Never Stop The Journey: The nitty gritty of the OM-D E-M10 Mark III

A sponsored post for Olympus

I was lucky enough recently to be a part of an excursion to Queenstown with Olympus for the launch of their new OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera. You can read about that AMAZING weekend in this post but I wanted to share with you guys a little of the nitty gritty of the camera, some of the tips I have learnt as well as my thoughts on changing from what I had known until using this.

So many people send me emails and messages every week about how to better use their Digital SLR. I get asked questions on cameras, lens, courses to do and lots of other small and big questions. And the thing is, that I really am no expert at all.

I was given a Canon camera about 8 or so years ago from Rob. I actually studied photography at University back in the day – but it was photography with film, and dark rooms and I think I only did it because I had a crush on one of the guys in my course that did it. In 2012 I did a course with photographer (who became friend) Tim Coulson to try and get the camera off auto and take better photos of my kids and our beautiful life in the country.

This course set off a passion and love for photography that completely changed the way I looked at photography. While I spent most of the time fumbling as I went and really guessing on manual, the fact that I spent each and every week taking hundreds of photos made all the difference. I remember Tim telling us on that course his best advice was to take “hundreds of photos over hundreds of days” and that’s exactly what I did.

The process of STOPPING, looking for light, capturing fleeting moments has so become a part of who I am now, and my daily/weekly life that it transformed my photos, my blog and I grew more confident with each passing year.

The thing was that my skills were pretty much staying the same. I upgraded the Canon I had to a 750D, got some lenses, but despite Rob’s requests for me to get onto Lightroom and start processing my photos and take things to the next level, I never quite did.

The email and invitation from Olympus to go changed all that in me. A new camera, an amazing opportunity to try out lenses, be surrounded by professional photographers and colleagues in the most beautiful place in the world changed it all.

I wanted to share with you some of the things I love best about this little pocket rocket, some of the tips that I learned and some new skills I have picked up recently which have FINALLY allowed me to be taking the kind of photos that my eyes see when I take them. You know that disconnect between what YOU see and then what you see when you ACTUALLY look at the photo? I’m getting better at there being less of a gap, and this OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera has helped me to get there!

So what’s to love about the OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera?

So much.

The Design & Retro Look

I love the way this camera looks. My Aunty pointed out to me that her first Olympus from the 70’s looked pretty much the same as this and that’s what I love. It looks like a camera should (to my retro aesthetic eye that is).

Size and Weight

Compared to the Canon I was using, this is the BIGGEST game changer for me. Especially with travel when I usually have to lug a camera around with me. Because of the weight and size of what I was using I never used to change lenses and that can make SUCH a difference to your photos. Even the lenses are small (but powerful).

Interchangeable Lenses

You can easily change between lenses onto this little body. The kit lens that comes with the camera is actually great on it’s own but like I would tell anybody that asks, if you want to take better photos, you need to look at better lenses (I’ll go into that a little further).

Camera Shake

Much like the fact that EVERY photo I take is on a tilt and slant (why can’t I take a straight photo?!) my shots can also be a little shaky but this camera has a 5 axis image stabilisation in it that helps you take a steady photo every time (great when you are on a low ISO).

Touch Panel

The touch panel on the back of the camera is easy and quick to navigate (I used to get lost trying to adjust the bloody F-stop on the Canon). This is easy, makes sense and the fact that you can use touch screen makes a difference (my head tries to touch screen everything these days…including books!)

WIFI

And my favourite of ALL? This WIFI option that easily connects the camera to my phone so I can get up a great photo onto Instagram, can take family photos when we are out and about and easily get them text to friends and family (if you are the go-to photographer in your family or friend group you will know what I am talking about here).

And what about some of the new tips I have learnt?

Refreshed ALL my basics of photography

There are so many great resources online and just reminding myself of all the basics all over again has made me break out of bad habits and take better photos. I have refreshed on ISO, settings, shutter speeds, focal point focusing Fstops…the lot! And it’s made a big difference.

Editing

Rob has been at me for so long to get onto Lightroom and while we were away I sucked it up and signed on. You can download the Lightroom app for free on your device and have a quick play around with contrast, highlights, whites and blacks and even those simple things will make SUCH a difference. I take the photo on the Olympus, WIFI it to my phone, quickly edit on the Lightroom app and then upload to Instagram or you could even Airdrop to your laptop for other use. I have also subscribed to a monthly subscription to Adobe and am using it all the time now. I am not really editing the photos all that much, but the slight tweaks have really given me an aesthetic in my photos I am proud of. At last!

Shooting on Aperture Mode

I was amazed when we were away how even the professional photographers we were with all shoot on APERTURE mode. Who knew?! I spent so long and so much frustration trying to get Manual right when Aperture mode allows you to control your F-Stops(depth of field) where ISO and shutter speed adjust automatically in real time.

Lenses

I have tried to educate myself on lenses and the difference that they make to taking great photos compared with good ones.

The kit lens on the OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera is great a 14-42mm that gives you some good options to play with.

