Accessories for Micro Four Thirds Photographers

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Getting the most out of your camera and lens often means having to go beyond the limitations of these basic, though very essential components. Regardless of your choice of camera systems, be it DSLR or mirrorless, there are many accessories designed to up your game as a photographer, and maybe even enhance your photographic experience.

If your camera system of choice is a Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system from Panasonic or Olympus. We offer a plethora of add-ons designed to elevate your technical, creative, and aesthetic abilities.

Electronic and Optical Viewfinders (EVFs and OVFs)

LCDs have their place in the greater scheme of things but, when it comes to taking pictures under bright sunny skies or with longer focal length lenses, you can’t beat an eye-level viewfinder. The problem is that not all MFT cameras feature built-in viewfinders. The good news is that there are optional electronic viewfinders available for select Olympus PEN cameras and select Panasonic MFT cameras that enable you to hold your camera and lens DSLR-style for steadier 3-point contact when shooting stills and video.

Another option is to compose your stills and video using an optical viewfinder that matches the field of view of your favorite lens (or lenses). Simply pre-focus your manual lenses or allow your camera’s AF system to do its thing, and concentrate on taking pictures. If you’re like me, you might find you enjoy shooting through a clear-as-glass (literally), data- and icon-free viewing field.

Fujifilm VF-X21 External Optical Viewfinder (left), and Voigtländer Viewfinder for 35mm Lens (right)

If you shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II or Stylus 1 Camera, your third option is the Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight, which slips onto your camera’s accessory shoe and enables you to track your subject easily and compose the frame on the fly. For sports and action photography, this puppy offers an optional alternative for tracking fast action.

Olympus EE-1 Dot Sight for OM-D E-M5 Mark II or Stylus 1 Camera

Grips and Battery Grips

Micro Four Thirds cameras tend to be small and this is a key reason many photographers find it easier to hold one securely when there’s a grip on the body. If you agree, log onto BHPhoto.com, where you’ll find numerous choices of basic grips and battery grips for Olympus cameras, along with basic grips and battery grips for Panasonic cameras from Panasonic and Vello. If additional shooting time is a priority for you, get a battery grip, which contains a second battery for doubling your shooting time. If all you need is a little more surface area for your right hand one of the lighter, basic grips should do the trick.

Olympus ECG-4 External Metal Grip for PEN-F (left), and Olympus HLD-6 Power Battery Holder (right)

Lens Adapters

As with all mirrorless cameras, if you want to mount a non-OEM lens on your Micro Four Thirds camera, all you need is the correct MFT lens adapter. We currently stock lens adapters from about 16 manufacturers specifically for adapting third-party lenses to MFT camera bodies.

If you’re already vested with a full complement of full-frame lenses from Canon, Nikon, Leica-R, Black Magic, or Cine T lens mounts, you should consider Metabones Speed Boosters or Mitakon Zhongyi Turbo adapters, which enable you to take fuller advantage of the lens’s native viewing field, i.e., the full-frame angle of view of the lens with an extra stop of light realized as a bonus.

Metabones Speed Booster XL 0.64x Adapter for Nikon G Lens to Select Micro Four Thirds-Mount Cameras (left), and Mitakon Zhongyi Canon EF Lens to Micro Four Thirds Camera Lens Turbo Adapter Mark II (right)

Flash, LED Lights, and Wireless Remotes

An increasing number of modern digital cameras allow you to dial up ISO sensitivities high enough to trigger a nosebleed. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to have an on-camera flash or LED array handy for lighting scenes that would otherwise go uncaptured.

Olympus STF-8 Twin Flash (left), and Bolt VS-570OP Wireless TTL Flash for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (right)

In addition to the various OEM flash systems offered by Olympus and Panasonic, B&H stocks MFT-compatible light sources from Bolt, Bower, Metz, Quantum, Nissin, and Polaroid. Even if your camera has a built-in flash, except for some of the smaller models, external flashes are more powerful than their built-in counterparts. Perhaps the biggest advantage of shoe-mounted flash and LED lights is that they can be moved off-center from your subject, which eliminates red-eye, while allowing for more dramatic lighting effects.

Genaray LED-6200T 144 LED Variable-Color On-Camera Light (left), and Genaray LED-2100 36 LED Compact On-Camera Light (right)

B&H also stocks a nice selection of on-camera LED lights for capturing video, as well as still images. Some of these LED lights are designed to slip directly onto your camera’s hot shoe, while others require adapters.

