Category Archives: Review

RODELink Review

My Review Of The RØDELink Filmmaker Kit

The new Rodelink wireless setup. May 19, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The new Rodelink wireless setup. May 19, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Easy. That’s the surprise when you first setup the new RODELink. So easy to setup and start shooting with. One button pairing, digital wireless and a distance of up to 100 meters.

The RodeLink Film Maker Kit on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. May 16, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The RodeLink Film Maker Kit on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. May 16, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Rode’s first wireless system works a treat; fast to get going with and great audio too. The Filmmaker Kit comes with a transmitter receiver, the excellent Rode Lavalier mic and also a minijack cable for attaching the receiver to your camera or audio recorder.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

Is The Sequel Any Good?!

Cameras come and cameras go. It’s a cycle that every manufacturer repeats every few years. As a professional photographer, I naturally keep my eyes open for new and better tools and as a reviewer of camera equipment for my blog and also various magazines over the years, I naturally get to use and review a lot of equipment from a lot of the main brands in our industry.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II fitted with the HLD-8 Power Battery Grip. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II fitted with the HLD-8 Power Battery Grip. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

So, how do I know if a camera is any good? Well, one sure way is at the end of the test, when I box away the camera to send back. If at this stage I feel bad and want to hold on to the camera, that gut feeling says it all. As I boxed away the OM-D E-M5 Mark II last night and begun taping up the box, I really wished I could keep it!

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. The two grips, the HLD-8 Power Battery Grip. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. The two grips, the HLD-8 Power Battery Grip. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

Although I never used Olympus in the days of film, I always really fancied the OM3Ti; to the point that even now, once in a while I’ll look them up on eBay! When Olympus launched the first PEN, the E-P1, my interest in the company’s cameras was re-invigorated. Since, I’ve owned and use various PEN cameras, the most recent being the brilliant E-P5. When I saw the first OM-D, the E-M5, I did rather like it and when I saw the E-M1, I did rather love it. It was a camera that just felt perfect from the second I picked it up and since has become my most used camera system, putting my Canon DSLR and Leica M setups in early and part time retirement. I’ve been using the new E-M5 Mark II for exactly two weeks now. My first outing with it was a video shoot of an anti ivory demonstration at the Chinese Embassy, which will be used in the feature length documentary, The Last Animals. Having played with the camera the evening before, it gave me such confidence in it’s abilities that I was happy to take it on a real and important assignment the next day. Although I brought a Canon 5D MkIII as a backup, just in case, the little Olympus worked faultlessly and perfectly, allowing me to shoot the entire demo with it. The camera’s ergonomics and menu system are very well designed. Not having a manual for the two weeks meant having to figure everything out by exploration and I’m happy to say that everything just came together nicely, all because of a well thought out camera, by designers and engineers who clearly understand photography and photographers.

A rare Ferrari 288 GTO  built in 1985 with only 883 miles on the clock. It is valued at £2,000,000 and available from H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. January 30, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A rare Ferrari 288 GTO built in 1985 with only 883 miles on the clock. It is valued at £2,000,000 and available from H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. January 30, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

One of the highlight aspects of the E-M5 Mark II is it’s new high resolution mode; the resolution is boosted from it’s normal 16mp to a whopping 40mp. It does this by taking eight images, shifting the sensor for each shot and combining them into a 40mp jpeg, all in a matter of seconds. As the camera can fire up to 11 shots in the silent continuous mode (more of this later), the actual picture can be taken in under or around a second, so long exposure’s aren’t needed.

A rare Ferrari 288 GTO  built in 1985 with only 883 miles on the clock. It is valued at £2,000,000 and available from H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. January 30, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A rare Ferrari 288 GTO built in 1985 with only 883 miles on the clock. It is valued at £2,000,000 and available from H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. January 30, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A detail crop; A rare Ferrari 288 GTO  built in 1985 with only 883 miles on the clock. It is valued at £2,000,000 and available from H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. January 30, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A detail crop; A rare Ferrari 288 GTO built in 1985 with only 883 miles on the clock. It is valued at £2,000,000 and available from H.R. Owen in South Kensington, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. January 30, 2015. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The processing of the eight images then takes a couple of seconds. A tripod is a must and your subject needs to be still, but I can see a lot of creative uses of this with moving subjects! The results are astonishing though. An image dimension of 7296 x 5472 takes things into the higher end of medium format territory. The results are pin sharp, full of detail and tonal range. Whilst this wasn’t a feature I was enamoured by when I first found out about it, having used it, it has really blown my mind!

Taxi Rank, Paddington Station, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. February 01, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Taxi Rank, Paddington Station, London. Image shot on the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, using the multi shot sensor shift facility, creating a 40 megapixel image. February 01, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

To download a full resolution file of the above image and see for yourself, follow THIS LINK. The other huge feature of the E-M5 Mark II is an updated and even more capable 5-axis in camera stabiliser. In a nutshell, every axis of movement is stabilised, meaning hand held shot are possible at very slow shutter speeds for pin sharp photographs. With practice I found I can shoot hand held at down to almost a one second exposure.

Shooting Video

This stabiliser also works in the video mode and in this aspect, pushes the camera to be one of the most able video shooting stills cameras around. It frees the user up to shooting so much more hand held shots. In my short film Taxi Driver, I shot the majority of shots completely hand held. Something I would never do with a DSLR, even with a stabilised lens.

