Tag Archives: Landscape

Tribute to my OM-D

For a while I was running the risk of sounding like a massive Sony fanboy.  Most of you will know that this isn’t true, I’ve been using Canon DSLR’s for years and my first mirrorless was an Olympus OM-D E-M5.  Sony has always been an extremely innovative company that’s not afraid to push the boundaries.  Let’s face it, Canon and Nikon are too afraid to put a full frame (FF) sensor in their compact system cameras because that’ll destroy their sub $2000 AUD DSLR market.  Olympus is unlikely to make a FF OM-D because they have an extensive m43 lens range which happens to be extremely popular and extremely sharp.  Going FF would mean a whole new lens range for Olympus and Pansonic.

Don’t get me wrong, my OM-D E-M5 is one of the finest cameras I’ve ever used, some of my best photos were taken with the OM-D.

Sydney Town Hall, Taken with OM-D E-M5 and 12mm f2.0.  Speaking of lenses, the m43 range of primes is one of the finest out there for compact system cameras.  I have and still use the Olympus 12mm f2.0 and Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4.  Sharpness is incredible, focusing speed is quick and build quality is as you would expect for a fast prime (especially in the Oly 12mm).  The versatility of the m43 lens system is worth mentioning too, in case you didn’t know, Olympus and Panasonic “mirrorless cameras” share the same lens mount, which means you can use either brand on their bodies.

Did I mention how good the in body Image Stabilisation (IS) is on the E-M5?  In short, it’s incredible.  I can shoot hand held 1/15 shutter speeds with no issues.  Definitely not something I would try with my 5D2 or even the a7.  Olympus seems to have 5 axis IS figured out before the other manufacturers.  The harbour bridge photo above was taken hand held with E-M5 and Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4.

I can’t have a post about the OM-D without mentioning just how awesome the kit lens is.  Yes, I said it, kit lens .. and yes, it’s good, REAL good.  The bee photo was taken with E-M5 and 12-50mm kit lens.  It has a neat little push action to activate macro mode and the image above is typical of the kind of quality you would get.  Obviously a lot of luck comes into these photos with timing and lighting but you can rest easy knowing an OM-D kit straight out of the box has the ability to get you quality like that!

With all these qualities, it’s unlikely I’ll officially retire the OM-D.  There are too many lenses I have for it that I love and it has taken SO many great photos for me.  In fact, I might go get it out now to have a play around …

– Chris

PS. This post was mainly about the E-M5 but a lot of the qualities apply to the new OM-D versions as well.  Personally I prefer the look of the E-M5 over the newer and more improved E-M1.

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Sony a7: Initial Impressions

In my last post I mentioned that I bought a Sony a7.  There certainly was a lot of hype regarding the camera prior to release, most of it justified.  The biggest thing about it is the sensor, literally and figeratively.  The Sony a7 has a 24.3 MP full frame CMOS sensor, yes, full frame.  Yes that sensor makes the 21MP full frame sensor on my Canon 5D MKII look fairly ordinary.  Don’t take my word for it though, I’ll let the photos in this post speak for themselves, then you can make up your own mind about this camera.

Of course it’s not all about the body, in fact I’m a strong supporter of camera gear being the least important part of creating a photograph.  I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I plan to do with all my Canon lenses, luckily Metabones figured that out for me.  I picked up my Metabones EF-FE smart adapter III on eBay for about $320 AUD.  Certain companies were giving them away as part of a promotion when purchasing a Sony a7 or a7r body only, lucky for me a lot of the people who bought these bodies already own the adapter!  When I went to featherdale wildlife park this was the perfect opportunity to test out a few aspects of this camera.

My kit on the day included:

– Sony a7 body

– Sony FE 28-70 f3.5-5.6

– Metabones smart adapter III

– Tamron 90mm f2.8 macro (EF mount)

Part of the small kit was because the Sony FE range is still really limited, plus I’ve been making a conscious decision to pack “light” and “worry less” about the photography.  I guess I’ll reflect on this strategy in a few months and see if I’m better or worse for it.

