Posts Tagged ‘E-P2’

PANORAMA FROM M43 (E-P1) FILES

(Click for XXXXL version …19MB file …OK, compressed for web use)

I’ve already stated before that files from my E-P1, at its lowest ISO setting, are not a million miles away from those of my Nikon D3 – as was, now sold because of that very fact ! I still use a pair of D200s, which produce fine results for any DSLR- type shooting …weddings/sport … anything where very fast AF is essential for static or moving objects/subjects !

Shooting with my Olympus E-P1 yesterday, in very bright sunlight (yes, I could see what I was doing with that lowly 230k res screen, and from heights & angles I couldn’t easily have achieved with a DSLR), I took six individual shots for this example.

Stitched from these six images, this panoramic could be successfully produced as a huge high-resolution print, with great colour accuracy and sharp detail. Using the E-P1 in this way enables its already great 12.3 MP output to knock at the door of medium-format in terms of quality and image size …but there are caveats :

  • MF offers greater dynamic range, with less shadow noise … although multiple m43 files can get close with careful software usage
  • MF offers smoother output, from that relatively huge sensor …  combined m43 files can approach the look, again with careful setup
  • MF requires a very substantial investment : from c£12k to £25k, plus lenses from around £3k each …m43 is affordable for most
  • MF currently has a relatively low ISO capture range, typically topping-out at 1600
  • MF is hefty & unwieldy to cart around for long

Medium Format has so far been the choice of many high-end published architectural &  fashion photographers – where the commissions are often consistently & suitably lucrative to make the investment in MF worthwhile, and editors are extremely demanding relative to output quality and fine detail.

Continuing from my last post, the relevance here is that the next generation of cameras with a Four-Thirds sensor – the new Panasonics about to be formally announced, and the inevitable Olympus versions that will follow – will also enable very many keen photographers to attain a breathtaking standard of very large output quality … where of course the subject & lighting lend themselves to being photographed with multiple files, to then be stitched.

If you’ve not tried image stitching yet, with your own m43 setup, try three vertical shots – or three horizontals – allowing around 20-30% overlap on each image. These can be stitched in software : PS, Arcsoft (which I use myself), or one of many others out there. These days, this software has been developed to the point where little if any manual intervention is required, even without close attention to tripod use/nodal point etc at time of capture. A final crop is often all that’s needed to complete your own masterpiece.

PS : For optimal quality, whereas these were six very quick, hand-held shots, one should always use a tripod for ultimate quality (don’t forget to turn off the IS !). It’s also then preferable to work from TIFF files (these were o.o.c. jpegs), and to set your camera to manual, to choose optimal aperture & exposure settings. These do all count, none of which I did for the example here. The final large image has also been compressed for web use. But you get the idea ….

MICRO FOUR-THIRDS - A NEW STANDARD ?

MICRO FOUR-THIRDS - A NEW STANDARD ?

It of course could be construed as either :

‘Fallen for It ?’ … head-over-heels with these new, high quality cameras (& lenses) that offer SLR quality in miniature Or : 

‘Fallen for It ?’ … the Penny/Doris marketing (wrong !) of a system solution to a non-existent problem

There are certainly at least two schools of thought on the arrival of m43, now that both Olympus & Panasonic have truly small bodies, along with a few m43lenses. I definitely lean towards the former, although, in my last post, I indicated that I already have several compacts & DSLRs …but, so far, no Micro Four-Thirds camera (or lenses) …and here’s why :

1/ There’s so far a distinct shortage of available lenses in the m43 format …although there are several potentially useful 43 lenses  eg one that caught my eye today, the Olympus 12-60  ie 24-120mm equivalent – but it’s a fairly large lens, relative to m43 body size, and it pretty well negates the point of a useful, truly miniaturised system.

2/ The end of October sees a likely New Product announcement from Olympus – and the general concensus is that this will be something along the lines of ‘E-P2’ …probably with the inclusion of an in-built viewfinder, and possibly on-board flash.

3/ I learned today that following at least one major Ricoh Japan/Ricoh UK staff meeting last year, Ricoh will definitely be in the ‘small body/interchangeable lenses’ game …and some product is likely fairly soon

4/ Nikon are apparently developing a ‘2.5x’ small system …so, for example, a 10mm lens will be equivalent to 25mm (in 35mm terms) …and surely so must Canon and, by implication, Sony ?

5/ Fujifilm are known also to have taken great interest in the early succes of m43, and are rumoured to have products of a ‘similar’ nature in development.

