Photography

Breaking free with Olympus

A mirrorless camera guide - Breaking free with Olympus
this is a sponsored post in collaboration 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.

WiFi

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.

Use the code ‘northbound’ to get 15% off at olympus.se

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!

See all my posts with photos shot on Olympus here

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

A mirrorless camera guide - Olympus OM-D E-M1 MKII

photo by Veera

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm F1.8

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.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 17mm f/2.8
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 17mm F1.2 PRO

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!

M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 45mm F1.2 PRO

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.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 45mm f/1.2 PRO
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12‑40mm F2.8 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
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 12‑100mm F4 IS 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.
M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm F2.8 MACRO

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.

Collage of photos shot on Olympus 60mm Macro

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!

this post was created in collaboration with Olympus

Published by Rania Rönntoft

In the forests of Sundsvall, a small northern town between two mountains, Rania found herself and her passion: living a slower life rich in experiences instead of things. Here she works as a freelancing photographer, content creator and teacher. Through her pictures she wants to inspire others to spend more time outdoors and show that the adventure is not far away. She travels a lot in Scandinavia and works with other destinations to promote our beautiful country, she also arranges workshops on visual storytelling and local adventures.

11 thoughts on “Breaking free with Olympus”

  1. Birte says:

    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. Ann says:

    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.

  3. Gladmun says:

    Vad har du för kameraväska/-väskor för att få med dina objektiv?

    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 :)

  4. Erika says:

    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!

  5. Hans says:

    Dear Ranja,

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

    Kindly! ❤,
    Hans

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