Nov 252013

Olympus OM-D E-M5 User Report 

By Floyd K. Takeuchi

There’s a rush for the exits to buy the new (and appealing) Olympus OM-D E-M1. But for some of us, there’s still more to learn about the capabilities of the OM-D E-M5.

I’m a professional documentary-travel photographer who was late to the digital party. It wasn’t until 2009 that I made the move from a Nikon F100 to the D700, which still soldiers on for me. A camera bag full of Nikkors made that decision easy, but so too did my high comfort level with Nikon ergonomics. My first Nikon SLR was a Nikkormat purchased in the early 1970s, so the transition to the D700 was a natural one for me.

Adding the E-M5 to my camera bag wasn’t as easy a move. I initially bought the body to use 1950s Zeiss Contax rangefinder lenses (with an adapter) that don’t get much of a workout these days. But I quickly discovered that while the output was beautiful, the process of manually focusing on an EVF didn’t suit me. So the decision was made to add the Olympus 17 mm f/1.8 M Zuiko and the Panasonic/Leica 25 mm f/1.4 Asph. DG Summilux. And I added the grip, which is the only way I could comfortably hold the camera.

The biggest challenge to adding the Olympus kit was fitting it into my post-production workflow. I use DxO as my RAW processor, and had to wait until both the camera body and lenses were supported by DxO. In fact, the biggest challenge to my using the E-M5 more is the hassles of having a separate RAW format to download – using Nikon’s ViewNX is second nature to me, using the comparable Olympus program is not. I’ve had to resort to YouTube videos on more than once occasion to remember how to use the program.

That said, I’ve been happy with the quality of the files produced by the E-M5 with the Olympus and Panasonic lenses. They are easy to post-process and hold up extremely well as prints (the largest I’ve had printed so far have been 16 x 20s), which is the critical test for me, as most of my work is done for use in either books or exhibitions. The only challenge I’m still dealing with is handling extremely high contrast scenes, since I’m finding that I have a tendency to blow out highlights. This is an issue for me since I do nearly all of my shooting in the tropics, either in Hawaii or closer to the equator in the Micronesia region, where high contrast light is a way of life.

If forum posts are to be believed, like many new users of the E-M5, I found it a real challenge to navigate the Olympus menu system. My solution was to have a quick-print shop print and bind the camera’s PDF manual, and spend about a couple of hours going through it page by page. Then, once I had a better understanding of what the camera could do, simplify things by only worrying about a few software features – ISO, RAW capture, and setting a dial to control EV. I shoot in aperture priority 99 percent of the time, and usually don’t fiddle with the other settings.

What I really like about the E-M5: the light weight makes a huge difference on travel assignments, and I can use a lighter-weight tripod when I need one; the prime lenses I’m using are outstanding, the results are easily comparable to the Nikkors I’m used to using and much smaller and lighter; the files are gorgeous and easy to work with in post-processing.

What I still find frustrating about the E-M5: I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer an optical viewfinder and am still adjusting to an EVF (albeit a high quality one); and, when I do have to go into the menu, it can be a slow process.

I’ve used the camera for project and personal work in Hawaii, the islands of Pohnpei and Chuuk in the Federated States of Micronesia, and in Japan. It has only failed me once in the year-plus that I’ve owned the kit. That was on the island of Pohpnei, while shooting the ancient ruins of Nan Madol, a huge Venice-like city of homes and temples built of huge basaltic rock logs on a mangrove swamp. I’ve taken photographs there – film and digital – since 1976 and never had a problem shooting in the area.

The night before going into the Nan Madol area, I had dinner with a friend who has lived been on Ponpei for four decades. She told me and another friend about how her grandchildren had just taken an iPad into the complex, and when they got home and looked at their photos, they saw faces in the rocks. Our friend said she looked and also saw the faces. A few days later, after the grandkids posted the photos to Facebook, our friend went online to show others the faces in the rocks, and discovered that some of the faces had disappeared.

I didn’t find any faces in my photos, but after hiking through the ruins for an hour, as we were walking back to the main island, I decided to get a final few snaps of how the mangrove was overtaking ruins. That’s when I discovered that my camera had died – it wouldn’t take a photograph. I was using two fresh batteries, one in the grip and one in the camera. Both had been recharged the night before. And I had taken few than 50 photos at Nan Madol.

When we got back to our car, I loaded a new battery into the grip. The camera worked fine.

The author is a writer-photographer based in Hawaii. He is a member of the Waka Photos agency.


Floyd K. Takeuchi

Waka Photos

Hawaii01: Pualani Armstrong, Hawaii.

Pualani Armstrong


Hawaii02: Ka Iwi coastline, Oahu, Hawaii. 

Ka Iwi Shoreline

Hawaii03: Ka Iwi coastline, Oahu, Hawaii.

Ka Iwi Shoreline –

Japan01: Shidome district, Tokyo, Japan.

Dentsu Building, Tokyo –

Kita-Kamakura, Japan. 

Kamakura temple, Japan

Priest, Kita-Kamakura, Japan. 

Priest, Kita-Kamakura, Japan

Kamakura, Japan. 

Spring flowers, Kamakura, Japan

Kamakura, Japan.

Children's shrine, Kamakura, Japan

Kepirohi Falls, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia.

Kepirohi Falls, Pohnpei, FSM

Aug 202013

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championship 2013

by Andrew Tobin – His blog is HERE

As part of my coverage of “unconventional” world championships, I took myself off to Lausanne in Switzerland for the Cycle Messenger World Championships of 2013. I had spotted this event a while ago and put it firmly into the calendar as a “must attend”.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Packing for the trip proved more complicated than I thought. Having figured out that Lausanne was a pretty hilly place and I would be walking A LOT, and it was going to be hot, the last thing I wanted to be doing was carting a couple of 1D bodies and big lenses all over the place, as well as various bits of remote flash kit and other gubbins. So instead I decided to shoot the whole event with lightweight compact gear, taking 3 cameras – an Olympus OM-D with 45, 9-18 and 8mm fisheye lenses, a Sony RX1 and a newly acquired Sony RX100 Mark II. This combination would give me a good choice of focal lengths and apertures so I could deal with pretty much anything that came my way. With the RX100 in my pocket, the RX1 around my neck and the Olympus and lenses in a belt pack, I was as mobile as I could wish for. In a small backpack went a laptop, flash, pocket wizards, light stand and mini-octabox.

I also wanted to travel hand-luggage only and the big gear would have surely triggered some weight limit or other. Happily the airline (Swiss) didn’t bat an eyelid and the lightstand and electronic trickery went through airport security without any problems as I tried hard to pretend my bag weighed nothing at all.

Gear for the trip. Manfrotto lightstand, Sony RX1 with viewfinder, Olympus OM-D, Yongnuo YN560-II flash, 2x Pocket Wizard Plus II, Sony RX100 mark II, Panasonic 8mm fisheye, Olympus 9-18 zoom, spare batteries for the Sonys (not needed), cards, clip thing (unused), lightstand attachment thing. Forgot to incude the mini softbox in this pic.

CMWC gear

So, an early flight put me in Geneva at 9am on Saturday, and the efficient Swiss train system whisked me into Lausanne in about 45 minutes for me to begin my 2-day walking marathon, with some cycling photography thrown in.

After familiarizing myself with the course, chatting to the organisers and riders, and climbing lots of hills, I needed to make my key decision of the weekend. How to cover the event? I already had some ideas in mind before I arrived, but it quickly became pretty obvious to me that it was all about the people and the “vibe”, and the racing was almost secondary. More than anything this is a gathering of like-minded people who might normally be bracketed as “alternative”. It takes a certain something to be a cycle courier, out in all weathers, always under time pressure, not earning much, very physically fit, and never using any fossil fuels. The camaraderie amongst everyone at the event was obvious from the start. Some competitors had ridden from England down to Paris where they met still others for the 3-day ride from Paris to Lausanne, several on fixed wheel bikes with no brakes (making the mountains on the roads into Lausanne quite challenging!). Lots of them referred to the other couriers as their “family”, so it’s clearly a close-knit group of like-minded people who like nothing better than to get together for a good laugh.

James from Glasgow, who rode down from Canterbury to Paris to Lausanne. Top guy.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

And that was the decision made for me. I would shoot the event more like a documentary, trying to capture the people and atmosphere with the race action as a secondary part of the weekend. This also suited my choice of kit as the small cameras are generally useless at catching anything moving fast (or even slow in the case of the RX1) when compared with a pro body like a Canon 1D. It didn’t stop me trying to get a bit of action though. And I also decided to make most of the pictures monochrome because a) I like it a lot and b) it suited a more documentary style look at the event.

A rider toils up the hill as others dry off in the sun after a dip in the “jacuzzi” up by the cathedral.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Started in 1993 by Achim Beier from Berlin, the championships comprise a number of challenges including a sprint, a track stand (longest time stationary on the bike), a cargo race where heavy loads are carried on special bikes, and the main race. The course winds through central Lausanne and includes bridges, stairs, cobbles, narrow alleyways and challenging hills.

