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OMD EM1ii at Iceland's Glacial Lagoon

I can't wait to write more and share more but I am blown away by the Olympus OMD EM1ii. I have abused this thing in the rain, sleet and cold and it is working perfectly at all times.  The camera has been drenched repeatedly in freezing rain and temps and just keeps shooting.  This is an incredible camera capable of incredible results. Here are 3 shots from Icelands Glacier Lagoon.  I can't describe this place. It is like a living organism and changes every second and every day.  

Note: Images transferred to phone an edited on tiny iPhone 5s screen so may not be to normal standards.

Today's gray sky brings the perfect soft box - EM1ii with 12-100 f4 - (grain added in post with a snapspeed film preset)

Today's gray sky brings the perfect soft box - EM1ii with 12-100 f4 - (grain added in post with a snapspeed film preset)

Ice Eagle - Nature sure can create beautiful things  - EM1ii with 12-100 f4

Ice Eagle - Nature sure can create beautiful things  - EM1ii with 12-100 f4

Reflection, color and contrast - EM1ii with Panasonic 100-400

Reflection, color and contrast - EM1ii with Panasonic 100-400

So that's a wrap after a full day of shooting in freezing rain. More to come.  

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I Heart Iceland

I heart Iceland - OMD EM1II with Panasonic 12 f1.4

I heart Iceland - OMD EM1II with Panasonic 12 f1.4

I said I wasn't going to post but this place is too good not to share. Wow. What a landscape.  I can't wait to share my experience in more detail and with pics. Lots of them! 

 

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Panasonic 100-400 1st Shots on Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii

OK...I can't stop posting. I had to do a couple of quick tests of the Panasonic 100-400 zoom I rented. I had to figure out how the OIS worked and get a feel for the image quality before using it in Iceland.

The main thing I wanted to see was how it compressed layers and landscapes. I had a specific shot in mind for test, that being a morning sunrise shot of the Minneapolis city skyline shot across Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis and the downtown are miles apart, but as you can see above, the lens does a pretty good job at the compression. I will say that the above shot was shot with lens OIS off and using the Olympus OMD EM1ii in body. I later found out that it appears that lens OIS works better than the in body and that is how I plan to shoot it; meaning in body turned off and lens OIS on.

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While there, I also stumbled onto a photo shoot on the frozen lake.  Its crazy what you can grab with 800mm.  Both of these were at 800 and they are cropped JPEG conversions. Again, I shot this with lens OIS off using in body IS. They are not tack sharp. But, again, it gives me an idea of the rendering.  

Nature Wins

Lastly, I shot the above concrete jungle shot on the way home from work today.  That is SOOC Jpeg. I call this one Nature Wins. This is where I experimented with lens OIS and it was significantly better than the in body IS.

Now, here are my quick, quick thoughts. 

  • Wow this thing is small for an 800mm equivalent lens!  I honestly think Panasonic could have made it one stop brighter on the long end and folks would have still wanted to buy it if it were a little bigger and a little more expensive. There is no other competition.
  • It isn't quite as sharp on the long end as the 40-150 Olympus pro lens at the long end. But the Oly can only go to 300, or just over 400 with TC, so it's not really fair to compare. 

OK....That's it. Off to Iceland in the AM!

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Headed Out

EM1II with Panasonic 12 f1.4 - Grainy II filter

EM1II with Panasonic 12 f1.4 - Grainy II filter

I am headed out soon and checking out of here. I may have a quick post before I leave for Iceland on the rented Panasonic 100-400 but no promises. 

Look for a snap or two from Iceland over the coming weeks and hopefully some good photos from a beautiful land. I also started penning a formal review of the EM1II. Look for that in early or mid February.  

Hope you all get out too!  

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Minneapolis Skyline - Live Time on the EM1ii

Minneapolis, MN - I love this city  

Minneapolis, MN - I love this city  

Was staying in the city last at my sisters house so this AM I got up early to learn and test the Live Time and Live Bulb on the Olympus OMD EM1II. I had the versatile 12-100 attached and I was using a tripod. 

