Update: Exposing Olympus OM-D E-M10 (and E-M1/E-M5II) Myths – HDR and the EVF

Note:  There are a couple of great books available from The Friedman Archives that cover all of the features in great detail for both the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and E-M5II
Olympus OM-D E-M10 (and E-M1/E-M5II) Feature Clarifications: HDR and EVF settings.
Okay, there are a couple of myths floating around the Internet that are bothering me. In the last couple of days, I’ve read blog posts (and reviews) that either neglected to mention or complained about what they “perceived” as problems with these OM-D cameras.
Myth #1: The E-M10 is not good for HDR work. I disagree because Olympus gets it. Bracketing and HDR really are separate issues. We bracket to ensure we get a correct exposure. We use HDR to expand dynamic range of an image. So Oly has separated these two features. And while Bracketing does limit the number and range of options, the HDR setting is great, allowing up to 5 exposures with 3 EV spacing and 7 exposures with 2 EV. Plus, it automatically puts the Drive Mode to Continuous H. Nice!: -)
Myth #2: Some seem to have an issue with using flash, generally in a studio. Sometimes, it’s necessary to use high shutter speeds and/or small apertures to make sure you get a dark background. Normally, the EVF tries to show you what your image will look like with your current camera settings, so in this case you get a very dark (or black) view in the EVF, making it impossible to frame and focus. To avoid this and have your EVF behave like an OVF (i. e., show you what’s in front of the camera unadjusted for settings), just turn Live View Boost (Custom Menu D) “ON”. And “voila”, problem solved. Maybe even create a flash preset with this setting (and others, of course).
Now, go take some pictures!: -)
UPDATE:   Readers +Paul Amyes and +Eric Lawson  offered this idea:  Set one of your buttons to DOF Preview and it will accomplish the same thing as turning Live View Boost ON.  My guess is that it temporarily does just that when you press the button, giving you an OVF like look at your scene.
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E-Book for the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II

There’s a brand new e-book already out, all about the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.  Professional photographers Gary L. Friedman and Tony Phillips have collaborated to quickly release this new book, and it’s another good one!  You’ll find it provides the shortest learning curve for this infinitely configurable camera.

The book is very well written in the usual easy-reading style you find in all of the camera books from The Friedman Archives.  In its 430 pages, there is great coverage of virtually every button and function on the camera, with lots of photos, examples, tips, and tables.  Speaking of tips, here are a couple of good ones straight from the book:

I’ve read several camera books by both of these guys and always appreciate the thoroughness and depth they provide.  I highly recommend this book for new (and experienced) E-M5II shooters.  Plus, with the money-back guarantee, you really don’t have much to lose.  So head over to The Friedman Archives for all of the details.

And don’t forget to look around while you’re there.  Gary has many outstanding images, and there are books about virtually all of the recent major cameras from Olympus, Sony, and Fujifilm.

What You Need to Know about Your Olympus OM-D’s Weather Sealing

http://www.getolympus.com/us/en/digitalcameras/omd/e-m5-mark-ii.html

We all know that our Olympus OM-D cameras (all except the E-M10) have excellent weather sealing.  But did you know all of the various components that affect the level of this sealing?  Most are fairly intuitive, but still it never hurts to be reminded of what all needs to be in place to help keep the insides of our cameras nice and dry.

For the E-M1, Olympus produced a small manual that covers all of this and more, and it can be found here:

Essentially, this manual tells us that all of the covers need to be in place and free of any debris that might interfere with the sealing.  Sure, we all know that … right?  Of course we do, but some might be easy to overlook or just forget about in the “heat of battle”.  Those might include the Power Battery Holder Connection cover, X-Sync Socket cover, Accessory Port cover (E-M5 and E-M1), and Hot Shoe cover.  And someone might yell at me if I forget to mention the battery door, SD card slot door, and various input port covers.
They go on to say that the camera may be damaged if lenses that are not Weather-Proof are used, and warn against submerging the camera or rinsing it under running water.  Also, you’ll find additional recommendations for cleaning the exterior of the camera.
And finally, you’ll find this notice at the end:

Service Advisory:

Product damage caused by sand or liquid contamination will void the original warranty and any extended warranties if applicable. In most cases Olympus service will not be able to repair the camera. In these situations, the camera would be deemed beyond reliable repair and returned without servicing.

Bottom Line:  Be careful out there.  🙂

Did You Find the Olympus High Res Raw Conversion Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop?

The link to this critical plug-in for converting the new High Res RAW files produced by the E-M5 Mark II is here:

The hard part (at least for me) was finding where the Plug-In was after I installed it on my Mac, and the instructions provided by Olympus didn’t help much.  Sorry Windows users, I can’t offer any help for you.  😦

So after a lengthy search, I finally found the plug-in living in a Plug-ins folder in my Mac’s Applications folder.  Needless to say, Photoshop didn’t know it was there.
I just copied the OlympusHRS_ORF.plugin file to the Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 Plug-ins folder, and then Photoshop was able to find the plug-in and convert the High Res RAW files.  🙂
Once you’ve properly placed the plug-in in the appropriate folder, run Photoshop and go to the File menu > Import > High Res Shot Raw File Plug-in.  The Plug-in will open and allow you to make some basic adjustments before opening the file in Photoshop.  From there, do your magic in photoshop and then you can save the image anywhere in any format you want.
Hope this helps …

Fuji X-T1 Firmware Update Guide Now Available!