The main race simulates the job of a bike courier making numerous drops and pickups across the city by following a manifest or delivery/pickup list. Riders need to check in at specific checkpoints, hand over their delivery and get a new one. It involves a number of manifests to be run in sequence, each involving multiple deliveries. As well as being a test of sheer physical fitness lasting 3-4 hours, the race is a huge mental challenge as the riders need to plot their own route from one checkpoint to the next. Ensuring that they take the shortest or most efficient route is a work of the black arts as far as I could see. It wasn’t unusual to see riders pick up a new manifest and then sit somewhere quiet while they worked out their route and sequencing. To make matters worse, at some checkpoints you may need to deliver one item and pick up three, so knowing what you need to do where is vital to avoid repeat visits. Obviously you couldn’t drop something off if you hadn’t already picked it up somewhere else! This aspect makes the whole thing very different to a normal challenge against the clock and the winner is the person that combines the physical with the mental.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

It was hot as well. Did I mention that? I had enough trouble climbing up all the steps and hills on foot – the riders were getting a real beating. It didn’t take long for some of the riders to take advantage of the ancient water troughs that are scattered around the city.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Saturday was practice and qualifying, plus the cargo race which involved carrying large or strange loads. The cargo bikes are bonkers – long things with a load carrying space up front and a linkage from the handlebars to the front wheel. These poor guys had to carry everything from 12 foot long oars to a TV cameraman who wanted a rider’s eye view of the course.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Having learned the course through walking a lot and getting blisters, taking a bunch of pictures and figuring out what was going on, I was ready for the evening party. These guys party well. The event had been going on all week with a party every night, so they were well-practiced by the time I turned up. Hosted at the Casino Montbenon overlooking Lake Geneva, I had a horrible thought that it would be a dress-up suit and tie job, but then realised that there was no way on this earth that the majority of the riders would get anywhere near a suit other than to deliver one. And so it turned out that it was a very cool event in a club under the casino, with most people out in the open air as the temperature dropped and the sun set over the alps.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

The party game me a chance to break out my little octabox. After some fiddling with Pocket Wizards and the RX1, I got everything working fine and went off in search of interesting suspects, of which there were plenty. I’ll say this – these guys are just so friendly and open – lovely people. Here’s two of them…

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

So the RX1 turned out some beautifully detailed pictures, but occasionally had brain fade and wouldn’t focus properly even though the focus assist light was on. You’ve just got to be quite patient with it when shooting at night, and give it time to get focus and the square to go green before you hit the button. It’s worth noting that after turning on face detection my results improved significantly.

Cleverly, the organisers hadn’t scheduled any early morning starts, with riders needing to be at race HQ by 11am (though quite a few dragged in after that). This allowed ample time for at least 4 hours sleep to let the beer work its way through the system. Free carrots were available to all competitors.

The start itself was mad. The 100 riders (men and women) all started at the same time. The high qualifiers from Saturday got to be at the front of the “grid”. Well, they weren’t at the front, their bikes were. All the bikes were laid down in the road, the first package and manifest was put next to each bike, and the riders were ushered 50 yards back down the hill. At the appointed time after some general un-Swiss fanning about, they were off! The riders had to run up the hill, get to their bike, read the manifest to plot a route, and then head off. With different manifests the riders headed in all sorts of directions, so a few wisely took their time to figure out the best route as there’s nothing slower than riding in completely the wrong direction, especially as the course was one way and if you got it wrong you’d need to go round again.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

There followed all sorts of madness as riders hurtled about. I walked some of the course before stopping and sending a set of pictures to the UK newspapers. Once that was done I walked the course a bit more and took some more pictures. Here’s a few of them…

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

I had in mind some key shots to get at the end of the race. Obviously the winners, but also I wanted pictures of riders immediately they finished. I rigged up the RX1 again and used my flash held off camera with a simple diffuser on it, triggered by pocket wizards again. The high flash sync speed of the RX1 came in handy here as well as I wanted to drop the ambient light a bit so was up at 1/500th or more.

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Cycle Messenger World Championships

Obviously I’m not as practiced with the RX1 interface as, when people moved from shade to sun I was often too slow to adjust settings (I was shooting in manual) and had to resort to just switching to aperture priority and letting the camera sort it out. In frenzied situations when people are moving about all over the place it’s vital to be 100% practiced with your camera of choice, which I wasn’t.

And that was it. Race over. Party time (again) followed by a very early flight out on Monday morning.

What can we glean from the gear selection for the event? The cameras did their job, but are no way as good when you absolutely must get the shot as a pro-spec body and lens. There were times when I wished I had a 1DIV and L lenses with me. The speed of focus is the main thing. I could have nailed far more portrait shots after the race with a 1D, even with the relatively slow focusing 24 1.4 lens. However I’d have been stuck with a slow off-camera flash sync speed. I’d also have been knackered hefting all that gear. I watched the 2 or 3 agency guys that were there as they lugged their gear about and felt delighted that I was running such a light setup. Also, people didn’t seem to mind when I got in really quite close with the little RX1 either. Sometimes it’s good to have big cameras to shout that you know what you’re doing (sort of!), but at other times it’s good to be a bit more under the radar.

Looking at my stats for the weekend, I shot most pictures using the RX1 with 242, then the Olympus OM-D with 197 (though there were a lot of 9 frames per second disastrous panning shots), then 41 with the RX100 mark II. Out of that lot, 140 made the final edit. Each camera played its own part, as I used the RX1 when I wanted really high quality and shallow depth of field, the OM-D when I wanted a bit of lens choice and high frame rate, and the RX100 when I lost the plot and just wanted to get a picture, or when I had the wrong lens on the OM-D. The different menu systems and buttons and dials is enough to drive me crazy though as I’d get aperture & shutter mixed up, ISO would be all over the place and so on. What I really want is something the size of the RX1 with pro-spec speed of focus and camera responsiveness. The OM-D is fast, but not fast enough when tracking focus. In any event though, I tried to shoot within the limitations of the cameras and make the best of what I had available.

Just to finish off this unusually long post I have to say what a superb event it was. If you ever get the chance to go in 2014, then do it. Support these guys and girls – they are simply an excellent bunch of people. And should you come across them in some big city somewhere, just be aware that they know exactly what they are doing, are fit as anything, and don’t earn much.

Andrew Tobin

See Andrew’s Blog HERE


Jun 292013

1 Year with the Olympus OM-D and 1 Month with the Fuji X100s by Vianney Taufour

Hi Steve,

After reading your blog for more than 1 year now, I decided to send you a mail to share my positive experience.

I sold my D700 and bought an Olympus OM-D exactly 1 year ago … I guess it’s a good opportunity for me to review what happened in 1 year :)

First I would like to congratulate you for this blog which is really pleasing to read. I really like your way of talking about photography making the right balance between technical stuff and the pleasure to use gears to take pictures. Keep on going! Sorry for my english (I’m french). I’m used to read reviews but may not be so good at writing in english ;)

As I told you before, I decided to abandon my full frame DSLR just one year ago. I used to make portrait photography with models but started missing time. I had fewer opportunities for shooting but was still making some pictures of my family and wanted something light, fun and qualitative enough to continue.

After reading few reviews on the OM-D, I decided to go for it and I’ve been really impressed by this camera and quickly adopted it!

I’m a “fixed focal guy” so I started with the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 and Oly 45mm f/1.8. Both lens are really good. The 45mm is just amazing … After reading you review (and others) I also decided to buy the PanaLeica 25mm/1.4 which is now my favorite lens for this camera!

The first picture attached called “Circus” was taken with the OM-D + 25mm when we went to the Circus with my kids. The OM-D is very discrete and the tilt screen is really useful to keep the camera on your chest and frame your pictures. I relied on the highlight clipping info to set up the appropriate exposure (I love this feature).


Additional pics of the Circus here.


I also had the opportunity to test the OM-D during a live concert. In such condition, the AF speed of the OM-D was really helpful as well as the exposure simulation in the EVF because the lights are always changing during live concert.


Additional pics of the Concert.

I was so pleased with this OM-D that I decided to get the Voigtlander 17.5mm f/0.95 for Christmas (a bit before since I couldn’t wait). 35mm (Full Frame) has always been my focal of choice. Thanks to all the customization available on the OM-D, using a manual lens like the Voigt. is not a problem at all. Once again the EVF is really helpful with picture magnification to set up the focus. I also tried the “fake focus peaking” trick that works great.

Despite all it’s qualities, I had some difficulties to use the 17.5mm with the OM-D because it’s really heavy and I could not let it mounted by default on the camera. About 1 month ago, I decided to sell the 17.5mm (sniff) to buy the much-anticipated Fuji X100s. I hesitated to go for the Zuiko 17mm f/1.8 but was really curious about the Fuji.

I had the opportunity to make my first trial during a business trip to HongKong.


Additional pics of China.

This Camera is a real joy to use. The ergonomic is as simple as you would expect from a camera and the look is damn sexy. Many things have been said on this camera, so I won’t go into more details. Anyway I can’t stop thinking that the Fuji would have been perfect with the OM-D Firmware and AF!

For the moment I plan to keep both the OM-D (with lenses eq. 28mm, 50mm, 90mm) and the X100s (eq. 35mm). Both look really “complementary” to me :)

I hope you’ll keep on writing on all those new mirrorless camera to come … this year looks quite promising!

Best Regards,



Jan 312013

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 – One year on. By Neil Buchan-Grant

Hi Steve,

It was last August when I told your readers how little use my Leica M9 was getting since I bought the Olympus OMD-EM5 in March. I have now had nearly a year with the OMD and I thought I’d fill you in on my progress.

So my M9 has, I’m afraid, had even less use since August. It is currently the most expensive paperweight I’ve ever owned. It is of course a camera capable of stunning results but the rangefinder/manual focus system has lost out to the infinitely more useable but equally compact OMD. I have found its snappy, accurate auto-focus and well-engineered, flip-up screen to be a winning combination for shooting subjects quickly and from fresh viewpoints. In so many situations the OMD has proven to be a more useful and versatile camera.

As fine as the images out of the Leica M9 are, I feel sure the new M will be a considerably more ‘useable’ camera with all the advantages of an articulating electronic viewfinder, (hopefully the new high res Epsom) and a sensor that shoots well in lower light. I can’t help thinking however, that I’ll still be wishing it had a flip-up screen like the OMD, perhaps that will be featured in the M2.0.

