Dec 182014
 

The Joy of Shooting Photos

By Dennie Mullete

My name is Dennie, I’m from Bandung, Indonesia. And sorry if my English not so good …

When the first time I found this site, I was searching for a pocket camera with good high ISO performance, and I found Steve reviewing the Olympus PEN E-PL1 … I so impress with the result, even Steve said that E-PL1 has a  really good jpeg engine that time and I was looking for a camera like this from the start… But I still did not know anything about aperture, bokeh, fastlens etc. I’m blind at that time, know nothing about photography. What I know is high ISO is needed when you want to take pictures without flash in low light, so I bought it …

Fast forward, now I have a Canon 6D that really help me when shot low light, and I keep telling myself I’m not a photographer, I’m just taking pictures :) … but I must say … sometimes … the joy, the fun, the mood, the inspiration is the main control about the picture I wanna take, that really takes effect to the result … coz I have the time when mood is down, no joy when shooting … I have 1 or 2 hundred frames but nothing to be keeping … that was a big hit for my photography experience … and I say … I would pick Olympus pen E-PL5 rather than my 6D … just because the joy … the fun to use … I’m not say about the IQ, I’m just saying about the “fun factor” that really take effect of the result … :)

Enough said. I hope u like my pictures and thank you Steve, you are really my Inspiration … for about 3 years now … and I am waiting for your Sony A7 mk II review. Cheers

It’s taken about 10 PM, really dark, at local restaurant, light source from the light garden, and the back is city of bandung, really nice place, the air a bit freezing, the place called “Balakecrakan”, sundanese language, mean “eat together-nes”, 35mm f2 @f2, ISO 12800, 1/60, develop from RAW

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Taken in my friend place, just hang out, and try snapshot with one source light, the hanging light on the middle room, so i tell my friend to dress like a mob … do u think it’s look like a mob ? :) 35mm f2 @f2, ISO 6400, 1/100, develop from RAW

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 “Bandung Caang”, sundaese, mean “Bandung Bright”, spend time with family, is something I must do, family … all the work I do, all my effort, is for my family, so what do the best beside hang out with family ? :) 85mm f1.8@f2, ISO 3200, 1/160 Straight JPEG

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See my facebook https://www.facebook.com/denie.mullete

Dec 182014
 

From a Nikon D800 (DSLR) to Olympus and Fuji (Mirrorless)

by Robin Schimko

Three months ago I had the opportunity to do a reportage on a sailing boat cruising along the coastline of Crete, in the Mediterranean Sea. Last year I did the same thing in the Caribbean but this time I didn’t bring a heavy and bulky DSLR, since I‘ve gone fully mirrorless at the beginning of 2014. For this trip I brought a Fuji X-T1, 23/1.4, Samyang 12/2, Samyang 8/2.8 fisheye and of course my Olympus E-M1, 42.5/1.2 and 75/1.8 with me. I was basically covered for almost any possible situation and at the same time my kit was relatively lightweight and compact.

The day I arrived I met up with my client and the moment he saw my gear he became skeptical. For him it was hard to believe that a camera this small is able to deliver good image quality and a certain look that screams “professionally” taken images. He was very pleased with the images I took in the Caribbean with my D800. So I gave him my tablet to have a look at some of my pictures I took prior this trip just to make him feel more secure and it worked fine.

So, how did it work out?

Well, the mirroless set up had two major advantages over my former D800. The first one is really obvious and that is the small form factor and the light weight. Compared to my DSLR, the Fuji for instance with attached lens is less than half the weight and that makes a huge difference. On a shaky sailing boat it can be really tough to move around safely, especially if you’re carrying heavy gear which needs to be secured with one hand to make sure it’s not bumping into something or someone. The mirrorless kit was much easier to handle and it was a breeze to use. Attached to the Fuji was the Easy Slider by Artisan & Artist which allowed me fit the camera very tightly to my chest, so I could use both hands to secure myself in case I needed to. With a bulky DSLR that would have been much more uncomfortable over the duration of a whole day or at least a couple of hours. The second advantage was the ability to shoot from the hip incorporating the tilting screen. When you look through the viewfinder it can easily happen that you punch yourself in the face with the camera and yeah that had happened to me in the past. :D Like I wrote before, the boat is constantly shaking around and the intensity of those shakes can vary randomly.

