2009 – Ain’t Heavy

It’s interesting. There were times when the 12 megapixels of the big, heavy and expensive professional camera Nikon D2x or the 16 megapixels of the even more expensive Canon 1Ds Mk II were considered completely sufficient for professional photography. The Canon even delivered usable images at ISO 1600. That was amazing and it was in 2005, just little more than six years ago.

Tomorrow or one of the next days Nikon will announce their D3200 entry model DSLR, and it will sport a 24 megapixel sensor. Amazing again, and I have to ask myself the question: is the Olympus OM-D really the camera that I need? Hey, it has only two thirds of the pixels of the D3200!!!

Shocking? Not really. Megapixels are fine, at least as long as I have 7.5 in a square crop. That’s what I get from the Panasonic LX5.

Ridiculous? I don’t think so. Currently there are 255 entries on this blog with images taken with the LX5, and I believe some of them are even quite good.

Thus if the 10 megapixels of the LX5 (7.5 megapixels in a square) are sufficient for my needs, what would the 16 megapixels (12 megapixels in a square) of the OM-D be? A nice bonus, I’d say, but not essential.

24 megapixels? Wouldn’t they still be better? Maybe. Nikon has really good sensors today, I suppose the pixel quality of the D3200 and the OM-D will be comparable. Maybe the OM-D even has an edge in high ISO, but that would be lost as soon as we downsize from 24 megapixels to 16 megapixels.

And when I look at these figures, all that that becomes increasingly irrelevant.

The Image of the Day and this sequence of images show you my current Olympus E-P2 kit. A small, cheap shoulder bag from Sony, the camera, two Panasonic pancake lenses, the 14/2.5 and the 20/1.7, the Olympus 45/1.8 and the Olympus 40-150, the electronic viewfinder and a small leather case that originally came with the Panasonic viewfinder for the LX5. I have one more lens, the Olympus 17/2.8 pancake lens that I bought with the camera, but I don’t use it and therefore it’s not included.

When I mount one of the pancakes and put the viewfinder into its case, I can put everything into this one small bag. In the last picture you see for size comparison a Nikon D200 with the 18-200 VR lens mounted. DSLR and lens have a combined weight of 1.5 kg, and that’s 500 g more than my whole Olympus kit. Add lenses to both systems and the difference gets more and more grotesque.

The D3200 hurts me on another front though. I suppose the attainable price for my D300 will drop even further. At the moment I suppose I could sell it for maybe 500 € (hardly used cameras go for about 600 €), but that price level will not be sustainable. I never thought that I would sell the D300, but I may. I just don’t use it, and for that it is too expensive.

Btw, as you see, tonight I found the first OM-D in a camera shop. Unfortunately they have it only in silver and with the slow 12-50 kit lens. I’m not interested in the lens, and the Panasonic pancakes look horrible on the silver camera. Thus I’ll patiently wait for my black model 🙂

The images of the Olympus kit were made with the Panasonic FZ150 superzoom camera, the picture of the OM-D was taken with the E-P2 and the 45/1.8.

The Song of the Day is “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” from the 1986 Housemartins album “London 0 Hull 4”. Hear it on YouTube.

4 thoughts on “2009 – Ain’t Heavy”

  1. The OM-D is selling out every where here in Australia though they seem to be getting fresh stock fairly quickly. I’ve spoken to quite a few people who are saying much the same as you and are swapping their heavy, expensive dSLRs for this camera. It will be interesting to see how successful this camera becomes.

  2. Andreas, I’m with you for downsizing weight-wise. I hate, tho, to trade in my Nikons and all the lenses. I’ve lived with Nikons for 30 years, first film and then digital. But, weight is a big factor for me these days. I rarely carry my tripod, as just the Nikon body and a couple of lenses are almost too much for me.

    So perhaps if I downsize, then I’ll feel more like carrying a tripod. But there are sooo many good little cameras popping onto the market every month now, that I feel in a quandary as to which to pick. And, as has been the case with the Nikons ever since the development of digital, as soon as I buy one, it’s rapidly out-of-date. Nikon has developed some excellent small cameras, too, that I need to check out before making a decision.

    Right now, if you had to pick only one of the different cameras to keep that you have – which would it be?

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