Here are some of my favorite shots from my first year with the Olympus OMD EM5.

















Nov 162012

New Camera Friday! Sony RX1 arrives!

The Sony RX1 has arrived to me today, and I am excited about this one. It has been a few weeks since I shot with it at the Sony event and when I opened the box today I was reminded why I fell for it in the 1st place. SIZE and BUILD and QUALITY! I plan on a huge review for this camera but it just arrived so I will need some time with it before I can do that. For now I made a new video below showing some size comparisons with the RX1 alongside the OM-D, D-Lux 6, NEX-6 and the Leica Monochrom. You can hopefully get an idea of how small it is. I also gave a quick example of the AF in my living room. It is quick as in faster than the Fuji X cameras. About on par with the NEX-6, etc.

Watch the video below…just press play :)

I also took it outside to test the crop feature with a quick and dirty test shot because that is one of the most asked questions I have been getting about the RX1. 

The crop mode is basically a crop mode. You do lose resolution and size but quality stays. Also, this is only available to use in JPEG mode. I have an example below of a quick test shot showing what to expect with the crop modes. Basically the camera has a built in 35 f2 Zeiss lens. With a press of a button you can switch to a 50mm crop mode. One more press and you are in a 75mm crop mode. This can come in handy if you are shooting JPEG and you want more reach.

But you do lose resolution as it is like cropping the photo yourself though Sony does some kind of processing in camera to keep the IQ up there which I can say it does very well.


1st shot is the native 35mm shot, then the 50mm crop, then th e75mm crop – straight from camera JPEG.


So look for a full review of the RX1 soon along with reviews of the Sony NEX-6, Olympus 60 Macro and a quick review of the NEX-5R with it’s new features. You can pre-order the RX1 at Amazon HERE if you like.

Just a few of the RX1 images I may or may not have posted previously…

ISO 2000, JPEG

ISO 8000 at night with 100% crop (click image)

Speaking of the new Olympus 60mm Macro..WOW!!!

This lens is the best Macro I have ever shot with, hands down. Now, I have not shot with them all, nor am I some Macro guru, not even close. BUT I do know quality when I see it and this Olympus 60 2.8 is razors sharp even wide open, getting surgical when you stop down. One sample before my review…click it for latger. BTW, this was handheld at f/2.8. The 5-Axis IS works well with this lens. You can order this one at B&H Photo or Amazon.

So stay tuned everyone for much more on these cameras and lenses! Have a GREAT weekend, I will be out shooting!

One more from the Leica Monochrom and Zeiss 50 Sonnar, which is gorgeous on the MM!

My soon to be Stepdaughter. She had a clay mask on and still let me snap a pic :) 50 Sonnar wide open at 1.5

Oct 192012

The Olympus 75 1.8 Lens Review on the OM-D E-M5

By Steve Huff

Just when you think that Olympus could not release yet another winning lens they bombard us with a super fast portrait lens that is built to the same quality standard as their wonderful 12mm f/2 and 45 1.8. In fact, this 75 1.8 has so much glass inside it is the most solid feeling of the pro lens line up from Olympus. It feels REALLY nice and it looks gorgeous on the OM-D, even though it is a bright silver color. As soon as I heard about the 75 1.8 quite a few months back I started to salivate because I was“imagine the depth of field we can get with this lens”. Then I thought..”wait..this will be like shooting a 150mm focal length equivalent..that is LONG”. When I opened the box up and held this lens in my hands my thoughts were “wow..Olympus has raised the bar”. 

I love what Olympus has been doing for the past 3 years. They started with the super fun PEN EP-1, then EP-2, then E-P3 and when they released the OM-D E-M5 they changed the M4/3 game more than Panasonic has ever done. Olympus has a charm about them, at least for me. The company, the history, the passion and dedication all show and they seem to know what they are doing, especially lately. Their OM-D has taken off in a big way with so many photographers embracing the camera and system. I am happy to see them push the envelope in this camera market/niche. This lens is no exception but is it a lens for me? For you? Read this quick review to find out my thoughts..

The Olympus 75 1.8 at f/1.8 – wide open and super sharp. Bokeh that looks pleasing and a character that stands toe to toe with legends such as the Nikon 85 1.4. 


That has always been my problem. The longer focal lengths. Back in the day I was a huge fan of the Nikon cream machine 85 1.4 and owned three of them when I shot Nikon. Not all at one time but over a period of 6 years or so. The reason I had three of them is because I realized I rarely used that focal length and at the time I was shooting it on a crop sensor APS-C camera so the equivalent was around 130mm or so. I always found it a bit long for me so it rarely came out except for the rare headshot here and there.

When I sold it I then would miss the amazing creamy look it would give me and I would re-buy it vowing to keep it only to sell it once again after getting no use.

So with this Olympus 75 being 150mm equivalent I wondered if I could even find shots to take to fill this review! I am so used to shooting Leica and wider primes such as 28, 35 and 50 than a 150mm lens seemed a bit long for what I shoot but I just had a feeling that this lens would be special so I plopped it on my OM-D and left it there for weeks. My issue is I am not always off traveling and seeing exotic sights so I have to settle in Phx AZ for photo pops, and there are very few. Still, I decided to stay positive and find things to shoot that would show off the quality of this lens.

It’s all about the eyes. We all hate cat shots right? But this one with the 75 is a bit different. :) Shot through my dirty back window.

This review will be short, much like my review for the Olympus 45 1.8 lens. Why? Well, there is not much to say because when a lens or camera is this good there are so few negatives to rant about that all you have to say is how good it is. This 75mm falls into that category. The lens is about as good as it can be and it shows more than ever that the “little camera that could”, the OM-D E-M5 is a serious as can be tool. The only ones talking smack about the OM-D these days are those who just hate it for its sensor size. They never really tried it or used it but they poo poo it all the time. The fact is that it is an incredible tool for the price and many pros have picked it up as well as many Leica shooters who use it beside their Leica.

Don’t take my word for it, see the proof in this write up from one of my fave photographers, Gary Tyson.  This guy is good and he knows how to use his OM-D!

The 75 1.8 at f/3.5. This lens is superb wide open at gets a little better stopped down a tad. Here the contrast, color and sharpness are pretty damn good. This OM-D E-M5 rocks. 

But it is sharp as you will ever need. 

The last time I used 150mm or longer was when I would take trips to the local Zoo to shoot the Orangutans. With the weather cooling down in Phoenix I decided to take a couple of trips to the zoo and see if I could use this lens for getting any kind of creative shots of the animals. I am not a huge fan of seeing animals in cages but it does sometime make for a challenge because I always try to get shots from the zoo that look different from every one elses typical zoo shots. I knew the 75 1.8, especially if shot wide open when possible would allow me to get some pretty cool images. I used to get images that looked like studio portraits using an old Nikon D2Hs and 70-200..yea, that was my old life…a DSLR lover many years back. With the OM-D it is so much nicer and lighter..a joy to use and the results are even better than my huge set up back then.

At 1st, my main concern was if this lens was sharp at 1.8 or if it was one of those softies wide open that needed to be stopped down to f/2.8 to get decent sharpness. I was hoping not because this lens costs $899 which is a pretty big chunk of change for a Micro 4/3 lens. With the 12mm f/2 coming it at $799, the 45 1.8 at $399 (which is a steal) and this one at $899 it would set someone back about $3100 for a complete kick ass OM-D set up. Add another $170 for a cool and my favorite strap and Gariz OM-D Case and you would be the envy of all of your micro 4/3 friends. So the ultimate OM-D setup? $3300. Quite expensive but then again, this camera and  these  three lenses can do just about anything you need and give you amazing IQ as well.

The lens is SHARP. Even at 1.8. My concern was squashed when I saw this one..

This guy again but in color..out of camera color. You can see the Bokeh quality behind the fence as the trees melt into a blob of green. The face of the monkey is sharp and the way this camera and lens renders the “portrait”…well, it falls into the “magical” category much like many Leica lenses do.


So to say this lens is quality throughout is correct. But what about negatives? Well, let me think…

  1. The price is steep at $899. But if you look at M4/3 and the OM-D as a tool that can do anything the big guys can do then it is not expensive but inexpensive. If you value size over weight, it is inexpensive. This is a hunk of glass so the price is justified by the quality. Expensive? Yes. Worth it? Yes, if you like this focal length.
  2. It’s large for Micro 4/3 but still smaller than any Nikon or Canon 85 1.4 lens. It’s not too heavy so it is kept light.

That is about it. As far as negatives go I really see none. This lens is superb.

Handling, AF Speed, MF use and overall joy of use..

As I said above the lens is larger than most Micro 4/3 lenses but I found it more pleasant to hold and use than the even larger and more expensive Panasonic 12-35 Zoom. It is light, feels nice in the hand and the AF performance is very good. When you get to lenses like this with a wide aperture and longer focal length the AF speed will be slower than something like the 12mm f/2 which I found to be the fastest to AF lens on the OM-D yet. The 75 performs in the AF dept just as well as any other lens like this on any other camera.

Again, do not just take my word for it..Check out the Amazon reviews for this lens. As of this writing this lens has a perfect 5 star average and 6 reviews total. Not many but the owners appear to LOVE it just as much as I do.

As for manual focus this is a focus by wire lens but it feels really smooth and is no problem to focus. It has a somewhat short focus throw and some of the images on this page were shot using manual focus, some auto focus. I enjoyed both experiences and had no issues dialing in MF on the OM-D E-M5.

Here are a few more image samples. I will be adding more to this page over the next day or two with a couple of portraits as well. For now I have mostly my Zoo trip shots but this can give you an idea of how this lens performs. EXIF is embedded as well.

