A good few years back I spent some time learning how to take and print my own photographs (in black & white with a very basic dark room). It was fun but since everything was on film (yikes, what's this you might ask) we didn't get to take a zillion photos or super edit left right and centre before choosing THE ONE. Back then, filters did not look like this:
But like that!! And yes, the options were quite limited.
My first camera love was my dad's Canon AE1. Pretty much a standard look for an SLR in mid 80s which is when I started getting interested. Some of you might have not been born as yet. And the zoom lenses that went with it were super heavy. And no, auto focus was not available (say what!!!).
Since then I have gone from the above to the Nikon F50 in 1996. This was a standard 35mm film camera that weighted like a TON. Or 580g to be precise. And that's for the body only.
After that came a CANON EOS 450 as I entered the digital era. Another heavy weight there. Big, bulky, and didn't fit most of my bags.
I decided to downsize based on travelling abroad more. I went for a compact Panasonic Lumix and then a CASIO Exilim. Did not like them, although both were handy for vacations. They're both lying around in my drawers still.
Then came the PANASONIC LUMIX DMC-F28. Seriously mixed feelings about it. A very good optical zoom, lighter than a normal DSLR but did not take great photos. Or was it me?
In 2015 I was using primarily my IPHONE 6 as my main camera for blogging. Seriously! I would argue it is handier than any of the above and takes damn good photos AND I can download a number of photo apps for filters and texts. The alternative was a Canon EOS D60. The latter is terribly bulky again but takes brilliant photos. So why did I want to change my camera, again?
Well... It felt like I had done a full circle (after all I have tried all types of cameras) and I needed to go back to where it all started. I needed something that looked chic, took great photos, was compact yet a DSLR and came highly recommended by bloggers and photographers alike.
I cannot think of a camera that ticks more boxes than the Olympus OMD EM10.
The Olympus OMD EM10 - Photo: Seasons in Colour
A number of bloggers, myself included, are fashion/trends conscious. We will put form over function so the OMD EM-10's retro look is a big seller, just like it is for the Olympus PEN series.
I think I have been secretly craving a return to this look for some time. I always stop at the camera stalls every time I am around the Old Spitafields antiques market. I have already decided that I will combine the camera with a leather strap from The Future Kept, see here.
COMPACT YET POWERFUL
Ergonomically designed, this is a mirrorless camera. It weighs less than the DSLRs above but is so much more than a point and shoot. This camera feels solid.
It is a micro four thirds camera, which is a standard for Olympus and Panasonic and basically means a camera that offers "high-picture quality digital-dedicated design," but focuses on reducing overall system thickness and size by aiming for a highly portable compact system.
Here's a great picture to help you visualize the difference between mirrorless and standard "four thirds" cameras (and if you have an SLR, just remove the lens, you can see the mirror behind).
Having used this camera for over a year now, I totally get why it has so many raving reviews. To start with it's got the expected all-auto, speed priority, aperture priority functions as well as additional functions where you can easily choose the "scene"/art (filtering) or settings for portraits, landscapes or a combination of the two.
It can also make photo frames (where you combine two or more photos) but in reality you can do this once you have downloaded the photos on your camera phone (more of that later).
Really important is also their 'shoot stills while recording video' option. It is great for press shows where I want to record speeches but also take still shots of the speakers at the same time.
With a super fast autofocus function you can rely on this camera when your eyes are, let's just say, failing you! And with 8 frames per second and a 16.1MP sensor you're at the very top
The monitor: The generous monitor is touch sensitive tilting high resolution LCD. I don't use the tilting option that much to be honest but it is there if I am in a crowd and want to see what I am shooting! But I do use the touch screen A LOT.
And unlike the PEN EPL7, it has a built-in flash. At the same time you can add an external flash too if the need arises. Both of them though have the WI-FI function for ease of sharing photos.
Another super feature is the time lapse video shooting. Which means you can record makeovers whether for interiors or beauty and edit them easily without killing your camera battery or your memory card.
THE Wi-FI FUNCTION
You know when you have just left an event and have to commute home and cannot wait to get home and share the photos with your friends or readers? Well, with the OMD EM-10's WI-FI option, you can work on your photos on the go.
It's as easy as this: Press Menu, press down twice to get to the Playback Menu, Press right and down till you get to Connection to Smartphone and press OK. Then go on your phone settings, go to Wi-fi and choose the EM10 WI-FI network. Once you're in, open your Olympus App and start transferring the photos across to your phone.
This is such a time saver. I always do this on the train home, especially if I want to tweet a few photos and provide social media coverage in events.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Kit lenses. I know you may be inclined - like I was - to buy the camera as a package with the lenses, but here's the thing: The original 14-42mm lenses in the kit are just so protruding that tucking the camera in my slimmer bags was an issue.
The original kit lenses - too long
So within a month I bought pancake lenses for it - you can get those here (I got mine on Ebay at the time for £150 new, Amazon also sell them, click on the link below to go straight to the product page).
Battery life. Mirrorless cameras waste more battery life per charge especially if you use the electronic viewfinder (that's a 1.44-million-dot electronic viewfinder [or EVF] to be precise!) and me being me, I only use the EVF. Always. Unless of course I use my phone. This one goes 320 photos per charge. Less than what Kim Kardashian shoots to get the perfect selfie.
External mic. If you are a vlogger you may or may not need an external mic. Neither the EM10 nor the newer EM10 II have an external mic jack.
Now, the OMD-EM10 is available used on EBAY or you can buy the newest model launched in mid 2015 which is the OMD EM-10 Mark II. The latter shoots a little more (8.5 frames per second), has a better EVF, an auto-focus targeting pad, 4K time lapse video function and two extra resolutions when shooting video (but still does not shoot 4k). When I am ready to move to the next model, I will be going for the EM-5 Mark II which currently retails around £850-900.