Some of the shots in the film were done by attaching the camera and a mic, onto the windscreen of the taxi or to the bonnet, using a Delkin Fat Ghecko vehicle mount. This triple suction mount worked perfectly, but on it’s own offers no means of stabilisation. Considering how much a diesel London Taxi vibrates and the state of the bumpy roads in some parts of town, the smooth results just blew me away. The stabiliser is both extremely capable and extremely freeing, allowing you to shoot and create, without worrying about steadycams or a tripod. In fact, the only scenes I used a tripod and monopod were for the interview in the cafe and a few shots of a taxi rank. The rest of the seven hour shoot was freehand! By adding a grip (either the HLD-8 or HLD-8 Power Battery Grip) one also adds a headphone socket. This is essential for being able to monitor what the microphone is picking up and really makes this camera an even better video shooter. Thankfully, the audio gain level (along with ISO, aperture, shutter speed and headphone volume) can be changed using the silent touch screen during video shooting. Brilliant!

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Picture shows the all important headphone socket, now part of the optional (and essential) grip, the HLD-8G and HLD8 Battery Power Grip (shown), February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Picture shows the all important headphone socket, now part of the optional (and essential) grip, the HLD-8G and HLD8 Battery Power Grip (shown), February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

Thankfully, we now have variable frame rates, meaning that 60p, 50p, 30p, 25p and 24p can be used for full 1080p HD video. The video file itself is very beefy! ALL‑I has a data rate of 77Mbps. IPB gives the following data rates in the following quality setting: SF: ~52Mbps, F: ~30Mbps, N: ~18Mbps. Having shot the majority of the two films in ALL-I at 77Mbps, I can say that the detail holds up extremely well, rendering both highlight and shadow detail properly, allowing for proper grading. It also pushes the camera’s data rate into one the BBC with their stringent guidelines should approve of. Another very handy feature is various levels of slow motion (and speeded up footage) available in camera. I have made good use of the slow motion and am very pleased with the results. You can see this in action in my London Taxi film mentioned earlier.

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II fitted with the HLD-8 Power Battery Grip and Rode Steroe VideoMic X. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II fitted with the HLD-8 Power Battery Grip and Rode Steroe VideoMic X. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

On the audio front, the camera has the all important audio limiter, meaning loud sounds or a raise in volume won’t blow the audio and make it useless. The audio is also recorded at 16 bit, 48Hz, Wave Format Base, meaning it’s actually of better than CD quality and not compressed. Naturally there is an on screen audio meter during shooting. Although the camera has built in stereo microphones, it also comes with the essential mic socket, and during filming my Rode VideoMic Pro and Rode Stereo VideoMic X found themselves at home and recording great audio. Other Goodies The flip out, articulated screen is a great bonus which allows various camera angles to be used with ease. One thing I found I was going a lot was flipping it so the screen was hidden from view and the camera resembled a film camera. This is great as it’ll stop the chimping photographer, make them concentrate on the scene and not the camera back and as a result save on battery power. During the interview scene in London Taxi, I was shooting multicam, and the screen allowed me to tilt it on the wide camera, meaning I could keep an eye on it and on the one in my hand; very handy indeed. Another very handy aspect for me was the practically silent shutter. It can barely be heard and on the street, it should be completely inaudible. Need to take pictures in a monastery of monks who have taken a vows of silence? Not a problem as there is also a completely silent electronic shutter mode. And yes, I do mean silent. Completely. Zero sound. It’s absolutely astonishing to put the camera into silent continuous and know one’s shooting 11 frames per second, in absolute, total and complete silence! In normal mode, the barely audible shutter mode means in continuous mode, the count drops by a frame to 10fps.

London Taxi driver Terry Bradford. January 31, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

London Taxi, St Paul’s Cathedral. January 31, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The built in WiFi remains from the previous cameras and married to the Olympus O.I. Share app on iOS means you can download jpegs (I always shoot RAW and medium jpeg for just this reason) and also have full, wireless remote camera control. This naturally opens up huge possibilities and also allows quick sharing of images on social media (just check out my Instagram!) or for sending a quick image to a client for approval or a newspaper for publication. As a very important bonus, the battery system is the same as the previous OM-Ds and PENs; this means that when travelling, one needs one type of charger and one set of batteries. It’s this type of uniformity that endears a brand to the photographer and really helps on assignment. Final Thoughts So, is everything perfect? So far, I have had nothing but praise for this camera; I almost have nothing but praise for this camera. The only thing that bugs me, is the rear function button, labelled Fn1. It’s just too small and flat and is next to a lever which juts out too much, adding to it’s difficult use. In normal function button use, this isn’t an issue and works perfectly well when holding the camera away from the face and accessing the menus, but there are some photographers, myself included, who prefer back button focus, so assign all AF use to the back button. Whilst it’s usable, it’s not comfortable and not as tactile as it should be. So if you’re one of the breed who likes to back button focus, you will be annoyed. However, I like this camera so much that I will try and find a way to attach something to this button to make it stand out a few millimetres.

Dramatic Clouds At Sunset, London. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

Dramatic Clouds At Sunset, London. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

Well, as I mentioned at the beginning, I don’t want to return this test camera back to Olympus; I like it that much. One thing is for sure, a couple of E-M5 Mark II cameras will definitely be joining my bag as soon as they are available. My E-M1 cameras are extremely capable (and will be even better with the new firmware bring faster continuous AF, I’m sure) but for video, the E-M5 Mark II has raised the bar tremendously. For me, it’s a must have camera…..so yes, the sequel is much better! Links: Here’s my Flickr Album with E-M5 MarkII images; this will be updated, so do keep an eye on it.