In two weeks there was only one thing I wasn’t really keen about and that’s the battery life. Especially the X-T1 tends to eat batteries very quickly and that did concern me. One could say that this is not a big issue if you bring enough spare ones. That’s totally true and I had five batteries with me, but I had no idea that these batteries had to last up to three days. Last year I could recharge every day, but not this time. The boat was quite old and electricity was only available every now and then. That was indeed the only issue I had using mirrorless cameras.

The sailing itself again was a very nice experience. The first week the weather was crazy good and we did sail a lot. The second week everything changed dramatically not just the crew and the second boat that joined us, but also the weather. There was a storm approaching and we couldn’t leave the harbor for two days. Eventually we left on the third day, but the sea was still very rough and half of the crew got seasick. Luckily I wasn’t one of them, but taking photos was almost impossible without a waterproof housing, because every couple of minutes there was a big wave coming in.

Here are some shots I took during my trip and if you like my work, you can follow me on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/RobinSchimkoPicture)
or check out my blog (http://www.fotodesign-rs.de/)

Thank you all for reading,

Robin

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Dec 092014
 

Hot Deal of the Day and Rip off of the Day!

The HOT Deal of the day…

Hey guys! It’s only around 2 weeks until Christmas (give or take a day or two) and today Amazon is having a “deal of the day’ in the camera department, and it’s a great little Olympus that can be had for a song, or $189 with a 16GB memory card! Damn, I remember when a 1GB memory card cost $399, now you can get a 16GB card with a nice Olympus compact XZ-2 camera for $189 with free shipping if you are an Amazon prime member!

Click here for this “Gold Box Deal of the Day” from Amazon, while supplies last.

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The RIP OFF of the day…

Now for the rip off of the day. Even though B&H Photo cleared out the Hasselblad Stellar for $999, Wiloughby’s is still selling the same kit for $3,595! Yep, the same orange SE kit that I purchased (along with over 40 of you here who snagged the Orange before they sold out) for $999 can be had on Amazon for $3595! RIP OFF!! The Stellar SE is absolutely worth the $999 and I adore my Orange version. Not only is it made with better materials it is also Made in Japan unlike the Sony RX100 that is made in China, so they are made in different factories. The initial batch of RX100’s were made in Japan as well, then Sony switched it up to China which is when some people had issues with Quality Control. So the SE stellar at $999 is a great buy for a fantastic camera with unbelievable IQ for the size. Fast, gorgeous IQ, superb video, fit in you pocket design, exotic wood grip, Italian leather neck and wrist strap, real wooden storage box and of course the Hasselblad name which will be a good thing for resale.

But if you buy one, AVOID the RIP OFF at Amazon for $3595 and buy it here at B&H while they have a couple left (white or black).  I have two more I bought and will be reselling them on Amazon soon (one orange sold already) for $1500 each which will be the lowest price offered on Amazon (current lowest from a third-party is $2490 making mine the best deal on Amazon). When B&H Sells out, there will be no more of these deals to be found with shipping from the USA. When I sell the other, that will have paid for my own Stellar. Win/Win as this means I will have gotten a spectacular camera for free :) Similar to when people buy a $25k Leica special edition and sell it a few years later for $3-$5k profit. No difference. But to be clear, I love the Stellar, it is a pretty awesome little camera.

Can’t do that with the RX100 V1 as the resale is at around $240-$250.

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Stellar SE vs RX100 V1

  • Stellar uses premium materials 
  • Stellar has unique design (better for resale)
  • Stellar has the Hasselblad name (resale)
  • Stellar has a real exotic wood grip (makes a big difference in handling)
  • Stellar is made in Japan, RX100 in China
  • Stellar comes with Italian Leather neck strap and wrists strap that matches the camera colors
  • Stellar seems to have better color (firmware? Imagination? Fluke?) 
  • Stellar has real wooden storage case/box. It’s beautiful. (not needed but nice to have)
  • Resale Value of Stellar SE will most likely be a little more than $999 within 6 months. RX100 – $250
  • Both fit in any front jeans pocket. It’s tiny. 

