Tagged: Olympus Pen-F

Getting a Grip


I’m getting a better grip on how to use my Olympus PEN-F camera.  For one thing, I did buy the hand grip for it.  While it adds weight it also enables me to get a better grip on the camera and that is crucial sometimes when my arthritis is acting up.  I first thought that I would only use it when I had the heavier, longer zoom lenses mounted on the camera, but I find that it helps even with my lighter weight prime lenses.

I am also learning about what lenses I prefer to use for my photography.  This winter I plan to mostly use prime lenses, especially for my Homewood photography.  I find that I most like to use the Olympus 45mm and 75mm f/1.8 lenses.

But then there is the camera I used to make the following picture.  I used the iPhone6 … one of the very rare times that I have used it for photography.  I just haven’t warmed up to using it as a camera except in a few instances such as this to document things.  The pictures are good enough for a lot of things, but I don’t like to use it to make pictures.


Which Lens/Camera?


I prefer prime lenses since they are smaller, lighter, and make it easier to operate my camera with one hand.  I usually pick one and mount it on the camera before I go out.  Currently it is often the Olympus 17mm f/1.8.  I pick it since it is one of the smallest and is fast and has an effective 35mm focal length.  The only problem is that sometimes it is too wide.  I made the above picture when I drove by and saw the fisherman out in the lake.  He is hard to see in the above view, so I cropped and upsized to extract the following view from the above picture.

The day I made the above was a time when I wished I had the 14-150mm zoom lens mounted, but I was driving around and didn’t want that lens hanging from my neck strap as I drove.  As a possible remedy to using a heavier, larger zoom lens, I have ordered a hand grip for the Olympus PEN-F camera.  After it arrives, I will experiment with using the hand grip and a wrist strap and carrying the camera, with the lens mounted, in a small bag.


I often wish for a good, affordable, small, not too heavy, silent camera with image stabilization, a large sensor, lots of megapixels, and a small lightweight fast wide pancake prime lens on it.  If I had those I might only need one lens and one camera and then could crop-zoom to create the image desired.

Olympus PEN-F Electronic vs. Mechanical Shutter?


I have been using my Olympus PEN-F camera in the program mode with the electronic shutter and auto ISO in order to keep my photography silent when photographing around people in changing light conditions.  When photographing this way, I noticed that the camera’s bias is towards selecting slow shutter speeds before raising the ISO level.  Often the shutter speeds were too slow to stop subject motion until Olympus published the software update that enabled me to set a floor level for shutter speed.

While trying some other features of the camera, I noticed something.  The camera appears to have a different program curve for different shutter mechanisms; i.e. the camera selects different values for ISO and shutter speed for different shutter types.

The literature is clear about the effects of rolling shutter effects when using the electronic shutter.  In addition, the specs show that faster shutter rates can be obtained with the electronic vice mechanical shutter.  Based on that information I assumed that when using the electronic shutter that the chosen shutter rates would be faster than those used with the mechanical shutter, if the camera software used different program curves.  Not so.  The reverse is true, at least in some sections of the program curve.  When I used either the mechanical or the hybrid shutter the chosen ISOs were higher as were the shutter rates.  I expect that the reasons for the different program curves have to do with shutter shock, etc.  Olympus is probably biasing the different curves to minimize the issues that arise when using different shutters.

Has anyone found an explanation of the differences between the Olympus program curves that are dependent on shutter modes, or does anyone have some other explanations?

Geese with Olympus 17mm Lens


I like carrying the small, lightweight Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens on the Pen-F camera; but it creates limitations with compositions.  I am often pondering adapting my photography to fit the lens or using a zoom lens to photograph whatever, and the day I made these images I was checking (again) what I could do with the 17mm lens on the Pen-F camera.  I was walking Misty so I didn’t have much time to make the above image, but it worked using the camera in “P” mode.

Later I heard/saw another flock of geese in the distance and I quickly raised the camera and made the following image.  Using the EVF to compose the picture, I couldn’t see the geese that I knew were there.  Looking at the picture, you won’t see them either at first glance.  Knowing they should be there, I crop-zoomed the image on my computer.  The other picture below is a crop from the first one below.

Looking closely, I spotted the flock flying in the sunlight (at the top of the frame).  Looking harder I saw three more flying below the “V”, and then lower down below them the second “V”.  I hadn’t seen them when walking.  In order to really see them I upsized the crop to the version posted above.  These images give you an idea of the resolving power of the lens-camera combination.  I have no problem with the resolving power of this set-up with a micro 4/3 sensor.

My Type of Photography

I have been walking and thinking about my cameras and lenses.  Is what I’m mostly using, the Olympus Pen-F with various micro 4/3 lenses, the best one to use for most of my photography?  I have a Fujifilm X-T2 and many lenses that I could be using.  Considering that I’m basically just recording what I see around me, I think the Pen-F fits best, mainly because of the small lightweight lenses.  If the image quality in low light is good enough, I’m starting to think that it might also be a sufficient camera for recording Homewood events and activities, but with faster lenses for indoor photography.

Such a choice also seems to fit the philosophy of Kirk Tuck as he describes it in his post: Texturists vs. Contextualists.  Maybe I like what he said because I tend to agree with it.  Give it a read.  It is long but thoughtful.  One thing that Kirk mentions, is that often the type of camera and the way it is used is a function of what the photographer is able to physically photograph.  That is probably an over-riding factor in my case; therefore, it has also contributed to what and how I photograph.  A lack of new things to photograph has moved me to get more creative and to experiment with different compositions and processing in order to keep photographing.