Nothing of earth shattering importance this week. I took the faithful hound up to Rosny Hill for a walk. It was a beautiful saturday afternoon, and the track was quiet enough so she could run off the lead. All I had to do was just walk and look. I had my Panasonic LX5 with me so I just took some quick and dirty HDR panoramas.
When I got home I just dropped them into Adobe Lightroom. First I did the HDR conversions using HDR Efex Pro2, and then I did the panoramic stitching in Photoshop CS5. Nothing complicated, just a few minutes on each.
The dog enjoyed herself, I could tell for when we got home she went to bed. As the great canine philosopher, Snoopy, said “A tired puppy is a happy puppy”.
Well here I am back with another look at the EM-10 now I’ve had it in my possession for a month. First I’d like to thank reader Mike Hendren who set me straight about the bracketing feature. Thanks to him I’ve found that if you go into the HDR function then you can find lots of bracketing features. The camera is capable of in camera HDR and it processes the images as a jpg. The camera shoots a burst of four shots each with a different exposure and you have a choice of two settings for the output – one is more “dramatic” than the other.
Not a lot of difference really, just a flatter image. Scrolling past the in camera processing you can choose to bracket your exposures and then process the images on your computer. You have a choice of 3, 5 or 7 frames at -/+ 2 stops, 3 and 5 frames at -/+ 3 stops. The picture below was 3 5 frames at -/+ stops and processed in Lightroom and HDR Efex Pro 2.
If HDR is your bag then I think you have a definite idea of how you want your photos to look and will choose to blend the images in software on your computer. However, the function could be just the ticket if you’re a confirmed jpg shooter. Speaking of bracketing and jpgs, then the Art Filter bracketing may prove to be a boon if you ever feel a little indecisive about how you want an image to look. You can choose as many of the filters as you like, but bear in mind that you will need a bit of patience while you wait for the buffer to be cleared.
I must say that I’m pretty impressed with the robustness of the files the EM-10 produces, they hold up to post processing very well.
Noise, both colour and luminance, seem very well controlled as this shot Diego my cockatiel shows.
Olympus has always had a good track record when it came to metering systems. The OM 3 and 4 introduced multi-spot reading with shadow and highlight priority, which made them very popular with adherents of the Zone System pioneered by Ansel Adams. The Om 40 saw the introduction of ESP metering which meters from several areas of the image and it is a more sophisticated version of this using 324 areas is present in the EM-10. Spot metering, high light and shadow spot metering are also present, but multi-spot metering is not present. The metering is very accurate and backlit subjects don’t fool it into under exposing.
A few readers asked questions about the capabilities of the camera. Several wanted to know whether the EM-10 was suited to BIF. Sorry the only biff I know about is jujitsu and aikido. Seriously I don’t have a lens long enough to attempt birds in flight, and when I try with my 40-150 they certainly take flight but can only be seen as tiny specks. I do have a sequence of Frida, my English Bull Terrier, doing a “bully run” .
I mentioned in the previous part of the review that I had used the EM-10’s pop up flash to act as a controller for off camera flash and several people asked how I did this. Well the video below should answer that question.
Another reader asked about using the inbuilt WiFi function. This is the first camera I have used with this function and I have to say I think it is really great. I used my iPad and it was brilliant to use it as a gigantic screen to aid with composition and focusing. The only downsides are that it uses up the camera battery real quick and you can’t use to in movie mode.
So, as I’ve got to know the camera have my feelings changed? Well I have to say when I first picked it up I felt that the camera felt unnecessarily complicated and frustrating to use. Four weeks on I have to say that we’re starting to establish a relationship, I’ve largely set the camera up so I don’t have to do much menu diving which means I can just get on and shoot. The metering is reliable and the files are great, so for still photography I think the EM-10 has the makings of good camera. As for video, well I’m still out to lunch on that one. As I said at the beginning of this entry it has been very wet here and so I’ve not had enough time to get out and shoot anything. I’m hoping to get out in the next week or two and shoot a small project with it, so when that is ready I’ll post my thoughts about it. Stay tuned for the next thrilling instalment.
Well two weeks in Tasmania went faster than an Essex girl can drop her draws. Tasmania is photographic Nirvana and this wasn’t a management sanctioned photo expedition, but rather a holiday. This meant a tripod, full set of filters, an audio recorder and decent microphone were all left at home. All I took was the micro four thirds kit , with circular polarizing filters and variable neutral density filters, and a tripod substitute in the form of the Manfrotto 585 Modosteady 3-in-1 Support Tripod. It’s a crap steadicam but works well as a light weight video rig and table top tripod. I’ve modified mine by adding a Manfrotto 323 Quick Release Plate Adapter so all my cameras can use a standard quick release mount.
So with some guile and cunning I managed to maximise my photographic success rate by shooting a lot. I’m not us usually a spray and pray photographer, but this time the situation demanded it, but it was well thought out as I bracketed each shot by +/- one stop. This meant that for the landscapes and detail shots I could turn them into HDR images using Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2 when I got back home. I also shot a lot of panoramas, these were also bracketed, handheld. I’ve found using the rear LCD screen of my Olympus Ep-2 with the grid overlay means I can get reasonably level shots with sufficient overlap so Photoshop’s photo merge function can do a good job of lining everything up. The photo below was done handheld and was a total of 6 exposures with the bracketing. I first produce the HDR segment and then shove it Photoshop for the panorama.
I also shot a lot of 20 second video clips with the intent of using them along with the stills in a multi media presentation and video eats memory cards like Lance Armstrong takes steroids. In all I used up 60 Gb worth of memory cards. Thankfully class 6 memory cards are really cheap now so I was well stocked up with them. The other aspect of shooting lots is battery consumption. The battery life of mirrorless cameras is pants. Olympus reckon 300 shots from a fully charged battery but I’ve never got anywhere near that so I took six batteries with me and a charger. The most I used in one day was 3 batteries and that was on a very cold day and I’d shot a lot of video. I also took a battery charger with me, not the stock supplied one but a Hahnel Unipal Plus. This charged my camera batteries, the AAs in my torch and shaver, my phone and iPad. It’s a brilliant bit of kit and any travelling photographer should really consider getting one.
Over the next few weeks as I process the images I’ll post them on the blog and talk about the hows and the whys.