Time to say goodbye ….. The Photography is Fun website has been on-line for approximately 5 years. It started as the MyCanonG7 website and it was dedicated to the then PowerShot G7 camera from Canon. It grew fast and in the second year it reached one million hits. With the launch of the Powershot G9, I discovered the Olympus E-410 while evaluating large sensor camera options. The E410 continued to stay a great little camera and together with the older E330, Olympus paved the way for what we today see with the OM-D. I recall writing an article on setting white balance on the E-410 using live view. On this site you will see I repeated that article with the E-M5.
The Photography is Fun website went through many faces and we gained plus unfortunately also lost good friends. I like to say thanks to each of you who always send me new information or feedback, for cheering me up in days I did not do that well and those who had fun with me in days we did really great articles. There has been a time that I have been on such strong pain medication, that I could not complete new articles, many were filled with mistakes. As you will recall, the MyCanonG7 started after my family and I were in a serious motorcar accident. I never forget, it was with one of these "poor" articles that a guy from Germany wrote me a mail giving me advice on basic English grammar and how to write correctly….. Again thank you to those who kept on reading and for all your patience.
There has been times that I publicly Praised my Lord Jesus Christ on the site. It was He who gave me a second chance with my loved ones. At one time a guy from the US wrote me……Siegfried please do not talk about Jesus!! Well I can only continue to Praise Jesus because He healed me so miraculously that I were able to almost completely reduce the medication plus Jesus literally gave me a new life in which I regained my concentration. My dream is to write a book on my experiences with the Lord……
I decided to stop doing the Photography is Fun website as we all know it today. The reason simply is time and money. It takes so much time to study and prepare new articles plus the gear I occasionally had to buy and sell to prepare for specific articles. I want to just do photography again plus I really enjoy gaining more experience doing video work with my E-M5 and my GH2. In addition there are so many guys doing good articles and podcasts on photography today. I was paging through YouTube videos and I was really surprised at the quality of some of these podcasts or videos.
I am considering using this space for displaying some of my work in the future. On the other hand I am also considering using the new "Behance" facility in the Adobe Creative Cloud.
So finally guys, again a big thank you to you all for supporting me and the Photography is Fun website and God Bless…..
Doing Video work with a digital camera like the E-M5 is most definitely something completely different to for example photography. Before you realize you moved from a basic camera and lens combination to a full "video" kit. To make things worse, some of these video kits are visually ugly, to say the least….
I was also caught up between the real high end type stuff and what will be the "best" for video and what I should buy to get the best. Bodies like the Canon 5D MKII and MKIII, the trustworthy 7D from Canon and then the Micro Four Thirds top video series, the Panasonic HG1, HG2 and the new GH3.
Then there are the "less capable" Olympus E-M5. I happen to own the 7D, the E-M5 and specifically for video I waited for the prices to fall on the GH2 and I bought myself a secondhand GH2. The Canon 7D is a great imaging camera and I will most probably never sell mine. It is also equipped with high quality movie formats and I know of guys doing top notch video work with the 7D.
The disadvantage I personally see using the 7D is that it cannot continuously focus while recording video. The reason is, generally SLR cameras are not that great using the imaging sensor as focussing device, as is the case with mirror-less cameras. That is why you get all these funny looking gadgets to help video teams have their focussing guy constantly adjusting the focus on SLR cameras while recording video.
That said, I think it is great to have the ability to constantly update the focus automatically by the camera, but if I could choose, I would also liked to have a focussing guy with me when out filming.
Personally I use my 7D for Video work. Where I do use it most, is when recording static interview type scenes. One can preset the settings plus set up the scene beforehand. The 7D is great for creating background blur with its larger sensor.
The next video device I briefly like to discuss is the Panasonic GH2. The GH2 has a strong following by video professionals. Personally I do not have enough experience to rate its video quality from other products like the 7D or the E-M5 but from what I can see plus read is that the GH2 is really good. What I find interesting on the GH2 is all the different video formats it offers the user.
Fitted with the 20mm F1,7 or the 14 - 140 Lumix and the GH2 has a lot to offer. There are several dedicated web sites supporting the GH series from Panasonic plus almost all these sites discuss the various hacks one can do with the GH range cameras.
Personally I am still in the learning phase with the GH2 and similar to guys moving from the GH2 to the OM-D, I am battling to get to grips with the menu on the GH2. I am really having a tough time with basics that just seem so straight forward on the E-M5.
For example in video mode I find it so easy to work with the creative mode on the E-M5. Doing the same with the GH2 just seems so much more complicated…..
