Friday, November 23, 2012

Olympus Hands On Event at Murder Mile Studio

I had a fun afternoon trying out a few cameras and lenses at an event held at Murder Mile Studio hosted by Olympus UK.  The cameras there were the OMD E-5 and E-PL5.  I was hoping the E-PM2 would be there as it is the most likely MFT camera I would buy next.  The lenses available were the new 17mm F1.8, 75mm F1.8 and 45mm F1.8.  I wanted to see how good the OMD and E-PL5 were.  They use the same sensor, so the photo quality should be the same.  Olympus also had two models there so we didn't have to photograph each other.  In the end I was happy to us my Panasonic 20mm F1.7 with the OMD and E-PL5 because I was more interested in the cameras.  I already have the 45mm F1.8, but it is too long for the size of the studio.  The 75mm F1.8 would also be difficult to use, but I did try it briefly.

I also had a Olympus FL-50R with me and I used the RC mode to shoot the models when I am not trying out high ISO performance.  It worked flawlessly in the studio and I was very happy with how it performed.

I want to see what the high ISO performance of the cameras were like.  My personal E-PM1 is good up to 800 ISO, but once above that, it started to fall apart and 1600 ISO is the highest I would normally shoot at. Here are a few photos taken at the event.  All photos taken with Panasonic 20mm F1.8, RAW files converted with Olympus Viewer 2 to jpeg and down sized for web use.

OMD @ ISO 200 lit with bare Olympus FL-50R

OMD @ ISO 3200 ambient lighting

My impression of the camera are very good.  I am very impressed with the general quality and high ISO performance.  I would happy to use them right up to 1600 ISO.  Above that, the quality starts to drop off a little.  3200 ISO is very usable, providing the subject if not in shadow, just not for large prints.  I think I will wait and get the little E-PM2 as it is smaller and would be my choice in future.  I feel the flip out screen of of the E-PL5 is not as well implemented as I would have liked and I would prefer a slightly smaller body.

E-PL5 @ ISO 1600 ambient lighting

OMD @ ISO 200 lit with bare Olympus FL-50R

OMD @ ISO 320 lit with continuous light in front and behind model

I would like to mention the Olympus Viewer 2 software used for converting the ORF files from these cameras.  It is very slow and clunky and does not compare well with Canon DPP I've used.  If only it is better, it would make a wonderful package.  Also, when using OV2, when I turn off noise filter, there is still a small amount of noise reduction applied.  When I use Capture One to convert some of the files, noise is much more evident than using OV2.

Finally, I am very grateful for Olympus to hold this event and would like to thank them and the models (Cassie & Sam) for letting me try out the camera and lenses.

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