Tagged: Olympus 14 – 42mm lens

Versatility of the Olympus E-PL5 and the Micro 4/3 System

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I have been testing my new Olympus E-PL5 … yes I plan to keep it.  My hope was that it would turn out to be a versatile, small camera that I could more easily take with me no matter where I went, and I think that will be the case.  All of these pictures were taken with the E-PL5 as raw files using two different lenses … the Olympus 14 – 42 mm f/3.5 – 5.6 II R zoom lens and the Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 prime lens.  They were then developed using Adobe Lightroom 4.3.

Initially I had some concerns about the 14 – 42 mm kit lens that came with the camera, but it is turning out to be better than I initially thought … it just takes a little more work in LR4 and learning how to work with it.  The above picture of the Plum Creek train layout (one of four layouts) was taken with the kit lens at the widest end of the zoom … 14 mm, ISO of 1600, f/3.5, and 1/60 sec.  As with most of my pictures, you can click on it to see it several sizes larger.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The above picture of Misty was taken with the 20 mm prime lens at ISO of 200, f/1.8, and 1/80 sec.  It was then cropped a bit.  At the point of focus, close to the eye, the camera with the 20 mm lens has a lot of detail or resolution, even at the widest aperture of the lens.  This also gives a pleasing out-of-focus in the distance.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The above picture of this morning’s sky was taken with the 20 mm lens at ISO of 200, f/1.7, and 1/60 sec.  It has also been cropped and massaged in LR4 quite a bit.  I’m finding that the 16 MP files of this new sensor hold up quite well for a micro 4/3 size sensor when under going extensive development in LR4.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The above picture was taken using the kit lens at a setting of 42 mm (max zoom) at ISO of 200, f/7.1, 1/80 sec.  The above image is an approximate 100% crop of the original.  I’m showing this image to demonstrate the details of the file.  At the maximum zoom end of the lens the image is a little softer and requires a little more adjustment to contrast, clarity, sharpness, etc. but is still quite good for a micro 4/3 camera while using an inexpensive zoom lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The above picture is the softest of this lot.  It was taken hand-held (as were all of these pictures) at an ISO of 5000, 28 mm, f/4.7, and 1/30 sec.  Since I had set the ISO at 5000 and was at the widest aperture of the lens for that zoom, the shutter speed was down to 1/30 sec. which is a little slower than I like, even when using the image stabilization of the camera, but I think the softness of this image is primarily due to the high ISO except for the blur of the moving train.

All things considered, I am pleased with the camera as long as I use it appropriately.  I need to try to keep the ISO below 5000 and I need to use the zoom lens to achieve the composition needed.  I have primarily used prime lenses lately and cropped to achieve my composition so I need to remember to do that with my primes, but not with my zoom lenses if I wish to achieve the best image quality.  Even with those caveats, I think that the above images demonstrate that I still have a reasonable degree of latitude while using this camera as a jacket pocket camera for walking, traveling, or for when I desire to carry a more discreet smaller camera.

Replaced my Pentax K-7 with an Olympus E-PL2 Micro Four-thirds Camera

I finally mailed off my Pentax K-7 and all of my lenses for it.  While I loved the camera for its capabilities, I decided that I wasn’t going to carry it with me enough to justify keeping it.  Even though it is one of the smallest weather resistant DSLR systems (including lenses), it is still a very sturdy and heavy camera system.   It feels like a miniature tank, so if you are off to do serious battle, it’s a great camera.

After deciding to sell the K-7, I was down to having only one camera and no long focal length lenses.  I only had my micro four-thirds Olympus E-P1 which I love, and since I never travel without a backup camera, I needed to find a replacement for the K-7.

If you have read my earlier postings, you know that I have always carried the weather resistant K-7 or a small waterproof P&S camera for backup and to use in the rain or during extreme dust conditions.  Since I don’t like the weight of the K-7 and I don’t like the image quality of the waterproof P&S cameras, I was faced with a dilemma.   After much thought, I decided that in all reality I wasn’t going to be traveling as much in the rain forests or deserts in the future, and that if I bought a small camera I could suitably protect it inside a zip-lock plastic bag, and just not take pictures in hard rain or dust storms.  I decided that the merits of having an interchangeable system out-weighed the weather protection qualities.  I decided to stick with the micro four-thirds system and expand around my E-P1.  I bought the latest Olympus, the E-PL2.  I decided to get it rather than the E-P2 since it was lighter and had some other features I liked, and since I already had the E-P1.

Rather than for me describing the virtues of the E-PL2, it would be better if you read the review in dpreview.com so that you can decide if the camera will work for you.  I have included their picture of the camera along with a few of their final words below and you can click here to read their review.

“Life is full of compromises and buying a new camera almost always inevitably ends up in one. Before the arrival of the mirrorless camera you could either get a DSLR with lenses that would give you great image quality across the ISO range and a comprehensive control interface, but would require you to carry a camera bag and possibly result in severe back pain after a long day of photography. At the other end of the spectrum you’d find compact cameras that would easily slip into a shirt pocket but offer, compared to a DSLR, mediocre image quality at best.

Mirrorless system cameras have given consumers a third option, providing DSLR-like image quality in a more compact package. None of them have been able to totally solve the dilemma described above and buying into a mirrorless system might for many still be a compromise. However, in the case of the Olympus E-PL2 it’s not a bad one at all.

Its image quality in good light is excellent and at higher sensitivities is pretty much on the same level as many entry-level DSLRs. The focus speed has noticeably improved over previous models and is now amongst the best in class. The camera is more customizable than many entry-level DSLRs and you get all of this in a camera/lens package that is currently as small as it gets if you want a large sensor in your camera.”

In addition to getting the E-PL2, I got the new 14 – 42mm collapsible kit zoom lens, and the 14 – 150mm longer zoom lens.  These lenses give me an 35mm effective focal range between 28mm and 300mm.  Since all of my lenses and cameras are now interchangeable, I can switch lenses around on either camera depending upon the travel situation and always have a backup system to use if anything happens to a lens or camera.  I can also keep a zoom lens on one camera as a walk-about system and the 20mm lens on the other camera for use inside museums and at night and not need to be changing lenses out in the field.

To summarize, I now have a totally interchangeable light-weight, small, micro four-thirds system which includes:

  • Olympus E-P1 and the E-PL2 cameras,
  • Olympus 17mm, 14 – 42mm, & 14 – 150mm lenses
  • Panasonic 20mm lens