I have been an Olympus OM-D E-M1 owner for just over a week now and since the purchase of the camera I am being more and more impressed with the company.
The pre-sales work they did at the LCE Photo and Optics show was the best there (from what I experienced anyway), both of the Olympus guys at the stand couldn’t be more helpful. Their principal UK Photographer “Damian McGillicuddy” was the highlight of the show and it just keeps getting better and better.
There are currently 3 promotions in effect at the moment and it looks like I will benefit from all 3 of them.
Promotion 1: Free Grip
I purchased the camera on the Wednesday and I used their online promotion system to register for a free grip, I was informed by the confirmation email that it can take 4 days for Olympus to acknowledge the request for a free grip. The following morning (just after 9am) I received the acknowledgement email and by lunchtime another email informing me that my claim had been successful and to allow 30 days for the grip to be sent to me.
I was speaking to Dave at LCE yesterday and he told me that someone else who purchased an OM-D E-M1 at the show has received their grip so it should only be few days until I get mine.
Promotion 2: £150 Cashback
I purchased the camera kit and paid for the 40-150mm f2.8 lens on the Wednesday and I used their online promotion system to register for the cash-back, whilst I also got a the confirmation email for the request (with the same 4 days message) I was not sure that it would go through OK despite Dave frm the LCE store telling me that he had this agreed with Olympus UK.
However, just like the free-grip request, I received the acknowledgement email the following morning and by lunchtime another email informing me that my cash-back claim had been successful and to allow 30 days for money to be credited into my back account (no silly cheques to pay in). As of a week later the cash was in my account!
Promotion 3: £50 Image Space Cash-back
I received one of these at the LCE Photo and Optics show as an extra thank you from Olympus and Damian for pre-ordering the 40-150 f2.8 lens (and paying for it in full). The voucher allows you to get £50 cash-back if you spend £300 or more on any Olympus Accessory or Lens.
I was told that I should be able to use it with the 40-150mm f2.8 lens but I wasn’t sure. However another store in the UK (with an online presence) – Clifton Cameras are having an Olympus event this weekend (also with Damian) and they are offering 10% off all of the Olympus lenses for show-goers and online orders for a few days. So I ordered the M.Zuiko 60mm f2.8 macro lens (the first lens of my wish-list) for £349 less the 10%; I also took the opportunity to order my first extra Olympus BLN-1 battery – that £150 cash-back helped me do this so soon after the show!
When this arrives I should be able to use the receipt with the voucher to get the £50 cash-back, which pays for either the 60mm lens hood or a 3rd battery.
Once I got my Olympus OM-D E-M1 I was expecting to have to update the firmware on the camera and if there was one, the lens too. This has been my experience with other camera manufacturers, particular Fujifilm; however, the camera had the latest version (v2.0) which is quite amazing as the as the firmware was only released a few weeks ago!
NOTE: Since writing this post v2.1 has just been announced which improves the AF accuracy of the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens with the E-M1.
The lens has no need for a firmware update at his time. It will be interesting to see if the 60mm Macro needs the updating to the latest firmware.
Damian mentioned during his second shoot at the LCE Photo and Optics shoot that he would be running one of his Olympus Experience shoots at the end of November in Nottingham (which is just over an hour away from Lincoln). Not long after the show the course details were released.
I have even had an online chat via Facebook with Damian about the course – I have never met anyone this dedicated to other photographers who want to learn!
After clearing the days off with work I booked myself on 2 of the 6 options that Damien offerered, here are the training options (taken from Damian’s website):
November 27th: Touch & Try (£45) Morning or afternoon
This series of rolling demonstrations will give you a ringside seat to see exactly how a commercial shoot is conducted. In addition to observing Damian’s methods and techniques in multiple locations, you’ll be able to get hands on with the full Olympus OM-D range. Don’t settle for fiddling with a camera in a shop – give it a test drive “in the field” and see for yourself why top photographers choose top kit!
November 28th : The Big Shoot (£95 morning/£95 afternoon/£175 whole day)
A masterclass in every sense of the word! First you’ll have the opportunity to see Damian set up every aspect of a publication-standard shot. From his patented lighting techniques to the way he directs models, watch how a Master Photographer of the Year-calibre image is created… then you can put his trigger on your camera and use his custom set-up to capture your own! A surefire way to add an instant classic to your portfolio.
November 29th: TOTAL IMMERSION (£295 whole day)
This is your all-access, no-holds-barred, VIP pass to a photography experience like no other. More shooting time. More access to the location. More models to work with. More secrets, more techniques, more tips and tricks, and more opportunities to learn from Damian’s 30 years of experience.
You’ll have all the raw materials you need to create spectacular images, elevate the standard of your portfolio and, most importantly, deepen your knowledge of photography on both a technical and creative level. It’s not just being told what makes a good picture; Damian will show you how to maximise your equipment, location and subject to turn good images into great images.
I picked the morning on Thursday and the whole Friday events. I’m not sure if I’m ready for the Saturday event at the moment. I am hoping to learn a bit more about how to use the Olympus in a full portrait shoot environment and the fact that it takes place in Nottingham means that I can drive to and from the event each day – no expensive hotel stays required.
If you are interested in attending one or more of these training opportunities, click here for the full details.
Once the training is over I will be posting my thoughts about it and by then I should also have some more user-views about the OM-D.
Anything I don’t like?
There are only a couple here and they are I think limited to the same problem. Like most new cameras that I purchase I am going through the user manual (PDF version as you don’t get more than 10 pages of a multi-lingual starter guide) and I am struggling to understand some of the language, this is also the same for a few of the menu names and locations in the camera’s menu system. Even though I am gradually getting used to the differences, I still think it could be much better. I feel that the menu system and the user guide are direct Japanese translations; although they are accurate in the use of the English language, they should have used different wording that is more universally excepted at least on their competitor’s cameras. Both Canon and Nikon have better menus and manuals, with Canon having a slight edge here at least on the menu front.
The guide is so confusing in parts that I have decided to purchase Danny Friedman’s OM-D E-M1 e-book on how to get the best out of the camera. This is a much better read and I am gradually making my way through the book.