This was a quick snap in my living room at night at ISO 2500 with grainy B&W mode enabled. 1/30s.

f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/60s – The turtle peeks his head out and I snap :)You can see how shallow the depth of field is here. 

f/3.5 at ISO 200 – love the way this camera handle light…

f/2.2, ISO 1250, 1/200s. I feel so bad for these guys. This is not where they should be living and they know it as well. You can see quite a bit in their eyes. I believe this was an OOC using “Monochrome” in the color settings.

Video Performance of the Lens on the OM-D E-M5

This lens can shoot amazingly crisp and sharp video. In low light it will hunt a little but in good light it is pretty solid and the best thing about it is that it is silent. Optimized for video you will not hear any creaks, grinds or noise at all. Below is a quick video sample using the OM-D E-M5 and this lens in my usual low light testing grounds at the local Aquarium, which is a very challenging place to get images and video.

My final word on the Olympus 75 1.8 Lens

This lens is an all out Olympus masterpiece. It is well made, it looks sexy and feels good on the camera. The performance is there and up close it does amazingly well. While I did not post a real portrait of a human yet, the couple I did post of the Monkey show the qualities of  this lens. If you want sharp performance, shallow depth of field and a serious portrait tool for your OM-D, this is as good as it will get. Just remember this lens will give you a 150mm equivalent so you are not really shooting a 75. This is a telephoto lens and you need to step back to get some shots with it. At $899 the cost is high but when you compare it to lenses like the Nikon 85 1.4 it is not really expensive.

After shooting with the OM-D for many months I can safely say that the quality this camera puts out is ridiculously good. The only thing you lose shooting this over an APS- or full frame is some shallow depth of field effects with lenses. The 75 fixes this with a long lens and wide aperture. Bravo once again to Olympus for creating this superb lens. It may not be for everyone but one thing is a fact, it delivers on performance, build and style.

Where to buy the Olympus 75 1.8? 

I have site sponsors that are some of the best dealers of camera gear in the USA and world. Below are link to my fave dealers who sell Olympus products. B&H Photo, Amazon and PopFlash. All superb with customer service, sales experience and overall experience. You can not go wrong ordering from the links below.

You can buy the Olympus 75 1.8 at B&H Photo HERE

You can buy the Olympus 75 1.8 at Amazon HERE

My other sponsor who sells Olympus is and they also sell the lens. 

…A few more from the 75!


More thoughts on the OM-D E-M5 as a DSLR replacement.

So, can the OM-D replace a DSLR system? OF COURSE it can but there are some things a DSLR will do better than the E-M5. For example. Shallow depth of field is using a full frame sensor. If you want uber cream and shallowness then nothing can replace a full frame sensor and fast lens. No way around it. The OM-D can get these effects as well with the 45 1.8 and now 75 1.8 but not to the same effect as a full frame sensor with fast glass. Also, the OM-D E-M5 is superb with high ISO (see my review here) but there are some current DSLR’s that will do better at ISO 6400 and up. The question you have to ask yourself is “how high of an ISO have I ever shot an image at”? Chances are it is 3200 or under, even 1600 or under. Not many people shoot at over 1600 in real world use. In this area, the OM-D is fantastic. The sensor in this camera has been tested by DXO and it matched the Nikon D700in a couple of  areas. That is how good this sensor is. Also remember that with the 75 1.8 you will get the DOF of a 3.8 lens but the light gathering of a 1.8 lens.

One other area that would most likely be reserved for pro shooters is sports performance. If sports is your thing you will get fastest focus tracking from a top end pro DSLR. Period. But most who are interested in the OM-D are NOT pros. 95% of those who read my site are NOT pros. We are enthusiasts who love photography AND gear. It is a hobby for most and for us, this is a dream camera that is the perfect combo of camera, price, lenses and usability. The video rocks as well :)

So if you are NOT a pro who needs full frame qualities and do NOT shoot sports for a living then an OM-D E-M5 with the 12, 45, 75 set of lenses can easily match any DSLR output for image quality with a little less shallow DOF. FACT.


PLEASE Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site (and the cost these days to keep it going is pretty damn high), so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at Amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :) More info is here on how you can help!

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Oct 192012

Help! I am being robbed!! No no..I am not really but those who buy this lens may think so. As gorgeous as it is inside and out, this Olympus Special Edition 12mm f/2 in all black comes at a price. The original silver 12mm f/2 is $799, a price that was hard to swallow for so many who shoot micro 4/3. The lens is beautiful and one of my faves on the OM-D but this black edition comes in at $1099 which is a $300 price hike just for the black color.

I remember a day when ALL lenses came in black. Now we get to pay extra for the privilege. I admit, this lens looks absolutely gorgeous in all black and I KNOW it performs but it will ultimately be up to your preferences and wallet whether you want to take the plunge. I am a little bothered by this price hike but I know some will buy it and love it. After all, this hobby is just as much about enjoying the gear as it is enjoying the memories we create with it (for many of us anyway). Besides, how much is a Leica 24 3.8? Thats about the equivalent of this lens on M4/3. It’s no Leica but it kind of looks like one and has the performance as well.

You can check out the all black Olympus 12mm f/2 at B&H Photo HERE.

UPDATE: More research has shown me that this comes with the $90 metal lens hood included, a nice all metal retro lens cap and a protective filter. So the $300 is not all that bad for a “special edition”. It is more like a $150 price bump after the extras. That could make it worth it for the sexy color upgrade, but still wish it was only $100 more. Truth be told..I’m digging it in black though it is the same exact lens as the silver version. 

You can check out the all black Olympus 12mm f/2 at B&H Photo HERE.

Sep 252012

Traveling through Europe for 8 Months with an Olympus OM-D by James Cox

Hi Steve,

Thanks for the best photography site on the net. Like many others I have been enjoying your no-nonsense real world reviews of gear for some time now. A little about me: I’m 28, married and currently traveling Europe for 8 months with me lovely wife.

At home (Australia) I work as a photographer. Splitting my year between school/graduation photography for a company and my own freelance wedding and commercial work.

Until we left on our trip I had been taking almost no images for myself. I have spent the last 5 years roughly, shooting almost exclusively for clients. When we were getting set to head off I knew I didn’t want to lug around a Full size SLR and a few lenses for that long. I had a full wedding and commercial kit setup but hated the idea of lugging around the bag I use for work, on a holiday.

So, thanks to your site in particular, I landed on an Olympus OM-D. I took a punt and bought some lenses before it actually came out and thankfully it (OM-D) landed at my doorstep 2 days before we left. Prior to reading your thoughts I had always dismissed small sensor cameras as merely point and shoots with a few bells and whistles added.

I bought it initially for its size and weight and have since been blown away with the image quality. It’s not quite at a DSLR level (I had been using a D3S for most of work) but for what it is, it’s amazing.

So we took off. At the time I had the OM-D plus a 7-14mm Panasonic, 25mm Panasonic and the Olympus 45mm. I was set. Since then, on my travels having been so impressed with the whole system I added the Olympus 12mm whilst in Basel, Switzerland. Then a couple of months later whilst in York, UK I grabbed the Panasonic 100-300mm. Then a couple of weeks ago in Amsterdam I managed to find the Olympus 75 1.8.

My travel kit has now grown pretty full, but I still manage to carry it all, everywhere without a care in the world thanks to lightweight nature of the whole system.

That was a long pre-amble…

Having not taken a whole lot of photos for myself over the last few years I had kind of lost the enjoyment of finding images I liked for no other reason than… I like them. This trip and this camera system has brought that back in a big way. I have loved the chance to spend as much or as little time as I want putting the camera to my eye.

I think sometimes as photographers, either professionally or as enthusiasts you can almost feel the need to always be photographing and that all the shots you take, need to be great.

The chance to not photograph all the time has made me all the more inspired when I do life the camera to my eye.

Having said that, in the past 5 months of travel I’ve chalked up over 20,000 photos on my little OM-D. So maybe I’ve been lifting to the camera to my eye more than I realise but it hasn’t felt like effort one little bit.

Here are a few random photos from the trip so far, they are by no means amazing photos but they are simply the photos that I enjoy looking at and remembering the places we’ve had the privilege of visiting. Each of these shots somehow, in my mind, sums up our own personal experience that these places provided us.

They’ve all been edited to my liking, which I have found changes all time.

1.Barcelona, Spain – Olympus OM-D – 7-14mm @ 7mm – f4.0 – 1/30 – iso 2500 This was taken in Barcelona, after visiting too many churches over the past few months this one took the cake. It’s in the Roman quarter of the city and actually had coin slots in which you pop .50euro cents if you want the lights to come on so you can see who you are praying to.

2. Brugge, Belgium – Olympus OM-D – 45mm – f4.5 – 1/160 – iso 200

 Following a good walk in and around this beautiful city we were wandering down on the canals and this cute pooch was hanging out the window. We went back the next day and he was in the exact same position. It’s things like this that give places feeling. Plus I love dogs.

3. Amsterdam, The Netherlands – Olympus OM-D – 45mm – f1.8 – 1/100 – iso 200

 A striking orange bike caught my eye whilst wandering the canals. After having just visited a WW2 Resistance Museum in which it was detailed how the colour has been so important to the country over so many years, this somehow resonated with me at the time.

4. Isle of Skye, Scotland United Kingdom – Olympus OM-D – 12mm – f2 1/50 – iso 2500

After a wonderful day of driving around the beautiful Isle of Skye in Scotland with some french backpackers we picked up, the majestic highland cows were feeding by a fence and having a farming pedigree I took this one for my mother.

5. Porto, Portugal – Olympus OM-D – 25mm – f2 – 1/30 – iso200

 Porto in Portugal amazed and humbled us. It’s beautiful whilst falling into a state of disrepair at the same time. Waiting for our tram I caught this girl sitting so peacefully in the corner of my eye just moments before the tram pulled up.

