Switching to Micro Four Third (Part One)

February 22, 2018

Back in 1998 I started working on cruise ships via Photo Images Services, Miami, Florida. Part of the initial contract required you to pay for your uniform and your equipment, in this case two Nikon FM2Ns. Up until this point I had never used Nikon and didn’t count myself among the brand’s champions. This relationship soon changed and for the last twenty years I have always used Nikon (with the exception of the Contax 645 medium format kit) for all of my professional work.

Nikon FM2n

Nikon FM2n

Contax 645

The Contax 645 with 80mm f2 lens

Over the years, with the introduction of digital, the equipment has become bigger and heavier. My current Nikon kit works out as a Nikon D800 which weighs in at 35.3 oz/994g (1,000g or 2 lb., 3.3 oz.) with battery and SD card, my 17-35mm AF-S f2.8 at 26.3 oz. (745g), my 80-200mm AF-S f2.8 at 51.9 oz/1,471g without collar and my nifty 50mm AF-S G f1.8 at a miniscule 6.6 oz./185g. That’s 3,396g (3.39 kilos) or 7lbs 480z. That’s all without backup body and four speedlights which I carry in a second bag.

This has caused and continues to cause considerable strain on my back. On a recent trip to London, I spent the day leisurely wandering around the streets with my D800, my 17-35 f2.8 and my 50mm f1.8. By the end of the day my back was in screaming agony. I am not getting any younger and sadly neither is my back.

Nikon D800

Nikon D800 with the legendary 17-35mm AF-S f2.8

Olympus OM-D1

So the answer to my woes? Micro Four Thirds, or to be more precise Olympus Micro Four Thirds. Yes, I was a little sceptical too, however, the proof is in the pudding. I’ve only just started to migrate to Olympus, but the build quality is 2nd to none. The OM-D1 is fully weather sealed as are the Pro lenses and some of the Premium Prime lenses. Some of the Pro lenses are big, the 12-40 f2.8 Pro lens weight in at 382g and is probably slightly larger than the Nikon 18-55mm APS-C kit lens, but remember the the Olympus is f2.8 throughout the zoom range, the nearest Nikon equivalent is the Nikon 28-140 f4 lens, which is more than twice the size and weighs in at 488g. The closest body, in terms of functionality is probably the D500 (which is a great, great camera!) but it’s the size of a small tank and weighs in at 860g compared to the OM-D1 which weighs 382g. It’s more than twice the weight!

I can get the OM-D1, the 12-40 f2.8 and the 45mm f1.8 plus spare batteries in a Tenba Switch bag. This bag is small, unobtrusive and perfect for street and wedding photography.

I’ll be exploring other aspects of the micro four thirds system in my next post. Cheers Kx

Tenba Switch

Images taken with the Olympus OM-D1

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