Most of the time I have my GH2 set for 24p in Cinema mode and at this point I exclusively use mine for video. In addition I prefer to use specific settings I found on one of these sites specializing on the GH2.
Probably the biggest disadvantage of the GH2 is it does not offer image stabilization while in video mode. I therefore also tend to use the GH2 only while fitted on a tripod, similar to the 7D.
Finally I briefly like to discuss the E-M5. Personally I love working with the E-M5 in both video and stills photography. As you know it is possible to shoot at full 1080i at 30 fps. In fact the E-M5 double the 30fps up to give 60fps. I prefer working at the 720p setting and use either the HD Fine or the HD (Motion JPEG) setting.
What I enjoy most is setting the E-M5 mode dial in movie mode and to then use the live control window on the E-M5 screen to select whatever video and creative setting I like to. See page 67 for info on working in movie mode.
The GH2 is great for all the different movie formats it has available. Hack the GH2 and it has even more options available. The E-M5 is a little limited in this regard, basically only offering a 30fps option in either interlaced or progressive scanning modes.
The advantage the E-M5 has over the 7D and the GH2, is all the creative options it offers in the camera. The secret is not to walk around with the E-M5 while recording. If you take a closer look at movies on TV or inspirational stuff you will notice most movies are made with the camera in a static position.
It is in the static position that I find the E-M5 to also excel while recording using ART filters. The stabilizer is an absolute blessing while hand holding the camera, none other are this good. Adding creative filter effects while recording a scene in front of the camera works wonders. It is when one move the camera while recording that some of the ART filters does not perform "smooth".
The E-M5 is the only camera I personally record movement with while handholding the camera. The stabilizer is that good that with a little practice it looks as if the E-M5 was mounted on rails.
Finally I love working with the 12 - 50mm lens in movie mode plus I find it to be a awesome picture lens. I very seldom change it for anything else, also when I have more options in my bag.
Must say between my GH2 and the E-M5 I am having a lot of fun learning more about video work.
Finally it is important to decide on a specific editing environment when doing video work. I use LR4 plus CS6 today plus I use a small package called MPEG Streamclip to convert my recording prior to editing them. I think I will continue to work with the Adobe offer when doing video and stills work.
I like to wish you many happy hours improving your video skills….
Olympus literally updated their websites within hours of me downloading LS-14 images and them placing the new E-P5 information onto their websites globally.
Well done guys that is an impressive performance. Detail is important in life and almost every really successful person or company I read about were critical about detail.
What we today see with new Olympus products is also that special attention to detail. The specification, the menu structure, the functionality, nearly everything about these cameras indicate "attention to detail"…….
I added a page with more information on the new Olympus E-P5 here.
I was about to write a short article describing my own impressions on the E-P3 when I saw the news on the E-P5.
I also noticed the E-M5 continue to sell at its original launch price and I can only think it will continue doing so now that the E-P5 is out, especially considering the introduction price of the E-P5.
That means the Olympus E-P3 will continue to stay a really interesting option in the high end range. No need to say the E-P3 is an absolutely excellent camera with top notch performance plus imaging results.
I always liked the PEN series and decided to get the E-P3 as a type of collectors item. Personally I think the E-P5 launch price is way to high taking in account it has the "old" 16MP sensor. My advice is to wait 6 - 12 months for prices to become more realistic.
There are specific areas the E-P3 just do not hold up to the E-M5. One being sensor resolution and the other is, how well the E-P3 control remote flash units. Placing a few remote flash units and firing critical flash exposures is just a joy with the E-M5. The E-P3 I found, were just not that accurate controlling remotely controlled flash units.
In terms of image quality and color the E-P3 is the best 12MP camera available. I will not be surprised if I see E-P3 images that are by far more impressive than any other 16MP MFT camera, especially if a capable photographer had the E-P3 out for the day…..
All said, I do think we have a lovely selection of MFT cameras to choose from today. What makes this even more interesting is almost every high-end model offer something unique and one does not need to go around looking for the "best" model.
For example I really like the increased shutter speed on the E-P5, the new interval shooting options, the new Wifi options and finally the added creative options of the E-P5.
The Olympus LS-14 is an exciting and affordable recoding device that are capable of adding high quality recorded sound to your movies.
I have been thinking of adding a "better" microphone to my Micro Four Thirds video kit when I read about the Olympus LS series. The top of range model, the LS100 seemed like the obvious choice but after reading the LS-14 specification plus the functions I decided it will fit my needs just as well.
