Thursday, November 8, 2012

Andy and Monica Wedding with Olympus E-PM1

I was invited to my nephew’s wedding a couple of weeks ago.  The wedding was a low key affair at The City of Westminster Registry Office in London.  I went along with my Olympus E-PM1 fitted with Panasonic 20mm F1.7 lens and my Metz 44 AF-1 flash.  There was no official photographer and I was not asked to photograph the event, but I didn’t want the wedding photos to be taken by the other guests using their camera phones L.

I volunteered to take some photos and the Andy and Monica were happy for me to do so.  Since the wedding was a family affair, I will not show any photos other than the ones with the happy couple.  I had a homemade reflector fitted to my Metz 44 at all times bouncing light off the white ceiling.  The ambient light level of the room was reasonable but I still had to use ISO 1000 to get acceptable shutter speed.

The registry office is in a wonderful old building and I was able to get the couple to pose for me in the corridor and stairs of this building and used the Metz off the camera using RC mode.  Again using only the 20mm lens I was able to control the flash power on the camera.  A great function of Olympus cameras.

What can I say about the E-PM1, 20mm F1.7 and Metz 44 combination?  It worked out quite well and the results are quite good.  Where the E-PM1 does not do well is the noise level in the shadow areas at high ISO.  It is a good camera, but it does lag behind APS-C sensors in this respect.  It would not be my camera of choice to cover a wedding.  What it does really well is the auto white balance.  It is amazing and gets it right most of the time and is much better than any Canon DSLR I’ve used.  I am looking forward to the Olympus E-PM2.  With the sensor from the OM-D, it will make a great compact travel camera.

The Panasonic 20mm F1.7 is a great low light lens.  At F1.7 and ISO 1000, I can shoot hand held photos with available light, even at night.  It has to get very dark for me to resort to using a flash.  There are just a couple of problems with this lens:  First is the distortion, especially if you are close to the subject.  Second problem is purple fringing at high contrast areas.  I am told Panasonic cameras will correct these automatically, but since I do not have a Panasonic camera, I can’t comment.  However, if you shoot RAW and use Olympus Viewer 2 to edit the photos, these are also corrected automatically.  I was shooting RAW on this occasion and used OV2 to convert the files.  I found OV2 can convert the photos making them look just like images I saw on the rear LCD of the camera.  The only downside of this process is you need to use OV2!  Talk about clunky software, it is just so slow and user unfriendly.  It is just about bearable to use for small batch but I will be sticking with Capture One for now.

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