From point and shoot to EM1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by Greenmanrob, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Greenmanrob

    Greenmanrob Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 21, 2013
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  2. Greenmanrob

    Greenmanrob Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 21, 2013
    The EM1 is my first real camera that my wife bought me. This camera seems capable of much more than I can use at the moment. This camera is only as good as I can shoot with it Now, I have the 14-150 right now. My questions are, where can I go on the Web to get some free lessons or tutorial pages on basics of digital photography. Thanks for helping an aspiring photographer.

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  3. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    Real Name:
    That is quite a jump I must say. Most likely by the time you will learn to fully use the camera to its potential, it will be worth 30% of its original value, with much much better technology out there.

    My suggestion would have been to start off with a camera that is almost as capable as the EM1 in terms of IQ, at a fraction of the price (such as the PM1 or the PL5), to learn photography with, while only being exposed to point and shoots before-hand. But I guess it's too late for that now. Maybe your a very quick learner though :tongue:
  4. Greenmanrob

    Greenmanrob Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 21, 2013
    Yeah it sure is a hell of a jump. But when I get into something I dive in deep. Not to concerned with the value of the camera down the road. I just did not want to limit myself with a camera so I can do as much as possible. I have taken all the basic photo courses in school. So I do have basic understandings. I am a real quick learner as i excel quickly in most projects i get into. I am just looking for a way to learn and shoot and build confidence in the camera.

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  5. verbatimium

    verbatimium Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2013
    Toronto, Ontario
    Real Name:
    My advice would be to pick up a nice, fast prime lens because you are limiting yourself assuming you only have the 14-150mm lens. Something along the lines of Oly 17mm F1.8, Oly 45mm F1.8, Pany 20mm F1.7, or the Pany 25mm F1.4 would give you a nice, sharp and fast lens with a normal field of view.

    Understand and be comfortable with ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed settings and then go to town with taking images with different settings. Import the images into a program such as Lightroom so that you can see the settings you had associated with each picture, and see what you liked and don't like. Everyone has their own shooting style, so no one can really teach you what is right vs what is wrong.
  6. lombardispot

    lombardispot Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 19, 2013
    If you like zooms, the 12-40 2.8 Pro would be a good match for the EM-1. I'm hoping to pick mine up this week or the next. I also have the Oly 17 1.8 and 75 1.8 and this has been my first "prime" experience. I used to primarily use the Canon 1D Mark II with a 24-70 2.8 or a 70-200 2.8. I'm used to zooms and the fast ability to change composition and perspective. I somewhat tire of changing lenses and definitely recognize the limitations at time. But the primes are very nice indeed. I suspect the 12-40 2.8 will be incredible for 80-90% of the photos I take. The primes will be for low-light, shallow DOF, and when I need a 150mm eq reach.
  7. bluzcity

    bluzcity Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 17, 2012
    Memphis, TN
    Real Name:
    Digital Photography School has lots of articles that will help you begin. And ask lots of questions here. Congratulations, you will love your camera.
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  8. meyerweb

    meyerweb Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 5, 2011
    At last, someone who answered the OP's question.

    To the OP: Don't worry about buying more lenses. What you have now is a very good start. Photography (as opposed to gear collecting) isn't really about the equipment, it's about your eye and the images you see around you and capture with your camera.

    Sites like this one tend to attract people (including me), for whom the gear is as much a hobby as the photography, so you'll likely get even more answers from people suggesting additional purchases of equipment. For now, ignore them. I'm not saying you'll never want additional lenses, flashes, and even bodies, but first concentrate on learning to use what you have, the basics of photographic tech (things like aperture, shutter speed, ISO and how they relate to exposure, and depth of field, raw vs. jpeg, and more), and the basics of photographic art (e.g.: composition, perspective, depth of field [yes, this belongs in both groups], light and shadow, etc.). Ideally, the gear is all about helping you create the image, and having the most, or best, equipment won't make you a better photographer.

    Once you learn the basics, and understand what the advantages of "fast" lenses are, what a prime is (vs. a zoom), and how they impact your options, you'll start to see how the gear you have limits your ability to create the images YOU want to make. Then you'll be in a much better position to know what equipment to add to your kit, as opposed to what other people think you should add to your kit. For example, lots of people will suggest the Panasonic 25mm, and the Olympus 45mm and 75mm lenses. These are very good lenses, but if what you want to take pictures of is your child playing soccer, they won't help you much.