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Of course there is the new RX100 V3 for less than the $999 Stellar, and this camera gives you a pop up EVF which is brilliant, but very small. It is thicker, and has a fold out LCD (which makes it thicker) and personally, I prefer the V1 sensor AND lens. The RX100 V3 will give you a wider lens at 24 (vs 28) but you lose out on the reach (V3 is only 70mm). Some say the V3 lens is sharper but my Stellar lens is as sharp as I could want, even in the corners. The Stellar II is on its way which will be an RX100 II souped up. Will go for $2500 in a NON SE version! Again, making this one a good buy.

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All from the Stellar – 1st one at ISO 3200

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TO THE BITTER FEW:

To those who are uninformed and making comments about me buying a couple of stellar SE’s and reselling them for a small profit, well, I suggest you read what I wrote when I 1st announced this deal. I stated up front I would do this, and suggested others do the same..I even said “mark my words” in one post about being able to sell for more than paid. Now it appears some of you feel this was done “behind the scenes” and secretly and are attacking me for it (two of you). Well, this just shows you did not read my original post, my original intent and my suggestion that others should and could do the same as me, making the Stellar SE a WIN/WIN situation when buying it. Problem is that not many believed me and now they are mad that they look foolish after publicly stating the camera is worth $200. There are so many bitter, hateful and any people in the internet world. Those who attack and hate just for the fun of it. It’s sad.

If I find a good deal I will always pass it on to you guys, I do not hold back and always share info with you guys when it is valuable information. I do find it funny that I was attacked for even posting the deal in the 1st place with a couple of others saying “it’s worth $200″ – “You are stupid for buying that” and my personal fave “how retarded are you for falling for that so called deal”? None of those comments were approved of course but goes to show how wrong they all were.

BOTTOM LINE FACT: The Stellar SE is a FABULOUS camera that offers quite a bit more than the standard RX100 V1 and for ME and many others it is well worth the $999 (especially counting resale value which can be up to $1500). I mentioned it all above as well as in my very 1st post on this blowout last week (where I stated I would buy more and resell and make some money). Nothing wrong at all with that, in fact, it’s 100% right and how life works. You either act or you do not. I act. I think MAKING money is always better than LOSING money as so many do every day in this crazy world of digital photography.

So to those bitching and moaning that I did what I originally said I would do, get over yourself and move on. No one controls what I do, this site or what I say but myself. Been like this since day one. I live life in an open way and just as I shared this deal and the benefits of the deal (reselling later for more than you paid which is a rarity) I will always tell it like it is. Two years ago I started a NO TOLERANCE policy when it comes to attacks in comments – and anyone who is attacking, degrading, name calling, or accusing will be banned. Period. Educate yourself before making any accusations or starting any conspiracy theories. (as in, read what I wrote a week ago). If you do not like the rules then do not come  here.

Thank you all! Again, this was aimed at the couple of guys who were making silly accusations without being educated on the matter before they spoke, not everyone else. I only posted it here as they failed to read the comments where I explained all of this already so it had to be placed here in hopes they would actually READ before they SPEAK. If anyone still wants a Stellar SE for $999, you can still get one in white or black HERE. Once they are gone is when the resale will spike a little. Consider that a tip :)

Steve

Dec 082014
 

Tourists Everywhere? Include them in your pictures!

By Pierre Aden

So finally you’re going to Rome (or some other beautiful Italian city) and you are excited to see all these historic monuments, pure history – only for you and your camera! You are going to Vatican city, the Colosseum, the Pantheon to take lots of amazing pictures of these places like no one did before and you see… people, every place is so crowded that you’re hardly able to see the sights at all! Gone is the vision of your perfect photo of the empty St. Peter’s Basilica in HDR.

Let’s face it: All these places have been photographed thousands, if not a million times before. Chances that you will make the perfect architecture picture in these places and being on the cover page of National Geographic are as low as Schwarzenegger becoming the next US president (or even lower). Tourists are everywhere, 12.6 million visitors have been counted in 2013 in Rome.

So why not have some fun and include these tourists in your pictures? This is what I thought when visiting Rome in September and Sicily in October, facing these conditions. Suddenly I thought it would be more interesting to make pictures of the people surrounding me and include them in the pictures of the sights, making the people from all over the world the real attractions.

Here are some examples of my 5 day trip to Rome, all taken with the Olympus E-M1 or the Olympus E-P5 and different lenses. I had a great time and people running into my pictures was not annoying but actually wanted.

