Category: Homewood at Plum Creek

In the Dark

I made this image a few days ago early in the morning when it was dark … darker than it looks here in either color or B&W.  I have been experimenting to see what I can do with ISO 5000 and F2.8 aperture.  I have been surprised by the quality at those levels and even more surprised at how well the camera focuses when it is really dark.  These raw images were made handheld at 1/3 sec. and then brightened up in LR.

I would really like to go off campus and make images around Hanover in the dark, but it is not likely to happen, but if I do, I know what I can do with this setup.  This camera is a great landscape and details camera due to the excellent image stabilization.  I didn’t have this degree of stabilization with my Fujifilm gear and I’m looking forwards to utilizing this capability on the Olympus E-M5 Mark III.

Left Behind … Fujifilm Gone

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I have done it.  I sold all of my Fujifilm cameras and lenses (13 items).  I have downsized to using an Olympus E-M5 Mark III Camera for my Homewood and personal (blog) photography.  I kept the Canon G5X Mark II camera for a just in case pocket camera and to use as a backup for the Olympus.  I also kept the Ricoh WG-60 for a rugged waterproof camera, the next flood, etc.  The last camera to go was my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the above picture was the last picture I made with it.  If I didn’t already own the G5X and WG 60 cameras I wouldn’t buy them now since I believe that I can use the Olympus micro 4/3 system for everything I need.  Eventually I may also sell the Ricoh and Canon, like I sold the Fuji’s, and get another Olympus for backup and use with different lenses.  I currently only have the two zoom lenses for my camera, the Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8 and the Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 that is on the camera, but I have an Olympus 17mm F1.8 prime lens on order.

My next cleaning out will be to pick the few straps, bags, etc. that I really need and then to clear out all of the remaining odd photography items I have stored away.

The Fujifilm items that I sold were all great and I loved them all, but I needed to reduce the amount and weight of my photography gear and the new Olympus E-M5 Mark III is a much better compromise for my needs, and has more capabilities if I decide to broaden out and try other aspects of photography.  Eventually I may go down even further and end up with just an iPhone. 

Micro 4/3 for Holiday Lights

I have been busy with photographing people at multiple indoor activities; but I took time last evening to make some test images of outdoor lights using my Olympus E-M5 III and the 12-40mm F2.8 lens.  I wanted to test noise levels and determine typical focal lengths to see if I need to get a faster lens for later when I hopefully make lots of outdoor images.  You can check the settings I used in the details for each image.

This camera and lens did OK for the kind of images I will be making, but I may still get a faster prime lens.  My decision will partially come down to deciding how much walking I feel like doing.  If I get a prime lens I will have to “zoom” in and out with my feet.  If I use the zoom lens I can drive around and photograph mostly from my car.  My back isn’t doing so good after my recent photography sessions so I will see how much I recover.

I could still use my Fuji cameras and lenses and have more noise-free images, but the Olympus system seems to have better auto WB, is quicker to focus, and is lighter and smaller to handle.  I’m still weighing the trade-offs and still considering selling all of my Fuji gear.  I used the E-M5 III and the 12-40mm F2.8 lens to take around 1500 images of people at the last two activities and they worked great.  That was another test of using micro 4/3 system vice my Fujifilm gear and the Olympus micro 4/3 worked even better for me than in past years when I used Fujifilm gear. 

Another Test

I made this image in the morning from inside my Villa.  The image was made through two panes of glass, a screen, and the window Venetian blinds.  The bands across the image are from the blinds.  I used manual focus to get the focus on the hawk rather than the screen and blinds.  The camera and lens functioned quickly in switching from auto to manual focusing with just a small turn of the focus ring using the system’s focus peaking.  You can see in the cropped and resized second version that the details, even under these conditions, are excellent with this camera and lens.  The system is ideal for run and gun photography of objects of interest under difficult conditions.

Surprise Test

My first surprise awaited me when I opened the door to take Misty out this morning.  It had snowed overnight.

After she finished her short walk and we had returned to the Villa, I grabbed my new camera and lens and went back outside to run a little test.  I was curious how the camera would perform in the dark at 6:36am under these conditions so I made these images with no adjustments of any kind.

Using the program mode and making raw files, the Olympus E-M5 Mark III with the Panasonic 35-100mm F2.8 lens chose to make all of these images at ISO 6400, F2.8 with shutter speeds between 1/20 to 1/4 sec (handheld).  I varied the focal lengths between 35 and 100mm.  I then imported them into LR and then exported them as jpeg images that had only been downsized for this blog.  No noise reduction or any other adjustments were made by me.

My observations are that other than rendering the scenes brighter than they actually were, they are pretty good.  This camera and lens sees in the dark and focuses very quickly.  Yes, there is some digital noise if you pixel peep, etc. and if I wanted to I could have tweaked the exposure either before taking the shot or afterwards in LR to portray the actual lighting conditions.   The image stabilization was great, and I was really glad to learn that, since that was one of my primary reasons for getting this system, that and the lighter, smaller setup which my back, hands, shoulder, and knees really appreciate. 

Decorated Trees

They decorated the indoor trees in the hallways of the Community Center yesterday.  I photographed those doing the decorating.  Today I’m processing them to turn over a little less than a hundred images in color for Linda to select the ones for printing in the Plum Line.  Some residents asked why they never see a picture of me so I have included one here … note the reflection in the bulb.