The above pictures were taken on one morning within a 30 minute time-frame, from inside and outside, with both the Fuji X-E1 and the Olympus TG 820 cameras.
The image below was taken with the Olympus TG 820 as the morning light came through the window. The picture was a color jpeg and then converted to B&W using Silver Efex Pro 2.
I am still learning the differences in the cameras. The biggest difference in how or when I use them depends on image quality, but you don’t see that as much when shown in these sizes on my blog. What is most evident is the depth of field (DoF). The 820 has lots of DoF and I have no control over that; therefore, if I want lots of DoF and I am not as concerned about image quality, I can use the 820. Since it is a jpeg file I don’t have as much control over making adjustments in either LR5 or Silver Efex Pro 2, but I was able to increase the contrast some.
I have more experimenting to do with the TG 820 as I learn when it can be used successfully, but I probably won’t be discussing it anymore on my blog … just occasional pictures taken with it. I think that it is going to be worth the cost as long as I use it within its’ limitations and take advantages of its’ different capabilities. This is the case with any camera.
My X-E1 has totally changed the way I focus. It is not because the camera doesn’t focus automatically fast enough as some web sites would lead you to believe. I love the auto focus, especially when I use it with the central focus point which is adjustable to a nice small size. I have no problems with it and usually use it for most situations except when trying to focus on clouds in low contrast situations.
When I have problems with lack of contrast, I switch to manual focusing mode with focus peaking and use the AF-L button for auto focusing. I have found that if I leave the camera in manual focus that I can first focus automatically using my thumb on the AF-L button and then tweak it if I want something slightly different. In this mode I can see how much of the composition is in focus and then change the aperture or focus to get the effect I am after. I use this technique to get something not at the center of the composition in focus rather than shifting the focus point since it is faster and more versatile. Depending on the conditions I can also use my thumb to press the control dial and the camera will magnify the area being focused on. I use this feature when I’m using a longer focal length lens with smaller apertures when the depth of field is quite narrow.
Another advantage with focusing as described above is that I am able to prefocus on any distance and then take pictures quickly without having the camera adjust and change the focus.
Having the Fujifilm X-E1 has opened up a whole range of new options for me when focusing that I couldn’t, or at least didn’t, do with my K-5. I finally have a camera system that I really love to use as well as carry. The only feature I might miss is the weather resistance, but rumor has it that Fujifilm is going to come out with a weather resistant camera.
Did you notice that in the picture at the top, the trees on the horizon aren’t in focus? My normal procedure with images like the above is to focus on the skyline so that it is sharp. When I took the above picture it was dark and cold and I didn’t have my glasses on, so with the camera set for manual focus, I turned the focus ring until I saw that the distance indicator was all the way to the right for infinity. I couldn’t see the focus peaking so I didn’t realize the skyline wasn’t in focus … but I liked the image anyway and thought I would use it to illustrate this article.
The dictionary definition of clarity is: “clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.” I think that the above images fit that definition in displaying the effects of the fog.
But, in photography we use the word differently. For example, in Adobe Lightroom they use the clarity control as a “detail enhancer.” Some people feel that it enhances the sharpness of images though it really doesn’t. It just helps support the illusion of sharper. I often use some positive “clarity” on my images, but not on these. For these I used a little negative clarity to help support the emotion and feeling of the fog.
Another issue is the so-called “Depth-of-Field (DoF)”. This is another issue in that it isn’t real, it is just a matter of how much blur you are willing to except in an image and what appears to be in focus and what doesn’t. There is little DoF in the above pictures but it is due to the fog, not what was in focus and what wasn’t according to what aperture I used or what I focused on. If you wish to understand more about DoF click here.
In addition there is the issue of digital noise or grain if added. Does grain or noise add to clarity of the message being expressed or does it distract?
None of the above issues really matter other than how they support the emotion or feeling that you wish to present with your image. There is no “right” amount of any of them, but photographers use them both positively and negatively to establish how they want you to see, or interpret the image.
On my walk the other day in the bright sun I was trying something different. I wanted to see how my 35mm Sony lens did on the NEX-6 at an aperture of f/1.8 in bright sun. I wanted to deliberately move as much of the image (other than what I focused on) out of focus. The NEX-6 handled it very well since it had a 1/4000 max. shutter speed. I only had exposure problems (without using a neutral density filter) in a couple of pictures but I was able to shift the exposure in LR4. The above pictures aren’t especially notable but they represent examples of my focusing at different ranges so I could observe the degree of non-focus both in front and behind the focus point. Some people like this effect, others don’t. I only plan to use it under certain situations.
My only real problem was that I couldn’t see the LCD well enough in the bright sun to determine the effect while I was taking the pictures. I now need to go back and try some more specific types of images. It is all part of my desire to get better in selecting the appropriate aperture for different subjects in different lighting situations. It is also part of my desire to use faster prime lenses more often since they give me more latitude along these lines.
For those of you who would like to calculate the depth of field (DoF) … the in-focus range … for your camera, lens, aperture, and subject distance, you can use this on-line calculator. Click here. You will learn that it is a very narrow range when the subject is close. That is one reason that you really need to use a tripod if the subject is close and the aperture is large in order to get the focus correct. Since I don’t use a tripod when out shooting, I have to be very careful to hold the camera still. I really have a problem when I’m trying to use a narrow depth of field when taking pictures of flowers if they are blowing in the wind. Since we have a lot of wind here, I often miss.
I have three events coming up starting tonight where I will be taking pictures and DoF is just one of my many problems that I will have since the subjects will be in motion and I will be using wide open apertures due to poor lighting. Since I will be traveling and working with lots of pictures it is also why you might not see too many posts for a while.