Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Last week I wrote a post about how to choose a camera, having chosen a new travel photography camera for myself, the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2.

So is the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 the best travel photography camera? I think that it is, and this post I will tell you why I think so and what I like about the the EM5 Mk 2. I will also tell you about the post “how to choose a camera”, and how I applied this thought process to buying the EM5 Mk 2. And I will share some of the photos taken of this wonderful little bundle of photographic cleverness.

The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 is my travel photography camera of choice.

More on the photos taken with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 later in this post.

Whats in this blog post?

In this post I will tell you who I am, what the 31 things were that I wanted in a new camera, if I got them in the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 or not, and my views on my new camera. And I will answer the question at the end as well. Ok I did so at the beginning, but this will be a fuller answer!

Sorry – I nearly forgot – I will include a sprinkling of photos of my Olympus camera - more on the images I have taken later.

Here it is.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

OK – are you with me? Let’s get to it!

Who am I?

If you don’t know me hi, I’m Rick McEvoy, an architectural, landscape and travel photographer. I am a professionally qualified photographer, being an Associate of the British Institute of Professional Photography (ABIPP).

I have been using full frame Canon DSLRs for years now, but have recently dived into micro four thirds photography Olympus cameras and lenses.

I have three websites, this one, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini.

So you will see how important travel photography is to me!

Check out my work on my main website Rick McEvoy Photography – I have three portfolio pages, all of the images on these pages have been taken using my Canon DSLRs.

This will change next time I update the pages, as I use the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 more and more for my travel photography work, and the odd commercial architectural commission.

Which leads me nicely back to the subject.

Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

That is the question I will answer, but first, lets go back to the blog post last week.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

How To Choose A Camera

Last week I wrote a blog post titled “How to choose a camera – 31 practical things for you to consider”.

This was based on an older post, and formed the basis of the thought process that led me to buy the Olympus camera.

Here are the 31 things that were important to me on my new camera – did I get them with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2?

1 - Smaller and lighter than my Canon 6D with lenses

The camera body is certainly smaller and lighter, even more so with the 12-42mm pancake lens. But throw on the lovely but not so small 7-14mm lens and it becomes more of a lump.

A smaller lump granted but hardly pocket-sized!

2 – In-camera HDR

Well it turns out that it does have in-camera HDR. The camera takes four photos at different exposures and creates a single RAW file.

I did not know this until I was researching some of the finer points of this post.

I am very excited by this, so much so that I can forgive the lack of GPS. Almost.

3 – GPS

No GPS. And this does not please me. So the workaround is that I take a photo on my iPhone and add the locational data in Lightroom. I know I can do this, I have just not had time to do this yet.

And to be fair on every shoot I take photos and videos with my iPhone.

4 – Wi-Fi

Yes. Built in Wi-Fi with the Olympus Image Share app on my iPhone. All I have done is connect this, but I will give this a go on my next trip.

5 – Connectivity as good as an iPhone

Time will tell once I have given the app a go.

6 – The functionality of an iPhone

Erm no. To be honest no. The menus are fine and as logical as the ones on my Canon cameras but no revolution here.

7 – Connectivity to my iPhone

I will see about this.

8 – In camera image processing

Not like I was thinking no. But that might just be me! Lets forget that one.

9 – Fully articulated screen

Yes. For the first time ever and I love it.  I need to get used to moving with the screen at a jaunty angle – I think I have some personal co-ordination issues to get over!!

As with all these things practise will make perfect.

But yes and this makes me so happy.

10 – A screen I can actually see in normal light and also in direct Greek sunshine

On my trip to Rhodes the screen was much clearer so yes to this. It is a small screen but much brighter and clearer.

11 – Touch screen with full functionality

Touch screen with some functionality yes. I will work on this and let you know how I get on in my next update, but the one thing that I did want was to be able to touch the screen and focus and take a photo, which happily I can do with this camera.

12 – Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

OK. I have to be honest here. Not really. The camera is so small how could it be?

My Canon 6D is bigger with an excellent grip, plus the fact I have been using it exclusively for years make it virtually an extension of my hand!

