I have been thinking about selling several of my cameras, including the camera and lens I used to take this picture earlier today. I used my micro 4/3 Olympus E-PL5 to take this picture with the Olympus 17 mm lens. The camera was resting on the ground and I used the tilted LCD to compose the picture.
I couldn’t have taken this picture in this manner with any of my other cameras nor any that I have thought about getting to replace what I’m selling. I am now rethinking about what to sell and buy.
I am enjoying my attempts to extend my photography into the night, especially when it is raining. I took the above pictures looking out our bathroom window late at night. I never envisioned the results.
I was testing my E-PL5 and 17 mm lens under dark conditions. The window, screen, and outside foliage were wet and back-lit by a street lamp across the way. I took the pictures using the program mode at ISO 1600, f/1.8, and 1/8 and 1/25 sec. shutter speeds. I really didn’t expect the camera to focus but it did very quickly. In addition, the image stabilization did its job since I was hand-holding the camera and snapped the images quickly.
I really like the results and I am encouraged to keep experimenting with more abstract images in the world of the dark and dreary.
Don’t forget to click on any picture and then view them all in gallery mode.
A storm was coming but the vultures didn’t seem alarmed. They were circling in their normal fashion. We seem to have plenty of vultures circling over Homewood. Maybe they sense something.
Note that I took these pictures with my 17 mm focal length prime lens. I have used this prime lens for the majority of my photography lately. I am trying to adjust my photography to fit my preferences to photograph with prime lenses. As soon as my new 14 mm lens arrives, I hope to primarily just use primes … 14, 17, 25, & 45 mm with my micro 4/3 camera. That gives me an effective 28 to 90 mm range.
I used my 17 mm lens up close and then cropped in even closer. The following is another picture using that technique.
I like this lens and the Olympus E-PL5 camera and I will continue to use them for most of my photography. I like having the slightly greater depth of field for photographing flowers, but even with micro 4/3 I will have to concentrate on smaller apertures to preserve more focus depth when desired.
I used the Olympus 17 mm at wide open aperture of f/1.8 to take these. The primary reason I occasionally use prime lenses is because of the wider apertures. Wider apertures give me more flexibility to continue photographing in low light and give me a shorter DoF so that I can blur out, or soften, the background like in the above images.
I am also getting a 45 mm prime lens to use for these types of images. My plan is to also use it occasionally for my railroader’s project when I need to isolate a small detail as well as for some building details in town.
In the past when many of my kit zoom lenses that came with cameras were so poor, I started photographing with prime lenses to gain image quality and lighter-weight systems. I am now finding that with the new zoom lenses, especially with Olympus micro 4/3 sensor, this isn’t as necessary and that I am using the zoom lenses more and more for the flexibility in compositions. When I started my project of the railroaders I assumed that I would need to use prime lenses to have sufficient image quality and fast-enough shutter speeds inside in poorer light, but I am happy to find that isn’t always true with my Olympus E-PL5 and the 14 – 42 mm lens.
The Olympus E-PL5 has a tilt, touch LCD. It is one of the reasons I bought this camera, and this old man loves it. I can photograph flowers, etc. from a low view-point without problems. The thing that is unique with the above pictures is that they were all taken using the tilted LCD with the focus point and actual clicking of the shutter controlled by my finger touching the point on the screen that I wanted to be in focus. I was able to hold the camera down low and look down at the horizontal screen and just touch the flower I wanted to be in focus. The focus was very fast with an almost immediate snapping of the shutter.
I used the Olympus 17 mm lens and let the apertures stay wide enough to emphasize the point of focus so that I could easily see how well it worked. It does great, and I love it. I was checking something else at the same time. I wanted to make sure that the sun light didn’t blank-out my view of the LCD. It didn’t, and I never had any problem as long as I wasn’t wearing my very dark sunglasses. I have two problems wearing my glasses. As well as being dark they are for distance only. They are not bifocals and the screen isn’t in perfect focus when I wear them. Holding the camera out away from my body some I can see well enough with the glasses to compose and take the picture, but if I want to carefully check the results in the LCD after I take the picture I usually take the glasses off and hold the camera closer.
