E-PL2 - Learning from my mistakes

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by dcassat, Nov 20, 2011.

  1. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011
    I've been using my e-pl2 for about 3 months now - researching cameras for 2 months before purchasing. I love my camera and don't regret my purchase for a minute. I've taken a couple of thousand shots with it and made quite a few mistakes. I thought I would post of my lessons learned in case someone has these issues. Of course, these aren't definitive answers but I'm finally getting photos that are consistently acceptable with a few amazing shots just recently.

    Problem: Blown highlights making me crazy
    Found ESP metering compensated best for outdoor shots, center weighted metering usually would cause issues with the sky since I would be focused on a darker area. Center weighted metering for indoor shots.

    Turned on highlight and shadow 'blinkies' to control blow highlights on the fly

    Turned off auto gradation which was causing all kinds of inconsistency. Set to normal.

    Bought Adobe Lightroom and began to shoot RAW only. I now process all of my photos with Lightroom. I can't tell you how resistant I was to this. I just wanted to shoot JPG. Then I realized how much more data RAW has and how much better my photos looked with just a little boost. You can automate much of the process so that it only takes a couple of minutes to fix all of the problems for a set of photos. But you will probably enjoy it so much that days of fun will go by before you realize that you were supposed to be at work :redface:

    Problem: Camera settings kept changing
    Use myset to create a set of default, indoor and outdoor settings. Enable the appropriate settings before each session. This feature takes a little messing around to master but it's very worth it. It's best to do this in A mode.

    Enable the Super Control Panel and use it exclusively

    Use the dial lock to keep your f/stop from changing when you're changing the EV.

    Problem: Outdoor shots lacked 'crispness'

    Turn off IBIS - just don't use it unless you know you will need it. Usually very slow shutter speeds (below 1/focal-length of lens).

    Use the optimal f-stop (sweet spot) for the lens. I set my 14-42 to 5.6 and leave it there (shoot in A mode) unless the conditions require it be different, like a portrait or radical light and shutter issues. DO NOT EXCEED f/11 if you are looking for the best sharpness as the defraction of 4/3s becomes very significant at this point. You can do a little research at DXO mark or this forum to get the best f-stop if you don't know it.

    Set focus point to 'center', focus on main subject then compose.

    Problem: Finding the best exposure settings
    Resolutions - these are my best guesses
    EV +-0 - I've tried above and below in my photo session and now leave it at 0 unless I get the 'blinkies.'
    Picture mode - muted, then I boost the color a little in Lightroom
    Sharpness +1 - I usually need to add just a tad more in Lightroom, it's easy to add too much which makes the picture un-natural.
    White balance set to Daylight for outdoor and I calibrate the white balance for indoor photos - just takes a minute. Fix any issues in Lightroom.

    Problem: Whole session ruined by wrong settings
    Forced discipline - take a few minutes before each session to review proper settings for the conditions at hand.
    Religiously use MYSET to set defaults before session with minor tweaks for conditions.

    In the meantime, I'm learning as much as I can about proper technique and the tricks and tips from the Pros which I'm sure some of you are. It has become a wonderful hobby. I hope something I've posted here helps someone else :thumbup:
    • Like Like x 13
  2. PSimmons

    PSimmons Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 24, 2010
    Central Florida
    Love my EPL2

    • Like Like x 3
  3. Canonista

    Canonista Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 3, 2011
  4. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    Good article but a few points to consider

    The idea of focus points being better in the middle than the edge is more valid for PDAF than CDAF

    Also, if the DOF is deep enough, then this is not an issue

    This is a great example as to why a touch screen with touch to shoot is so great.

    Sent from my iPhone using Mu-43 App
  5. elandel

    elandel Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 16, 2010
    Milan, Italy
    Very usefull. Thanks
  6. JCD

    JCD Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 10, 2010
    Palermo, Italy
    Good tips, thanks.
  7. Markb

    Markb Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 9, 2011
    Kent, UK
    Real Name:
    In the words of Samuel Beckett "Try, fail. Try again, fail better". I've never found anything more apposite to the learning process.

    Great advice and thanks for sharing your lessons :thumbup:
  8. dcassat

    dcassat Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 16, 2011

    Thank you,

    Excellent article and point. I could probably clarify my original point in saying that I use the focus and recompose method in scenic/outdoor shooting. When shooting portrait I find the face detection works well. But then I'm sure there's another way that may be more efficient...
  9. MajorMagee

    MajorMagee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 24, 2011
    Dayton, OH
    Reasons That Sound Good Are Not Always Good Sound Reasons.

    The Problem With The Focus-Recompose Method article is that it ignores it's own math / physics analysis to prove it's point. By definition they're focusing on the top of the target that is 4.5 feet away, and then pivoting the camera down so it's pointing at the center of the dart boat that's only 4 feet away. Then the top is still 4.5 feet way and that's the distance they supposedly have the focused locked on so the top should still be in focus. If it's not in focus only a few things could be true. The camera is no longer 4.5 feet away from the top because of they way they changed the angle, they lost focus lock, or the lens focuses at a different distance in it's center than around the edeges.
  10. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Some things to note on the theory against the focus-and-recompose method:

    The theory is essentially correct in that a properly designed lens should focus on a flat plane as opposed to a spherical segment, which I guess is why brick walls make such awesome subjects for lens testing, but...

    A lens that allows you to recompose the furtherest (i.e. a wider-angle lens) has a naturally deeper depth of field that will be more forgiving of focus shift (and even more so on the smaller m4/3 sensor).

    With a telephoto lens that has a paper thin DOF, the angle that it is possible to shift the subject within the frame is so small that the change to the subject distance is virtually nil.

    The test example used to prove the effect was shot with a large aperture, standard lens and shot wide-open for maximum effect. Essentially they were comparing an object shot in the dead centre of the frame with the same object shot at the extreme edge of the frame. Tell me again if this is a fair test given the usual edge resolution of such a lens is when shot wide-open? For a true comparison the author of the article should have compared a shot taken using focus and recompose with a shot that used an edge focus point (i.e. with the subject placed at the same point of the frame). An object at the edge of the frame is not going to be as sharp as one in the centre, in focus or not.
  11. lsteere

    lsteere Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 8, 2011
    I've had my e-pl2 since spring (moved up from a P+S) and agree with pretty much everything the OP said.

    I'm still using mostly the kit lense and agree that it's best to stay away from the higher f-stops. The sweet spot for me is around f/7 or f/8. It also seems best to stay away from the long end of the zoom (upper 30s and higher seem softer)

    I also find it's very important to get the exposure as close to perfect as possible, so I bracket a lot, and pick the best one. A lot of noise lays just beneath the surface of the images. It rears it's ugly head pretty quickly when you start boosting darks and shadows, then the downward spiral of NR and sharpening begins with harsh digital looking images as the final result. I find when shooting RAW, if I start with a good exposure I only need a tiny bump in sharpness and no NR in Lightroom (my default is 0 for both) to get smooth natural looking pictures. I personally dislike the harsh look that results from overly sharpened images, and also don't care for the unnatural slightly plastic look I get when NR is applied.
    • Like Like x 1
  12. kicsrepins

    kicsrepins Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 17, 2011
    Nice :thumbup: what lens did you use mate?