Breaking free with Olympus

this is a sponsored post in collaboration with Olympus

A mirrorless camera guide - Breaking free with Olympus

After lugging around a heavy DSLR for my entire career as a photographer I now head into 2020 having really downscaled my equipment. During the last months of the previous year I got to try out some gear from Olympus and we’ve managed to go on quite a few adventures together.

It feels great to have done this, and to only use one system for everything! After putting the gear through a lot of different photography work I am more than pleased and have decided to continue using Olympus. In this blogpost I will share my mirrorless camera guide by going over why I decided to make the switch and what gear I am using now.

Lightweight and mobile

The main reason I decided to switch out my entire gear is because of it’s size and weight. Even though I have a consistent home, I do consider myself a digital nomad: I can work anywhere as long as I have my camera, laptop and an internet connection – and I do travel around quite a lot. Because of this I need my gear to pack small and weigh as little as possible. I want it to be easy to bring my gear on a bus, the train or into the forest. And this whole thing of having one system for photos and another for video was just becoming too cumbersome.

And rarely do I head out with just my camera gear. I usually pack some outdoor gear: Maybe an extra layer, a shell jacket or some snacks / food. I always carry a first aid kit, multi-tool, water bottle and often a headlamp as well. All of this I want to fit in one backpack. So having gear that takes up less space is vital for me.

This is why I made the switch from a full frame DSLR to a mirrorless micro four thirds camera. Olympus has managed to make really good, powerful cameras that are a lot smaller and weigh less than a lot of other systems. A smaller camera makes me feel free, I am more flexible to move around more and longer which enables me to take more photos without getting tired. As someone who travels a lot and spends a lot of time outdoors, this is key! I enjoy photography a lot more when my gear isn’t weighing me down, and for most people I think it stands true that you are far more likely to bring your gear along as well as actually use it if it’s easy and hassle free.


Another reason I wanted to switch out my main camera to smaller mirrorless is the WiFi function. My big DSLR did not have it, and I just love using an app (with Olympus it’s called OI. Share) to make my phone work as a remote. The app allows me to change all the settings and easily take photos using my phone which is great for still lives with longer shutter speeds or self-portraits, which is mostly when I use it. I can see myself live on the phone which makes getting the focus, composition and posing so easy and a lot less time consuming than how I’ve used to take self-portraits in the past.

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Camera & lenses

My main camera is the Olympus OM-D E-MI MKII. This is the camera I use for all of my work, it sits really good in my hand and has really good placements of it’s buttons and dials so that it’s quick and easy to change settings while shooting. Just like with most of their lenses, Olympus cameras are dust, splash and freeze proof which is great for someone like me who’s out and about a lot no matter the weather conditions!

As a smaller camera to bring travelling and during my outdoor photoshoots as well as second camera during weddings I use the E-M5 MKIII. Using a second camera during weddings or when a lot is happening is great, I have one on each shoulder with different lenses on which enables me to be even quicker at capturing the right moment. It’s not very taxing on the body to wear two cameras when they’re so small and lightweight!

In the past I’ve been worried about using a micro four thirds for actual work, and so I mostly used them for video and every day documentation of my life. But since I switched to Olympus I’ve shot several weddings, food for a restaurant, photos for a mushroom book, portraits for an artist, products for a whisky distillery and much more!

woman mushroom picking

I will now take you through the lenses I have and how I use them / in which situations, because I never bring all of them. There’s a time and a place for each lens and as you get more familiar with your own gear, you will learn when to bring what so that you don’t have to carry it all.

These are all my current lenses:
17mm f/1.8
25mm f/1.2 PRO
45mm f/1.2 PRO
12-40mm f/2.8 PRO
12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO
60mm f/2.8 MACRO

This lens is very small, so it’s a great lens for just documenting my everyday life. I usually pair this with the E-M5 Mark III for a very small setup that I can just toss into any bag if I’m just heading over to a friends place, going for a fika or something (because I have a hard time leaving the house without bringing a camera). It’s also a good lens for handheld selfportraits since it’s wide enough but small and doesn’t make the camera too heavy to hold.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 17mm f/2.8

This is by far the lens I use the most. It’s such a high quality prime lens. I love fixed focal lengths and to be able to shoot at f/1.2 is amazing – especially since Olympus PRO line offers the softer ‘feather bokeh’. The backgrounds on photos shot with this lens are just so soft and creamy! 25mm is a good width for a variety of different images ranging from still-lifes, food to portraits.

