Ok, I’m a camera junkie but you would not know it even if I written about it before. My lazy ass still has something on the order of a 4000 pictures to process from Thailand and various events I have shot over the months. Did I mention I’m lazy? This post may be boring to those of you not into cameras but I have been focused on mongering lately so you have been warned.
So with that out of the way I purchased an Olympus E-P1 camera off of Ebay thinking it was the holy grail of cameras. I effectively can carry a DSLR without about 5 to 7 kilos worth of gear with me in what is called a Micro Four Thirds (4/3)body. I bought this because I lusted after it and I am familiar with Olympus gear. After owning it for several months I found myself hating the camera. The camera itself is a fine piece of workmanship worthy of any true professional photography if that is your wish. My issue with the camera is that there is no viewfinder for it. Yes, you can buy an optical viewfinder that is set for 20mm but to be completely honest, it didn’t work for me because I used a lens that came with the camera a 14-48mm so unless I shot in the 17-20mm range the view finder was useless, this left me stuck using the LCD screen on the back of the camera to frame my shot. I know, you are thinking that most point and shoots use the LCD to frame shots so why are you bitching. Here is why, I use a full size Canon DSLR for my real photography, so trying to wrap my head around using a LCD to frame my shots instead of a viewfinder was causing me to just let the camera rot. I loved the camera for what it could do, but I hated the fact I could not frame my shots worth a shit because of the lack of a viewfinder. Additionally I don’t mind manually focusing a lens, in fact I have grown rather fond of doing so because autofocus sometimes leaves a lot to be desired so I find myself manually focusing more often than not these days unless I’m just doing street shots where I don’t give a shit.
So I had camera lust and I really wanted a micro four thirds with a viewfinder. This led me down the Amazon path of trolling around for some bargins. While Panasonic has very strong offerings in the micro 4/3 I remained focused on the Olympus. Even though Olympus itself is in Chapter 11 and should be closed tomorrow, I felt loyal to them. Mainly because of the various adapters I have had and I was used to their menu system. So while trolling Amazon I found what I wanted and at a price I wanted. There for sale was an Olympus E-P2 in a bundle package with a lens that I did want, which was a 20mm. More so, it had exactly what I craved, an Olympus VF-2 electronic viewfinder. Total price all in was $699 with free shipping. The viewfinder alone is usually $200 and the lens runs around $200 as well. Now the Ep-2 is a few years old, and the E-P3 is out along with a slew of cousins in a E-PL range, the E series is designed more for professional usage than just enthusiasts. The biggest difference between the E-PL and the E-P3 series versus the E-P2 is they have built-in flash. I personally despise using flash unless I am forced to, and while I have a professional flash for my Canon gear, my goal is to carry a camera that I can use without the bulk.
While I will still always carry my point and shoot Canon 1400IS because it fits in my pocket and takes amazing pictures and video, I really wanted something I could equally throw in my backpack without a separate camera bag and a few lenses and be set to travel. It’s not as bulky and when you go into an environment that is less than safe and lugging a full body DSRL with you screams rob me, the micro 4/3 body can easily be carried and mitigate some of the robbery threat because unless the thief knows that they are looking at they will assume its something a little better than a point and shoot, and while they are targets for theft, the resell value on them isn’t that great so why risk arrest for one.
Hopefully the new camera will come in before my next trip but we shall see.
*Camera arrived yesterday! I was playing around with the 20mm lens and viewfinder and I’m pretty sure I had an stiffy while I was playing with it. Hopefully on some weird upcoming trip it will be used for devious purposes. Now I just need to learn to play with the settings to fine tune it to lighting conditions.