What would I like to see in the next version of the wonderful Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera?

Written by admin on September 30th, 2014

Olympus have recently indicated that a mark II version of the brilliant Olympus E-M5 camera is on the way following on the heels of the “pro version” E-M1 and the “budget version” E-M10.

Clearly Olympus will want to distinguish it between these models, and most reasonably should keep the size and weight, and battery holder much the same as the current version as these are important – the E-M1 is great but it can be a bit big and intimidating for many, not to mention too expensive.

The E-M5 Mark II will almost certainly adopt all the new features in the E-M10 such as:

  • improved touch screen
  • improved EVF
  • WiFi smartphone control
  • focus peaking
  • latest image processing engine
  • auto HDR mode
  • ability to assign MySets to the mode dial
  • automatic lens IS priority for when using lenses with OIS
  • 1st curtain electronic shutter
  • color creator
  • Live Composite
  • improved HD video
  • intervalometer
  • cut-down version of the ’2×2′ control system of the E-M1

And will almost certainly have the newer features of the PEN E-P5:

  • 800 AF points
  • Super Spot AF
  • 1/8000th sec shutter (but please keep the nice shutter noise of the E-M5)
  • flash sync 1/320th sec
  • timelapse movies
  • AE bracketing +/- 6EV at 9fps: 3 or 5 frames in 2.0/3.0EV steps, 7 frames in 2.0EV step
  • movie functions: magnified focus view; change Picture Mode using Fn button; 4x one-push movie zoom
  • PhotoStory

The big question is what features will make their way down from the E-M1?

It would be reasonable to expect to see the following as a minimum:

  •  +/- 5 stop exposure compensation instead of +/- 3 stops so I can do spot metering adjustments better
  • the improved IS
  • phase detect AF – after all, the Four Thirds dSLR users need a more affordable camera to migrate to than just the E-M1
  • improved movie functionality: audio level controls, etc

And some new enhancements to keep up with the latest:

  • 4K video and 120fps 1080HD video as with the Panasonic GH4
  • high ISO score must be BETTER than the E-M1 which was a little disappointing given the much better score of the cheap PEN E-PM2
  • optional artificial shutter release louder SOUND so subjects can hear you take the shot

And PLEASE introduce a radio TTL wireless flash system

  •  I am NOT a fan of the current visible light one and a radio TTL flash would be awesome indeed!
  • Perhaps it could be based on WiFi technology given that the new cameras will already have this!
 

Best cameras in 2014

Written by admin on September 25th, 2014

Its 2014, and compact, light, fun, versatile, high image quality mirrorless cameras, in particular, Micro Four Thirds cameras are perhaps the best options for most people rather than dSLRs.

There are now only a few areas where dSLRs outperform these mirrorless cameras:

  • extremely shallow depth of field or very shallow DOF with zoom lenses  - here a full frame camera – such as a mirrorless Sony or a full frame dSLR, is the way to go
  • the best AF tracking of fast moving subjects – although the GH-4 and E-M1 have made great improvements in this area
  • radio remote TTL flash – there are no systems currently compatible with Micro Four Thirds cameras and flashes as yet, but you can still do remote TTL flash or manual radio triggered flash

If the above are not a priority to you, then a Micro Four Thirds camera will be a much better choice as:

  • they and their lenses allow a much more compact and lighter kit better suited to travel and hiking, and you are more likely to take them with you
  • they are not a burden and weigh you down
  • the image quality is perfect for most situations, and most people will not be able to tell any difference from a dSLR image
  • they are fun to use with their touch screen controls, full remote control by smartphones where you can view the image on the phone, select a subject to AF on, the trigger the shutter and the image is sent back to the phone so you can upload to the internet – fantastic for holidays or for group selfies
  • AF is not only FASTER it is more accurate for portraits – they can even detect the subject’s closest eye and focus on it
  • video and live view is far easier to use
  • there are so many choices of camera and lenses to suit everyone – you can even use them with almost any lens ever made – albeit in manual focus mode

