Thursday, January 5, 2012

My Experience with using Olympus E-PL1 for Photos and Videos

I've had my E-PL1 for over 6 months now and I really like using it.  Like all cameras it does have its weaknesses.  I have listed the main weaknesses and what I've done to overcome it.

  1. Focus speed – Not a lot I can do, but don't expect DSLR speed and forget moving objects.
  2. Low light focusing – It can be an issue in a dark pub, but not a lot you can do apart from carrying a small LED light.
  3. Hard to see LCD screen in daylight.  This is a problem even in cloudy days let alone on a bright sunny day.  I have purchased a Delkin Pop Up Shade.  The 2.7" universal shade fits really well.  So far, it worked really well on a cloudy day.  Where as before I had to turn up the brightness to the max on a cloudy day, I did not have to do anything with the shade on.  I've yet used it on a sunny day, but it can only make it better.
  4. Maximum shutter speed is only 1/2000s which limit the use of fast lens on a sunny day.  I intent to buy a ND filter for get round this problem.
I've been getting more into video since I got the E-PL1 because it is very small.  Even though I have two DSLR that can take better videos, I've not bother to use them for video at all.  I was lucky enough to be given two Pentax K mount manual focus lenses.  One is an Itorex 28mm F2.8, the other a Pentax 50mm F2.  When I shoot videos, I normally use one of them simply I like the smooth manual focus which you can not do with the kit lens.  I am also able to create better bokeh with these lenses.  To demonstrate, I've shot a very short video on a very wet London on New Year day 2012.
E-PL1 fitted with Itorex 28mm F2.8 with Pentax 50mm F2 on the side. 
I normally shoot video in manual mode while using the E-PL1 as I like to know exactly what the camera is doing.  I found ISO only goes up to 1600 in video mode.  I would like to be able to go up to ISO 3200.  The extra stop would be very useful.  To combat shooting in a dark room, I have purchased a 160 LED video light from Amazon.  The light is day light balanced (5500k) and it comes with three diffusers.  They are white diffuser, orange and pink.  The white diffuser is great to soften the light indoor and not blind the people you are filming.  The orange diffuser is balanced for tungsten.  While the pink on is balanced for florescent light.  You probably will not use the LED light bare unless it’s a super bright day and you want to fill out any shadow.

I've only played with the video light at home and a couple of Christmas parties.  I am still learning about colour balance when using video lights and will update my blog once I know more.

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