Weekly Column: Olympus Innovates

Here it is, my makeup column for last week. While Canon appeared to have floundered their opportunity to win the landscape crowd back from Nikon, Olympus did something fascinating. They introduced a high megapixel mode in their latest camera body, the OMD EM5 Mark II, that can create 64MP RAW files! In early tests of just the 40MP jpeg file, it is beating the Nikon D810 and competing with the amazing medium format camera, the Pentax 645Z. To be able to create a high res image from a camera weighing a mere 14.4 ounces compared to the 31.04 ounces of the Nikon D810 is a huge feat. Once you add the weight of the lenses, the entire Olympus micro four thirds system is a fraction of the weight of a full-frame setup. There are caveats of course. The camera must be mounted on a tripod. It’s pretty entertaining reading about Olympus shooters saying that this is a deal breaker. For a street shooter, absolutely. But for a landscape shooter, the tripod is an extension of the camera and it’s hard to imagine shooting without one! So for me and other landscape shooters, no big deal. Now let’s get to the real issue. There can be zero movement in the scene itself for a minimum of 1 second. WOW. That eliminates so much of what’s possible. No water, no clouds, no grass blowing in the wind. This is a killer for so many and the reason why this new high res mode is not going to be a huge success. But… there are situations where complete stillness is possible. And for many of the subjects I like to shoot, that’s exactly the situation I face. In addition, I’m tackling a new project this year that includes entirely static subjects. So I preordered the camera and will give it a go and report back on my blog and in Edition III of my gear book due in the fall.

My TV recommendation of the week is Game of Thrones. It may not be the best show on TV, but it is definitely my favorite. No show carries as much hype. The anticipation of season 5 is at its boiling point. April 12th! If you’re not already caught up, get there! Trust me, if you could invest in only one show currently running on TV, this is it!

Yellowstone National Park ISO 800, f/8, 1/125 sec.

“Braving the Elements” Yellowstone National Park ISO 800, f/8, 1/125 sec.

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4 responses to “Weekly Column: Olympus Innovates

  • Justin Lowery

    It is an incredible feature, and the benefits are pretty amazing. Essentially, you get much increased field depth from the M43 sensor, paired with the crazy resolution of medium format. Some other landscape photographers have gotten their hands on these and shown that ironically, the “no motion” thing only applies some of the time. For example, they proved that you can shoot waterfalls with creamy blurred water but with a shorter shutter time than is normally possible because the blur is induced by the blending of images, and not by the actual exposure time. The possibilities are really amazing here, as normally ND filters or diffraction inducing apertures would be necessary to create this effect during the day. Can’t wait to try this out.

  • Karen

    Hi Justin-so-do you
    have any feedback on the Olympus yet? Eager to hear how you like it!

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