Why I Love the Micro 4/3 system
Yes, the golden circle behind me is a halo, although the grumpy text to follow will convince you I am anything but angelic.
But to the point: Despite the endless blather of Nikon Nazis and pixel peeping noise hysterics, I find the 4/3 system suits what I presently want to do photographically. In particular, the micro 4/3 system, especially my beloved E-P2 with its VF-2 electronic viewfinder, gives me a tactile feel close to the that of the Olympus OM-1 that I shot -- and liked -- for years. My second Micro 4/3 body is the Olympus E-PM1, and though I doubted my preferences for manual shooting would be served well by it, the price won me over. It turns out I love the little beast, and I find changing settings on it rather easy. Furthmore, it takes good quality video, and that will be a boon on a trip like this. I accepts the accessory viewfinder I have for the E-P2, and delivers an even nicer image in it. The picture quality is wonderful. What's not to like?
I will be taking a capable and varied photo kit that is small and won't cause too much wear and tear on my 60 year old shoulders. Except when I joyfully backpacked with a 4x5 monorail view camera, I've never been in love with big and bulky. The point of a hand-held camera is, for me at least, to carry something small and unobtrusive, as small as will do the job efficiently and well. I'd shoot a Leica M-9 if I could afford to. I have no argument with anyone wanting to carry a huge SLR and an arsenal of lenses looking like the barrels of heavy artillery; but it's not for me unless I'm going birding.
But I'm not looking to start a war of preferences. You need to shoot with something that works for you, and something you just love to pick up and shoot with is even better. That's how I feel about my kit, which not only does what I need and want it to do, but which gives me great pleasure to use. With a couple of good, fast prime lenses -- the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and the Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8 -- I don't use the higher iso settings that make so many shiver with horror at the noise. And if I do use them, a bit of noise does not bother me, preferably developed from a raw file with noise reduction and filtration set to off or low, saving as much detail as possible and dealing with objectionable noise in a separate program, typically NeatImage. As a carryover from my days as a black and white film photographer, I prefer a well defined grain to the mushy loss of fine detail that aggressive noise reduction and some fine grain developers produce.
So..... I hope you enjoy the pictures to follow. We'll be in Sukothai on Sunday, and I expect to have an SD card full of shots by Monday afternoon.