I am asked so so often about my travels and how I get about and update social media and the blog, but one theme comes up quite a lot… What kit/clothing/cameras do you use Paul?

I thought it would be easier to explain here (with more than 140 characters available) in a series, so welcome to the new ‘Kit’ section. And where better to start than with a big tool that gets hammered on the road, the camera. That is easy, at present I am never far away from my Olympus OM-D E-M5. So many reasons why it is perfect for me and will explain some of them here, along with a test run with all my lenses at South Lakes Wildlife Park. Can I please stress that every one of these animal pictures in the interest of this post are straight to Jpeg in the camera, with no post editing whatsoever, except cropping to fit. For all you pros and pixel counters just imagine what you could do in raw and your software. I am not a pro photographer and I am not intending to print photos for billboards, I needed a great camera to post on the blog and for keepsake pics. My initial thoughts… My best travel companion :)

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You have seen my blogging from mountain-sides and from long hikes, that involves taking pictures as I go and in the past it was a case of a top point and shoot. I have a deep passion for wanting to learn what I am doing so realised I could improve with better kit so stepped up to a DSLR. This way I could get stuck into learning about shutter speeds, ISOs, apertures and whatnot. I trekked a mountain or two and as I take so many pictures it was a case of having a big clunky heavy camera around my neck which wasn’t practical. Then.. a friend said, Why not go for the Olympus OM-D, it ticks all the boxes for your needs. I recently researched, acquired and have never looked back for one minute! This is my initial feel for it, of course with a bit of help from the animal models.

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II

Micro Four Thirds cameras, you may have heard the old news of them not being quite good enough, but it did not take much research to see that this has changed and it is what I had waited for and needed. Size – much smaller than a DSLR but with photographic quality that blew my clunky fellow (entry level DSLR) out of the water. Many pros are quoted saying it is better than most mid level DSLRs too and beyond. Interchangeable, quality lenses. Put it this way, I used to need a backpack on a hike, even if just for the camera and a couple of lenses… it was so refreshing to go a morning hill climb with camera in hand together with a 12mm prime lens, 12 – 50mm zoom, 60 mm macro lens and a 75 – 300mm tele-zoom lens.. in my jacket or fleece pockets with my phone. Hardly any weight too. Put it this way the 12mm prime is fantastic for big wide landscapes, especially for my use on the blog, and at about 132g and tiny to what I am used to I start to feel I can easily add to my range without breaking my back at all.

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro

The auto focus is billed as fastest in the world! Who am I to argue, I have never seen anything in my hands anywhere near as fast to be honest. One thing that I never got the camera for, but now wouldn’t do without is the electronic viewfinder. Combined with the multi way tilting touch screen display at the back I am finding more shots than I used to. So many options for personal settings that help with quick access, great when a certain wildlife shot appears out of the blue for instance. Anyway, before I get too bogged down here in the nitty gritty I would like to say I have only had it a short time really and would say it is a personal best purchase for travels so far.

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro

These first few test photos from the camera and lenses together with lots of wanting to learn I  will be back here with finer detail, examples and personal thoughts on the camera and the individual lenses. I am like an old kid with a new toy to be honest. By the way 2nd hand travelled DSLR for sale, one previous owner 😉

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro

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Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 75‑300mm 1:4.8‑6.7 II