Thursday, 6 October 2016

Two EM-5s in the family

My son Josh is 15 and, much to my surprise, has developed a keen interest in photography over the last few months. Now I say "much to my surprise" not because I don't think he has the talent for it - he most certainly does. It's just that he's never expressed much interest in photography before, despite there always being a camera available for him to use on family outings.

It's a matter of timing I guess - and I'm certainly not complaining. It's fantastic that he's getting excited about photography, and not just because it happens to be my passion as well. I think it's very important for everyone to have some form of creative outlet. And in this digital age, photography is an important skill to have.

His older sister is also very creative - taking Visual Art and Photography at Level 2 (6th Form) at High School this year. I've seen some of her photos from earlier in the year and they're fantastic abstract studies. But Em (Emily) is a bit wary of showing Dad too much, and she's always been quite private about her art.

Master and Apprentice? Photo: Joanna Lorimer
Josh, on the other hand, is just like his old man - very interested in the gear/technology side of digital photography; almost as much as the creative side. So he's been keen to chat with me about cameras and techniques. He's been using his mother's Nikon D70 SLR for the last few months, but has also had his eye on my Olympus OM-D EM-5 MkII mirrorless. So we've often talked about the different systems and what he might go with for his own camera.

Both kids have also had part-time jobs for the last year and have managed to save some money. Josh got to the stage where he had enough to start thinking seriously about getting a second-hand camera of his own - and last week (October 2016) we spent a few days in Christchurch while the girls had a trip to Wellington.

Christchurch just happens to have one of the best camera stores in New Zealand (shout out to Matt at Photo and Video in Merivale), and they just happened to have a second-hand Olympus OM-D EM-5 body for sale for a pretty good price. Josh and I went to have a look on our first morning in Christchurch (I said he was keen), and discovered that as well as the Em-5 body, they also had the HLD-6 grip to go with it!

Seagulls. Photo by Joshua Lorimer. OM-D EM-5 MkII with 40-150mm f4-5.6. F5.6 @ 1/250th ISO 200
If not for the price of the body and grip combined, I think Josh would have walked out with them both right there and then. But together they were going to take up a large chunk of his savings, so we left the store to 'think about it' for a day.

Two Dogs. Photo by Joshua Lorimer. OM-D EM-5 MkII with 12-50mm f3.5-6.3. F4.5 @ 1/4000th ISO 400
Josh had never really used my Olympus for very long, so I gave him the opportunity to spend an afternoon shooting with the EM-5 MkII, knowing that it would be similar (yet different) to the EM-5. He used it with and without the extra grip for the whole afternoon and, to cut a long story short, loved using it in both configurations. We went back the next day and purchased the EM-5 body with the HLD-6 Grip. So now there are two EM-5 mirrorless shooters in the family!

 On our third and final day in Christchurch, we went to the Botanic Gardens (it's late Spring and the flowers are still in bloom). Since Josh's EM-5 was sold 'body-only', he didn't have a lens. So I loaned him my 12-50mm EZ kit lens for the day, while I used the 40-150mm f4-5.6. I've never seen a teenage boy more fascinated with flowers - especially after I showed him how to use the macro function on the 12-50mm lens. I had to practically tear him away from the gardens after three hours. Needless to say, he had a great time and is loving his EM-5!

Old Piano. Photo by Joshua Lorimer. OM-D EM-5 MkII with 12-50mm lens. F4 @ 1/500th ISO 200
So yes, I am thrilled that Josh has been bitten by the photography bug. I think it's a fantastic hobby for anyone - but will be even more rewarding for us as something that father and son can do together. And if I'm really lucky, we may even convince big sister to come out shooting with us on the odd occasion too?

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