Not enough (brain-) power

When walking around my employers’ garden this morning, I found this:


Not enough (brain-) power. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens at f/2.

The label says “energy drink”, tho about half of it seems to be beer. Anyway – even tho this is a bottle with a token on it (meaning you’d get money back for it somewhere), it doesn’t seem to give the consumer enough energy nor mental power to even take care of his/her litter. Might have been left by some youth folk at night, but we also have enough suits with ties who weren’t lucky enough to receive some proper education from their parents; you see those everywhere these days.

Thanks for reading.

Stopped my one month experiment

I’ve decided that it’s enough. I get frustrated much too often when trying to reduce myself to using the DSLR and its “kit zooms” solely for one month. This is old technology, and while there might be some use cases for these, they’re mostly for things I don’t do anyway – like sports (greetings and congrats to the German team for winning the FIFA world cup btw), or for birds / wildlife and so on. For about everything else, we have much better stuff by now.

Couldn’t have taken this with my DSLR for instance:


Karipap. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 lens at f/1.4. Cropped 3:2. Very low light from next room (our kitchen).

Zuleikha and Mitchie made karipap today, for explanations see the Malay, English and/or German Wikipedia pages.

I took this hand-held with an f/1.4 lens wide open at ISO 2500. No sharpening, no noise reduction.

Is it noisy? Yes. Does it bother me? Not at all – this is still far better than ISO 400 film in a “full frame” camera, and also better than using ISO 800 with my DSLR. For which my fastest lens is the Zuiko Digital Macro 50mm/2, so there’s another stop advantage for the smaller but more modern “Pen” camera.

Also, the white balance was set to “Auto” with the additional option to “keep warm colors = off”, something the DSLR couldn’t do. The focusing is much easier and more precise with the newer camera as well, and even in crappy low light like this, these cameras have a wonderful and fast working autofocus. I took this in aperture priority mode with the lens wide open, the rest is more or less point & shoot (except the composition and framing like always).

About the only advantage of an optical viewfinder vs. an electronic one is that the former doesn’t drain the battery, you can look through it as long as you want. For everything else, electronic viewfinders are much better than their pentamirror or pentaprism cousins already, and even the VF-2 has an image much larger than the one from most of its DSLR counterparts – the newer VF-4 is the same as the one in Olympus’ OM-D E-M1 camera, which is as big as the best “full frame” DSLRs (Canon 1-series), but with much more information displayed.

So in my case, it’s a clear 1:0 for mirrorless (or mirror free) cameras against DSLRs, which are becoming a thing of the past in my opinion. And it’s also – and again – a clear 1:0 for fast prime lenses against zooms, but I knew that already.

My DSLR is 5 years old by now, and it’s still a nice or at least usable studio camera, and for a portrait its 10 MP are more than good enough as well. For everything else, the “Pen” wins easily and clearly – in fact, it’s no competition at all. Maybe it’s about time to reduce the weight even more, and to get an E-M10 for the studio work. For about €600 for the body, I’d clearly prefer that to any DSLR I could think of.

Thanks for reading.

Early Sunday morning portrait

Zuleikha got up while I was still fumbling around with my cameras and other gear, so of course I also took her photo:


Zuleikha, July 2014. Olympus E-520 with 40-150mm lens at 58mm. Simock E300 studio strobe bounced over wall & ceiling.

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An almost empty salad bowl

Taken this morning at around 3am, with room light and the modeling light of my studio strobe:


An almost empty salad bowl. Olympus E-520 and 40-150mm lens at 73mm. Cropped 16:10.


An almost empty salad bowl: something like a setup shot. Olympus E-520 with 14-42mm lens at 14mm.

Update, ca. 5 hours later: Shot the same salad bowl again, this time using two bounced flashes:


Same salad bowl again. Olympus E-520 with 40-150mm lens at 73 mm. Cropped 16:10.

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A colleague’s fan

And on we go with using my DSLR, this time with the longer one of the two “kit” zooms again. I took this photo of a colleague’s fan (both heater and cooler) on a Friday morning at work. In the background my blurred desk…


A colleague’s fan. Olympus E-520 with 40-150mm lens at 73mm.

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One from the “Pen” in between

I know. My intention was to use the DSLR for a whole month, and with its “kit” zooms only. But I broke that yesterday already, when I took some photos of flowers in our home using my macro lens. And today during my lunch break at work, I also didn’t fancy walking around with the DSLR too much, so I took the E-PL5 “Pen” camera instead, with the Panasonic Lumix 14mm/2.5 “pancake”-type lens mounted, and the viewfinder taken off. That way I had a really small camera. I also set it to show me black & white and square in its LCD. When I returned from my walk, I took this one at my desk:


Black “mouse”. Olympus E-PL5 with Panasonic Lumix 14mm/2.5 at f/5.6. Between half and 1/3rd of a second at ISO 200, hand-held.

Funny how I miss that camera. Using a DSLR feels so “retro” and old-fashioned after you’ve experienced one of these for a while. But let’s see, maybe that will change during the month.

Thanks for reading.

Photos of the FIFA half finals, and the world’s best stalker lens is always a good source for photos, and they also have an impressive set of pictures of this years’ FIFA half final matches. Well worth a look if you’re into football (or ‘soccer’, like the US and parts of England call it).

Mike Johnston from T.O.P. (The Online Photographer) once declared the Hubble Space Telescope as being the world’s best lens. That was in 2006. In 2030, there could be a better one, called ‘ATLAST‘. Found this in Telepolis who wrote that it should be 2000 times better than Hubble (in German). See also in the English Wikipedia. Would be a lens for Tim Allen‘s ‘Home Improvement‘, right? It also reminds me a bit about Crocodile Dundee’s

“A knife? This is a knife!”


Thanks for reading.

Flowers, 300 degree light

I used my macro lens to get close, and my gridded beauty dish left and behind the object at approximately a 300 degree (or ten o’clock) position to take this flower shot:


Flowers. Olympus E-520 with ZD 50mm/2 macro lens. Simock E300 studio strobe with gridded beauty dish. Aperture was f/3.2 with the flash output at 1/4 power.

As you can see, the white wall which is about 1m behind the flowers goes almost completely black – or at least dark brown – when using directed light like this. Want it completely black? Then use a black background, a non-reflective surface on which you put your object, and switch off the ambient room light (which was on here), or use a higher flash output and close the aperture down a bit more.

Thanks for reading.

Berries to and fro

Zuleikha took some of the berries to school – and brought them back. And I took a photo of them last night, this time using a grid on my beauty dish (instead of the sock). So the light is a bit tighter and harder, and you can clearly see the falloff in the background:


Berries, after being taken to school, and back. Olympus E-520 with 14-42mm lens at 42mm, f/6.3. Studio strobe with gridded beauty dish.

Like Laurence commented on my last blog post, spending 200 Euro on some light will have more impact on your photos than the newest camera or lens. Especially at home, at night.

Thanks for viewing.