Category Archives: Olympus

Stuff I’m Selling

I’ve just posted ads over on DC Fever for a few items but if you see something listed here that’s of interest, feel free to contact me directly.  I’m only selling these in Hong Kong and not willing to ship them – especially not to your son who’s a medical student in Nigeria.

  • Olympus OM-D E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera with M.Zuiko 12-50mm  f3.5-6.3 kit lens
  • Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH lens for Micro Four Thirds
  • Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens
  • Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D lens
  • Nikon AF-S VF Zoom-Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED lens
  • Nikon AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED lens

Out of all of these, it pains me the most to sell off the Nikon 14-24mm.  It’s part of what some refer to as the “holy trinity” of Nikon’s f/2.8 professional zooms. It’s an amazing lens but I don’t use it that often and need the cash more right now.

I’m also rather sad to part with the 105mm lens though truth be told, I’m hard-pressed to recall the last time I used it.  Selling it will leave me without a macro lens but I don’t seem to shoot macro.

And that Panasonic Leica. As others have noted, the lens is so good that it almost justifies getting into M4/3 just to be able to use this lens. Except I’ve found the Olympus to be too large for my purposes and I am not in a financial position to start investing in a whole series of M4/3 lenses so that’s pretty much that.

As I said, please feel free to contact me if you’re interested in any of this gear or share with your friends if you think you know someone who might want some of this.

 

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Olympus OM-D Day 2

As I mentioned previously, being new to the world of Olympus digital cameras means I’m initially finding the menus somewhat bewildering.  Thanks to a setting buried a couple of levels deep in the menu, here’s what happened to me last night.

Here’s an example of shot I took.  This is my buddy Bill Yim doing some magic tricks for a couple of Japanese girls sitting at Spicy Fingers bar.  Here is an unedited export of the JPG file:

The above is exactly what I saw in the LiveView when I was taking the photo.

Then I got home, brought all the pictures into Lightroom, and here’s the RAW file:

It took me about 10 minutes with the manual before I could figure out what I’d done wrong.

The other thing I did wrong yesterday was to change the Auto ISO setting, moving it from a maximum of 1600 to the highest possible setting of 25,600.  Shooting in manual, with a fast enough shutter speed to freeze motion, in dark bars, with that Olympus 12-50mm lens that only opens up to F6.3 on the tele end, I ended up shooting quite a lot of pictures at that 25,600.  They’re not very useful.

RAW file, ISO 25,600, F6.3, 1/125th of a second. Only processing was to import it into Lightroom and then export to JPG.

On the whole, it would appear that the Olympus 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 kit lens is fine for daytime outdoor shooting but I think I’ll be leaving it at home when I go out at night.

On the other hand, the Panasonic Leica 25mm F1.4 appears to be a lovely lens, possibly compelling enough to justify jumping into the Micro Four Thirds format as I did.

Unprocessed RAW file, ISO 640, F1.4, 1/160th of a second.

Extreme crop from the above image:

At ISO 6400, one needs to apply quite a bit of noise reduction to the RAW files.  Of course that means quite a bit of detail goes away but the shots are usable enough.

The following export is from the camera JPG of the above picture.  I haven’t applied any noise reduction in Lightroom, this is all from the in-camera processing.

This one is at ISO 3200, from the RAW file, cropped, a bit of processing but no noise reduction.

So I may set 3200 as my upper limit for the auto ISO function.

Auto focus on the camera is very fast.  Of course it’s slower in dark situations with the AF Illuminator turned off, and perhaps slightly less accurate, but it still seems noticeably faster than the Fuji X-Pro1.  Last night I “got” many shots with the Olympus that I would have missed with the Fuji. (ISO 20,000, luminance noise reduction slider at 50.)

The next shot was done using the small flash unit that comes with the Olympus.  I had to bump this up by one stop in Lightroom.

Same girl, about a minute later, no flash, ISO jumped up to 16,000.

