When using camera gear for extended periods of time, the importance of comfort and ergonomics can become a critical factor. This month marks the third anniversary of the purchase of my first E-M1X. I loved the camera so much that six months later a bought a second one. My love affair has only deepened over time.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
In previous articles I provided feedback on my experiences with the E-M1X at 6 months, 1-year, and 2-year intervals. I won’t regurgitate all of that information here as nothing has changed, other than my appreciation for this camera has only gotten stronger over time.
I periodically still get emails from readers about the OM-1, asking me when I plan to upgrade to this new body. There seems to be an assumption that its new stacked BSI M4/3 sensor, and some incremental performance improvements in a number of areas compared to the E-M1X, make the OM-1 a “must have” camera upgrade. In an earlier article I summarized my decision not to purchase an OM-1.
By most accounts the OM-1 is a superb piece of kit, and very likely represents a worthwhile investment for many photographers. To be completely frank, the OM-1 has not tempted me in the slightest. For me it fundamentally comes down to the critical importance of comfort, ergonomics and handling.
Three years ago, when I first held an E-M1X in my hands, I knew the camera was the ideal photographic partner for me. It felt like it was custom designed specifically for my hand. The grip provided outstanding support that was so good it allowed me to shoot one handed when needed. Even macro images.
From an ergonomics and handling standpoint the E-M1X was a perfect fit for me. All of the controls were exactly where they needed to be, which made my shooting experience for stills and video virtually effortless. The camera never got in the way of my creativity… or slowed me down.
I appreciate that many photographers spend an hour or two with their camera equipment during a typical outing. This probably significantly lessens the importance of comfort and ergonomics for them.
During the past three years I’ve never used any kind of camera support with my E-M1X. No tripod. No monopod. No stabilizer. Everything I do is shot handheld. Of course, this would change somewhat should I ever begin using Live Composite.
While a shorter duration outing for me may be 3-4 hours in length, I’m often out with my camera gear for 8 hours or more at a time. Client assignments can be even more demanding.
Back in my full frame days I could photograph birds, wildlife or aircraft handheld with a long telephoto zoom lens non-stop for about 3 hours. Then I’d give out physically, and I’d be done for the day. I also found using full frame gear to be physically awkward and cumbersome, which contributed to missed image opportunities… especially when it came to handheld bird photography.
As has been mentioned in numerous articles on this website, photographers should use whatever camera format, brand and model that best suits their specific needs. Everyone needs to make those decisions for themselves. Full frame gear may be an excellent choice for many photographers. It just wasn’t a good fit for me.
There will always be new equipment on the market to tempt us. The siren’s song of an improved sensor or enhanced performance in terms of some function’s speed, will never end.
From my perspective those potential benefits are meaningless if a camera doesn’t have the comfort, ergonomics and handling that I need.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard approach in post. Crops are noted. Images were resized for web use. This is the 1,174 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
How you can help keep this site advertising free
My intent is to keep this photography blog advertising free. If you enjoyed this article and/or my website and would like to support my work, you can purchase an eBook, or make a donation through PayPal. Both are most appreciated.
If you click on the Donate button below you will find that there are three donation options: $7.50, $10.00 and $20.00. All are in Canadian funds. Plus, you can choose a different amount if you want. You can also increase your donation amount to help offset our costs associated with accepting your donation through PayPal. An ongoing, monthly contribution to support our work can also be done through the PayPal Donate button below.
You can make your donation through your PayPal account, or by using a number of credit card options.
As a reminder to our Canadian readers, you can get a special 5% discount when ordering Tamron or Rokinon lenses and other products directly from the Amplis Store. Be sure to use my discount code when you make your purchase.
Word of mouth is the best form of endorsement. If you like our website please let your friends and associates know about our work. Linking to this site or to specific articles is allowed with proper acknowledgement. Reproducing articles, or any of the images contained in them, on another website or in any social media posting is a Copyright infringement.
Article is Copyright 2022 Thomas Stirr. Images are Copyright 2021-2022 Thomas Stirr all rights reserved. No use, duplication or adaptation of any kind is allowed without written consent. If you see this article reproduced anywhere else it is an unauthorized and illegal use. Posting comments on offending websites and calling out individuals who steal intellectual property is always appreciated!