(Work in progress)
17 October 2022 - Looking into fast prime lenses...

Whichever camera brand I was using, at some point in my life, I always got close to buying a Sigma lens but it never happened. I cannot really explain why as, for years, I've read the raves of Sigma users about how stunning the results obtained with these lenses are. I guess my late arrival at the Micro Four Thirds System and my discovery of their available lenses triggered a change of mind I needed to finally pull the trigger on the Sigma Lens offers.

Let's be honest, the main reason when starting to use the M43 system is to go light and reduce the bulk and weight of heavy gear. Following this statement, it is fair to say that you can live very happily with only two zooms; something like a 12-45mm and a 40-150mm or an 8-25mm and a 40-150mm or even a 12-100mm and 100-300mm. Depending on your shooting needs, one of these combinations should get you sorted. However, there is always this specific need where you want this particular lens, fast, giving you this dreamy bokeh,... Most photographers rely on zooms for easiness of use but all of them will always tell you that nothing can beat the quality results of a prime lens, especially a fast prime lens, and that's also my opinion.

Before I bought the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, and at the time I was building a second kit for Street Photography, I started to look at the market offering for prime lenses with M43 mounts. I noticed that a few brands offering full-frame lenses also had these exact same lenses available with an M43 mount which at first sounds great but thinking twice about it, what's the point of mounting a big and heavy FF lens to a small M43 body camera like the Panasonic GX9 which was the only M43 camera body I had at the time?
Then, I noticed that Sigma offered a new series of lenses specially designed for a mirrorless camera and crop sensor. They have a trinity of fast lenses available with an M43 mount, which should cover most of my needs for Street and Portrait Photography.
The Sigma Contemporary 56mm F1.4 DC DN (112mm full-frame equivalent) is exactly the kind of lens I want when I shoot half-body portraits or headshots. The Sigma Contemporary 30mm F1.4 DC DN (60mm full-frame equivalent) will be the perfect lens for full-body or even environmental portraiture. And, finally, the Sigma Contemporary 16mm F1.4 DC DN (32mm full-frame equivalent) will be used as a more general lens or when shooting Street Photography.

As I already said before, another great thing about the M43 system is the inexpensive cost of its lenses compared to a full-frame system. At first, I bought the 56mm and the 16mm lenses and their sizes are a perfect fit for the Panasonic Lumix GX9. An even better fit on the Olympus OM-D E-M1X that I got a few weeks later.
Not only the build quality of these lenses is really excellent but the imagery results obtained from these are also truly beautiful. Nice and sharp from the wide-open aperture and delivers a buttery smooth bokeh. I was very happy with my purchase, so happy that I decided to buy the 30mm also to cover the whole focal range offered by Sigma.

I think it is very important for a photographer to be allowed to have both a set of fast prime lenses and zoom lenses to cover every situation and follow every mood during their journey into their passion. Price is always a determining factor of course but, for example, the purchase of these three lenses was around £900 which is very similar, if not even less expensive, than a quality fast prime lens for a full-frame camera.

If you are interested in discovering more technical details about these lenses or would like to buy one, feel free to follow the links below. As an Amazon Associate, I will earn some little bits from qualifying purchases BUT... without costing you anything at all. This will help me to mostly cover the little expenses for this website. Thank you very much for your support.
14 October 2022 - First impressions...

I'm still on the learning curve with this new camera and I can say that the Olympus menu is kind of vast and impressive. I can already tell that I will need a bit of time to get familiar with all the options listed there! The good thing I noticed is how easy it is to create several "personal menus" to add the functions you'll use the most into individual groups. This is an excellent idea and very practical in use, no more needs to go back digging in the vast menu. Kudos for that! 

Whether I'm using Olympus or Panasonic lenses, the image quality from this camera is really impressive. I'm still in my early discoveries with the E-M1X but I can already see that the image quality up to ISO 1600 is excellent and noise-free, the JPEG out-of-camera colours are excellent, I actually only need very minimal processing to the RAW images to process them to my tastes and last but not least, the internal stabilisation in this camera is making miracles. I bought the Panasonic zoom lens 100-300mm f/4-5.6 and tested it initially on the Panasonic GX9 body. I wasn't really impressed by the soft results but seeing a few sharp images out of this lens made me rethink that the problem was more likely due to a bad holding or use of the lens. When I received the E-M1X, I mounted the big zoom on it and had a few quick snapshots without any precaution about holding it and... how amazed was I to see that the photographs I made with this combo were excellent and tack sharp. I tried again this combo in the forest, taking mushroom pictures, with one hand and at a shutter speed as low as 1/30sec; the same results with lovely and tack-sharp images. Definitively, the impressive stabilisation everyone speaks about in this camera body is making a serious difference.

