But I also have this Jekyl and Hyde aspect to my photography. Having grown up (literally) with SLR cameras, I find the lure of the DSLR sometimes overwhelming. Muscle-memory (and actual memories) kicks-in whenever I pick up a traditional SLR styled camera, and despite myself, I have that feeling of 'coming back home' (even though I am now happily living in the 21st century). Fortunately, I usually have a couple of DSLR's floating around home that I can use to get my 'fix'.
Earlier this week I was hit by one of these 'must use a DLSR' moments, so I headed out with a Nikon D70 to a local walk that ends in a beautiful waterfall. I traveled light, with just the D70 and 18-55 'kit' lens, plus a spare battery. I also had my phone with me (don't we all), and decided to do a comparison between the two. The D70 is 6MP, while my Samsung galaxy has an 8MP sensor (and is a lot newer technology). Should be a good contest?
|Samsung S3 8MP phone on left, Nikon D70 6MP DLSR on right|
|Samsung S3 Smartphone|
|Nikon D70 shooting RAW|
|Coal Creek Falls. Nikon D70|
If I wanted to shoot at a specific aperture, then I had to decide what the shutter and ISO were going to be to assure that the shot was well exposed. Shooting in the forest, this usually meant trying to keep the shutter speed high enough to hand-hold the camera and still get sharp shots - so the ISO was the control that got changed the most. Of course the higher you go with ISO the more noise you introduce, especially in the shadows, and this is certainly true of 6MP sensor on the D70. Even at ISO 200, when the shadows are lightened in post-processing some noise is evident. But then again, I'd rather have noise than a blurry image :-)
|Life lines. Nikon D70|
Were there other things I missed? Absolutely. How about the electronic viewfinder for one! I can't say it often enough - using an evf like the ones on the O-MD's is a life-changing experience as a photographer! I'm not joking. I used to be an evf snob - spurning this t.v style viewpoint for the more 'pure' optical viewfinder experience. Trouble was, I'd never actually used an electronic viewfinder. Certainly not one as good as the one on the OM-D E-M5 MkII. Once you have, I swear to you, there won't be any going back!
Annoyingly, the D70 doesn't show the ISO in the viewfinder or top lcd display - you only get to see what you've set when you hit the ISO button to change/modify it :-( Bummer. With the OM-D's you get all of that, and more (as much, or as little, info as you want) right in the viewfinder before you take the shot. And if you are shooting in manual and change a setting, then the exposure changes as you watch it - real time, along with the histogram reading and any other info you have overlaid in the evf. Brilliant. Seriously, seriously brilliant.
|Backlit Ferns, Nikon D70 with Nikkor 18-55mm|
Ergonomics aside, that's about where the positives end (for me) :-) The lack of evf, no IS (on my lens), fixed lcd screen and constant need to take my eye away from the optical viewfinder to 'chimp' the exposure or change ISO, meant that the user experience was less than smooth. I suppose the positive is that it only confirms my enjoyment of using the Olympus OM-D system.
As far as replicating the ergonomics of a DLSR on mirrorless goes, perhaps I should look at getting a Panasonic G series as a second body? It's tempting, but so is an Olympus Pen for an even smaller, carry-around-all-day style camera. It's great to have these kinds of options in the micro four thirds ecosystem. Kudos to Olympus and Panasonic for building such a great system in such a short time.