Addendum

My black Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera and M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 lens. April 29, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

My black Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera and M.Zuiko 17mm f1.8 lens. April 29, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A few months on and I’ve got myself a pair of E-M5 Mark II cameras. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s a great camera. In fact, I have an assignment tomorrow and I’ll only be shooting on these; shall leave the E-M1 cameras at home. One thing however has changed since my review; the back “Function 1” button. Olympus have clearly been listening to the feedback and seem to have completely changed the button’s mechanics. It’s no longer hard to press and feels much better. The design isn’t ideal as the lever juts out too much, but with the button being softer to the touch and with much more feel, back button focusing is actually achievable comfortably. I’ve set up both my cameras with back button focus enabled. Top marks to Olympus for making this small yet significant change since the sample camera I had for my initial review.

Wacom Intuos Pro Tablet Review

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium TABLET (now called the Intuos Pro)

To Tablet Or Not To Tablet; Long Term Review
The Wacom Intuos Pro family of tablets. Photo: ©Wacom

The Wacom Intuos Pro family of tablets. Photo: ©Wacom

I’ve been a user of Wacom tablets for many years now. I have had an Intuos 2 and Intuos 3. With the introduction of a “touch” surface, I was intrigues so borrowed the new Intuos 5 Touch Medium with wireless adapter for a long term review from Wacom.

Editing "1 Sixpence 1 Play" using FCP X and a Wacom Intuos 5 Touch graphic's tablet and calibrated Eizo CG276 monitors. Still frame from video; ©Edmond Terakopian

Editing “1 Sixpence 1 Play” using FCP X and a Wacom Intuos 5 Touch graphic’s tablet and calibrated Eizo CG276 monitors. Still frame from video; ©Edmond Terakopian

The review didn’t start off too well though. The early software drivers on the Mac weren’t very stable and regardless of wether I was in tethered mode (USB) or wireless (using a wireless USB adapter), the tablet would at some stage during the working day disappear and eventually I just gave up and went back to using the Apple Trackpad on my Mac Pro and Intuos 3, waiting for updates to the software.

The Wacom Intuos Pro small tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

The Wacom Intuos Pro small tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

During a large edit on a big project (around a year ago), I developed a serious wrist pain and decided it was time to get the Wacom Intuos 5 out again. My only issue with using my Intuos 3 all the time is that I’m now so used to the gesture control in the Mac OS that having only a pen or the Wacom mouse is often counter productive. I decided to have a look at the Intuos 5 again and thankfully there was updated software. I updated and switched off the Apple Trackpad and went to the Wacom. Glad to report that the drivers are now solid and there are no more problems.

The Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

The Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

The huge positive thing about the Intuos 5 is the fact that it is also a touch pad with gesture control too; the name is kind of a clue here. Some learning is needed to master a few new movements but the system works well; so well that I’ve stuck with it solidly since, without issue. My beloved Apple Trackpad has been tucked away in a cupboard since. There’s also fully customisable control in the way of “ExpressKeys” and added control with the Touch Ring.

Having used it with Aperture, Lightroom, Capture One, Photoshop as well as FCP X on some major projects, several of which have gone on to win awards, the combination of pen and touch not only works extremely well, but is also much kinder physically and doesn’t cause the fatigue or pain that can be associated with heavy mouse or trackpad use. For my general computing, I just use the tablet as a touch device.

The Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

The Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

One huge advantage with the pen is also the ability to be much more accurate. Using brushes or moving sliders incrementally can be done with pinpoint accuracy. On top of this, the free flowing pen is suited towards artistic expression, so things like burning in or dodging is a breeze and more akin to the expressiveness one would show in a traditional darkroom. Naturally for the artist, there is no better tool, so if you draw, paint or do graphical design and for some reason haven’t tried a Wacom, just do – you won’t regret it. One thing I can pretty much guarantee is that within weeks of use of a Wacom, you will wonder how you managed without it.

The only gripe I have is the touch surface doesn’t cover the entire tablet and is within a designated area, which is incidentally, clearly marked and roughly around 85% of the surface area. I occasionally find myself just outside the bottom of the area and it’s frustrating as it can lead to errors when using the tablet as a trackpad. One does get used to it, and there are so many positives, that for me, it’s not a deal breaker. I do hope though that Wacom can make the next model touch capable over the entire surface.

Some thoughts on which size; as I use dual monitors at my office, I have always opted for the A4 size in the past, now called the Medium. The larger surface area allows for great control and accuracy when working on small areas (like retouching dust). I think anyone who works on a single screen or works just on a laptop will probably find the Small size to be more than capable. As always though, the best thing is to find your nearest stockist and go and have a try to see what suits you best. Also, for those who have never tried a tablet before, at first it will feel slightly alien the first day; trust me, just persevere as it will revolutionise the way you interact with your computer.

Faster working, pain free use, accurate and versatile with both pen and touch. With the maturing of the software, this is a must have for anyone who spends a lot of time photo, video or audio editing. I can’t recommend this highly enough; your work will improve and your wrist will thank you. Having just sold my Intuos 3 tablet, pen and mouse, I shall be purchasing my own Intuos 5 Touch Medium soon!

The Wacom Intuos 5 family of tablets. As you can see, the new Pro series look almost identical. Photo: ©Wacom

The Wacom Intuos 5 family of tablets. As you can see, the new Pro series look almost identical. Photo: ©Wacom

NB – Since beginning this long term review, the model naming has changed and the Intuos 5 range is now called the Intuos Pro. As far as differences between the unit, they are practically identical with some minor cosmetic differences and a slightly different surface coating. Also, the Pro now comes with the wireless kit as standard (although you can also use a USB connection instead).

On a related issue, as I’m often on the road with my MacBook Pro or 11” MacBook Air, either on assignment, teaching workshops or giving presentations, I decided to get a smaller tablet for mobile use. I opted for the Intuos Pen and Touch in the small size, which is working out well too. Not up to the feel of the Intuos 5, which is a professional grade piece of equipment, but it does work well on the road. One thing’s for sure though; once funds allow, I’ll almost definitely be upgrading that to the small size Intuos Pro Touch.