One thing I did notice, was that I was able to capture more candid moments on the fly.  I’m re-educating myself on the importance of making a limited amount of gear work for you and the situation that you’re in.  Even though I took two lenses with me on the day, I found that the only lens I used was the Tamron 90mm.  Sharp lens, autofocus worked slowly with the metabones adapter, but thanks to “focus-peaking” on the Sony a7 I was able to manual focus quickly and accurately.  There wasn’t a point when I thought I was missing out or hindered by a fixed focal length or a manual focus lens (surprising but true).

Back to the camera, the body feels rugged and it held up pretty well during a light shower on the day.  Focus peaking worked like a charm, if you haven’t seen it in action, I recomment youtubing it because it opens up a whole new world of manual focusing without having to mess with focusing screens and magnification.

The camera itself it highly customisable, there are 3 custom function features as well as 12 customisable on screen sections for quick access to most useful functions.  The camera looks great, it’s a bit like an Olympus OM-D E-M5 with a facelift and rebranding.  My only criticism, and it’s a slight one, is that the shutter button is in a slightly awkward place.  If it was moved back a cm or so it would have been a lot more natural, but you can easily get used to it.  Plus for all the great things Sony has done with this camera I’ll forgive them for this minor infraction.

The biggest and greatest advantage however, is it’s size.  Aside from being the first full frame compact system camera (Leica’s fall under a different category for me), the fact that it packs the kind of features, quality, and processing power that it does in a body so small is impressive.

Like I said in the last post, having the OM-D and the Sony a7 means I no longer need to carry around 10-15kg of gear every time I want to go take photos.  I’m not saying you have to do so with DSLR’s, but when you have a lot of lenses that you paid plenty of money for, you tend to feel guilty if you don’t bring them.

Which brings me to the last part …

The Return

I’m back!

After more than a year of not writing anything and realising people were still reading some of my posts I have decided to get back into it and keep you guys entertained the best way I know how … photography.

Photography has taken a strange turn for me during my hiatus.  I never thought I could put photography second to anything in my life but I am starting to think that I’m better off this way.  Sure I haven’t made any money with my photography recently, but that was never the point.  I liked seeing things in ways nobody else knew how, I liked documenting moments in life that would never happen again, the money was just a bonus.  Unfortunately, the money also came with stress, long hours and tight deadlines which meant post processing into the next morning.

These days, I’ve down sized my kit, I still own the SLR gear but I have made some purchases (I’ll get into that later) which allow me to enjoy the moment a little more yet still take great photographs (if not better).  I now take photos only because I want to, not because I had to.

The above photograph was taken with my new baby, Sony alpha 7.  You can read a good review here http://www.dpreview.com/news/2014/01/22/sony-alpha-7-review-full-frame-mirrorless-is-here.  I got it with the kit 24-70mm and then subsequently bought the Sony Zeiss 35mm f2.8 as well.  I’ll definitely cover this in more detail in later posts as well as my personal impressions and maybe an informal review.  In short, I love the camera.  It takes photos at a ridiculous quality, very responsive, great in low light, renders colours beautifully straight out of the camera.  To top it off it’s the first camera that I’ve had which had wifi connectivity, so when I’m out shooting I can transfer photos straight to my iPhone, edit with snapseed and straight online for everyone to see.

Some may argue that cameras like this will never beat a DSLR in terms of performance.  I agree, but that’s not what I need my camera for these days.  These days I want a camera that gives me complete control, takes photos equivalent to (or better than) my Canon 5D MKII, yet in a smaller package.  The Sony a7 delivers in every aspect.

My older readers wil know that a great photograph has nothing to do with the camera anyway.  You are the photographer, and you decide how to approach a scene.  We bend the rules and challenge the norms to chase that ever elusive perfect photograph that we can be proud of.

– Chris

PS. Hopefully it won’t be another year or two before you hear from me again.