For you older photographers who might be worrying about holding the camera steady out-a-ways from your body at arm’s length, I haven’t had a problem yet. If/when I am worried; I keep the camera strap around my neck and short enough so that it is stretched taut when I take the picture. If my elbows are against my sides while the strap is stretched taut, it provides plenty of support for holding the camera steady if it becomes necessary. I obviously can’t hold it that way when I’m holding the camera down low as I did for most of the above pictures, but I had no problems with good light and fast shutter speeds. The camera image stabilization did its job.
I have a 17 mm prime lens for my E-PL5 micro 4/3 system, the newer M. Zuiko17 mm 1:1.8 with the shift feature for manual focusing. In full frame terms, that makes the lens an effective 35 mm in terms of field of view, etc. One of the things I am trying to decide is what lenses work best for me. I am trying this prime lens since it has a classic field of view and many have used this as a walk-about lens, but I have been concerned since I walk out in the open … not on city streets. While out walking with it after our paths had drained from the high water I came across this little dead fish … actually there were several of them. This one is about two inches long. I don’t think I will have any problem using this lens for small objects as long as I can walk up close to them. I am now strongly considering this lens for my walk-about setup, primarily because I love the quality and size of the lens.
If I walk with an effective 35 mm lens, it will mean many changes. My past favorite lens for walking outdoors with my DSLR has been a zoom with an effective focal length of 75 to 300 mm … in other words, a relatively long and heavy lens. If I switch to 35 mm it will require me to make major changes in what and how I photograph, but I haven’t decided yet. I will try a 40 – 150 mm micro 4/3 zoom lens which will give an effective 80 – 300 mm focal length but the micro 4/3 lens is a lot lighter and smaller. If I don’t like it I might change my photography to fit my small camera and a few prime lenses. I like to walk and photograph with a camera and lens that I love. The question is, “will I photograph with a small package in my hand that I love to hold and use, or do I go for a system that gives me more flexibility in what I photograph?”
For those who are wondering, the above picture shows the flowers on the chives that my wife planted in her flower garden. I was trying out my new camera, the Olympus E-PL5. It is not a new camera since it has been out for around two years, but I have a new copy which I obtained recently during a sale prior to its replacement being announced. I had a trial copy back in 2012 when it first came out, but I returned it since I was then on a campaign to get the best image quality I could get within my price range. My new campaign is to own and use a sufficient camera that is small, light-weight, and affordable, and provides me the most utility while increasing the odds that I can handle it and will more likely carry it most of the time.
I feel reasonably comfortable in taking this “backward step” for two reasons. First, my recent look back at the pictures I took in Ireland with an older version of this camera reminded me of what can be done with a few micro 4/3 prime lenses. Second, I have learned a lot about the use of cameras and Adobe Lightroom software in the last few years. I now realize that my problems with the first copy that I had were really due to the lens. It now has an improved kit lens and in addition I bought the Olympus 17 mm prime lens.
While this camera has a smaller sensor than my Fujifilm X-E1 and Pentax K-50, I am finding the quality to be quite good. In addition, I am willing to step up to the challenge to learn how to use it better and if necessary, change what I photograph to fit my abilities with a smaller camera and fewer lenses. When I grow more comfortable with this change I will incrementally start selling off my Pentax DSLR and other gear. My goal is to simplify my camera gear until I reach a level of sufficiency that matches what I feel comfortable doing, even if that means photographing less, or different things, than previously.
The Rhododendrons are starting to bloom so I used them to see how an Olympus E-PL5 micro 4/3 camera with an Olympus 17 mm lens would treat them. I am trying the camera to see if it is a suitable answer to some problems I am having with my hands, etc. I was able to use the tilting LCD to get close and help compose them from a lower angle without needing to bend my back or knees.
I am contemplating several changes with my photography. I am thinking about simplifying and reducing the weight of my gear by selling my Pentax DSLR and confining my images to what I can photograph with effective focal lengths of less than around 55 mm. Switching back to micro 4/3 cameras with smaller lighter lenses is one possible solution, but I haven’t decided yet. It will depend upon image quality, ergonomics, cost, and versatility of the system as well as finding suitable compositions to photograph without effective focal lengths out to 300 mm.