The Wacom Intuos small tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

The Wacom Intuos small tablet. Photo: ©Wacom

To see the Wacom in action, you can jump to 05:28 where you can see it being used with FCP X to edit our film “1 Sixpence 1 Play“:

Testing The New Olympus 25mm f1.8 Lens

Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 Test

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens.  Photographed attached to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera.  January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian   *Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens. Photographed attached to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera. January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
*Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has fast become one of my favourite cameras. One of my favourite focal lengths, especially for street photography and environmental portraits is 50mm and I felt that the Olympus m4/3 lens lineup was missing this. I was delighted to find though that this lens was going to be announced soon and Olympus UK kindly lent me the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f1.8 lens to shoot my Los Angeles trip with. I’ve therefore been shooting with this lens since the 5th of January, for creating real pictures. Those who are familiar with my tests know that I don’t do the scientific breakdown or photograph brick walls; I take equipment on real assignments and shoots.

The sun rises over Los Angeles, California, USA. January 13, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The sun rises over Los Angeles, California, USA. January 13, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. www.andreafeczko.com), plays volleyball on Venice Beach. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. http://www.andreafeczko.com), plays volleyball on Venice Beach. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. www.andreafeczko.com), on Santa Monica beach. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. http://www.andreafeczko.com), on Santa Monica beach. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. www.andreafeczko.com), on Santa Monica beach. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. http://www.andreafeczko.com), on Santa Monica beach. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. www.andreafeczko.com), on Santa Monica beach at sunset. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. http://www.andreafeczko.com), on Santa Monica beach at sunset. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. www.andreafeczko.com), at the funfair on Santa Monica pier in the evening. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator. http://www.andreafeczko.com), at the funfair on Santa Monica pier in the evening. LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

For those not familiar with the m4/3 (Micro Four Thirds) system, the 25mm lens gives an equivalent of 50mm at a relatively fast aperture of f1.8. Married with the astonishingly great 5-axis stabiliser in the E-M1, this means that hand held extreme low light photography is very possible. At f1.8 one also gets lovely separation of subject from the background. I shot with the lens solidly whilst on a trip to Los Angeles and day in, day out, it performed perfectly.

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator - www.andreafeczko.com), at the lavish Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel, LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator – http://www.andreafeczko.com), at the lavish Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel, LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator - www.andreafeczko.com), at the lavish Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel, LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Andrea Feczko (American TV Presenter and digital content creator – http://www.andreafeczko.com), at the lavish Thompson Beverly Hills Hotel, LA, USA. January 14, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Visitors at the Chinese Theatre forecourt featuring handprints, footprints and signatures of iconic celebrities. The young visitors check out the Harry Potter imprints. Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. January 16, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Visitors at the Chinese Theatre forecourt featuring handprints, footprints and signatures of iconic celebrities. The young visitors check out the Harry Potter imprints. Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. January 16, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Cartoon characters interact with the tourists. Walk of fame, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. January 16, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Cartoon characters interact with the tourists. Walk of fame, Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, California. January 16, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Very fast (and silent) to focus, pin sharp, accurate colour and tonal rendition and great element coating, meaning that shooting into the sun is not a problem. Being part of the M.Zuiko Premium range means it’s extremely well built. As you can see from the product photography, it’s also tiny and only weighs 137g. With two Aspherical elements and a close focusing distance of only 0.25cm, it has fast become my standard lens on my E-M1. I won’t hesitate in recommending this lens; it’s fast, crisp, small and extremely capable.

To see more photographs taken with the Olympus 25mm f1.8 lens, please visit my Flickr set.

LA Fashion District, downtown Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

LA Fashion District, downtown Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Bob's Big Boy in Burbank is a burger restaurant where every Friday night, classic car enthusiasts gather to show off their classic restored cars and hotrods. Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank is a burger restaurant where every Friday night, classic car enthusiasts gather to show off their classic restored cars and hotrods. Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Bob's Big Boy in Burbank is a burger restaurant where every Friday night, classic car enthusiasts gather to show off their classic restored cars and hotrods. Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank is a burger restaurant where every Friday night, classic car enthusiasts gather to show off their classic restored cars and hotrods. Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Bob's Big Boy in Burbank is a burger restaurant where every Friday night, classic car enthusiasts gather to show off their classic restored cars and hotrods. Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank is a burger restaurant where every Friday night, classic car enthusiasts gather to show off their classic restored cars and hotrods. Los Angeles, California, USA. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Avenue in Downtown of Los Angeles, California, is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Centre and was designed by Frank Gehry. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 South Grand Avenue in Downtown of Los Angeles, California, is the fourth hall of the Los Angeles Music Centre and was designed by Frank Gehry. January 17, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens.  Photographed next to the 45mm lens for size comparison.  January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian   *Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens. Photographed next to the 45mm lens for size comparison. January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
*Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens.  January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian   *Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens. January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
*Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens.  Shown with supplied lens hood attached.  January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian   *Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens. Shown with supplied lens hood attached. January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
*Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens.  Photographed attached to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera.  January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian   *Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

The new Olympus M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 25mm 1:1.8 lens. Photographed attached to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera. January 28, 2014. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
*Please forgive the particles of sand on the equipment!!*

2013: A Year In Pictures

Reviewing The Year

What an interesting year it’s been. A year filled with awards, talks, lectures, workshops, videos and naturally, my main passion, pictures. 2013 brought with it 13 awards for my photography and short film work; 13 for Thirteen – very neat.