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If you have comments, suggestions or simply would like to get in touch with me I will be more than happy if you contact me via the following channels:

Pictures

www.ultraweit-verwinkelt.net

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/ultraweitverwinkelt

Google+

https://plus.google.com/110027262868810382651/posts

Thanks for your attention!

Nov 182014
 

$400 off on the Awesome Olympus OM-D E-M5!

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Anyone up for a great deal? Getting closer and close to Christmas time again and with there only being 36 days until that big day, maybe some of you will want to buy one of these to place under the tree for that special someone?

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 was the original groundbreaking OM-D digital camera that put Micro 4/3 into the masses. It is still a fantastic camera today, and very similar to the newer E-M1 in image quality. At $599 it is a GREAT buy with a $400 savings going on.

You can check them out or order one at B&H Photo. 

Nov 052014
 

Getting back into Underwater Photography with an E-M1

By Thomas Streng

Hi there,

In spring 2014 I decided to go for a dive-vacation, after 10 years not diving at all and I wanted to bring a camera underwater.

In earlier times I had used a Nikonos V camera setup with film. But this time I decided to want the advantages of digital for underwater photography. I own several camera-systems for “land” photography already, including FF-DSLR, rangefinder and micro4/3 as well as a compact RX100. But which was the best system for my underwater needs?

My criteria were:

  • A fast AF-system – fishes can be fast
  • A fast flash synch – under water you often have a mix of natural light and flash (to get the colors). So if you want to shoot moving subjects with flash you want a fast synch speed
  • Good wide-angle lenses – because that’s what you want underwater to keep the distance short between you and the subject
  • It should be easy to control underwater – especially fast access to ISO, F-stop, Exp-comp and WB

In the end I decided to use my Olympus EM1 since it seemed like the best compromise for me, offering more speed and options than a compact, but being less bulky and expensive than FF-DSLR and their underwater housings. Also M43 offers nice lenses for underwater use (I have used the Panasonic 8mm Fisheye, the Oly 9-18mm and the Oly 12-40mm). Other great lenses for underwater should be the 7-14mm and the 60mm Macro. 

There are a couple of options for EM1-underwater housings. I decided for a Nauticam-Housing: It is solid, has handles included where you mount the flashes, and for my hand size it allows really good access to all important functions. Aquatica, Subal, Olympus and others also offer very nice housings. I included a vacuum valve system. You suck a low pressure in the housing before you go underwater and a green light indicates that the housing doesn’t leak. This gave me some mental “freedom” underwater.I combined the housing with a 100mm glass Dome for the 8mm FE and a 170mm glass dome (ZEN) for using the 9-18mm and 12-40mm lenses.

The 12-40mm is not a typical underwater lens, because most people use either ultra-wideangle, Fisheye or Macro lenses. But for me the 12-40mm in combination with a Dome offers great flexibility. You get 12mm wide-angle which is fine for many things, and you can get pretty close at the 40mm end, close enough for Fish-portraits and other smaller creatures. That’s why the 12-40mm became the lens I have used most often. As flash I used 2 Sea & Sea YS-D1.

Finally we went for our dive trip to Zakynthos, a wonderful Greek Island. You don’t have as many and big fishes as in the Red Sea or on the Maledives, but it’s a beautiful underwater landscapes, many caves and interesting creatures. I did 15 dives during that trip and really enjoyed the time under water. My #1 goal was to enjoy the dives – so getting good images was “just” #2. I mention this because I have met people who told me they were so busy with their camera that they could not really enjoy the dive and underwater environment.

The EM1 in the Nauticam housing has worked very well. I believe m43 is great for underwater photography. It handles quite easy and allows good image quality.

Here are some of the results, I hope you like them. You can find more images here https://www.flickr.com/photos/111665084@N07/sets/72157646745077278/

I encourage every diver who hasn’t been underwater for a longer time: Go out and dive, it´s fun.

Kind Regards, Tom

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Oct 272014
 

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The SLR Magic CINE 10mm t/2.1 Lens Review

by Amy & Tony Medina

Generally, I’ve really enjoyed the SLR Magic lenses, as I already own the 23mm f/1.7 Hyperprime and 35mm T/1.4 CINE, and use them on my Fuji APS-C cameras often. When Steve asked me if I wanted to review the new SLR Magic CINE 10mm T/2.1 for Micro 4/3, I jumped at the chance.

