As a content creator, my camera never leaves my hand; it has come with me as I’ve trekked through Patagonia, camped on the Great Wall of China, hiked to the gorillas and chimps in Uganda, road tripped the North & South Islands of New Zealand, climbed up active volcanoes in Indonesia, and explored the charming towns throughout Europe (amongst many other experiences). It’s the most important accessory to my travels and so I’m always looking for the best camera to suit my needs.
In all honesty though, the above camera just became too much for my travels. I used to travel with a Canon DSLR and then a Panasonic, followed by a combination of a Canon & Sony, but I always struggled with (1) the size of the DSLRs, (2) the weight, and (3) the modern look. Why, you might ask?
- (1) I travel full-time with carry on luggage only, so I’m incredibly conscious of space
- (2) I weigh less than 100 lbs, so I’m very conscious of how heavy my bags are, and
- (3) Being a female, full-frame DSLR cameras tend to draw unwanted attention my way in certain areas.
On top of that, I was recently on a trip to the Mackay Region in Australia where it rained on us for a week straight — that was my tipping point when I realized that I needed to find a weatherproof camera too.
To Google I went! Knowing my frustrations with my previous cameras, I knew the qualities I was looking for in a camera for travelers… which ultimately led me to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Here’s why:
- The fact that it’s a lightweight, weatherproof body eliminates my weight and weather concerns
- The smaller size compared to its competitors eliminates the size concerns, and
- The retro silver body eliminates my concerns of having a full-frame DSLR while traveling.
It seemed like a win! The body weighs in at 469 grams including batteries, which is pretty incredible. So, I started researching the lenses for Olympus cameras. I was convinced that the lenses had to weigh a lot because I just couldn’t imagine finding something that seemed so perfect for what I needed. I was looking for two different types of lenses to start with: a zoom lens and a wide angle.
I discovered the M.Zuiko Digital ED lenses through Olympus and they were constructed to have the same compact, lightweight qualities as the cameras. My eyes were immediately drawn to the 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 lens and the 7-14mm f2.8 PRO lens (with both being weatherproof lenses). As it turns out, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II has 5-axis image stabilization. If you’re a new travel photographer you may be thinking, “What the heck does that mean?!” In other words, the 5-axis image stabilization is part of what makes the gear so lightweight; because the image stabilization is inside the body of the camera, the lenses are able to be smaller and allows you to rely less on tripods with the assurance that your shots will still be free of blur or shake. Typically in the photography world, image stabilization is a feature reserved for premium quality lenses, however, with the camera’s built-in 5-axis image stabilization, everyone can enjoy the luxury, no matter their budget.
After looking through the stats, and deciding to give Olympus and it’s M.Zuiko lenses a chance, my order was on its way! I knew that my new Olympus gear would be given the ultimate test; my gear arrived only a few days before I left for New Zealand. I was taking a brand new camera with me to my favorite country in the world, without much of a chance to play around with it beforehand and with no other camera backup.
I dove in… and haven’t looked back.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 and 7-14mm f2.8 PRO absolutely blew me away. From the moment I opened the box, I knew that I’d be hooked; the mirrorless camera body was smaller than my hand, and the lenses were some of the smallest and lightest that I had ever seen. And, remember, both the OM-D E-M5 Mark II and the M.Zuiko Digital ED Lenses are weatherproof too!
I put them to the test in New Zealand as a camera for travelers and I’m truly thrilled with the results. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f4.0-5.6 was the perfect zoom lens; I loved that I could be miles away yet still zoom in on the peak of Mt. Cook. Plus, given the scope of the lens, the fact that it weighs only 285 grams is simply wild!
The M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f2.8 PRO very quickly became my best friend on the trip. With its ultra wide angle, this lens was perfect for snapping those epic landscape shots and night sky captures. Given the fact that it’s a top of the line wide angle, weighing at just 534 grams really surprised me.
It’s exciting to have finally found a camera that suits my travel needs! It’s important to note that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and subsequent lenses are made to keep both amateurs and professionals happy. If you’re brand new to photography, there are instructions built into the camera to help you better shoot (when on auto mode), eleven different picture modes, fourteen in-camera art filters, and nine art effects.
And for the more advanced photographers, there’s the live composite mode, 40mp Hi Res shot mode, and in-camera focus stacking.
If you’re looking for a new camera, or lightweight lenses, be sure to check out the Olympus gear. They’ve far and away exceeded my expectations, and – from one traveler to another – I am sure that it will suit your travel needs!
Interested in the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, a Camera for Travelers?
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**Big thanks to Get Olympus for providing me with such epic gear! As always, all opinions are my own based on my first-hand experience.**
Nice article. After travelling exclusively for 6 years with my Canon full frame with anywhere from 2 to 3 L lenses I started rethinking after spending 3 weeks in Czech and Vienna last October. I started looking at photos people posted on Facebook from the Om-D Em-1 group and was surprised. I just went to Utah 2 weeks ago and decided to rent an E-M5 mkii and a Lumix 12-35 lens to put through it’s paces and was super shocked. The sharpness of the lens blew my 17-40L out of the ballpark. I was so happy with the light weight, features and results that I just ordered one last weekend along with a Oly 12-40mm 2.8. I may keep my 6D but am definitely selling my 80D and some lenses.
That’s wonderful to hear! I’m thrilled you found a light weight solution with the Olympus — it has certainly changed the way that I travel!
Wow! Beautiful photos. Thanks for the tips. I carry a Nikon D750 which isn’t a heavy camera either. No matter what someone’s build, I think we all want something lite weight and compact especially if you can get the same results as you did. Well done!
Most definitely! Thanks so much for your kind words Gerald!
Great article love the Olympus just pick up a OM-D M5 II for my wife who is also 100 pounds. Got her the pancake 14-42 mm with the auto lens cap ( she always loses them. ) I have changed over to Olympus last year and I’m shooting with the OM D1 mark III. with an assortment of OM pro lenses . Can’t beat them for sharpness, As matter of fact the 12-40mm and the 75 mm f 1.8 are outstanding not to mention the Pro 300 mm
Thanks again ,
PS your a good looker!