I thought it might be fun to go over the year and share my favourite images; some professional commissions and others taken over coffee on my iPhone.

I hope you enjoy them 🙂

Gordon Ramsay's Union Street Cafe, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1.  Gordon Ramsay at the restaurant.  August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Cafe, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1. Gordon Ramsay at the restaurant. August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay at his Union Street Bar, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1.  August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay at his Union Street Bar, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1. August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay at the steps leading to his Union Street Bar, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1.  August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay at the steps leading to his Union Street Bar, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1. August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay's Union Street Cafe, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1.  Gordon Ramsay at the restaurant.  August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Cafe, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1. Gordon Ramsay at the restaurant. August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay's Union Street Cafe, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1.  Gordon Ramsay at the Union Street Bar.  August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Cafe, 47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London SE1. Gordon Ramsay at the Union Street Bar. August 30, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A portrait of Tony McNulty. London.  September 20, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian Shot using a Leica M (Type 240) and an Angenieux 35-70mm f2.5-3.3 zoom lens, using a Novoflex Leica r to M adapter. Processed in Aperture and DXO Film Pack 3 plugin.

A portrait of Tony McNulty. London. September 20, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian
Shot using a Leica M (Type 240) and an Angenieux 35-70mm f2.5-3.3 zoom lens, using a Novoflex Leica r to M adapter. Processed in Aperture and DXO Film Pack 3 plugin.

The Summer Saunter. A group of bold and independent men led by stylist Timothy Lord and The Chap Magazine’s Albion step out in style in the name of sartorial freedom, from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral to Mayfair’s Berkeley Square in a demonstration of solidarity with all men who dare to dress differently. London, UK. Toby Pennington and the chaps outside El Vino on Fleet Street.  July 21, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Summer Saunter. A group of bold and independent men led by stylist Timothy Lord and The Chap Magazine’s Albion step out in style in the name of sartorial freedom, from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral to Mayfair’s Berkeley Square in a demonstration of solidarity with all men who dare to dress differently. London, UK. Toby Pennington and the chaps outside El Vino on Fleet Street. July 21, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Summer Saunter. A group of bold and independent men led by stylist Timothy Lord and The Chap Magazine’s Albion step out in style in the name of sartorial freedom, from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral to Mayfair’s Berkeley Square in a demonstration of solidarity with all men who dare to dress differently. London, UK. Toby Pennington at an exhibition by Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Marlborough Contemporary gallery, Albemarle Street, London, where the gentlemen stopped for a Champagne break. July 21, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian  July 21, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Summer Saunter. A group of bold and independent men led by stylist Timothy Lord and The Chap Magazine’s Albion step out in style in the name of sartorial freedom, from the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral to Mayfair’s Berkeley Square in a demonstration of solidarity with all men who dare to dress differently. London, UK. Toby Pennington at an exhibition by Agnieszka Brzeżańska, Marlborough Contemporary gallery, Albemarle Street, London, where the gentlemen stopped for a Champagne break. July 21, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian July 21, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Daily life on Oxford Street at rush hour. October 17, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Daily life on Oxford Street at rush hour. October 17, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Daily life along London's South Bank and the Christmas Fair stalls. November 30, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Daily life along London’s South Bank and the Christmas Fair stalls. November 30, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

London's South Bank.  Skate Park.  July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

London’s South Bank. Skate Park. July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

London's South Bank.  Pedestrians walk past a bridge.   July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

London’s South Bank. Pedestrians walk past a bridge. July 15, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

Life along London's South Bank. June 27, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Life along London’s South Bank. June 27, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Life along London's South Bank. June 27, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Life along London’s South Bank. June 27, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Magnum photographer René Burri at his book signing in the Photographers' Gallery book shop, Ramillies Street, London. April 24, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Magnum photographer René Burri at his book signing in the Photographers’ Gallery book shop, Ramillies Street, London. April 24, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera*  Model Sonia Yasmin Ali.  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian   Technical notes: raw image processed in Aperture. ISO 3200, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera* Model Sonia Yasmin Ali. London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian
Technical notes: raw image processed in Aperture. ISO 3200, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Model Lizzie Bowden. New Look behind the scenes shoot of their Autumn / Winter 2013 collection advertising film by Cherry Duck. Walnuts Farm, Old Heathfield, East Sussex, UK. August 22, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Model Lizzie Bowden. New Look behind the scenes shoot of their Autumn / Winter 2013 collection advertising film by Cherry Duck. Walnuts Farm, Old Heathfield, East Sussex, UK. August 22, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Montblanc pens and ink on a desk. London. July 13, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

Montblanc pens and ink on a desk. London. July 13, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian / 2013

A portrait of Megan. London. August 18, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A portrait of Megan. London. August 18, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A portrait of Maya, Heatherden Hall, Pinewood Studios, Pinewood Road, Iver, Slough, Buckinghamshire. October 24, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A portrait of Maya, Heatherden Hall, Pinewood Studios, Pinewood Road, Iver, Slough, Buckinghamshire. October 24, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Atmosphere at Gordon's wine bar (London's oldest wine bar, established in 1890), 47 Villiers Street, London WC2N.   October 01, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Atmosphere at Gordon’s wine bar (London’s oldest wine bar, established in 1890), 47 Villiers Street, London WC2N. October 01, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Street life. Stairs and the businessman. Essex Street, London WC2. February 14, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Street life. Stairs and the businessman. Essex Street, London WC2. February 14, 2013. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A busker plays outside The Library Project shop, Temple Bar, Dublin. November 17, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A busker plays outside The Library Project shop, Temple Bar, Dublin. November 17, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Review

Hands On Review Of The Olympus OM-D E-M1 Camera

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the new Olympus M4/3 12-40mm f2.8 zoom and grip. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the new Olympus M4/3 12-40mm f2.8 zoom and grip. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The E-M1 was about to join a list of cameras which had made an impression on me from the moment I had picked them up; the Nikon FE, FM, FE2, FM2, F3. The Canon T90, 5D MkIII, 1D MkII, MkIII (after the sub mirror fix), Mk IV and 1DX, Leica R6.2 and every single Leica M camera from film to digital, but excluding the M5, M8 and M8.2.

