Olympus E-P5 goes to Rhodes By Eyal Gurevitch

Olympus E-P5 goes to Rhodes

By Eyal Gurevitch

As part of writing a review, I had the chance to take the Olympus E-P5 on a family holiday in Rhodes. We stayed at Kathara Bay in Faliraki, where the weather was hot and the sea was cold (and flat!) and so was the beer (cold, not flat). Leaving my own Panasonic GX7 at home (but taking the excellent 20mm f/1.7 with the E-P5), I had a hard time switching to its different colors, so most of the time I escaped into its B&W film grain filter and (apart from just a few times) cozily stayed there.

My first thoughts of the E-P5 were that it’s an unclear mixture of tacky toy-like options (what were they thinking with that ‘fun frame’ mode?) and high-end output. I mean, sure – most cameras have both fully automatic, semi manual and fully manual modes, with the option to either let it fly buy itself or take full control. This usually doesn’t include a half-baked menu system and non-appealing filters and effects, as customizable as they all may be.

So, as it currently stands, I wasn’t remotely persuaded by the E-P5 to part ways with my GX7, at least not for my photographic needs. It could be that I misunderstood this camera completely and that it’s actually a gem underneath its amateur demeanor – if that’s the case, please let me know.

A small but important note – all images above are straight out of the camera – no post editing whatsoever.

-eyalg

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44 Comments

  1. “non-appealing filters and effects.”
    and using almost a 1940 filter (noisy b&w)

    Frankly I don’t understand why a 1000$ camera + a good lens for such results…
    A 100$ compact should do the trick (if you don’t have a smartphone – but I’m sure you have a luxury one…)

  2. I have to say that I agree with Tadeas and his comments, it never ceases to amaze me that folk will always invariably say, he usual, wow, great shot, wonderful, et al. And as for drawing a comparison with Moriyamas work, I beg to differ I have seen many of his images both in the gallery and book none of these come close.

  3. I find it entertaining that a site for hobbiests and average joes gets so much serious criticism. I am sure that Steve’s site is not meant to serve Magnum, National Geographic caliber standards and as Steve even said, this is not the intention of this feature. I can almost guarantee that James Nachtwey has probably never visited this site looking for pointers. Keep it in perspective.

  4. The EP5 is an incredible camera. I totally ignore all the “silly” Art filters, etc. the camera is SUPER customizable…I set it up precisely to my needs with custom functions for my particular needs of aperture priority and HDR imaging still photography. I know what I want and this camera gives me what I need in a small beautiful package silver one rocks)

  5. I assume that the poster is intentionally simulating a lo-fi retro look, to remind you of the sort of photos which might have been taken by tourists from the 1940s who were using a camera for the first time.

    I don’t get the complaint about the “non-appealing filters and effects.” Most serious photographers just ignore them, realizing that the marketing department put them there in order to sell cameras to people buying their first “real” camera. And actually, the settings like iAuto and Art and collage mode server a very useful purpose because you can assign customized MySets to those otherwise useless modes and suddenly they become amazingly useful.

  6. Applying in camera filter means post processing of the photo. And when one uses Olympus B&W grainy it means that that particular photo is post processed over the top! I like that filter sometimes though..
    I must say that these photos are no special but are nice moments in time captured with camera. That is all about anyway..
    Brandon you could have shortened the post a little bit :))
    Cheers everybody!!

    • ” Brandon you could have shortened the post a little bit ” i do not agree … In this case the quantity is an important factor … Like in Moriyama’s work

  7. The image of the dog standing in the shadow of the sun-lounger is nicely composed but the others do seem largely random, to be honest. And the B&Ws are sooooo contrasty that it’s tough to make out much of anything at all. When you say there was no post-processing, did you shoot with some kind of black & white setting on the camera? If so and these are straight out of camera, I don’t think I’d be using that setting again in a hurry.

  8. I like the shots from the airplane windows. Most of the other B&W’s are a bit tough on my eyes. I’ve never been to Rhodes but from these images it appears to be radioactive.

  9. Please, tell me, what amazing is on these photos. Majority of them do not have composition, but have strong light without any reason, chaos on pictures, terrible posprocessing and no idea. I cannot find any reason to show so many average photos… Three of them is enough… BW photo doesnt mean art photo automatically. Am I only, that has this opinion? Maybe we can help her/him more when we advice and crititic than when we allways just admire…
    tadeas

    • Tadeas, I tend to agree. The compositions are generally poor, except for the color photo of shadows on the yellow wall. I do like the B & Ws from the aircraft window and of the clouds. The rest are too contrasty with black shadows and burned out highlights – probably happened in post-processing. The subject matter to me is unremarkable and not very interesting. My E-P5 is capable of better B & W through post processing conversions from color RAW originals.

    • Totally agree to tadeas.