6. Avignon, France – Olympus OM-D – 45mm – f1.8 – 1/40 – iso 640

 Whilst enjoying the Avignon Festival we caught this amusing show. It was in french and we didn’t understand a word of it. Judging from the hushed and shocked reactions it was filthy and quite wrong I’m sure. We sat there happily all the same.

7. Ruffigan P. Fritz – Olympus OM-D – 25mm – f1.8 – 1/400 – iso 200

 Taken 2 days before we left – The first photo from the OM-D. After reading your post a couple of weeks ago my wife actually got quite emotional. The hardest thing about going away for such a long time is leaving our beloved little guy behind. He’s a mini Schnauzer and I’m not too embarrassed to say has more than one song written about him. He’s staying on my parents farm for the duration of our trip and has brought such joy to us since we picked him up 18 months ago.

I would love to finish by saying that without photography, big parts of our lives can be lost or merely diluted in our minds over time. Photo’s can have the ability to bring back memories beyond themselves. Looking at photos takes us back to the places, sights, sounds, smells and most importantly, emotions that this wide and varied world has to offer.
If any of the readers of the site would like to follow the travels they can subscribe to my Facebook page. I’ve been photos up for my family mainly but I’m more than happy for anyone to see them.
Thanks Steve and once again I can genuinely say that you have been a huge influence in not only my photographing life but also many others I assure you.
From Steve: Thank you so much James. The photos are beautiful and I appreciate the kind words as well as this fabulous article!
Aug 162012

LENS LUST: The Leica 50 Summilux ASPH on the Olympus E-M5 and NEX cameras

Lots of people wonder if spending the bucks for a Leica lens is worth the crazy cost when shooting with a NON Leica camera. We all know how insane the prices on these lenses are these days and the legendary and drool worthy Leica 50 Summilux ASPH is no exception. Coming in at around $4000 these days, this 50 Summilux ASPH is one of Leica hottest selling lenses right above the new 35 Summilux ASPH FLE. With rumors of a new 28 Summilux 1.4 for September coming one can only imagine how much these lenses will be going up in price (and value) in the next year or two. Leica raises prices every single year and I do not see them stopping this practice anytime soon.

My now 16 year old Son Brandon – OM-D with the Lux at 1.4

One good thing we can say about these prices is that those who have owned the best Leica lenses for a long time have seen their lenses appreciate like mad. Those who are buying new TODAY…well, that is a different story. With the cost of the lenses so high, many have been asking me if it is worth it to buy them for use with a Micro 4/3 or even NEX camera. I have shot the 50 Summilux ASPH on the Sony NEX-5n with gorgeous results.

On a NEX, the 50 becomes more like a 75mm equivalent making it nice for portraits (though you still get the characteristics of a 50mm).

The Leica 50 Summilux on the NEX-5n wide open, where it is meant to be used :)

On an OM-D E-M5 this lens becomes a 100mm equivalent, which is quite long. You still have the light gathering of an f 1.4 lens so in reality it is like shooting a 100mm f/1.4 though your DOF will be different due to the smaller sensor. With the new Olympus 75 1.8 out any moment now at $800 buying a $4000 Leica lens may not be the smartest decision financially but if you want to feel that Leica quality in your hand and see  that quality in your photos then it is worth it. Plus, if you hold on to the lens for a few years you may not lose any money when you sell, and you may in fact make money on it when Leica releases the snazzy new M13 :)

What a gorgeous lens. Well worth lusting after :) Wide open again at 1.4 on the OM-D E-M5

A lens like this is WELL WORTH it when shooting in a Leica M camera as you will see the full beauty of it. It is well worth it when using them how they were intended to be used and in my opinion they become a little crippled on other smaller sensor formats like Micro 4/3. Using them on the NEX or Fuji X-Pro 1 may be a different story though because you have an APS-C sized sensor which gives us more of the lens goodness to work with. The more of the lens surface we can use the more beautiful the results.

With that said, shooting a 50 Lux ASPH on an OM-D is quite nice and it will give you beautiful results that prove that it is all about the lenses. Even on the E-M5 you can see the Lens character shine through and it looks “Leica”-ish. This shows that the lenses are what makes the Leica magic, not the cameras (though the full frame M9 rocks because it uses all of the lens like an M7 or MP or M3 would).

Using a legendary Leica lens like the 50 Summilux ASPH even on the new Olympus OM-D or the established NEX-7 can be quite magical. This goes to show that it is indeed all about the glass when it comes to photo image quality, and in my opinion, Leica M lenses are the best in the world and well worth their high cost if photography is your lifetime passion.

So should you be one of those who are wondering if a Leica lens is worth it to own for your Micro 4/3 or NEX cameras or even Ricoh GXR..I would say…yes and no. Yes if you desire quality in build, feel, and want that Leica look to your images (and yes, there is such a thing as the Leica look) and you have some cash in your wallet. Leica glass is always a good investment though I can not say the same for buying a brand spanking new M9P as the value will drop on the cameras every time. Lenses though, they will eventually appreciate. On a NEX system this lens really shines due to the larger sensor. It may not be full frame but still, it is great on the NEX cameras.

I said NO because I think that with a system like Micro 4/3 there are so many great lenses already available for much much less that you could buy the full set of 12mm f2, 25 1.4, 45 1.8 and 75 1.8 for MUCH less than this one 50 Summilux 1.4 ASPH. $2700 vs $4000. You will not get the same look as this 50 Lux with any of those but you can get close (with the new 75 it appears). I found the combo of the OM-D with 50 Lux to be a pretty damn impressive combo and I had zero issues focusing. None were OOF.

Brandon at 1.4

I guess what I am trying to say is that this lens on the mirrorless cameras is gorgeous and you would NOT be disappointed. At the same time, it is not needed to get gorgeous photos with these systems. Again, like I said about the Monochrom, it comes down to what you WANT more than need :) I love the combo and when this lens is attached to the OM-D it feel amazingly solid. I used the EVF for all of the shots here and it was a joy to use.

The Leica 50 Summilux ASPH is still a tough lens to find in stock but you can always try Dale Photo, PopFlash or email Mr. Ken Hansen for availability. This is one lens that will always be a great investment as it is Leicas top selling lens and most desired lens as well. If you want to try it out on your camera you can also rent it at (which I have been using quite a but lately BTW, they are great)!

One thing this lens has is amazing micro contrast as well as contrast, sharpness and color. It gives photos an almost “glassy” look. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed this little snippet of Leica lens lust. The 50 Summilux ASPH is a legend and the best 50mm in the world, well, until that new 50 Summicron APO hits. :) This was not meant to be a review of the lens as I wrote one LONG ago and you can see that review HERE. This was just a piece to say that I still love this lens and is my 2nd fave Leica lens ever. My 1st? The new 35 Summilux FLE.



Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

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Jul 192012

The Olympus Micro 4/3 12-50mm Real Use Lens Review – The misunderstood kit zoom.

So I recently acquired a silver OM-D and 12-50 Kit Zoom. You know, the kit lens everyone has just about panned and trashed. Well, not really e v e r y o n e but many reviews and users have said it is just average in optical quality, has awful distortion, and of course aperture speed, or lack of it. I wondered how Olympus could be selling this guy for $499 when it looks HUGE in pictures and everyone is panning it off as soft, slow and lacking in micro-contrast!

Well, the fact is that it is indeed slow when it comes to aperture. With a variable aperture of 3.5-6.3 it is as slow as molasses on a cold winters day as it drips from the spout in a house without heat…BUT with the amazing 5-Axis Image stabilization inside of the OM-D E-M5, I was able to go out at night and get handheld shots on the wide end with no issues. The ISO would get jacked up but the E-M5 has really good high ISO performance so it is not that huge of a deal (samples below). Let’s face it, OM-D users are mostly enthusiasts and hobbyists. The big wig pro’s go with Nikon and Canon and having a weatherproof 12-50 zoom WITH good Macro capability and video capability can be a good lens to have, even with its shortcomings.

Yes, I feel this little lens is misunderstood.

I think this lens had HIGH expectations from most people. I feel many thought this would be a “pro” quality lens because the 4/3 format Olympus 12-60 lens is a gorgeous lens and many thought that this lens would be the Micro 4/3 optical equivalent of that lens so right from the get go this lens had everyone talking! When cameras started to ship the reports came back that this lens was not so sharp or impressive. But again, we all had super high hopes here. A $499 lens SHOULD be damn good but Olympus sees it as a small, light, and versatile lens and that is how I see it as well. I also think it should be $350 instead of $499 but when you get it with the camera body it is a good buy at $300.

I admit though, I never really wanted one of these 12-50’s due to the size it appeared to be in the photos online. The lens looks huge in pictures but in person it is quite slim and skinny and yes, LIGHT. It is indeed on the long side but it is MUCH thinner than I expected. You can see the pic below of the lens next to the Sony 18-55 Kit Zoom and the Nikon 10-30 Kit Zoom. It is a loooooong lens but in reality and in use it is not offensive at all, unless you walk up to a cute girl with it..then she might think your camera is getting a little excited ;)

Left to right: Olympus 12-50, Sony 18-55, Nikon 10-30

I bought this lens as part of a silver OM-D body kit and had planned to sell it because I kept hearing it was just “OK”. Selling the lens for $300 would allow me to have paid “body only” price for the camera but nope, I decided that I am keeping it! As much as I am NOT a zoom guy, I will keep it for the teeny amount of Macro I do and for an all around vacation or family lens. I can see taking this setup to disneyland or the grand canyon even, and it will give good results. Buying it with the camera also saves you some cash…to the tune of $200 and that brings the price of the lens with the body to $300, which is about the right price. I can see this lens being used by your kids or wife as it is simple and versatile.