I was sitting in the airport terminal, waiting for our plane to Ireland. That’s when I first saw the 16MP Olympus OM-D E-M1 in the flesh. The second I held the camera, it just felt right. It was solid like no other micro four thirds camera I’d used, more like a pro DSLR. The ergonomics were right; the grip was the perfect size and the buttons just fell to hand perfectly. It definitely felt right. I knew then I was in for a treat. The little Olympus had joined a very exclusive list of cameras that conveyed a feeling upon first touch.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot witht he Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot witht he Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

Olympus had arranged for a few photographers and trade journalists to fly off to Ireland’s lovely Castle Leslie and spend seven to eight hours with the camera. Various scenarios were arranged to give us the opportunity to try out the camera’s various functions and also to put Olympus’ Micro Four Thirds and older Four Thirds lenses (which are compatible and also AF, using an adapter) to use. Everything from models, lighting (flash and continuous tungsten), galloping horses, dark and dingy situations and an amazing light drawing artist were all at hand, as was the beautiful surroundings of the castle itself. I have to say that the event was organised and executed perfectly.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the new Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Lit with a portable Pro Photo studio flash triggered wirelessly. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the new Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Lit with a portable Pro Photo studio flash triggered wirelessly. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

We were each given a camera bag with the E-M1, grip and brand new Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 Pro lens (in 35mm terms, this becomes a 24-80mm f2.8 – we were in fact the first photographers worldwide, outside of Olympus staff to use this lens), a second lens (in my case a 12mm f2.0) and a flash (which I didn’t get a chance to try). We were split into three groups and within the groups we had access to all other micro four thirds lenses, including the simply brilliant 45mm and 75mm f1.8 lenses. We also had the knowledgeable Florian from Olympus Germany on hand to help with any technical questions.

A horse and rider gallop through a lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

A horse and rider gallop through a lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 with a Four Thirds Olympus 300mm f2.8 lens, attached with an adapter.  This combination was used to take the photograph below. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 with a Four Thirds Olympus 300mm f2.8 lens, attached with an adapter. This combination was used to take the photograph below. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

A horse and rider gallop through a lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 300mm f2.8 Four Thirds lens (effectively a 600mm f2.8).  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

A horse and rider gallop through a lake. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 300mm f2.8 Four Thirds lens (effectively a 600mm f2.8). Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

One lens not yet available, but a mock up of which I saw, was a 40-150mm f2.8 Pro lens (80-300mm f2.8 equivalent). With this addition to the system, I feel the E-M1 is ready for most things and could well be the news photographer’s perfect kit. Two E-M1 bodies, the 12-40mm and 40-150mm, all roughly pack into the same area as a traditional pro DSLR and 24-70mm f2.8 lens would take. It would also probably be lighter and roughly cost around the same.

The E-M1 In Use

Having spent around eight hours with the camera, I can definitely give my impressions of it, but it’s not long enough to be able to run a full test. Hopefully I shall do this in the future. As I mentioned in my intro, the camera just feels right as soon as you pick it up. Several photographers made the same comment and we were all surprised that we all said the same thing, using identical words! The design has obviously been really well thought out and tried out too.

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Although there was no time to read through a manual, the camera’s buttons and menu system are easy enough to figure out and after a little fumbling, one gets very used to it. I’m a big fan of having buttons and dials for major operational features and as a result of incorporating these, the camera is easy and quick to operate. The rear LCD is extremely crisp; a high res, bright and touch capable screen that also flips up or down. Very handy indeed.

Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot witht he Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot witht he Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

Being a micro four thirds camera, it doesn’t have a mirror box, so it’s not an SLR. This means that the camera is much smaller (around half the size of a pro DSLR) and lighter. This in turn means the lenses are also much smaller and lighter too, even the fast f1.8 offerings. Being a Leica M photographer small is something I appreciate in my cameras and lenses; well, the Olympus lenses are even smaller than Leica M optics.

A floating bubble with the reflection of a glass roof. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot   Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

A floating bubble with the reflection of a glass roof. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Not having a mirrorbox naturally means no optical viewfinder, but Olympus have incorporated the very best EVF on the market (electronic viewfinder) into the camera. It’s bright, sharp, fast (no streaking or smearing) and supremely sensitive in the dark – it’s practically night vision. I’ve been using EVF’s since my Leica Digilux 2, then on my Olympus PEN E-P2. I now have an EVF for my Leica M (Type 240) and nothing I have used or tested before comes close to just how good the E-M1 and it’s built in EVF work. If you’re a sceptic, definitely pop to a shop and try it out when the camera is  available from October 2013.

A closeup of a flower, shot with the macro function of the new Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot   Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

A closeup of a flower, shot with the macro function of the new Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

The EVF allowed me to work in normal portrait conditions, in the bright sun, in a practically black, darkened library and also tracking galloping horses coming straight at me and also across from me. It worked flawlessly. During the day’s shooting, I didn’t once feel an optical finder would have helped me make better pictures.