 - turned off IS

- turned on Live Bulb in menu and set update interval

- set to M mode with either Live Bulb or Live Time shutter speed setting. I experimented with both. 

- went shooting

What a blast to see your image come to life in the LCD. It is like painting with light. I experimented quite a bit and found it is quite easy to overexpose, especially with the live bulb,  so watch the histogram closely and experiment. 

But, I found it both easy and fun to use. I encourage you all to get out and try it too!! You might be surprised with your results. I know I was. 

 

 

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I'll Wait

I'll Wait - Olympus EM1II with 12-100 f4

I'll Wait - Olympus EM1II with 12-100 f4

Yesterday I grabbed my small shoulder bag with the Em1ii inside for the morning dog walk. I didn't even know what lens was attached. It turned out to be the 12-100.  

What a joy it is to use the 12-100. It's got such a range. It's image stabilization is incredible. It's fast and sharp too. Such a good all arounder. 

I saw the shado on this one and played around with the composition a bit. This one with the unexpected composition is my fav.   Hope you like it too. 

 

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Be Still

Be Still - Olympus OMD EM1II with 12-100 f4

Be Still - Olympus OMD EM1II with 12-100 f4

Moving a little away from gear talk these days and trying to get back to taking and sharing photographs.  Here is another shot from my walk in the woods yesterday. One of my favorites of late.   

 

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Natures Rule Of Thirds

Olympus EM1II with 12-100 f4

Olympus EM1II with 12-100 f4

I Had another beautiful hike in the woods this AM. I will likely post some more images from today but here is a quick shot from today. Titled Natures Rule of Thirds with equal parts sky, trees and snow.  

This is my happy place. This one is getting printed for my desk.  

Hope you all are enjoying the weekend and takin photographs that please you.  

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Stuck on Gear - Analysis Paralysis

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Kinda like being stuck in traffic and not moving, my mind is going over and over gear for my Iceland trip and I feel paralyzed. I can't seem to move forward. I've approached my gear from every angle and I have settled on the following.   Some may call this way too much and excessive while others may call it incomplete. I focused on versatility, compactness and interchangeability of accessories (filters) between lenses.  I won't carry all this all the time, but I will have the option to pick & choose and pick what I need for the shot. But sharing it here is an effort to say it out loud and commit so I can move forward, here we go. 

  • Olympus OMD EM1II with prototype JB Camera Designs wood grip
  • Panasonic 12mm f1.4 (own - I exchanged the 7-14 I bought for the smaller, lighter, prime)
  • Olympus 25 f1.2 (own) 
  • Olympus 12-100 f4 (own)
  • Panasonic 100-400 f4-f6.3 (rented) 
  • Leica Q with JB Camera Designs Grip as second camera and back up (3 extra batteries for this)
  • 3 Legged Thing QR-10-L quick release plate and bracket (Really Right Stuff does not have baseplate available yet)
  • 5 extra batteries, 2 chargers and a power strip plug in with euro plug adapters
  • Sirui tripod with Really Right Stuff tripod head
  • 62 & 72 mm filters in graduated, polarizing and ND 6 stop. The 62mm filters fit both primes and 72's fit both zooms.  That was one main reason about choosing the Panasonic 12 & 100-400 over the Olympus 7-14 & 40-150 f2.8. I also wanted the extra range as others in my group do not have anything that long, giving me the possibility of returning home with some different images than my friends.
  • Mind Shift Rotation 180 34L pack. The EM1ii and all but the 100-400 fit perfectly in the rotating hip pack, making my gear both protected and easy to access. Given it will be cold I did not want to take pack off every time and mess with buckles/zippers with my gloves on. I have tested the mind shift in the cold with gloves. It's slick and works well for me.  

So that's it. I gotta stop spinning this over and over in my mind and make some forward progress.  One more weekend of shooting before headed out next week. Can't wait.  

 

 

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Olympus OMD EM1 ii Grainy II filter for landscapes

I love the therapeutic aspect of a good walk in the woods. Yesterday, I had another fun day in the woods hiking and shooting. I followed a canoe route through Lebanon Hills and hit 4 small frozen lakes. I love these walks because I just use the camera as a therapy tool and I never leave with a mission in mind. Sometimes I come back with some keepers. Sometimes I don't. But...I always come back inspired and refreshed.