To start with, I think that overall, if you’re a fan of SLR Magic lenses, this one will not be a disappointment.

The time I spent with this lens, I shot it primarily on the Panasonic GX7. They paired well, but I think on a slightly bigger body it would be every better. My husband paired it with the GH1 for video, and he thought it balanced on the camera really well. SLR Magic lenses in general are well built, and they aren’t what I would call light. They have a nice heft to them, and they pair well with bodies like the Fuji XT1, Olympus OMD-EM5 and the Panasonic GH Series that themselves aren’t the smallest of the mirrorless cameras. It did work well on the GX7, and I’m sure it would feel good on equally small bodies… I just think they pair better with bodies that seem a touch more solid themselves.

One nice feature right off the bat that those of you with SLR Magic lenses will appreciate… no screw-on cap this time. Finally! It was your typical snap-on-type lens cap. Ya know, sometimes I like the fact those screw-on caps stay put, but most of the time I find them to be a royal pain in the butt, so I really appreciate a “normal” lens cap on this one.

Call it a pet peeve, but it really irks me that not all SLR Magic lenses are built the same. Some have the f-stop (or t-stop) control on the outside ring, furthest from the body… others have this ring closest to the mount. When I switch back and forth between their different lenses, I find this quite annoying! As a photographer, to me all f-stop dials should always be the furthest one from the body. Of course, it’s mostly just a minor annoyance, and it’s not something that would keep me from buying the lens, but I just wish they were ALL made with the f-stop control in the same place.

As for image quality, there were no surprises. I feel like I know what to expect with SLR Magic lenses, and that consistency carried through to the 10mm T/2.1 CINE.

SLR Magic lenses have that wonderful character they’ve become known for… a bit of a dreamy retro look around the edges, but nice and sharp in the middle. Typically, they shoot just a little flat.. they aren’t super contrasty lenses straight out of the camera, but they grade beautifully and just have so much charm. I find their color rendition quite neutral — not too warm or too cool — and I’m never disappointed with the images I get out of their lenses… it was no different with the 10mm T/2.1. I was very pleased with nearly every photo I took with the lens.

First one is straight out of the camera, the second is post-processed to my taste…

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In my opinion, SLR Magic lenses perform okay stopped down, but that isn’t why we buy them. Sharpness edge to edge, that’s not usually the priority of the SLR Magic user. These lenses are really meant to be used wide-open, or more on the open side of things, where they shine and show their unique personality. They provide excellent subject isolation while delivering a lovely “magic” image quality.

The front element is rather large (77mm in diameter), which isn’t a surprise on such a wide lens. Of course, that seems to make it a little prone to flare. However, I find the flare itself to be of the attractive type, and I have the kind of personality where I like to use flare to my advantage to enhance a photo. With a lens like the 10mm T/2.1, where I find the flare so pleasing, I’m often tying to introduce it rather than eliminate it.

It’s up to you whether you want to let that flare creep in or find a 77mm wide angle lens hood that will work to keep it out. The lens does not come with one.

A bit of flare…

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I can’t say 10mm is my favorite focal length on micro 4/3, but that’s a really personal thing honestly. Sometimes I did find it a bit awkward… but that’s no shocker when I tend to gravitate more towards the normal focal lengths from 35mm to 55mm (full frame equivalent), or I go for the ultra-wides, like 15mm. 20mm, to me, is just at that point a bit in-between.

Now, my husband on the other hand, when shooting some video tests, loved that it was right there in between… he told me that he liked that it didn’t give that overly distorted look that ultra wides often do, but certainly gave a wider, much more unique perspective than lenses in the mid-normal range.

What’s interesting is that we often disagreed a bit about this lens: some of the things that I would criticize are things he would really liked. An example is that he loves the clickless aperture dial, where that’s one of the things I generally don’t like about SLR Magic lenses (I think I even mentioned that in another review here on Steve’s site). But seriously, that’s not at all unexpected when it comes to a photographer’s vs. a videographer’s opinion.

It’s part of their CINE line of lenses of course, which means it’s optimized for video and has some of those built-for-videographer features, like click-less aperture and a focus ring that will mate up with follow-focus gears. The focus throw is smooth as silk, and comfortable for shooting both photography and video.

