My First Paid Assignment Without a DSLR

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm not taking a DSLR on my assignment to Europe. Instead, I'm packing my micro four thirds kit and traveling light with two bodies and six lenses in a Lowepro backpack.

In preparation, I've been testing this kit in real world situations. (I might be crazy, but I'm not stupid.) Yesterday, however, was the first time I left my DSLR at home for a paid assignment.

Fun Ladies Fun Ladies. They were dying to get in a shot, so I let them. I held the OM-D high over my head and tilted the LCD screen to compose the shot. ISO 400 with no supplemental lighting. It's one of my favorites of the day. Photo by Derrick Story.

The job was to cover the Grapes to Glass event in the heart of Sonoma County's wine country. I took only one bag that held my micro four thirds kit including two flashes. Over the course of the afternoon and evening, I used two bodies, four lenses, and my lighting. I shot Raw and processed the work in Aperture 3.3.

Wine Pourers Wine Pourers. Captured with OM-D and 45mm f/1.8 lens at f/2.2. Off camera flash held over my head with my left hand. ISO 800. Photo by Derrick Story.

Bottom line: the shoot turned out beautifully. The images were sharp and colorful. I had no problem working with the Raw files in Aperture. And my back and shoulders feel great today.

Next test will be the TDS Sonoma Coast Workshop that begins on Friday. I'll keep you posted.

You can find more photo tips and "photography how tos" on my Pinterest page.


I'm obviously not doing paid assignments but as a long term (since original Panny G1 in 2009) m4/3 user I use my OM-D for just about everything. I'm building a nice collection of lenses, most of which fit in my trusty LowePro Nova 160 AW. But when I add an external flash and want to bring everything I'm going to have to move up to something larger.

My 60D hasn't seen the light of day since our TDS flash workshop last spring. But I still keep it around for potential action photography. I only wish the OM-D didn't have such a convoluted menu system.

The way that it's working out for me is that the 5D Mark II is the studio camera and for high end jobs. The 60D is a great second body for my Canon system. Plus I have an array of Canon flashes and lenses that allows me to tackle even the toughest jobs.

But that's only half of my working life. The other half is on planes, in cabs, on buses, and involve long days that can be very tiring. Most of the time my reporting assignments are for Web publishing. So I've expanded the Nimble Photographer beyond vacations and carefree exploration into actual assignment work.

I'd never give up my full frame Canon body. But I don't always need a sledge hammer for a thumbtack either.

And yes, Ed, I totally agree with you about the menu system for the OM-D :)

Glad to see you go "outside" the box! I am heading for Tanzania Africa with a 4/3s kit. OMD-E5, Pen Mini, 12-42 kit lens, Oly 40-150, Pan 100-300, Oly 9-18. Leaving my Nikon D300 and 200-400 f/4 Zoom behind.
Am I crazy?

Hi Don,

I don't think you're crazy at all, especially if you shoot RAW with the OM-D. Image quality will be fantastic. Up the road I would add a fast prime to your lens collection, such as the 45mm f/1.8 or the 17mm f/2.8. Other than that, you're looking good~

You are at the leading edge of a new revolution, Derrick. Thanks for continuing to show the masses how life can be like post-DSLR! I'm saving up for an E-M5, but I've been very happy with my E-P1 outfit.


I wished for your setup while lugging my DSLR and lenses around Uganda last month. My back still hurts!

Thanks for sharing.

I have been hunting for some time for a capable carry everywhere camera. I also have a 5D MkII as my main camera but it doesn't get used as often as it should due to the concerted and pre-planned effort in order to take it anywhere. Also, sometimes for travel it just isn't possible to pack it all and carry around with kids etc. I have a Canon G9 which is ok but lacks IQ and capability in lower light. I've thought about the G1X but that has issues with slow focus.

I was wondering what you would favour, something like the G1X or say the Panasonic GX1 with the motorised compact zoom? I'm looking for something I could take with me that has good exposure latitude and would enable me to get quality A4 or larger shots without lugging the DSLR.