On kit upgrades.

I promised myself I would not be thinking about gear this year. Maybe if I get stuck in, it will go away quickly.

My problem (as I see it), is that my best "work" camera is simply not the camera I want to waste on work, and my work horse cameras are better suited to the street photography I do for myself.

The Pen F is beautiful and clearly designed for street and cultural photography. It's looks must be weighed against the lack of weather proofing and the manufacturing detail is also at odds with the lack of knock around robustness (like a top end SUV, you bought it to use, but really don't want to scratch it). The camera offers smoother low ISO results and about one stop of real improvement over the EM5 in the high ISO range. The electronic shutter also provides a real benefit for landscape work. The biggest improvement for me though is in the jpegs. They are very good and offer the colour palette my main client likes, making work flow and consistency better.

Simply put, it provides the upgrade I would like in file quality for a work camera, but it is a shame to waste it on work. It's like driving my hobby, retro car project to work.

The EM5's on the other hand are the ideal workhorse cameras as there are three of them and they are built to take (and have taken) a knock or two without ruining their average beauty. The silver one probably looks a little cooler with it's scars.

What they are best at photographically for me, is street and travel. The slight file quality increase is mostly irrelevant to this style and the handling/size/speed is fine (the on/off switch under the shooting thumb is better than the left hand dial on the Pen). I also like the old school "film contrast" look they can give and there is the not insignificant factor of street photography damage. The fast and loose style can lead to drops, things banging together and even other peoples aggression. I also connect better with them, probably through familiarity, but I really do find the shutter and feel, more to my liking.

Do I get an EM1 mk2 to add focus tracking and the ruggedness a work camera needs (with the possible benefit of working exclusively in jpegs also) or just use the Pen in the work role and use the OMD's as street shooters?

Can I really justify using the Pen for Portraits and landscape only, EM5's for street/travel and a Mk2 just for "other" work?

Can my work flow incorporate the OMD's more into work without loosing the convenience and quality the Pen offers?

Do I really want to have a surplus Pen and/or 3 redundant OMD's in my kit when the EM1 Mk2 takes over all of their roles?

After a couple of days using the kit extensively, the answer came easily. The Pen is my portrait and landscape camera (as purchased). The look and operation, combined with the primes is perfect. All other duties can be handled by the newer OMD EM5 and the older two for street.

 Pen F 45mm at f2.2

Pen F 45mm at f2.2