This needs a lot of time but might get there.

And a grip might help.

13 – Simple logical menu system

The menu system is just fine.

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

Yes. And with 5 axis image stabilisation movie recording greatness is surely only a matter of time!!

There is a high bit rate of 77Mbps too. Whatever that means?

Can anyone tell me?

This is another thing I am excited to try out.

15 – Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

See above – the combination of the video capture with the fully articulating touchscreen make this look like an excellent prospect.

With one exception.

I like to record me taking photos with my camera - I will either have to stick with doing this on my iPhone or buy another EM5!

And I need to sort out a microphone.

16 – Smaller cheaper lenses offering the similar image quality

Yes. I think so anyway. I tend to use the 7-14mm lens which is hardly cheap or small. I  have also used the 40-150mm lens which is just that and the 12-42mm pancake lens which is tiny.

I need to get a couple more small lenses and see how these perform.

17 – High quality sensor

Yep image quality is excellent. I used the EM5 on an architectural shoot alongside my Canon 6D to see how it performed. I issued the photos taken with the EM5 to my client (a regular client as well) who did not notice any difference.

18 – Excellent low light performance

Looks pretty good to me but looking forward to much more testing once I know how to use it properly (ie not use Auto ISO which I am loving too by the way)..

19 – Stuff like time lapse, long exposure and other good stuff etc built-in

Yes! How exciting.

I have not used this yet but the EM5 (which is what I will call it from now on) does have a 40M high res feature – the camera captures 8 shots and merges them into one.

And even better news – this feature can create a RAW file.

The high res bit is interesting, and now the camera comes with focus stacking, which I cannot wait to try out. I was going to buy a piece of kit just for this so happy with this.

And it also has a bleach bypass filter, which “adds a warm, mysterious atmosphere to every kind of scene. At the same time it highlights the metallic surfaces of cars, machines and more.”

OK – lets give this a go as well.

This is what I was after – stuff to play around with.

Happy again, and the fact that focus stacking and bleach bypass are new features provided through firmware updates is even better. Now that is so good and something I have never had with Canon.

20 – A sensor that does not need cleaning

No. Does such a thing exist? I do not think so.

21 – Interchangeable lenses

Yes. Of course.

22 – Tilt Shift capability

No. Am I bothered? Not any more, as I sold my tilt shift lens some time ago as I never used it. This paid for the camera!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lenses

There is a 7-14mm lens which I am currently lusting after/ trying to blag. That would give me 14mm full frame equivalent. I am excited to try this lens.

This is wider than any lens I have ever had before which is an exciting prospect.

Watch out eBay sellers!

24 – Bespoke programming

I have not found this yet. But there are function buttons that look like they are programmable.

25 – RAW Capture

Yes. I would not have bought the EM5 if it did not have this.

26 – EVF

Sorry. EVF = electronic viewfinder.

Yes. I tried this out on every trip to the airport and love it. And I love the fact that I can look at the images that I have taken in the viewfinder. Although I have to say that I am still finding this confusing!

The only problem now is that I have nothing to do when I am at the airport shopping. Will probably end up buying flip flops on my next trip.

27 – Computational photography

Yep there is some good stuff in this camera.

  • High res

  • Bleach bypass

  • Focus stacking

  • HDR

28 – Focussing in the dark

I have not properly tested this yet.

29 – Weather sealing

Yes to both the EM5 and the 12-40mm lens. Which is good considering where I take my photos.

30 – And the ability to output straight from the camera

Erm not sure yet but  think that I might be able to do that with the app.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

Yes. Of course. And it is shiny and lovely.

I bought the black body – should I have got the shiny silver metal one?

That was the list I created some time ago.

Not bad going Olympus – I have managed to get all the things I needed apart from GPS.

What are my thoughts on my new camera?

Well I love it. I really enjoy carrying it around with me.

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 on location in Rhodes Greece

This is what I specifically like about my Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

1 - Image quality

I was worried about this. Would I be happy with the image quality after all those years using full frame Canon DSLRs and Canon L series lenses.

I needn’t have worried – the image quality is excellent.