 

Sports, action or wildlife:

  • Canon 7D Mark II - perhaps the only cropped sensor dSLR worth considering in 2014
  • Nikon D4S - very expensive pro dSLR
  • Canon 1D X - very expensive pro dSLR
  • Panasonic GH4 – has the BEST video – 4K capable and has the best AF tracking of the mirrorless cameras (when used with Panasonic lenses)
  • Nikon D7100 – cropped sensor dSLR for Nikon fans
  • Olympus OM-D E-M1 – great weatherproofing, the best image stabilisation, and like the GH-4, the best hand holdable telephoto reach and lightest for hiking

General purpose, high image quality, versatile camera, great for travel or hiking :

 Relatively compact interchangeable lens travel cameras with viewfinders:

  • Olympus OM-D E-M1pro features, weatherproof, freezeproof, smartphone control, fast AF, reasonably good AF tracking, fantastic image stabilisation but largest of this group
  • Olympus OM-D E-M5inexpensive, weatherproof, compact, fast AF for static subjects, great image stabilisation, but poor AF tracking and not great for AF of fast moving subjects
  • Olympus OM-D E-M10inexpensive, compact, fast AF for static subjects, good image stabilisation, smartphone control, but not weatherproof and poor AF tracking and not great for AF of fast moving subjects
  • Panasonic GH-4 – larger dSLR styling, no sensor based IS, but still Micro Four Thirds and has the best video and AF tracking
  • Fuji XT-1 - stylish, but lacks many features of the OM-D cameras such as touch screen, IS, etc and lens range is far less, but otherwise, a nice camera
  • Panasonic GM5very compact, smartphone control, good video, but minimal physical controls and poor flash x-sync speed

Relatively compact fixed lens cameras with viewfinders:

  • Panasonic LX-100large sensor, smartphone control, excellent 3x zoom lens, 4K video, fast AF
  • Fuji FinePix X100Tlarge sensor, smartphone control, excellent lens for low light but no zoom

Relatively compact cameras with viewfinder AND long zoom ranges:

  • Panasonic FZ1000 -  small 2.7x crop sensor, smartphone control, 16x zoom lens, 4K video

Pocketable cameras but no viewfinder:

  • Panasonic GM-1ultra-compact Micro Four Thirds interchangable lens camera, large sensor, compact 3x zoom lens, WiFi, touch screen
  • Sony RX110 - ultra-compact 4x zoom, fixed lens, small 2.7x crop sensor, improved version of the popular RX100 adding tilting LCD and WiFi
  • Olympus PEN E-PL7compact Micro Four Thirds interchangable lens camera, large sensor,  new “selfie” mode, great image stabilisation, WiFi, touch screen, optional EVF

 

 

Olympus “Open Platform” to allow special Micro Four Thirds remote camera modules with lenses to be controlled by smartphones

Written by admin on September 17th, 2014

Olympus have now announced they will also enter this new genre of a basic camera without viewfinders or memory cards to be controlled by smartphones which will store the images via WiFi.

It is an extension of their current Micro Four Thirds camera technology which already allows one to view a live image that their camera is seeing through their smartphone and select an AF point and remotely control the camera with the image being sent back to the smartphone.

Obviously, if this is all one is doing, one does not need a viewfinder or memory card on their camera and you just need a cheaper “camera module” with a lens – hence the “Open Platform” technology.

I suspect they will also extend this technology to the Google Glasses-like patent they have registered – so you might control the camera using your glasses and the image then gets saved to the smartphone in your pocket.

It may open up all sorts of possibilities – although these probably can be achieved already with existing cameras.

However, the “Open Platform” is aimed at allowing 3rd party developers to create their own apps to control the cameras and come up with potentially novel applications.

see http://opc.olympus-imaging.com/en/index.html

 

Formal announcement of the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 lens – will this be one of the best lenses ever made?

