Tag Archives: micro 4/3

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

Retrospective 5 Camera Bag

Think Tank Photo’s Smaller Shoulder Bag

Photographer Edmond Terakopian on assignment with a Retrospective 5 for his Leica gear and a Shape Shifter for his Mac; 10th commemoration of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States. American Embassy, Grosvenor Square, London, UK. September 11, 2011. Photo: LP

The one thing I have heard for a couple of years at trade shows when on the Snapperstuff stand, from Leica photographers or people with smaller DSLR outfits is “why don’t Think Tank do a smaller shoulder bag?”. Well, they do now and I got mine today!

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 in Pinestone. Shown with a Leica M9 and 50mm f0.95 Noctilux ASPH lens. May 06, 2011. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

It’s called the Retrospective 5 and comes in a natural canvas Pinestone and black. I have already been using the Retrospective 10, 30 and Lens Changer 2 from this range and must say that I absolutely love the range. They are extremely comfortable to wear, hugging your hip with their movable bases and extremely easy to work out of. They also blend in really well, most definitely not looking like camera bags.

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 in Pinestone. For size comparison shown with (L-R) Fuji X100, Olympus E-P2, Leica M9 and Leica X1. May 06, 2011. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Retrospective 5 has now become my Leica outfit bag. Considering how small it is, you might be a little stunned to find that I have the following inside:

Leica M9 with Leica 21mm Elmarit, 35mm Summicron, 50mm Noctilux and 90mm Summarit lenses. Also the Leica SF 24D flash, TTL extension cord, x2 ND filters, 21 mm Viewfinder, x1.25 Viewfinder Magnifier, Lightmeter, Spare Batteries, Think Tank Photo Cable Management 20, Pixel Pocket Rocket memory card holder and some other bits!

Think Tank Photo Retrospective 5 in Pinestone. Fully loaded with my Leica kit. May 06, 2011. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The bag is also the perfect size for a small DSLR outfit (with a couple of lenses – eg Canon 5D MkII, 16-35mm f2.8L and a 50mm f1.2L) or a Micro 4/3 outfit like the Olympus E-P2 with several lenses and accessories.

I simply cannot recommend this bag highly enough for anyone who shoots with a Leica M or a Micro 4/3 outfit.

For the UK, check out Snapperstuff. For more info, have a look at Think Tank Photo.

Olympus E-P2 Full Review

A man feeds bread to seagulls at London's Southbank by the River Thames. January 30, 2010. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Evolution is a wonderful thing. My first introduction to the Olympus E-P2‘s forefather, the E-P1, left me impressed. This camera has now evolved into a very lovely camera. I’ve been testing the E-P2 for a couple of weeks now and I’m completely taken by it. The obvious first difference is that it now comes in black; actually more of an attractive gun metal dark grey. This was something most pro photographers, myself included, had been asking for. The other major change, this time a little less noticeable is the inclusion of a data port on the rear of the camera, just below the hotshoe. This brings some superb accessories to the E-P2, making it rather unique and infinitely more usable.

The Micro 4/3 interchangeable lens camera works without a mirror, so the whole camera is smaller as are the optics. With the announcement of the E-P2, Olympus also added to it’s current Micro 4/3 lens line-up of the the 17mm f2.8 pancake and 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 zoom lens, two new zooms; 9-18mm f4-5.6 and a 14-150mm f4-5.6. My review was done with the excellent 17mm (equivalent 34mm) pancake and the surprisingly good 14-42 (equivalent 28-84mm).

Images around London's Southbank. With the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 lens. May 08, 2010. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

One of the beauties of the Micro 4/3 system is the ability to use lenses from both Olympus and Panasonic who have developed this system. I was extremely keen on trying out the Leica designed Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Macro lens which Panasonic kindly supplied along with the DMW-MA2ME Leica M to Micro 4/3 adapter, allowing me to use my Leica M lenses on the camera; naturally in manual focus. This ability to get the best optics on the camera, add to this camera’s attractiveness as a quality creative tool. There are also countless other adapters around for mounting a variety of 35mm camera manufacturers lenses, including a couple from Olympus allowing the use of OM lenses as well as 4/3 lenses on the E-P2.