Yesterday I was also trying a lens I will write about another time. I tried out the new Panasonic 12 f1.4 lens for my trip. I am trying to decide if it will replace the 7-14 Olympus in my Iceland kit to give me a lighter, and brighter lens, albeit not nearly as wide.  We have a blue ice cave tour scheduled in Iceland where I want a nice wide lens with the brightest lens I can get to keep my ISO's low, hence why I am trying this specific lens. Again, I will write about that another time, but overall pretty impressed by the first shoot.

After the walk and shoot, I processed RAW images in camera and I was playing around I ended up processing all of these with the new Grainy II filter and thought I would share these and give you a pretty good idea of how this filter performs for shooting landscapes. It has some grain and high contrast, but honestly when I shot film 20+ years ago, both grain and contrast were part of my early stages of photography and have stuck with me. I like it.  It's not for everyone, but I do get nostalgic and on occasion go see the world this way. 

Note: All images shot with the new Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii with Panasonic 12 f1.4. Shot RAW, converted in camera and transferred to phone with only minor tweaking/cropping on phone.

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 And for my last photo of the day I will also share my favorite photo of the day.  Sometimes nature just delivers with perfection, simplicity and beauty. Nature wins. 

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Lastly I did not go out to make a bunch of pictures with sun stars! as you can see the Panasonic 12 f1.4 makes some great ones. I was testing the camera as many reviewers have noted that it flairs quite easily (and it does) . I need to see if this lens will work or not for sunrises and sunsets. I have some concerns based on initial findings but it's too early to tell.  More to come on the 12 f1.4!! 

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Product shots with the Olympus 12-100 f4

New enamel ware from Stillwater Summit Co - EM1 with 12-100

New enamel ware from Stillwater Summit Co - EM1 with 12-100

My good friend whom owns an outdoor store in Stillwater, OK by the name of Stillwater Summit Co recently gifted me some new enamel ware cups with their new logo. As you scroll through this blog you likely know how much I love coffee. I also love excuses to get outdoors with my camera so I grabbed the 4 cups he sent me, my Camera with the 12-200 and went to the frozen lakes near my home to play around a bit with some potential product shot ideas.  

I am more and more impressed with the 12-100f4.  It is sharp, it has a really nice out of focus look and the extra zoom gives a nice compression all while keeping the main subject in focus.  

 

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The new Panasonic GH5 has arrived. Can it top the new EM1 Mark ii?

Image from Panasonic Lumix Lounge Website

Image from Panasonic Lumix Lounge Website

The long awaited Panasonic GH5 has finally arrived. Wow. It sure looks to be an incredible camera with incredible specs. If I were a video guy I would absolutely have one of these pre ordered by now.  On the stills side, I am taking a wait and see approach.  For me, personally, unless they changed their color profiling, I just don't think that it will outpace the EM1ii for stills. Video, no question, but for stills the jury is still(s) out. Ha, ha......I crack myself up! 

My interest in Panasonic is primarily in the lens area with their partnership with Leica and in how simple the cameras are to operate and navigate. I think Olympus could learn a thing or two in the simplification, operation and menues.  While I believe Oly is one of the best lens makers on the planet Earth, the Panasonic/Leica lenses are top notch too. Having shot the PanaLeica lenses, there is something special, and different, about their rendering. They are special too. Not better than Olympus Pro lenses, just different and very, very good. In all honestly, before I bought the new Olympus lenses, I thought long and hard about just doing the Panasonic Leica lenses in 12 f1.4, the amazing 42.5 f1.2 and the new100-400. I'd still have the new Oly 25 f1.2 as well giving me quite possibly the best premium primes available for any format and a long zoom for sports and wild life. 

Obviously I chose another route and that was to keep my lenses matched and to buy the Olympus 12-100 f4 to take full advantage of the the range and the new tech/IS.   But....I will absolutely be testing this camera and given I now own the EM1ii I will be testing this head to head when it does arrive. I can't wait. 