Written by admin on September 17th, 2014

The Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro lens for Micro Four Thirds has been on the lens timeline for some time but it has now been formerly announced and on paper looks like it may be the highest image quality lens Olympus has made to date – even beating their superb Four Thirds lenses.

Specs at a glance:

  • eq. to 80-300mm in full frame terms
  • constant f/2.8 aperture at all focal lengths
  • dual linear voice coil motors for fast, silent CDAF focusing
  • 72mm filter thread
  • 160mm long and lens length does not change on zooming or on focussing
  • 880g with tripod adapter (760g without)
  • collapsible lens hood
  • weather-resistant, freeze-proof
  • manual focus clutch mechanism
  • L-Fn button
  • close focus to 0.7m giving subject area of 8x6cm
  • optional dedicated MC-14 1.4x teleconverter (~$399) which makes it 56-210 f/4 (eq. to 112-420mm) and will also be compatible with the 300mm f/4 Pro lens when it comes out
  • $US1499

Compared to the Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD lens for Four Thirds:

  • less telephoto but constant f/2.8 aperture and presumably even better optical quality
  • optimised for CDAF thus can do silent C-AF during video and is compatible with face detection and eye detection AF (the Four Thirds will only AF fast on a E-M1 and then not in CDAF mode very well at all)
  • same length but does not extend on zooming
  • lighter 880g vs 1.07kg
  • 72mm filter thread vs 67mm
  • close focus to 0.7m instead of 1.2m
  • at present, only can add a 1.4x teleconverter, there is no 2x teleconverter available as with Four Thirds

Compared to a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II L on full frame:

  • more telephoto (to 300mm not just 200mm)
  • 4x zoom not just 3x zoom
  • more depth of field (equates to 80-300mm f/5.6 on full frame while the 70-200mm equates to 112-320mm f/4.5 on an APS-C)
  • possibly better optical image quality but lower sensor image quality
  • optimised for CDAF (see above), whereas the Canon is not
  • much lighter 880g vs 1.57kg
  • shorter 160mm vs 197mm
  • smaller filter 72mm vs 77mm
  • closer focus to 0.7m vs 1.2m
  • much more affordable $1499 vs $2299
  • much better for long periods of hand held use
  • much better for hiking
  • at present, only can add a 1.4x teleconverter, there is no 2x teleconverter available as with Canon or Nikon

Compared to a Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS L on full frame:

  • more telephoto (to 300mm not just 200mm)
  • 4x zoom not just 3x zoom
  • more depth of field (equates to 80-300mm f/5.6 on full frame while the 70-200mm equates to 112-320mm f/6.4 on an APS-C)
  • possibly better optical image quality
  • marginally lower sensor image quality of 1 stop (need to increase full frame ISO by 1 stop for equivalence, leaving only a 1 stop advantage to full frame)
  • optimised for CDAF (see above), whereas the Canon is not
  • same weight without tripod adapter 760g
  • shorter 160mm vs 172mm
  • larger filter 72mm vs 67mm
  • closer focus to 0.7m vs 1.2m
  • similar price $1499 vs $1299
  • at present, only can add a 1.4x teleconverter, there is no 2x teleconverter available as with Canon or Nikon

Compared to the Canon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 DO IS:

  • similar focal length field of view and zoom range
  • weatherproof (the Canon is not an L lens and is not weathersealed)
  • optimised for CDAF (see above), whereas the Canon is not
  • marginally more depth of field at wide end, same at telephoto end
  • possibly better optical image quality with less artefacts (DO optical design causes artefacts)
  • but SIMILAR sensor image quality as need to increase ISO by 2 stops on the full frame for equivalence
  • similar weight 760g (w/o tripod adapter) vs 720g
  • longer 160mm vs 100mm but does not get longer on zooming
  • larger filter size 72mm vs 58mm
  • IS more efficient on Olympus cameras
  • closer focus 0.7m vs 1.4m
  • similar price $1499 vs $1399

It is going to be a great lens, and will compliment the 12-40mm f/2.8 nicely. It will be awesome for a whole range of uses, but particularly for the hikers who would love this range in a relatively light, compact, weatherproof kit.