      I just do not get the point of sending so many (somehow clandestine) bikini shots and pictures taken out of the plane window which every 10th tourist is photographing. However, the picture with the boy on the air mattress is quite nice and balanced and catches the atmosphere in my eyes, so there somehow is a photograhic eye involved…

      If welcome, my strongest adice would be to handle these kind of b&w filters with care. Due to their algorithms, they add a certain dramatic to the pictures (which I in general like a lot – I frequently use these filters on my E-M1). Nevertheless, the content of the picture must already show an inherent dramatic by itself, which is then emphasized by the filter. If this is not the case, it just does not work, and the pictures look somehow pointless, like many of the pictures above.

      A second important thing is to reduce and to only show your best pictures. If only “air matress”, “man and dog at the beach” and “beer glas” would have been included, I would presumably have thought different.

      Don’t get me wrong, this is only my personal opinion, and obviously other people liked the collection. However, hope that maybe my comment can be of any help to further improve your skills.

      Cheers,
      Stephan

    • People are often attacked if they make critical comments plus they don’t want to hurt anyones feelings so most comments here are like – wonderful, great eye, amazing, wow, incredible, etc. Other than being a quick ego boost how do they help anyone learn or improve?

      Plus lets face it, almost all of the photos we take or see online are just nice snapshots, It’s really hard work to get a “wow” photo. for the classic example, how many of us are willing to get up 20 days in a row before dawn when its -20 or so out to get Half Dome in perfect sunrise lighting? (Not me)

      When people submit photos maybe they can specify if they want a real constructive discussion or just the usual fluff. For now I just look at the number of comments as a guide to what people really think and whats worth looking at. -Jeff

    • what do you call composition ? Where do you see strong light without any REASON ??? What chaos ???

      TERRIBLE POST PROCESSING ????? Did you read the text ? there is no post processing

      who exactly do you want to help here ???

      • Hi,
        :)…
        composition: several rules – not to center the main object, thirds, and other rules – there are a lot of books concerning composition,
        strong light: almost all concerning beach,
        chaos: too many persons without any reason,
        postprocessing: digital filter – it is not a RAW – author chose a filter – maybe it was not clear
        Honestly there are some interesting photos – and as usually – less is often more… I usually erase 2/3 of my photos, than half of rest :)…
        I want to help author. I recommend him to read a lot of photo books and look at websides – for example: magnumphoto.com and at first – to continue in photographing, because she/he captured several over average photos.

          • not now… :), I am too shy and I do not want to play your game… I am just amateur and there are so many people on web sides you can learn from… much more better than me.

      • That is the main problem. I consider post-processing as politeness. “I share my best work with you, my best work so I drastically selected and I enhanced my work so that you can appreciate (or not) my work.”
        And if one cannot undertake criticism, well one shall not post I guess.
        Selection and enhancement are part of (digital only?) photography.

  10. Thanks for sharing! The first shot is truly good!
    Some nice shots, especially the ones with grainy B&W film style.
    Though, shooting digital implies, IMHO, 1) strict selection (and thus massive trash), 2) strict editing (for example horizon should be horizontal most of the time). The jpeg straight out of the camera needs 99% of the time some (even little) optimization. Some things to improve I guess, but this is just an advice from a strict non-professional amateur 😉

  11. Unfortunately you went to Rhodes, you stayed in the most unsuitable area and you lost the opportunity to take the pictures of your lifetime being on one of the most beautifull islands in the world. It is obvious that you did not visit the Medieval Town, Lindos, Kameiros and the South of Rhodes down to Prassonissi. Therefore please go again, having panned your trip better. You will take great pictures.
    Best regards,
    Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
    Athens, Greece

  12. Nice work! Very enjoyable shots.

    I don’t really get your disdain for the feature set on this camera. Every digital camera I’ve ever owned had features I don’t want or need; so I didn’t use them.

    Olympus isn’t really targeting the PEN series toward pros, so sure it has stuff that wouldn’t appeal to pros. Nonetheless it’s capable of the same output quality as the E-M5 — which is rather good.
    In fact, I even like the controls better than the E-M5’s.
    A viewfinder is all that’s missing (I have the add-on VF-4).

    Re. menus: Have you figured out how to activate the “Super Control Panel” (SCP)? It gives you the main menu items all on one screen, by pressing “OK”. But you have to activate it.

    Here are a couple of guides to finding it — on different Oly models, but it’s similar enough on the E-P5:

    http://tinyurl.com/nc337rv
    (scroll down)
    http://tinyurl.com/c636fhb

  13. “A small but important note – all images above are straight out of the camera – no post editing whatsoever.”

    I’m not sure why this is important; is it to excuse the tilted horizons, blown highlights etc or what?

