I have made significant investments on my photography kit over the last few months by upgrading the camera to Olympus E-M1 mark II and buying three new lenses: Laowa 7.5/2, Panasonic 100-300/4-5.6, and Olympus 60/2.8 macro.
I was definitely not planning to spend this much money on new kit but new deals just appeared one after another! First I bought the Laowa and then found the Panasonic tele-zoom for a good price on eBay. After that Olympus released their cashback deals so I picked the macro, mostly to use on my electronics photos. After all this SRS Microsystems announced so good deal on E-M1 mark II that I could not resist! £200 off the already good price plus free battery grip which I sold immediately to get some cash back. Now I do not need to think about camera upgrades for a long time.
As on my kit page, I will not do reviews as internet is full of them, just few comments on owning these.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark II
No introduction required, this is Olympus’ flasgship camera with amazing feature set and capabilities. I assume this to keep me going for many years without even need to think about upgrading; I don’t think we will even see an upgrade in a year or two.
While this is a big improvement in terms of features and ergonomy over any other Olympus camera, it is good to understand that improvement in image quality remains minimal. Unfortunately sensor development is not fast anymore so the only way to get big leaps is to change to a larger-sensor system. Therefore the reality is that you pay a lot for the features in this camera compared to cheaper models.
Laowa 7.5mm f/2 ultra wide-angle manual lens
This is a fully manual ultra wide-angle rectilinear lens. It is extremely tiny lens but provides very good image quality and large maximum aperture. As a negative side it is fully manual and its flare resistance is pretty poor. Unfortunately I have also found some issues with the E-M1 mark II image stabiliser so I am still unsure if I will keep the lens or sell it. It’s a shame as otherwise the lens is very good – if you are ok with the manual controls.
Panasonic 100-300/4-5.6 Power O.I.S.
I do not have much use for very long focal lengths but sometimes when willing to take a photo of wildlife all possible reach becomes useful. I got this for a good price off eBay so could justify the purchase even with casual use. Unfortunately using Panasonic lens with in-lens stabiliser is not as straightforward as using Olympus lens, and this is sometimes causing confusion. I am still trying to find what is the best IS option to use. Again, to ensure the best user experience it is best to stick with lenses from your camera manufacturer.
Note: there are two versions of this lens, this is the newer II-version. They can be difficult to distinguish as it is not said anywhere. However, the first version is Mega O.I.S. and the second version is Power O.I.S. and these are written on the lens.
Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro
Excellent Olympus macro lens that gives good working distance. Focusing is a bit slower than in some other Olympus MFT lenses but focus limiter helps a bit. At least for now my macro work is mostly still objects for my electronics website so slow focus does not matter at all; in fact I mostly use manual focus.