6/ Samsung NX models are likely soon …not m43 standard, but a miniatuised system along the same lines

7/ Additional to the existing E-P1, I also have reliable confirmation that Olympus will launch a total of three new m43 bodies, planned to see the light of day over the next six months … although my source expects that this may more likely stretch over 9/12 months …but that’s still an ambitious output, and Olympus are ‘very seriously comitted’ to m43.

8/ Based on that last statement, we should see the introduction of several new m43 lenses …hopefully sooner rather than later.

Given that m43 is really just in its infancy, and already seems to offer superb performance …albeit with a few fixable deficiencies so far …this is, from what was expected to be niche, fast becoming a type of product range seen by the major (& smaller) players as critical to their ongoing survival – let alone their ongoing success and increased market share & profitability. 

Extrapolate accordingly, and if the consumer-led, and pro-led, revolution really gets under way, we’ll really be spoilt for choice. That has to be a great situation for all of us absolute enthusiasts, and marks a truly interesting era in digital imaging. I’m observing all of this in some detail, and will step in when I feel the time’s right…and that doesn’t necessarily mean waiting for too long – but there really is so much on its way AND SOON.

In the meantime, if you’re already using, or considering a DSLR, you may find some interesting reading at http://nikonpro.wordpress.com

For more, see also http://1001noisycameras.com

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In a way, I’m revisiting here a couple of recent posts with new comment below added in the light of news over the last week or so … three hot topics as the title of this entry.

DSLR publications – can these be at all relevant to LX3 users ?

On a positive note, in observing a few of the recent/current mag covers I’ve shown above – some from the USA, but mostly UK issues, I still really enjoy learning all I can on photography, and getting different angles (ouch!) on imaging, as well as gaining an insight into maybe some new piece of software, or a different technique, that deserves attention. Sometimes it can be just for inspiration, or can trigger an idea that had been filed away in the grey matter.

The ‘DSLR’ mention – in mag name(s), front cover headlines, and of course inside … well, you know my opinion on that from my June 9th post – but there is something valuable in these issues, that can be very useful to all LX3 users, especially new ones that may have moved up from a standard pre-set point & shoot. No, it’s not a DSLR …there’s no interchangeable lens for starters – although it has a lens spec : f2-2.8, 24-60mm full-frame equivalent – that every SLR user would love if they could afford it. Some might say it’s the perfect range anyway, so no need to change. As a comparison, the lens I use most of the time on my D3 covers 24-70mm, but at f2.8 all the way …and is the best of that range that Nikon makes/has ever made !  Back to LX3, there’s no pentaprism, so reduced weight, no mirror slap, smaller form factor… ok, and a smaller sensor, for now. 

But, LX3 is a fully-manual camera, if you want it to be. That means that apart from all the ‘consumer’ stuff on there, you’ve Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority settings on the dial, as well as the crucial ‘M’ …so you can control lens aperture and shutter speed independantly, exactly as on a DSLR. And record a high-quality RAW file. This means that you may find such mags a great help in getting into the Manual settings on your new LX3 , to get the very best out of it – and I recommend you do that asap for better, & much more creative results. Promise I won’t mention magazines again today.

E-P1 … the first of many new m4/3 models

These designer types – you know, the guys (and girls, no doubt) that we are all deeply appreciative of, for their frankly amazing technological achievements, are extremely talented, but in my own experience are often not very good at communicating with real people.

Olympus is different. Their verbose technical guy/spokesman has seemingly been quoted in the last few days that E-P1 is the first of many m4/3-design cameras that will see the light of day in the relatively near future – for all of us, this could be very good news. Different models, different specs and features, smaller cameras, larger models ….very good news indeed.

Because this means that Panasonic will have to already have their competing range well into the prototype/pre-prod stages if they’re to fight their corner on such cameras, and meet what are now, thanks to LX3, G1, GH1, etc very high global market expectations.

So, you can wait a while … or, you can just buy (or keep on using, if you already have one) the LX3, safe in the knowledge that so far, at anywhere near its price point or form factor, there’s nothing to touch it for the range within which it works. But then, you expected me to say that.

The reality is that the LX3 will remain a totally valid tool even later on … the E-P1/2/3 etc lens line-up so far doesn’t get close to the LX3’s stunning built-in Leica 24mm f2, and that, in combination with the LX3’s 16:9 format, remains a real favourite of mine.

Go to http://nickbland.zenfolio.com for many new & updated LX3 galleries, separated into different subject areas for your ease of use … and enjoy !  Incidentally, they’re pretty well all in 16:9 format, my own preference.