Seascapes with Olympus OMD E-M5 and 17mm 1.8 prime

JSM

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Sep 12, 2013
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Location
Newcastle, Australia
With so much new gear coming particularly of late at Photokina, I thought I would go back to basics to capture seascapes of my local area with one camera and one prime lens being my goto lens the Olympus 17mm 1.8 prime. My kit included:

1.Olympus OMD E-M5;
2.Olympus 17mm 1.8 lens (34mm equivalent) – yes, just one lens;
3.Lightcraft variable ND filter;
4.Pixel Tw-282 wireless remote control; and
5.Aluminium Inca tripod that I picked up from the markets for under $5.

Several images of the projects are found below.

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How did the gear fair?

There is no doubt the Olympus OMD E-M5 is now out dated and missing so many features of even the lower ranked E-M10. However, it still takes great pictures and I love the feel of my scratched beat up camera even with the missing eye cap.

It would be great if these prime lenses were water proof but they are not. So I did have to expand the duration of my project due to some inclement weather in the Australian winter. However, like always the 17mm 1.8 is light, versatile, durable and just a real fun lens for all conditions.

The Light Craft variable ND filter does lose clarity and sharpness after 3 stops. There are better filters on the market and if this was your sort of photography on a daily/weekly basis a variable filter system would be recommended. However, the little light filter works good for my purposes.

The Pixel Tw-282 wireless remote control, ahhh ehhh it works great but the remote is turned on with a press of any button. So in your bag it stays on all the time and the batteries are always empty. I have to take the batteries out and reinsert after every shoot. This is an accessory that is not needed in the new wi-fi models of camera. If only the E-M5 had this capability.

These images are taken in exposed environments and wind and water was a big factor I had to contend with. So if there is one thing I learnt from this challenge. It is to invest in a sturdy tripod that can be weighted down as I struggled to keep the camera still on long exposures.

More image and thoughts on this projects are on me blog shutterjournal.com.

Let me know your thoughts of the lens and if you have any recommendation for ND filters.

Cheers
JSM
 

Pili

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Number 1 and 2 are my favorites for sure, nice shots! I have a B&W 10 stop nd which I'm pretty happy with. It does have impart a noticeable color shift, but it's pretty easy to correct in post. 10 stops is overkill most of the time though as sunsets/sunrises turn into 30-40 second exposures and totally kills any water "movement".
 

Wisertime

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I also love #1 and 2. I have a haida 10 stop I got from advice here. I haven't had a chance to use it though. I also got some Variable ND filters from Hitech and they are pretty good..esp for the price. 85x100mm is perfect for M43. Amazon has had some great deals on the kits of 3.
 

JSM

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Joined
Sep 12, 2013
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Location
Newcastle, Australia
Thanks Pili, I have been thinking of that same filter for some time. I just like easy options such as variable filter that you put on and can have at 0 - 10 stops. The down side is the loss of sharpness over a single stop nd filter. I guess it comes down to flexibility to quality. decisions decisions. They are good to have.
 

JSM

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Newcastle, Australia
Thanks Aushiki. Agree, that you should never have to explain a photograph otherwise its a fail. Good feedback. Although you may have to make a trip to the East coast and visit Newcastle and the Hunter for some inspiring landscapes plus some great wine.
 

JSM

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Newcastle, Australia
Otallion

Now that puts me to the test...Key features that the E-M10 has over the E-M5 (I believe):
• 81 AF points which cover about 60% of the frame size, while EM5 has 35 AF points (contrast-only detection).
• Focus peaking feature and sure you get this through an adaptation of an art filter on the E-M5 it’s not great.
• WiFi. Therefore, no need to worry about cables and hotshoes for wireless remote control. Additionally enabling direct upstream of to social sites.
• In-camera HDR exposure blending and live composite mode that is less time post processing and effects can come straight from camera.

The only reason I never bought the little E-M10 is it is not weather proof (however, nor are the primes I utilise) and the 5 axis stabilisation enabling me to shoot at 1/15 sec without shake however the E-M10 has 3 and I have not tested it to see how slow I can go.
 

Phocal

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Otallion

Now that puts me to the test...Key features that the E-M10 has over the E-M5 (I believe):
• On-sensor phase-detection auto focus meaning better continuous auto focus.
• 81 AF points which cover about 60% of the frame size, while EM5 has 35 AF points (contrast-only detection).
• Focus peaking feature and sure you get this through an adaptation of an art filter on the E-M5 it’s not great.
• WiFi. Therefore, no need to worry about cables and hotshoes for wireless remote control. Additionally enabling direct upstream of to social sites.
• In-camera HDR exposure blending and live composite mode that is less time post processing and effects can come straight from camera.

The only reason I never bought the little E-M10 is it is not weather proof (however, nor are the primes I utilise) and the 5 axis stabilisation enabling me to shoot at 1/15 sec without shake however the E-M10 has 3 and I have not tested it to see how slow I can go.

Only the E-M1 has PDAF. Other than WiFi for remote control (care less about posting to social media direct from camera, prefer to process my images first) there is nothing better about the E-M10 over the E-M5 and the no weather proofing is a huge disadvantage along with the inferior image stabilization.
 

JSM

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Newcastle, Australia
Thanks Phocal, you are indeed corect.

"E-M10 uses the same 81-point FAST AF system as the E-M1, which is an improvement on the 35-area system in the E-M5. (Like the E-M5, however, the E-M10's AF system is entirely contrast-based.)" - PhotoReview

I still feel the E-M10 has more updated features consistent across most cameras being released to date such as better monitor resolution and most recent processor chip similar to E-M1.

That all said the E-M5 is better built, weather proof and I love shooting with it - I just would not buy one new as I now consider it out dated against the competition which is now very competitive. To be really critical I would say Olympus would of been better releasing a new E-M5 than a new silver E-M1. Now that's another forum all together.
 

gobeatty

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Sep 15, 2014
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I just picked up an EM10 to join the four thirds club. I'm using the pancake zoom kit lens and I picked up a 40-150 as well.

Not sure I need a faster lens but the 17 f1.8 or the 20 1.7 would be my next lens. I have a 35 for my Cannon 6D and it gets used, but not as much as the 28-135. Thoughts?
 

JSM

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Sep 12, 2013
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Location
Newcastle, Australia
gobeatty

Congratulations on your pick up and welcome to the smart people club :)
I have the 12-50mm zoom and only use it for macro or wet weather as my go to prime is the 17mm 1.8. Its sharper, I get some good bokeh when in tight and a dream for low light and indoors. In fact it stays on camera 80% of the time. You won't go wrong with it. Either way you will not go wrong as the 20mm comes with some high praise (I have not used it). In my opinion if you want bokeh and that extra sharpness to get the most out of the system you need to go a fast lens such as a prime in the micro 4/3 world. Another consideration if you want a 50mm equivalent is the Oly 25mm 1.8, its a beauty as well. I know so many options. The good thing, is that its hard to go wrong.
 

gobeatty

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Sep 15, 2014
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I am torn and see there is a thread on 17 v 20. For me, 20 (or 40 on full frame) is the perfect focal length, a step between 35 and 50. But the oly 17 is really nice, focuses so fast and has the pull-back MF feature that I would use in low light where autofocus fails. Choices!
 

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