Thursday, December 31, 2015

Closing out 2015 on a less angsty note...

I picked up an Olympus PEN E-P5. Got the bugger from Adorama right at the tail end of a great little flash sale they ran on the thing, body-only for $349. With the true update of the series allegedly coming this year, I'm actually pretty okay with dropping $349 to scratch the most incessant itch of wanting a truly transparent-on-my-person small camera body to slap a prime on and just go out, walk around, and focus on experiencing the world rather than worrying about shooting it. Getting back to the whole "kneejerk" thing... see, react, refine, move on. Without a 30 pound backpack and 7 pounds of camera weighing down the living.

Not that anybody likely cares with the body being about 2 years old at this point, but from a technical standpoint it's an E-M5 that actually fits in a pocket (so far as image quality is concerned). The Sony sensor differs a bit from the Panasonic sensor I'm used to in the E-M1, more noise, but it's a kind of noise that likens itself to analog film grain, so it's not noise I'm bothered by, not even at ISO 5000 (I might like the noise profile of the old 16MP Sony sensor even better than that of the 16MP Panasonic sensor in the E-M1...). Firmware updated to v1.6 brings with it the necessary electronic first curtain to subdue shutter-shock inherent to the 5-axis IBIS system, and despite being a bit difficult to steadily hand-hold at slower shutter speeds on account of its size I can still squeeze out reasonably clear 1/4" shots with my palsy hands. For the most part, it's just my old E-P3 with a new sensor and updated processor, so it's iterative and great. Even has the WiFi I've come to love about the OMD line. About the only this it's missing is a Live Composite shooting mode but that's just fine, I have a "big boy camera" for when I'm shooting with deliberate attempt to photograph. Oh, and the autofocus system is the old one from the E-P3, with fewer selectable points and no PD system, but oddly it seems to be more spot on than the newer system when shooting with all AF points available.

It's a holdover to a degree, but a competent one. I'll still likely gush over the coming reimagined PEN model, especially given the track record Olympus has had the past couple years releasing insanely well designed and engineered imagers. Ultimately I'm just happy to have a companion camera right now, because no matter how much I may appreciate the E-M1 it is simply not a camera I want to carry all the time. I suppose the weirder part is that I want to be carrying a camera around all the time. Cell phone doesn't count because reasons.

As an aside, 2015 was a landmark year for my business. Somehow I've managed to keep the income-doubling trend alive and well for 4 years. Pretty sure I've hit my peak potential at this point, though, as there just isn't much more in the way of time I can allocate to photo work. The only way to grow the business is to raise my rates, but I'm not too compelled to do that either. I'm comfortable right now, and if my business workflow is optimized to comfortable efficiency there's no sense in mucking with it.

I'm going to run out to Delaware tonight and do party photography. I recommend you all do the same. But, you know, don't forget to party as well as photograph. :)