Light, shadow, perspective … ever changing


This game room is in our apartment complex office, and in the afternoons has an ever changing pattern of light coming through the west windows.  That, coupled with the simple chess board on a small table, and perfect art on the wall, always gives me a chance for a new perspective on a familiar subject.

Taken with the Olympus E-M1 and the 12-50mm kit lens. This lens is incredibly cheap right now ($150 USD … normally $500), and is a great buy. It’s got a fairly slow aperture at 3.5-6.3, but a nice range of 24-100 (FF equiv.), and a very good close-up ability.  At that price you can hardly go wrong with this little jewel, especially if on a budget.

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.

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

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.  🙂

E-M1 Firmware Version 2.0 eBook Now Available – Free!

I just finished a comprehensive guide to Firmware Update Version 2.0 for the Olympus OM-D E-M1.  It’s now available for FREE download at The Friedman Archives.  If you’d like to get it, please send an email request to Gary Friedman.

The eBook is available as a .pdf file, .mobi (for Kindle), or .epub for other e-readers.  So you should be able to read it on just about any device that you may own … whether it be a tablet, phone, or computer.

Don’t forget to check out the other camera and photography books available at:

E-M1 Firmware 2.0 Brings Live Composite Feature

The Olympus OM-D E-M10 came with a feature found on no other OM-D camera (or possibly any other camera), and that feature was called Live Composite.  It’s a way of “sort of” doing time lapse photography, but with each successive image added to all the previous images, much like using the Lighten Blending mode to merge layers in Photoshop.  Now, FW 2.0 brings this great function to the E-M1.

With this first image, I used Live Composite with the overall exposure set to underexpose by a couple of stops.  Then, I just slowly added soft light to the parts I wanted to brighten, all the while watching the image develop in real time on the LCD.

To use Live Composite (LC), you have to go to Manual and pass through all of the slow shutter speeds, past Live Time and Bulb.  Once you’re in LC, you’ll be able to adjust your shutter speed by pressing the Menu Button to access that menu.  However, before you go to LC, I suggest doing some test shots in manual to determine your base or starting exposure.  Once this is set and you begin the LC exposure, the dark areas won’t increase in brightness, only parts of the image that are brighter will be added, and only up to the set exposure.  I know this is a little confusing, but as soon as you use it once or twice, it will become very clear.  One other tip … you should use a tripod for this.

In the above photo, the image on the left shows the result after 22 exposures (46 seconds), while the right one shows after 49 exposures. The only increase in brightness is from light painting that I did with a flashlight. This also shows the display you will see on your camera, showing total elapsed time, your set shutter speed and number of exposures, plus a histogram to help you judge the correct (desired) exposure.

Live Composite should be a great tool for capturing star trails or car light trails. Or, how about getting that smooth look on flowing water or fast moving clouds. I think it’s perfect for light painting, too, but just use your imagination to come up with lots of new applications and then be sure and share your ideas with the rest of us.

This is a very brief introduction, but I go into more detail in an ebook I’ve written, a comprehensive guide to Firmware Update Version 2.0 for the Olympus OM-D E-M1.  It’s now available for FREE download at The Friedman Archives.  If you’d like to get it, please send an email request to Gary Friedman.

Olympus Firmware Update 2.0 Released for OM-D E-M1

OM-D E-M1 Firmware Update Version 2.0 Available Here

Update:  Olympus has actually issued a revised, version 2 Camera Manual
that incorporates these changes.

The new firmware, version 2.0, for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is a major update.  With over 24 improvements and new functions, some major but all significant, I think every E-M1 user will find something to love.  There’s even a new software package coming next week (Sept, 24th) to support tethered shooting … nice!

In fact, we’ll just start there.  Olympus’ new “Tethered Shooting System Software”, called “Olympus Capture”, will be ready for download on September 24, 2014.  It will be available for both Mac and Windows, and should be very helpful in Pro Studios and home studios, too.

