Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of imagery, and inchoate ramblings on coffee, and geekery.

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Tag: DSLR (page 1 of 7)

Six Days with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8

I took advantage of a borrowlenses.com Independence Day deal to rent an Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens (Equivalent to 24-70mm). Over 6 days starting July 1st I used the camera and lens in a variety of situations. I loved the kit and didn’t want to send it back. It took photos that looked excellent on a computer screen but still something felt lacking.

I had intended to use the kit to shoot some fireworks photos but is a rush didn’t read the manual. In my defense I received the package from FedEx that same night. However, I didn’t get the OM-D E-M1 to pair with my iPhone via wi-fi and opted to shoot fireworks on my Nikon. I did get a few late evening photos of the open fields and my family which was a good test of the low-light ability of the E-M1. As you can see the camera performed admirably.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14361 E M1 20140701 7010012 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14363 E M1 20140701 7010032 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14365 E M1 20140701 7010034 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14367 E M1 20140701 7010047 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14369 E M1 20140701 7010053 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14371 E M1 20140701 7010059 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14373 E M1 20140701 7010080 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14375 E M1 20140701 7010085 1024x1365

Since I had the camera the week, I got to experiment with the various features and menus. The E-M1 has an overwhelming number of menu options. It seemed daunting at first but the various on-camera prompts helped me find my way through them. Unlike the Fuji X-T1 which has a lot of manual control knobs, the E-M1 is more like my Nikon. Changing camera settings required me to stare at the read LCD while turning a camera dial. It’s not a failing of the E-M1. This is how most DSLR cameras work. I just like the knobs and dials of the X-T1 more.

I had a change to shoot flowers, food, and people during the 6 days. The micro 4/3 12-35 mm lens gives the same view-point as 24-70mm lens on a 35mm format. Just wide enough for some landscape and groups photos but close enough for portrait shots.

The lens and camera took excellent shots but I felt that I did not like the quality of the background blur (booked). Something just didn’t feel right.

I experimented with the focus packing mode. The results were mixed but I think the failing was in my skill, not the camera. It’s something that if I had more time with the camera I could get better at.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14377 E M1 20140702 7020021 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14379 E M1 20140703 7030040 1024x713

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14382 E M1 20140705 7050013 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14384 E M1 20140705 7050037 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14386 E M1 20140705 7050068 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14388 E M1 20140705 7050082 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14390 E M1 20140705 7050117 1024x768

Most of the reviews I have read about mirror-less cameras complain that auto-focus isn’t quite up to par with a DSLR. While there is some truth to that, I think most of the criticism is hogwash. I used the continuous autofocus mode with object tracking and was able to nail action shots just fine. I didn’t test the camera in high-speed sports situations but in my experience, for most consumers, the camera will perform well.

These are action shots of my kids having fun at the Community Park Pool in Princeton.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14392 E M1 20140706 7060134 1024x1390

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14394 E M1 20140706 7060002 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14396 E M1 20140706 7060006 1024x768

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14398 E M1 20140706 7060030 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14400 E M1 20140706 7060038 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14402 E M1 20140706 7060060 1024x1365

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14404 E M1 20140706 7060077 1024x768

As I mentioned the bokeh was lacking. I think this is illustrated nicely by the photo of the beer bottle.

Six Days with an Olympus OM D E M1 and Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12 35mm f/2.8, wpid14406 E M1 20140706 7060007 1024x1365

As with the Fuji X-T1, the E-M1 has built-in wi-fi and iOS software. Using the Olympus Image Share app I connected the E-M1 to my iPhone. I was able to control the E-M1 and snap some photos as well as download images to my iPhone (or iPad). I don’t recall the details, but I feel the Fuji app was easier to set up and use, especially when it came to geotagging.

I think all new DSLR must include a Wi-Fi option. I loved taking photos, downloading to my iPhone, making slight adjustments in Photogene, and sharing them to social media. With my Nikon D5100, I use an Eye-Fi mobi card to do the same trick but having it built-in to the camera means I can use any brand of SD card and access to higher capacity.

