Monday, April 29, 2013

A Non-Professional Review From A Professional Photographer: Olympus OM-D E-M5

First of all, this is not a professional review of OM-D E-M5 (I hate to use the word "unprofessional"). If you are looking for how many pixels it has, start up time, or how many bit of this and that, you are in the wrong place. I just want to tell you why I love my Olympus OM-D E-M5 as a person who shoots photographs for living.

Jessie and I traveled to a lot of places in the recent years for work and vacation. We enjoy a lot running around with our DSLRs and a small pocket size DC... until the Tokyo trip, it changed my mind. On Day 3, we went to a town called Kamakura. The pouring rain was exactly what you saw in low budget TV drama. Totally ridiculous and unreal! Thanks to Canon's limited weather proof feature on 5D mark II and the L lens, I got a lot of good photos. Unfortunately on Day 4, my legs refused to take instruction from brains. My dried shoes were hardened (from soaking wet condition) and made my feet hurt a lot. I couldn't walk around with a heavy backpack. I decided to lock our 5D mark II in hotel and took the Olympus E-PL1 with the kit lens (14-42mm) with us only. It brought us one of the most memorable shots (see below).

We spend almost an hour to wait for this moment and took this Tokyo Tower shot. It was enlarged and hanged on the wall.

If a 12 Megapixel E-PL1 with a kit lens can give us a very detail huge enlargement, what about a better m4/3 camera?

At that point, I really wanted to have a small camera with weather proof, DSLR control, detachable lenses, and acceptable dynamic range. I extremely hate software menu. I want wheels or buttons for ISO, shutter speed, and aperture value because I use to shoot in M mode at work. Moreover, it must have a hotshoe for PocketWizard Plus II (or other radio triggers). After a while, OM-D announced but it took almost a year for me to get one.

You can touch focus and shutter release on the LCD screen. Why you need this? When you mount a lens with f/2.0 or larger and you want someone to take a photo for you and your friends, restaurant staff or other people may not know how to focus on which spot. The simplest way is telling them to tap on a person's face on screen. Don't depend on the face tracking function.

Flip screen works and it's useful for video. BUT... it's very hard to flip it out. Bad design. Canon T4i's flip screen is the best, period.

Sorry about the dusts... I will clean it later.

This part of the camera is what it makes me love it. Two wheels are Shutter Speed and Aperture Value. I set Fn2 button as ISO and Fn1 button as Custom White Balance. Sometimes, I think its user interface even better than 5D mark III and 1DX.

This is what made it so versatile... I could mount a CCTV C-Mount 24mm f/1.4 lens on it without dark corners. We used that lens to shoot a pre-wedding session in China last year (See below). It worked like a super sharp manual 50mm f/1.4!

Click Here to see this Pre-Wedding Session (Shot by OM-D)

And then, we traveled to Beijing with OM-D. Click Here to see

OM-D is very responsive like a full size DSLR. Just some lenses like Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 is slow. Not OM-D's fault. I tried to shoot in 4:3 format for months but it was very uncomfortable to me (I thought I just needed time). I met Ben Chrisman in last year's Canadian Photo Convention. He mentioned the same problem and he chose Fujifilm X100 (Now he upgraded to the crazy popular X100s). Recent months, I changed the viewfinder and the file format to 3:2. The weird feeling is gone.

At the end, I'm not telling you this camera is perfect for everyone. There is always a better one out there. To me, OM-D is like a small pen for a writer. It helps you to do what you want without too many limitation. Don't expect it will make you shoot good photos in a sudden. Behind any lens, it's still you.

You can see what OM-D can do daily below...

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Sharon + Billy Maternity Session

When we were shooting maternity shoot, we tried to slow down the pace. This session with Sharon and Billy was the most relaxing one. We had brunch at Tea House of Stanley Park and then walked around to find photo spots on the way. Jessie and Sharon chatted about baby's stuff. Billy, his friend and I chatted about gadgets and camera equipment. What a fun day in the park!

Raymond & Jessie
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