And another minute later, ISO now at 25,600

(Sorry, guys, she’s married.)

Some more random shots:

(ISO 25,600 – oh well)

Now that I’ve figured out more of the settings, time to venture out again and shoot some more.  It’s also pretty clear that I need to get a fast wide angle lens and maybe a fast telephoto prime lens, but those are going to have to wait.

 

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Olympus OM-D E-M5

I don’t know if it will come as a big surprise to anyone that I sold off my Fuji X-Pro1 over the weekend.  I loved the look and feel of the camera.  I loved the controls.  But my frustration with it grew on an almost daily basis.  Despite all of the firmware updates to the camera body and lenses, I came to the conclusion that it’s good for shooting stationary objects.  The slow contrast detection auto focus, even slower in low light situations, became a deal breaker for me.  The ads went up, the offers came in, and when I went to meet someone to hand off the camera on Saturday, it was with a twinge of regret, tempered with the fact that I’d bought it used, used it for six months, and got a price that wasn’t too far off from what I paid for it.

The next task was getting a good deal on a used Olympus OM-D E-M5 (ugh! what a ridiculous name!).  Then I found a woman who only used it in church on Sundays bought one, used it lightly, then decided to replace it with a Nikon D600.  I bought it from her with the kit lens, the Olympus M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3.  I’d read that as kit lenses go, this one doesn’t suck, though there is that F6.3 on the tele end.

I didn’t have time to look at the manual.  I just went for a walk, everything in full automatic mode.

Everything is from JPEG here, with some retouching in Lightroom.

 

 

After walking around for awhile, it was time for me to meet the man selling me his used Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 lens.  This in no small part was one of the reasons that I opted for this camera – there’s a relatively large selection of lenses available for the Micro Four Thirds format (far more than for the Sony NEX series or the Fuji X mount).  I’ve got my eye on several other lenses including the Olympus 12mm F2 or 17mm F1.8, the Olympus 14-150 zoom, and then the Olympus 45mm F1.8 or 60mm F2.8 macro or 75mm F1.8.  But these will have to wait.

(The guy who sold me the lens was interesting.  He’s not a professional photographer, he said he just loved to buy every new camera, play around with it for a month or two, then sell it off and get something else.  He told me he currently has the Nikon D800, which he wants to swap for a D800E, as well as the Sony NEX-7, the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Olympus OM-D.  I gave him my card and asked him to contact me when he’s selling off more stuff.  )

Anyway, I didn’t have much time to shoot with the Pana/Leica lens, but enough that I know I’m going to like it.  (You thought I’d say, “I’m going to Leica it,” but even I won’t stoop that low. Well, not always, anyway.)

Here’s a crop from the above photo.

 

I discovered two things when dealing with the JPEGs in Lightroom.  The first was that I had to make adjustments to the white balance on almost every photo.  The second was that even though it was set to auto ISO and even though the camera is capable of going to 25,600, the auto seemed to max out at 1600 –  I need to figure out if and how to change that.

This is the first Olympus digital camera I’ve ever owned.  The menus are completely unfamiliar to me.  It will take some time to get used to them.

I love that the camera has a feature similar to the Fuji’s Q menu.  It’s slightly annoying that I have to press one button to bring up the menu and then another button to activate.

The electronic viewfinder is great – perhaps not as good as Sony’s but beyond my expectations.  The articulating touch screen is great.

The camera is just slightly small for my hands.  The only Olympus grip you can get comes in a set with the battery grip and I may have to get that if I can’t find a suitable third party option.  Some of the buttons are also a bit on the small side for my fat fingers.

But most important, the auto focus is fast.  Not as lightning fast as my D800 but noticeably faster than the Fuji, without any of that annoying hunting that the Fuji is so prone to do.

I’ve been reading through the manual today.  Tomorrow night I’ll be out with the camera shooting RAW in manual mode.

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