Here’s the link to the website:  Olympus Capture Software

Below, is the Olympus official list of new functions and operability improvements.

8 New Functions:

  • Tethered Shooting via the new Olympus Capture Software 
  • Live Composite mode
  • Keystone Compensation (digital shift) to correct vertical distortion.
  •  2 New Art Filters: Vintage and Partial Color.
  • Aperture Lock function has been added to Aperture Preview.
  • Panning Shot shooting mode has been added to SCN mode.
  • Old Film effect has been added to movie effect.
  • New Photo Story mode features: Zoom In/Out and Layout framing options. Save (complete partway through), Temporary Save, and Resume functions.

16 Operability Improvements:

·       EVF image display time lag reduced to 16 milliseconds (when frame rate setting is set to high speed).
(My Note:  Don’t forget … Frame Rate (Custom Menu D) is grayed out and defaults to “normal” if you have Focus Peaking turned on.)
·       Multiple simultaneous settings now available in Live Guide.
·       Exposure compensation (±3 EV) is now available in HDR 1/HDR2 shooting.
·       A function has been added to cancel Color Creator and return to the original Picture Mode by pressing the MENU button when using Color Creator function.
·       Movie Tele-converter can now be used simultaneously when Art Filter is set to Picture Mode.
·       AF function for each frame was added to Custom Self Timer. In Drive Mode’s Custom Self Timer settings, you can now press the INFO button to change settings.
·       MF Assist is now supported in magnified frame position.
·       3x has been added to high resolution magnified Live View.
·       The Peaking display frame rate has been improved.
·       Electronic zoom speed setting function was added. An icon appears on the LCD monitor when using an Olympus electronic zoom lens.
·       When the arrow pad is set to Direct function, the Underwater/Underwater macro functions can be used with the left and down button on the arrow pad.
·       Double tap is now supported in touch operations on the Super Control Panel.
·       The level gauge and histogram can now be displayed during magnified frame display. The Touch Off icon was added to magnified frame display.
·       A function was added so that shooting information recorded in HDR1/HDR2 can be viewed in the playback screen.
·       Information on composited number of shots for images recorded with Live Composite was added (Can be checked in Olympus Viewer3).
·       When the BKT button is held down, the BKT menu now appears.

Plus, Olympus Image Share App Ver. 2.4 is now supported.

I’ve written a comprehensive guide to Firmware Update Version 2.0 for the Olympus OM-D E-M1.  It’s now available for FREE download at The Friedman Archives.  If you’d like to get it, please send an email request to Gary Friedman.

Don’t forget, the definitive guide to the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is available at The Friedman Archives.

"The Complete Guide to Fujifilm’s X-T1" – by Tony Phillips

My timing has been just about perfect.  I got the X-T1 just a couple of weeks ago, and yes, there has been a learning curve after using the Olympus E-M1 for almost a year.  But help is here now.  🙂

Tony Phillips, at The Friedman Archives, has just released his ebook all about the Fujifilm X-T1, and it’s a good one.  He also wrote a book about the Fujifilm X100s and that experience shines through in this book.

Inside Tony’s “Complete Guide to Fujifilm’s X-T1“, you’ll find over 500 pages of comprehensive and thorough information about every aspect of using the X-T1.  Tony writes in a very clear, understandable style and presents lots of insider tips and techniques.

While the book is geared toward experienced photographers, don’t shy away if you’re not one … there are also several chapters filled with general photography how-to’s.

For one reasonable price, you get all three electronic versions of the book:  a .pdf file (read it on just about any device), a .mobi for your kindle, and .epub for a Nook or other e-reader.  It’s also available in print (color or b&w), but those will cost a bit more.


And don’t forget, there are lots of other books available at The Friedman Archives.  You’ll find books about almost every Sony DSLR or Mirrorless camera released in the last few years, and a great book about the Olympus OM-D E-M1, along with the two Fujifilm titles.