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photography newbie with epl1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by cmercer, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. cmercer

    cmercer Mu-43 Regular

    Hello!

    I recently purchased an Olympus EPL1. Its great, I love it!
    I also recently started a photography course, I also love that!

    I have been making a list of possible future purchases and I was wondering if people could give me feedback. I am interested mostly in still automotive photography although occasionally the camera is used for personal days out and parties where there is low light etc... :2thumbs: M43s are versatile and perfect like that!

    So firstly, I guess I'm looking for a tripod.
    A friend who seems quite clued up on photography mentioned that a good quality tripod was worth investing in and that a "Manfrotto with a ball head" would be up to the task.

    Secondly I was looking at a flash, mainly for those dark parties. And after reading a review prior to purchasing my camera the FL36 was mentioned as a good flash.

    Finally, I'm struggling to work out which lens' will fit my EPL1. Will the Panasonic Lumix G 45-200mm f/4-5.6 fit or am I correct in thinking that Panasonic lenses will only fit Panasonic cameras? The reason I ask is that the Panasonic lens is nearly £200 cheaper than Olympus' very own 14-150mm.
    My standard lens is obviously the 14-42mm. I have assumed a 45-200 would be the obvious next step up and perfect for photographing cars from a distance.

    Please please please, excuse my ignorance as I am a total newbie and I did my best to search for the answers before posting.
    Any feedback is massively appreciated.

    Thanks, Chris
     
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  2. pboga

    pboga Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Dec 6, 2010
    Brazil
    Hello!

    Well, i'm also a newbie on photography, and had a lot of questions when i just started (and still have). Now, i cant really tell you about tripods or flash, cause thats not my thing, but one lens that i, and most of the users here, recommend, is the panasonic 20mm.

    You said that you are going to use it in parties, where there's low light, right?
    So i recommend you to take a look at this thread, it's very helpful:

    https://www.mu-43.com/f64/primer-aperture-f-stops-iso-ev-compensation-7794/

    As from the zoom lens, i suggest you take a look at the specific threads for each lens, and what the users have to say about each one.

    It's not much, but hope that helps.

    Cheers
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    hi Chris, welcome :).

    Mu-43 is a standard, so Mu-43 lenses and bodies are interchangeable between manufacturers. The thing to note is that some (most) Lumix lenses have in-lens stabilization whereas Olympus chose to put stabilization in the bodies. When using a Lumix lens with OIS, I believe you should turn off IS on either the body or the lens (or both) as the situation warrants.

    --Warren
     
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  4. Kade.Sirin

    Kade.Sirin Mu-43 Regular

    47
    Sep 23, 2010
    Las Vegas
    Welcome!

    Most of the time "any" tripod will work, but most likely we would need a budget range...

    Now when it comes to flash, the cameras will work with any flash that uses a standard hot shoe, but their shutter speed will be limited to a maximum of 1/160. From what I know, the FL-36 provides TTL. Someone else will have to chime in on this.

    Finally, lenses. The Olympus E-PL1 uses the micro 4/3 lens mount. sometimes its written as m43 or mft. However it can fit any other lens from the micro four thirds family, including Panasonic lenses.. There are also adapters out there that will allow you to use FD lenses, Leica M lenses, and whole lot of others.

    When it comes to taking pictures of cars at a distance, I don't think a f4-5.6 would be fast enough, but I don't know automotive photography well enough to give you suggestions. Also, keep in mind, a micro 4/3 camera has a "2x crop factor" meaning you have a field of view equivalent to 2x the lens.

    However, good luck!
     
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  5. The FL36 is okay but is very frustrating compared to the similar 430EX II flash I have on my Canon. Biggest problem is that it only takes two AA batteries so it takes an age to get ready to fire and it's recycling between flashes is not great either. In size it dominates the smaller Pen bodies but it is not an entirely ridiculous looking combination.

    Also note that the Panasonic 45-200 and the Olympus 14-150 are not directly comparable as the 45-200 is a telephoto zoom while the 14-150 is a true "superzoom", hence the dearer price. The Olympus 40-150 is the direct competitor to the Panasonic and I think may be the cheaper of the two.
     
  6. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Chris,

    Will you be shooting auto racing action?