The test snapshot pics I have shot with it so far show me that the IQ is pretty sharp (you can see crops below) and much sharper than I expected after reading the doom and gloom reports on this guy. No it will not be as crisp as the 12mm prime but for a kit lens this one is worth having over the 14-42 (in my opinion).  I have had no softness issues or contrast issues or any issues really and because it is so light it feels great on the camera. There is some distortion at the wide end that I do not get with the 12mm f/2 but it is to be expected in a kit zoom (but not in s $499 lens) and in real photos (not test charts) it’s not a deal breaker at all.

One thing I like about this lens is the way it goes to macro mode. You just hold the Macro button down on the lens barrel and flick up the lens barrel. The lens will automatically engage macro mode and go to the correct focal length. That focal length is 43mm and the aperture is f/6.

Here is a shot at 12mm, wide open at f/3.5 – so this is the lens at it’s worst, and I have seen much worse than this! You must click to see the 100% crops embedded in the image!

The OM-D E-M5 Camera is a perfect match for this lens

The more I use the OM-D the more I realize how it really has no compromises and this is pretty amazing for a small mirrorless camera. No compromise means no roadblocks when out shooting. Low light? No problem. Fast lenses available? No problem. Great video? No problem. Fast AF? No problem. EVF? No problem. Great design? No problem. With no compromises we can all concentrate on getting the shots AND enjoying ourselves at the same time. I am hoping to do a follow-up on this camera soon as it’s just so enjoyable to pack along and take everywhere. It’s solid, easy to use, hassle free and the IQ rocks. Just how I like it. Seeing that the E-M5 is weather sealed this 12-50 is a perfect match for it as an everyday lens.

Instead of going on and on about this lens, I have said what I needed to say. It’s a good lens though not a GREAT “wow” lens. It is sharp enough for 93% of users, it is light and slim, it is feature rich with Macro and the variable zoom options (you can use a mechanical zoom or an electronic type zoom), it doesn’t get any bigger when you zoom (it’s all internal action) and it’s versatile.  12-50 in Micro 4/3 equals 24-100, which covers a lot of ground. The distortion and edge softness (there is a little of that as well) really is not going to kill your photos but if you want perfection and are shooting in a pro situation, you may want to opt for some of the amazing primes available.

Me, I like it much better than the standard kit 14-42 so I gave that one to my son for his E-Pl1. If you are choosing an OM-D kit, I’d recommend this one over the 14-42 kit for the extra $200.

Pros and Cons of the Olympus 12-50 Kit Zoom


  • It is light and thin but made well
  • Weather Sealed just like the E-M5
  • Great for video with fast and silent AF
  • Good family or all-purpose lens
  • Doesn’t expand as you zoom
  • One button click to macro
  • I had no sharpness issues even wide open that others have had
  • Aperture is slow as molasses
  • By the time you hit 50mm you are already at f/6.3, so you need some light if you want ISO low
  • Some distortion at wide end
  • micro contrast is not up there with the 25 1.4, 45 1.8, or top quality primes
  • Too expensive at $499, buy it with the body at $300, which is about what it is worth
Image Samples using the OM-D E-M5 and 12-50 Lens

Take a look at the quick snapshots I grabbed in the 1st few hours of owning this lens. No complaints from me at all…at all! Oh, and BTW, in case you didn’t realize how much I like this camera…the OM-D is everything it is cracked up to be. A HUGE BIG FAT BRAVO to Olympus on this one. It’s a good time to be a photographer, camera geek or gear hound with G.A.S.! BTW, the new Olympus 75 1.8 is coming soon and it looks AMAZING!!!!


Click on the images for a larger and much better look, including some with 100% crops

and one shot taken by my iPhone..look how beautiful this is :)


Remember, anytime you follow my links here and buy from B&H or AMAZON, this helps to keep my site going. If it was not for these links, there would be no way to fund this site, so I thank you in advance if you visit these links. I thank you more if you make a purchase! I have nifty search bars at the upper right of each page so you easily search for something at either store! I currently spend 10-14 hours a day working on this site and the only way that I can pay for it is with your help, so thank you! Currently my traffic has been increasing but my funds to pay for the site has been decreasing, so any help would be GREATLY appreciated!

Even if  you buy baby food, napkins or toothpicks at amazon it helps this site, and you do not pay anything extra by using the links here. Again, you pay nothing extra by using my links, it is just a way to help support this site, so again, I thank you in advance :)

If you enjoyed this article/review, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page and also be sure to join me on twitter or my new facebook fan page and Google +  page! Also, you can subscribe to my feed at my subscribe page HERE and read these posts in your browser or news reader!

Jun 302012

The Olympus OM-D on the Road: Istanbul Day 1 – By Colin Steel

See his blog HERE

Hey fellow photo travelers, welcome to this first post from my trip to Istanbul for a workshop with Peter Turnley . The workshop is street shooting orientated with a photojournalistic theme and I decided to arrive a few days early to acclimatize and get into the spirit. I arrived at the hotel at 9:00 a.m. this morning having flown over night from Singapore and decided to hit the streets immediately. The hotel we are in is right in the centre of Sultanahmet in the old city and I just couldn’t wait to explore so I grabbed my Olympus OM-D with Lumix 14mm F2.5 and hit the streets. First up, this is a wonderful little travel combo, incredibly light, robust and flexible. I mentioned in previous posts that I am really warming to shooting with the touch shutter on the cameras rear screen and I am convinced this is the way to go with street shooting. I am also finding that its not an intimidating set up and it doesn’t get the reaction that the bigger DSLR and lenses would. The opening shot is a good example of this as I was able to engage the subject in conversation while I shot away with the touchscreen, and it worked a treat.

Although I would class myself as an experienced photographer, the thought of focusing entirely on Street Photography was a little foreign although fortunately I think it aligned with the way I shoot anyway. Traditionally I use wider lenses of the order of the 24, 28, 35 & 40 focal lengths and I usually try to shoot what I would term ‘context’ shots so I guess trying to story tell and create interesting little series of shots isn’t actually that far from what I do anyway. I watched a tremendous little Magnum in Motion clip by Alex Webb when I was researching for this trip and I was struck by the depth of interest in his photos, the best ones seem to be multilayered with interesting elements that all come together to trap your eye in the frame. Inspired by this I have been trying to keep that in mind when I explore any interesting subjects that I come across and I think the window shot above is about as close as I have got to it yet.

One thing that is clear to me after my first few hours here is that I think I have the gear choices spot on. As is my way recently, I have gone really light and brought the OMD, GX1 and a few primes including the Lumix 14 & 20, the Sigma 30 and the Olympus 45 (these all of course double for equivalent focal length). In addition I brought the Samyang fisheye thinking it might be useful in the gorgeous mosques. I have started out today with just the OMD and 14 & 20 and they have been perfectly suited to this style. I also bought a very cheap Lowepro Exchange Messenger bag which is ridiculously light and a great compliment to the micro 43 kit, housing it all with ease and, in combination with the tiny lightweight lenses, being no trouble to carry in the city heat.


From what I have seen so far of Istanbul, and please remember I have only been here for a matter of hours, its reputation as a street-shooters paradise looks to be warranted. Every turn of a corner holds something new to see and some variety of light and subject matter. The blend of old and new is certainly there as well and contrasts abound. So far I have only been refused by a couple of subjects and that’s fair enough, I think as I adapt and become better at this style, the hit rate of keepers will rise.

Well, I am starting to tire a little so I am going to grab some coffee and a snack before I shoot in the late afternoon light which should be great. It is also my intention to leave the hotel around 5 a.m. tomorrow to see how the city looks around sunrise so it will be an early one tonight. It is my intention to try to update this every day if I can but not sure how achievable that will be once the course starts and I really get into it. Anyway, in the meantime happy shooting.



May 212012

Crazy Comparison! Nikon D800 vs Sony NEX-7 vs Olympus E-M5

JUST FOR FUN guys, so please  – no getting bent out of shape! I have done those crazy comparisons for 2 1/2 years and I do them for fun and “just because”. Why? Because I can! Basically I take each camera and shoot the same scene, at the same time, using the same aperture (and preferably the same focal length or equivalent) and I convert the RAW files to check for things like sharpness, color, dynamic range, etc. I used to do this many years ago for my own personal curiosities so I started doing them here as well, and many of you enjoy them. Some of you hate them. But the good thing is, if you dislike these sort of things you don’t have to read it :)

Since I have the Nikon D800 here (which is a BEAST of a camera) along with a Zeiss 35 1.4 I decided to put it up against the Sony NEX-7 with the Zeiss 24 1.8, which gives the NEX a 35mm equivalent field of view. Basically a big brute of a full frame DSLR vs a small mirror less APS-C camera. Now obviously the resolution of each camera is different with the Nikon coming in at a whopping 36 megapixels and the Sony coming in at a not too shabby 24 megapixels. Note that I am not doing this to say “Camera A is better than Camera B”. I am showing this to give you guys and idea of what each camera can put out using these lenses and this scene. :) There are many NEX shooters who come to this site and there are also many curious about the new Nikon.

It is my opinion after shooting the D800 for a few days that for me..well, the size and weight of this camera is a bit much. Sure, it can take a serious quality photograph but so can a NEX-7, or Olympus E-M5 or Fuji X100. But then again, If you are a DSLR guy then this is one of those “Holy Grail” cameras so if you do not mind the weight and size and bulk and cost, then this camera is highly capable of some crazy delicious output.

I did find it easier to manually focus my NEX-7 and OM-D than the D800 as even with its big and bright OVF I found 20% of my shots were missed in the AF dept (even when using the confirmation dot). I never miss focus with the NEX or OM-D when using manual glass. I’ll go over all of this when I write about the D800.