Personally I would prefer a weatherproof 200mm f/2.8 prime with a 1.4x teleconverter to get me closer to the planned 300mm f/4 PRO if extra super telephoto is needed – maybe such a 200mm will come one day!

 

Olympus OM-D E-M1 gains a few new capabilities in a firmware update

Written by admin on September 17th, 2014

Firmware update v2.0 for the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is said to give the following:

8 new functions:

  • Tethered Shooting for studio photography via the new Olympus Capture Software.
  • Live Composite mode for star-trail photography as with the E-M10
  • 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)
  • 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.

Much has been rumoured of the firmware update adding 4K video capability but this did not eventuate in this update – perhaps in a subsequent one if we are lucky!

 

2 new very compact, high image quality Panasonic cameras for travel – the GM-5 and LX-100

Written by admin on September 17th, 2014

Panasonic have just announced 2 new cameras with Micro Four Thirds sized sensors which will be very attractive to those wanting a compact travel camera yet high image quality of a larger sensor.

The LX-100:

The LX-100 is a fixed lens camera (you cannot change the lens) but with a useful 3 x zoom and good low light capabilities and a built in viewfinder, but perhaps most interesting of all, is it has incredible 4K video capability.

Specs at a glance:

  • 16mp multi-aspect sensor giving 12.7mp actual at 4:3 aspect ratio
  • 11 fps (6.5 fps in C-AF) with 1/16,000th sec shutter
  • 10.9-34mm (24-75mm equiv.) F1.7-2.8 ASPH Leica lens, close focus 3cm, 9 aperture blades, aperture dial and aspect ratio selector, focus mode selector, 43mm filter thread, but no OIS nor IBIS
    • much more depth of field (DOF) control than smaller sensor cameras such as the Canon G7 X, G1 X II or Sony RX100
  • DFD AF technology to give faster AF
  • XGA EVF
  • 3“ 921k dot LCD but no touch
  • 4K HD video (and 4K photo mode) at 30p, plus 1080 60p
  • electronic silent shutter mode
  • bundled flash
  • WiFi with NFC for smartphone control
  • 393g, 115 x 66 x 55mm
  • $US899

The Panasonic GM-5:

The Panasonic GM-5 is a true Micro Four Thirds camera with interchangeable lenses and replaces the GM-1, and importantly adds a built-in electronic viewfinder.

My main disappointment is the slow flash sync of only 1/50th sec but for those using this camera, they probably will not be using flash much any way.

Specs at a glance:

  • magnesium alloy body
  • 5.8fps burst
  • built-in 1,166K-dot EVF
  • hotshoe, bundled flash (GN 7m ISO 100), x-sync 1/50th sec
  • shutter to 1/16000th sec, plus Timed BULB to 60sec
  • fixed 921K dot LCD touch screen
  • 240fps AF readout, face and eye detection AF
  • WiFi smartphone control but no NFC
  • 1080 60p/24p HD video up to 24mbps
  • focus peaking
  • new “Snap Movie Mode” – can record video for short period of time (2/4/6/8 sec) as they shoot “moving photos”
  • Creative Control mode – 22 filters
  • Time Lapse Shot
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Clear Retouch
  • silent electronic shutter mode
  • level gauge
  • Highlight/Shadow Control
  • battery life CIPA score 220
  • optional Hand Grip DMW-HGR1
  • 211 g (0.47 lb / 7.44 oz)
  • 99 x 60 x 36 mm (3.9 x 2.36 x 1.42″)
  • $US899 with G Vario 12-35mm f/3.5-5.6 ASPH lens
 

At long last – an updated Canon 7D dSLR, the Canon 7D II – could this be the best sports/action/wildlife camera available?