For my husband, the wide angle helped minimize shakiness when hand-holding the camera, and having a lens so wide, but also fast, can make for some really cool shots.

All of the footage below is just test footage shot by my husband, and we thought we’d share it. It has been color graded a bit… but most serious videographers will appreciate that rarely are you using footage that you don’t color correct and enhance.

This was all shot on an original GH1.

 

In conclusion, the best way to express how much we both think this is a great lens is to share that we indeed plan to buy it.
For me, even though the focal length was a little “in-between”, I think I can find use for it in my growing arsenal of wide angle lenses that I use for work. And since my husband and I will share it, and he loves it, the biggest downside will be us fighting for it when I want to use it. LOL

As I started off by saying, if you’re an SLR Magic fan already, there’s a lot you’re going to like with this lens. It delivers exactly the way you’d expect it to. It’s wide without being fisheye-distorted, and it’s fast to let in tons of light and allow that great depth of field control.

Overall, it delivers quality images with tons of personality — exactly what we’ve all come to expect from an SLR Magic lens.

 

You can purchase this lens at B&H Photo HERE.

Follow Amy!

Follow me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DangRabbitPhotography

on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DangRabbit

on Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+AmyDangRabbit

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Oct 222014
 

Loving my Olympus E-M1

By Richard Craze

Hi Steve.

I’ve been following your site for just over a year now. Every week I take a look and get a lot of enjoyment from it. So I thought I’d submit three of my pictures to your Inspiration section.

All the images were taken using the Olympus EM1.

I’ve been taking pictures since the age of thirteen, I’m now sixty seven! It all stared when my uncle gave me a box Browne for my thirteenth birthday, plus two rolls of film. I went though the two rolls of film on the day of my birthday, I then had to save my pocket-money up to pay for the developing. I finally got to see my pictures about six weeks later, by that time I was hooked! Over the years I’ve had quite a few different cameras, mostly 35mm, plus a few medium format. The first really good camera I got my hands was a Leica IIIf. This camera was a nightmare lode, you had to take the base off, take out the empty spool, slip the end of the new film (which had to be pre cut) into the empty spool, then you had to carefully thread the film down between the back plate and the shutter box! In the end I could lode a new film in under thirty seconds. I can’t remember which lens it was, but I think it was a f3.5 lens that collapse into the body of the camera. Mind you the images where amazing even then (1963). I got to use this camera while doing a summer job. One of my jobs was taking pictures of the kids playing on the beach. I’d take they’re picture, gave the parents a ticket telling them where they could see the picture later that day. Can you imagine doing that kind of thing today!

“The amber nectar”, this image was taken in our the hotel bar on the Greek island of Kefalonia. The wife was getting a tan while I looked around the hotel. I used the Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens at f1.8 for this shot (I love this lens!). I converted it to black & white in Silver Effects.

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“Twenty five Garbo chairs”, was taken in Swansea (South Wales) at the local harbour using the Olympus 12 to 40mm f2.8 lens at 1/40 at f/10. This to was converted in Silver Effects

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“You cant take pictures here mate”, This was taken out side a shopping centre not far from where I live (Porthcawl, South Wales, UK), when this guy came up to me and said I was not aloud to take pictures of the building! I asked him who he was, he said he was a cleaner. I informed him that in the UK you can take pictures of any building as long as you do it from a public place. I suggested that we call into the place station which was just across the road from the shopping centre to sort it out. He muttered a few expletives and left me to it!

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I was using the Sanyang 7.5mm fish eye lens at the time. I’d just paid the princely sum of thirty five pounds from e bay! With this lens you can just set the f-stop to f/5.6 or f/8 and forget all about focusing! The image quality is surprisingly good. Not the kind of lens you use every day but good to know you have it in your bag.

As you can see I don’t have a favourite subject, I just take pictures that please me, which is what photography is all about.

Hope you like my images.

More at this link: http://www.digitalrev.com/r.craze

Richard Craze

Oct 212014
 

The Shadows Are Your Friends. Micro 4/3 Creepiness.

By Vince de la Pena

Greetings from Down Under.