That Data Port Thing

When I used the E-P1, the ability of adding other manufacturer’s manual focus lenses seemed a good one, but slightly lost on me, as I like to shoot using an eyepiece and not the camera’s back. With this little data port comes the optional VF-2 electronic viewfinder which mounts on the hotshoe. This allows you to see through the lens. During my testing of the camera, I attached my Leica 35mm f2 ASPH Summicron to the E-P2 and produced some stunning images. Using the VF-2 I could focus on the run and shoot just like a “normal” camera, without having to hold it like a digital compact. We all have our favourite old lenses in the back of our cupboards and this camera will let you use them again. Its not all rosy though as firstly the focal length is doubled, and secondly focusing can be a little tricky. When using the supplied Olympus lenses in manual focus mode, the slightest touch of the focus ring magnifies the image, allowing for precise focusing. As the camera is not aware that you are manually focusing when using a lens on an adapter, this magnification doesn’t happen. I imagine that this can easily be fixed with firmware and the handy “Fn” button could perhaps be programmed to magnify the screen to aid focusing.

London's Southbank by the River Thames. January 30, 2010. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

However the one thing that truly sets this camera apart from the E-P1 and Panasonic GF1 is its ability to use external microphones for video, using the optional SEMA-1 microphone adapter set. This is a very neat adapter which sits in the hotshoe. It comes with a tiny stereo microphone which plugs straight into the adapter, or can be placed closer to the sound source by using the supplied extension cord and lapel clip.

In Use

This is such a well made and nicely designed little camera. Just like the E-P1, it just encourages you to pick it up and go shooting. The viewfinder adds so much to the appeal and usability of the camera. It also makes using zoom lenses a possibility. As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, I am of the school where a camera is held up to the eye and not at arm’s length. Whilst initially I would still have preferred to have optical finders matched to fast prime lenses, the electronic finder has made me change my mind. It’s not completely perfect as it blacks out at the moment of exposure (just like an SLR) and very fast panning causes a little blurring which resolves itself in a millisecond. However it opens up so many other uses, and the ability to use manual focus lenses with the camera to the eye has sold me on the idea.

I’ve been using the camera mainly in aperture priority and must say that the exposure meter is superb. There were occasions when I used the perfectly placed exposure compensation button (just by the shutter release) but in large, it’s spot on. Image quality from 100 to 1250 ASA is great with 1600 ASA being usable.

The AF is very snappy. Although with the E-P1 I missed a small percentage of shots due to the AF, the E-P2 works better for me. I’m not sure if anything has been changed in this respect, but just having an electronic viewfinder and seeing exactly where the focus point is makes a world of difference; with the E-P1 and the optical finder it was a case of guessing where the point was when set to centre.

Images around London's Southbank. (Images shot with Tilt and Shift adapter and not enhanced). The London Eye. May 08, 2010. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Leica designed Panasonic 45mm f2.8 Macro lens was stunningly good. Pin sharp, great contrast and tone with pleasing bokeh. The only thing I had against the lens was the rather slow focusing. Portraits sang and macro shots stunned. It’s a lens I would definitely recommend for considered photography.

Video on this little camera is astonishingly good. It shoots 720p HD video. Viewing some test footage on a 46” Plasma TV left a very pleasing feeling. It’s no Canon 5D MkII when it comes to video, but it really is impressive. The ability to plug in an external microphone makes this a capable tool for video. The optional stereo microphone which comes with the adapter captures too much ambience. However when I plugged in my Rode VideoMic (which is a shotgun type) the difference was unbelievable.

The E-P2 just makes photography fun. It’s so straight forward and simple, feeling like an extension to one’s eye. It makes you less the “camera guy” and more the photographer; you just take nice picture after nice picture. Can’t ask more of a camera.

Links:

More images on my Flickr E-P2 Set

Homage, a short film shot on the E-P2

Altered Realities

Tilt & Shift Adapter

I’ve always like the tilt and shift look. Like a fish eye, if used properly, sparingly and for the right occasion, it can help produce some beautiful and interesting images. Although having used Canon’s brilliant 45mm TS-E lens, I could never quite justify getting one as it is costly. A colleague of mine, Dan Chung let me know about a very cool little adapter for Micro 4/3 cameras made by an Italian firm called Adriano Lolli.

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The great thing with this adapter is that it’s cheap and let’s you attach lenses by Canon, Leica, Nikon, Olympus and so on, by specifying the mount you need when ordering. The very cool thing with it is that it’s not a tilt and shift adapter as such, but a 360 degree tilt adapter. Think of it as a Lensbaby with a proper and interchangeable lens on the front. The adapter has a handy lever that locks the movement once you have chosen the tilt that you need.

Forgive the rushed, hand held video which acts as purely an illustration on the adapter’s abilities. Video edited on Aperture 3.

I’m very impressed with this little adapter and it’s helping me make some very interesting images using a bag of old Nikkor AIS lenses. The images you see here were done with the 24mm f2 (which equates to a 48mm view on the Olympus E-P2 – as well as any Micro 4/3 cameras). I really can’t recommend this little tool enough!

Addendum: I have added more images to the set, so visit my Flickr set.