29 December 2012

Cameras (part 3)

I intentionally only took my Canon G11 with me in the US and Canada, which I bought a few years ago with the intention of carrying everywhere (ha!), as it would give me the chance to live with what was a contender for taking with me instead of my DSLR.

I still need to extract and process the pictures from the trip (sorry for those waiting on them), but having lived with it as my main camera for only 2 weeks I know it isn't what I'll be taking with me.  It just didn't feel right - yes the pictures are good, but I can't get on-with the camera for extended periods.  I'd have known this if I'd used the camera as planned - oh well.

Among my friends are a group of amateur, semi-pro and professional photographers who all range somewhere between very good and very good in their ability to take (make) a picture.  They're also a danger in the pub, but that's another story.
Cue much debate and discussion on options and the rather talented Mr. Hardwick pointed me in the general direction of the Olympus OM-D E-M5, where he'd heard good things despite having not used one.  Back in the day Olympus were a brand to be reckoned with, but I'd only been looking at Canon (my current kit) or Nikon (whose latest DSLRs are stunning).  Cue what I'd expected to be a quick look at the OM-D and an even quicker write-off.

Several hours later and I've got dozens of tabs open in Chrome, I've read countless reviews of it and taken a look at all of the sample images I could get my hands on (see DP Review for some RAW samples).  I spend the next few days doing more of the same. This is a very serious piece of kit.  A really very interesting piece of kit.  The first time in a very long time I've been interested in taking photographs - this is a good sign.

A quick trip to a physical camera shop (Jessops on New Oxford Street, mostly as I was on a bus going past it) and it feels pretty good - it feels like a proper camera, giving a "oooh, this feels right" feel; something I've had with the cameras I've been happy with (the D10 and the 7D).  There is also a touch of "proper" old camera about it, which harks back to the Canon AE-1 Program I first used when I was a kid - the body is still owned by my dad, if not used on a regular basis.

The one thing it doesn't have which I'd like is built-in or hot-shoe mounted GPS, as I'd really like to be able to geo-tag photos; although if the only thing I'm really complaining about is the lack of GPS in a camera that can't be too bad.

I need to get some more hands-on time with one, but it is a very strong contented to take with me.  It'll be interesting to see what Olympus and others release in their traditional spring releases - in time for Focus?