I decided that I needed a camera with image stabilization with a zoom lens to use as a walk-about camera to document what I see. The camera needed to be small and lightweight, weather resistant, and not too expensive. The solution I came up with was to go to a micro 4/3 sensor with the Olympus E-M5 III camera and the 14-150mm lens. I finally found a used one that was in like-new condition.
My biggest concern was that I wanted to be able to use it at night and I wasn’t sure about the digital noise and how slow of a shutter speed I could manage handheld. The above is one of my first test photos that I made last night from my back porch when it was still raining a little. It is an in-camera jpeg made at ISO 5000, f/5.5, and 0.5 sec., 60mm focal length, which has been further tweaked using Lightroom Classic. I think it will be good enough for what I want to do. A little more time and variety of images will confirm my hopes, or not.
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.
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.