My name is Vince de la Pena and I’d like to share my very first personal photographic project. This was shot in the infamous (for photographers) old abandoned Larundel psychiatric hospital in Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.
I purchased an Olympus OM-D E-M5 2 years ago after finding the my Canon 30D and lenses were too heavy and bulky for me. I have recently sold my Canon 6D and 2x L-series lenses to fund more micro 4/3 lenses and a Lumix GM1 body. I have also upgraded from the Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 to the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 which I find is quite a bit sharper. The majority of the shoot was done with the Olympus 12-40mm and the bunny-eating scene was shot with the Olympus 45mm f1.8.

The Shoot.
This personal project was months in the making. It required scouting out the old hospital and looking for some cool grafitti or murals to shoot against. This is a popular place for budding photographers. The upper level had lots of holes in the roof which would allow beautiful spots of harsh light from above. You can google the images of Larundel and see what I mean. Unfortunately, with the advancement of high ISO sensors and the overuse of HDR to see into the shadows, I felt that the creepiness of the shadows has not been taken to its full potential. I believe that the shadows create the unknown. And that unknown creates fear. Embrace the shadows. The shadows are your friends.

For this particular shoot, we had to bring a lot of props like a door; a mattress with pillows and sheets; lighting, stands, a purpose-built electric chair, ladders, tripods, black blankets, lots of flashlights, etc. I even had to buy some black cherry jam for the bunny rabbit eating scene. Have you ever had generic fake blood in your mouth? It’s freakin’ disgusting. I didn’t want to risk my model Emma pulling the lemon face during the gore scenes.

Finally, I want to thank my mum for her brutally honest feedback. Every time she looks at my photos and just says “Nice”, it makes me go “Whaddayamean NICE?!?!” It makes me try harder to get a shot that has more impact. It makes me see things beyond the pixel peeping, the retouching, the bokeh, the noise and grain, etc.

Happy Halloween, folks!!!

Vince de la Pena

PS: Special thanks to model Emma Jarrett (who flew down from Queensland for the shoot) and to Mikel Magdadaro and Edwin Retuta (assistant photographers). Also special thanks to Richard Denek (also a long time subscriber of yours) for getting me into photography, supplying my first serious camera and introducing me to this inspiring website

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Sep 252014
 

LBGT London Pride festival

By dgd

Hi Brandon, Steve, Everyone

LBGT+ London pride festival is held every year-end of June. Thousands gather to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender

Begins at Baker Street (Sherlock Holmes’ :)), THEN makes its way through Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Pall Mall and Trafalgar Sqaure. This was my first time.  I was near Trafalgar Square I have never experienced such a wonderful public gathering as I did in LBGT.  I felt the most free, happy, joyous amongst people like I’d never felt before. I have been to many festivals, outdoor concert, sports, Olympics. Been around people from over 100 countries. Sometimes I been to church, mosque, synagogue, Sikh Hindu Buddhist temples, Hari Krisha.  I’ve visited spiritual places.  None of these were as blissful for me when being around people as LBGT.

When I thought about it afterwards it is because only LBGT welcomes everyone with open arms. Whoever they maybe, however they may look, whatever their cultural religious social outlook.I am usually uncomfortable taking photos of strangers. This time I felt so at ease. I took over 200 photos with Olympus c5050 (2003 compact, F1.8 with swivel screen). From these 200 I chose those eleven which reflected the emotion, inclusivity, warmth of LGBT.

Best regards
dgd aka dougie digital dawg

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Sep 232014
 

The OMD EM5 in the Nation’s capital

By Jose Miguel Constantino

Dear Steve,

After reading the user reviews and watching your reviews about the EM5 and the Zuiko lenses, I decided to pull the trigger and replace my cumbersome Nikon D5100. After nearly 8 months shooting with the EM5, I am one happy camper! I love the size and versatility of the camera coupled with the 17mm F/1.8. The image quality is fantastic, and the OOC jpegs are great even up to ISO 3200. Parking in Washington DC is terrible, so I usually ride my motorcycle with a small backpack. The EM5 leaves plenty of room for my lenses and a change of clothing in my backpack. The summers in DC get extremely humid, and the heat of the engine does not help.

