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OM-5 – The optimal outdoor adventure camera

Whatever we do, we stand for something. My work is photography and through my photos, I usually tell stories about adventure, people experiencing them, and the outdoors. But this story is about my new companion that I've hiked with in Denmark, Finnish Lapland and northern Norway. It's called the OM-5 and it just might be the optimal outdoor camera.

I am an outdoor photographer based in Denmark. For me, photography is both a big passion and a way of making a living. With my camera in hand, I try to tell some of the many small, funny and unique stories that unfold around us.

I've worked as a freelance photographer since 2016 working on adventure, travel and outdoor photography, mainly for tourism boards in Denmark and Scandinavia. Even though I also shoot weddings and lifestyle photos, most of my work happens outside, which obviously makes my life active and adventurous. And that's how I like it too! I aim to inspire people via my photos to get outside and explore more in nature.

The OM-5 camera body feels immediately familiar to E-M5 series users. I have used the E-M5 since the Mark I series for my outdoor trips, so it is cool to finally have a camera in this category with the OM SYSTEM name on it.

As an outdoor photographer, the weight and size of my camera gear often play a big role for me. On a hike, one can't simply fill a backpack with just camera gear, since clothing, food and other essentials need space too. Recently I got the opportunity to test out the new OM-5 camera on outdoor trips to northern Lapland, Norway and Denmark and wow am I stoked about the capabilities of such a small camera body!

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 12-45mm F4.0 PRO • 12 mm • 1/2500 s • F4.0 • ISO200

Creating photos like this it most often requires a (longer) hike to the desired location, and timing or waiting for the right light conditions.

The value of being lightweight

Outdoor photography is not just about pointing your camera toward subjects outside. Quite often getting the shots I've been tasked with makes me find myself in various nature settings and doing different outdoor activities which I am then capturing with my camera. This could mean hiking in the mountains, camping in the forests, mountain biking, or kayaking along the coastlines of Denmark.

Being able to bring the most essential gear and still stay as lightweight as possible is crucial for me. The OM-5 has all the features I need, and I can easily bring it together with my other outdoor gear.

As an outdoor photographer, it is essential for me to have a weather-sealed camera. It allows me to photograph regardless of the conditions and has been a part of my outdoor look for years now.

I got my first Olympus OM-D camera back in 2015 when I was studying outdoor education in Norway. I bought the original E-M5 (Mark I) and brought it on a lot of my outdoor trips during my studies. The camera became my workhorse for documenting numerous adventures, and I used the whole system in all kinds of weather; from rain and foggy conditions in the Norwegian mountains to multi-day backcountry skiing expedition trips in -20 °C in Svalbard.

Throughout these trips, I've realized how important and valuable a lightweight camera setup can be. With Olympus cameras –and now OM SYSTEM ones–I've managed to reduce the weight of camera gear significantly on my outdoor trips and jobs, as well as being able to rely on the weather-sealing to protect them in harsh weather.

Many of the images shown in this article were taken during a trip we did together with my friends Rania and Pablo. You can see more of us in a video highlighting the launch of the OM-5.

Inspire others and remember to enjoy the small things

One of the things I appreciate about being outdoors is that it awakens my senses and helps remind me to appreciate the small things in life. It can be the ease and calmness of watching a beautiful sunset from a hidden beach. Or enjoying a hot meal around a warm bonfire after a long day of hiking in the mountains. Just being out in nature, and embarking on small micro-adventures close to home, help me practice that.

Letting your eyes wander to faraway views is a great way to get perspective on everyday hurries. Even though getting to see majestic views is refreshing, the healing power of nature can be found close by too.

Bringing a lightweight camera with me allows me to get into a flow state way easier. When I am on an outdoor trip I can spend my energy on enjoying the experience. And when a unique moment presents itself, my camera is near and ready to capture it, to contribute to the whole story I aspire to tell my audience or for my clients.

