Photography is all about light. When one captures a picture using a camera, there are three very basic parameters to consider: aperture, shutter speed and ISO sensitivity. The latter one basically just adjusts the light sensitivity of the sensor (or film in the olden times). It doesn’t have an effect on the artistic nature of the picture. Increasing the sensitivity just gives the opportunity to use a faster shutter speed and or smaller aperture.
Aperture, on the other hand offers the ability to modify the depth of field. Using a large aperture may seem tempting in many situations, but if I am shooting a portrait for example, I should “stop down” a few notches, decrease the aperture to increase the depth of field in order to make sure that the whole face of the subject is in focus. So the proper aperture depends on the situation. Usually I shoot using the aperture priority mode.
Using the right shutter speed, on the other hand, is important if one wants to freeze the motion. That means using the fastest possible shutter speed. Even if there is no movement in the picture, it may be smart to use a fast shutter speed, especially if shooting handheld, since the inevitable camera shake can make the image blurry. This effect is of course limited by the image stabilization of many cameras and lenses. The in-body image stabilization (or IBIS) of the E-M5 is very awesome in this regard.
Earlier I mentioned the thing about the sensor size and the “equivalent” focal lengths. What I didn’t mention was the effect it has on the focal lengths available for the Micro Four Thirds system: there aren’t that many wide angle lenses. I actually realized the need for one after visiting Gamescom in Cologne last summer. For event photography one might actually need something like the professional grade 12-35 mm lens from Panasonic, but currently I’ve been siding with the primes in the everlasting fight between good and evil… I mean zooms and primes.
There are a few options for truly wide angle solutions in the MTF market. For example, we have the Olympus 12 mm f2 and Panasonic 7-14 mm f4 lenses. It seems like Panasonic rules with the zooms while Olympus concentrates on primes, even though there are some nice primes from Panasonic too. I had the 14-42 kit lens with E-PL2 but I sold it along with the camera and I didn’t really use it as it had quite a lot distortion and lacked a wide aperture. One could also say that the lens lacked personality.
In the last blog post I rambled some nonsense about cameras and their sensors. Now that I’ve thought more about it, it is not wise to advertise that the image quality could actually benefit from the smaller sensor size, as you get better image quality with the same ISO sensitivity on a full frame camera. It’s really about the compromise between image quality and equipment size. Anyways, moving on.
After such wise words about talent and what not it’s great to admit that I bought Olympus OM-D in September, roughly a year after getting the E-PL2. I walked into Rajala Pro Shop with a friend and decided to grab the camera for myself. It was pretty pricey but it also gave a great push for the hobby on a personal level. It’s one thing to read reviews about cameras talking about ergonomics, controls and such things and another to actually realize these differences and what you want yourself.
Back in March I wrote about my new hobby that is photography. In 2011 I bought an Olympus E-PL2, and a little later I got a new lens for it, the Panasonic G 20 mm. Those who are into the same hobby are most likely familiar with the term GAS – Gear Acquisition Syndrome. I wasn’t, until 2012. During that year I bought not only a new camera but three new lenses, a flash, a tripod and Lightroom 4.
GAS is about the constant need to look at and eventually buy new equipment. It’s either due to the pure excitement of new technological gadgets or just the need to compensate lacking skills in photography. In my case it’s most likely both. Looking at other people’s photos is easy to get the feeling “if only I had a better camera” or “if only I had that lens” so I could take as good pictures as those other people!
I set out to compensate the recent radio silence in this blog by rambling about photography. Soon I realized there was simply too much stuff to handle in a single post so I decided to have multiple posts. Maybe the blog will look more lively as a result – when I manage to make the next post in June… Okay, hopefully it doesn’t come to that!