Photos, Tech, Music, and Musings. Travels the Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Greensboro areas of North Carolina. Always open to a trip to my home state of New York. Also contributing writer for KEH Spotlight blog.
In my previous post while happy there was remote control, I lamented the lack of manual controls. Well Olympus delivered in full with their 2/12/2014 1.3 firmware update. So “Hello long exposure January star shots from the comfort of my living room.”
I have not played with it long, but new remote control features noticed so far are:
Switch between P/A/S/M/iAuto modes
In addition to shutter timer you can now set high speed and low speed burst
Live and Bulb time control
Full shutter/aperture/exposure/ISO and WB control
Plus you can do this utterly frivolous thing:
Well done Olympus. I may have missed it, but next time send a memo or something.
Since purchasing the Bower 7.5mm fisheye lens I have upgraded from an E-PL5 to the E-P5 and it has brought the following capabilities to the manual focus Bower 7.5mm fisheye experience :
Native focus peaking (As opposed to the also helpful bootleg peaking I set up on my E-PL5 using Scene filters/Myset profiles/fn buttons. Thank you internet.) makes focusing non connected lenses a snap. Note: For manual lenses you just need to assign focus peaking to a fn button and off you go.
5 axis image stabilization. Note: For manual focus lenses you just need to manually set the IBIS lens focal length (info button while switching IS settings). No ‘.5’ increment so 8mm did the trick.
Team that up with the VF-4 EVF:
and even on the first outing with the new body and while in a rush heading out of Duke Chapel you can get these hand held:
When I factored in that one of the Bower/Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm triplets can be had for as low as $249 (although I purchased mine locally at Southeastern Camera in Carrboro) compared to $639 for the (admittedly very nice) Panasonic 8mm fisheye it was a no brainer for me personally. Others mileage may vary. Plus some viewing my comparison composites below pointed out that the Bower better controlled CA at the corners, which I had not noticed. (Perhaps a Panasonic body would have corrected for this and it would be a whole different story. Back to back testing consisted of quick snaps with little or no fiddling. Perhaps there were some settings that could have improved the clarity in the corners for the Panasonic over the manual Bower.) It was great to be able to test drive both back to back locally. Even more so than before I am glad picked up this lens.
Note: Since writing this I have moved on to other systems. Not because there is anything wrong with Olympus. As I often mention any modern system would suffice, but others were better suited to my personal preferences.
to see if they had a deal on a new or used tripod. After some small talk with Chris and Dennis I found out that they had a lightly used E-P5 just in the day before, a lightly used OMD E-M5 with battery grip, and my current ‘it’ camera in stock new, the OMD E-M1 . Thoughts of tripods evaporated then this happened…
No WiFi. Yes, I do have an EyeFi card, but for that I may as well stay with my E-PL5.
EVF evolution. I am pleased with my own VF-4 and by all reports it is superior to the built in on the OMD E-M5.
Build. The E-M5 is quite impressive, but the E-P5 and E-M1 feel hewn from granite by comparison.
Price. The pre-owned E-M5 was barely less than the E-P5 with superior EVF (my own) and WiFi.
I was quite impressed with the E-P5 from the moment it was introduced. It’s only downside was that it was priced right along side the OMDs. Already having an E-PL5 it made little sense. I was then reminded of the great benefits of shopping at the local camera shop. One key advantage is being able to hold and shoot many cameras back to back. While I still adore the OMD E-M1 in hand I realized a few things:
Can’t get this in my jacket pocket. Big hand grip. Big faux SLR hump. Great features and a definite improvement over the E-M5, but I am not quite ready to commit to the grip and SLR humps. With the E-PL5 I had come to love the portability. It is great to have the capabilities you want in your jacket pocket rather than in a camera bag somewhere else.
In related news the size would mean I would need to hang on to the E-PL5 for every day shooting. As a hobbyist I cannot make sense of a 2 camera set up quite yet. Plus there is the practical consideration that I could not benefit from a trade in.
