The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a micro fourthirds camera that boasts a 50 MP High Res Shot Mode, 60 frames per second continuous shooting, a zero-lag Pro Capture Mode and a host of other features geared toward the professional and serious enthusiast market. Olympus shooters will also appreciate the M.Zuiko 300mm f4.0 IS PRO telephoto lens and the versatile M.Zuiko 40-150mm f2.8 PRO zoom lens.
Micro Four-Thirds Format: A Lightweight Pro Alternative
These cameras feature mirrorless systems, which view the sensor information directly, rather than via a mirror. They don’t have the brief loss of view of traditional digital cameras, caused by the mirror flipping up. Because they’re designed without a traditional mirror system, micro four-thirds camera systems are much more lightweight and compact than traditional digital cameras.
Scott Bourne is a professional photographer, author and lecturer who specializes in avian photography, primarily raptors. He switched to Olympus after years of toting heavy professional equipment. “I’m in my 60s and have been doing photography for a long time,” he explains, adding that he’s a veteran of 11 shoulder surgeries. One day, his doctor declared that he could no longer help Bourne and that he needed to give up professional photography. But Bourne had no intention of switching his profession. Around that time, Olympus announced the OM-D camera system, and the lighter weight and specs intrigued him. “I went out and shot with this equipment and was relieved to find that it performed at a very high level,” he recalls, “and that it would replace my heavier gear.” As an Olympus Visionary today, he is an ambassador of the camera brand.
OM-D E-M1 Mark II
The Olympus OM series of professional- level digital cameras has continually evolved over the years, beginning with the film-based OM-1 in 1973. Each of its successors has been faithful to the OM design, while incorporating advanced features. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is the latest in this series, and Bourne attests to the camera’s speed and accuracy. “It has incredibly fast autofocus,” he comments. “Its tracking autofocus will track a moving subject, which is very important for what I do.”
Aside from this, Bourne praises the camera’s high image quality. “It has a very fast frame rate and can continuously capture up to 60 images in one second.” It delivers very fast sequential shooting speeds, making it possible to capture sharp 20 MP RAW image files at up to 60 fps.
This camera incorporates in-body 5- Axis Image Stabilization, which works in concert with the in-lens stabilization of compatible lenses. The result is 5-Axis Sync IS, the most effective image stabilization system* with up to 6.5 shutter-speed stops of compensation performance. Its tough magnesium/aluminum construction ensures reliability in outdoor shooting conditions. The OM-D E-M1 Mark II is available for $1,999.99.
M.Zuiko ED 300mm f4.0 IS PRO
Micro four-thirds lenses — particularly telephoto models — are about a third of the size of their traditional digital SLR counterparts. These lenses also have a crop factor of 2, so photographers using telephoto lenses get double the focal length. The 300mm f4.0 IS PRO lens covers about the same angle of view as a 600mm focal length lens in a 35mm film equivalent.
“The OM-D E-M1 Mark II works with some of the best lenses on the planet,” says Bourne. “As a bird photographer, I needed a lens that had a lot of reach.” He says that the 300mm f4.0 IS PRO lens is the only prime lens on the market that’s available in this focal length. “It’s a very highquality lens,” he adds. “It’s super sharp, super contrasty, and focuses very quickly.” And very importantly, it’s about half the weight of the heavy telephoto that he replaced in his camera bag. “This lens also has a close focus-ing distance that’s about a third of its fullframe counterparts,” he adds. “I can get much closer to a tame bird when I find one, and fill the frame with its face.”
This lens incorporates image stabilization that syncs with that of the OM-D EM1 Mark II, which enables photographers to get up to six shutter speed steps of exposure compensation. “I can hand-hold my camera with the 300mm lens and get sharp images, which I couldn’t do without IS,” says Bourne. For occasions when he needs an even longer reach, he uses an Olympus 1.4x teleconverter that works with the 300mm f4.0 IS PRO and 40- 150mm f2.8 PRO lenses. “The teleconverter makes the 300mm f4.0 IS PRO lens effectively an 840mm focal length, and the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens becomes a 420mm.” The M.Zuiko 300mm f4 IS PRO retails for $2,499.99.
M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO
“This is primarily a ‘birds in flight’ lens for me,” says Bourne. “It’s very lightweight compared to most lenses and is very fast at f2.8. It works well in low light.” The ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens focuses quickly, works perfectly with the OM-D’s in-body IS and delivers images with high contrast. Because of its light weight, he says, “I can hand-hold it and shoot all day.” He points out that this lens has a very unique zoom range. It’s the equivalent of an 80-300mm in a 35mm focal length, so it has greater reach than the 70-200mm zoom range offered by many digital camera/lens manufacturers. “For a bird photographer, that extra 100mm is critical.” The M.Zuiko ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO is available for $1,399.99.
Bourne adds that Olympus offers an excellent warranty and an Olympus Pro Advantage program, which is available for just $99.99/year. This program gives photographers the opportunity to get very fast turnaround on camera repairs and free equipment cleaning.
For more information on Olympus products, visit www.getolympus.com. To see more of Scott Bourne’s work, go to www.scottbourne.com.
Hear more from other photographers who have made the switch to the Olympus OM-D system at www.getolympus.com/neverlookback.
*As of September 2016, with M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f4.0 IS PRO, 100mm focal length, Yaw / Pitch correction.