Monday, March 27, 2017

Image Aspect Ratio, Olympus Pen EF

Image Aspect Ratio, Olympus Pen EF 01
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Image Aspect Ratio, Olympus Pen EF 05
Olympus Pen EF, D.Zuiko f/3.5 28mm

Image Aspect Ratio, Olympus Pen EF

'Half-Frame Photography - Tips on understanding and making the best of the half-frame camera portrait format or the  3:4 image aspect ratio'

Image Aspect Ratio, Olympus Pen EF
While most of us take pictures in the landscape or horizontal format, half-frame cameras are inherently designed to capture images in the portrait or vertical format. Half-frame cameras capture images in the 3:4 aspect, an uncommon ratio, seldom mentioned except maybe when talking about images that are a bit too fat, a ratio that is difficult to work with, or image frames that are difficult to fill effectively.

The film format for half-frame cameras is 24x18mm on a regular 135 film, which is half the size of a normal 35mm frame measuring 24x36 mm. With a half-frame camera, one can shoot and capture twice as many images on a standard roll of film - 48 shots on a 24-exposure roll, 72 shots on a 36-exposure roll, and so on.

Holding the camera horizontal with both hands is also the norm for taking photographs. The camera will normally rest in the grasp of the right hand with the index finger used to press the shutter release. On a more complex camera, the left hand will normally be used to focus the lens and other adjustments such as aperture and other settings necessary for the correct exposure of the shot.

On a simple point-and-shoot, the left hand will just be a support to hold the camera steady. With half-frames, this is the same stance you will be holding the camera with, the difference being that your image will still be shot in the vertical frame, rocksteady images in 3:4 image aspect ratio.

Olympus Pen EF

The scanned images, which was done by the processing lab, were post-processed on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3), and tweaked with edits including Auto Tone Correction, Brightness & Contrast, Gamma, Hue & Saturation, Sharpness & Blur, Unsharp Mask, Noise Reduction, and cropping of the doubled-scanned images into single images.


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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Mobile Photography, Sun In Your Eyes

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Nokia Lumia 720

Mobile Photography, Sun In Your Eyes

'At the right time of day, and at the right location, the sun just gets into your eyes'

Nokia Lumia 720
Sun in your eyes means also that you are looking to capture lens flare as part of your creative, or will it be just silhouettes?

Direct sunlight does make metering tricky and if you are using a DSLR for the shoot you will want to use the 'spot' metering mode and meter off a mid-tone area for an even exposure.

Bracketing is also a technique you want to use. If you are on a planned outing for lovely sunset or sunrise shots, have the session planned properly. Scout the location a day or two before the shoot, anticipate what the weather will be, layout and set up your gear properly, play the shots in your head and plan for it as meticulously as you can, sit and wait it out.

Keep shooting, light changes are remarkably fast, and your scene can look vastly different after just a few minutes.


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Monday, March 20, 2017

Soft, Sharp, and Saturated, Olympus XA1

Soft, Sharp, and Saturated, Olympus XA1 01
Soft, Sharp, and Saturated, Olympus XA1 02
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Olympus XA 1, D.Zuiko 35mm f/4

Soft, Sharp, and Saturated, Olympus XA1

'Analog Diary - Soft, sharp and saturated colors with the point-and-shoot Olympus XA1'

Olympus XA1
The Olympus XA1 has only 2 film ASA speed setting - ASA 100 and ASA 400. ASA 400 film have light-sensitive materials which are larger in grain sizes when compared to films with slower ASA speed. Though the film requires less light for a proper exposure, photo images and may show up with visible grain.

In a typical bright light situation, however, you can get away from motion blur and achieve great depth of field as the fast film speed lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed and smaller aperture.

One of the fun things you can do with the Olympus XA1 is using it to shoot in exposure lock mode. I used this technique on a couple of occasions, got the shots that I wanted and was delighted with the results.

What you need to do is first to point the camera at the brighter light source, half-press the shutter release to activate the metering, then turn the camera to frame the composition and take the shot. The shutter button on the XA1 will be locked if the red pop-up flag is activated in insufficient lighting condition.

Olympus XA1
The banner head image above was from a roadside seating position at a local 24-hour eatery, looking slightly up the sidewalk steps into the passageway lining up the shopfronts.

