nice but! Because it has a motorised zoom it is slooooooowwww. Also on manually you have a rather precise but long turn, maybe it is nice for shooting video, but not in the studio!


Although the Macro function is nice to have of course.







M.zuiko 17mm 1.8
This is one of the more luxurious lenses from Olympus. This lens is made of metal and feels real robust and smooth. Because of the crop factor it gives you the field of view of  a 34mm 3.6. For street photography and full boy shots this is the lens to go in my opinion.





M. Zuiko 45mm 1.8
The M.Zuiko 45mm 1.8 for me was the portraiture lens with these camera’s, in the studio this lens really shines. The lens does feel cheap, “it is the plastic fantastic lens for this camera”, it has a nice sharpness. The downside is the aperture with the crop factor, when I tried to shoot wide open with natural light, it didn’t performed like the Nikon 85 1.8 due to the crop factor.








I think overall the OM-D is a really good camera, especially for travel and location jobs, but it isn’t a DSLR killer like Zack calls the Fuji X series. The fuji’s have the better dynamic range, when you pull up the shadows or highlights they keep better detail and dynamics then the OM-D.


I would like to have this camera because of it size, feel and lenses. The downside is the kit lens and the extreme crop factor. But with the prime lenses it still is a great camera.


In September I hope to go to Paris for some shoots and would like to have this camera in my bag, by then in combination with the new E-P5. However in a few years when the X-E2 of X-Pro2 will come out and Fuji has some more lenses I will probably switch to Fuji.