Handheld night street photography with Olympus E-M5 and Panasonic 20mm pancake lens – Melbourne’s “White Night” event

Written by Gary on March 3rd, 2013

On a warm balmy summer night, Melbourne hosted its 2nd “White Night” event of all night long cultural activities which attracted unprecedented crowds surpassing even New Year’s Eve crowds.

In such crowds a tripod is just asking for trouble, and a kit zoom lens is not going to suffice.

Many of the attractions were projected images on Melbourne’s buildings and what better way to capture these in dense crowds than to use the Olympus E-M5 Micro Four Thirds camera hand held with a tiny Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens which of course is effectively image stabilised thanks to the E-M5 making it an awesome compact night street photography combination.

These were all taken at ISO 800, mostly at shutter speeds 1/10th-1/50th sec and at f/1.7 (except the last one which was f/2.8).

The night begins:

the night begins

Birrarung Marr art installation:
Birrarung Marr art installation

The band plays under Flinders St railway station clocks:

the band plays under Flinders St railway station clocks

Projected buildings:
projected buildings

projected buildings

projected buildings

Projected love messages on the Yarra River:
projected love messages on the Yarra River


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. Janne says:

    How do you find the auto focus speed and accuracy of the lens on E-M5? As I have the same lens and I love the image in produces, but on my E-P2 the focus is a bit too slow and also sometimes completely misses it even in good light.

    • admin says:

      Compared with the latest Micro Four Thirds lenses the pancake is slow and noisy to AF but as long as you give it time to AF and keep the camera still, it works OK for most subjects that are not moving.
      The Olympus 17mm f/1.8 lens would be MUCH faster to AF but it is bigger.