Prague and the Olympus E-M5 Mkll

Are you free on the Sunday?

Yes, what do you have in mind?

A day in Prague testing the new camera….. It would be an early start.

I’m coming!

This was more or less the conversation that led to me going to Prague with Olympus to try out the brand new E-M5 Mkll. Landing at Prague in the snow, I was glad I packed my winter warm gear.

After checking in at the Penta Hotel, we were transported to the ‘Olympus Action Factory’ where, after a short intro to the new camera and what would be happening, we were issued our own camera for the day.

Being an owner of the original E-M5 I was intrigued as to what improvements had been made. The venue, an old water treatment works, currently used as a studio set,  had been set out in different locations to test each bit of the new camera.

First stop was the hight resolution 40mp image section, this mode requires the stillest of settings as it  takes 8 images in quick succession and combines them to make a massive high res image of just under 40mp jpg. Any movement in camera or subject must be eliminated for this mode though to get the best out of it, although I could see movement could be used to creative effect in some situations.

These were taken using the new 40-150 f2.8 Pro lens. The image below is a 100% crop.

Next section was the movie set, we were introduced to the film crew, where we made our group movie, in the manner of a ‘Mission Impossible’ style movie. The five axis stabilisation came into its own in this section, shooting handheld and assisted by the crew, we were able to shoot our movie which was put together and edited for us by the production team. Part of it was shot in the underground tunnels of this ex water treatment works, where part of the original ‘Mission Impossible’ was filmed.

Next was the low light modelling shoot, shooting handheld again to demonstrate the stabilisation abilities. I was shooting down to 1/15th at ISO 4000  using the Zuiko 25mm f1.8 in this low light, and the results were fantastic.



These mono images were created in Lightroom with a mono conversion and added grain.


Onto the final section, the live composite mode….  I must admit, this is one that least interested me, and it was the biggest surprise. I’m not sure if this has a commercial use and what you would use it for, but for making artistic light painting images it was great to watch. The sensor builds up images by refreshing at a rate set by the user, this builds layers on to layers leaving the earlier layers intact and will not over expose them no matter how long an exposure time you use. You can watch the image build up as it appears on the monitor, very clever stuff.

The camera itself is a stunning piece of kit, I love the Mk1 and it does everything I need it to do. If I were into film making this would be a great addition, with the multi positional LCD screen and five axis stabilisation.


Olympus OMD Event

I recently went to a ‘hands on’ event organized by Olympus UK, at Brick Lane in East London. It was good to meet up with people I’ve only met via twitter, and to have little play with the Olympus OMD EM-1 the latest micro four thirds camera.

First impressions are size, it’s a little bigger than my EM-5 with the side grip on, and the button layout seems less fiddly to use and better laid out, the usual rapid AF was ultra fast but that’s what we expected from this one, Olympus set the bench mark with the EM-5 and this didn’t disappoint. This model also has focus peaking which works well if you prefer manually focusing and wifi, which was very impressive to see in action although a bit gimmicky for me, no doubt it will have it’s use for others.  The lens on it was the new 12-40 f2.8 which is apparently freeze proof! and will be a great walk about lens, with the pull back ring for manual focus mode.

For me I won’t be upgrading my EM-5, it does everything I need, and I can’t justify the cost. For someone contemplating moving to Micro 4/3 this would be the first choice, and as more pro’s are now seeing the benefits if lighter kit bags and smaller, less obtrusive cameras, I think Olympus have brought out another winner.

The event its self was well organized and had lots of photographic opportunities with urban performers putting on great demos to try out the new kit. I used my EM-5 with the Zuiko 17mm.

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