photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography


Hi ho, hi ho

in Photography in Ticino , Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Off to work we go. Not such a bad place to live, Lugano. Not all that many people’s daily commutes have this sort of view.

Ricoh GRD4. Straight out of the camera.



A Walk in the Woods

No rant, just photos

in Photography , Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Some shots from a few days ago, taken on a late afternoon walk in the woods nearby my house. All taken using the Olympus E-P3 and either the 45mm f/1.8 or 12mm f/2.0 lenses. Minimal processing, basically default Aperture conversions. And minimal technique too - noise, blur, whatever.

Drm 2012 11 01 B011414

m.zuiko 45mm f/1.8

Drm 2012 11 01 B011424

m.zuiko 45mm f/1.8

Drm 2012 11 01 B011430

m.zuiko 12mm f/2.0

Drm 2012 11 01 B011439

m.zuiko 12mm f/2.0

Drm 2012 11 01 B011440

m.zuiko 12mm f/2.0

Drm 2012 11 01 B011446

m.zuiko 45mm f/1.8



Old is the new New

in Olympus E-System , Tuesday, October 23, 2012

For a variety of reasons, the other day I decided to bring my Olympus E-400 out of retirement and give it an outing.

I’ve hardly used it since I bought the E-3 in 2010, but before then it got quite heavy use - it still carries the scars. Ironically, the E-400 was described by Amateur Photographer back then as the “digital OM”. At 385g I think it’s lighter than the OM-D. In terms of dimensions it isn’t far from the E-P1/2/3 series. It was by some margin the smallest DSLR on the market, and caused quite a stir by reverting to the “old SLR” style body without a huge protruding grip. Nevertheless it is comfortable to carry, and with the two lightweight kit lenses that came with it - which certainly are not “lightweight” in terms of optical quality - it was, and perhaps still is, a killer travel camera. Another thing which is quite a big deal to some is that it was the last Olympus camera with a Kodak sensor, albeit a different architecture to the one in the E-1.

For some reason, possibly limited sensor supplies, the E-400 was not sold in the USA. In any case it was quite quickly replaced by the Live View-enabled E-410, with a Panasonic sensor, itself soon retired in favour of a very similar E-420, and finally the Walmart Special E-450. Olympus never seemed entirely sure who to market the E-4xx series at. Of course the E-400 has its drawbacks, and many would place the allegedly “dim, narrow” optical viewfinder high on the list. Well everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I find the viewfinder quite pleasant, especially with the optional magnifying eyepiece. Frankly, in many situations it is nicer to use than the Electronic EVF-2 for the Pen series.

The old 3 point AF module has its limitations, but even so, it is fast and precise, and perfectly ok for the “focus and recompose” method. Basically as a walk-around, relatively discrete camera it still does the job. It doesn’t handle all that well with bigger lenses - the dedicated 14-45 and 40-150 are fine of course, so is the 50mm f/2, and at a push the 14-54 or 11-22, but anything heavier is uncomfortable. Of course the camera isn’t weatherproof, although it doesn’t seem to mind the odd drop of rain.

All this is a lengthy preamble to a few photos I took today on a lunchtime wander, with the 50mm macro. Actually I wanted to see how it would stack up to the Ricoh GRD in macro mode. The Ricoh is great, potentially, but actually quite awkward to focus in many macro situations. But that comparison will have to wait. I was also stimulated by Pekka Pokta’s review of the new m.Zuiko 60mm macro, which he doesn’t seem to find significantly better than the 50mm. The next step will be to try the 50mm on the E-P3, to see how it compares with E-400. I suspect the veteran might put up a good fight.

Fungi. Olympus E-400, Zuiko 50mm f/2, processed in Iridient RAW Developer

Odyssey. Olympus E-400, Zuiko 50mm f/2, processed in Iridient RAW Developer

Some plant. Olympus E-400, Zuiko 50mm f/2, processed in Iridient RAW Developer

The deficiencies in these photos are entirely down to poor technique, insipid composition and lack of creativity. They have nothing to do with the camera, and no “improvement” in resolution, dynamic range, or - at a stretch, low-light noise - would make any substantive difference. I would doubtless have made largely the same photos with a brand new state of the art Nikon D800, although my arms and shoulders would have ached more. I might have done something more interesting with the fungi using the E-5, with its Live View and orientable screen, but their we’re looking at handling improvements (which the aforementioned Nikon completely lacks), not pixel-peeping features. I’m not saying that older cameras like the E-400 don’t have their limitations, of course they do. But my opinion, and experience, is that these have very little impact on the final result, in the general case. So does this mean I don’t lust after new gear? Of course not. But perhas it brings me a step closer to discriminating between photography and retail therapy. And there’s more long lasting satisfaction in the former.


Snakes in the rain

Reptile rescue

in Photography in Ticino , Thursday, October 18, 2012

Well, ok, one snake. But no question about the rain. I encountered this extremely lethargic specimen on a track leading up from the middle of nowhere to the back of beyond. Since it was at risk from the occasional farm truck, mountain biker or hiker, I decided to remove it - carefully - to a slighty less exposed spot which hopefully might get some sun soon. I’ve no idea what kind of snake it is - or even if is actually a true snake. It seems to have a more lizard-like head. Possibly a viper, though.

Mystery reptile. Olympus E-5 with 12-60 ZUIKO Digital lens


La Centrale

Beneath the grid

in Photography in Ticino , Thursday, October 11, 2012

Just a short walk today. But time enough to revisit a potentially photographically rich location, hidden away at the back of the village of Giubiasco. This is where my current favourite pipe ends up, feeding the old power station by the river. I believe it contributes something like 0.0002% of local electricity needs. Still, it’s a very clean 0.0002%.

beneath (the grid). Ricoh GRD IV, processed in FilterStorm Pro

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