I have been lucky enough to play with some of the other lens too. A 12-40mm 2.8 which gives you plenty space to zoom in and out.

This is this lens pulled back as wide as it will go:

And then in as close as it can get from the same spot as above.

I have also played around with two prime lenses which mean that you can’t pull in or out with them as they have a fixed focal length. This means that you have to physically move back if you are too close but the clarity is AMAZING. With these prime lenses you can really play around with depth of field…you can get an amazing blurred background effect with the F-stop as low as 1.2. I think it’s beautiful!

This is the 45mm 1.8. Here’s the same shot as above using this lens but you’ll notice that I had to physically walk back about 2 metres to get the same shot in frame.

This is how the photo looked when I took it in the same place as above:

Too close! So stepping back to get the same shot.

You might not be able to see much of a difference but I can…the detail. The colour. The light! The clarity.

And then this is the 25mm 1.8.

Stunning!

Isn’t it beautiful? And the thing I love about a Prime Lens is the bokeh effect you get of anything just out of focus….see that jug? Slightly out of focus which makes the focal point really POP. Love it!

Lenses don’t have to cost the world (I am always surprised at how you can get a great one for not that much) and you can go to town, but a small investment will make a big difference.

You can check out some of the Olympus lenses online here.

Light modes

Another great tip that I have found with shooting with a DSLR is changing the light setting. You know that blue light that comes with AUTO well a simple flick to change the light setting in your camera makes all the difference. I have found that the best setting on the OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera is the CLOUDY setting which gives you a little more warmth that the auto.

Take a look at the three settings. With my canon I was always shooting on cloudy but it probably made my images too warm. This CLOUDY is just right…the Goldilocks of light!

I have to say the combination of a complete refresher of the ins and outs of basic photography; a new camera that is easy to use – a great size and weight, some good lenses and a little editing has completely renewed my passion for photography. I am taking the best photos I have in FOREVER. And my old camera is sitting on my desk, unused for the moment.

I am going to be asking Santa for a new lens for Christmas and keep pushing myself to keep learning. It’s never too late to learn something new, it’s good to feel uncomfortable and for things to be hard, it means that you will are going to get a breakthrough.

Never Stop the journey!

And if you are lucky enough to have an Olympus camera, there are some free sessions you can book in for in the next few weeks all over the country! You can register now for a free 45 minute small-group chat over coffee with an Olympus trainer. We will take you through the ins and outs of your camera and get you shooting masterpieces in no time! To book in and see if there is one near you check out the details online here.

You can check out some more details of the OM-D E-M10 Mark III camera online.
You can check out some lenses online here.
And you can buy the camera online here.

Would you like to learn some more of the basics of photography (ISO f-stops and all that jazz) and how I do it?
Would you be interested in workshops in the New Year?

Comments

  1. I’ve got one of the older EM10s but I love it – even if I don’t really know how to use it properly. This post has inspired me to a) save up for a prime lens, just in case Santa doesn’t deliver and b) check out Lightroom, I’ve heard amazing things about it. I joined a basic photography class at my local community centre last year but I was the only one with an Olympus camera and to be honest, it wasn’t nearly basic enough for me! I would love a workshop because I’m a practical rather than an abstract learner. And I’ve already signed me and my camera up for coffee with Olympus – I can’t wait!

    • Woo hoo! I’m like you…I need it to be hands on and be spoken to and shown like an idiot! I hope the coffee workshop is good for you – ask everything and don’t feel embarrassed – that was me the whole time we were in NZ! x

  2. I have a Canon 5D and love it and feel I am ok at manual, but I have never ventured into Lightroom, I would love to know how.

  3. I have a different Olympus camera which I LOVE and since getting the 25mm lens, I’ve rarely taken it off. I love it! Will try some of your tips here. x

  4. Come on Santa! I would love an Olympus and a workshop for Christmas…too much?!

  5. Sorry I know this is a sponsored post but I have to say it – that has got to be the worst name for a camera ever!!

  6. Can you only use Lightroom if you have an Olympus? I have a Nikon, did a basic course but was a bit overwhelmed so put my camera down and quietly skulked away. It annoys me that I have this great camera and I’m too intimidated to use it! But as you say, just keep taking photos, so I’ll try again. Your photos are gorgeous!

    • Not at all! Canon, Sony whatever! If you can practice with the free app on your phone you will get an idea if you like the editing or not. Good luck! Appreciate your kind words x

  7. great work beth!
    I think your photographic work has certainly gone to another level hun!
    me just say’n and observing critically… in a good way!
    much love m:)X

    • Thanks so much Merilyn – I feel like I have pushed myself the last few months and the results are there for sure. Appreciate your kind words of encouragement – thank you x

  8. Hi Beth, I just went to a Coffee with Olympus yesterday – it was fantastic! I have had my OMD for about 18 months and have never been confident about what all the buttons were and what they do, and now I feel like I could at least give it a go! Thanks for putting me onto it. I just hope they do some more courses because an hour was not enough!

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