Sunday, 11 January 2009

Olympus E-3

As many of you know, I have had the privilege of having an Olympus E-3 in my possession since noon Friday. This is a demo courtesy of Don's Photo.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to use it Friday evening as David and I were enjoying a lovely supper out at John's Prime Rib with some friends. And my Saturday hours were filling up fast too. However, I woke in the wee hours of Sat morning with a very dizzy head. And it was then that I remembered the last time I had that wonderful gravy at John's that I had a similar experience. So all my Saturday plans were laid aside and I slept in. I know, VERY unusual for me. Dear husband brought me my decaf in bed, bless him.

A few hours later I was feeling well enough to read so I dug into the E-3 manual and about four hours later was beginning to get a grasp, literally, on this powerful camera.

Now instead of being dizzy, I was feeling over saturated with all this new knowledge. I spent the next 6 hours taking photos with the E-3 and my E-500 trying to decide if I would fork out the hefty price for this new toy. Despite it's bells and whistles being in completely different places than my E-500, I actually have become quite adept at finding my way around the E-3 and spent a good portion of the day working in manual and A priority. I really tried to use every options it had, including all those fun flash options.

I am still not totally convinced an upgrade to the E-3 will be worth it's big price tag but I do have to admit that the E-3 has the fastest start up and auto focus I could ever imagine. You can count to two from the moment you pick it up, turn it on and have a focused shot taken. It is that fast.

It also has a very nifty playback screen that gives live view. One of the first DSLR's to do this. And this screen actually rotates for those tricky shots. But is this neat feature worth the price?

My E-500, while only an entry level DSLR takes very nice pictures, but the E-3 seems to have just a little more depth and clarity to the pics. I liked them a whole lot.

One disappointment for me is that I like to shoot without a flash. My camera is big enough to draw attention to me without a flash going off, so I prefer to be subtle and not use a flash unless I am doing some macro shots or taking pictures of cutlery! haha

I like to up my ISO for those dark situations. But upping the ISO means noise and graininess and I was hoping the E-3 would wow me with noiseless shots at ISO 1600.

Not even close!! While a tad better than my E-500, there was noise at ISO 600. This was very disappointing and apparently it has something to do with the Olympus 4/3 system - the very system that allows live view. I will take a clear high ISO over live view any day.

Which left me wondering if I shouldn't have gone with Nikon or Canon. But, with this investment in lenses I have, I wasn't going to go there in my thinking. And besides no one makes lenses like Olympus. I guess you can't have it all!!

One fun aspect of the E-3 is the ability to use off camera flashes (strobes) so I had fun with that today and discovered I can take some pretty cool shots with off camera lighting.

This revelation was also a little bit scary because remote flashes are pricey and the umbrella's and stands also pricey. Not to mention that this might cause my husband to put a stop to hauling my camera equipment around for me.

Now.... on to some of the results of spending the weekend with a new camera.

This is an example of what off camera lighting can do. I had an off camera flash on the side for this shot of this wonderful treat my husband brought me this evening.

A picture of my husband trying to watch the football game this afternoon.

My husband still trying to watch the football game, but this time I have him holding an off camera flash in his right hand pointing it into an umbrella held with his left hand so that it would reflect back. See the difference in the colour and lighting on his face? I only got one try because how many guys want to be holding an umbrella in front of their face while they watch a football game!!

More playing with lighting on an abstract piece of art....since there weren't any humans willing to humor me.

With this shot I have an umbrella propped up on the dining room table and a flash going off into the umbrella to give some soft light to the flowers.

I took this picture out the living room window and I also cropped it right down since the yellow electrical cord out to my daughters car was not adding anything to the scene. :) I am impressed with the detail in a zoom, through the window and a crop. However the snow is a little blue and that is because I forgot to set the "metering" to high to pick up those whites. But I did for this next picture!

Again through the living room window.

And there you have it.
The results of having my head in a book, my hands on a camera and my butt on a chair all weekend. I learned lots though. Felt like I took an intensive course all weekend and I guess I did.
And tomorrow the E-3 goes back to Don's. sigh....


April D said...

Sounds like you had fun with that how does one get to try camera's for free there. Do you know him personally or can anyone borrow a camera or lense to try out?

Cheryl said...

you did take some cool pictures with that camera, some day you and I are going to have to go on a walk about(summer preferred) and take photos together so you can teach me some things. you sound so smart!!

Julie Cortens said...

April, this was an Olympus promo and not Don's. Olympus loaned and E-3 to Don's photo and it has been making it's round at all the Don's photos in Western Canada since it's release in Dec 07. I put my name in for it last September and it finally made it to Saskatoon. So no Don's doesn't lend out it's stuff. They do however rent limited items.
And ya, wouldn't it be nice to personally know the owner of the Saskatoon Don's or even work there. I know all the guys and gals who work there are very passionate about their photography. Hmmm reminds me of a few gals I know in Saskatoon that work at JSI! haha

Julie Cortens said...

hey Cheryl - now that sounds like a lot of fun. Let's do that next summer. You pick the spot.

I am really not that smart. As much as I learned a whole lot this weekend, don't ask me the name of the person I met three minutes ago. Something about this aging mind - causes STML as we call it in Long Term Care - that's "short term memory loss".

Kate said...

LOL...your hubs is WAY more tolerant then mine!!! What a guy! You always take amazing photos Julie...but that off camera lighting is outstanding. But you are right, not so subtle with those umbrellas. You need a whole crew following you around. I am really after a Canon Rebel XSi right now. Lots of $$$ that could go elsewhere though. That is what is holding me back right now. Even though I found a heck of a deal on Kijiji but didn't jump on it. Opportunity lost! Hopefully to come around again. You are my inspiration for getting "caught up"! I love your drive!