Posts Tagged ‘digital’

What Photography Gear Do I Use?

March 18th, 2011 No comments


Beautiful Evening


How important is the photographer's camera and gear? Ken Rockwell does a great job showing why the the camera doesn't matter. It's the photographer's talent that counts. Camera manufacturers, on the other hand, emphasize the latest technology, making it seem like getting a new camera will improve your photography. My view is that the camera, lenses and accessories are only tools. Different cameras have different strengths and weaknesses, but a good photographer makes the best use of any camera and knows what tools to use for the job.

I love having the flexibility to get the shot under any conditions. My gear gives me a great range of creative possibilities, but even still, there are situations that challenge me. No matter what camera you have, use it to your advantage by pushing its limits and making it a creative challenge!

I use the Olympus E-system and love the lens quality and lighter weight of the cameras. Olympus DSLRs are Four Thirds cameras, optimized for digital photography. Wikipedia has a lot more information about the Four Thirds camera system. The sensor size is a little smaller than the APS-C sensors used by Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony and others. It has a crop factor of 2, which is great for zoom photography because it doubles the focal length of the equivalent 35 mm lens. The downside is that it's not so good for wide angle. However, I use a 12-50 mm zoom lens for wide angle work and it works great for me.

Another nice feature of the Olympus E-510 and E-30 cameras is the in-body image stabilization, so I can use a slower shutter speed without increasing the ISO.

The Olympus E-30 is my primary camera and the E-510 is my backup. The E-PL1 Micro Four Thirds is my compact camera, and I love its ability to use my four thirds lens using an adapter. It's an interchangeable lens camera with 720p HD video, and is compact because it does not have a prism system (used by DSLR cameras to allow you to see what the lens sees), but uses an electronic viewfinder instead. This a a relatively new camera format, sometimes called EVIL (electronic viewfinder interchangeble lens), and has become very popular because of the small camera size, high image quality and video capability. These are great cameras for travel and street photography.

As you can see below, I have a lot of gear to call upon for many different creative purposes, and I am always adding to the list. Do I think I will get more gear in the future? Of course! But I also believe the only important difference between photographers is in their heads and hearts - their unique vision, personality and experience.

My Gear:

DLSR camera bodies:
Olympus E-500 8 MP
Olympus E-510 10 MP
Olympus E-30 12 MP DSLR

DLSR lenses:
Olympus Digital Zuiko 14-45mm f/3.5/5.6
Olympus Digital Zuiko 40-150mm f/3.5/4.5
Olympus Digital Zuiko 35mm f/3.5 macro
Olympus Digital Zuiko 50-200mm f/2.8/3.5
Sigma 30 mm f/1.4 prime lens
Olympus ED SWD Digital Zuiko 12-60mm f/2.8-4

Interchangeable Lens Digital Cameras
Olympus E-PL1 micro 4/3 12 MP

Micro 4/3 lenses
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42 mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom

Olympus FL-50
CyberSync transmitter and receivers
Pair of Pocket Wizard II
4 White Lightning X series monohead strobes

Compact Digital Camera:
Canon Power Shot G9 12 MP with underwater case

Light modifiers
5-in-1 collapsible reflector
2 large softboxes
Beauty Dish
Convertible umbrellas - reflector and shoot-through
DIY light panel
Snoot, grids, barndoors
Variety of coloured and neutral density gels

Manfrotto tripod with ball head
Fog machine
Halogen Work Light
Sekonic Light Meter
Olympus RM-1 remote
Olympus CB-05 hotshoe TTL cable
Vagabond remote power battery pack
Flash bracket
Background and light stands

Canon PixmaPro 9500 photo printer

Film cameras, lenses and accessories:

Canon T70 35mm camera
Canon T70 35mm SLR Camera

Pentax ME Super 35mm camera
Pentax ME Super 35mm SLR Camera (1977)

Pentax P3 35mm SLR camera
Pentax P3 35mm SLR Camera (1985-1988)

Zenit-E 35mm SLR
Zenit-E Russian (Soviet) 35mm SLR camera

Minolta STsi
Minolta Maxxum STsi with 28-80 f/3.5 lens

Nikon Pronea 600i
Nikon Pronea 600i APS SLR Camera

Fujica STX-1N 35mm SLR
Fujica STX-1N

I do have a list of gear that I would love to get when I have the opportunity or need :)

