Having spent a full day with the Pen-F at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, I’m getting more dialed in with the cameras handling, how much I can push it, and how to customize it for how I work. The Pen-F is extremely customizable and able to adapt to how you want it configured. Spending time with it, and custom fitting the buttons and dials to how you want to use it is well worth the time and effort.
I’m not into scary rides, but I don’t miss the opportunity to take a fall in the Tower of Terror. It’s the right amount of scary and adrenaline to get the morning in full swing. Plus, I love what the interior designer did with the decor.
The above was a very high contrast scene with the direct sunlight coming in from through the doorway, and the darker area in the foreground. With some post processing of the highlights and shadows a compromise worked. The m4/3 format isn’t the greatest in very high contrast scenes, but it does good. A medium format digital camera would handle this much better, but at an additional $20K minimum in cost. Full sensor camera fall somewhere between them, but closer to m43 than medium format.
Since micro 4/3rd cameras share the same lens mount across multiple manufacturers, you can use say a Panasonic lens on your Olympus body, or the reverse. I did just that for the above image, using a Lumix 45-175 telephoto (35mm equiv 90mm-350mm) on the Pen-F. I bought the Panasonic as it had some features I preferred when shooting video with the Pen-F, and it had a good reputation for optical quality. I’ve been happy with it so far.
Again, testing the ability to hand hold a camera in darker environments, the above shot was done at 1/8th of a second hand held. The stabilization really makes a difference, and Olympus set the market with its 5 axis body stabilization. It works remarkably well, shaving about 2 stops off the ISO setting since you can use a slower shutter speed instead. ISO 3200 is about the top end I would shoot with the Pen-F for web/screen use, and 800 or 1600 depending on size for print use.
The light is starting to fade, and this is when theme parks come alive for me photographically. If the designers did their work, there is plenty of interesting lighting, highlights, and facades to photograph.
The best time is after the lights turn on, and the sun has just dropped below the horizon. This leaves texture and color in the sky as a backdrop to the foreground. The light is also better balanced, there is still detail in the shadows, and you aren’t fighting with highlights that are too bright against a pitch black sky. Magic hour.
The above image is just about at the end of ‘magic hour’, which strangely enough lasts about 2-3 hours. The sky is getting pretty dark, but stays a dark blue for quite some time before going black. Cloud detail is lost, but the blue background is still pleasing.
One of my favorite lenses is the Olympus 45mm f1.8. Perfect for portraits, very sharp, nice bokeh, and very compact and lightweight. I spent some time testing this lens, but my go to walk around lens is the very compact 14-42 EZ. It’s almost the perfect range, a 35mm equivalent of 28mm-84mm.
Looking at focal length metadata in Lightroom, I find about 80% of my personal photographs are shot in the 24-70mm range. About 95% are shot in the 20mm to 105mm range, so ideally a good walk around lens for me would be a 20mm-105mm. Unfortunately, one doesn’t exist, and the super zoom lenses that do cover those focal lengths generally start to suffer optically and aren’t as sharp as the 14-42. And they are much larger, heavier, and longer. So I’ll live with the 14-42 for to its compact size, near perfect focal length, and decent overall quality.
The above is a real good example of a well balanced sky and foreground. The lighting on the billboard and building facade balances almost perfectly with the background sky and clouds. The subtle light in this image also goes well with the pastel and faded colors.
The above image is another reason I really like the Olympus in-body stabilization. This was also hand held at dusk, but it captured the scene beautifully and with sharp results. As an everyday camera, it makes capturing scenes like this easy and effortlessly.
The sky in the shot above drew my attention, and I walked around a little bit looking for something of interest for the foreground. Florida never disappoints with interesting skies due to the weather changes. I would have preferred to see the lights turned on for the sign and lower part of the building on the left. They came on shortly after this image was taken.
A few last parting shots as I left the park. I turned around to see if there was anything interesting to photograph at the entrance, and shot these two images below. Again the lighting really adds so much interest to these images, and without it I wouldn’t have bothered.