    Adapted lenses can work well, and a f4-5.6 lens is plenty fast for shooting racing action in good light. I shot this with my Lumix G1 and Micro-Nikkor 200mm f4 from the observation tower at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, CA last year. This was before I bought my Lumix 45-200mm.

    http://fototime.com/83EB33C953F0715/orig.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    --Warren
     
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  7. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    685
    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    I agree with what's been said here.
    Panasonic Lumix 20mm f1.7 = dark parties

    In most cases, you won't even need the flash. The only time I've needed extra light during a party was when it was pitched black, and I ended up bouncing the on-body flash.

    Manfrotto tripods are expensive. I just picked up a reputable one for like > $30 dollar on Amazon and it works fine. Our cameras aren't heavy like some DSLR's so I wouldn't worry too much...especially if you're not mounting huge lenses anytime soon.

    Allocate the cash you would have spent on the flash/ tripod and get the 20mm pancake lens. Aside from it being a great all around piece of glass, I've learned to compose my shots better with the prime (no zoom).

    -Zeph

    btw- love the Marty avatar, my fav movie of all time.
     
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  8. Fiddler

    Fiddler Mu-43 Veteran

    Welcome Chris, and hello from Scotland.

    All the best,

    Colin
     
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  9. cbrock

    cbrock Mu-43 Regular

    42
    Feb 12, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Nissin makes a flash for the 4/3 cameras. Just look for the Nissin Speedlite Di 466. It doesn't have a lot of reviews out there, but those that are out there are very positive. It has many features at a much lower cost than the FL36. Just make sure you don't purchase the version that is made for Canon or Nikon!
     
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  10. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    Welcome!

    Watch out for older flash units from the old SLR days. The voltages on those are usually too high for DSLRs and mu43s and can fry them.
     
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  11. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    X3 for the 20mm, I find the focal length works nice for cars and motorcycles (parked). Something like the 45-200 will be required for racing, taking pictures from the stands.

    The one thing that hasn't been mentioned is a polarizing filter. It really helps control the glare off glass and shiny paint in the sun, and its the only filter you can't really reproduce in Photoshop.
     
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  12. cmercer

    cmercer Mu-43 Regular

    Thank You everyone who's taken the time to give me some great answers. Some fantastic advice here! :2thumbs:

    WarranT: I would certainly like to try, I have always felt it was out of my field with my lack of equipment. That shot is great! Just the sort of thing I'm looking to take. Although I enjoy taking pictures of cars that aren't moving just as much.

    Laguna Seca is a very demanding track, I recently watched a great video of competitive GT2 cars there.

    [ame=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brNtbaMadX4]YouTube - Exciting GT2 finish at Laguna Seca[/ame]

    Is that a 917 Porsche? I'd love to see more pictures :hail:

    Fiddler I love Scotland :D

    cbrock: I searched the Nissin and they are very competitively priced compared to the F36, Thank You!

    turbodieselvw: thank you, i did not know this. How can I tell which ones are for the newer cameras?

    ~tc~: I have already been advised on getting a polarizing filter and I have ordered one from my local camera shop. Thank You :)
     
  13. turbodieselvw

    turbodieselvw Mu-43 Veteran

    321
    Jun 29, 2010
    Ottawa
    The Nissin and FL36 are current day models and are for DSLRs/mu43s. I guess the older flash units will look, well, old. I'm assuming that all current day flashes are made to be used for DSLRs/mu43s. You'll just have to get the correct one (compatible with your camera).
     
  14. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    Chris,

    yes, it's a 1970 Porsche 917K in the famous Gulf blue paint scheme. It's my favorite race car of that era. I try to attend the annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races every year (in August). There are lots of opportunities to practice race photography there :).

    If I have time, I'll look for a few more action shots from last year.

    Your kit lens (14-42) should work fine for the non-moving shots.

    --Warren
     
  15. Warren T.

    Warren T. Mu-43 Veteran

    338
    Mar 10, 2010
    San Francisco
    These shots of an ultra-rare Toyota 2000GT were taken last June at the Palo Alto Concours.

    Front Shot taken with Lumix G1 and 50mm f2.8 Elmar (adapted Leica M lens):

    http://fototime.com/611FE30BC302654/orig.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    Rear Shot taken with Lumix G1 and Lumix 20mm f2.8:

    [img]http://fototime.com/1B432337C708D4F/orig.jpg" border=0 alt="Hosting provided by FotoTime">

    Isn't it interesting? The Leitz lens is a 50 years old lens, and the Lumix 20mm is a current lens that has Leitz influence.