After a few months of eating ramen noodles for weeks to save money, I finally had enough to purchase the amazing 75mm F/1.8 lens. Wow! The images are amazing, and the bokeh is to die for! It does take quite a bit of getting used to because of the super long focal length, but I guess when I am wandering aimlessly in the city it isn’t much of an issue. The build quality is fantastic; it just feels exquisite and expensive like a piece of jewelry.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/49272116@N02/

http://streetsofdmv.tumblr.com/

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Sep 182014
 

Discover your subject

By Dirk Dom

Hi!

I wanted to see if I could take some insect shots with my Olympus PEN. I took the Kiron 105 macro with me, an extremely good lens which I almost never use, for insects I prefer the Canon 200mm macro which allows me to take shots from a far greater distance. When we arrived, the sun was out and it was around five, so the sun was nicely yellow. I went to the back of the Put, and started looking. I put as a goal to come up with one interesting shot. There were lots of dragonflies, but those weren’t interesting.

I took this shot, just for fun.

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While shooting a spider squatting down I lost my balance and rolled backwards in the nettles, and I got nettled all over my body, straight through my blouse. There was another insect photographer, and I went to say hello. He asked if I had seen a certain heidelibel, but since I’m a dilettante who just shoots and has no clue as to names, I couldn’t help him. He pointed out a bush with three small blue butterflies with their wings closed. The bush was dead and brown and he didn’t think it made for an interesting shot. I got to work at the butterflies.

First, a standard shot.

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I got up and wanted to walk away, but then I thought: “Hey! What are you doing! Discover your subject!” and I put some real effort into it.

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That was already a little better. See how it looks like a little jewel? With the tiltable viewfinder of the Olympus PEN I can shoot at angles an SLR owner can only dream of, and with the 105mm I could shoot at a very steep upwards angle, so I could include the blue sky:

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That was getting better. With this lens I can shoot an image 18mm wide, but that gets extremely difficult because depth of sharpness is very thin. But I gave it a try, and one shot came out sharp.

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I decided to do a shot at the steepest possible upwards angle, as an ant would see it:

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And finally I took a shot from straight forward, because I’ve never shot a butterfly this way. See how pettable and yet alien it looks?

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The truly amazing thing is that these butterflies stayed in one place during all of this shoot. I moved ultra slow all the time.

“Discover your subject”: It worked out!

Dirk.

 

Sep 162014
 

A closer look at the new Olympus 40-150 F/2.8 Pro Zoom (Video)

or..everything you wanted to know about the new Olympus 40-150 2.8 Pro Zoom but did not know who to ask :) Check out the video below to see all you could want to know on the new Olympus 40-150 Zoom lens. Olympus glass/fast primes are so so good, up there with Leica IMO. This lens will KILL on an OMD body.

You can pre-order it at Amazon HERE. B&H Photo has it as well HERE.  PopFlash.com also sells this lens HERE.

Sep 082014
 

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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Sep 042014
 

Burning Man 2014 with an OMD E- M1

By Steve Richards

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Hi Steve, since it’s while since I posted anything on your site I thought your readers might be interested in my latest trip – I went to Burning Man for the first time this year and after much reading and deliberation I decided to leave the M240 at home since although the latest body is weather-sealed the lenses are not and I didn’t want to risk my expensive glass. (Wuss!)

I’ve always liked the m4/3rds format since my first Lumix G1 years ago so I took an Olympus OMD E-M1 with a single lens – the Oly 25/1.8 – the challenge to see if I could capture some decent shots with a compact and simple set up.

The conditions are extreme, high daytime temperatures and dust storms that can totally envelop everything. The set up was left unprotected – some photogs put their kit in a plastic bag, I didn’t – you can see from the camera shot it got totally dusted! Although the lens is not weather-sealed it didn’t seem to get any dust inside during the week I’m sure partly because I stayed with the same lens the whole time. It’s all perfect now I’m home and it’s cleaned it up beautifully.

As for the pictures, I’m really pleased with the outcome, apart from the real night-time shots that are noisy, even post cropping the quality is ok for my purposes. The real bugbear is the crazy number of buttons on the camera body and the super complex non-intuitive menus, that combo drives me crazy and will chase me back to the simplicity of a Leica M for my next trip. Why don’t the mfs have a “simple menu” option that closes down all but the basic functions?!

My FB page link to more Burning Man shots below

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.647315935375621.1073741837.100002916611034&type=1&l=63d2c2d4ab

Keep up the good work fella, your site is one of the best around…

Best regards
Steve Richards

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