    In addition to looking online, visit your local public library. You'll probably find a number of books about photography that focus (no pun intended) on the image, rather than the technology. Then go to various photo sharing sites and look at images there. Compare the images that grab you to the ones that don't, and think about what it is that makes the "good" ones stand out. Is it color? Composition? The play of light vs. shadow? There's no single right way to make a good image, but there are lots of wrong ways, and comparing what you like to what you don't can be instructive.
    • Like Like x 6
  9. lombardispot

    lombardispot Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 19, 2013
    FYI, I read the most recent post and responded to it. I had no clue he was asking about online resource. I guess that's one way threads can continue off topic. :)

    I personally used to frequent Excellent photographers on there. Aside from what has already been said I've always found it extremely helpful to simply look at a lot of photos and study what makes them look good. And when you take a photo, don't be satisfied to just take one photo from one spot, but move around and take a variety of perspectives and be creative with it and you'll begin to develop an eye for when the light and composition really shine in your photos.
  10. Grinch

    Grinch Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2011
    When I started, I had an E-PL1 and the 14-150. Great lense to learn with, as it will let you shoot through a large range of focal lengths and find what FL you prefer. Once you know what FL you prefer, you can start looking at primes.
    Congrats on the camera, just go shoot and experiment.
  11. M4/3

    M4/3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 24, 2011
    Youtube has tons of "basics of digital photography" tutorials. I find I can learn much faster watching how to tutorials than reading books. You do NOT want to get prime lenses or learn complicated image editing programs like Lightroom at this point. Your 14-140 is perfect as are the beginner image editing programs like the ones that may already be on your computer right now (e.g. search Youtube for tutorials on the beginner image editing programs that may already be loaded on your computer's hard drive).
  12. Ramsey

    Ramsey Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Congrats on a great purchase.
    A lot of things for beginners have already been covered. Lots of youtube channels and other websites have been mentioned. B&h photo video youtube channel has great stuff also (a bit longer clips, over an hour)

    I, for one, cannot recommend enough reading "understanding exposure" from Bryan Peterson. Great book and perfect for beginners to get away from Auto mode of your camera. Slowly covering each subject without dragging too long and without being too technical yet interesting enough to get you interested in going out and shooting more (in the end, that's the point).

    Scott Kelby has a set of four books covering digital photography but some people don't like his style of humour. Also, he covers a lot of pro stuff (studio lighting, equipment etc). Still, his books are great in a way that they are direct. if you need a clear answer on what to do in a specific situation, you can immediately look it up without much technical explanations.

    Although it's good to look around and learn what other people do, try not to get lost in forums and youtube videos (as i do), go out (or wherever) and shoot.

    Have fun

    EDIT: found a great video, you can really learn a lot about composition and other basic (for pros) things. I know my shots tend to look like snapshots and was really looking for something like this to help me get more story-telling shots
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  13. JamieW

    JamieW Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 25, 2013
    It's not an online resource, but I highly recommend the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson.

    I read the 3rd Edition about 8 years ago after I had already been shooting for 7 years, and it increased my understanding of exposure and metering overnight. I recently bought the 4th edition for a friend of mine for his Birthday and he's really enjoying it.

    When learning photography, it's best to start with the basics. Understand how your camera's light meter works, or at least what it does. Learn what Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO settings do and how the 3 of them work together. This is your primary goal on the technical side and it determines your exposure. EVERYTHING ELSE is secondary.

    Also, learning some basic rules for composition will help. Start with the rule of thirds, framing your subject, etc. There are really rules for all kinds of things, and some of them can make for great photos. Leading lines, angles, filling the frame, not using the center of the frame, etc. Learn it, but don't be restricted by it. They're called rules but they're really suggestions. When you start getting into the Golden Triangle rule, turn back. You've gone too far.

    Start out shooting JPEG (or RAW + JPEG if you have the memory card space). You can review and share your JPEG files without editing them. Once you've learned the basics, you may want to get into editing. For that, RAW files are better. They store more data and give you more headroom for editing your images. This is a technical hurdle you don't need to tackle right away though. I'd start with using the in-camera JPEG processing.

    Don't get caught up in buying new gear. There's always something shiny out there calling your name. You have more than enough now to learn on, and a REALLY good lens for finding out what kind of photography inspires you. Landscapes, sports, travel, street, portraits, etc. You can dabble in each of them on your current lens. You may decide you need something better depending on how you use your camera. Then again, you may decide the convenience of the 14-150 outweighs any advantage of carrying multiple lenses.

    Just remember, have fun. Everyone has an opinion about your photography, your camera, your lenses, your edits, etc. It's no different than anything else, really, and photographers are an opinionated bunch. You have to filter the good advice from the bad.

    Arthur “Weegee” Fellig offers some great advice. "F8 and be there." For the E-M1, you might want to stick with F4.

    I'll share the advice I was given a while back by Noah Grey. Shoot a lot. You're going to toss about 95% of what you shoot, so you might as well increase your odds.

    Also, don't let your wife catch you pointing your 150mm at other women on the beach. That 14-150 is a dead giveaway at 150mm.
    • Like Like x 1
  14. pisanoal

    pisanoal Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    HA... Best advice I've seen on this forum yet.

