Camera gear upgrade path is a little clearer now

So two days ago I took a gamble and invested S$150 off Carousell to buy a new pancake lens, the Olympus 14-42mm F3.5-5.6. Its part of a kit lens in some of the Olympus camera systems. Being a pancake lens, this is, according to Olympus, their slimmest zoom lens they have ever made.

Olympus’s slimmest zoom lens. Cheap and decent.

I thought really hard at what are the core issues bugging me when it comes to carrying a dedicated camera around during my travels to take good photos when my new iPhone 11 Pro Max can do it’s job pretty well. Weight and bulkiness of the overall system are my main annoyances. The camera body is not the issue. MFT camera systems have small bodies to begin with. This is why the MFT system exists in the first place. But you cannot defy the laws of physics. If you want good quality lenses that are bright and sturdy, you have to sacrifice size and weight to have those qualities mentioned (not to mention the price). And so, following that logic, I initially (and almost) bought a compact camera to solve that problem.

However, there is another, cheaper alternative that I did not really give much thought until two days ago: What if I simply get a pancake lens and attach to my current OM-D EM5 Mark II camera? Indeed there was a pancake zoom lens that Olympus offers in their lens lineup. Reading the reviews, I was pretty satisfied how it decently performs optically, given the fact that this is a pancake lens that comes as a kit lens in some cameras. Kit lens don’t really have a good reputation when it comes to image quality. But considering the size and the potential convenience carrying it around, I was ready to take the plunge.

I was fortunate enough to catch someone on Carousell selling their 14-42mm lens for about S$150 (way cheaper than the S$400 or so retailers were selling). I thought to myself; this is my calling. The lens was practically calling out to me! This is what I need after all to solve my problem!

Truth be told, the OM-D EM5 Mark II camera body itself is actually small enough for me. Luckily, adding the pancake lens didn’t add much to the overall weight and bulk of the system. I was thrilled. For S$150, I solved my problem.

On that same day as I collected my lens from the seller, I headed down to Haji Lane to take the lens for a test drive.

And you know what?

It actually performs really well. It’s not the sharpest lens I have used, but for the price and size, this is perfect for street photography! I have some photos to show you, but until I have done editing them, I guess my first impressions about the lens will have to wait for a little while longer.

Just a sneak preview of what the shot I took down at Haji Lane using the Olympus 14-42mm pancake lens. I was surprised by the optical quality of this lens, given the price.

Such an elegant solution. Now my OMD has a new lease of life. I am loving my camera system again! Why didn’t I think about this earlier? Who knew that you do not have to sacrifice so much just to have a smaller, lighter camera system? At the end of the day, don’t worry about the images being ultra-sharp. Just enjoy the process of taking photos!

Don’t get me wrong, I am still inclined to upgrade to the Mark III system slated to release at the end of November. It’s just a matter of when. And the best part about upgrading to the Mark III is that I can use the lenses that I currently have. Now, one thing I do know, is that my upgrade path is now much much clearer.

The more I look at this Fujifilm X-Pro 3 camera, the more I want it. This camera has character. But it also comes at a steep price. And the portability is questionable since I have yet to personally try the camera out myself. Image credit: TheVerge.

But recently, I have been intrigued by Fujifilm’s upcoming new camera, the Fujifilm X-Pro 3. I am going to talk about why I am so intrigued and attracted to this new camera in my future post.

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