Olympus 25mm f/1.2 PRO collage

This is the big brother of the previous lens. It also has the wonderful feathered bokeh that I love! The photos turn out really crisp and sharp, the bokeh and depth of field is spot on and the overall quality of the photos it produces is just astonishing. Since this also has an aperture of f/1.2 I can really work in low light situations without much trouble.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 45mm f/1.2 PRO

when I shoot weddings and use two cameras I have the 25mm on one and the 45mm on the other. That way I can quickly covered a lot of different scenarios.

secret wedding
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12‑40mm f/2.8 PRO

This is my favourite all-round lens. 12 – 40mm is such a good span of wide angel to more tight shots, great both for landscapes and interior as well as details and portraits. When I went hiking along the St. Olav Waterways with Kathrin I did not want to have a lot of gear, I needed my pack to be lightweight and I did not want to have to change lenses a bunch while hiking for four days – and so this is the lens I brought along and I am very pleased with that decision.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO

I used this lens a lot during my most recent trip to Switzerland. I knew I’d be met with amazing big sceneries, towering mountains but also nice details at restaurants and cafés. I also knew that we’d have a tight schedule with loads of activities so I wanted to be able to quickly move around and capture a lot of different things. With this lens I could get great detailed shots, capture the big landscapes but also zoom in on those jagged alpine peaks.

Having f/4.0 as the lowest limit is challenging inside and in low light, but we we’re mostly outside and so I had no issue with this. If I felt the need to switch lenses it was usually when we we’re inside which also meant we we’re sitting down to eat and I had more time to actually do that.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 12-100mm f/4.0 IS PRO
All of these PRO lenses are dust, splash and freeze proof which makes me feel safe traveling with
them and being out in nature regardless of the weather condition.

I LOVE this lens! I have never been doing a lot of macro photography but man, this is such an excellent lens to have in my kit, and it’s very small and light weight so it’s easy to pack and bring along. I’ve used it a bit out in nature, but mostly I use to to take product shots of the jewellery me and Dan are making for Woodbound Designs.

Olympus 60mm f/2.8 Macro Collage

I can’t stress enough how excited I am about my new gear. And it’s not really about the stuff, more so what it enables me to do. It’s amazing to be able to bring my gear with ease and I feel a lot more creative now! I am also very appreciative of the varied assortment of lenses I have, knowing I rarely have to bring everything but that I have what I need for most situations.

I hope this deep dive into my gear has been helpful, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have – I love teaching photography and helping others gain the skills necessary to create and share their photos with the world.

Later on I will share some content in regards to which camera bag I have and how / what I pack as well as some more specifik content on how I take different photos. For example I’ll show you guys how I shoot our jewellery. I’d really appreciate if you let me know if there’s a topic you’d like me to make a more in-depth post or video around!

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  1. Fantastisk sammanställning Rania! Blir sugen direkt att köpa allt, vilket är sanslöst såklart ? har själv precis köpt en Nikon Z6 och gillar den skarpt. Men ska tänka lite på dina användningsområden när jag ska bestämma vilka objektiv jag ska ha framöver, så ditt inlägg hjälper även med det! Ser fram emot mer såna inlägg och förhoppningsvis även nya kurser! Du är en grym lärare!

    1. Åh tack Birte! Och ja det vore sanslöst haha! Z6 verkar najs, om (När) vi ses skulle jag hemskt gärna peta lite på den ;) Men absolut, mitt tänk kring objektiv och när / hur man använder vilka går ju att överföra till vilket märke som helst! Det är ju skönt att alla olika märken i alla fall kör på samma brännvidder. Mer inlägg kommer! Vill hålla i mer kurser men vet inte exakt hur jag ska strukturera upp dem än.

      1. Klart du får peta på den när vi ses nästa gång! Hoppas det är snart ? ser fram emot läsa mer om din fotoryggsäck, har själv redan haft ögonen på en Peak Design så det blir kul att läsa dina tankar om den.

        1. Yay! Och ja, jag hoppas också det är snart! Jag ser verkligen fram emot att skriva om den, älskar ju ryggsäckar haha. Också haft ögonen på dem länge och nu när de släppte en ny, uppdaterad version av deras ryggsäck så slog jag till!