    I second (or third/fourth, however many times its been said), that you should stick to the gear you have and learn everything you can about it before deciding to purchase anything else. It is rarely our gear that limits our shooting ability, and for most of us we probably could do a lot more learning and a lot less buying and vastly improve our photographs. I'm sure my wallet would appreciate it if I lived by that suggestion. It is very easy to get caught up in buying gear instead of learning the gear you own.
    My advice for online resources is to look everywhere. There are lots of sites with basic photography tutorials, and they all more or less say the same things. I am constantly reading articles called "10 tips for stunning landscapes" or whatever cliche' name on whatever topic, and 99% of the content is the same on all of them. But you will usually come across a couple of small tips that you have never heard before, or forgot about that will at least be fun to go out and try. If you are into the technical side of photography, is an excellent resource. They do have great and thorough articles on the basics as well.
  15. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    Best advice I can give as someone who upgraded from the point & shoot Canon S95 to the EPL5 is get the zoom lens out of sight, buy the Panasonic 20mm and Olympus 45mm prime lenses, they will force you to think different, resulting in images stunning compared to what you were used to. That's how I got into this thing.
  16. micronean

    micronean Mu-43 Rookie

    Nov 30, 2012
    Tokyo, Japan
    wow! obviously everyone does it a different way, but, it really needs to be mentioned that the key graduation from a point and shoot camera to something more advanced is in knowing how to use its manual controls. It's not so much about learning to use a button here, a menu option there, or even learning to do computer post-processing.

    you first have to learn how to use aperture, shutter--and WHY they need to be used.

    I agree with the previous posters in getting hold of some photography books, particularly ones that are comprehensive in scope and tell you about the fundamentals of photography (which are the same today on an E-M1 as they were 100 years ago). Once you understand the fundamentals, then the menus & options in the EM-1 will suddenly make sense.

    When I got my first SLR, i used a book called "The Photographer's Handbook" by John Hedgecoe and pretty much tried to copy every example of how to take a photo (in the rain, different times of the day, using shadows--even taking a photo off of the TV!). I still sometimes refer to it for some extra technique.
  17. pisanoal

    pisanoal Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    I see the reasoning behind this recommendation as i recently did this very thing to force me to think differently, and it has improved my photography. However, I also had a need for some fast lenses and knew what i liked to shoot and what focal lengths would be most useful to me. Zooms can make us lazy both by allowing us to change the framing without moving around, and by allowing us not to think as much and just zoom in and out until something looks pleasing then take a picture, zoom again take another picture etc. I think a better way to use the recommendation above when starting out is to shoot at the extremes of your zoom. Its a bit more challenging with a super zoom, so maybe pick an in between focal length to shoot too and use either 14, 45, or 150. I had an olympus 12-50 for a while and did the same. It will help you to start framing things in your mind before bringing the camera to your eye the same way a prime would without spending the $600-$700 on the two primes suggested above. If primes interest you down the road, set your lens to the focal length you think you want, and force yourself to shoot it for a while. If you find you like the focal length, buy it, if not, try another one and do the same thing.
  18. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Real Name:
    Nothing wrong with zooms - I (and most wedding photographers) use them all the time. I think the point some of the commenters were trying to make about primes is that the next thing you want to understand after you get a basic handle on exposure (shutter speed/aperture/ISO) is perspective. Perspective is driven only by the relative position of the viewer (that's you with your camera) and the objects you're looking at. Since zoom lenses allow one to easily change the field of view - which determines how much of what is in front of you is in the picture frame - without changing your perspective, we get lazy about examining the proper perspective for the image we see in our brain before pressing the shutter release. Of course, it's trivial to walk around and try different perspectives with a zoom, you just have to remember to do it.

    Great images come from capturing light (exposure) in a good composition (driven by perspective). So don't be afraid to move around.

    And don't spend any money on gear unless it solves a problem you have with your existing gear. A rule I sometimes follow.
  19. bigboysdad

    bigboysdad Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 25, 2013
    Sydney/ London
    I agree with that concept but you have to remember the OP is coming from a p&s environment and I can promise you, the discipline required not to use the zoom would not be there. Better not to have that option, so as to force your way of thinking to change. Yes there is the cost of buying the new lenses as well but I'd have thought that cost should be factored in if you're going to do this thing properly. Once your habits have changed, I think one can then start addressing perspective as the poster after you suggested.
  20. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 25, 2012
    If your not into the books that others have mentioned, there is a lot of free information online. Most of what I've learnt comes from online sources, I'm happy to share some what I've used and what I've found useful.

    As everyone has mentioned, maybe start off understanding exposure and the exposure triangle (ISO, shutter speed, aperture). Understand the various metering modes and autofocus modes and where they apply.

    Once you get a grasp of the basics, have a good read through your camera manual to understand how all the buttons and functions work.

    When your feeling a bit more confident, I'd recommend you start shooting RAW and learning about post-processing. I use 'Lightroom' to catalogue my photos and it does basic post-processing adjustments pretty well... I'd highly recommend it.

    From there you can expand to many different areas depending on what you like. Learning how to properly use flash is a worthwhile skill.