I also am starting to think that 36 megapixels is way overkill for just about anyone. I don’t care if you are shooting for huge billboards, 36 MP is overkill. Period. These RAW files are 76MB and they make my iMac a bit sad. :) But again, with that said, for anyone wanting crazy resolution and full frame benefits, the D800 is indeed a pretty wonderful camera. But given a choice I would take a smaller camera anyway over the D800 because if I owned this beast I would never shoot it unless I was shooting something like a live performance for $$ or in a studio environment (and even then I would choose my M9, as I have in the past). Id never ever take this out for daily shooting anywhere when I have other smaller cameras that are really just as capable. You do not need this kind of camera for street, for snapshots, for your kids, for daily personal use or if you are just resizing for web sharing or making small to large prints. Period. But again, I will write much more in my D800 review coming soon :)

Also, coming SOON (this week) . A NOT SO crazy comparison. The Leica M9 with a converted to B&W image vs Leica Monochrom vs Nikon D800 converted to B&W! Stay tuned!

On to the images! Both were shot RAW and converted using the latest version of ACR. What you see here is what you get! No corrections were made to color but I was finding that the D800 was overexposing in almost every shot I took so I did adjust the exposure in RAW for that file.  All images were shot at f/5.6. The D800 had the $1800 Zeiss 35 1.4 mounted and the Sony had the Zeiss 24 1.8 mounted. Both giving a 35mm field of view.  The last image was shot with the Olympus OM-D but all I had with me was my little 12mm f/2 so that one is also included at the bottom. 

Click on each image to open the larger version with full 100% crop embedded. 

What do you think? I also shot one with the little Olympus but only had the 12 f/2 with me so wasn’t the same focal length at all.

and someone requested that I try to pull out the shadow detail here on the Olympus file. Not a problem at all :)

Feb 192012

Estimated ship dates for the OM-D, Fuji X-Pro 1 and Pentax K-01!

Was browsing B&H photo and noticed the estimated ship dates for the Olympus OM-D, Pentax K-01 and Fuji X-Pro 1 have been listed! Here you go!


Olympus OM-D – ESTIMATED SHIP DATE – APRIL 10TH 2012 – Pre-Order Here

Fuji X-Pro 1 – ESTIMATED SHIP DATE – March 20th 2012 – Pre-Order Here

PENTAX K-01 – ESTIMATED SHIP DATE – MARCH 29TH 2012 – Pre-Order Here

Feb 072012


Olympus now has the E-M5 live on their web site! It’s for real and it looks fantastic! Check it out NOW, right HERE!


You can now pre-order at Amazon! They just put it up so ordering now will get you your camera sooner. The cool thing? Amazon does not charge your card when you place a pre order, and you can cancel at any time if you change your mind. My order for the black with 12-50 is in :)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12-50 Lens – Black

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Silver with 12-50 Lens – 1299

ALL OM-D E-M5 Pre Order Options!



Feb 072012


Pre-Order the new cameras! Nikon D800E, Fuji X-Pro 1, Canon G1x, Pentax K-01

The new Nikon D800E

WOW, Nikon has created something special in the newly announced D800E. The new D800E is a full frame 36 megapixel monster without an AA filter! What does this mean? This means the file quality will be insanely sharp and detailed. The Leica M9 does not have an AA filter but most cameras and DSLR’s DO. This Nikon D800E is smaller than a D700 but seemingly packs a crazy punch of IQ, speed, and video capability. My money is on the D800E to be the best DSLR release of 2012. B&H is already taking pre-orders so if you have been waiting for this one, a pre-order now will get you your camera sooner :) I would take this over a Nikon D4 and you can already pre-order the Nikon D800E HERE at B&H Photo.


The Fuji X-Pro-1

The new Fuji is one of the hottest cameras of this year. The buzz has been intense, much like last years X100. I am excited about this one but am trying to not get too excited because if it is as quirky as the X100, then I will probably tire of it fast. The X-Pro 1 needs fast AF, amazing IQ and colors and good lenses to succeed. I think it will have all of that but we have to wait and see. I have my body and lenses pre-ordered already but if you didn’t get yours yet, you can still get in HERE. The lenses are also available – The 18mm f/2The 35 f/1.4 – The 60 F/2.4 MACRO. Fuji is pushing this as a Pro system, so I have high hopes! If it falls flat, it will be going back. :)


This one has been a mixed bag. Lots of the readers here have said they have no interest in this one while others say it is their perfect take along solution. With it’s larger sensor the G1-x has matured over the G12 with some great updates. But is the lens too slow? I think the camera will be good but there is so much competition it is hard to say. At $799 it is priced along the same lines as the Nikon V1 or Olympus E-P3, which I would take over the Canon. But thats  just me :) The Canon IMO needs a faster lens and better VF solution for me to choose it over some of the competition. Still, it is also available for pre-order!


The Pentax K-01

This 16MP APS-C sized sensor camera is one ugly piece of gear but beauty is in the eye of the beholder :) This camera may look funky, but my guess is that it will provide quality output. I just hope it has the speed and accuracy to go along with that IQ otherwise this may be dead in the water. Video specs look great, colors are available and for those who want a Tonka Toy like look and feel, this could be YOUR camera :) You can pre-order the camera at B&H Photo in any color! BlackYellowSilver


The Olympus OM-D

This is one that I have already fallen in love with and I will tell you why. The OM-D has evolved from the PEN line and the latest PEN E-P3 is a winner in (almost) every way. The speed is superb, the AF is awesome, the colors are beautiful, the lens selection even better…it’s sleek, powerful and has few weaknesses (those would be sucky low light/high ISO and wobbly video). The new OM-D is the “Pro Pen” and is weather sealed with a solid construction and an old school OM style. The new 16mp sensor is being used with the Olympus tweaks so expect rich color, much better high ISO, better video, and of course a built in EVF. This will be the best micro 4/3 body to date, believe me. I am really looking forward to it. The image above is the new OM-D with the accessory grip, which I will not be purchasing. Without the grip attached it looks like a sweet little solid camera! Like an OM!

You can now pre-order at Amazon! They just put it up so ordering now will get you your camera sooner. The cool thing? Amazon does not charge your card when you place a pre order, and you can cancel at any time if you change your mind. My order for the black with 12-50 is in :)

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with 12-50 Lens – Black

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Silver with 12-50 Lens – 1299

ALL OM-D E-M5 Pre Order Options!

The specs of the OM-D are impressive and Olympus are boasting a 40% decrease in NOISE compared to the E-P3. WOW. Also, a .92 magnification EVF. 

Saw these on a few websites this morning already along with the detailed info over at

Memory card: SD Memory Card (SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I compatible, Eye-Fi Card compatible)

Sensor: 4/3 Live MOS Sensor 16.1 million pixels (total pixel 16.9 million pixels)

Dust reduction: Supersonic Wave Filter

Recording format: DCF, DPOF compatible / Exif, PRINT Image Matching III, MPO compatible

File format: RAW (12-bit lossless compression), JPEG, RAW+JPEG, MPO(3D still)

IS system: Built-in (Image sensor shift type for movie & still, 5-axis image stabilization) -> yaw/pitch/vertical shift/horizontal shift/rolling. Effective compensation range maximum 5 EV steps

Shutter speed range: 60 – 1/4000 sec. (Not available when Bulb is selected)

Electronic viewfinder: Eye-level electronic viewfinder, approx. 1.44M

Eye point / Diopter adjustment range Approx. 100% / Approx. 0.92x*1 – 1.15x*2 (-1m-1, 50mm lens, Infinity) *1 : at Finder Style 1, 2 (aspect 4:3) *2 : at Finder Style 3 (aspect 4:3)

Approx. 18mm (-1m-1, Distance from rear lens surface) / -4 ~ +2m-1

Available with Live Preview function button [custom function]

Level Gauge 2-axis level gauge; horizontal /vertical

Finder Style Selectable from 3 types

Brightness / Colour temperature control ±7 levels / ±7 levels

EyeCup Removable, Optional eyecup EP-11 is available.

LCD screen: Live view 100% field of view, Exposure compensation preview, WB adjustment preview, Gradation auto preview, Face detection preview (up to 8 faces), Grid line, Histogram, Magnification display (x5/x7/x10/x14) OFF Grid/ Monitor Display Types, Normal Mode, Grid Line Mode(4 types), Histogram Mode, Magnified View Mode, Magnification Ratio x5, x7, x10 (Default) x14.

LCD information: Aperture value, Shutter speed, Auto Bracket, AE Lock, AF mode, IS, Shooting Mode, Battery Check, Myset, Internal Temperature Warning, Face / Eye Detection, Histogram, Number of storable still pictures, Record mode, ISO, Sequential shooting, Self-timer, White Balance, Metering Mode, AF confirmation mark, Exposure Compensation Value, Spot metering Area

Flash Mode, Flash Status, Flash intensity Control, Super FP Focusing length, Tone control, Eye-Fi condition Display of Face Detection Max 8 frames of face detection can be displayed.