Ghosts in the library. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with Live Time mode (bulb but with updated view of the long exposure, shown on the rear screen as the image develops), using the new Olympus 12mm-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Ghosts in the library. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with Live Time mode (bulb but with updated view of the long exposure, shown on the rear screen as the image develops), using the new Olympus 12mm-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

The speed of the drive is also very impressive; 10fps, falling to 6.5fps for continuous AF. The buffer is also huge, allowing 50 raw files to be buffered whilst writing to card.

Auto Focus

Ok, this really is surprising. The speed and accuracy of focus felt on par with my Canon 1DX. I haven’t done side by side testing, but the speed of the AF using Micro Four Thirds lenses really does astonish. No sooner have you touched the shutter button that the subject pops into perfect focus. I found this both is single and continuous mode.

The camera uses a dual AF system, combining phase detection and contrast AF, switching between the two depending on the lens in use.

Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot witht he Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot witht he Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture and Silver Efex Pro 2*

Being old school, I very much tend to choose my AF point and work. A professional portrait photographer who was at hand convinced me to try the face detection, with eye detection during a portrait shoot. Very reluctantly, I did, as I don’t believe in gimmicks. Well, it’s no gimmick and works perfectly! The camera picked the face of the model and focused on the eyes. Shooting at f1.8 on the 45mm and also 75mm lenses, the results were spot on, pin sharp.

ISO and Low Light

The ISO also impresses, topping out at 25,600 ISO and giving clean and crisp results. The low light operation also has the immense benefit of the camera’s built in 5-axis image stabiliser. Being built into the camera means that every lens can be stabilised. The system works tremendously well, both in stills and in video mode.

Detail Crop: ISO 6400. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Detail Crop: ISO 6400. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

ISO 6400. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

ISO 6400. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Detail Crop: ISO 12,800. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Detail Crop: ISO 12,800. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

ISO 12,800. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

ISO 12,800. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Detail Crop: ISO 25,600. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Detail Crop: ISO 25,600. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

ISO 25,600. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

ISO 25,600. Portrait of a model. Olympus OM-D EM-1 Test Shot with the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *jpeg image processed in Aperture*

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Test Shot with the new Olympus 12mm-40mm f2.8 lens. The 5 axis image stabilisation has kept this 1/5th of a second shot pin sharp.  Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian    *RAW image processed in Olympus Viewer 3 and Aperture*

Olympus OM-D E-M1 Test Shot with the new Olympus 12mm-40mm f2.8 lens. The 5 axis image stabilisation has kept this 1/5th of a second shot pin sharp. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian *RAW image processed in Olympus Viewer 3 and Aperture*

Video

Alas, this is the area where the camera could do more. Positively, the 5-axis stabiliser makes this the most suitable stills camera in the world for shooting video on. Stabilising, smooth clips are to hand. Another boon is the E-M1 has a built in mic socket. Sadly, the negatives are too many at this stage. No headphone socket. As far as I could see, no way to monitor manual audio whilst shooting (I may be wrong as time was limited). The huge omission though, and one which I hope with firmware upgrades can be changed, is that the camera only shoots in 30P in full 1080P HD. I really don’t understand why 24P and 25P were not included. Judging by the size of the buffer and processing power, I would guess that 50P and higher should have also been possible, allowing beautiful slow motion to be shot with the camera.

With the 5-axis stabiliser, Olympus have a winning feature that elevates them over the entire competition. They need to take this seriously and update the firmware to allow for the missing frae rates. Also future models need to have headphone sockets.

There are a huge list of other features; the built in WiFi with iOS App control, and amazing live bulb mode, it’s weather sealing and expandability all add up to impress. To get a full specification list, visit this Olympus page.

Final Thoughts

I really like the Olympus PEN range and they impressed me from the start. Olympus has shown itself to be one of a small number of camera manufacturers who really innovate. I played with the first OM-D, the E-M5, which impressed. However, the E-M1 just jumps ahead, light years, over anything Olympus have produced and most cameras on the market.

A shot of me with the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Test Shot with Live Time mode (bulb but with updated view of the long exposure, shown on the rear screen as the image develops), using the new Olympus 12mm-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: Damian McGillicuddy

A shot of me with the Olympus OM-D E-M1. Test Shot with Live Time mode (bulb but with updated view of the long exposure, shown on the rear screen as the image develops), using the new Olympus 12mm-40mm f2.8 lens. Castle Leslie, Glaslough, Ireland. September 10, 2013. Photo: Damian McGillicuddy

It feels right from the first time one holds it. The lenses are brilliant, the system works. Speed, accuracy, small size, unobtrusive. It’s a shame the video aspects aren’t up to scratch as the camera is pretty much perfect otherwise. With the addition of a professional service plan (Service Plus), Olympus shows it’s serious about the pro market. A few longer Micro Four Thirds lenses alongside the 40-150mm f2.8 and I think the system will be ready for most types of professional photography.

Give the camera a try. You won’t be disappointed. I for one was seriously impressed.

Visit my Olympus OM-D E-M1 Flickr Set to see more images shot with the camera.

Olympus PEN E-P5 Preview

Hands On Test With The E-P5

The Olympus PEN E-P5 with the Olympus 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8 lenses at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image shows an initial production camera*  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The Olympus PEN E-P5 with the Olympus 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8 lenses at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image shows an initial production camera* London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

I was fortunate to be at the press launch for the new Olympus PEN E-P5 in London last week. Olympus had kindly arranged for a couple of models and I managed to get some time to try out the new E-P5 and a range of Olympus’s rather cool fast prime lenses. Before I carry on with this preview, it’s imperative to let you know that the camera was an IP model (Initial Production, meaning not yet final production) and the firmware was pre-production. Also, as the camera is so new (not available for purchase yet) my choice of image processing software, Aperture, does not yet support the RAW files, so all images here, as well as comments on image quality are based on the camera’s jpegs (which were then processed as needed in Aperture). Needless to say the RAW files will improve things further (better colour, more highlight and shadow detail as well as less digital noise at high ISOs).

