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Gadgets and such

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One day I felt the sudden need to buy myself a new audio system. You might laugh, but I had this image of me waking up in my bed, grabbing my iPad or phone to activate the sound system and play something epic via Spotify. Now I’ve achieved that “dream” by buying a new AV receiver and a pair of speakers. I’m no audiophile so you should not expect a very technical of my new equipment but instead some comments about the general experience.

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You know you’re old when you see people referring to IG and instantly think about IRC-Galleria when they’re actually talking about Instagram. But yes, I’ve recently started using Instagram myself, also. You would think that I don’t need any more social media in my life, but I decided to give it a try anyway. It’s a shame my Samsung Galaxy SII has a shitty camera, but I can try to cover the lack of quality by applying unnecessary filters – isn’t that how you’re supposed to use Instagram? Anyways, if you’re interested in following me over there, my username is Popelotto.

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There is no shortage of different zooms for Micro Four Thirds cameras. Most of them are pretty cheap and not that high end stuff. The most expensive zooms are the Panasonic f2.8 zooms that correspond to the classic 24-70mm and 70-200mm zooms on full frame. They would most likely be awesome, but like I said, they’re pretty expensive too.

From the cheap zoom collection I currently own the Olympus 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 one. It’s not fast, but it offers a fantastic reach for somewhat bright environments. I bought it last autumn, since I didn’t have anything that reachy and it was pretty cheap: I think I paid something like 150 euros for the lens, a 8GB memory card and a smallish Olympus Pen bag. I haven’t used the memory card yet, but it’s good to have a backup, and I mostly use the bag to store my lenses, even if it would fit the camera and maybe two lenses.

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Olympus recently revealed their newest camera model for the Micro Four Thirds. I know that Panasonic has actually announced two new models, but I didn’t find them particularly exciting. Okay, GF6 might work as a second body, but I don’t know about G6. Maybe if its video features are truly exciting.

But anyways, Olympus announced E-P5. There had been a lot of speculation and rumors about what features the camera would include in the end. I haven’t had the chance to actually try it myself but based on pictures and specifications it seems to be a sexy beast.

The body style of E-P5 stays true to the PEN design and it looks really good, especially in silver and black. borrows many features from the E-M5 while improving them and then adding some while lacking some, probably just to differentiate it enough compared to E-M5. I’m not going to go through all the specifications here, you can read them from other websites (Ming Thein’s blog, for example) and press releases, but I’ll point out a few interesting things.

EP5

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I talked about my plans for new camera gear acquisitions in this blog some time ago. I mentioned my worries about the Panasonic 20 millimeter f1.7 and my lust for the Panasonic-Leica 25 millimeter f1.4. Well, now I’ve fulfilled that part of my plans – at least the latter half of it, as I haven’t yet sold the 20 millimeter pancake lens.

I haven’t yet done too much shooting with the Pana-Leica but I can already say I like it. It’s quite a bit larger than the pancake lens but on the other hand it feels good on the OM-D E-M5 as there’s actually something to hold on to. Focusing has worked like a charm thus far and I haven’t had problems with the so-called rattlesnaking people often complain about. Yes, there’s some noise in certain situations, but it hasn’t bothered me yet.

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JVG
I didn’t mean to write really anything about Lightroom 4, but alas, here we are. Before buying the application I toyed around with the Olympus Viewer 2 software. I think it’s decent but now that I have Lightroom I have no urge to return to it. Lightroom 4 is a handy tool for post processing images. You can easily twiddle with settings and also add some effects. Adobe offers a category of built-in presets that, in my opinion, are great for producing black & white photos, for example. If they don’t please you, it’s pretty easy to use the presets as a starting point and create your own look.

I was really surprised by how easy to use the software is. I.e. the spot removal tool is really smart and requires minimal micromanaging from the user. Adding photos, cataloging pictures and “developing” them is fast and effective. Like I said, I did some post processing with the Olympus Viewer 2 software before, but now I tend to do some post processing for all the photos I use. I’m still learning to use the application correctly so pardon me if some of the post processing is a bit over the top. Most recently I started using the noise removal tool, which can be pretty darn impressive.

To keep things short, I’d like to evoke a videogame comparison. For me, Lightroom 4 cost about 60 Euros I think, thanks to the student discount (the student verification process was pretty painless, by the way). For about the same price I could’ve bought a new console game. I’d like to think that Lightroom 4 offers more entertainment and value than an average console game.
Take a dive in the pool

Skiing on ice

Now that I’ve talked about most of my photographic gear, I think it would be proper to write something about the future things. Okay, I haven’t said anything about Lightroom 4, but I don’t know if I have anything worthwhile to share about it. It feels like an amazing program and has encouraged me to do some post-processing on my images. I used to fear that, mostly because I don’t feel like I have any artistic vision and I was afraid I would just mess up things. But you shouldn’t be afraid of trying!

So alright, I’ll list some things I’ve considered doing in the future. Here we go!

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