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Friday, April 18, 2014

My Change to the Land of M4/3's by Jamie Hansen (Shooting Weddings with M4/3's)

I'll be the first one to admit I'm a rookie. I have only been doing photography as a living for the last 4 years. When I say as a living, I mean I make 95% of my yearly income from photography.

I was a die hard Nikon fan boy. Maybe not as much as Matt Granger, but I was catching up. LOL. Anyways, my story starts in the ocean. I was doing a modeling shoot and a wave took me and my back up camera out. The photo came out great, but the Nikon had seen better days.

The next day I went to my local camera store with plans to get the, new at the time, Nikon D7100. My D7000 was my primary body and was getting a little long in the tooth, so I was going to shift the D7000 to my backup.

I was telling the manager of the store what had happened and told him it was time to spend a little money. He pointed to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 and said, "Why don't you check this camera out?"

Now I'm a specs guy, I have a heavy background in electronics and computers. With Nikon and Canon, I can tell you specs from 4 model lines back.  OM-D however... What the heck?

I told him it was cool looking, but what can that little point and shoot "wanna be" really do?

So, he let me play with the display model and a few primes. I could not believe what I was seeing. It got to the point I went out to the truck and got my laptop. I ended up playing with the camera for almost a hour. I liked it so much I thought what the hell!  Why not?  If I didn't like it I could always just sell it on ebay.

That weekend I had another wedding. I was going to use the E-M5 only as a backup. I only had the kit lens for it, the Olympus 12-50mm. The wedding was at Bald Head Island , NC. The bride and groom were super laid back. They just wanted to have fun and enjoy their big day. The wedding venue was a small chapel on the island with a crazy amount of light coming through the large windows right behind the pastor. Great for views, not so great for photos.

After the wedding the bride, groom, and I grabbed a golf cart and took off to do a few pics on the way back to the beach house. On the way we stopped in the grocery store, I was having an Austin Powers day, and they were along for the ride.

Remember, I was only using the 12-50mm kit lens with the E-M5. Now during the reception I added a few Nikon SB-600's for a stobist touch. I added a few of the untouched photos so you can see some of the results I got that day.

I kept using the camera more and more over the next few months. Picked up the 45mm prime, then the 17mm prime. It got to the point I didn't touch my Nikon for almost a month. So I decided to make the jump. I sold all my Nikon gear (well, not the flashes) and picked up a 2nd E-M5.

The next investment was the FL-600 Flash. Great as a fill, but the cycle time can't touch a Nikon SB600's. Next was the 75mm f1.8 (my headshot lens) and just last week the 12-40mm f2.8 Pro.

I can not say enough good things about the system. It is fast, light, and people do not tense up in front of it. The only draw back is other photographers and guest at weddings look at me funny using these small cameras. They ask me all sorts of questions. My fav is, how can you be a pro photographer with that little camera. I tell them that I'm not a pro, but we will be fine, they have a Nikon or Canon and I'm sure they will be able to get the great shots. Then I show them the back of the camera. They just shut up and walk away. Normally I see them later looking at their big camera and playing with the settings.

So, if you don't mind not looking like a pro, and care more about getting good pics than looking cool, then you may be ready for the switch. However if you think bigger is better, or the more money you have in gear makes you a better photographer, then for you, you will think I'm just full of hot air.  To see more of what I'm doing with the M4/3 system go to my web page.  Every shot on it was taken with my E-M5's.

Jamie Hansen

Jamie's M4/3 Gear:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 (x2)
Olympus 12-50mm
Olympus 45mm f1.8
Olympus 17mm f1.8
Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 PRO
Olympus 75mm f1.8
Olympus FL-600R Flash Speedlite

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