Having not experienced 5 axis image stabilization in the wild I previously underplayed it’s significance. For example it has noticeably improved the performance of my 40-150mm zoom. This second hand lens wonder can now be used in lower light than before and the macro converter can be used hand held. For example:
It has 1/8000 sec max shutter speed matching the E-M1 and over the 1/4000 speed of the E-PL5 and E-M5. Since I have two fast primes (17mm and 45mm) this should be of benefit.
Level. It has a level. ‘Meh’ to more experienced persons I imagine, but this novice is impressed.
WiFi brings remote control via smartphone. Cool. Being a smartphone contrarian (Loving my Lumia) I had to commandeer my wife’s Android Phone to sync up. Wow. Hopefully they will expand it’s capabilities beyond iAuto (Hello long exposure January star shots from the comfort of my living room.) but I am still impressed.
While I never missed having a built in flash on my E-PL5 due to it’s great low light capabilities I find it is nice to have the flash built in. My next scheduled self tutorial obsession is remote flash photography and while I do appreciate having RC built in I also like having the option of picking up a cheapie flash with slave functionality while still having the hotshoe available for my EVF at the same time.
Update: If all goes as planned I will be picking up the Bower/Rokinon/Samyang 7.5mm fisheye later this week. Will post pics soon. Original ramblings below…
Stopped by my favorite camera shop (Southeastern Camera Carrboro) to compare two fisheye lenses I am thinking of buying. My obsessive research (dpreview.com, bhphotovideo.com, stevehuffphoto.com and amazon.com among others) led me to the Bower/Rokinon/Samyang triplets (one lens of many names evidently) 7.5mm fisheye which runs for as low as $239. That being said I was concerned that it was manual focus. Manual focus itself is not scary as I enjoy shooting with my father’s old school Pentax ME Super. The issue, or so I thought, is that I have become quite spoiled by my little E-PL5’s touch screen focus and rely on it heavily. Enter the Panasonic 8mm fisheye. Autofocus?: Check. Price of $638… Wait. What the heck? All of a sudden a twist of the wrist to focus seemed more reasonable. But can I take a clear picture while pocketing $400? To Southeastern Camera! When online shopping just won’t do. Contrary to common practice for many, researching in store and buying online, I tend to start research online and then do final comparisons and buy in store (if available in stock for the same price that is) mostly due to an utter lack of patience. Your results may vary, but I found the Bower (the triplet in stock) to be a match in photo quality and fisheye-oscity, but (duh) more effort to focus up close. Distant shots were a match since set just below infinity the Bower rendered my camera a point and shoot. This would be resolved if I purchased an EVF. Perfect since I have been looking for any excuse to buy an Olympus VF-4 anyway (Update: Purchased since writing this. Love it.). So if I buy the Bower and a VF-4 I am actually saving about $130? Wow. Justification is an expensive slippery slope. Below the Panasonic 8mm autofocus shots are on top and the Bower 7.5mm manual focus shots are below…
Here is a shot of it on the camera that I took with my Lumia920:
While I was there I also checked out my planned next lens purchase, the Olympus Zuiko 45mm f1.8 (Update: Have purchased since writing this. Love it.). Below is a shot I took of it looking all handsome in black on my E-PL5, and a few sample shots after that…
Can I afford it? (I do have a mortgage to pay and three kids to feed.)
Will it help me take better pictures?
How will it look on my camera? (I must be honest.)
Here are some of my cameras outfits accessories:
The initial kit lens served me well. The below photo and gallery (click photo to see gallery) were taken day one with the camera which happened to be as a chaperon on a school trip to DC for my daughter:
Next up was a walk around lens…
…and a zoom.
The zoom was put to use for the first time while a chaperon on another school trip. This time to the Durham Life and Science museum for my son. Sample picture and gallery below (click image to see gallery):
Next up was dress up. Enter the Kaza Deluxe half case and strap:
Next are my most recent acquisitions, the Olympus VF-4 (to aid in bright light situations and manual focus) and M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8 (a good fantastic portrait lens).
A recent picture taken with the 45mm and a link to recent photos below:
Still there? Thanks for sticking with my most recent E-PL5 ramblings. Great compact size, great image quality, and a broad lens selection that starts at more than reasonable prices. I am so happy with the Olympus M4/3 system that I have become the office, friend and family Olympus sales rep.