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera*  Model Sonia Yasmin Ali.  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian   Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2. ISO 3200, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera* Model Sonia Yasmin Ali. London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian
Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture and Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2. ISO 3200, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

When Olympus brought out the first PEN, the E-P1, I was very impressed and really liked the camera. The  Olympus PEN E-P2 improved things further, including adding the ability to add an EVF (electronic viewfinder) and video shooting, including adding an external microphone for better sound. I was so impressed with the E-P2 that I added one to my toolset and shot with the camera extensively.

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera*  Model Sonia Yasmin Ali.  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian   Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 2000, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera* Model Sonia Yasmin Ali. London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian
Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 2000, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

The E-P5 has moved things on much further. It’s definitely the best PEN by far. The design looks superb and looks a little more like the original PEN cameras from the days of film and more importantly, the ergonomics are great. The specification sheet is very impressive;  16 megapixels, super fast (and accurate) AF, 9fps (yes, nine frames per second!), full 1080p HD video, built in 5 axis image stabiliser, manual focus with focus peaking assist, built in WiFi and a brand new 2.36 megapixel external electronic viewfinder; the VF-4.

I’ll get straight to my conclusion; I loved this camera. Extremely responsive, small, unobtrusive with some stunning Olympus prime lenses. It behaved exactly as a camera should; it was an extension to my wish to shoot pictures and never got in the way. Although I didn’t get a chance (due to time restraints at the press launch party) to thoroughly explore the camera and drill down into the menus and customise settings as I would want them, I can already say that I love this camera and won’t hesitate from recommending it. Having shot extensively with the E-P2 and to a lesser extent the E-P1, I know the heritage of the digital Micro 4/3 PENs and the E-P5 has taken this line and just made it so much better.

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera*  Model Sonia Yasmin Ali.  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian   Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 3200, Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera* Model Sonia Yasmin Ali. London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian
Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 3200, Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens

During my time with the camera, I shot 159 images, both indoors (dark) and outdoors (around 8pm). The combination of the camera and I managed to get one shot out of focus; everything else was in focus; bang on. This is extremely impressive.

I’m one of these photographers who likes to use cameras as they were meant to be used; to the eye! The new VF-4 is a great addition and I would say is a must have accessory. It’s pin sharp, bright, fast to refresh and just absolutely usable. I never once felt I was looking through an electronic finder.

Since I had my E-P2, Olympus has brought out some extremely impressive prime lenses and I got a chance to shoot with these too. I shot with the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8 and the 75mm f1.8. As Micro 4/3 cameras double these, the equivalents are 35mm, 90mm and 150mm. All of these impressed thoroughly; optically superb and very fast to focus. The thought of having a 150mm f1.8 lens should be a great comfort to a news or wedding photographer!

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera*  Model Sonia Yasmin Ali.  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 500, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera* Model Sonia Yasmin Ali. London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian
Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 500, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

The E-P1 would run into noise issues above 1250 ISO. The E-P5 produced beautifully smooth 3200 ISO shots. Remember, we’re judging from a jpeg here! The ISO range goes all the way up to 25,600 ISO, so it will be interesting to see how high one can go to make usable images. You can see the full specification sheet here.

The Micro 4/3 mount has come a long way. One of the huge strengths is the ability to practically mount any lens onto it. I have adapters for Leica M, Nikon and Canon lenses. The mount is so flexible that Black Magic have chosen it an option to include on their digital cinema cameras. This flexibility lets the photographer not only use any current lenses they may have, but to search out old and interesting lenses to use, each bringing with them unique characteristics.

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus's UK press event launching the new camera.  *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera*  Model Sonia Yasmin Ali.  London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian   Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 1600, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Test shots with the Olympus PEN E-P5 at Olympus’s UK press event launching the new camera. *NB-Image taken on an initial production, pre-final firmware camera* Model Sonia Yasmin Ali. London, UK. May 29, 2013. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian
Technical notes: jpeg image processed in Aperture. ISO 1600, Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

Is everything perfect on this camera? Not quite; I would love to see the EVF built in to the camera in place of the flash. A viewfinder on the rear top left corner, similar to a Leica M, would be perfect. As the camera already has a tiltable rear screen losing the tiltability of the EVF is no big loss. Having a built in EVF would just make the camera perfect. I would also like to see a microphone input (and ideally a headphone socket to allow monitoring of audio) getting built in too, rather than using the SEMA-1 accessory.

All in all though, these negatives don’t detract. Definitely get your hands on the camera and give it a try; you’ll be impressed.

For a full GALLERY of images, please visit my Flickr Set on the E-P5.

 

A couple of images of me trying out the Olympus PEN E-P5, kindly supplied by Claire Voyle:

Photographer Edmond Terakopian trying out the new Olympus PEN E-P5 at the launch event in London. May 29, 2013. Photo: Claire Voyle / www.facebook.com/ClaireVoylePhotography

Photographer Edmond Terakopian trying out the new Olympus PEN E-P5 at the launch event in London. May 29, 2013. Photo: Claire Voyle / http://www.facebook.com/ClaireVoylePhotography

Photographer Edmond Terakopian trying out the new Olympus PEN E-P5 at the launch event in London. May 29, 2013. Photo: Claire Voyle / www.facebook.com/ClaireVoylePhotography

Photographer Edmond Terakopian trying out the new Olympus PEN E-P5 at the launch event in London. May 29, 2013. Photo: Claire Voyle / http://www.facebook.com/ClaireVoylePhotography