I am still a beginner in terms of doing video and separate sound recordings simultaneously. It surely is fun plus the sound quality one get of one these high quality recorders are mind blowing. What I like about the Olympus LS-14 is the true sounding replay one get from recordings.
In the above image you see the guys recording a practicing session. The Olympus LS-14 has a build-in basic dubbing function allowing a musicians to build up a complete song by adding track by track on the LS14.
In terms of video work one could record the nature scene, sounds with the LS-14, while simultaneously filming the scene with the E-M5. I found the LS-14 is sensitive enough to get a good "feel" for the sounds in nature. When home one can then dub any voice passages on top of the original recordings.
I basically use the Olympus LS-14 with my E-M5 or the GH2 when doing video recordings. With a simple clap one can synchronize the recordings afterwards in Photoshop. The sound quality improvements one gain in separate video/sound recording quality is just amazing.
One can say much more about this great little unit but I prefer to let you go enjoy all the reviews and discussions one can find on YouTube on this unit. One final comment I did not expect I would do is the following:-
I find I tend to always have the LS-14 with me and I record things like the sound of a Tram door opening and people exiting and entering, or a train passing through a station or motorcar traffic at a busy intersection. I then mark these recordings and save them for later use in movie scenes.
Did camera sensors really develop that much over the years or did the manufacturers made us believe they did? I was working on a series HDR images taken with my then Canon 350D, when I decided to give one of the over exposed 350D, RAW files a go in in Lightroom 4.
I opened the file in LR4 and started editing it with my standard set of steps I use when working in LR. As the file became "alive", I were totally blown away when I realized just how much information or dynamic range there are in the over exposed 350D RAW file. The amount of information I recovered using LR4 or the similar CS6, V7 RAW converter, were completely unexpected.
It felt as if I worked on a E-M5 RAW file. Trying a few other 350D RAW files, I could not help asking, does modern sensors really have that much more info hidden in the highlights than the older 350D file or could it be the information get manipulated with some camera models…… No here we go again…conspiracy theory, personally I do not think so, could also be some of those older sensors just were build really well……
The above and below image was taken with my 350D and were part of a series HDR images. The above image is the out of camera image and as you will notice, it looks like a over exposed image with little chance of, recovering sky and/or cloud detail.
Developing the equivalent RAW file with CS6 resulted in the final jpeg image you see below. As you can see I were able to recover nearly all the sky and cloud information. Not only does this example speak for the detail available in older digital images, it also is a reference to the outstanding ability of Lightroom 4 to extract details from RAW files.
Those of you that followed my style on the Photography is Fun website will know that I like HDR photography. The earlier Four Thirds Olympus sensors, especially those in the FT SLR bodies were great for HDR photography.
My favorite HDR software is HDR Effex Pro from NIK, Photomatix and last, CS5 or CS6. I did try other options like HDR Express and HDR Darkroom Pro, especially if a realistic type look were required.
In my mind, the Olympus E-M5 with its outstanding 16MP sensor plus in combination with something like LR4 basically completely killed the need for HDR photography. Yes one can still use multiple exposures with something like Photomatix to create HDR like effects but using HDR software to cope with a high DR scene is something of the past with the E-M5
I am always amazed when comparing cameras on DPReview and to see just how advanced the E-M5 has become. Do yourself a favor and go to the "Dynamic Range" section of the E-M5 review on DPReview and set the E-M5 "Gradation" setting to "Auto". Then go compare the E-M5 dynamic range with other cameras.
My family and I were recently on holiday in South Africa and I took many images. Like always I also took several HDR bracketed images, something so easily done with the E-M5. The E-M5 high performance stabilizer combined with 9 frames per second is just perfect for handheld HDR exposures.
Below you will see the three different exposures I did. Next you will see a final HDR Potomatix image and right at the bottom you will see the image I developed from one of the RAW images in the HDR series in LR4.
HDR Bracketed Series
PhotoMatix HDR Image
Lightroom edited RAW file
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How often does it happen that you need a lens for a special event? The Photo and Video specialists, Zumstein Foto & Video, in Bern Switzerland is one of the best photography specialist shops I know. Professionally I travel often and I always enjoy visiting local photo & video stores in my free moments. I therefore feel comfortable to say that Zumstein is one of the best I have visited to date. Zumstein holds a large stock and spread of micro four thirds gear and the sales guys are well versed to discuss the products with customers.
As a rule I do not advertise on the Photography is Fun website. Reason is I prefer to keep the site 100% neutral plus I like to believe the site is a service to fellow photographers. Why this placement? The reason is simply the friendly and helpful service I always receive from the guys at Zumstein.