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Spain with E-PM1

Discussion in 'Olympus Cameras' started by sym5, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. sym5

    sym5 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    I recently spent about two weeks traveling through Spain with an E-PM1. Actually, this trip was the whole reason I got into M43. I wanted to lighten my usual travel kit -- Canon 60D, 10-22, 35L, and 100L (~2400g!) -- and the Panasonic 7-14 kept enticing me with its tiny size and 14mm (135 equiv) coverage. Unfortunately the E-M5 wasn't due to ship until well after the trip, so I chose the E-PM1 and added a VF2 viewfinder, 7-14, 25, 40-150, and 2 spare batteries. I was happy to discover that this entire whole kit fit inside a small travel box and reduced the total weight by over 50%. And while the image quality wasn't quite as good as the Canon, it was still very good, and I loved being able to carry it all day without feeling tired or hassled. About 75% of my shots were with the 7-14, and nearly all the rest were with the 25. The only reason for the 40-150 was for a specific shot of the Alhambra that I had planned in my mind before the trip. I barely used it otherwise, but it served that one purpose very well.

    Anyway, enough chatter. Here are some of the photos from the trip:

    Statue of Columbus (Barcelona):
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    Cathedral (Barcelona):
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    Alhambra (Granada):
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    Alhambra fortress:
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    Cathedral (Seville):
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    Plaza de Espana (Seville):
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    Mezquita (Cordoba):
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    Atocha train station (Madrid):
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    Reina Sofia Art Museum (Madrid):
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    And if you're interested, I put together a 54-photo highlights album here:


    In all, I'm pretty satisfied with my M43 travel experience. I was able to enjoy the trip more and worry about my equipment less, and I still managed to get some decent photos to remember the trip. My only regret is that I didn't get the E-M5 in time for the trip, but that just means that I have to go back some day, right? :) 
    • Like Like x 25
  2. Fantastic shots. All are good, but I love the light and composition of the third.
  3. billgreen

    billgreen Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Apr 4, 2012
    Santa Ana, San Jose, Costa Rica
    Bill Green
    All great but ditto for #3 here. Excellent image.
  4. Wolf

    Wolf Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 14, 2012
    nice shots
  5. I see why you needed the 40-150 for shot #3! Lovely. Have only been to Madrid, but now have several reasons to return to Spain.
  6. crsnydertx

    crsnydertx Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 31, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Folks who look at your wonderful images will be flocking to the stores for that E-PM1!:smile:

    Seriously, great set! Thanks for sharing.
  7. zapatista

    zapatista Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 19, 2012
    Albuquerque, NM
    Mike Barber
    Muy buenas imagenes! Necesito visitar Espa~a...algun dia! Thanks for sharing!
  8. sym5

    sym5 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    Thanks, all! I'm particularly glad to see people commenting on photo #3 (the Alhambra against the snow-capped Sierra Nevada mountains). As DonTom noticed, that was indeed the reason I brought along the 40-150 lens, and framing that shot was one of the happy moments of the trip. (Yes, I know. There's probably a "you know you're a photo geek when..." joke in there somewhere.)

    Photo #8 (Cordoba Mezquita peppermint arches) is also special to me, because when I was in grade school there was a picture of those wonderful arches on the cover of my math textbook, and for some reason I became really fascinated by it and wanted to go see it in person ever since. It was a real thrill to finally fulfill that little dream, and the PL25 + IBIS performed beautifully in that low-light setting. In fact, I think it might have performed even better than the 60D + 35L could have, because the E-PM1 auto white balance is so magically good that I barely had to color-correct the shot afterwards even though the lighting in there was pretty weird.

