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?

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