Sep 282016

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.

3605 – More Rural Beauty, Less Color

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3605 – More Rural Beauty, Less Color
Sep 012016

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.

3599 – Pretty Blue

 Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4.0-5.6 R  Comments Off on 3599 – Pretty Blue
Aug 262016

A few flowers on a narrow strip of lawn between a banking office and the sidewalk. It’s not the environment where you’d expect nature’s beauty, but when you use a long lens and point the camera straight to the ground in front of your feet, you can create a frame tight enough to exclude everything 🙂

An aperture of f10 is commonly considered a no-go in MFT. Refraction eats away all sharpness, they say.

They’re wrong 😛

3585 – A Tulip

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3585 – A Tulip
Aug 122016

It always fascinates me when someone makes perfect flower pictures. I can’t point you to someone specific, but look around on Flickr, Smugmug, 500px or any of the other photo sharing sites used by enthusiasts and professionals. You’ll quickly find people who take a lot of flower images, sometimes almost exclusively flowers, and among them are photographers who continuously leave you breathless.

You immediately see when someone’s interest is focused on a particular subject. The images have a certain quality that you even may be able to achieve with the odd grab shot, but that you certainly can’t achieve regularly or at will and consistently at any time.

Like everything else, photography is something that can be learned through repetition and hard work. This may not be sufficient to reach mastery in a particular subject, but without work and repetitive attempts at particular subjects, mastery can’t be achieved.

The rest is passion and imagination.

3567 – Only Violets

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro  Comments Off on 3567 – Only Violets
Jul 252016

Sometimes you look at an image and you see that a lot of effort went into it. Sometimes it looks … plain. Maybe you like the composition, maybe you like the colors, maybe not even that. What you don’t see is that it made me sweat.

I suppose this is such an image. It was processed entirely in Lightroom, but I had to make all sorts of local adjustments to white balance, contrast, local contrast, vibrance and saturation. In this dappled light, the problem were the strong differences between the directly lit and the shaded parts of the ground.

It’s something you don’t see when you’re there. You just think, wow, what a nice image, compose, click, and you naturally expect it to be what you saw or believed to see.

It’s not. Colors in the shade are much too blue, washed out and lack contrast, while the sunny patches are a mess of contrasts, much too warm, always on the verge of burning out.

Later this year we’ll see the same concept again in my images of lavender fields in Provence: sometimes you have to lie in order to even remotely tell the truth.

3368 – The Backside of an Unfinished Palace

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3368 – The Backside of an Unfinished Palace
Jan 082016

I don’t have a good picture of the courtyard of Palácio Nacional da Ajuda, but honestly, I was not terribly impressed anyway.

The backside of the building is somewhat anticlimactic. Basically the western wall of the courtyard is just that: a wall.

On the other side is a street, and across the street is the entrance to some military installation, barracks or something like that. The flowers between the rubble across the street were beautiful though. That’s what you see in the Image of the Day.

3156 – Slippery Slope

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO  Comments Off on 3156 – Slippery Slope
Jun 092015

A new lens? No, not the 7-14/2.8. That’s already been ordered but is not yet available here in Austria. No, it is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO, a lens that I had already on order in October and then sacrificed for my new Macbook Pro. After careful consideration I had found it alluring but a little bit expensive for the expected use.

Is it? Well, we’ll find out. At the moment it is the only lens on my camera and it will stay there at least until the 7-14 arrives 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Slippery Slope” by The Dø. Hear it on YouTube.

3136 – Dandelion V

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3136 – Dandelion V
May 202015

Here’s one more B&W image of spring flowers. Actually it looked fairly well in color this time. What you really see well in B&W though, is the impeccable quality of the 75/1.8’s bokeh. Look at the out-of-focus bright spots in the background. There’s no trace of rings or hard edges. It’s all soft and creamy, just as I expect a lens with that price tag to be 🙂

The Song of the Day is one more time “Dandelion” by Kacey Musgraves. Hear it on YouTube.