    The best part, of course, was that the E-PM1 was so small and unobtrusive that I could easily swing it to the side at tapas bars and not feel hindered at all while I noshed on slices of delicious jamon iberico. Spain is now definitely one of my all-time favorite food scenes. :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  9. zpuskas

    zpuskas Mu-43 Veteran

    Feb 25, 2011
    Santa Barbara, CA
    Great set. I really like your interior shots...very well done! Thanks!!!
  10. Dan Lopez

    Dan Lopez Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 12, 2011
    3,4,6 are my fav's.. Excellent pics!
  11. rapid

    rapid Mu-43 Rookie

    Apr 11, 2012
    Great set..

    Really like the use of the wide angle here..

    Can you confirm if these were OOC jpegs or post processed?

    I currently have the EPM1 along with the 14mm, 20mm and 45mm but am considering if a zoom might be a better option for me as it saves lense changes..

    Currently eye'ing up the Panasonic 12-35mm
  12. billhuegerich

    billhuegerich Mu-43 Rookie

    Oct 27, 2011

    Wow, great shots! Ironically, I'm in a very similar spot as you. I'm heading to Spain myself in a couple weeks. Last time I was there three years ago, I took my Canon 50d setup, but don't want to drag it around again. I've got a local camera shop waiting for an E-M5 for me, but it's not looking promising before the trip. So, I may end up with my E-PL2, 20, 14-42, and maybe a legacy 45 or 50. If I can't get the new body in time, I'm seriously considering investing the money in a wide angle prime or something to take along. Not to hijack your thread, but I'm open to any suggestions.

    FYI, I'm not going to get as far from the city as you did. I'll spend most of the trip in Madrid, with day trips to Segovia, Toledo, and maybe Avila or someplace else near by. Seville looks beautiful, but too far for a day trip, I believe.

  13. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    Beautiful shots! I love 5, 6, & 8 especially!
  14. sym5

    sym5 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    Hi, rapid. I try to minimize the post-processing to save time and effort, but there are two basic edits that I usually apply as "cleanup". 1) I only shoot at 4:3 to maximize the number of pixels captured, and I crop it to letterbox or square format in post if I feel that works better. 2) I try to shoot to preserve the highlights and shadows as much as possible, and I stretch them out in post to get to the right level of contrast. In the case of the E-PM1, I noticed that the sensor isn't as clean as my Canon, so I also did some noise reduction with the higher ISO images. On the other hand, the E-PM1 auto white balance was so good that in most cases I didn't need to do much tweaking with the colors and saturation. Oh, and when I post smaller-sized images online, I also add in a little bit of sharpening to compensate for the resampling softness.

    Regarding lens choices, I think it depends on your subjects and style of shooting. I generally don't like swapping lenses out in the field, so even if I bring a bunch of lenses with me, I'll usually settle on just one or two lenses in the morning and shoot with them the whole day. I had thought about getting the 12mm at one point, but I eventually went with the 7-14 instead because I like having a bit more on the wide end. I think the 9-18 would also have been nice, and I went back and forth between those two for a while before finding a good deal on the former that broke the tie. Like you, I'm also currently looking at the 12-35, which looks like a very practical lens, but to be honest most of the time I felt pretty comfortable shooting with just the 25 and not having the entire midrange covered, so maybe I'll put that money toward something else instead like the 60 macro or the 35-100. Ah, choices... :) 
    • Like Like x 1
  15. sym5

    sym5 Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    Bill, that sounds like a great trip. We didn't get to see those towns around Madrid, so that's on our list of places to visit the next time we go there. For those places you listed, I'd highly recommend having something on the wide end if possible. In particular, Toledo I recall hearing was filled with narrow streets, which means you probably won't have much room to back up. Something like the 7-14 or 9-18 might be handy, though they both are a bit pricey. Even the new 12-50 kit lens would give you an extra 2mm over the standard 14-42 kit, and that's a noticeable difference at the wide end.

    Regarding Seville, it's actually possible to do it as a day trip from Seville, thanks to the high speed rail, but it's probably not worth it. We loved Seville -- it was probably our favorite of the cities we visited -- but it really needs at least a couple of days because Seville is more about soaking in the ambience.

    Enjoy your trip!
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