Good on you Panasonic. The GH5 is a beautiful camera and the new lens offerings and new lens updates sure seem smart! 

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Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii with 12-100 f4 Pro - A dream combination

I spent the first day of 2017 in my happy place outside hiking in the cold and snow and shooting a new Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii & Olympus 12-100 F4 Pro lens. I must say that I am incredibly pleased. So much so that despite writing two weeks ago that I wasn't going to buy a new EM1ii, I am now a happy owner of this kit. Say what? Yep, I bought them both. 

The new Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II with 12-100 f4 Pro lens - a dream combination

The new Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II with 12-100 f4 Pro lens - a dream combination

So what made me go back on my word? What changed? Or did I just succumb to G.A.S.?  Well, it was a little of both, but let me explain and share a few thoughts about why I traded my EM1 in on the new Mark ii version.   

Image Stabalization - No one can doubt that Olympus is industry and class leading in this area. I was walking around my home last evening waiting for my daughter to return from a new years eve party. I was just snapping away having fun with little or no light to see how low I could go and still get sharp images. I was shooting ISO200 with the 25 f1.2 and getting tack sharp images at 1/2 second. Also, if you couple it with the new 12-100 it is even better.  This image stabilization allows one to shoot at much slower shutter speeds at a lower base ISO making it far more competitive with some cameras like the Fuji XT2 with no IS. I shot them side by side and the results were meaningful and noticeable to me.  You can also use thslow shutter speeds to bring motion into your frames. It is just crazy how good it is. 

Battery Life - The battery is HUGE and it lasts significantly longer than the original EM1. I have been shooting quite a bit in the cold lately with the EM1 preparing for my trip to Iceland later this month. With the original EM1 I'd go through a battery in a few hours in the cold. Today, after being out in the cold for 2+ hours and shooting a couple hundred images, much of which I was carrying the EM1ii on the end of my tripod over the shoulder, I returned to my car with 72% left.  Nice.

Grip - Despite the fact I don't actually like the appearance of the big grip, it sure does work well. This camera feels so good in my hands. 

Now a few words about the Olympus 12-100 f4 Pro lens. 

The focal range - The 12-100 is completey addicting as a single lens solution. I didn't even bring another lens today.

Performance - It's sharp right from f4 and has really nice transition from in focus to out of focus. It's quick to focus too and you can get so close with it it almost feels like a Macro. Truly an outstanding optic. When the IS locks it is almost impossible to make minor reframing because it stays locked the subject. I got in the practice today of letting go of the shutter button to reframe if I had already locked it. You can feel it release with a big jerk/movement in the EVF. 

So, to fund this I sold everything  except what is listed below and my current m43 kit is as follows. 

  • Olympus OMD EM1 Mark ii
  • Olympus 25 f1.2
  • Olympus 12-100 f4
  • Olympus 7-14 f2.8

Someday I will add a really long zoom and hopefully one day, Olympus will release a pro 17mm, my favorite focal length for everyday shooting. 

So...What about pics? Here are a handful from today. All were in camera RAW conversions to either standard Monochrom or Natural. I transferred them to phone and edited in Snapspeed and put them up here. I hope you enjoy them. 

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All in all for one quick test run at the store andcouple hours in the woods this AM shooting all while getting the the camera set up I am incredibly pleased with the results thus far  

More to come but leave a comment if you have any questions.   

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Flying into 2017

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And just like that, 2016 is almost over. Seems like it flew right by. I dabbled in quite a bit of gear across a few different systems but I keep coming back to my beloved Olympus EM1. it just works for pretty much all things in any and all conditions. 

Thanks for those that check in here and follow. I appreciate it.  More to come in 2017.  

 

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Olympus 12-100 f4 first shot(s)

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As planned I rented the 12-100 for Christmas Holiday. I made a mistake though in that I left the battery and charger at home rendering the camera useless. In the best Homer Simpson voice I can muster, "Doh!!!"

Christmas wasn't a loss for images as I had a second camera in my bag with two extra, fully charged batteries but I did not get to test the lens as planned. 

