Monday, September 01, 2014

Olympus PEN E-PL7 Review Extension

As promised, I have been busy shooting with the Olympus PEN E-PL7 for the past few days, and I have come home with plenty of images. In case you have not noticed, I have changed the way I did my camera review, I no longer broke the review into several parts. Instead I have said everything that I needed to say in that one part of E-PL7 Review. This particular blog entry shall serve as an extension to the main review, with more sample photographs, and perhaps jotting down a few points and thoughts which may have been missed out. Therefore, before you proceed to this review extension, please make sure you have read the Olympus PEN E-PL7 Review here (click). 

For this review extension, I shall be exploring a few items: High ISO Shooting, Low ISO Shooting and 3 Axis Image Stabilization both in video and still shooting. I originally intended to cover a few more items (eg improved focus peaking, etc) but I then decided I should not cramp too many things within one blog post. This is not my last time using the E-PL7 and surely, if time permits, I can do more extensions. As an extra, I have also provided 14 full resolution image samples for download at the end of this blog entry. 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Olympus PEN E-PL7 Review

Important Note:
1. I am an Olympus Malaysia employee. 
2. This is a user experience based review, based on my personal opinion which can be subjective.
3. All images were shot in RAW and converted directly to JPEG (High Quality) via Olympus Viewer 3.
4. General camera settings, Noise Filter = OFF, Contrast/Saturation/sharpness = 0, White Balance = Auto (with an option maintain warm color = OFF), Gradation = Normal
5. Minimal post-processing applied to the images, with slight brightness/contrast balance tweak. All images were almost as good as straight out of camera, with minimal cropping for better presentation.

Olympus OM-D series cameras have been getting much attention and now, it is time to shine the limelight onto the original Olympus PEN series cameras. Currently Olympus PEN series are sub-categorized into the PEN Premium (E-P5) and PEN Lite/Mini (E-PL6/E-PM2). The new Olympus PEN E-PL7 which is launched today is not exactly positioned as a successor for the PEN Lite/PEN Mini category, but an upgrade to a level between the E-P5 and E-PL6. Therefore, the E-PL7 generally retains the important aspects of PEN Lite, such as being extremely small and light yet at the same time sports a solid and premium built, much closer to the flagship PEN E-P5 in construction. 

I have had the privilege to bring the PEN E-PL7 out for some quick shutter therapy action and based on that I am reporting my user experience review of the camera. This will be written from a non-technical point of view, and more emphasis will be given on how I feel and experience when I was actually shooting with the E-PL7 in real life situations. I have brought the E-PL7 to several locations at KL streets and the KL Bird Park. 

Here are some quick highlights of the camera features and specifications:
1) Designed and Optimized for Selfie usage - Flip down screen for self portraits
2) Smartphone Connectivity with Built in Wifi
3) Similar core performance and capabilities as the OM-D E-M10 
(Similar 16MP Sensor with Truepic 7 Image Processing Engine, 3-Axis Image Stabilization)
4) Small and Premium build
5) New Art Filters: Vintage and Partial Color

I will not bore you with the details, for full specifications, kindly visit the official Olympus Page here (click). 
The new Olympus PEN E-PL7 and M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake Zoom lens

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Olympus Macro Walkabout at KL Butterfly Park

Earlier this morning, I was leading a group of Olympus photo enthusiasts to shoot insect macro at Butterfly Park, KL, and boy it was a fun morning! Together with me was Amir Ridhwan, an Olympus enthusiast who shoots mainly macro, someone whom I have looked up to and learned a lot from (my own macro shooting techniques were derived from his own). We spent about 3 hours in the park, attacking all sorts of bugs and spiders. Most of the participants do not have the M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 macro lens, and was only using the humble kit lens 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 but I assured them that the lens was already very good to begin with, enabling quite decent close up shooting, something that kit lenses from other manufacturers cannot do. 

When the walkabout was happening I did not do much shooting myself. Instead I spent all the time doing demonstrations and guiding the group to get the shots. Therefore, only after the sessions ended at noon, that I stayed back a few more hours at the park shooting for myself, getting some shots as shown in this entry. I have not done macro for a while now, and it was nice hunting the bugs again. There was just something about shooting macro that gets me, and I shall save those thoughts for another blog entry perhaps. 

Also, if you have not known Amir Ridhwan, please visit his Flickr Stream here. He has so many amazing shots. 

Personally, I armed myself with the OM-D E-M10 with both 12-50mm and macro lens 60mm F2.8. I also work with the FL-50R external flash. For full description of how I got my macro shots (camera setttings, flash reflector, and shooting techniques) please visit my blog entries here and here

Before we start, lets take a selfie! Taken with E-M10 and the fisheye bodycap lens, 9mm F8. Trust me that body cap lens is built for taking selfie, it is so wide I can still do distortion correction to correct the curved lines (due to fisheye effect of the lens) and still have a very wide coverage for this group shot. And image sharpness was quite reasonable too. 

M.Zuiko 12-50mm kit lens, 1/400sec, F6, ISO200. macro mode enabled, no flash
Amir Ridhwan was using TG-3 primarily and demonstrating the microscopic capabilities of the camera. He got too up close and personal with that mantis. More photos later leading to this shot, at the end of this entry. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Taking a Moment of Silence to Remember MH17

Today is the first national mourning day for MH-17. To the families and friends affected by this tragedy, you have my prayers and thoughts.

Graphics and Photo Credit: Chi Kin