The Olympus Family

Olympus has a long history of manufacturing Optics. They have been manufacturing microscopes and thermometers since 1919 and cameras and lenses since 1936

In 1959 they launched the Pen Series which was a half frame format (18X24 instead of the normal 35mm film which is 24X36) and thus marked the evolution of what is now famously called the micro four thirds (MFT) system. The sensors of the micro four thirds system cameras are much smaller than full frame (about 28% of surface area) but offer trememdous other advantages over full frame cameras without compromising much on Image Quality. The MFT size of sensors means that normal lenses would become double their focal lengths. So if you attach a 25mm lens it would give a field of view of a 50mm (exactly like clicking a picture with a 25mm and cropping it all around to give it a look as if clicked with a 50mm i.e zoomed in view). One myth is that on MFT cameras lenses allow lesser light (to be busted here). If the original lens is a 1.4 lens then the light it allows to enter the sensor is “the same” whether you use it on a full frame camera or an MFT camera. There is only loss of BOKEH as the MFT sensor is smaller and thus the edges are lost where usually a lot of BOKEH is visible. The other fact is that the ‘quality of BOKEH’ will be equivalent to the 25mm rendering rather than the 50mm rendering. Longer focal length lenses generally have better blur or BOKEH

MFT was created by Panasonic and Olympus together and thus all lenses manufactured by either company can be interchangably used on their MFT cameras

Olympus currently has a couple of very good interchangeable lens series of cameras

The PEN series, with cameras starting at $299 and upwards and the OM D series, with cameras starting at $379 onwards

Their top of the line in the PEN series is the latest PEN F ($1,199) and OM D EM1 ($999)

The Olympus MFT cameras come loaded with features, are light and small, focus fast and one of the highlights of their cameras is the inbuilt 5 axis Image Stabilization which negates the need of IS within the lenses thus making lenses smaller and lighter and works great for handheld video. The MFT lenses also boast of amazing sharpness at wide open apertures

There are a plethora of lenses for the MFT cameras including offerings from Panasonic, Olympus and Voigtlander and with adapters you can even add any other brand lenses in front of the cameras provided you are ok with manual focusing

If you are beginning with photography or even if you are a pro with your pictures mostly exhibited over the net or printed in albums etc these cameras are the best bang for the buck for the quality they bring in. They also are small and light (although their top of the line cameras are weather proof) and can be great for travel photography

Here is a pro who uses the Olympus cameras and lenses to create some stunning images

Here are some of the pictures I have used the MFT cameras for