I briefly tried the "High-Resolution" images which give a 50MP photograph while shooting handheld. I was very sceptical about this function and at first, thought it was more of a commercial gimmick. Let me tell you how wrong I was. This amazing feature is producing incredible high-resolution images and you can see the difference with the naked eye, this is incredible and I love the results I got with my first tests. Imagine, shooting 50 MP high-resolution landscapes or products with an M43 camera. Yes, you can for sure and the results are exceptionally great.

And to finish this first impressions article, I will tell how great is the holding of this camera in both landscape and portrait modes. Looking and feeling like a professional camera with its integrated battery grip and dual SD cards, the size and weight are still very comfortable and way inferior to a full-frame system.  In my hands, this camera is a perfect fit and the duplicate buttons used in each way you hold the camera are really nice and comfy. Add a different texture per button to even recognise them without removing your eye from the viewfinder and you'll understand how much care and thought went into the making of this camera. There will be so many positive and great things to say about the holding and use of this camera that I could honestly affirm it is one of the best, if not THE best camera I've ever owned.
12 October 2022 - Firmware update...

It's been two weeks now since I own this lovely Olympus OM-D E-M1X and I'm still learning many things about this camera. I'm truly and positively impressed by what this camera can do and I'm having a great time discovering all of that.
However, one thing I really did not appreciate at all is the Olympus way to upgrade the firmware on this camera. I don't see many negative things to say about this camera but the firmware upgrade really is serious pain and this first article about my journey with the E-M1X will explain it and take this negative point out of the way once and for all.

What's happened?
The camera I ordered was a brand new one but most likely an old stock as it was delivered with the internal firmware version 1.0, the initial firmware for this camera when it came out three years ago. A quick online check showed me several firmware upgrades over the last three years with a final version 2.3 which came in 2022.
At this point, I wasn't worried as it is usually very simple to go online, download a compressed file with the latest firmware, copy it to an SD card and then, process the upgrade of your camera's internal firmware directly from the file on the SD card.

The bad surprise came from the fact that Olympus has its own way to do that, unlike any other camera brand and this is not great at all. Let me explain why... Olympus, now OM System, has its own software called "OM Workspace" with is a RAW editor and processing solution for images taken with an Olympus camera. This is great and this software seems to offer quite a few interesting options for image processing but the bad part comes from the fact that Olympus imposes the use of this software to do firmware upgrades on its cameras too. I have two computers at home, a desktop and a laptop. The desktop software version is a bit too old (4 years old) to allow the Olympus software installation and when I turned to my new laptop, powered by an M1 Apple processor, I had the bad surprise to be told the camera firmware was too old to recognise the M1 Apple processor!?! I needed the firmware version 1.2 minimum on the camera and mine was version 1.0. Scratching head time... This is my problem with the Olympus approach...
If you want to impose your customers to download your own proprietary software to work with your camera, fine! Not a great commercial approach but fine as long as you take care everyone can use it. With a 7 years old computer updated up to 4 years ago and another brand new computer with the latest software version, I wasn't able to perform a task as simple as upgrading the firmware of my new camera!

My only option was to find a photographer friend owning Olympus cameras and with a compatible computer allowing the Olympus software to perform firmware upgrades. When I found him, we proceeded flawlessly to the firmware upgrade of my camera which was a huge relief.

Having now the latest firmware version (2.3) on my camera, when back home, I wanted to try to connect the camera to my laptop to confirm both could now communicate without trouble. That was only wishful thinking! The image processing part from "OM Workspace" software is working well of course but the firmware checking and/or update part is still not able to connect to my camera running the last firmware. Olympus, or more exactly OM System, you can do better for sure. Imposing your own software to execute the very basic task to update firmware on your cameras is very anti-commercial, especially if your software isn't working with some Apple computers.
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