I started my photographic journey with a small Olympus Digital Miju camera that Richard bought me as a gift whilst on a trip to New York.
It was quite a start as the shop tried to sell him (or in fact did) an empty box. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel we noticed the box was empty. Richard went straight back across Manhattan in the snow to complain and he got it sorted.
I loved that little camera and found it fun to shoot with and really pocketable. It’s still going, I gave it to my parents many years ago.
I moved onto the Olympus Pen EPL1 and cut my teeth with this camera. It was the first camera that would allow me to take photos with blurred background or frozen action, all thanks to a user interface designed to allow types of results over technical know-how.
Throw in a Lumix (I seem to be wedded to the Micro Four Thirds format by now) and then fast forward to when I started my photography course…
I decided I would use the EPL1 as you could control it manually. Sadly though on its first outing in a while, it started to malfunction.
This happened on a photo day in London so I ended up visiting the London Camera Exchange where I managed to get my hands on a second hand EM5 MKI. I chose this camera as I already had a couple lenses and was familiar with the Olympus set up.
This camera felt grown-up, professional, full of dials and options that seemed alien to me back then.
I took it out to continue my days shooting and took some great shots. I didn’t really know how I was achieving the shots I did but all the fiddling with the dials paid off.
The EM5 MKI was a great way to introduce me to manual photography. To learn the skills I needed to proceed on my course.
I did decide to upgrade the EM5 MKII, allowing me to do more with the newer version.
This camera was stunning. It allowed me to try many things, to learn so much and yet pack it into such a small and light body.
I graduated from the British Academy of Photography mostly due to the shots I took whilst learning photography with the Olympus cameras.
I constantly read about the crop factor, the size of the sensor etc but was never put off. The Olympus cameras can achieve great shots and their intuitiveness has led me to be able to do some great, inventive things and I learned the system inside and out.
My “god camera” was the Pen f. A camera that was beautiful, compact, retro and allowed for creative shooting. Thanks to a dial on the front you could switch from one setting to another. Notably to a black and white preset you got to choose or create yourself (in camera).
Boy were the shots impressive! Right out of camera they were sharp and full of contrast.
Add to that the fact nearly all of the buttons and dials were customisable, it meant the Pen f was truly the photographer’s camera.
It’s also small and discreet, allowing for great opportunities in street photography and weather sealed. This ensured it would survive trips to Canada’s wild west coast, the depths of the rainforest and ancient lands of Thailand, the sun-soaked sandy beaches of Spain…
I also built up a collection of lenses and love the ultra-compact form of the sharp prime lenses. The 17mm is a particular favourite.
I truly am an Olympus fan and grateful for their ingenuity.
This ingenuity got me noticed by Olympus Passion magazine who featured my work last year. A real honour.
So why am I telling you this? Well, I am writing this in bed at 5 am as I can’t sleep. You see I’ve made a decision. I’m selling my Olympus kit.
There’s nothing wrong with it, I simply feel now is the time to move to a different system to help me achieve where I want to go to next.
The images from the Pen f are much bigger than the other Olympus cameras I owned due to its larger sensor.
These are good images.
But they’ve been surpassed by my Fuji X100T.
I bought this camera to keep in my bag (a bag I no longer carry as I am constantly working from home, and probably will be until at least Spring next year).
It became my grab and go camera when I started my quarantine walks at the beginning of the Covid pandemic.
The X100T is a small fixed lens APSC camera which is capable of lovely landscapes, discreet street photography, warm portraits and brilliant macros.
The sensor is physically bigger and the depth of field I get from the camera is really good.
Add the film simulations from Fuji and it really does feel like a digital film camera.
The one thing the X100T is missing is in-body stabilisation (which the Olympus excels at and never really gets credit for).
I’ve had a few blurry photos with the X100T but on the whole, the shots have been clean, crisp, sharp and colourful.
This little camera has been the catalyst and the reason I have decided to sell my Olympus gear and purchase a Fuji X-T4.
I deliberated over this so much. At first not being able to decide which camera and lens combination to go for. Trying to work out if I could afford to purchase the Fuji and keep the Olympus system.
But in the end, I have to be sensible and if I want to make the switch I should go all in.
I have so much Olympus gear, trading it in (and with the help of an additional Canon EOS M3 from Richard) means I can get the camera I want plus at least one decent lens.
So I’ve done it. I’ve boxed up my beloved Pen f and all my lenses, ready to post for review and the arrival of my new Fuji X-T4 and the start of my next photographic adventure.
Wish me luck!
*Main image shot on the EM5 MKII during a photography day in London. The in body stabilisation meant I could take a sharp slow shutter image of the trains leaving Waterloo, handheld.
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