Month: July 2010

Through the Olympus E-P2 electronic viewfinder

This is, I believe, a first for the web. I have been looking for an age on the web to find comparison photos that show what you see through the Olympus E-P2’s electronic viewfinder, and what the camera sees. Having failed in my quest, here is a quick comparison pair I have shot for our enhanced understanding of this digital marvel.

What the camera saw:

and now, through the viewfinder:

First things first – the real view through the finder does not suffer from chromatic abberation – this is a a problem introduced by my trusty Canon A720 IS in its macro shooting mode. Second thing – the image you see through the finder is not washed out in the highlight areas – this is again an image issue introduced by the second camera as the dynamic range of the scene can’t be properly recorded. (Maybe a HDR would be better, but nevermind, it was beyoned me today)

The image through the finder is clear, colourful and provides an excellent perception of what you will see in the image you shoot. there is a big range of setting information available, this shows just one mode. In summary, no, its not the same as a Leica’s rangefinder viewfinder, it’s different and in many areas, it’s better. It gives a full screen image of the view that results from the focal length mounted or zoomed, unlike an optical finder. It stops one having to use this as a point and shoot arm’s length unit, with all of the attendant problems that method of shooting brings. I love it.

Street photography so vibrant you can almost smell it

Shot as a grab whilst buying dinner. I always feel odd doing shots like this, I guess I am self-conscious poking a camera at people I don’t know in small places. I suppose the best way to get over this is to keep shooting.

Pizza in mono:

or the same image, pizza in colour:

Same image, same RAW file, different processing. Which image is more relevant for the scene?  I love the strength of the colours, but I also love the raw power of the B&W image.

Colour processing – get the white balance sorted, and then Topaz Adjust. Mono processing then done on top of the Topaz colour image. Shot on an Olympus E-P2 digital Pen, with the kit lens. I think as a P&S camera, it is just awesome. No-one noticed except the guy on the left, who asked for a look at it.

Dead centre

This is what the insides of a small but extremely important data centre looks like after it has been decomissioned. From its formerly orderly mechanical glory, with a row of expensive racks lined up, shoulder-to-shoulder like stormtroopers waiting for their orders, this room has degenerated into a, ah, well, a mess in just a year.  Boxes of crap everywhere, old desktop computers being wiped, a data cable snake from underfloor that has mysteriously migrated onto the top of a rack, waiting for a victim to consume….

Believe it or not, until about a year ago when I pulled the plug on it, this room would have been the busiest data centre in Australia last night, earning its keep for one of the heaviest day’s loads in the calendar.

I like the silence, the stillness portrayed in this photo, not a soul about but looking like a computer room in a modern day Flying Dutchman, where frenzied activity has just stopped and no-one is around to tell the tale of what catastrophe happenned.

Processing story – P&S camera, 28mm lens cropped and adjusted to straighten up the tilted lines resulting from squinting at the screen (always happens!), Lucis to crisp things up, Photoshop Smart Sharpen, converted to B&W by adjusting channels, and given a cool tone to make it look industrial.

Olympus E-P2 as a night / street camera

In my never-ending quest for the perfect P&S camera that will give me at least some control over depth of field choices, I have deliberately put down my trusty 5D for serious work for a short while, and in its place dusted off my Olympus E-P2 (digital Pen) with a half-hearted promise to myself to have it with me as often as I can (rather than a hollow claim of “all of the time”).

Here are some early results from it as a night shooter:

and

The first is (obviously) a B&W conversion, done outside the camera from a RAW file. The second is (equally obviously) a bit of a fraud – the comet and stars have been added to give it a bit of oomph. Irrespective of the truth of this image, I like it.

The more serious mono image requires a bit of processing info to explain its look – this was a bit more complex than normal – firstly get the exposure and white balance right in ACR. A dark vignette then drops the unattractive edges away. Conversion to mono, with the look of a titanium-toned image, filtered with green to kill off some of the brightness of the overpowering neons.

As for the rendering from the little Pen, it seems to be excellent. These images were shot on auto-pilot at 400 ISO, using the body’s inbuilt image stabilization as (of course) I had no tripod with me when I was returning the rented DVDs back to the shop just around the corner from this magnificent homage to the neon sign’s possibilities. Oh, and the lens for both was the bog standard kit zoom, a seemingly good bit of glass even if it a bit slow for my tastes. I took advantage of a wobbly signpost to rest the camera on, a couple of snaps – no movement as there is no mirror – and here we are.

As for street use, for unobtrusively sneaking in a few candid camera shots, it’s equally brilliant:

How’s this – an image from inside an art gallery, that was so quiet an SLR would have had the curator down on me in no time. Again, shot with the kit lens, opened to its maximum aperture, and set to 400 ISO, and processed to mono outside the camera from RAW. I love it. It’s small – my ruler says it’s just 122mm wide – that’s only about 4 & 3/4 inches. You can use any old Leica/Canon/whatever M39 screw mount lenses as well as any Leica M glass you may have lying around on it. Some call it the poor man’s M8 – I reckon it’s better – what do you think?