So … the OM-D E-M1 is a capable camera. That’s my opinion. With the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 zoom lens, the entire kit gets quite expensive. More expensive than the X-T1 with a similar lens. The X-T1 body is slightly smaller and lighter (without lens) and, in my opinion, produces better results. However, the E-M1 would definitely be on my main camera if I owned micro 4/3 lenses.

Replacing your computer with an iPad

Replacing your computer with an iPad, NIKON D5100 20140209 6936 2

There are still some challenges that could keep you going back to your old computer from time to time just to get things done. If you are looking to put off a computer upgrade a little longer, or leave your personal computer days behind you all together, then the following tips to get over some of those hurdles may be useful to you. Geoffrey Goetz via GigaOm

Geoffrey summarizes many tips and tricks I’ve learned in the fours years since I replaced my MacBook with an iPad. Some thing’s I do much easier now. For example, I no longer use the iPad Camera Connection Kit. The Eye-Fi Mobi card lets me shoot straight from my DSLR to the iPad. The Apple keyboard comes in handy for typing out long emails or blog posts. The “Open in..” feature of iOS 7 has allowed me to extend my iPad storage capacity while using Box and Dropbox to open, edit and save modified documents.

Photo App Review : vividHDR

I love HDR photography. In case you don’t know what that is you can head over to Trey Ratcliff’s web site for an explanation. Here’s my quick version. In HDR photography the photographers takes at least two (three or more is better) exposure bracketed and through the magic of software algorithms combines them into a single image. As you can tell from Trey’s photos, the results can produce a striking increase in dynamic range.

I capture most of my images for HDR work on my Nikon. However, setting up a tripod, DSLR and wide-angle lens while stopped at the side of a narrow country road with cars whizzing by is a less than ideal experience. Sometimes my iPhone is the most convenient camera I have with me. I’ve experimented with various HDR apps for the iPhone over the last few years but I always found them lacking in some aspect. I’ve installed and deleted about half a dozen HDR apps from my iPhone. vividHDR is the first HDR app that has a chance of remaining on my iPhone long-term.

vividHDR is a simple app. This simplicity is one of the reason I like it. Most HDR app overwhelm me with a million pre and post-precessing option. Contrast that with vividHR, which launches right into camera ready mode.

Tapping the icon on the bottom left of the screen brings up several HDR presets. When I started writing this review the app only had three but a recent update raised that number to five. It doesn’t really matter which one you chose up front since you can switch between presets after the HDR is created.

Photo App Review : vividHDR, 1387833611

Tapping the lightbulb in the lower right corner overlays icons indicating how to use the app.

Photo App Review : vividHDR, 1387833703

Swiping to the right reveals a vertical menu. From here you can toggle on/off geo tag, overlay grid, auto-preview, select and setup sharing options, and how you want to save the original and HDR images.

Photo App Review : vividHDR, 1387833799

Swiping to the right will let you swipe through each image in the photo gallery. You’ll get another set of menus on the bottom of the screen. You can compare the original photo to its HDR version or share the HDR image, make editing changes or delete the photo. I’ve never used the image editor. I usually stick with the results from the presets. If I do want to make an edit I prefer using another app like Photogene4.

Photo App Review : vividHDR, 1387833962

Tapping the i in the upper left hand corner will bring up some meta information about your HDR image.

I like the fact that vividHDR has its own internal gallery/light box and saves images exported to the Photos app to its own album. The iOS Photos app can get so cluttered and sometimes I have difficulty finding the photo I want. Whether I am snapping a photo to post to [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][Pressgram ][http://pressgr.am]or upload to a blog posing using Poster, being able to navigate to an album with just the images I need makes things simpler.

Although the app is simple to use taking a good quality HDR image requires some patience. The app has to take three photos and merge them together. It is important that neither the camera nor the subject move or change while the images are being captured. Although the app can be used handheld I recommend bracing yourself against something — a tree, a pole — to reduce movement. For the photo below I leaned against my car to get the shot. Or maybe you can keep a mini tripod and iPhone mount such as the Glif in your glove box.

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