Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II • First Impressions

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II • First Impressions

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

Here we go... a little review of my new E-M1 Mkii.  Camera landed at my front door a few weeks back, really haven't had the chance to put it through any real tests.  But as far as initial observations, this camera is built.  Still very impressed by its inherited features, but the new additions can't go unmentioned.  The buffed grip and enhanced ergonomics, the oscillating screen is a gem, and that dual card slot though.  And of course let's highlight the new battery; packs more juice for those long day shoots out on the street.  Overall, the size isn't noticeably larger and stays true to the mirrorless form factor... small.

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II
M. Zuiko 17mm

The warm AWB DNA is beautiful.  There's an option to adjust this off, but not my preference.  I absolutely love the warm tone the sensor brings out.  The AF speed is insane, sometimes too fast.  Don't sleep on the back focus when in AF mode, last thing you want are a series of unfocused shots because that shutter will just fly.  

Details on details on details.  Yes we're talking m43, but the focal plane wide open is perfection.  For street and action captures, you can't go wrong with this bad boy, even wide open... at 1/32000 (haven't found it necessary, yet)

Looking forward to the weekend with Josh Rose out in LA to put this camera to the test.  And if you're asking if I would recommend this new Olympus camera, it would be a hell yes.  Price is steep in comparison to the m43 cameras out there currently, but in my opinion, it was worth the wait and every penny spent.  

New Year • San Diego

New Year • San Diego

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

Took a stroll Downtown San Diego for some captures to start off 2017.  Good old rainy days bring those flat tones, maybe a little too flat.  It was a hunt to find some good highlights to balance it all out.  A definite change of pace, the complete opposite mood that San Diego portrays. 

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

Interesting enough, these San Diego rainy days always remind me of San Francisco.  The light, the architecture, the people.  So much character.  Another definite trip needing to be planned for the new year.

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 25mm • 12-40mm • 60mm

Some new texture for 2017; don't leave without saying goodbye.  

Portraits • Leo Carrillo Ranch

Portraits • Leo Carrillo Ranch

Through my blog posts, I'm sure you all have gotten to know that my photography revolves around street, landscape and travel.  Occasionally, I'll venture back into the "hired" gigs for those special people in my life.  

It's amazing to watch such a close family grow even closer each time we meet.  Every laugh and smile comes with love that's contagious.  All I want to do is keep my finger on the shutter.   

Sony a7rii
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4

Brought both the a7rii and a6000.  Paired up the Zeiss 55mm with the a6000 to get close to that 85mm equivalent.  Not only that, the quick AF from the a6000 never fails, especially with a little 3 year old running around.  

Sony a7rii
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4

It was too much fun that day.  Even though we had a small window to work with, still had the chance to catch up and capture some fun photos.  Look forward to seeing you all again and capturing another year of your beautiful, growing family!

Sony a6000
Zeiss 55mm

Sony a7rii
Zeiss 35mm f/1.4

Sunday Funday

Sunday Funday

Olympus OM-D E-M1
Canon FD 24mm


Out with the wife celebrating family birthdays.  Thought it'd be fun to take out the E-M1 with the new FD mount glass I picked up.  The AE-1 didn't get a chance to come out the bag, but it was rewarding either way.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
Canon FD 24mm

My favorite little man was there!  We brought along the D-Lux Typ 109 and those quick hands of his started snapping away.  He's easily now my favorite Leica photographer.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
Canon FD 24mm

Meanwhile, my favorite Leica photographer became my favorite Olympus photographer.  Some awesome captures he took of his younger brother.  Good work little man!

Olympus OM-D E-M1
Canon FD 24mm

Few more snaps of the day, just not enough time to get in more.  Still wrapping up the rest of my photos from our Nova Scotia trip.  I'll be getting those up soon, keep an eye out.

Explore • Quebec City to Halifax • Canada

Explore • Quebec City to Halifax • Canada

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 60mm

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 25mm

Finished off Old Quebec City with some night photography.  It rained through the night which gave me the chance to mess with the weather sealed 60mm.  The stabilized setup gave me some lowlight advantage without worrying of any damage to the lens.  Normally I'd take the 25mm f/1.8 for a little more speed, but at ISO 1600, wide open at f/2.8 with this 60mm does the trick.  

Before the flight to Halifax the following morning, took a stroll around the neighborhood one more time.  I love finding people, interesting people.  People with expressions.  They're definitely fun to photograph.

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 25mm

Quick stop in Ottawa, then Halifax!

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 25mm

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 60mm

After an extended adventure from Halifax airport, we finally got to our hotel around 1am.  Got some shut eye and headed for the Halifax Library.  The architecture was amazing!  The staircase is centered within the building and catwalks running perpendicular to each level.  San Diego's Downtown library is gorgeous, but damn, Halifax was definitely a sight to see.  To top it off, the journey to the rooftop was worth every step.  The wife grabbed a coffee at the 2nd cafe on the roof while we enjoyed the scenery in the cold, open air.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 25mm

Halifax Waterfront was next on our list.  Cruised around the boardwalk along with the other tourists.  Hopped on a couple historic boats, of course my wife wanted to recreate some Titanic scenes.  She played a busted up piano on one of the docks while another dude serenaded on guitar on the opposite end.  We ended up talking about Seaport Village and how we've lost appreciation for it just because we're locals.  

