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.
Camera & lenses
My main camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II. 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 backup camera, or second camera during weddings and even smaller camera that I use to just document my every day life with friends I have the E-M10 Mark III. 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 a wedding, photos for a book and much more, and I am very pleased with the result!
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
≫ 17mm 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-M10 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.
This is the big brother of the previous lens. When I shoot interior or portraits I want a wide angle so that I can get a lot of the environment if need be, and I need a low aperture so that I can work in places where there’s less light. The two photos of my camera and lenses in this post where shot with this lens. Oh, and the bokeh and shallow depth of field with an aperture of f/1.2 is absolutely stunning!
This might be the lens I use the most. It’s just such a lovely piece of gear. I shoot a lot of details in interior with it as well as food and portraits. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!