photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

First photos

in Olympus E-System , Monday, January 26, 2004

So, no post yesterday. Circumstances, for example shovelling snow, kept me away. Today, however, the E-1 has leapt into action. Taking advantage of a business trip over the Alps, I stopped off at a few places to try it out. The weather was still both foul and boring, but there were a few better moments. I just used the 14-54mm lens for these first trials.

I'll post some photos soon, when I decide how I'm going to organise it. But my first impressions are very good. First of all, I'm relieved to report that I like the 4/3 framing. I expected to, having taken to 6x7 very quickly, but you never no. Next point, this camera just works. The learning curve, even when coming from manual focus Canon SLRs, is practically non-existent. Most controls work on the "press a button and rotate a dial basis", with the added feature that you have two dials to choose from. So far I've only discovered one mode where the two dials do different things, which is setting aperture and speed in M mode. The comment that the buttons seem to be randomly spread all over the camera has some justification, but you soon get used to it. I found that the DOF preview button didn't immediately fall to hand, but again, after a few minutes it became second nature.

The viewfinder is superb. It does not feel at all restrictive. I don't know quite why, because it clearly is much smaller than the one on my T90 for example, but it isn't noticeable. However, I think investing in the eye cup might improve things even more.

On the menu front, well again it is easy to use, but I should say that I have been using an Olympus C4040Z for the past two years, and the logic is similar. One thing which I haven't seen reported anywhere is that the Info mode "remembers" its last setting. So, if you choose histogram view (requiring click Play, press and hold Info, rotate dial) the exit, the next time you click Play then Info, you get the histogram. Not quite such a pain in the neck as some have suggested. I guess a single button press, like on other DSLRs, would be nice, but this is hardly awkward.

One thing I haven't taken much notice of yet is changing the default settings. Apart from changing the colour space to Adobe RGB I've left it all as it is. I may well be wrong but so far I assume that all of this stuff is relevant only to processed images, not RAW. Still, as I've using RAW + JPEG, I will probably tweak the settings so that it produces JPEGs as I want them.

For some shots I used my tripod, with the Acratech ball head. I used a Really Right Stuff plate - model ..., which I bought for the T90. It isn't ideal as the curved base of the E-1 body doesn't fit very well. Really Right Stuff claim to have released an E-1 specific plate, but when you try to order it, a different, generic (and cheaper) plate ends up in the shopping basket. I'll call them tonight to clarify this.


Not much news

in Olympus E-System , Saturday, January 24, 2004

Well I promised to post everyday, so here it is... but, due to horrible weather and saturday domesticity contraints, the E-1 has been untroubled... One thing that might be interesting - it would have been for me - is what is actually in the box. Well the Europoean E-1 kit includes: - E-1 body with body cap - 14-54mm lens with lens shade and soft case, front & back caps - Li-ion battery and charger - Getting started manual (full manual is PDF only, on CD-ROM, and can be found also at the E1 website. The quick reference guide can also be found there but strangely is not in the box or on the CD. The manual is some 170 pages long. - Software CD with Olympus Viewer 1.0 and Olympus Studio Trial 1.0. As far as I can tell Viewer is quite adequate if you already have Photoshop. - Firewire, USB and Video cables - body strap with "I'm an expensive OLYMPUS camera, please steal me" written on it. The 50-200mm lens ships with lens shade and a very nice case. The booster/grip does not include the hand strap, which seems a bit cheap... So, all pretty much what one would expect. FIRST GLITCH: I'm using Mac OS X 10.3.2. I installed Olympus Viewer, and immediately applied the patch to version 1.0.1, which seems to be recommended. However, Viewer 1.0.1 crashes on launch, whatever I do. Luckily there's an uninstaller, and it works. Unistalling 1.0.1 and re-installing 1.0 gave me a working program. Of course this may be a local problem.

very first unpowered impressions

in Olympus E-System , Friday, January 23, 2004

Well, I'm at home surrounded by boxes. I haven't charged the battery yet, so all I can do is read the manual. But I have had a peek through the viewfinder, and, well, I'm amazed. It just feels right. It doesn't have the tunnel vision feel of the Canon 10D or 300D (note, please, this is not Canon knocking. If I could afford Canon lenses I'd have chosen it, probably). It is almost as good as the Minolta Dynax 5. My idea that I'd be using this 50% of the time, and my film cameras the rest of the time starts to seem archaic. This thing just feels great. Let's hope the image quality is up to the standard of the handling!

The Long March

Ah, if only people knew the hardships of living the other side of the Alps to everybody else in Switzerland. Everybody else including Olympus Switzerland, for example. Doubtless somewhere near Zurich, over the 3000m high Gotthard Pass. Just think... some poor courier guy has got to struggle through howling winds and biting cold to transfer the boxes that were in stock on Monday in Zurich to our isolated outpost of civilisation. Well it is only 4 days since the order, can't complain. After all, it's not as if we have DHL, a tunnel through the Alps (road and rail), a 7 flights a day air link, is it ? Oh. We do ? Hmm.

At this rate I'm going to have to order something else to keep interested. At least it looks like the weather will be abysmal this weekend.

I wonder if Hannibal operated a parcel post service ?


New review posted

{categories limit="1"}in {category_name} {/categories}, Thursday, January 22, 2004

Not much to say today as (a) I'm still waiting and (b) I've got a lot of work to do. However I did see a new review posted today at dcresource, which seems to be pretty positive.

It certainly looks promising...

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