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New to Oly Pen

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by cucco, Dec 28, 2010.

  1. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    Hi everybody!
    I've been reading the heck out of these forums all day and have really enjoyed them.

    I got my E-PL1 a couple months ago and haven't played with it too much. I've got numerous cameras to work with and I got the Oly to act as a step up from point and shoot cameras (I've got an old Panasonic P&S that is only okay) but a step down in size from our SLRs and DSLRs (Minolta Maxxum 7 and 7Ds). I was really impressed with the video quality in comparison to a couple Canon prosumer level digicamcorders (Vixia HG10s) and I've found the image quality to be pretty good (not as good as the Minolta 7D with large, fast glass, but WAY above any P&S I've ever used!)

    So, on a whim/impulse buy, I was in the Sony Style store on Dec. 24th and decided to buy a Sony Alpha A33. My primary logic was to buy a DSLR for 1080/24P video and I already have a bag full of Minolta glass, so I thought it was a win-win. When I do video work, I record between 90-120 minute single take videos (live classical concerts in multi-angle HD video). However, even though the guys in the store assured me that there was NO limit to the length of video on the Sony cam (other than the battery or memory card), I found that the actual limit, due to heat, was between 9 and 30 minutes.

    Ironically, my wife also had bought me a new lens for the Oly for Christmas (which I didn't know when I bought the Sony). So, I decided to look into the problems with DSLRs and video recording length limitations. I was pleased to see that the new Panasonic m4/3 system records 1080P at unlimited lengths (again, memory/battery limitations only). So now, I've got a camera that takes good pics and the lenses can be interchanged with my new (not yet purchased) Panasonic m4/3 camera.

    My biggest gripe with the Oly camera to date had been the low-light or even moderate-light performance. It's not up to par with full-frame or APS-C frame DSLRs. However, I've been playing around with a lot of settings and pictures since Christmas and have come up with some great pics.

    I've uploaded a pic that I took earlier this evening in my kitchen. My attempt was to focus on getting a clear depiction of differing types of blacks in lamp-lit, indoor setting while hand-holding. The pic was handheld at 1/6th of a second at ISO 400, f-stop 3.9 with the lens wide open at 18mm. I under-exposed by 1 stop as well. The original image was captured in RAW and converted using lightroom. The only editing was altering the color temp to a slightly cooler color.

    I'm actually really impressed by this photo (though the composition is not great...)

    As it is, I'm now starting to shop for new lenses and am REALLY excited about what I can do with this camera!


    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 3
  2. Pelao

    Pelao Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 3, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Hi and welcome.

    Interesting experience with the Sony. I don't shoot much video, but had heard about the heat limitations.

    It's great to hear that you are enjoying your Pen. What I have discovered is that while in some ways my M4/3 is certainly not equal to larger sensor cameras, the total package experience is fantastic. Excellent image quality, portability, some very good glass - and a lot of fun to use.

    Nice to have you aboard the forum.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. wyip

    wyip Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 17, 2010
    San Francisco, CA
    Yeah with the Sony SLTs you need to turn off the in-body stabilization to avoid heat issues, which isn't very practical unless you always shoot video with a tripod or if you get a Sigma lens with optical stabilization.

    I bought a GH1 for video because of this, but I really like my a33 still.

    What settings do you have on your E-PL1?
    • Like Like x 1
  4. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    Thanks Pelao!
    I echo your sentiments. The experience is great. I love the look of the camera and the glass is really impressive despite the lack of fixed aperture zooms.
    I shot one more image a moment ago and really like the detail and "near macro" abilities of the kit lens.
    I've definitely found that, to me, the upper limit on the ISO is 400. Beyond that and the images get pretty noisy. This image was also shot at ISO 400 at 42mm with f5.6 (underexposed by 1 - not intentional, just forgot to undo it from the previous shoot) at 1/3 of a second. This was handheld also but stabilized by the tea-tin from the previous image. The editing on this was done in iPhoto with a convert from RAW to JPEG (significant reduction in size as well) and a "Fade" of -7 to bring the near-black-and-white effect.
    Honestly, even with the Minolta, I'd have to put on a >$1,000 lens just to get that kind of image. Considering this is the kit lens and I spent less than half of the cost of the lens I WOULD have used on the Minolta to buy the whole kit - NOT BAD!

    Cheers again!

    Attached Files:

    • Like Like x 1
  5. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    Hello Cucco,

    Welcome to the Oly Pen. You've probably already read about the Panny 20mm 1.7 if you have been reading these forums. Have you considered it? It totally changed the low-light performance of my EPL1.


    PS- Nice Ω timepiece.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    Welcome Jeremy, and hello from Scotland :) 

    All the best,

  7. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2010
    Hi Colin! Thanks for the welcome from one of my favorite regions of the world! (And certainly the source of one of my favorite beverages!)

    Zephyr -
    Thanks as well. I have read about the 20mm 1.7 and will seriously be looking to add it to the kit soon. I certainly don't mind prime lenses - they make you work and think a little harder, but usually with much better results. (And thanks for the compliments on the Omega. That was a VERY kind gift from my wife this year. After over a decade and a half of begging!)

    WYIP -
    I found that to be true - turning off the in-body stabilization does elongate the time before it overheats, but it still overheats at the 29 minute mark. Granted, this is plenty for most normal shooters. However, I often have to set up multiple HD cams in unmanned locations and shoot for up to 2 hours continuously.

    I REALLY liked the performance of the A33. Its AF was fantastic and the colors were some of the most natural I've seen from any digital camera ever. I tried to talk my wife into letting me keep it and sell one of her 7D bodies to cover it. She didn't buy it...

    As for the settings on the EPL1, I've got it set to record RAW. From my basic experiences and comparisons, the RAW image engine is better than the JPEG engine. The colors seem both more vibrant and natural at the same time. Yeah, the images are larger, but 11MB isn't that bad....afterall, we have nearly infinite storgage space available nowadays!

    I haven't changed any of the creative modes - I've stuck with natural mode (sorry...I don't remember the exact terms used in the menus).

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