3736 – The Big Eye

 Walimex 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye  Comments Off on 3736 – The Big Eye
Jan 112017

Alternatively I could also call this post “The Fisheye” 🙂

It’s interesting: I don’t use that lens very often, but I use it regularly. Sure, this image was taken more than five months ago, but I’ve used my new fisheye every once in a while in between.

I had one on the Nikon D300, and there it was more of a novelty. I used it for some time and then almost never again. It seems, that in the meantime I have found my way of working with this lens.

3631 – The Flash

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3631 – The Flash
Sep 272016

I have not yet sold my E-P5. When the PEN-F arrived, I removed the battery and the SD card, and then I put the camera into a closet. Today I took it out for a comparison.

What can I say? I miss the big viewfinder! Yes, the VF-4 sticks out from the E-P5, it mars the beautiful design, it just doesn’t look that classy. Looking through it makes a world of a difference though 🙂

It’s really like the difference between APS-C and full-frame. You notice the change and it’s a big one.

I’ve tried the same with the E-M1, and of course as it shares viewfinder specs with the VF-4, the result is the same.

Then I noticed something interesting: both the E-M1 and the E-P5 were pretty much off colorwise and they were also darker. The PEN-F on the other hand was incredibly accurate in reproducing what I saw.

There was also another change. Exposure parameters blended into the viewfinder image had some amount of transparency. Or had they? Now that I try to reproduce it, I find that I can’t. That’s funny, because I’ve already noticed it another day. I don’t think I’ve just imagined it.

Yes, indeed, I’ve just checked, there is an slight amount of transparency in the overlay. It’s still fully readable, but it is slightly less intrusive.

Another slight annoyance is, that with the position of the eye sensor on the PEN-F, stray light easier enters the sensor, especially when the sun comes from the back. If that happens, the EVF blanks out. This doesn’t happen when I hold the camera properly to my eye, but sometimes I don’t. I suppose it also may happen when you wear glasses.

Basically this all boils down to the fact that I like the new viewfinder better (if it is indeed the viewfinder and not just changes in metering and white balance accuracy), but that the lower resolution hurts. I’d like to call it a draw, but it isn’t really.

Is this a reason to switch back to the E-P5 and sell the PEN-F? No. If there were no other advantages but the better design and the convenience of the integrated viewfinder, I’d say yes. Fortunately there’s more to this camera. We’ve already discussed the exposure compensation wheel, and tomorrow we’ll talk about image quality.

3624 – Complications

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3624 – Complications
Sep 202016

Keeping everything in focus is essential to this image. Again here’s a typical image where a smaller sensor helps.

I’m much nearer to the overhead contact line than the line is to the building crane in the background. It must be a factor of 50 or more. Not the best circumstances, but f8 on MFT did the trick, and that’s an aperture where diffraction does not set in yet.

3623 – The Silly Lion

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3623 – The Silly Lion
Sep 192016

Long ago, in Austria’s glorious past, we owned all of Venice. It was only a short period following the Napoleonic wars and before we lost our war against the Prussians, but nevertheless it made sense to have a sculpture of the Lion of Saint Mark’s, Venice’s symbol, in the hall of Vienna’s sounth-bound railway station.

Today this is Vienna Main Station, a new and in my eyes quite successful attempt at station building. It’s all glass, steel and polished stone, but the lion is still there. It doesn’t always look this silly, by the way 🙂

3582 – Tension here!

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 75 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3582 – Tension here!
Aug 092016

The E-P5 in silver is a remarkably beautiful camera and the 75/1.8 in silver is a remarkably beautiful lens. Perfect match 🙂

The lens is already a little bit on the heahy side for a PEN. It’s still quite balanced, but anything longer and heavier would feel awkward.

What’s not to like, I asked yesterday. There’s only one Fn-button. Thus I have one programmable button less than on the OM-D E-M1. It does not have the on/off switch on the left side, like on the E-M1 and the PEN-F. At first I found it a bad idea (and it likely is), but once you’re used to it, consistency is more important than ultimate usability.

Finally the firmware didn’t get one convenient update that the E-M1 got: the stickiness of menu position. On the E-M1 the camera remembers where I was when I last changed something in the deep menu. On the E-P5 it doesn’t. I can live with both ways perfectly, but it’s still irritating when I switch cameras. And of course it’s unnecessary as well. Hmm … I probably should switch it off on the E-M1, but it was a feature I’ve always wished for, a feature that made me happy when I got it.

OK, that’s it. During the last three months I’ve almost exclusively used the E-P5 in Vienna, almost always with primes, and the E-M1 in Carinthia and in Provence, almost always with the PRO zooms.

