Going From Canon Full Frame to Olympus micro 4/3 for Weddings

When I first started as a wedding photographer over 15 years ago I was always a Canon person. I went through many different models of APSC models and full frame. Some of these models included the Canon 10D, the 20D and one of my favourites the 40D. The Canon 40D just worked very nicely paired with a Canon 50mm 1.4. The field of view was a bit tight on APSC as it becomes an 80mm but still worked nicely for weddings. Not long after, I then switched to the first full frame Canon 5D and as time went along I went to the 5D Mark ii and then to the 6D when that was released.

An old friend actually introduced me to the Olympus micro 4/3 system. He showed me the original Olympus OMD EM5 mark 1, which I liked so much I went and bought it instantly. I like the fact that the body was very small and fully weather sealed. Some of the things that amazed me about the Olympus was the five axis image stabilization which is one of the best I have ever used in any camera. You can also take handheld photos at very low Shutter speeds. There after I purchased the Olympus OMD EM5 mark ii.

So the question is why did I switch frame full frame to micro 4/3? There are a number of things. Of course there will always be pros and cons on both systems.

The pros of Olympus micro 4/3

  • Body is very small
  • Weather sealed
  • Has silent shutter
  • Touch screen – can take pictures and focus while touching the screen like a mobile phone)
  • EVF – electronic view finder shows you the exact exposure before you take photo so you know if you are under or over exposed.
  • You can shoot wide open – on my canon 6d when using the 50mm f1.4 I had to stop it down to at least f2.8 otherwise the photos would come out soft and lack of quality but, this also meant pushing up the ISO.
  • Dynamic range – blown out highlights on the Canon weren’t as easy to recover, whereas on the Olympus there is more head room
  • 5 axis image stabilisation – with 5 stops of image stabilisation you can take photos with a Shutter speed as low as 1/5s; the Canon would struggle.
  • Mini flash – the bundled mini flash is small but amazing. Tilts in all directions.

Cons of Olympus micro 4/3

  • 16 megapixels – some people may feel that 16 megapixels isn’t enough but I remember using the original Canon 5D mark 1 for a long time and that was less than 13 megapixels and everyone was happy. For wedding storybook albums 16 megapixels is more than enough with head room to crop if needed.
  • ISO performance – Full frame is no doubt the king of low light but as I mentioned you can’t shoot wide open on Canon unless you don’t mind sacrificing quality.
  • When stopped down you need to increase your ISO but the Canon can comfortably handle noise at ISO 3200.
  • With Olympus I try not to push past 1250 ISO, but don’t forget you can shoot fully wide open so you don’t need to push the ISO up as high. Plus, combined with 5 axis image stabilisation you can use much lower Shutter speeds than the Canon.
  • Auto focus – DSLR use phase detection which is much better for tracking fast movement like sports but as I shoot weddings I’m happy with the contrast auto focus that mirrorless uses.
  • Battery life – now this is the only thing that lets the mirrorless cameras down. Bear in mind, that having an EVF, 5 axis image stabilisation, full time electronics working in the background battery life won’t be great. Canon DSLR gave me over 1000 photos easily whereas the Olympus only gives around 300.
  • Depth of Field – if you are someone who is crazy about shallow DOF and always want those blurred backgrounds, then it’s much easier to achieve this with full frame cameras. On micro 4/3 cameras the crop factor is x2 for focal length and DOF. For this reason, you need to pick your lenses carefully but the shallow DOF still won’t match full frame. For weddings I feel too much shallow DOF gives problems as a lot of photos will miss focus so for this reason I like my Olympus.

The Olympus for me has more than enough, excellent for my wedding photojournalism style. It’s perfect because you can shoot fully wide open and get more light and not have to worry about shallow DOF.   Since moving over to the mirrorless Olympus system I feel that it has changed the way I take photos at weddings. More of my creative side started coming out and put the fun back into photography again. I think it was to do with the size and features including the latest technology but this is only my personal opinion on the system and it looks like mirrorless cameras are taking over the standard DSLR. Different photographers have different needs for the type of work they do but for me personally, I really like the Olympus for weddings.

Hopefully this answers the questions for people on micro 4 thirds vs full frame.  90% of the photos within our Asian and Indian wedding photo galleries have been taken with the Olympus showing you the full ability of the cameras.