For remotely triggering the abovementioned flash systems, we recommend you take a look at the Nissin ir 1 Commander remote trigger, any of the hahnel remote flash controls, and the Cactus Wireless Flash Transceivers V6.

Nissin Air 1 Commander for Micro Four Thirds Cameras (left), and hahnel Captur Remote Control and Flash Trigger for Olympus/Panasonic Cameras (right)

Image Stabilizers

Even if your camera or lens contains an image stabilization system, if you want smooth, jiggle-free video capture you should invest in a dedicated video stabilization rig. Steadicam Merlin 2-series camera stabilizers, the Zacuto Marauder, along with comparable quality rigs from SHAPE, Tilta Cage, and Zhiyun-Tech are well worth a look-see if you’re serious about capturing smoother pans and camera movements.

Steadicam Merlin 2 Camera Stabilizer/Metal Gimb/Case (left), and SHAPE Panasonic GH5 Cage with Matte Box & Follow Focus (right)

Filters

Many cameras contain electronic creative filters that emulate traditional screw-in filters, and there are plenty of apps that can accomplish the same effects, post-capture. The problem is that none of these electronic emulators can reduce UV haze, eliminate reflections, or make clouds pop from blue skies like a Polarizing filter can, nor do they protect the front element of your lens from dust and scratches. These are the primary reasons pros and true enthusiasts invest in protective, UV, and Polarizing filters. If you shoot video, you should certainly consider purchasing neutral density (ND) filters, which are available in solid, variable, and graduated forms for better exposure control when shooting video.

Hoya 77mm NXT Circular Polarizer Filter (left), and Hoya 58mm alpha MC UV Filter (right)
LEE Filters Graduated Neutral Density Soft Filter Set 4 x 6" - Consists of Three Graduated ND (Neutral Density) Filters (left), and B+W 77mm XS-Pro Digital ND Vario MRC-Nano Filter (right)

Microphones and On-Camera Monitors

Two items you should most certainly consider if your interests lie in video are accessory microphones for cleaner, higher-quality audio, and camera monitors for live viewing and review of your video capture on a screen larger than the LCE on your camera.

RØDE VideoMic Pro Plus On-Camera Shotgun Microphone (left), and Senal CS-88 DSLR-Video Shotgun Microphone (right)

Half Cases

I’ve always considered ever-ready cases to be a nuisance. The top half of the case invariably flops in front of the lens precisely at the wrong moment and they just always seem to be in the way. Not so half cases, which I began using when shooting on location with cameras I wanted to protect from scuffs and scratches.

Olympus CS-45B Genuine Leather Body Jacket for E-PL7 Digital Camera (left), and Panasonic Leather Half Case for Lumix GX85 Camera (right)

Half cases keep the bottom half of your camera safe against bangs and dings while leaving the business end of the camera—the top, front, and depending on the camera, the sides of the camera body—easily accessible. Half cases are reasonably priced and do a good job at keeping your camera scuff-free.

Some of the half cases available for Micro Four Thirds-format cameras include the Olympus CS-45B Genuine Leather Body Jacket for E-PL7 Digital Cameras, which is available in black, brown, or light brown. We also stock half cases for Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras from Panasonic, MegaGear and half cases for Olympus cameras from Olympus and MegaGear.

BodyBags and Soft Pouches

If you’d prefer a soft, lightweight case or pouch you can quickly slip over your camera to protect it against similarly large, bulky objects packed away in your backpack, we offer OP/TECH USA D-M 4/3 Digital D-Series Soft Pouches and LensCoat BodyBag 4/3s. Made of flexible neoprene in a choice of colors and textures, these MFT “duffle bags” are inexpensive and do a good job of protecting the exterior surfaces of your camera and lens.

OP/TECH USA D-M 4/3 Digital D-Series Soft Pouch (Nature), (right), and LensCoat BodyBag 4/3 (Blue) (left)

Underwater Housings

If we’re going to mention half cases and BodyBags we certainly have to make mention of underwater housings, which are available in a selection of depth ratings down to 200' below the surface of the waves from companies that include Olympus, Ikelite, Ewa-Marine, Aquatica, and Polaroid.

Ikelite Underwater Housing and Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 Micro Four Thirds Camera Body Kit

Even if your plans don’t involve submarine-like activities, underwater housings can alternatively be used when shooting stills or video in harsh weather in the tropics, the Sahara, the America’s Cup Race, or wherever else your travels may take you.

Is there a Micro Four Thirds accessory we missed? If so, drop us a line in the Comments section and let us know!

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