Photo Gear,  Travel

My First International Photo Trip with the Olympus OM-D Camera

Due to weight restrictions on domestic Indian flights, I left my DSLR at home and only  brought my Olympus OM-D E-M5 with me on a two week trip to India.  The weight limits on domestic flights overseas are getting smaller and smaller.  I had several Air India flights during my two week trip and the weight limit was only 15 kg (33 pounds) for checked bags and 8 kg (17 pounds) for a carry on bag.

Taj Mahal in the Late Afternoon Light

Taj Mahal in the Late Afternoon Light. Taken with the Olympus 12-50mm f3.5 – 6.3 lens, hand held

In addition to the weight restrictions, I also wanted to get to know my Olympus OM-D better by making it my only camera choice.  This also let me assess the image quality of the OM-D in a variety of shooting conditions.

Equipment

Here is the list of photography and electronic gear that I brought with me to India.

  • Olympus OM-D EM-5
  • Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 lens
  • Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f/4.0 – 5.6 lens
  • 8-16 GB SD Cards with case
  • 2 Wasabi Power camera batteries and charger
  • B+W 52mm Circular Polarizer
  • PLR Optics 52mm Variable Neutral Density Filter
  • iPad 3rd Generation
  • Sanho HyperDrive Colorspace UDMA2 Multimedia Storage for backing up photos
  • 2 Electric Plug Adapters.  All my electronic equipment was built to handle the 240 volt current, so a heavy step down transformer wasn’t necessary.

Overall, I was happy with my gear selections for the trip.  The lighter camera body, lenses, and filters allowed me to come in under the weight limits for the Air India flights

Taj Mahal Mosque at Sunset

Taj Mahal Mosque at Sunset. Taken with the Olympus 12-50mm f3.5 – 6.3 lens, hand held

Lenses

The Olympus 12-50mm lens was versatile allowing me to photograph a variety of subjects including:

  • Taj Mahal
  • Agra Fort
  • Golconda Fort
  • Street Photography
  • Lighthouses
  • Temples
  • Landscapes

The Panasonic 100-300mm was used for:

  • Intimate landscapes of Indian farm country white traveling the highway
  • Bird photography
  • Photographing a cricket match

Image Quality

Overall, I was impressed with the image quality of with the Olympus OM-D EM-5 with a variety of subjects and conditions.  Having photographed India with my Canon 6d, there were several things that I missed about not having the DSLR with me.  However, none of these reasons would make me rethink my decision to only bring the OM-D on the trip.

  • High ISO image quality in low light conditions
  • Built-in GPS with the Canon 6d.  I took pictures of signs and wrote down locations that we visited.
  • Image quality on bird photographs.  This is due more to the quality of the lens instead of the camera.  I’m used to photographing birds with my Canon 500mm f4 lens or the Canon 300mm f4 with the 1.4x teleconverter.  With the weight restrictions, it would not be possible to bring these lenses with me on the trip.

Indian Farm Scene

Indian Farm Scene taken with the Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm f/4.0 – 5.6 lens from the Highway

Benefits of using the Olympus OM-D for International Travel

In addition to the reduced size and weight for travel, I found several other benefits of brining the Olympus OM-D on an international trip.

  • I was much less conspicuous with the OM-D than with my full frame DSLR.  The Olympus drew a lot less attention from the locals and helped with street photography.
  • The reticulating LCD screen was terrific with the crowds.  I was able to lift the camera over my head and use the LCD to compose and focus.
  • Much lighter to carry around all day long
  • I was able to bring much longer focal length lens (Panasonic 100-300mm lens = 200-600mm with the 2x crop factor of the Olympus OM-D).
  • Everything fit in a regular computer backpack along with other travel necessities

Related Blog Posts
Photographing the Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, India
When to Visit Agra, India and the Taj Mahal
Mahabalipuram, India a Great Stop for Photographers and Tourists

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