Experimental Exbury

With a weekend of amazing weather, it was time to make a return visit to Exbury Gardens, tucked away by Beaulieu River, and not far from the somewhat more famous Bucklers Hard (home of Napoleonic-era British Man-o-War). A few warmer nights have encouraged quite a few of the shrubs and ground flowers to bloom, and, more importantly, a day out with the Olympus OM-D EM-1 was long overdue. Bearing in mind that I’m still in very (very) early days with this wonderful piece of kit (maybe 40-50 exposures, most of them tinkering), the comparison below, of the two daffodil blooms, might be instructive. The pale subject was taken with my Canon EOS 7D partnered with the Canon 24-70mm f2.8L lens, and taken last year, at which time I would consider that I was pretty familiar with the gear. The somewhat more golden daff was taken in late afternoon sunlight by the OM-D EM-1, in an almost-careless “have-at-it” snap. I did notice that the Oly seemed to get a bit annoyed with the gentle breeze today – the flower stem was yielding in a slight breeze and as a result the lens spent a little time hunting, but having said that I reckon the image blows the Canon equivalent away.

Now, I’d like to emphasise that I’m just a below-average snapper, not a professional or even a trained photographer. Any abilities I’ve acquired are “self-taught” through accidents rather than actual learning. Even so, to my eye, this Olympus is already producing images that run rings round my Canon. Neither are cheap options, but on balance the Olympus wins on 2 fronts: it’s 2/3 the size and 2/3 the weight of my 7D and 24-70mm lens; and of course it produces better images. Which, after all, is what it’s all about, right?