Archives For August 2017

Taken with the Pen F and 75-300mm II. ISO 1600, 179mm, f/5.9, 1/20 second. I had the lens propped on another piece of furniture when I took this, so it wasn’t totally “hand held.” I tried a few totally hand held, and they turned out OK. But this one was the best of the two, especially when magnified to look at the hair detail. Which just goes to call into question some of the outrageous claims with regards to Olympus hand-held IBIS results I’ve seen around the web with the latest Olympus cameras. Or any other camera for that matter. What Ming Thein calls shot discipline is important for opportunities like this. Particularly the technique side of it, at the top of his list: stability.

Observation: those extra pixels (20 million of ’em) make high ISO photography easier by “filling in” any perceived “gaps” and smoothing out the digital grain that occurs at the higher ISOs. Some want extra megapixels for cropping. I compose to fill the entire frame, and prefer my extra pixels to have better results at high ISO.

I can’t have a specialist lens like the 75-300mm just sitting around in my bag, to only come out in bright light. When I had the original 40-150mm f/3.5-4.5 Digital Zuiko zoom, and later the HG 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 Digital Zuiko, I used them quite a bit around the house photographing animals and children. Sensor improvements and IBIS improvements have allowed what might have been a cripplingly slow lens to be quite useful, indoors with low light. It doesn’t hurt to also know your subject, the wily¬†Felis silvestris catus, so that you can be prepared for that “decisive moment.” (ahem)

Orlando Eye

Because of a lot of recent rainy weather in Orlando, I’ve not had the time to devote to a thorough shakedown of the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm II zoom like I’d want to. So, I’ve got the Pen F with the zoom mounted, stashed in a compartment inside the Prius. If I stop somewhere interesting I’ll pull it out and grab some “snaps” as the Brits so quaintly refer to them. Today I had to drop my Doodle off today for a trim and a bath, so I took my lovely wife out to lunch after dropping off Annie. We headed over to International, near the Orlando Eye, and we parked. That’s when I was able to grab these images before heading into the restaurant.

The top photo of the Orlando Eye was taken with the zoom racked out to the full 300mm and the lens wide open at f/6.7. I was standing in a parking lot at the intersection of Sand Lake and International, looking south. I wanted to see if I could get decent photos at those extremes. From the little I came home with, it looks like I can. The photo was post processed through Lightroom and then Silver Efex Pro 2. I’ve been working with “bulging up” the curve a bit, pulling detail and exposure out of the mid tones. Trying for that old school black and white look. Trying to avoid heavy handed contrast manipulation.

One of the biggest issues I’m going to have to learn to live with again is loss of detail due to rising air on a very hot day in Orlando. While the Eye photo doesn’t show that problem every other image I made across or around concrete on International showed rising air turbulence, some more than others. For example, these two frames, one at 75mm, the other at 300mm:


Sit back to look and all the straight lines look – wavey. It’s an issue I remember having to deal with taking long shots with the HG 50-200mm at 200mm (an effective focal length of 400mm with a 35mm camera). Now it’s even longer, at 600mm. It’s probably why so many have complained that the 75-300mm doesn’t look good at 300mm. Amateurs don’t realize just how much atmospheric distortion there is out there between the camera and subject matter.

Outside of the atmospherics, the zoom and Pen F is a quite powerful combination. This Pen F has better in-body image stabilization capability than the E-M5, and the E-M5 is already quite good. There is nothing more remarkable than to see the image dancing around like crazy in the viewfinder at 300mm, when a half press on the shutter release enables the IBIS and the image magically stabilizes. Focus acquisition is remarkably quick and quiet.

This lens is definitely a keeper. If I hadn’t been so full of self-importance I’d have purchased a copy years ago. Bigger fool me.

Update

I dislike how the image quality declines, sometimes significantly, when I link to the original on Smugmug. I don’t know if it’s an issue with WordPress or Smugmug, or some combination. But I do not like having the time and effort I put into quality finishing totally negated by merely publishing to the Web.