2 - Taking photos with the camera

I enjoy taking personal and travel photos again. Some of this is because it is novel, shiny and new.

But it is also because this camera is a pleasure to use.

3 - The fully articulated touchscreen

I really like and value this. This is a game changer for me, something that I will use all the time. I take photos from unusual angles on every shoot, and this screen will help me with this.

And I will also be able to use the EM5 for videos of myself. I just need to look into the audio.

Absolutely loving it!

4 - The 12-40mm lens

This is a solid chunk of a lens. It has a lovely feel to it. And the image quality is excellent.

I really like this lens.

5 - The 40-150mm lens

A very light lens, which takes some getting used to. And considering its effective focal length of 80-300mm very small and light indeed.

I do worry about the durability of these lenses, which feel rather fragile.

Lets see how they get on with me!

6 - The 12-42mm pancake lens

Tiny tiny lens that I got this photo with.

public.jpeg

I have not used this lens that much but it really is tiny. It is currently attached to my EM10 which is stored in the glove box of my car when I am out and about,

7 - The size of the camera

It is smaller than a DSLR, and is easier to hold in one hand. Add the 7-14mm lens though and it is not that small a combo but still smaller and lighter.

8 - The price of new lenses

A lot cheaper than Canon lenses, the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro is available at the time of writing for £899.00 from Wex Photo and Video. That is not too bad a price for such a lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8.

9 - The fact I can fit it in my glove box if I want to

And I do. Well my EM10 which I bought first with the 12-42mm lens.

10 – I can take photos using the touchscreen

I love this. I can touch the screen and the camera will focus where I touch the screen and take the photo. I assume it meters there as well.

I know – I need to look into this a bit more.

11 – New features

It is wonderful that that new features are being added in firmware updates. That is like getting a new camera, and is very encouraging for the future.

12 – The 5 axis image stabilisation.

I know that the camera has this – I just need to play with this and see just how good it is.

I could have titled this post 10 (ok 12, and if you read on actually 13) reasons why I love my micro four thirds Olympus camera.

But that sounds a bit click baity.

But a post for another time.

What do I not like about the EM5?

No GPS

This is a shame for me. As I said I have a workround but this is an additional process that I did not want to have to add to my workflow.

Not as much computational stuff – or is there?

Yes there is more than I thought which is excellent news. I found that out in the writing of this post so no negatives here.

The hand grip is a bit small

So basically I need to buy a grip, but not one that is going to make it too bulky. The last thing that I want to do is chuck a load of accessories onto the camera and make it big and bulky – sort of defeats the point of it.

What about my architectural photography?

Well. As you will have realised I have just found out about some features that I did not know about.

RAW HDR image capture, HIGH res RAW image capture – things that I will can for commercial work. Of course for now I will try these things alongside my Canon 6D but exciting propositions these are!

I have kept my Canon 6D and essential lenses for now, which will remain my commercial photography workhorses, although for how long I am not sure now.

The more I learn the more I want to make the jump fully to micro four thirds.

What gear am I going to get for my new camera?

I have to have the 7-14mm lens.

This will make the 12-40mm lens sort of redundant. I do not need the F2.8 for the photography I do, all that has done is make the lens bigger and heavier.

I am going to get some small, cheaper lenses and give them a go

And a grip to help with my clumsy hands.

And I have a universal L bracket with Arca Swiss plate for my new travel tripod, the 3 Legged Thing Corey.

And there is my Olympus OMD EM10 Mk2

I nearly forgot about this even smaller camera. Now this does live in my glove box, with the pancake lens fitted.

I used this combo to take one of my favourite winter photos in a long time, which you can see above.

OK – so Is The Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 The Best Travel Photography Camera?

Yes. I think it is. It has lots of exciting features that I am looking forward to learning properly.

The image quality is excellent, it the camera is small, lightweight and a pleasure to use. And it is packed with excellent features that will help me to take better photos. If features do not do that they are unnecessary distractions to me.

At the end of the day all that matters to me is the photos that I create. OK if the camera is a pleasure to use as well then that is a bonus.