The second and third images are from a much brighter environment inside a shopping mall, shot with the camera resting on the tabletop of one of the eateries. Exposure setting was taken from ceiling light which was directly above my head. All three images may not be as sharp or clear as it could be, but it does enough to portray the environment and the setting of the shots.


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Monday, March 13, 2017

The Portrait Format, Olympus Pen EF

The Portrait Format, Olympus Pen EF 01
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The Portrait Format, Olympus Pen EF 03
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Olympus Pen EF, D.Zuiko f/3.5 28mm

The Portrait Format, Olympus Pen EF

'Half-Frame Photography - Getting to know the 3:4 image aspect ratio or the portrait format of half-frame cameras'

Olympus Pen EF
I am dedicating this and other posts in this series to the 3:4 image aspect ratio, as photographed on the Olympus Pen EE-S, Pen EF, Pen FT and other half-frame format film cameras that I have or may collect along the way.

I have only one thing in mind when I started the assignment with the Olympus Pen EF - use the camera to shoot only in the portrait of vertical frame mode. Yes, no horizontals or landscape mode, only verticals in the 3:4 image aspect ratio.

The camera I will be using for this series is the Olympus Pen EF, which incidentally, is the last of the half-framed Pen Series cameras produced by Olympus. Fitted with a superb f/3.5 28mm lens, the EF is an all black model with white lettering. The design is further complemented with a flash unit powered by an AA battery.

A half-frame camera, also known as single-frame or split-frame, captures images at half the size (18x24mm) of a standard 35mm negative film (24x36mm). You can shoot twice as many pictures and get 72 exposures on a 36-exposure roll, 48 on a 24-exposure roll. Most half-frame cameras are manufactured with a vertical film framing setup, meaning that they shoot in a vertical (portrait) orientation as opposed to the horizontal (landscape) orientation of standard 35mm cameras.

Operating the camera, not unlike any other point-and-shoot, is equally easy and can be done one-handed. Metering is by the standard Selenium 'electric-eye' system with the red pop-up flag that locks the shutter in low light condition. With the Olympus EF, however, you can override this lock by activating the level to power the flash unit, cute.

The scanned images were post-processed on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3), which includes cropping the doubled-scanned images into single images, and tweaked with edits including Auto Tone Correction, Brightness & Contrast, Gamma, Hue & Saturation, Sharpness & Blur, Unsharp Mask, and Noise Reduction.


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Monday, March 6, 2017

Digital Moments, OM Zuiko Auto-T 300mm F4.5

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Olympus Pen E-P5, F.Zuiko Auto-T f/4.5 300mm

Digital Moments, OM Zuiko Auto-T 300mm F4.5

'Image samples with the manual focus Olympus OM Zuiko Auto-T 300mm F4.5 legacy lens mounted on the Olympus E-P5'

Took the Olympus F.Zuiko OM Auto-T 300mm f/4.5 lens out of the dry-box and mounted it on the Olympus Pen E-P5 with the OM Adapter MF-2, just to see how it feels and handles, and what will it takes to lug it around on a shoot or assignment.

On the Olympus E-P5, the lens will be an equivalent to an f/9 600mm super-telephoto lens. Lined the combo up on the front porch, and grabbed a few test shots, wide-open, of my immediate environment.

Olympus E-P5, Zuiko Auto-T 300mm F4.5
Olympus E-P5, Zuiko Auto-T 300mm f/4.5
The combo looks and feels great, fits the E-P5 rather well, and for a lens that is light on the budget (comparatively), and super sharp even at wide open, the 300mm F4.5 is the one to look at if you are into wildlife or mountain photography. On the E-P5 the lens is still handholdable though it normally comes with its own tripod collar which allows for a free rotation for both horizontal or vertical shots.

With a build quality that is simply outstanding, the lens also features a built-in retractable lens hood and comes with a large filter attachment which accepts threaded 72mm filters. Images as you can see here, are tack sharp all round with little or no diffraction, and good contrast and saturation with the colors. The lens can also be used with the Teleconverter 1.4X-A.

The test images here were shot in *.orf RAW, uploaded to Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3) for post-processing, and went through my normal workflow routine of edits with Brightness & Control, Gamma, and Unsharp Mask. Except for the use of Pop Art art filter effect in RAW Development Mode on the square formatted shots, no other development mode features were used.


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