Feb 092017

HDR is an invention of the “Digital Age” of photography. It just wouldn’t have been possible with film.

These days I mostly shun the technique. Dynamic range has become pretty good, even on “inferior” small sensors like those of Micro Four Thirds cameras. Still, there are situations like this, I on top of a tower, taking images into the sunset, where HDR tremendously helps with shadow detail.

Once you have your bracketed exposures, guesswork begins. What is the correct white balance? There is no right or wrong here. In retrospect I prefer the warmer colors and lighter tonality of the image that ended up as Image of the Day, but that’s largely a matter of taste.

Feb 042017

Rovinj, like so many of these old mediterranean cities, wouldn’t be my first choice for riding a bicycle. Cobbled, narrow streets full of tourists, much of the city perching on a hill, but hey, I’m just the photographer, and as such I was glad to have a few bikes around. For years they were one of my favorite subjects 🙂

Feb 022017

There’s nothing new that I could tell you about the E-M1 MkII. I had it with me in Vienna, but I’ve hardly used it at all.

At the moment I’m on the train from Vienna to Carinthia. Tonight we had snow in Vienna, but it’s already thawing, contrary to the predictions.

In Carinthia, where we had day-highs of -7 degrees Celsius last weekend (and basically for two weeks), we seem to get +10 and more the next days. Warm and moist air from the Mediterranean, cold air from the north, wherever they meet there’ll be snow. I sincerely hope it’s north of the Alps 🙂

Feb 012017

You may ask yourself, is this the right time to get an E-M1 MkII? Isn’t this a little bit late? Should I wait for the next model?

Well, no. If at all, it’s still a little bit early. Lightroom only has “preliminary support” for now. It looks good, but the usual Olympus color profiles like “Normal” and “Vivid” are not yet available. Neither is support in DxO. The latter is announced for February. In other words: no need to hurry 🙂

Jan 302017

If you think Orthanc, well, looks close, but you’re wrong. Rovinj it is 🙂

So, now that I have the E-M1 MkII, was it worth it?

Yes and no. Strictly speaking, frankly, no. There is nothing earth-shattering that the new camera can and the old couldn’t. If you’re happy wih the E-M1 and you consider upgrading, well, you might get an few new things to like, but you won’t get anything that opens up new horizons. It’s the same, already almost perfect camera with a bit of further perfection. You may like some of it, some of it may come unneeded, but then, if the standard is that high, I refuse to complain 🙂

I’ve tried continuous autofocus on cars and people on the street. It works, even impressively so, at least as well as on the Nikon D300 … and I don’t need it. I may not use it ever again 🙂

High-speed modes? That pre-event “Pro Capture Mode”? I didn’t try it and I probably never will.

The most important things for me are the 20 megapixels (finally the same resolution as on the PEN-F). the fact that I can configure the camera to leave “Magnify mode” (14 times magnification as focus aid) upon shutter half-press, The fact that I now can configure manual lenses to be recorded in EXIF, just as I can do it on the PEN-F, and the fact that I have one more fully programmable button. Yes, it does not sound like much, but those and the few other small improvements all add up. As regards myself, I call this a success.

Is this a recommendation? Let me put it this way: If you look for a new camera and the price does not hurt you, it is certainly one of the best cameras you can possibly get, regardless of price. If you’re already set for Micro Four Thirds and you are mostly a stills photographer, you can’t get anything better. Panasonic may beat it in the video game, but for stills the E-M1 MkII rules surpreme.

Well, actually, yes, it’s a recommendation 😀

Jan 292017

In a comment to “3744 – The Organic Emerging From The Liquid“, Joe Jarosak said, he’s

contemplating upgrading from E-M1 to the MkII but balking at the price. Curious as to the sensor upgrade.

Well, so am I. We’ll find out soon 🙂

While writing this, I am on the train. I’ve bought the MkII, an EP-13 eyepiece (the deep one) and a spare battery an hour ago. What I found while the train was not yet moving, was that, using the 17/1.8, I could hold an image at 1.6 seconds. Then the train started moving and I couldn’t get any spectacular results. I’ll try again at the next station 🙂

I have no idea how good the sensor is, but I wouldn’t expect noticeably better performance than on the PEN-F. But then, let’s see. I’ll try to make a few images under identical conditions tonight, and this should clarify things.

OK, we’ve just held in a station and I could take an image at 2s and two images at 3.2s. All sharp – and that’s not yet the crazy mode of the stabilized 12-100/4. It’s just a normal, non-stabilized lens. Cool.

By the way, no chance to do that while the train moves, but for wide lenses and dim churches I see great opportunities. I’ll try the 75/1.8 at the next station and see how slow I can get.

Yes, it keeps impressing! I’ve made an image at 1/10s and it’s razor-sharp. One more at 1/4s is still sharp, but as it’s textile, it’s a little bit hard to judge. 1/8s while the train was already moving was probably luck.

One stop later: 75/1.8 at 1/2.5s, twice at 1/3s, once at 1/4s, all of that series completely sharp.

On the MkI I could repeatably hold the 75/1.8 at 1/30s, but I have one image taken at 1/25s in last year’s Lightroom catalog. Slower might be possible, but 1/10s never was. I’m pretty sure about that. Next stop: 12mm 🙂

Bad news! I can’t hold 4s. Two seconds were OK, 3.2s sometimes, and more I didn’t get time to try. This is not better than with the 17mm, but it may well be that 4s are more a restriction of myself than of the camera. In any case it seems incredibly long.

Let’s be conservative. I think it is safe to say that the MkII has more than one stop advantage in image stabilization. How big is it really? My first tests are of course pretty unscientific, especially because I don’t have the MkI to compare with, but it certainly feels like 2, maybe even 2.5 stops. That’s pretty much consistent across focal lengths as well.

OK, here we are. So far a damn fine camera for my needs.

Jan 282017

This is one of the most picturesque spots in Rovinj. A short and narrow alley down to the sea, a shop at the end, along the wall clothes on display, swayed by the wind. A garden chair and a table, candles and flowers on it. Everybody stops and takes a picture. Well, let’s go meta, I thought …