Which the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk 2 is.

Check out my website where you will find 12 photos taken on my trip to Rhodes Greece. This was the first foreign trip I have been on without my Canon DSLR and lenses ever.

And I did not miss them to be honest.

And also check out the video that accompanies this post on my YouTube channel.

Do you want to buy the camera or the lens?

If you fancy buying either the camera body and/ or lens here are Amazon links to both - these are affiliate links so if you buy either/ both item(s) using these links I get a small commission - you do not pay extra, it just comes off Amazon’s profits (which I am sure they can afford!).

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2

Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens

And the two together

Olympus OMD EM5 Mk2 and Olympus 12-40mm F 2.8 Pro Lens

Further reading

I have written a few posts about my journey into micro four thirds photography – here they are

Micro Four Thirds Explained – A Beginners Guide

Micro Four Thirds - Small Cameras For Travelling

My Micro Four Thirds Travel Kit – Travelling Light In Style

Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

Talking of further reading I am going to read this book.

Mastering the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mk II

and get to know my camera properly. I recommend that you do the same with your camera, whatever it is.

Rick McEvoy

Summary

That is enough gear talk for now. Next week I am going to write about my 5 favourite micro four thirds travel photography images.

And I will come back to my micro four thirds Olympus camera later on this year.

I know this photo of me is with a Canon camera - I don’t have a picture of me yet with my Olympus camera but as soon as I do I will replace it I promise!

Rick McEvoy - Travel Photographer

#travelphotographer #travelphotography #microfourthirds #olympusem5

Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time

What sunrise photography settings do I use? Typically, I use F8 or F16 aperture, ISO 100 and the shutter speed the camera chooses using AV Mode on my Canon 6D. In this post I will tell you all about the camera settings I use which will help you take great sunrise photos easily every time. I will also tell you the actual camera settings I used to take the 5 sunrise photos included in this post.

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How to edit images in Lightroom - photos of Santorini

OK. Things are not going quite to plan. I was meant to have completed editing my photos of Santorini by now but that is not the case. Recent publication deadlines, work and life have got in the way. 

Today I am back to it. I need to complete the editing my photos of Santorini in Lightroom. 

Before I embark on this task I want to explain how I edit images in Lightroom.  I have started work on a major new post, title to be decided but something like

  • How to use Lightroom
  • How I use Lightroom
  • My step by step guide to editing images in Lightroom. 

Back to last Friday I published this image last Friday. I posted the three RAW files in the blog post which you can get to here.

Santorini caldera by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

Santorini caldera by travel photographer Rick McEvoy

I am now going to edit this single image, and I will explain what I have done tomorrow on my photography blog.

Rick McEvoy Photography - Photography Blog

Rick McEvoy Photography – one of those periodic recaps

53B5E89B-C0C9-4B61-A98E-A9FD39AE052E.JPG

Things have not gone quite as planned. Nothing disastrous, just other things that have arisen along the way, with some additional work that I have been doing on my website.

And some new ideas from things that I have learnt recently. The new ideas have changed my plans going forward, hopefully for the better.

There are things that I want to do, and things that I was planning on doing that I will be deferring for very good reasons.

The latest rethink

I am therefore having a bit of a rethink about the content of my photography blog and what I am going to be doing over the next three months.

My photography blog

My photography blog is still the core of my photography business, being the daily update of content on my website which gets shared into the outside world on a daily basis.

And to be brutally honest the core of my SEO work. One day I will rank highly in Google for the search term photography blogger!

Whats coming up on my photography blog in April then?

The completion of the editing of my Santorini photos. As mentioned on my blog the other day, Lightroom appears to be behaving itself much better these days which is great news for all of us Lightroom users, and there are a lot of us.

I ordered 16GB of RAM from Crucial the other day, which I will be fitting myself. With this doubling of the memory in my Dell PC I should be benefitting from the latest performance increases introduced in recent versions of Lightroom Classic, now on version 7.3.

I decided to leave the image editing until I had plucked up the courage to order the additional RAM. At the time of writing this I have ordered it, have received it, all I need to do now is pop it in my PC. I don’t want to say anymore as I don’t want to tempt fate.

