Sunday, 6 July 2014

Being One with the OM-D EM-1

Preamble

Although I'm quite used to the Olympus line of E-series cameras, each time I buy into a new model (usually several years in-between), I'm pleasantly surprised with the modern conveniences and technology improvements give me.

This time, it's the OM-D E-M1 - the top of the line Olympus. I've not ever had a top of the line Olympus - I was too late to appreciate the E-1, the E-3 felt old, the E-5 I dreamed about but could not afford. There was no E-2 or E-4.

Two things I really like - the feature of having a creative Photo Studio within the camera, in the field. I shoot both raw and JPEG - I prefer the immediacy of the JPEG and I like the Olympus JPEG signature - warm, yellow friendly, nice blues in the skies, highish in contrast, fairly reliable automatic White Balance. I like having the raw for tough shots or shots that need creative post processing.

The Photo Studio

Olympus has been evolving their Photo Studio idea with a strength of purpose. 

One feature I like, is the ability to tailor the gamma transformation curve (a.k.a. The Curve) with several degrees of Highlight and Shadow Adjustment.  This feature first saw the light in the OM-D E-M5 and it has been implemented in all subsequent PEN and OM-D models. It's definitely available on the lowest model E-PM2 (although it took a non owner on G+ to tip me off).


The new feature, first implemented on the E-M1 is the Color Creator - it has been subsequently implemented on the E-M10, E-P5). 


Using the features

Note:
These adjustments only affect the standalone JPEG and/or the embedded JPEG in the raw file. The raw file will contain metadata about the adjustments you have chosen so that you can run Olympus Viewer software on the computer to cancel or further adjust.


This is a pink rose on a cold, overcast Melbourne winter's day. Yes, the highlights have a soft pink hue, but that empathic vibe, to me, complements the rose.

My +David Washington moment - the browns are anemic without some Color Creator warming.

You could throw more light on these leaves, to darken the background. Or you could post process a vignette and darken the background. Or just use the Shadows Curve Adjustment in the Camera.

 In closing

My early experiences with the combination of Color Creator and Shadows / Highlights Adjustment are simply that - early experiences. On the E-M1, there buttons and dials to access these two features without making Magnify and Depth of Field Preview difficult.

The amount of adjustment can be more dramatic or more subtle - there is a fair amount of control for most tastes.