3581 – Running in Parallel

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3581 – Running in Parallel
Aug 082016

It was early April. I got an offer I couldn’t refuse 🙂

DSLR-Forum is a very active community of german-speaking photographers and they have a lively marketplace. I’ve sold most of my Nikon gear there and I’ve also bought some Olympus and Panasonic lenses. It’s all private to private, it’s all based on trust, but I’ve never had any problem when I’ve payed in advance. Everything always arrived in exactly the condition that was advertised.

I can’t really say that I need something, but I still have the habit of browsing the Olympus sales forum at least once a month. You never know, do you?

Early April I was electrified: I saw an Olympus PEN E-P5 in silver, with VF-4 and without a kit lens, for a very reasonable price. Low count of exposures, good condition, what was not to like?

This is a camera that I’ve always wanted to buy. It came out while I had the OM-D E-M5, shortly before I switched to the OM-D E-M1. Basically it’s E-M1 tech in PEN format. No weather sealing, but otherwise the same perfect stabilization, an external electronic viewfinder with the same resolution. It’s elegant. A beauty.

When it was new, I found it too expensive for a second body that I’d probably rarely use. It’s also not the camera for big and heavy lenses like the 40-150/2.8 PRO. Now, after almost two years, I got it for substantially less than half of the initial price.

I added a Kalahari leather wrist strap and a Garitz half case. The latter is pretty mandatory, because the grip of the E-P5 is exactly as bad as everybody says. It contains the WiFi antenna, therefore no good external grips are available. With the Garitz case I’ve got a pretty decent hold on the camera. I had to order it from Singapore though. It’s not made any more, not available in Europe, and the few US shops still having it refused to ship to Austria. Well, it was cheaper in Singapore anyway.

Here we are, I’ve got a second body 🙂

Aug 072016

Just like Paris or indeed so many other big cities in Europe, Vienna traditionally had more than one railway station. In fact we had one for each major direction, and then we had some more. Since about two years, the former Southern Railway Station is Vienna’s new Main Station. All major trains and certainly all international trains now pass through it.

In fact some of Vienna’s train stations became obsolete at the end of World War I, at the end of the great Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Budapest, Preßburg/Bratislava and Prague were in different countries now, traffic was diminished by post-war poverty and general distrust. Instead of being at the center of an empire, Vienna was a hypertrophic monstrosity tucked into the north-eastern corner of what was left of Austria.

Today, thanks to the EU and the vanishing of borders, the city is at crossroads again. I very much hope we’ll keep it at way.

3507 – Lonely Stairs at the Railway Station

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3507 – Lonely Stairs at the Railway Station
May 262016

This image was taken at f5.6, 1/20s and ISO 1600. I wouldn’t have needed DxO to process it. I did, just to try out their keystone correction tool.

Well, it works 😀

In the end, the result of my evaluation of DxO Optics Pro 10 was that I bought it. You need the “Elite” version in order to get PRIME noise reduction, and while I was at it, I just bought the whole suite, including Viewpoint (the geometry correction tool, also with support for eye-friendly de-fishing) and Filmpack.

Since then I have hardly used it – but still, for the things it does well, mostly high ISO noise reduction, it is a nice arrow to have in your quiver.

3506 – DOOM?

 Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45 mm f/1.8  Comments Off on 3506 – DOOM?
May 252016

I’ve never been a big fan of the original DOOM. In 2004 I bought DOOM3, played it for a while, and I still think it had a great mix of at least some story, lots of atmosphere, satisfying speed (I’m talking about the single player campaign) and still quite impressive graphics.

Two weeks ago the new “DOOM” came out. It should have been DOOM4, but was released without a number. Well, if Leica can do it, why not id Software 🙂

I’ve not bought it. I have no system that could adequately run it, but most of all I am not interested. It’s an intense orgy of bloodshed and gore (well, what did you expect, it’s DOOM, you say?), and it progresses on high speed, at least on par with the original from 20 years ago (and that’s bad, you ask?).

Yes, that’s bad 🙂

I’ve seen a few videos (they are aplenty on YouTube) and they looked like a constant stream of mindless jumping and gunning. They didn’t give me the feeling of an interesting or scary exploration, they just looked like maximally stressful work with little variation. Thanks, I already have a job 😀

May 152016

Villach is an interesting town. I grew up in Klagenfurt, 35 kilometers away, and Klagenfurt had very distinct quarters. There was a district around a hill on the north-western side, that was where the rich lived. South-west and east were much less noble, and the part where I lived was technically within Klagenfurt’s borders, but practically considered countryside.

Villach is different. It has smaller districts, and for instance the nobler resideces are scattered much more. One of the reasons is, that Villach is at the confluence of two rivers, at the cross of two railway lines and two major roads. Villach is cut in two by a meandering river Drau, and then once again by its railway lines. In effect, whenever you want from A to B, your first thought is “What bridge should I take?”. Add to that a few hills and you have a varied geography made up of small and very different neighborhoods.

This is a noise barrier along the western railway line. Pink is not necessarily my color, but I enjoyed it in February 😀