Sep 022012

Here’s an old image taken last December. It accurately reflects yesterday’s weather though 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Sleeping In An Ocean Of Tears” by Robert “Billy” Brooks and Piney Brown (voc) with the King Kolax Orchestra. Good music, don’t forget to hear it on YouTube.

Jul 102012

No images today. And not only that I didn’t make images in the morning, now, in the evening, it is also raining.

The image was taken on March 3 in Italy. Yesterday we talked about uniformity. Well, some places are different and in some parts of Italy the mail boxes are not even boxes 🙂

The Song of the Day is “Moving” from the 1990 Redbox album “Motive”. Hear it on YouTube.

Jun 232012

I have not taken anything that I could show here today. It doesn’t matter though, I have plenty of images that you have not yet seen. Here’s one from early March, another addition to my “Electric Ladyland” series.

The Song of the Day is, like always, “(Have You Ever Been To) Electric Ladyland” by jimi Hendrix. Hear it on YouTube.

May 302012

I have decided to slowly import my image collection into Lightroom catalogs. I use one catalog per year. I may at one time decide to pull all those catalogs into one big catalog, but at the moment this seems to be a workable solution. 2012 is done, keywords applied to all images, and now I go back through 2011. I already have December and am now working on November.

It’s not only keywording though. I also find images that at the time didn’t make it into a post, often only because I lacked time. Here’s one of them, taken with the Olympus E-P2 and its kit lens, the 17/2.8 pancake.

It’s ISO 1600 and parts of the mannequin were pulled out of the shadow. Yes, there is noise, but if you ask me, the noise is pretty attractive. It’s a fine grain that does not take away from the overall impression at all. Feel free to look at bigger sizes on Flickr.

Again, this is not in any way comparable to what the OM-D can do (while it’s almost two stops better than the LX5), but the remarkable fact is, that Lightroom, correctly used, is as good as Photoshop CS3 + Topaz Denoise, and in some cases it is even better. Part of this is obviously the progress Adobe have made since Camera RAW 4.6. Color noise reduction is much better now and somehow coarse color noise is magically converted into fine-grained luminance noise. In a way the noise that’s left looks very much like the famous DxO noise. I am very satisfied.

This post is called “Untold Stories I” because I fully expect more of them. Cataloging, keywording and processing of old images take time, and that time is time that I don’t shoot. There is no way around though. I just have to do it, because I already have trouble finding images.

“Untold Stories” is from Sinead O’Connor’s 2005 album “Throw Down Your Arms”. You either love it or hate it, I for sure love it. Hear it on YouTube.

Apr 202012

This is Keith. Keith is happy. Keith, say hi to your fans 🙂

Well, the image of Keith was taken with the E-P2 and the Olympus 40-150 lens. Of course this image is from the same series as “2010 – He Shall Feed His Flock“.

Btw, I’m happy as well. Today I got my Olympus OM-D E-M5, and although I made only a few images so far, I can already say that this is the best camera that I ever had. See for instance the two images below:

On the left side you see the JPEG that came out of the camera. On the right side, with the white border, you see what I made of the RAW file using Corel AfterShot Pro, Topaz Denoise 2 and Photoshop CS3.

Of the few images I have chosen this one, because although it is base ISO 200, the dynamic range of this scene is brutal. Click on the images, both open to full size. Look at the dark ceiling. It was almost black and I have opened it up considerably. There is definitely some noise, but it is very well controlled. At the same time I could bring a little more contrast into the highlights. There is plenty of headroom on both sides.

Of course this would not have been possible with the Panasonic LX5 and the Olympus PEN E-P2, but in fact my Nikon D300 would have been much worse as well. Really, in terms of dynamic range (and also of high ISO noise as I’ve already seen) the OM-D bests the D300, just as I had hoped for.

In case you wonder, I have tried the RAW converter of Olympus Viewer 2, the software that came with the camera. Forget it! It is so painfully slow, I can’t use that program in my regular workflow. In a discussion on I found out that although Adobe does not yet support the OM-D, Corel AfterShot Pro does. You may not know it by that name, Corel only recently acquired it. The program was formerly known as Bibble Pro 5, thus it is no newcomer at all. It’s also reasonably fast and it may currently be your best choice if you need a RAW converter for the OM-D. At 80$ or 90€ it is not even expensive, and usability is fine as well.

As soon as Adobe’s DNG converter supports the OM-D, I will switch back to that again, but for now I can at least work.

Of course I have not tried everything yet, but as far as I can tell now, the OM-D is a perfect upgrade from the D300. As a consequence, not only the E-P2 will go, the D300 and most of its DX lenses will go as well.

The Song of the Day is “Happy” from the 1972 Rolling Stones album “Exile On Main Street”. Lead vocals by Keith Richards. See a live video on YouTube.