Written by admin on September 17th, 2014

5 years is an eternity in the modern world of digital cameras, but Canon has finally announced an update to their current top of the line APS-C cropped sensor dSLR – their 2009 model Canon 7D.

There are not many reasons to buy a cropped sensor dSLR these days now that you can buy much more compact, lighter, quieter, more functional and fun Micro Four Thirds cameras and both Canon and Nikon have been feeling the heat.

Perhaps the main reason for buying such a camera is if you really need the fastest continuous AF tracking on fast moving subjects – as good as the latest Micro Four Thirds cameras are such as the Panasonic GH-4 and Olympus E-M1, they still can’t quite match the C-AF tracking capabilities of fully fledged phase detect cameras with double cross AF points, although the GH-4 is getting close with its new DFD technology.

Canon and Nikon desperately need to keep a significant advantage in this arena or they may find themselves rapidly without a market for their cropped sensor cameras.

On paper, Canon has not disappointed on this front – their new Canon 7D Mark II sports a number of enhanced features which would appear to give it the title as best sports/action/wildlife camera so far.

The enhancements over the old Canon 7D are considerable and in some areas even better their top of the range dSLR, their Canon 1D X.

Improvements over the Canon 7D:

  • 20mp sensor (not 18mp)
  • “4x more weather-sealed” – perhaps now you can be confident pouring a bottle of water over it as you can with an Olympus
  • button layout more consistent with the Canon 5D Mark III
  • new thumb switch to allow access to AF points pattern
  • dual SD and CF card slots
  • mode dial has a new central lock button as with the Olympus E-M1
  • 200,000 shutter (instead of 150,000)
  • 65 AF points
    •  all cross type, center double-cross
    •  center point is capable of focusing with lenses (or lens/teleconverter combinations) as slow as f/8, as well as down to EV -3 (not just 19 all cross with 7D and it gives a 1 EV advantage in low light compared to the 1D X and 5D Mark III)
    • although they cover a wider area, still do not cover as wide an area as Micro Four Thirds cameras and still do not offer the ability to AF on the closest eye as you can with Olympus cameras
  • 1080 60p/25p HD video with All-I, IPB, IPB-Lite and .MOV (not just 60p MP4) – similar to the Canon 5D Mark III
    • real-time lens corrections to video footage
    • C-AF only with STM lenses, or, USM lenses launched after 2009
    • recording restricted to 29min 59sec
    • can simultaneously output to HDMI but only 8bit not 10 bit like the GH-4
    • artificial light flicker warning
    • no slo-mo video capture like the GH-4 (96-120fps)
    • no variable frame rate mode
    • no log curve mode
    • no focus peaking
    • no touch screen to change AF point during video
  • new 150,000-pixel RGB metering sensor
  • metering sensor-assisted AF tracking – the latest version of the ‘Intelligent Tracking and Recognition’ (iTR) focus system from the EOS-1D X
    • this is also very useful when locking focus and re-composing, particularly with shallow DOF scenarios
  • on sensor phase detection Dual Pixel AF for Live View as with the Canon 70D but still no C-AF tracking in live view
  • spot-metering linked to AF point but still no Highlight or Shadow spot metering as with Olympus cameras
  • 10fps burst to 31 RAW (not just 8fps to 25 RAW)
  • built-in GPS
  • can now use exposure compensation in M mode with autoISO but cumbersome
  • higher capacity battery (LP-E6N) but can still use the old LP-E6 batteries
  • USB 3.0
  • still no sensor-based image stabilisation (IBIS), image stabilised magnified manual focus view, built-in AF illuminator, Timed BULB, Live BULB, LIVE Composite, focus peaking, nor flip out touch LCD screen as with Olympus

The 1.6x crop factor will allow it to have substantially more telephoto reach than a full frame dSLR, the metering sensor has 50% more pixels,  and the AF will work in lower light conditions than the 1D X giving it 3 important advantages when it comes to sports and wildlife photography.