LCD Specs: 3.0-inch tilting OLED monitor, Approx. 610k dots, Touch control in electrostatic capacitance Type, Touch control Touch shutter release, Touch enlargement, Touch Live Guide, AF area selection, AF area enlargement, Frame advance/backward, Enlargement playback, Touch Super Control Panel, Tilting angle Upward tilting angle : up to 80 degrees / Downward tilting angle : up to 50 degrees, Brightness / Color temperature control ±2 levels / ±3 levels Color tone select Vivid / Natural

AF system: High-speed imager AF

Focus modes Single AF (S-AF) / Continuous AF (C-AF)* / Manual Focus (MF) / S-AF + MF / AF tracking (C-AF + TR) *

Full-time AF Available

Maginified frame AF Selectable from over 800 AF points

Enlarged view check by magnify button

Magnification x5, x7, x10(Default), x14 selectable

Face detection AF / Eye detection AF Available / Available

Eye Detection AF mode : OFF / Nearer-eye priority / Right-eye priority / Left-eye priority

Focusing point / Focusing point selection 35-area multiple AF / All target, Group target area (9-area), Single target

AF illuminator Yes

Manual focus assist Live view image is magnified when the focus ring is rotated. (at S-AF+MF or MF mode)

AF tracking

Metering system: TTL Image sensor metering. Digital ESP metering (324-area multi pattern metering), Center weighted average metering, Spot metering, Spot metering with highlight control, Spot metering with shadow control

Metering range EV 0 – 20 (at normal temperature, 17mm f2.8, ISO 100)

Exposure modes: i Auto, P: Program AE (Program shift can be performed), A: Aperture priority AE, S: Shutter priority AE, M: Manual, Bulb, Time, Scene select AE, Art Filter, Underwater wide / macro* * Selectable from menu as a function on Fn-1/Rec button

Scene Select AE Modes: Portrait, e-Portrait, Landscape, Landscape + Portrait, Sport, Night, Night + Portrait, Children, High Key, Low Key, DIS mode, Macro, Nature Macro, Candle, Sunset, Documents, Panorama, Fireworks, Beach & Snow, Fisheye Conv., Wide Conv., Macro Conv., 3D * * Still image only

ISO sensitivity: AUTO: ISO 200 – 25600 (customizable, Default 200-1600) / Manual ISO 200 – 25600, 1/3 or 1 EV steps selectable. Exposure compensation ±3 EV in 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV steps selectable

AE lock Locked at 1st release of shutter button (can be set to Fn1/Rec button). Metering standard value adjustment 1/6 EV step, +/- 1EV range

Shutter: Computerized focal-plane shutter. Shutter speed 1/4000 – 60 sec. (1/3, 1/2, or 1EV steps selectable.). Bulb: default setting 8min. (1/2/4/8/15/20/25/30 min. selectable.)

Flash: TTL Auto, Auto, Manual, FP-TTL AUTO, FP-MANUAL

Built-in flash: No

Bundled flash (FL-LM2): TTL flash, GN=10 (ISO200・m) / GN=7(ISO100・m). Flash mode Flash Auto, Redeye, Fill-in, Flash Off, Red-eye Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(1st curtain), Slow sync.(2nd curtain), Manual(1/1(FULL)~1/64). Synchronization speed 1/250sec. or less* (using the bundled flash) * It depends on flash models or flash mode

FL-50R: 1/180 sec., Exept FL-50R: 1/200 sec., Super FP: 1/125-1/4000 sec.

Flash intensity control Up to ±3 EV in 0.3, 0.5, 1 EV steps selectable

Compatible external flash FL-50/FL-50R, FL-36/FL-36R, FL-30, FL-20, FL-14, FL-300R, FL-600R

Colour Temperature 5500±400°K

Compatible external flash FL-50R, FL-36R, FL-300R, FL600R

Control method: Triggered and controlled by bundled flash (FL-LM2) ** Available on FL-LM1/ FL-600R. (Olympus Wireless RC Flash system compatible). 4 channels. Group Number 4 groups (External flash 3 groups + a bundled flash)

Drive mode: Single-frame shooting, Sequential shooting, Self-timer. Sequential shooting  maximum speed [Sequential shooting H mode] 9.0 fps. [Sequential shooting L mode] 3.5 fps / 4.2fps  in case of “I.S. OFF”.

Max. recordable pictures: on sequential shooting [RAW] Max. 17 frames (in seq. shooting L), Max. 11 frames (in seq. shooting H)

[JPEG] Up to full extent of data strage capacity (in seq. shooting L),

Max. 17 frames ( in seq. shooting H)

(with TOSHIBA SDHC UHS-I card R95-W80 8GB model, under Olympus test standard)

Self-timer Operation time: 12 sec., 2 sec. (cancel available)

Wireless remote control Not Available

Bracketing: Exposure bracketing 2, 3 or 5 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV steps selectable, 7 frames in 0.3/0.7EV steps selectable. White balance bracketing 3 frames in 2, 4, 6 steps selectable in each A-B/G-M axis. Flash bracketing 3 frames in 0.3/0.7/1.0EV step selectable Art Filter bracketing i-Enhance, Vivid, Natural, Muted, Portrait, Monotone, Custom, Art Filters selectable

Art Filter: Mode (Variation / Effect) Pop Art (I, II / a.b.c.d.e.). Soft Focus ( – / c.e.) Pale & Light Color (I, II / a.b.c.d.) Light Tone ( – / d.) Grainy Film (I, II / b.c.d.) Pin Hole (I, II, III / d.) Diorama ( – / d.) Cross Proscess (I, II / b.c.d.) Gentle Sepia ( – / a.b.c.d.) Dramatic Tone (I, II / b.c.d.e.) Key Line (I, II / a.b.c.d.e.) Art Effect a. Soft Focus Effect b. Pin-Hole Effect c. White Edge Effect d. Frame Effect e. Star Light Effect

Movie: Recording format MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264) , AVI(Motion JPEG) Movie Mode MOV(MPEG-4AVC/H.264 ),AVI(Motion JPEG)

[MOV] Full HD: 1920(H)x1080(V), 59.94i Recording *3 20Mbps(Fine) *4 / 17Mbps(Normal) *4 : Aspect 16:9 HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 59.94i Recording *3, 13Mbps(Fine) *4 / 10Mbps(Normal) *4 : Aspect 16:9 *3 : Sensor output 30fps *4 : bitrate [AVI Motion JPEG] HD: 1280(H)x720(V), 30fps *4, Aspect 16:9 SD: 640(H)x480(V), 30fps *4, Aspect 4:3 *4 : Except for some of the Art Filters

Maximum Recording Times Full HD : Approx. 29min(Fine) / Approx. 22min(Normal)

HD : Approx. 29min(Fine) / Approx. 29min(Normal)

Movie Effect : One shot echo / Multi echo

Art Filter Movie, Aperture priority Movie, Shutter Priority Movie, Manual Shooting Movie

IS for Movie Built in (Image sensor shift type image stabilization)

IS1. mode only

AE Lock Avarable

Exposure control (Movie)

P: Program AE, A: Aperture priority AE, S: Shutter speed priority AE, M: Manual, Art Filter

* S mode and M mode : Shutter speed is limited in less than 1/30 sec.

Compression ratio Motion-JPEG Format : 1/12(HD), 1/8(SD)

File size:

MOV Format : Max 4GB

Motion-JPEG Format : Max 2GB

Recording format Wave Format (Stereo linear PCM/16-bit, Sampling frequency 48kHz)



Microphone function Wind Noise Reduction, Recording Volume

Audio dubbing possible for still pictures (up to 30 sec.)

Picture with Sound: 30sec.

Noise reduction:

At High ISO setting Off, Low, Standard, High

At Slow shutter speed Off, On, Auto

On : effective when shutter speed is slower than 1 sec.

Auto : effective when shutter speed is slower than 4 sec. (at ISO 200 or higher) or 8 sec. (at lower than ISO200)

Multiple exposures:

Number of picture / Function 2 frames / Auto gain, Exposing on Recorded picture(RAW)


USB/AV/Remote controller connector Dedicated multi-connector [USB: USB2.0 High Speed, Video: NTSC/PAL selectable, Optional Remote cable RM-UC1 can be used.]

HDMI connector Micro HDMI (Type-D)

Flash attachment Hot shoe

Accessory Port 2 Dedicated multi-connector [Available for VF-2/VF-3, SEMA-1, MAL-1 and PP-1.]

PC interface USB 2.0 High Speed

TV interface HDMI (HD/Stereo Sound), VIDEO-OUT(SD/Mono Sound)

DC-in – [Optional Power Battery Holder HLD-6 has DC-IN jack for AC-3.]

Power requirements:

Battery BLN-1 Li-ion battery (included)

Power battery holder (Option) Power Battery Holder HLD-6

AC adaptor (Option) AC adapter AC-3 *Optional HLD-6 has DC-IN jack for AC-3.

Sleep mode Available (1/3/5 min. off selectable)

Number of recordable pictures Approx. TBD shots [IS ON, CIPA test standard]

(with BLN-1 and TOSHIBA super high-speed Class 6 SDHC 4GB card)


Dimensions 4.8 inch (W) x 3.5 inch (H) x 1.7 inch (D)

[CIPA guideline compliant, excluding protrusions]

Weight Approx. 15 ounces [CIPA guideline compliant, with BLN-1 battery and Memory card]

Approx. 13 ounces [body only]

Temperature 32 ~ +104 (operation) / -4 ~ +140 (storage) Farhenheit

Humidity 30 – 90% (operation) / 10 – 90% (storage)

Box contents Body, Flash FL-LM2, Li-ion battery BLN-1, Li-ion battery charger BCN-1, USB cable, AV cable, Shoulder strap, OLYMPUS Viewer 2 (CD-ROM), Instruction manual, Warranty card


The Sony NEX-7

What happened to the Sony NEX-7? This one had the most promise for 2012 but the devastating floods delayed the camera by months. The camera is just now starting to ship to customers and we are seeing some great results. I should have my own NEX-7 in the next couple of weeks so I will be testing it again alongside all of the newer cameras above (eventually). B&H PHOTO AND AMAZON HAVE TAKEN HUNDREDS, if not THOUSANDS of pre-orders for this camera so for now they are holding off. But you can keep an eye on the product page HERE as they may open back up again in the next week or two. Look for more shots with the NEX-7 on this site soon.




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