Wish list:
Olympus 7-14mm wide angle lens - great for landscapes
Olympus 8mm fisheye lens - specialty lens for funky looks
Lensbaby Composer - for selective focus effects
Olympus E-5 DSLR - top of the line Olympus DSLR with HD video
Olympus 50mm f/2.0 lens - nice fast lens
Alien Bee ring flash - for fashion
Underwater housing for Olympus E-PL1  - for underwater fashion photography
Olympus FL-50R wireless flash units - portable TTL flash system
Spiderlite continuous lighting system - for video and still photography

Hasselblad H4D 40 MP Digital medium format camera

Upgraded my Olympus E-510 to the E-30 DSLR Camera

February 17th, 2011 2 comments

Olympus E-30

Olympus E-30 DSLR Camera

I’ve been using an Olympus E-510 DSLR for almost 3 years and it’s been a great camera. However, it has seen a lot of use (and abuse) and has sustained some damage. The door covering the memory card slot does not lock properly (now I use Velcro to keep it closed) and the USB/video-out port has been damaged so I can't tether the camera or use the cable release. The camera is still usable as a backup, but I decided to purchase another camera rather than getting this one repaired. It would probably be cheaper to buy another E-510 rather than get this one repaired. I considered buying another E-510, but decided to use the opportunity to upgrade instead. So my main objective was to replace the E-510, but also to use the opportunity to upgrade with a budget of under $700.

Of course, when buying a camera, I always keep in mind the offerings from the different manufacturers, and do some research to compare the features and prices. The DSLR market is dominated by Canon and Nikon, who have about 75% of the market, but there are great cameras and lenses offered by Sigma, Pentax, Sony as well as Olympus. I have a substantial investment in the highly rated Olympus Zuiko Digital four-thirds system lenses and I'm very happy with the image quality that I was getting with the E-510 so decided not to change to brands.

My first DSLR camera was the Olympus E-500, which was my primary camera for about a year before I upgraded to the E-510. Even though I liked the E-500, I loved the E-510 even more, mainly because of the in-camera image stabilization and faster autofocusing system. It also has a live view LCD and higher resolution.

For me the choices to consider were the E-620, E-30, E-3 and the recently introduced E-5 (with HD video). I am interested in E-5, but right now the price is relatively high as it is the latest addition and the top of the Olympus DSLR line. The E-620 is quite similar to the E-30 (here's a comparison), more compact but with fewer features. The E-3 is also similar to the E-30 but with a more rugged, weatherproof magnesium alloy body, instead of glass reinforced plastic, but does not have some of the features introduced in the E-30. I do most of my photography in the studio and while having a more rugged camera body would be a great thing, it was not worth the additional cost for me right now, but I'd definitely pick up an E-3 if one came available at the right price range. I'm keeping my eye on the E-5 though - it looks like a great camera! I ended up buying a lightly used E-30 body and started to use it right away! I was lucky that we had some dramatic light in Vancouver yesterday, the day that my camera was delivered. Here's the first shot that I took:

Vancouver, BC

My first shot with the Olympus E-30 - Beautiful Vancouver!

I was happy with it!

What I like about the E-30 compared to the E-510:

  • Brighter, larger swivel LCD
  • Larger viewfinder
  • Better performance at higher ISO
  • 11 point autofocus (vs 3 for  the E-510)
  • Multiple exposure (up to 4 images)
  • Faster sync speed
  • Faster burst mode
  • Digital spirit level
  • PC port for flash sync
  • Art filters
  • Face detection
  • Shutter 1/8000 sec fastest shutter speed
  • Wireless control of Olympus flash units (FL-50R and FL-36R

The controls for the E-30 are quite different than the E-510, including a second control dial, and it will take me a little time to get used to it. But the E-30 menu structure is very similar to the the E-510 so it was easy for me to set up the camera with my preferences. After using the E-510 for three years, I found the E-30 intuitive and easy to use. I'm looking forward to more of years great photos with the E-30!

Here are some more photos of Vancouver taken with the E-30 yesterday:

Vancouver's Beautiful Light

Vancouver's Beautiful Light

Sunset Reflection in Vancouver

Sunset Reflection, Vancouver, BC

Vancouver's Beautiful Light

Cool Clouds, Vancouver, BC

Related Links:

Review of the Olympus E-510 DSLR camera on Digital Photography Review.

Review of the Olympus E-30 DSLR camera on Digital Photography Review.

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