A New Camera

Why?

Well, we have had a very useful micro four-thirds Olympus SLR camera (for about seven years, which has given us good service). However there are a number features that I want that are missing, and there is a considerable amount of new work for our camera to do in the near future.

I did a fair bit of  research around the features that I/we wanted, and selected another Olympus micro four-thirds camera. The OM-D E-M1. I shan’t review it here, but check this out for a comprehensive critique. Basically, it’s semi-professional, small, light and mirror-less. It has a good view finder and LCD touch screen, and the usual stuff now – video and wi-fi.

I also elected to get a package with a top of the line lens, the  Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens (reviewed here). It’s equivalent to 24-80 mm for a full frame camera, so a very useful (and critically acclaimed) workhorse lens.

HDR

The main reason for upgrading our camera was so I could engage more easily in HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography. I have been really taken by the idea of extending the relatively narrow dynamic range of a photo, compared to that of the eye, to produce more representative images. I find a lot of HDR photography disturbing because it is often highly saturated during processing, but with the right software, this can be easily controlled. I use HDR Expose 3 on my Mac.

Basically, the E-M1 is great for HDR because is can rapidly shoot a number of bracketed exposures. Automatically, it can do up to seven exposures at 2 stop intervals in one burst, so from +6 to -6 EV. The old camera could only do three, at one stop, from +1 to -1 EV. The much more sophisticated five axis lens stabilisation means I am much more likely to get sharp, aligned photos suitable for combining. The camera also does HDR on board. I’ll test that later.

Here is a quick example. This is our home when we are not on Neo Vita.

The first shot is allowing the camera to select it’s own best exposure (i.e. EV=0), the second is after processing five exposures from +4 to -4 EV. It wasn’t an especially sunny day, so not a big challenge, but I still prefer the HDR image, and feel it is more natural.

Normal 0 EV version

Normal 0 EV version

HDR Version

HDR Version

Very happy so far.