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Date: 12/08/2015 | By: Heather

10 Days Around Iceland with a Mirrorless Kit – Guest Post by Chris Corradino

Chris Corradino10 Days Around Iceland with a Mirrorless Kit

10 Days Around Iceland with a Mirrorless Kit – Guest Post by Chris Corradino

It was the trip of a lifetime, 10 days around the beautiful country of Iceland. Despite the promise of spectacular landscapes and wildlife, I did the unthinkable and opted to leave my full frame Canon camera home. I still took pictures of course, turning out over 7000 captures.

E-M10, 16/10, f/ 45/10, ISO 100
E-M10, 16 sec, f/ 4.5, ISO 100

In my bag were the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M10 along with two pro lenses, the 12-40mm f/2.8 and 40-150mm f/2.8. I also brought a 1.4 teleextender, a variety of filters, and lots of batteries. The only thing missing was the mirror inside the camera, and the extra weight of a DSLR kit. For those interested in potentially making the move to mirrorless cameras, here is my opinion on how it all shakes out.

E-M1, 1/1250, f/ 5/1, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/1250, f/ 5, ISO 200

More Focus Points

Going from a sparse 11 AF points on a Canon 6D to a whopping 81 points on the EM1 makes the DSLR feel like stepping back in time. The ability to focus almost anywhere in the frame offers a great deal of creative freedom in compositions. Add touch screen functionality and this has made focusing even more intuitive.

chris corradino
E-M1, 1/800, f/ 4, ISO 400


It rained for at least some part of every day I was in Iceland. Usually, this coincided to when I was outside with a camera in my hands. I watched as DSLR users wrapped awkward plastic bags around their gear while fumbling to attach the lens hood. With a fully weatherproof body and lens, I was able to keep shooting without worry.

chris corradino
E-M10, 1/640, f/ 4, ISO 100

Easier to Hike With

With a system weighing about half that of a DSLR kit, it was easier to hike further to more unique vantage points. Often, the best view was not from the ground, but a straight climb up a steep mountain side. For this rainbow and waterfall, I ascended the equivalent of 28 stories. The reward however was a scene that’s not cluttered with distracting tourists.

chris corradino
E-M10, 1/10, f/ 22, ISO 100

Smaller Sensors Have Advantages

There’s a common misconception spreading through popular photo forums and magazines. The full frame sensor is often heralded as the ultimate in image quality and therefore the tool of choice for professional work. As Chuck D from Public Enemy famously rapped, “Don’t Believe the Hype.” Scores of professionals have embraced smaller sensors to produce world class images for high end clients. For me, having a micro 4/3 sensor is ideal as telephoto lenses aren’t as long or heavy. This makes them easier to hand hold as I did with this shot from a zodiac in the glacial lagoon. Paired with a 1.4 teleextender, I had a lightweight 420mm.

chris corradino
E-M1, 1/1250, f/ 4, ISO 200

What You See is What You Get

Using the EVF made it possible to fine tune tough exposures without the need to check the LCD first. Since the captured image is shown in the viewfinder, it was easy to adjust on the fly and keep shooting in the golden light of the midnight sun. This makes chimping faster and more convenient, resulting in less missed opportunity.

chris corradino
E-M1, 1/320, f/ 2.8, ISO 320

Built in Image Stabilization

With the 5 axis in-body stabilization, it’s very possible to shoot at shutter speeds as slow as 1/15 with tack sharp results. This opens up a whole new world of possibility. For example, instead of using 1/125, f2.8, ISO 3200, I was able to use 1/15, f2.8, ISO 400. Since the ISO is lower, images don’t suffer from digital noise, and the overall file quality is improved.

E-M10, 1/15, f/ 12/10, ISO 640
E-M10, 1/15, f/ 1.2, ISO 640

Tilt Screen

The best vantage point is often found on the ground. Still, getting into position to see through the viewfinder can be uncomfortable at best. Through the convenient use of the tilt screen, I was able to shoot from this low perspective while sitting down. A wide aperture through the foreground out of focus to bring attention to the birds.

chris corradino
E-M1, 1/2000, f/ 4, ISO 400

Image Quality

The quality of the RAW files are absolutely stellar and will be used for a number of professional applications including stock, magazines, large prints, etc.  There is plenty of dynamic range allowing a great deal of flexibility during post production. While part of this is due to the excellent sensors in the camera, the pro lenses really bring out the best in the system. The 12-40 f/2.8 and 40-150 f/2.8 offer impeccable optics.

E-M1, 1/400, f/ 56/10, ISO 200
E-M1, 1/400, f/ 5.6, ISO 200

In addition to all of the natural beauty found in Iceland, their people left a lasting and positive impression on me. Everyone I met was clearly proud of their country and all it had to offer. There was a surprising lack of litter, and everyone did their part to make it an outstanding travel destination. Rather than being bogged down in gear, I was able to really connect the place on a deeper level. Finally, I believe the intuitive aspects of my mirrorless gear helped me get shots I would not have otherwise captured.

E-M1, 1/1000, f/ 56/10, ISO 320
E-M1, 1/1000, f/ 5.6, ISO 320

Do you have any questions for Chris about his work, his Olympus cameras or his trip to Iceland? If so, leave him a comment below!

Chris Corradino is a professional photographer, writer, and educator. His work has been published internationally with credits including USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, and National Geographic Online. For more, visit online at or follow him on Facebook, TwitterInstagram and YouTube.

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About the author: Heather Broster

Heather Broster was born in Canada, has lived in Japan and Italy but currently calls Wales home. She is a full-time gear tester at MirrorLessons. You can follow her on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Joni A Solis

    So enjoyed your photographs and I am amazed that ice can be so blue. Thanks for sharing!

  • StopOver

    Hi Chris, I am just about to purchase an Olympus mirrorless camera but I can’t decided if I should go with the EM1 or the new EM 10 M11. Any thoughts?

  • Chris Corradino

    Have a great time, the people and countryside are lovely. Remember, image quality is only as good as the person controlling the camera.

  • Mouse

    What a coincidence – I’m travelling to Iceland on Monday :-)
    Beautiful photos and nice gear collection.

    Unfortunately there were no money left for new camera for this trip so I hope my trusty 7 year old camera can handle it.

  • Chris Corradino

    I appreciate that, thanks! I often hear how Fuji users love their XT1 and other bodies. Seems like they’ve created a terrific system as well.

  • Chris Corradino

    Thanks, very pleased with the extender as it came in handy several times with distant wildlife. Still focused fast and was very sharp. The only downside is the switch from f2.8 to f4, but it’s worth the tradeoff for the extra reach.

  • Iceman Baldy

    Great shots! I have the same lenses with my EM1 and EM5MkII. I have to really consider a teleextender given the extra reach and clarity.

  • Whinney

    Excellent !
    A superb argument for the non DSLR format.
    Congratulations !
    P.S. I think you could have achieved the same with a Fuji XT1.

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