Back to Micro Four-Thirds

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This year I decided to focus more on film photography as a means to better focus on the process of making a photograph. It’s a means for me to slow down and be part of the moment that’s being captured and not just firing off shot after shot without ever fully connecting to my subject. Still, there’s a reason we’re all shooting digital and there’s but a handful of places that develop film – so it came time to weigh some options.

Back in late February, I found myself really in a bind – my GX85 had officially died and I was sitting on some really good, really new lenses that would be hard to replace with FujiFilm equivalent gear. Also, add to the mix the fact that my X-Pro1 doesn’t allow for any external mic to be added and my dilemma just worsened. While I don’t shoot video often, I realized that most of my video reviews were shot primarily with my GX85. Faced with the option of either selling my Micro Four-Thirds (MFT) gear, biting the bullet and trying to find a suitable option in Fuji’s X-Mount lineup; I realized I wasn’t ready to jump the MFT ship just yet.

Going Back to Micro Four-Thirds

Enter the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II – the mid-tier option in Olympus’ OM-D camera line up. While in March 2018, the E-M5 II is a little long in the tooth, the truth of the matter is that it still is an amazing camera if you’re doing any kind of travel photography or professional work.

The Olympus E-M5 II is one of my favorite MFT cameras available due to its size and output performance. While it doesn’t boast as many megapixels as its younger counterpart, the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, I found that the E-M5 II is more than capable of a wide range of applications.

Video on the E-M5 II

The E-M5 II may not have the wealth of video options that a camera like Panasonic’s GH4/GH5(s) might have, but it isn’t a slouch either. If you’re looking for a simple set up with the option to pipe audio through an external mic, the E-M5 II is a great option.

Outside of the occasional run-and-gun video clip, I found myself not using many of the camera’s video capabilities. In an attempt to figure out a streaming solution for a local church though, I found that the E-M5 II does provide a “clean” HDMI-out signal so you could in theory set the camera up for live streaming.

Sample Gallery

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Conclusion

As illustrated above, the E-M5 II is comfortable in just about any situation you can put it in. From event photography, product shots, and as a street shooter, the E-M5 II is adaptable and when paired with Olympus’ Pro lineup of lenses, it’s hard to find a camera that can deliver more bang for your buck.

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Camera bag of the moment – Lowepro Urban Report 250

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I've been using the Lowepro Urban Reporter for most jobs over the last few months; here's how it holds up.

I’ve been using the Lowepro Urban Reporter for most jobs over the last few months; here’s how it holds up.

At last year’s Photoplus Expo in New York City I got a chance to chat with the folks at Lowepro and check out some of their latest gear. I’ve long been a fan of their products but had recently been wooed by my Brenthaven BX2 backpack for covering events, but I often found myself wondering if I really needed all that space as I’ve learned to pare down the gear I took to these shows. I was ditching excess weight in my kit bag, maybe it was time to reconsider what my event bag should be.

The Lowepro Urban Reporter 250 in this review was sent over by Lowepro; they wanted me to review their bag so they sent a sample to keep. These are my impressions from real every day use of this bag.

Styling and function

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The first thing that pops into mind when I received the bag was – “this is bulkier than I remember.” It’s not that it’s a big bag, for a camera bag it’s pretty compact and ultimately you want the foam cushions that protect your gear to get the job done. Specifically, the Urban Reporter 250 measures 41.5 x 17.5 x 28.5 cm with the camera compartment measuring 34 x 10 x 24.5 cm. The bag weighs a little over 2-lbs. without your gear so it won’t add necessary bulk on your trips.

If you’re looking for a bag that doesn’t look like a camera bag the fact is that there far more discrete options available on the market. That being said, the Urban Reporter 250 is a good option that looks like a slightly pudgy messenger bag. It’s a good option for taking along for a specialized shoot or event – one that may not require much gear – but you’ll definitely skip this one if you’ll be in need of additional gear or tripod/monopod (the Urban Reporter 250 doesn’t have a compartment for a tripod).

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The Urban Report does maximize the space that it does have with plenty of room for personal carry-alongs. The clasps on the saddle pockets can fit additional batteries, a flash gun, snacks, or a bottle of water. Meanwhile the main compartment features a main padded insert with two dividers for customizing the main pocket for your specific load out. Just behind the main padded compartment is a discrete laptop sleeve that fits up to a 15-inch laptop or full-sized tablet. The rear of the bag has a zippered faux pocket that can be used to carry documents or can be unzipped to be stacked onto your rolling luggage.

The Urban Reporter is a fully functional bag that’s ideal for day trips or commuting but may not be the most stylish option out there. That said, it’s a great bag for event photographers that are looking for a no-nonsense bag that gets the job done.

Urban Reporter Series- Street-smart messenger bag from Lowepro on Vimeo.