  2. Jag släpar alltid med mig min canon 5d mark II, men den är otroligt stor tung och klumpig. Jag skulle vilja byta till ett mindre kamera hus som är smidigare, men samtidigt kunna behålla alla objektiv som man har :)

    1. Jag har inte så jättebra koll på Canon, men de gör väl också mindre, spegellösa kameror nu? Du borde kunna använda dina objektiv med dem, eventuellt att de säljer en adapter du kan behöva bara. Värt att kolla Råå tycker jag! Det är ju såklart inte så kul att byta ut hela sitt system, det tar tid att sälja det gamla och skaffa nytt.

    1. Jag kör på Peak Designs Everyday Backpack V2, 20l som min kameraryggsäck. Kommer visa den i ett inlägg / video längre fram! Annars använder jag bara en mindre pack-kub och slänger ner kameran i vilken väska som helst, tex. vandringsryggsäcken om jag ska ut och vandra :)

  3. hej! nu har jag helt snöat in på att byta ut mitt canonsystem mot olympus hjälp! ha ha men kanske ska börja lite smått iaf. Har hittat en begagnad olympus E-M5 mark II är det en mellanvariant av dem du har? är sugen på din M1:a och det fanns en beggad på cyber för 9000 kr men borta nu, typiskt.

    1. Hej! Haha om du har en DSLR från Canon förstår jag dig, kamera + objektiv är stort och tungt. Men ja börja smått och ta det lite i taget. Jag började med att använda en spegelfri kamera för små vardagssaker. Läste precis på lite om E-M5:an och den verkar riktigt bra! Liten och smidig, verkar ha alla funktioner mina har (och vädertålig m.m), vinklingsbar skärm, uttag för mic, wifi (deras app är grym!) och den ser väldigt ergonomisk – har du hittat en begagnad tycker jag du ska slå till!

  4. Dear Ranja,

    hopefully you will experience many unweighted hours with the new olympus camera. I feel the power of relief in … WE. ?

    Kindly! ❤,

  5. I found this really helpful. When I bought my EM5MarkIII last March, I bought it with the 14-150mm F4-5.6 and the 17mm f1.8 lenses. I’m new to digital photography and didn’t know what I’d like to have, although I know what I’d like to see in the photos I take. Turns out I hardly use the full length of the zoom and when I do I’m disappointed; perhaps I’m over-reaching. I do enjoy greatly the 17mm f1.8 for many of the reasons you mention. I’m attracted to portrait and detail photos and am trying to figure out how to use what I have to make those. What is the best subject for the long end of the zoom range? I appreciate you talking about what you use each lens for and for how it fits the way you work. Makes me think through the way I work when I go on my photowalks in my neighborhood.

    1. Hey Robin! I am glad to hear you found this helpful, thank you :) I think the lenses you got when you bought your camera last year (excellent choice by the way) were two great starting lenses! I personally love the fixed prime lenses and 17mm is a very good, versatile focal length. With your zoom I can understand how you feel, 150mm (which is almost double on Micro four thirds) is quite a niche focal length. I think that’s best for getting close to animals or details in landscapes that are far away. But since it does not have a fixed aperture the quality won’t be as good and a tripod might be needed. I don’t use zoom lenses very much but when I do I prefer the 12-100 F4.0. Photowalks in your neighbourhood sounds really good and what you can do is to pick only one lens when you go out and try and challenge yourself to get somewhere between 5-10 photos with the lens that you really like, of varied subjects. That will help you get to know your lenses a lot better :) I can also highly recommend the new 20mm F1.4 from Olympus, it’s my new favourite go to all-round lens!

  6. I will use a tripod for the images i have been trying to use the 150mm focal length for and see if that helps; will have to get a tripod, though. ;)

    1. I hope a tripod helps, it should! I really don’t like using them though… I feel so hampered haha. I recommend a small, but sturdy one that’s easy to bring outside. I got the carbon fiber one from Peak Design, but that was expensive…

      1. Well, last week I took a picture of something large–a mountain–from far away with the 150mm focal length of my zoom instead of taking a picture of something small–backyard birds–with the same and met with much more satisfying results. I can see why a tripod for landscape photos would be a good addition. I will check out that tripod (maybe they have a less expensive version). I am enjoying your blog. Thanks.