Ended up hitting Halifax Distilling Co. Matt was so welcoming, informing us of their new distillery and caught us up with the local craft brew in Nova Scotia.  Had a Canadian Rye and Bourbon style Whiskey, which the wife and I enjoyed.  Became a fan of Big Spruce Brewing immediately after the first sip of their Red Ale.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 25mm

On the way back to the car, couldn't help but notice this guy.  A swarm of birds surrounding him at his feet while he continues to rant about his day.  People walked by, intrigued by the fact these birds were not attracted to him for an easy bite of food, but for conversation.  Ironically, the bird whisperer had no interest in conversing with people, as he shot down conversations with them and continued to chat with the feathered bystanders.  #thuglife

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

Dinner at Smitty's, pretty much the local Denny's except with poutine.  Caught a conversation with my brother, since the wife and I are only able to communicate with family and friends when WI-FI is available.  Surprisingly, it works out pretty well.  It was refreshing not having to be connected as constant as we are. 

Slapped on the 12-40mm for some wide captures at the Public Park.  Of course, online says they close at 8pm or sunset, but they decided to shutdown at 5pm.  Not sunset, not 8pm. #confusedaf Caught some views just across the street from the park.  Those natural colors and tones are worth the stop.  I'll be honest, there was a lot of stopping in of our time here in Nova Scotia.  

Weather forecast, no rain till Sunday.  Yeah, we'll be on our plane back to San Diego.  

Explore • Old Quebec Continued • Canada

Explore • Old Quebec Continued • Canada

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

More exploring our second day in Old Quebec.  The colors were beautiful as expected. I couldn't help but include those fall colors in the frame.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

Had to snap this dude.  He was everywhere we went.  I honestly wanted to ask to see his photos for some inspiration.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

So happy to spend these days away from routine with wifey.  Cheers to 15 years of exploring and getting lost together and to the past 6 months celebrating life together.  On top of that, she has a bad ass camera lol.

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

Some vantage points the wife found.  Thankfully the focal range of the M. Zuiko 12-40mm offers that subtle wide angle to a stunning 80mm focal length (35mm equivalent) providing sharp images wide open at f/2.8.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm

The best part of photographing somewhere foreign to the eye is that everything goes; that overwhelmingness and forgiveness for something new.  Through the years, I've implemented my personal Rule of Content;  Color, Contrast, Concrete, and Culture.  Any two combinations of these C's, help keep my focus and consistency when all you want to do is keep your finger on the shutter.

Explore • Old Quebec • Canada

Explore • Old Quebec • Canada

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8

It's already been two days out here in Canada and only now am I getting the chance to post up some of our explorations. The wife and I have been so excited to take this trip and I still can't believe we're here.  

We took a red-eye flight out of San Diego, one stopover in Toronto, and we out here in Old Quebec, Canada.  Our hotel has a beautiful view of the St. Lawrence River, less than a minute away from the boardwalk.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8

I couldn't wait to get lost and get some photos with the E-M1.  With the recently announced Mark II, I can feel the refueled excitement back in the Olympus community.  I, too, am so stoked for this release, I've committed to using this bad boy for the next 8 days.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8

Whenever I shoot with an OM-D camera, first thought that comes to mind is color and detail.  Seriously, those warm, green tones right from the camera paired with it's quick auto focus equal an amazing image.  

Olympus OM-D E-M1
M. Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8

Now the E-M1 and lowlight.  Honestly, for my particular taste, it performs perfect for my use, even at handheld.  I'm not a fan of bringing around tripods, but rarely am I out shooting in those types of settings these days.  Wifey and I went out for a night stroll and the ambient light around the city was enough to help capture details of our surroundings.  

The E-M1 still gets the job done.  Sure, only now are we seeing a refresh with the Mark II.  But I applaud Olympus for taking care of their OM-D users.  They've done a solid job keeping OM-D owners happy with numerous firmware updates these past 3 years.  Even with this last update, I couldn't believe the features added to the camera.  And let's be completely honest, there are so many other systems out there these days that refresh constantly, there's not enough time to breathe and a new model will be out.  

Explore • Chinatown • San Francisco, Ca

Explore • Chinatown • San Francisco, Ca

Sony a7rii
Zeiss 35mm f/2,8

Finger was itching for some street.  Where better than San Francisco?  Culture, contrast and concrete... all in Chinatown.  Waking up to 65 degree weather and overcast in the oldest Chinatown in the United States.  

Sony a7rii
Zeiss 35mm f/2,8

Just like a riding a bike.  Getting reacquainted to the a7 was seamless.  Paired with the 35mm f/2,8, my carry wasn't obnoxious at all.  Light, discreet, and functional, the camera worked in my favor as the city modeled for me perfectly.  And the people, it's all about the people.  Their faces wore unique stories masked with forced smiles or frowns.  The emotions just leaked into the streets, all embodied by the city.

Sony a7rii
Zeiss 35mm f/2,8

Shadows, highlights, shadows, highlights.  The city caught my eye, I couldn't get enough.  It was a good hour roaming the streets of Chinatown.  Every corner was flooded with photo opportunities and the a7 did more than expected.  Expect me back San Francisco, solely for that gem you call Chinatown.