Thursday, February 26, 2015

55mm F1.2 Randomness

Oh dear, I have disappeared without any blog udpates for almost 2 weeks! Since my last writing on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, work has been excruciatingly busy leading up to the Chinese New Year holidays, thus the unintended silence. I did get a long weekend off and I finally had some time for myself, which I originally wanted to do a lens review for the newly launched M.Zuiko 14-150mm F4-5.6 Version II. Unfortunately prior arrangements disallowed me to have the lens during the holidays and I shall have to delay my review for that lens. Here I thought, with a few days off I might just do shutter therapy with revenge, to make up for lost times. Strangely, I opted for a slow paced, relaxing, do nothing and lots and lots of sleep kind of holiday. Yeap, it is true. Robin Wong chose sleep over the camera over the holidays. Maybe the world is ending after all. 

Well I did not entirely abandon the camera. I did bring it out wherever, and whenever I was out. I did spend some time catching up with friends, and along some random chances I snatched a frame or two. Mostly I had the E-M1 and the OM 55mm F1.2 lens. Oh how I adore that lens!

So here is a short compilation of the random shots I made throughout the past weeks. Perhaps, it is not too bad to slow down a little. 

Morning Skyline

I wonder why they were pointed downward, not up. 

Malaysia

Work

being small

Fruit

Afternoon

Communication Tower

Not so beautiful lanterns

My Little Army

I almost died when most of the coffee places close for CNY

Sanjitpaal Singh

This needs no caption

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review Extension: 40MP High Res Shot Questions Answered, High ISO Shooting and More Samples Images

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3, with exception of 40MP High Res Shot which were straight out of camera JPEG (Super Fine)
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

This blog entry serves as an extension to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review which I have posted last week here, hence if you have not read that blog post kindly do so before continuing with this extension. In this particular extension I am looking specifically into the items pertaining to the OM-D E-M5 Mark II:
1) 40MP High Resolution Shot - answers to many questions, with sample images as well as comparison with the native 16MP shot
2) Bundled Flash unit FL-LM3 - capable of bounce flash
3) Video Recording Sample in challenging lighting situation
4) High ISO Shooting - tortured the camera in difficult low light condition


Thursday, February 05, 2015

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3, with exception of 40MP High Res Shot which were straight out of camera JPEG (Super Fine)
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

Almost three years ago, Olympus shook the photography world when they introduced their first OM-D camera, the E-M5 (2012), which gained favourably positive reception,  It was the gamechanger, the first Mirrorless Compact System Camera to be taken seriously by photography enthusiasts and even professional photographers alike, with the first E-M5 delivering blazing fast autofocus performance, world's first and still most amazing 5-Axis Image Stabilization system built into the camera, admirable image quality output rivalling even the best APS-C DSLRs at the same time, yet having all that in a super small and compact camera body, which is ruggedly built and weather sealed. E-M5 was the camera that ticked all the right checkboxes for what a photographer desired. It was no surprise that much hype has been built up to the coming of the successor model for the E-M5.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is officially launched today.  



For the past few days, I have had the opportunity to bring the E-M5 Mark II out for a spin around Kuala Lumpur. I have taken tonnes of photographs, and this time, even video clips with the E-M5 Mark II, and I have compiled the images and videos into this blog entry, sharing my experience and feedback using the camera. If you are new to this blog, I adhere strongly to my photography gear review style which is user-experience approach and mostly non-technical. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Simplify

There are times that I may have over-think before I shoot. In contradiction to that I have also always emphasized simplicity, which I do practise when it comes to composition and subject content, but not so much on the photoshoot execution part. When it comes to the technicalities of the camera, I usually set the ISO manually, watched the shutter speed all the time (when I shoot in Aperture Priority), fiddle with the exposure compensation all the time, taking multiple shots of one scene, you know, just to be sure that one shot out of many is the perfect one, and always left wondering what I have missed out or might have done wrongly. There is that hesitation of "what if I stand over there" and "if I have moved closer" or "hey this works with wide angle too". Too many possibilities to go through, to many variables to play with and certainly not enough time to consider everything. Being hard-wired into engineering background I struggle to control everything. 

We know photography is never all about control.

Acquiring the Panasonic Lumix GM1 changes things for me. It is my way of simplifying my shutter therapy sessions. The following are my steps of simplification:

1) I ditched manual ISO control. I have ISO Auto with maximum ISO of 6400

2) I have shot everything in JPEG instead of RAW. What if I screw up my shot? Well, let the shot be screwed up. It is not a matter of life and death. If the shooting session was that important, I would have used my Olympus OM-D and PEN cameras instead. 

3) Limited battery life to play with. I have always brought along spare batteries for my OM-D, in case one runs out, and sometimes after a long exhaustive day, it usually does. GM1 is known to have poor battery life. It does not matter, I won't go trigger happy. Make every shot count. 

4) Chimp less. I have often admitted to chimping, and I do encourage that, reviewing your images after every shot to check the focus accuracy and make sure nothing went wrong. With the GM1, due to the limited battery life, I skipped chimping more and more. 

5) I normally would change lenses if necessary, and if I do not, I would use two camera bodies with different lenses mounted on them. I stayed with primarily one lens, the Olympus 25mm F1.8 on the GM1 thoughout the whole session, and (yes I caved in) only switched to Olympus 45mm F1.8 twice. 

6) I care less about the technicalities of my images, I have less worry about controlling everything, and just enjoyed the shooting process. Modern cameras are good enough to handle many photography situations.

7) No, I still do not trust the Face Detection AF. I switched that off. I manually select the focusing point, which was no biggie since I can use the touch screen to do so on the GM1.

Iron Men