Australia, the sunburnt country. I have spent many years traveling this wide land, taking many photos with many different cameras. During these many years of traveling and photo taking, I have met a great many people. Many of whom ask the same question ‘what is the best camera to use when traveling Australia?’, usually while clutching their Nikon D3400 that is permanently set to auto. I thought it was about time I gave my two bobs worth on this question and give you what I believe to be the best camera for traveling Australia. Although there are many factors which determine the right camera for the right application, there is a saying among photographers spoken by the great Chase Jarvis ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you’. Good thing for us, the camera I’m going to reveal to you today is easy to have with you all the time because it’s so small! So, without any further ado, I bring you ↓
The camera I’m referring to is the Olympus OM-D EM5 Mark II, it’s a real mouthful. For the sake of convenience, we’ll just call it the EM5 2. After spending a month traveling North Queensland with a Canon 5D DSLR and a myriad of lenses I decided enough was enough, I had to get one of these fancy new mirrorless cameras everyone was banging on about. After a bit of research, I ended up with the Olympus EM5 2. It wasn’t until after using this little photo weapon for a few months that I came to the conclusion that it’s the best camera for traveling Australia. Don’t believe me? Here are the top 5 reasons that make it a great camera for travelling Australia.
No joke, this camera is seriously small, it weighs less than 500 grams! That’s about the same weight as a fat wallet. But don’t let that fool you. The thing has some powerful features which make it especially good for those of us looking for the best camera for traveling Australia that have an interest in Blogging, Vlogging or Instagramming. The reason it’s capable of being so small is due to its micro four-thirds sensor. Olympus are the self-proclaimed kings of micro four-thirds cameras and to their credit, they are sticking with it. While other camera manufacturers are creating full-frame mirrorless cameras all around them Olympus are sticking to their guns with a dogged determination. Which brings me to my next point.
I’m well aware that the travellers and nomads of Australia are usually on a strict budget. Luckily Olympus are good at making affordable glass, they specialise in making things like surgical microscopes and other lenses for the medical industry. They also have a huge range of low aperture lenses at very reasonable prices. For example, an Olympus wide angle 7-14mm F2.8 lens will set you back around $1200. A comparable lens from Sony, the 16-35mm F2.8 will set you back $3600. This might be more than what you intend to spend on your lenses but this example is just for the sake of the comparison. Olympus have many lenses for all kinds of budgets. Either way, you are going to save a lot of money by choosing Olympus. For me, this is one of the main reasons I have chosen the EM5 2 as the best camera for traveling Australia.
For those who want to get technical, the em5 2 has some epic functions. For starters you can control it through your smartphone, this is a huge bonus for travelling content creators. It makes things like taking landscape selfies very easy, you can transfer photos to your phone, you can even refocus the camera on your phone. Personally, while travelling Australia I like to take time-lapses of the night sky. In the past, I would have to stay up all night monitoring the camera. Now, with the em5 2, I just park the car next to where I have set the camera up, set the built-in intervalometer, lay in bed and control everything through my phone. It can also shoot 1080p movies at 60 frames, take photos at up to 10 frames per second, it has inbuilt image stabilisation (which is awesome for video). It’s got a 40-megapixel sensor, a mic input, a hot shoe, a flip out touch screen and the list goes on! It’s almost got too many functions, but when was that ever a bad thing?
Another reason that makes this the best camera for travelling Australia is that it’s weather sealed. I wouldn’t go swimming with it but when travelling down under you can expect plenty of sandy, dusty, damp, rainy, windy, hot, humid and freezing environments. Having a camera that is protected against all this is very reassuring. I’ve shot with it without any problems in all kinds of places across Australia from the pouring rain in the Daintree Rainforest to the rugged beaches of the Great Ocean Road.
Finally and probably the most important factor that makes the em5 2 the best camera for travelling Australia is that it’s very user-friendly. This means less time trying to figure how to do this or that and more time travelling and creating standout content. The buttons and wheels are located in just the right place. It has two click wheels, one for the finger and one for the thumb. In aperture priority, the thumb wheel controls the aperture while the finger wheel sets the exposure compensation. In shutter priority, the thumb wheel sets the shutter. In manual there is one click wheel for each, although I don’t recommend shooting in manual unless you’re taking long exposure shots, it’s just unnecessarily difficult. The onboard menus are generally easy to navigate and you can set your own custom functions modes if you wish.
One of the downsides to a camera with a micro four-thirds sensor is that they are typically poor performers in low light, simply because of the sensor size. The em5 2 does pretty well but it doesn’t compare to a full frame camera. The only thing you can do to combat this is to buy low aperture lenses. I’m someone who loves to take photos in low light and I can honestly say there has been less than a handful of situations where I have had to dust off my Canon 5D3 in place of the Olympus.
Still not convinced that this is the best camera for travelling Australia? All the photos in this article were taken by the em5 2. For even more examples head over to my Instagram account @thebarefootbeard and have a browse through some of the more recent photos. For those who are already travelling Australia or those who are planning a trip, I hope this article will serve you well when deciding on the best camera to buy.
That’s all for now.