My hope is that with the new external hard drive, the significant clean up of the files on my PC, the speed improvements in Lightroom and the increased memory in my Dell PC that I will find photo editing a joy once again.

And if this works a new SSD will be ordered next month – one IT upgrade at a time!

And the image processing I will be doing?

This is the schedule of sets of travel photography images that I want to produce

I want to carry on with my travel photography work, which is an area of significant interest to me going forward.

To be honest if I can make a living as a travel photographer I would be quite happy! And I could easily combine my photography with writing to achieve my ultimate aim - travel photographer and travel blogger!

New web page

Staying with the travel photography theme, I will be adding a new set of 12 images to that web page, with optimised images but no text. Lets see how that performs along with everything else I am doing. When I say perform I mean in SEO terms – do I need to do any more work or is the metadata on the images combined with the other things I am doing all that I need to do?

This is a trial of how I produce web pages in the future, which will hopefully transform how I work.

Updates to my website pages

In addition once all the computer changes are in place I want to add new images to each and every page of my website.

Yes - every page.

Why? I have just worked out that I can automate the import of Lightroom Metadata into my Squarespace website. This is a good time to do this, and I have scheduled time each week to go through my pages one by one and renew all the images. They may be the same images as are already there, but with the metadata rewritten and imported into the correct field on my website for consistent optimisation.

And I have been waiting until the time it takes to do such work is less, which is right now for the reasons above.

And while I am there I am going to review the metadata on each page and update it – this is quite a quick job now that I know what I want in these fields – it makes sense to do this at the same time as the images.

The metadata will reflect the content of the image metadata and the keywords pertinent to each and every page.

And the good thing is that all the images will be prepared for publication on any external channels, as all the metadata will be there.

My website needs a refresh in places!

I have looked at some of the older pages and they are looking dated. I have updated a lot of the images on many of my web pages, but never finished this exercise properly.

New material

There is the inevitable additional material that this exercise will produce which will feed directly into my photography blog – all the bits working together nicely.

Page text and content will be reviewed at the same time, but not actioned yet.

I will continue with some back of house website work, and will be trialling this in conjunction with a variety of web page constructions and contents.

I am hoping that other things that I am doing will negate the need for lots of additional work, but this is something for long into the future, possibly next year.

Is the work I am doing with my blog and website working?

I think so - I am experiencing a significant increase in traffic to my website – my target is to achieve 1,000 visitors per month by the end of the year – at this rate I might reach this target sooner.

I am also experiencing an increase in enquiries – this is the real benchmark. If I get 10,000 visitors to my website but no enquiries so what?

The content of my blog posts

I will also be continuing with my regular varied set of blog posts about all things photography. The mix of posts will include

  • Long in depth posts
  • Information about articles being published on Improve Photography and other websites
  • Images old and new
  • Videos
  • Image processing
  • Business news
  • Website news
  • Gear
  • Opportunities
  • Things that have happened to me that others might find of interest
  • And anything else that fits in with my photography business and the world of photography in general

Planning my work

One other bit of news is that I have now allocated half hour chunks of time to specific tasks in the week. I am trying a new approach to getting things done, having successfully transformed the former nightmare that was emails.

New resources that I recommend

How to be a Productivity Ninja – Graham Allcot

Crushing It! How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business And Influence – And How You can Too - Gary Vaynerchuk

And my next piece of light reading

The 7 habits of Highly Effective People

And finally

One final point for today which has just come to me as I finish writing this post is this.

What percentage of time in a photography business is spent taking photos? In my case I would guess 10%. 20% on a good week.

Blimey. I never thought it would be like this. But the truth is that I really do enjoy all this other stuff.

I love taking photos, and processing them in Lightroom. I get a real buzz when I receive feedback from a client – that is the best feeling.

And I am enjoying the writing about photography and my photography work – the more I do it the more I enjoy it, and hopefully the better I become.

Now its time to cross my fingers, install that RAM and get back to those pictures of Santorini.

Rick McEvoy Photography