Tony Phillips, the guy who’s written two great books about Fuji cameras already, the X100S and X-T1, has released a guide to the latest X-T1 Firmware Update version 3.0.  Like his other books, this one is well researched, beautifully written, and full of insights into the update.

The update has at least 27 new / improved features for the X-T1 and some of Tony’s favorites include:  additional customization of the reprogrammable Q-Menu, more Function button items, high-speed electronic and hybrid shutter, a new Chrome film simulation, and manual focus tweaking in autofocus.  In this free update, you’ll find great information about all of these and more.

To get your Free copy, you’ll need to send an email request to Tony Phillips (click his name to send the email).  Or, if you haven’t bought his X-T1 book yet, go to The Friedman Archives to purchase the primary book and get the Firmware update included.

BTW, Tony is currently working on his next book … about the Fuji X100T, so stay tuned for that release.

Transition

Ducks seem to be equally at home either in the air or in the water. But, the transition can be difficult.

Air to water doesn’t look too bad as long as the water is relatively smooth and they can make a nice landing.

However, trying to get airborne from the water is a totally different story. They literally have to “walk on the water” for several steps as their wings beat furiously until they can build up enough speed to liftoff and “Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth”.*

(*From the poem, High Flight by John Gillespie Magee,  Jr.)

Originally published on Feb. 5, 2012.

My Digital Early Days – Part III – Mirrorless Madness

Mirrorless Madness … sounds a bit harsh maybe, but in my case it could be appropriate.  So where do I begin.  First, let me set your mind at ease.  I don’t plan to talk about “every” mirrorless camera I’ve used, but rather I’ll try to just touch on the high points.

It all began in late 2011.  Sony announced the A77 and it looked very interesting with it’s “translucent mirror” technology and a blistering 12fps frame rate (I like speed).  However, coming from a Nikon DSLR, I thought it best to start with a cheaper model first to make sure I liked the EVF before I jumped in with both feet, so I bought the A55.  Sure enough I liked it and got the A77 just a couple of months later.  Then I was enjoying the Sonys so much I decided to go really small and picked up a Nex-5N.

Well, after a couple of months I felt a bit guilty about spending so much that I decided to sell the A77 and buy a cheaper A65.  So far, so good … until the Nex-7 was announced and I just had to have one!  🙂  Now, at this point, you can see how my rationale was working:  Try to start cheap and then spend the money when I was sure I would like the new system.  After blowing the budget, guilt would start weighing on me and I would sell the stuff I could live without … and then with money in the bank, I’d start shopping …… yep, a vicious circle.

For what it’s worth, I really liked the Nex-7 and the whole mirrorless concept of smaller, lighter, and the EVF.  So it should come as no surprise that before long I grabbed a Fuji X100 (very nice camera).  But then Olympus turned my world upside down with the announcement of the OM-D E-M5 and its 5-axis stabilization (IBIS).  I preordered the camera just as soon as it was available and then waited an agonizing two months before it was finally delivered.  Once it was in my hot little hands, I “knew” it was the one for me.

Until fate, or luck, or providence stepped in and I became acquainted with +Gary Friedman.  You know … Gary of www.FriedmanArchives.com where you can pick up great ebooks about cameras (mostly Sony but also some Fuji and Olympus), and he agreed to let me help him by writing the ebook about the new Sony Nex-6 (and 5R/5T).  By now, of course, you can probably see what’s coming next.  Yes you’re right, to write that book I had to buy several Sony cameras, lenses, flashes, etc.

It actually became so easy … buy a camera and a lens (or two), and sell some stuff.  I did this so often, that over the course of about three and a half years I’ve now used no less that 30 different mirrorless cameras, including some from Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fuji, and Nikon.  “Most of the time”, I had a fairly good reason like working on a new book or even providing support for someone else’s efforts.  But still, I overdid it and am currently looking for a local support chapter of others who have also been afflicted with G.A.S.  🙂

I was making good progress, too, getting down to only a Sony a6000 and a couple of lenses, just last December.  That short period of time was known as “Temporary Sanity”!  Unfortunately though, I follow a bunch of photography blogs on the internet, some of which deal heavily in the rumor mill, and saw the news of the upcoming Olympus OM-D E-M5II.  Maybe another project in the offing?  Who knows.  But, to be better prepared (just in case), I got an E-M10 to help me get back into the OM-D paradigm, and I plan to order the E-M5II as soon as it’s available.  Good sound thinking … don’t you agree?

But here’s the thing.  With the exception of some Olympus PEN cameras with no EVF, I would like to have been able to keep all of those cameras because I liked them a lot.  I still have nostalgic feelings for the Nex-7, the X100, the OM-D E-M1, Fuji X-T1, and so many more.  My point is they are all great cameras and can (mostly) do what we need them to do which is to take nice photos and be reasonably easy and fun to use.  On the other hand, since I obviously couldn’t keep them all, the other thing is that I could be happy with almost any one of them as a single camera system.

I don’t know what the future holds for me regarding cameras, but I have learned some things about what I like.  I love the small size of mirrorless cameras and lenses (especially micro four thirds and APS-C), and I’m finding I have an increased dependence on good image stabilization … All of the time.  It’s also becoming clear that, while some cameras do have an edge when it comes to ultimate image quality, virtually all of these modern cameras can turn out beautiful photos.  And while the “sensor size wars” rage on, I believe we’ve found a sweet spot right here between 12Mp and 24Mp, a size that can produce files fit for any purpose except maybe very large prints.

How about you?  What are your thoughts on mirrorless cameras, G.A.S., and which one(s) you could live with as a sole companion?