At $US1799 it is not cheap for a cropped sensor camera but on paper, it may well be a very compelling camera for a niche sector who value highest performance C-AF tracking.

Those wanting the best video performance would be better looking at a Panasonic GH-4 which can do 4K video for the same price.

Those wanting the shallowest depth of field possibilities will want a full frame camera, the rest of us will have more fun buying a Micro Four Thirds camera of which there are a multitude of options now.

 

End of Winter in Victoria with the Olympus OM-D E-M5

Written by admin on September 10th, 2014

Well Spring is here, and so here are a few more shots from the past couple of weeks in rural Victoria.

Snow gums in a sea of cloud – Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, hand held, 1/8th sec:

snow gums in a sea of cloud

Gargoyles welcoming in a super moon in Bendigo
- Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8, hand held, f/7.1, 1/160th sec, ISO 200, exposure compensation negative 1.7EV to expose for the moon and lamp, some tonal post-processing:

super moon

The lions roar at dusk in Bendigo – Olympus mZD 75mm f/1.8, hand held, f/7.1, 1/125th sec, ISO 400, exposure compensation negative 2EV to expose for the lamp and reflected twilight light, some tonal post-processing:

lions

 

At long last, the Metabones Canon EF to Micro Four Thirds Speed Booster adapter is here BUT not for the OM-D’s!

Written by admin on August 28th, 2014

Be warned, this Metabones Speed Booster adapter is a very expensive, special niche item which will only suit some people with Micro Four Thirds cameras (excluding Olympus OM-D cameras – see below).

For someone like me who also has some great Canon pro lenses such as the 17mm tilt shift and the 135mm f/2.0, it becomes a very interesting proposition despite its price of $US599.

It will be of particular use to videographers who do not care much for autofocus anyway – see EOSHD first impressions

adapter

What can this adapter do?

  • it allows use of any Canon EF lens on your Micro Four Thirds camera with full aperture control, optical image stabilisation (if on the lens) and provides data for EXIF data store on the image
  • allows electronic manual focus – ie. turn focus ring and if camera and lens are set to do so, it will automatically activate magnified view mode
  • optional external 5V power supply
  • potential to also use other legacy lenses via adapters to Canon EF – but no aperture control, EXIF, OIS, and some lenses are NOT compatible due to rear projections potentially hitting the glass elements (eg. OM 50mm f/1.8 lens)
  • it does this with high optical quality 0.71x focal length reducing elements which:
    • reduces the 2x crop factor of Micro Four Thirds sensors to 1.4x crop factor – half way between APS-C (1.6x crop factor) and APS-H (the Canon 1D III/IV dSLRs which are 1.3x crops)
    • effectively allows 1 stop MORE light in, so your f/2.8 lens effectively becomes f/2
    • IMPROVES image quality, particularly for these full frame lenses which were mainly designed for film cameras – improved telecentricity, improved contrast, improved resolution

What can’t this adapter do?

  • does not fit on Olympus OM-D cameras as hits the protruding EVF
  • does not support Canon EF-S lenses
  • does not support autofocus
  • does not support dSLR focus confirmation – this is not supported on mirrorless cameras (eg. Dandelion chips on adapters for legacy manual focus lenses)
  • not compatible with some legacy lenses due to projecting rear mechanisms which may damage the glass elements
  • does not support in-camera lens corrections such as peripheral shading, CA and distortion

Examples:

  • Canon EF 135mm f/2 L becomes 96mm f/1.4 = 200mm f/2.8 in 35mm fov and dof terms
  • Canon TS-E 17mm f/4 tilt-shift becomes 12mm f/2.8 = 24mm f/5.6 tilt shift in 35mm fov and dof terms
  • Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 becomes 60mm f/1.0 = 120mm f/2 in 35mm fov and dof terms
  • Canon TS-E 90mm f/2.8 becomes 64mm f/2 = 128mm f/4 tilt shift in 35mm fov and dof terms
  • Olympus OM 100mm f/2.8 becomes 71mm f/2 = 140mm f/4 ⇒ no advantage over the mZD 75mm f/1.8 and I am not sure if it can be used without modifications

