All the images that I made on Pyramidenkogel’s observation tower are of the rather non-touristic type. This is home-turf, a place where I can come back any time I like (although I normally don’t do it), and this puts me in a different seeing mode. Not that I don’t see or look for that type of images when on vacation, but in other countries, in places that I’m not likely to visit again, at least part of my attention is on documenting.
Lavender fields in B&W? That would indeed be objectionable, but this post is not about lavender, this post is about the dead. See the graves on the backside of the church? This is the place where the monks find their last rest.
In the original color version the crosses, being in the shadow on a bright, sunny day, would have been easy to miss. B&W gave me the leeway to emphasize them dramatically but without ruining the image.
Here we have again a mix of three lenses, the 12-40/2.8 at the top,
I can’t remember why I went B&W with the last shot, but I suppose this is a case of “tried it randomly and it worked”.
This image has been taken three minutes after yesterday’s. The sky may have been slightly darker if at all, the street lights had the same color. I could again have played off orange against blue, but with the strong light fall-off from top to bottom, I figured I would need more violent manipulations to make that image sing – if it could be brought to sing at all.
In that situation I normally go B&W. It’s easier, because when you raise extreme contrasts from shadowy corners, you often have to struggle with color casts. You can get the tonality that you crave for, but the colors betray you immediately. It’s not something that can’t be fixed, but for one it’s hard, and then, it may not even be worth it. There are scenes that cry for B&W, and in my opinion this is one of them.
Image quality. On the PEN-F we see a moderate increase from 16 Mpx to 20 Mpx. That’s not bad, but most competitors made the jump from 16 to 24. If we take the smaller sensor area into account, we can expect that all current cameras of about the same price segment have about the same pixel sizes with about the same per-pixel quality. I can’t verify my expectation, but the fact, that most of the sensors involved originate with Sony, supports my expectation. Obviously different sensor sizes make for a difference in resolution.
When working with images, I frequently look at them on pixel level. The higher the resolution, the smaller the part of the image that I see, but while I am at pixel level, resolution is not a criterion for image quality. Noise is one. I know how it looks like on pixel level. I know how it looked on the D200, D300, the LX5, E-P2, OMD E-M5 and finally on the twins OM-D E-M1 and PEN E-P5.
There was a distinct quality gain from the D200 up to the D300. There was an even bigger step back to the LX5. The E-P2 was worse than the D300 and maybe about equal to the D200. The OMD E-M5 was a big step over the E-P2 and it also surpassed the D300. The last two didn’t make much of a difference, their advantages were elsewhere.
The PEN-F? Maybe slightly better on pixel level, but it is close. Therefore the relevant difference is again the number of pixels.
Does it count? My logic would say no (or only slightly), but working with the pictures, I’d say the difference is significant. I try to frame precisely, but I still find myself cropping or rotating or skewing. Doing so, I always have to sacrifice a few pixels, and having more of them to begin with, definitely helps.
Is it worth the few annoyances? Yes, I think so. At least I wouldn’t want to go back. The PEN-F is it, and if I find enough common sense, I’ll put the E-P5 up for sale within the next days 🙂
Is it worth the money? Do I recommend you sell your E-P5 + VF-4? That’s a tough question. As a recommendation, I’d say no. At least you should try to look through the PEN-F’s viewfinder first.
And what if you have only the E-P5 without VF-4? Well, I’d probably still recommend buying a used VF-4.
And if all that is like I said it is, why, you ask me, did I buy the PEN-F at all? Good question, I’d say. I suppose it was mostly for the looks and because I could afford it. It also was for the integrated viewfinder, a feature that I like, but if I think of why I like it, it’s probably also mostly for the looks.
Interestingly enough, the most useful feature of this camera over its predecessors is the dedicated exposure compensation wheel. And I guess that’s it.
OK, back to Carinthia, back to the E-M1, back to the big, long and heavy lens. Well, at least for Micro Four Thirds that is.
Does it make a difference? Sure, it does. Here we have a dreamy, rural scene, shot wide open through a lot of foreground dandelions, augmented by a pseudo-infrared black and white conversion in Lightroom. You can’t do that with the cheap plastic lens at f5.6 or, as I mostly use it, at f8.
On the other hand, aside from the conversion, the use of foreground bokeh is an effect. I like it, but using it makes the image less dependent on composition. In a way it just looks good all of itself.
I wouldn’t call it a cheap effect (certainly not in a literal sense, when you consider the price of the lens), but when I think of it, working without it takes more creativity.
Well, look at yesterday’s streetlight overwhelmed by the tree. Positioning the light was a conscious decision. I put thought into it and I like the image, because there is much of myself in it.
You know that I have my problems with the concept of “style”, but as it is, you can’t escape developing something like that. Yesterday’s image has more of my style than today’s. Today we see just a technique that I employ a few times a year, when I feel like it or, like here, when the lens permits it.
Here’s the color version.
Do you also like this kind of images? Exotic spiral staircases? I certainly do. You see a real lot of them on Flickr and elsewhere, and I have always wondered how people find so many of them.
Well, I suppose I know now. I’ve always looked in public places for big spiral staircases. Of course the few that I found were always full of people. Recently I discovered this one, and suddenly it all became clear: they are tiny and narrow! They are not in big public buildings, they are in private houses.
It doesn’t mean that I’ll suddenly find more of them, but it means I can stop looking in the wrong places 🙂