E-PL1 and Anniversary Party

Discussion in 'Street, Documentary, and Portrait' started by Robert Watcher, May 2, 2010.

  1. I have never taken a camera with me to any social gatherings - other than ones that I am being paid for. I don't like the expectations that are put on me to have a camera with me, I like to just enjoy what is going on, and I don't like being obvious and having people come up to talk about my gear etc.

    That is up until a night last weekend.

    My sole purpose in purchasing the unassuming E-PL1, was so that I could take pictures on the streets or at more casual affairs - without anyone really taking notice. And that proved to be the case as my wife Anne and I attended the 35'th wedding anniversary of Anne's sister and brother-in-law being held in a small and very dark venue in Stratford Ontario.

    I used the camera in a variety of ways through the night - although most included using the popup flash while pressing my finger against the base so that it was bounced off of the ceiling. I also shot in the 16 x 9 format which restricted me to a really cool wide frame to capture the goings on in around the subject I was shooting, and NO turning of the camera for a vertical portrait.

    1 ) This is the anniversary girl Joan in the middle - wrapped by my wife Anne on the right in the orange top and their younger sister Elaine on the left.

    E-PL1 : 14-42mm @ 14mm : f3.5 @ 1/30'th @ 640 ISO : on-camera flash bounced

    2 ) The anniversary boy and his brother Rick.

    E-PL1 : 14-42mm @ 19mm : f4 @ 1/40'th @ 500 ISO : on-camera flash bounced

    3 ) This is a shot that I took handholding with natural light. It was very difficult room with all of the mixed lighting. For the most part I tried to keep the sensitivity to a maximum of 1250 ISO

    E-PL1 : 14-42mm @ 21mm : f4.1 @ 1/1.6 sec @ 1250 ISO : no flash
  2. 4 ) I also played with a couple of the Art Filters. I am really getting to like the look of the Diorama Filter. It almost appears that it is holding back the soft focus from the contrasty areas (generally faces etc) and applying the soft focus to less contrasty parts of the scene. Definitely an effect that could not be achieved by using any kind of soft focus filter.

    E-PL1 : 14-42mm @ 14mm : f3.5 @ 1/30'th @ 1000 ISO : on-camera flash bounced

    5 ) Also used the grainy Black and White filter. For some of these I ramped the ISO up to 3200 so as to use more natural light and restrict as much movement as possible through the ever so slightly faster shutter speeds that resulted. Even though I set the ISO to 3200 for the shot below, it is underexposed by a stop or more and so is shot at something more like 6400 ISO.

    E-PL1 : 14-42mm @ 14mm : f3.5 @ 1/15 sec @ 3200 ISO : no flash

    6 ) At the end of the night it was time to take a picture of the anniversary couple and their children (without wives and grandchildren). The low powered on-camera flash just was not going to cut it for me. Everyone had their dslr's and point and shoot cameras there taking pictures of this setup - and so I asked for the group to stay in tact while I went and got my bigger flash so that I could get my shot also (I brought along my FL-50R just in case I needed it for such a shot - and the only time that I used it through the night).

    When I got back I heard them saying "wait for Rob - he went to get his big camera". They may have been surprised when I returned with my little "point and shoot" and strapped the big flash on top. I turned the flash head behind me and bounced the light off of the ceiling for a more flattering look that I would use at a wedding or event.

    E-PL1 : 14-42mm @ 18mm : f5.6 @ 1/40'th @ 400 ISO : FL-50R flash bounced off ceiling behind me

  3. Focusing with the E-PL1, is a challenge in such extreme low light, but was achievable - - - with a majority of 250 shots taken, being in focus. I just had to work for it. But in reality, even my E-3 would have struggled in this type of lighting - especially in some of the dark corners that people were standing or sitting in.

    One thing that I was counting on for the group shot, is that I would be able to use the Auto Focus Assist light on my FL-50R to help focus with that setup. But it did not come on (I don't see a setting in the Menu to turn it on either) - and so it took me a while to finally achieve focus and take the shot. On one occasion it was so dark while taking a posed shot of 3 people together, that I had to take the time to go to Manual Focus.

    Friends (I have probably shot weddings and family portraits for 75% of them ) were standing around and teasing me with statements like - "you know they make automatic cameras these days Rob". I loved it - I love being an amateur and micky mouse and then coming up with the results.
  4. Bokeh Diem

    Bokeh Diem Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 14, 2010
    Some say the jpeg colour resolution, natural and not wieghted or at all 'heavy', on the Olympus models is far superior to others in the same format. I keep seeing these results as they are posted and tend to agree.

    Bokeh D
  5. cosinaphile

    cosinaphile Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 26, 2009
    new york city
    very nice set... you seem to be enjoying the new camera

    do you have a fast 50 1.4 manual lens lying around? you are a 40 dollar adapter away from low light heaven

    having said that your flash shots are excellent , the bounce seems to make a great difference

  6. A fast 50 1.4 would only have helped marginally for sure in this environment. The real numbers for ambient light exposure in a brightly lit area of the room were "f4.1 @ 1/1.6 sec @ 1250 ISO" with my kit lens. Going to a wide open f1.4 may have brought my exposure to 1/8 second or a bit faster (although not even that in the darker corners that I shot in) - - - and if I had ramped the ISO up to 2000 or even 3200 I may have attained 1/16'th or maybe even 1/25th of a second exposures.

    Those exposure durations would have still been too slow to properly stop and capture any motion on the part of the subjects or my unsteadiness while shooting. Flash was essential in this environment from my perspective. As it is - I`m in my comfort zone with bounce flash at my professional weddings and event coverages. It was nice that I could bounce the little built in flash upward to get a more pleasing look that blasting the flash straight at the subjects.
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