So this AM I grabbed my first frames with the lens. I can't tell you much yet but I can tell you the range from 24-200 is amazing and it focuses fast on the EM1. Stabalization seems good too but it's different and doesn't lock the same as in body Stabalization. I can't quite put my finger on the difference as I have shot less than 20 frames with the lens but something is different and I can see/feel it in the EVF. It's good!  

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But I am excited to shoot it over the New Year and see what I think instead of just reading about it.  First impressions are good though.   

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The Morning Cup - EM1 w/25 f1.2

It's a good and golden morning  

It's a good and golden morning  

Just a quick snap of a photo I really enjoy. Taken with OMD EM1 with 25 f1.2 and edited with Snapspeed on phone.   

Make sure you take time to relax and enjoy the things you love during this last push to the holidays. Things always seem to get crazy these last few days before Christmas.  

 

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An evening walk in the woods

Olympus OMD EM1 with 25 f1.2

OK...I know. Enough with the EM1/25 f1.2 combo. I just can't stop shooting it. Yesterday evening I took a walk in the woods while my son and his friend went sledding at the park. Managed to be in the right place at the right time.

 

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A night out with Dad and the Olympus EM1 w/25 f1.2

I spent the last few days in northern MN at a funeral. Brutal cold. High emotion. Mixed feelings. 10 hours of driving over two days. I got home last night and all I wanted to do was hang out with and enjoy my wife and kids (they couldn't go with me to the funeral).

With a little shopping left for mom and my kids' friends, we braved the below zero temps and went out shopping. I, of course, grabbed my camera and off we went. Just sharing a few pics from the Olympus OMD EM1 and 25 f1.2. Consider the series titled: Burgers and soda with dad!

This combo is quite a package. Admittedly, this combination isn't exactly small and doesn't maximize the m43 size advantage, but I sure do love the output. It's fast to focus, sharp and renders out of focus areas beautifully.

Here are few pics.

As a side note, I was also able to test the 12-100 on my EM1. I also shot the new EM1 Mark ii!  I did not leave the store to take pics with either nor did I purchase either, but I can say I was very, very impressed with both, more so the 12-100. More on that at a later time.

Enjoy your holiday.

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Olympus OMD EM1 with Olympus OM 50 f1.2

OK I lied. I can't stay away. So much for not posting until the new year!  I am just having too much fun with a really old, but new to me lens. I ran across a used Olympus OM 50 f1.2 that had some sticky aperture blades and negotiated a sweet deal on it as the sticky blades don't really matter for shooting it as adapted lens.  I am testing it for the weekend to see if I want to keep it. 

 

This is my first shot out of the lens on the Olympus OMD EM1. You can see it is a bit soft, but dang it's got a lovely classic and smooth look to it.

First shot at f1.2 with an Olympus OM 50 f1.2 adapted to the EM1

And no lens test is complete with out a dog or cat photo, so here is my submission and pet test! Joking aside, I like the overall "feel" of the images from this set up.


I plan to shoot some portraits with this lens and give it a try. I really like 100mm on the m43 platform. I think it gives a nice blown out back ground from the forced perspective and it pairs nicely with the 4:3 format.  This would be a good candidate for a future Olympus portrait lens.

OK...I've got a late edit a couple of days after posting this post: Just after posting this I saw this rumor on 43rumors.com: No connection but I can honestly say that I would buy one if either Panasonic or Oly would make it!  New Konica patent discloses a possible future Panasonic 50mm f/1.4 MFT lens design

Enjoy your weekend. 

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Olympus OMD EM1 with 25 f1.2

EM1 with 25 f1.2 - a dream combination

EM1 with 25 f1.2 - a dream combination

Happy Holidays everyone. Hope this post finds you all doing well. Winter has officially hit here and I am likely checking out and not posting again until the new year. 

If you, too, are traveling this season safe travels.

Hope you get out too and get some great photographs. Here is my main combo for this holiday. This combination of form, function and quality  is simply a stunning kit.  

EM1 w/25f1.2  

EM1 w/25f1.2  

Look for my next update and post in the new year!  

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