Apr 192012

I really ought to show you Keith, but it’s late now and I don’t want to process another image. Tomorrow maybe. Tomorrow it’s supposed to rain anyway.

This image just happened. I wanted to take an image of the bicycle, and then that man walked into the frame. I could have waited until he was gone, or maybe release the shutter with the guy right in the middle.

I did both, and because the second image was just a tad sharper, the Image of the Day is a composite of the two versions.

The Song of the Day is “Walk It Down” from the 1985 Talking Heads album “Little Creatures”. Hear it on YouTube.

Apr 192012

It’s interesting. There were times when the 12 megapixels of the big, heavy and expensive professional camera Nikon D2x or the 16 megapixels of the even more expensive Canon 1Ds Mk II were considered completely sufficient for professional photography. The Canon even delivered usable images at ISO 1600. That was amazing and it was in 2005, just little more than six years ago.

Tomorrow or one of the next days Nikon will announce their D3200 entry model DSLR, and it will sport a 24 megapixel sensor. Amazing again, and I have to ask myself the question: is the Olympus OM-D really the camera that I need? Hey, it has only two thirds of the pixels of the D3200!!!

Shocking? Not really. Megapixels are fine, at least as long as I have 7.5 in a square crop. That’s what I get from the Panasonic LX5.

Ridiculous? I don’t think so. Currently there are 255 entries on this blog with images taken with the LX5, and I believe some of them are even quite good.

Thus if the 10 megapixels of the LX5 (7.5 megapixels in a square) are sufficient for my needs, what would the 16 megapixels (12 megapixels in a square) of the OM-D be? A nice bonus, I’d say, but not essential.

24 megapixels? Wouldn’t they still be better? Maybe. Nikon has really good sensors today, I suppose the pixel quality of the D3200 and the OM-D will be comparable. Maybe the OM-D even has an edge in high ISO, but that would be lost as soon as we downsize from 24 megapixels to 16 megapixels.

And when I look at these figures, all that that becomes increasingly irrelevant.

The Image of the Day and this sequence of images show you my current Olympus E-P2 kit. A small, cheap shoulder bag from Sony, the camera, two Panasonic pancake lenses, the 14/2.5 and the 20/1.7, the Olympus 45/1.8 and the Olympus 40-150, the electronic viewfinder and a small leather case that originally came with the Panasonic viewfinder for the LX5. I have one more lens, the Olympus 17/2.8 pancake lens that I bought with the camera, but I don’t use it and therefore it’s not included.

When I mount one of the pancakes and put the viewfinder into its case, I can put everything into this one small bag. In the last picture you see for size comparison a Nikon D200 with the 18-200 VR lens mounted. DSLR and lens have a combined weight of 1.5 kg, and that’s 500 g more than my whole Olympus kit. Add lenses to both systems and the difference gets more and more grotesque.

The D3200 hurts me on another front though. I suppose the attainable price for my D300 will drop even further. At the moment I suppose I could sell it for maybe 500 € (hardly used cameras go for about 600 €), but that price level will not be sustainable. I never thought that I would sell the D300, but I may. I just don’t use it, and for that it is too expensive.

Btw, as you see, tonight I found the first OM-D in a camera shop. Unfortunately they have it only in silver and with the slow 12-50 kit lens. I’m not interested in the lens, and the Panasonic pancakes look horrible on the silver camera. Thus I’ll patiently wait for my black model 🙂

The images of the Olympus kit were made with the Panasonic FZ150 superzoom camera, the picture of the OM-D was taken with the E-P2 and the 45/1.8.

The Song of the Day is “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” from the 1986 Housemartins album “London 0 Hull 4”. Hear it on YouTube.

Apr 162012

Broken roof tiles in a container in front of the neighbor house. I suppose the yellow spot is some thermal isolation material.

It’s mid-April and there’s still no trace of the Olympus OM-D. Well, actually there are traces all over Asia, but nothing here. Not that I can’t await it, but I am happy that I did not follow my original resolution to sell the E-P2 by mid-March.

I’ve really come to like this camera. It’s not as fast as I’d like, it has some user interface quirks, but in general it works very well and very reliably so. Even changing lenses feels much more natural than it ever did with the D300. Everything is small and I literally can change lenses while walking. With the Nikon I always had to put one lens down, detach the other from the camera, put it down as well, take the new lens, attach it, …

Here I have the camera in one hand, secured by a hand strap, the two lenses and the back cover in the other, and I can do it all all without ever needing a table or anything to put something down. OK, I have big hands, but it’s amazing anyway.

The Song of the Day is the Tom Petty cover “Breakdown” from the 1980 Grace Jones album “Warm Leatherette”. Hear it on YouTube.