photoblogography - Just some stuff about photography

E-1 in Iceland

in Olympus E-System , Friday, July 23, 2004
For most of the past four weeks I have been travelling around Iceland with my Olympus E-1 (and Hasselblad Xpan). I shot 2700 frames, about 26Gb of Raw files, and used all 3 E-System zoom lenses. The camera behaved perfectly all the time, and stood up to rough handling and repeated soaking without a whimper. Using the battery grip, I found that one charge was good for up to 700 frames, which is quite exceptional. One peculiarity I found was that when the low battery warning appeared, turning the camera off, leaving it a few minutes, and turning it on again appeared to give the battery a very significant new lease of life. I changed lenses often, in a sometimes very dusty environment, and the sensor cleaner worked perfectly. I have not found any evidence of dust on any of those 2700 frames, which I think is more than can be said for the people I spent some time with, who were all using Canon or Nikon systems. The E-1 looks a bit lonely amongst all these big D1s etc. But when you point out that the 50-200, coupled to the 1.4 converter, gives a 35mm equivalent 560mm lens, they look very thoughtfully at their huge 70-200 IS lenses!

Early morning light over Kjalfell, Iceland, July 2004.

Whilst I got some good photographs, on the whole I was a bit disappointed with the results. Partly due to technique, partly due to tripod problems I suspect, I ended up with an embarassing number of out of focus shots. I also had problems with the eyecup falling off, and the diopter moving. But in general the camera behaved very well - it was just the photographer at fault. What is interesting is that I have just had a first look at the 12 rolls of slide film I shot with the Xpan. It is indisputable that my success rate here is much higher. This may be because I'm much more familiar with the Xpan. It may also be because I'm a more naturally "panoramic" photographer (I suspect this may have something to do with it). But I won't give up with the E-1. It is a wonderful camera to use, and when I get things right, it delivers. I suspect a little more practice on auto focus, and learning to use AF lock might help a bit. We shall see...
Posted in Olympus E-System on Friday, July 23, 2004 at 08:50 PM • PermalinkComments (4)


Joseph KOKOT July 25, 2004 - 5:11
Hello David,
from my experience with AF cameras, I would suggest that one should expect much lower rate of in-focus pictures vs. manual focus. Although it sounds bizarre, it is not that strange, you put much more effort in making sure your X-pan is in focus, don't you? I had a lengthly conversation on that subject with one of my pro friends recently, and had to accept that as a reality by myself...
(Total number of pictures taken is a very different subject.)
Just thinking about it might change the situation radically.
Another suggestion - turn the option S.AF+MF on in the f1 setups in the camera's menu or just try working with a MF for a while.

Check the eyecup, there might be something wrong with it, mine sits solid where it is supposed to, so it does not change the diopter either.



thanks for your log! it is just GREAT.


david mantripp July 26, 2004 - 3:30
Hi Joseph,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Actually about the very first thing I did when I switched on the E-1 for the first time was to work out how to go into AF+MF mode 😊 ....and then just MF. AF is actually not a no-brainer if you want to use it creatively, and so far I haven't really got to grips with some of the intricacies. So I tend to prefer to just trust my eyes...problem is, when it's dark or when I'm tired, or when the diopter has slipped, mistakes happen. On the diopter point, I think what happens is that it shifts when I re-seat the eyecup. Quite a few people have complained about the eyecup falling off - initially I didn't see this, but after a while it started happening. I nearly lost it one - had to retrace my steps to find out where I'd dropped it. Probably something that needs to be considered on long trips - carry a spare!

For focussing the Xpan, it is very different, since it is a rangefinder not an SLR. Actually 90% of the time I use hyperfocal focussing, which can be a bit disconcerting at first, especially on an SLR, as it can seem like the subject is out of focus. I use this as well with prime lenses on my Canon T90. The problem is that on zoom lenses hyperfocal is tricky, and none of the E-1 zooms have focussing scales. Even the focus setting "window" is fairly useless. But this is common on almost all zooms these days.



Joseph KOKOT July 30, 2004 - 2:31
Hello David,
I should use same words Jack Nicholson used somewhere in "A Few Good Men"...
Obviously you know much more about photography than I do. To learn more I did some experiments with my camera and hyper-focal focusing today. And so far learned what you already know: that focusing scale on digital zuikos is useless! I'll try some more shooting tomorrow because have hard time to believe what I see so far...
I want to try the adapter ring for 4/3 as well sometimes in the future.

Regards, Joseph


Joseph KOKOT February 15, 2005 - 11:49
Hello David,
'ts been a long time since I posted my remarks. Truth is could not get back to these experiments I hoped to do the next day... My strong impression was that at least 14-54 does have more DOF towards the camera than behind the "subject" - point of focus.
I also did a bit of shooting with Nikkor 20-35 f2.8 but could not get to replicating the very same test - just "time frames". However these captures did not seem to have similar problem were all as sharp as my hands are fast... Then that Nikkor is in a different ligue. Apologize for wasting your time.

Regards, Joseph

Previous entry: telling it like it isn’t

Next entry: Capture One