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 12-45mm F4.0 PRO • 12 mm • 1/800 s • F4.0 • ISO200

Providing both food and photo motives for my friend, Rania, on our trip to Northern Lapland.

Practical features in the OM-5

The new OM-5 camera is externally very familiar to users of the previous E-M5 series cameras, but internally it has taken technical possibilities to a whole new level. The 20 MP resolution and 5-axis image stabilisation are known and trusted parts of these cameras. But the inclusion of computational features like Starry Sky autofocus (focusing on really dim light sources like stars), 50 MP Handheld High Res Shot (using the sensors and processing power to create a super-detailed RAW photo) and Live ND (programmatic neutral density filter for longer exposures) allow me to be even more creative when I am outdoors.

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 12mm F2.0 • 12 mm • 1/100 s • F2.0 • ISO250

The OM-5 will endure more than most photographers tolerate, which makes it the ideal adventure partner for people like me. Photo by Rania Rönntoft.

On my trip to the Northern Lapland with my fellow OM SYSTEM Ambassadors, we went canoeing on lakes, hiking in the mountains, exploring waterfalls and enjoying the midnight sun. I remember visiting the majestic waterfall, Rovijokfossen, where the enormous amount of water from the melted snow made the waterfall look like it was roaring..!

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 12-45mm F4.0 PRO • 19 mm • 1.3 s • F13 • ISO200

This waterfall was shot using the Live ND feature in the OM-5. It replicates the effect of attaching a neutral density filter to your lens and allows the use of longer shutter speeds.

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 12-45mm F4.0 PRO • 12 mm • 2 s • F22 • ISO64 (Live ND)

Also, this shot would not have been possible without using Live ND, which can be turned on and off just at a press of a button.

This scenery with the waterfall and golden light from the midnight sun was a perfect opportunity to test out the Live ND Mode. Even when standing about 200 metres from the waterfall, I could still feel the sprinkles of water on my face as it flowed through the air so much power in nature! But thanks to the weather-sealing of the OM-5 I didn’t have to worry about the camera getting wet. With my weather-sealed 12-45 mm F4 PRO lens I could capture the waterfall handheld using the Live ND Mode.

We took a long hike to one of the mountains. After the long hike up and down we were all happy that we didn't bring anything extra to carry.

We also went for a hike up one of the local mountains. Hiking up through the valley with flowing rivers, the bright sun, and the green pine trees around us was such a beautiful sight. The smell of fresh grass, birch and pine trees, together with the refreshing taste of the water in the river was amazing. As we got higher, the landscape opened up and gave a stunning view of the surrounding mountains.

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 12-45mm F4.0 PRO • 45 mm • 1/800 s • F4.0 • ISO320

On a hike, you rarely have time or energy to lay down your bag to find the camera inside. It should be on your shoulder ready all the time.

When we got above the tree line where snow and rocks were more dominant, suddenly a reindeer came down the mountain and walked curiously towards us. I quickly grabbed my camera with the 40-150 mm F4 PRO lens and captured it as it came closer, and passed by us. It stood right there on the edge of the mountainside, with the stunning landscape behind it, and grassed slowly, while looking at us once in a while.

OM-5 • M.Zuiko 40-150mm F4.0 PRO • 150 mm • 1/80 s • F4.0 • ISO100

The compact 40-150mm F4 PRO lens launched in February 2022 is a great pair for the OM-5 to catch surprising subjects farther away.

The OM-5 as a permanent part of my camera gear kit

Testing out the new OM-5 has only re-confirmed to me that choosing a lightweight camera can be one of the best things when preparing for outdoor trips. Having the camera ready means that you will not miss shots and your bag has room for more than just camera gear. And with all the new features in this small camera body, I am excited to go exploring the outdoors even more.

Go and try it out for yourself you might get surprised! See you out there!

Go outdoors and remember to enjoy the small things on your way. You are welcome to check out my Instagram page and get inspiration for your next micro-adventure.

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