    Perhaps it’s time to outline the philosophy and greatly raise the bar of Daily Inspiration; when you ask for your work to be published and available for constructive criticism, then surely you, and the publisher, are somewhat confident that what is presented has definite inspirational qualities from which others will benefit.
    This wasn’t such a time.

    • The Daily Inspiration was never ever about perfect photos. It was more to do with the passion and photos of ANYONE, even a 100% amateur picking up a camera for the first time. When it was launched years ago I made a point of this, that ANYONE can submit photos they were happy with or excited about as it showed their passion for the hobby. I would never want pro photos posted from supposed “know it alls” as I prefer everyday people who just love to go pout and use their camera, sharing their excitement. This is the main reason it is so popular, just showing what everyday people, amateur and enthusiast alike, are doing with their cameras. This is how it will stay.

      • Steve,
        sorry James is right and you are wrong. I do not wish to be misunderstood. Your principle, as expressed above, is right but when somebody decides to go public then he/she must be ready for the criticism either positive or negative.
        There is a great distance between perfect photos and crap photos. Creative excitement is one thing, blind excitement is another.
        Probably I am getting old, probably I am not quite used yet to this new kind of aesthetics of the digital mean and to the general feeling that everything is easily excusable or tolerable. The A,B,C of photography can be learned in a day but photography as a discipline takes a lifetime. Therefore at least somebody should get the A,B,C correctly in order to move onwards. You must learn the rules in order to make an exemption to the rules.
        That’s my opinion. I cannot comment any further as You are the host I am the guest.
        It is your site after all, it is for you to decide. All of us we should thank you for your hospitality.
        Best regards,
        Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
        Photographer at Large
        Athens, Greece

      • Who on earth has mentioned “perfect photos”?! Who? Is there a site where “perfect photos” are shown? The concept of a perfect photo is too ludicrous to contemplate. Just imagine the debate!
        I’m not too impressed by having such extreme nonsense associated with my post as if that’s what I suggested. I did not. I post in good faith, and don’t expect some sort of mockery in return for accepting the invitation to participate in discussion.

        For example, what’s so wrong about at least correcting an horizon before offering it for publishing?

        It seems I have misinterpreted the application of “inspiration” for this site. “When it was launched years ago I made a point of this..”. Unsurprisingly, I have not read this so forgive me for not knowing the history of its intended application.

        Now I understand. I still have my first photo, taken age 11, and it’s (insert Australian vernacular) dreadful. But I think I was excited which means I was inspired? I’ve continued to be so inspired enough to press the shutter a few more times, yet some snaps seem much “better” than others.
        It suggests inspiration by itself is definitely nowhere near enough.

        Which ones should be submitted? Now, remember, they’re all inspired, apparently. Well, I would not subject anyone to the ones I (and others) think are garbage.

        There are online photo sharing sites, Flickr (hugely popular) etc, etc. The rules here (and Steve sets the rules which is most certainly as it should be), as I now understand, suggest DI is another such site (with some short introduction to the shots, a good idea by the way).

        Fine. But to be clear, we should expect shots from “picking up a camera for the first time” to those which might be from the 200,000th time.

        As Ron Tee (below) remarks, surely there’s just some tiny expectation to learn from the excellence of others without wading through a myriad of failures similar to my own.
        I already know how to do inspired crooked horizons or blocked up shadows. I’m great at inspired blurs, limb amputation and unattractive composition.
        But I think the greatest spur to any improvement is having others call out my trash.
        And I’ll not mock them, ever.

        • James,
          I agree with your opinion and that has been expressed in my comment above. But it is for Steve to decide what the general frame of rules should be.
          My general feeling is that although there are good intentions, good photography is not promoted enough and the general level of quality of the publiced photos has been gradually getting lower over the last year (at least).
          Regards
          Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
          Photographer at Large
          Athens, Greece

    • In defense of James, I too would opine that passion in photography is more than just quantity of photos. Passion would also suggest a desire to improve one’s work and one way to improve is to view work that is better than your own.

    • I am happy to see that someone had a happy vacation. I want to see more, when the story that is photographed has matured a bit more.
      Please continue without post processing at all. It’ll be a new art form, soon.
      Don’t listen to the jerks on this site, including me and continue to shoot, a lot, please.

  14. Well, I sold my GX-7 and bought an EP-5 – smaller size and ease of handling, especially for one-handed macros (I hold the plant with the other). I do miss the articulated built-in EVF, but I have the Oly EVF-4 attached, which is high res & clear. The EVF adds to the bulk a bit, but the camera itself fits well in my right hand, especially for verticals. One does have to get used to the Olympus menus, but I think the EP-5 is at least equal to the GX-7. What you use is a matter of ergonomics, in my opinion. – Jim Fowler

  15. I like the aerial shots. They have a real cool look to them. The first one and the shot with the air bed are also very moody imo. In general, however, I think the grainy film effect is a little over done. But that may be just me.

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