A New Chapter: Smartphone Photography with the Olympus Air

Olympus Air

I wrestled with whether I would purchase the Olympus Air. It is essentially an Olympus micro-four thirds camera with all the latest technology packed into a lens-sized cylinder without a traditional camera body. It has no flash and connects to your smartphone via bluetooth and wifi in order to adjust menu settings and you use the phone’s screen as a viewfinder. It’s an affordable, capable novelty and after my brother purchased his, I decided to throw caution to the wind and get one for myself.

I was skeptical about buying one because the early reviews indicated that shutter lag was an issue when using the camera via the wireless connection. Thankfully, it has a physical shutter button that has almost no lag at all and my experience using the wireless shutter hasn’t been all that bad. Where I’ve struggled is getting the camera to connect to my phone quickly and consistently. The smaller profile might help to make the Air a camera that you always have with you, but the current firmware will not win any awards for responsively connecting to your phone in order to capture a quick, impromptu moment. I’m using an iPhone and I understand that the Android experience may be a little better but this is an area for definite improvement.

The Air is small. With my 17 F1.8 lens attached, I can easily carry it in the palm of my hand and together with the lens, it’s smaller or about the same size as my 12-40 F2.8 Pro lens with less¬†of the bulk. It is built well and includes a tripod mount that will make it a great secondary camera when used with a Gorrillapod or one of my MeFoto tripods. It has specs that are equivalent to the EM1, EM10 and Em5 Mk II and, being an open-source platform, I’m sure that there will be some pretty amazing apps developed and made available in short order. At $300 for the body or $500 for the body and 14-42 lens, it’s worth including in your camera bag and pretty much a no-brainer for most micro-four thirds advanced amateurs.

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