Like a Moth to a Flame …

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been in and out of my camera bag a few times, now.  Like the proverbial Moth to the Flame, I seem to be irresistibly drawn to the small but powerful Olympus.  I loved the Sony A-7RM2 and Leica Q, but they were just a bit pricey for my “enthusiast’s” budget.  And while the Fujifilm X-T1 and X100T are awesome cameras, they just don’t completely satisfy my desires.  (Although I must admit that I’m keeping a very close eye on the new X-T2.  :-))

Why the E-M1?

So what is it?  Why does the E-M1 seem to be (for me) the camera that most meets my needs? Continue reading “Like a Moth to a Flame …”

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Have Some Fun with Photo Story on the E-M1

Photo Story Fun Frames

Despite what you might read on the internet, it IS possible to have fun with a “Pro” level camera like the Olympus E-M1.  Even though it’s loaded with pro features like serious wireless flash, extreme customizability of the various buttons and dials, and terrific image quality, it also has some great functions and modes for just having a little fun and being a bit creative when you get the urge.  🙂 

Photo Story Standard

One of those “fun” features is the Photo Story Mode found on the Mode Dial.  Once selected, you can choose between literally dozens of combinations of effects to include different layouts, numbers of images, aspect ratio, color or monochrome, borders, etc.

You’ll find three basic sections called Standard, Speed, and Fun Frames.  The top photo here was done using one of the Fun Frames settings.  Just like it sounds, the Speed section puts the camera into a continuous drive mode and would be a good one to use for catching something or someone in action … like sports or kids playing.
Note:  If you shoot a vertical (portrait) layout using Fun Frames, the little white box with the date in it does NOT rotate.  See this image on Flickr.

The camera will allow you to separately frame each part before the shot, and using the touch screen, you can even choose which frame to shoot next.

And, if you set RAW+JPG, the camera will not only capture the Photo Story, but will also keep full sized RAW files of each separate image.  If you only shoot in JPG, then the Photo Story is all you’ll end up with.

In the Speed mode, you can either take each image one at a time or just hold the shutter button down and let the camera rip off all five (or less) images.

Now … get out there and have some fun!  🙂
Photo Story Speed

HDR with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is Much Improved

HDR image using Nik HDR Efex and 5 exposures at 2ev.

My biggest complaint with the various mirrorless cameras I’ve used over the last couple of years has been their rather anemic HDR (High Dynamic Range) capabilities.  Generally they only offered to bracket 3 or 5 images with up to about 1ev spacing.  They’ve been getting better, but now the Olympus OM-D E-M1 has raised the bar and given us extensive HDR functions.

The new E-M1 has an awesome HDR setup.  Auto HDR is there if you want, but even better are the great options for bracketing your exposures with either 3, 5, or 7 frames at 2ev, or 3 or 5 frames at 3ev. Nice!

Out of the box, the default settings are to press the HDR Button and turn the Front Dial to choose your HDR settings.  (The HDR Button is the front half of that button on the top left shoulder of the camera.)  Olympus has gone even further by having the camera automatically set the ISO to 200 and Drive to Sequential Shooting so it will take all the desired shots with a single press of the shutter button … you don’t even need to hold it down for the full sequence.

The Auto HDR offers two settings called HDR1 and HDR2, with each of those taking 4 exposures and combining them in-camera to create your HDR image.  If you’re in JPG only, you’ll just get one exposure, the HDR.  However, if you have RAW+JPG selected, you’ll get an HDR JPG and a normally exposed RAW file.

I should mention that the E-M1 also offers an AEB (auto-exposure bracketing) mode in a separate menu (Menu > Shooting Menu 2 > Bracketing), for those who really just want to bracket the exposure of their images to make sure they get the perfect one.  The options on that menu are much more limited than the HDR options.

The above image is a full HDR image, created by taking 5 exposures at 2ev spacing into Nik HDR Efex and then back through Lightroom 5.  Below are in-camera HDR images, using HDR1 and HDR2, plus a normal exposure and a copy of HDR1 edited further in Lightroom5.

For more information about HDR with the E-M1 (and E-M5II), be sure and check out Gary Friedman’s excellent and very thorough books.
Available at:  www.FriedmanArchives.com

Normal Exposure – note the blown highlights out the window
In-Camera HDR2
In-Camera HDR1
HDR1 Edited in Lightroom5.  Cut the highlights, enhanced the shadows, and added Clarity and Saturation