Tag Archives: micro four thirds

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.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MarkII Video

“London Taxi”

A short film shot on the new Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II camera. The film was shot using two cameras and the following Olympus M.Zuiko lenses: 9mm f8 (Body Cap Lens), 12mm f2, 12-40mm f2.8PRO, 25mm f1.8, 45mm f1.8 and 75mm f1.8.

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

Addendum:

I have since made a shorter edit with a different grade of London Taxi (above) and it’s called, Taxi Driver:

Ambient audio was recorded on camera using a Rode Stereo VideoMic X. Audio was also recorded using an Olympus LS-100 with it’s internal microphones for ambient sounds and also hooked up via XLR to a Rode NTG3 for other atmospheric recordings. A Rode Lavalier microphone was used for for the interviews, attached to the Olymps LS-100 via it’s XLR input. All of the microphone mounts and windjammers used (apart from the one on the Stereo VideoMic X) were by Rycote.

The Olympus LS-100 audio recorder and Rode NTG3 microphone.. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The Olympus LS-100 audio recorder and Rode NTG3 microphone.. February 05, 2015. Photo: © Edmond Terakopian

The majority of shots were hand held, using the camera’s built in stabilisation system to keep the shots steady. For the shots where the camera was attached to the taxi, a Delkin Fat Gheko camera mount was used. A Manfrotto tripod and video monopod was also used for the interview and cab rank scenes.
Editing was done on an Apple Mac Pro and FCP X, using Eizo CG-276 monitors and monitoring audio on Event Opals. Asset management and image processing were done on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

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

1 Sixpence 1 Play

Rode Reel Entry For 2014

Two days of shooting, many days of editing; a collaboration with the assistance of Magda Rakita, who also shot the “Behind The Scenes” film and the talented Neil Patience, from TAP TV, who gave direction on the editing, and our new short documentary film is done.

It’s a story on James Millham who is a pinball enthusiast. A collector and renovator of machines from a pre-Space Invaders era, James says the best thing about his hobby is playing the games.

We shot this film for the Rode Reel 2014 competition. Part of the competition is the People’s Choice prize. If you liked our films, we’d really appreciate your support. Kindly take a few seconds and vote for us; we’d be tremendously grateful!

CLICK HERE TO VOTE FOR “1 Sixpence 1 Play”;

Thank You!!

Preparing a pair of Olympus OM-D E-M1s for the first shot of the day. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Preparing a pair of Olympus OM-D E-M1s for the first shot of the day. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

"Action". 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

“Action”. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

A Rode VideoMic Go on an Olympus OM-D E-M1. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

A Rode VideoMic Go on an Olympus OM-D E-M1. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Testing the Rode NTG3 is connected properly to my Roland R26. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Testing the Rode NTG3 is connected properly to my Roland R26. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Magda Rakita filming the behind the scenes action. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Magda Rakita filming the behind the scenes action. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and fluid video head keeping things nice and steady. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Gitzo carbon fibre tripod and fluid video head keeping things nice and steady. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Magda Rakita

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Editing the piece on FCP X and a pair of calibrated Eizo CG277 monitors. 1 Sixpence 1 Play pinball film frame grabs. 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

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