CP+ 2015: Shooting with the Olympus E-M5 Mark II, and the TG-3's Macro Power
On the floor of the CP+2015 Show, the new TG-860 Tough Camera was unforunately not on display, but Olympus did have the soon-to-be-replaced TG-850. Even better, they had several Stylus TOUGH TG-3 Digital Cameras, which are top-notch waterproof, crushproof, point-and-shoot cameras. I know about the macro mode, but the Olympus rep mounted the LG-1 LED Macro Ring Light for TG-1, TG-2, and TG-3 on the TG-3 and laid the camera lens down on a magazine. From virtually touching the paper, the camera captured this incredibly close macro shot of the dots that made up the photo in the magazine. It’s one of several creative options on this compact camera, which can also take drops and crushing and can withstand being submerged to 50'.
At the booth, Olympus was all about the E-M5 Mark II, and at times the people in line to try the 15 or so models on display were alerted by an assistant holding a sign that read, “40 minutes from this point” to try the cameras. Fortunately, when I lined up I only had to wait 5-10 minutes. My colleague, Todd Vorenkamp, recently wrote a hands-on review of this camera so I won’t duplicate his work, but the camera bettered my expectations, especially when they put the grip on it and it felt perfect in my hands. I shot it with the lightweight M.ZUIKO Digital ED 14-150mm f/4.0-5.6 Zoom lens, which despite its overlong extension when zoomed out, is a powerful, sharp, and versatile lens. When not extended, it has a very compact form.
If underwater shooting is your thing, take note, I was able to shoot with the PT-EP13 Underwater Housing for OM-D E-M5 Mark II, which has a depth rating of 147' and dual fiber optic cable ports for flashes. The unit felt sturdy, the mechanical controls were responsive and it had the UFL-3 Underwater Strobe Flash attached.
Even though it is presently not on tap for the US market, I stood in line to check out the Olympus Air, which is designed to attach to a smartphone and is similar in concept to Sony’s QX-1 Mirrorless Lens-Style Camera. One advantage the Air has over the Sony line is that it can utilize the full range of generally more compact Micro Four Thirds lenses, which seem to fit the concept better. It has a 16MP sensor, a large rubber shutter button and a tripod mount. Interestingly, it is open-source and Olympus was clearly pushing its “OPC Make and Hack Project” for software developers to have at this camera.