A final question though:

  • for Olympus camera users – does the adapter send the 0.71x adjusted focal length to the camera or the actual focal length – this may be very important as the in-camera image stabilisation system (IBIS) relies on the effective focal length data, and given the adapter is electronic, users will not be able to manual over-ride the focal length as they can do with legacy non-electronic adapters
  • thus will the Olympus IBIS be accurate when used with this adapter – or does Metabones need to do a firmware update to ensure this accuracy?
  • I have emailed Metabones and will post the answer as soon as I get it.

Oops .. looks like Metabones still have not fixed an old issue … compatibility with the protruding EVF of the Olympus OM-D cameras

It seems the current version does NOT mount on the Olympus OM-D E-M1 or E-M5 due to the overhanging EVF getting in the way and only barely mounts on the E-M10. Their web page now states these models are NOT supported for this adapter!

Hopefully Metabones will address this issue … still have not heard from them regarding the IBIS potential issue above either.

 

Cradle Mountain in the snow with the Olympus ZD 50-200mm lens on Micro Four Thirds

Written by admin on August 16th, 2014

I have always loved the Olympus ZD 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 SWD lens for Four Thirds as it is quite a unique lens:

  • it is the most compact, and light premium quality lens of 100-400mm field of view (in 35mm terms) and the only one of its main competitors to be able to fit into a 24cm deep camera bag whilst fitted to a camera
  • it weighs just 1.07kg with tripod plate and is only 157mm long with a 67mm filter thread and close focus is an amazingly short 1.2m
    • the longer, far more expensive Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L weighs 1.36kg, attracts internal dust, uses 77mm filters,  and lets in only just over half the light, while close focus is 1.8m
    • the heavier, longer, much more expensive Nikon Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR weighs 1,36kg, is 171mm long, uses 77mm filters, lets in only just over half the light, while close focus is a poor 2.3m
    • the much heavier, far more expensive Nikon Nikkor 200-400mm f/4 VR weighs 3.3kg and is more than twice as long at 358mm, and you need to resort to 52mm rear filters while close focus is 2m
  • it is weatherproof, and the long lens hood further reduces risk of rain landing on the front element
  • it has lovely bokeh for a zoom lens
  • it is relatively affordable
  • when used on an Olympus camera, you get 3-5 EV of image stabilisation
  • it can be used with either 1.4x or 2.0x tele-converters (allowing hand holdable 800mm super telephoto capability with AF as well as 1:2 macro!)

This is one of the lenses I like when I am a passenger in a car on a road trip and only get to shoot out the window.

HOWEVER, it has a couple of problems:

  • you need to use it on a Four Thirds dSLR or the Olympus OM-D E-M1 if you want fast AF
  • it is a touch big and heavy on most Micro Four Thirds cameras, and on most, AF will be slow if there is only CDAF available.

Personally, I cannot wait until Olympus bring out their even more compact Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO lens later this year, although I would like to see a 100-200mm f/2.8 or at least a 200mm f/2.8 weatherproof prime lens as well.

In the meantime, I took this lens with me on my cabin luggage to Cradle Mountain, and despite having this in my backpack, plus a fisheye lens, a 12mm lens, a 20mm lens, a 45mm lens, a 60mm macro lens and my 75mm f/1.8 lens with my Olympus OM-D E-M5, and a few extras, the weight still was under 5kg! This would be impossible to achieve with any other system, and sure made life bushwalking that much more pleasurable.

So here are a few shots taken with this lens mounted on my E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera:

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

The threatened Tasmanian Devil:

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle mountain region with fresh snow after the overnight snow storm which converted the beautiful green national park into a white wonderland:

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle Mountain region in the snow

Cradle Mountain region in the snow