    --Warren
     
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  16. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Feb 9, 2011
    Thanks for posting that link. That was a good read.
     
  17. ZephyrZ33

    ZephyrZ33 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    685
    Nov 18, 2010
    Southern California
    I was in the stands for that final stretch of that Le Mans race at Laguna Seca.

    Almost caught a piece of carbon fiber from the 911 as both cars met the barrier. That finish was insane!

    Wish I had a better camera at the time. The little P&S I borrowed from my sister could barely keep up...

    CorkscrewLagunaSeca.
     
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  18. LovinTheEP2

    LovinTheEP2 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    619
    Feb 15, 2011
    Toronto
    Depends on what type of shooting you think you'll mainly be doing. That being said, a tripod is useful. If you plan on taking mainly walking type photo's mainly. A tripod may not come in that handy as long as you can keep the shutter over 1/30s. For landscape, multiple exposure photos and sports such as racing - having one is a good idea to avoid any camera shake. Filters such as Polarizer and/or 0.9 ND or graduated ND might be good for high dynamic range photos to bring the shutter speed down a bit too. You can make a $2 tripod that is highly affective once you use the bolt, string, washer techinque.

    Just make sure then if it's for dark parties, you should couple it with a good bounce system. Just pointing it at the ceiling still leads to undesirable shadows. Gary Fong has some good ones but there are many and could rig something up with a DIY solution.

    All m43s lens by Olympus and Panasonic are interchangeable. The biggest difference between the 2 is how image stablizatization works. Since Oly does in-body, their lens are not stablization optically. Since Panasonic doesn't have in-body stablization, "most" but not all of their lenses handle it in the lens (MegaOIS). So.. no issue putting Pana lens on an Oly body as their will always be an option to stablize an image. However, the opposite isn't true and putting Oly lens on a Pana body, you won't have any image stablization.
     
  19. backdoc

    backdoc Mu-43 Regular

    31
    Feb 9, 2011
    Can you elaborate on this?
     
  20. cucco

    cucco Mu-43 Regular

    129
    Dec 28, 2010
    Focusing on your original questions (pun??)

    Investing in a good tripod is always a good decision. I have quite a few here and many of them never see the light of day because they either weigh too much, their leg spread is too wide/not wide enough/ not lockable in multiple positions, etc.

    The tripod that I use and sees the most light of day for my work is a Slik carbon fiber. Yes, it's expensive, but yes it's a great tripod. It's light but stable, a breeze to carry, fits in small luggage and the legs are fully articulated and lockable.

    As for the ball head - for your first tripod head, a ball might not be the choice for you. A good old-fashioned 3-way pan head should be fine. You can get them cheap to darned expensive. If you plan on mounting multiple cameras on the same tripod (at different times of course) or you foresee the need for a quick mounting solution, look for one that has removable plates and pick up a couple extra plates ($10-$20 a piece usually). Manfrotto makes some great heads, but they can be REALLY heavy. Just bear that in mind.

    As for flash - I'm never really a fan of on-camera flash. If you're looking for "at-party" shots - consider a fast (Panasonic 20/1.7) lens. Crank up the ISO if necessary. Let's face it - a well-composed, naturally lit shot with a little ISO noise is WAY better than a shot that is a depiction of folks frozen in time with the cold, calculating, flat on-camera flash. Besides, a little ISO noise won't hurt "social" photography.

    Regarding the lenses - I own the Pan 20/1.7 and the Pan 45-200. Both lenses are amazing pieces of glass. For my "big" camera, I own a Sigma 50-500 lens. The lens itself is friggin heavy. It takes amazing pictures, even at full extension, but it's HUGE and heavy. The Pan 45-200 gets just shy of the full reach of that 50-500 and it weighs less than 1/5 the weight of the Sigma and is way smaller. Plus, the image quality is great on it!

    Given the prices of both of these lenses, you could be out very little money (~$1000) for a camera and 3 highly useful lenses. In my case, the 20 and 45-200 are the most used lenses on my m4/3 cameras.

    The 45-200 in a well-lit (outdoors) area will be fast enough to capture race cars in motion. Especially if you work on your panning techniques, you can get some very compelling motion shots of vehicles (pan along with the car while you're shooting - the background will be blurred in-motion while the subject is frozen. It's a very cool look that sells in car magazines all the time!)

    Welcome to the m43 club!

    Cheers-
    J