Does Size Matter?

One of the oft stated reasons (on forums) for the existence of m4/3s is that it provides small and light cameras. You most certainly can equip yourself with a small, light and effective camera system using m4/3 cameras and lenses; however, I do not believe that small and light is the raison d’ĂȘtre for m4/3s. Small and light is an option for those that want to go that way, but it doesn’t have to be the only option. That’s what I like about the system, it allows you an almost limitless amount of choice.

E-P2 with 17mm and E-M1 with 14-35mm

E-P2 with 17mm and E-M1 with 14-35mm

From the outset, m4/3 was a system that allowed you to use just about any lens ever manufactured for ‘any’ camera ever made and indeed it spawned an industry of adapter manufacturers. The first adapters were for the most common lenses, but soon you could get adapters for even the most esoteric lenses ever made (almost). The Nikon 300mm I spoke about earlier easily adapted to m4/3s (though it worked as well with 4/3s). You can do just about anything that comes to mind.

E-P2 with Minolta 50mm f3.5 macro lens, Minolta to m4/3s adapter, Zeiss Ikon bellows and M42 to m4/3 adapter

E-P2 with Minolta 50mm f3.5 macro lens, Minolta to m4/3s adapter, Zeiss Ikon bellows and M42 to m4/3 adapter

So m4/3 users aren’t limited to just ‘light and small’ lenses, many sought out and used all manner of lenses from different brands and many photographers that have come over to m4/3s retained lenses from other brands and can still put them to good use. That said, not all of the m4/3 cameras are suited to large lenses, as there is a balance trade-off depending on your choice. But when using the likes of the E-M1, these larger lenses are not such a problem, they in fact provide some excellent balance to the lens/camera combination that you can’t get with lighter and smaller lenses.

E-M1 with Nikon 300mm f4 lens

E-M1 with Nikon 300mm f4 lens

Having shot news and sports for so many years, in often awkward places, you appreciate how this ‘balance’ often assists you in your photography.

Sports photographer and camera - Melbourne Victoria

Sports photographer and camera – Melbourne Victoria

But that said, after years of thinking that the likes of the E-3/E-5 camera body had great handling qualities (I once thought that the E-1 was the best), I’m really taken aback at how much better the E-M1 feels in the hand, even though it is a lot smaller. The E-3/E-5 is considerably bulkier than the E-M1 and after such a short time of use, I couldn’t go back to the likes of the E-5. Though I did have to buy an RRS grip (http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.A/id.2237/.f) for the E-M1, as I found the body height just a tad short.

Really Right Stuff E-M1 Grip (Copyright Really Right Stuff)

Really Right Stuff E-M1 Grip (Copyright Really Right Stuff)

So simply put, even the largest of my lenses feels appropriate when attached to the E-M1 and I can even take handheld shots with my 90-250mm (thankfully due to the excellent image stabilisation) in fairly low light. That said, I’d rather have this combination (I guess a lot has to do with how one learned to use a camera):

E-P2 with 14-35mm

E-P2 with 14-35mm

Than this combination:

E-M1 with 17mm

E-M1 with 17mm

Anyway, in future posts, I’ll give some solid examples on why I think that the 4/3 lenses work so well with the E-M1 (I’m just waiting for authorisation).