Shooting with a 150 dollar prime on my Olympus OM-D


As I went through the process of looking for a prime for my OM-D, I realised that my options were limited to :

 – Pana 20mm F1.7 (US$ 350)

 – Olympus 17mm F1.8 ($ 499)

– Sigma 19mm F2.8 ($ 150)

The pana was a reputed lens.  Sharp and fast, the lens did not perform optimally on a Oly. Key challenges being slow autofocus and banding issue. Then there was the long awaited Olympus 17mm F1.8. A well build, good looking, fast focussing lens, although a trifle expensive. After looking through a lot of reviews, two things became very clear – sharpness was not as good as the pana; and more importantly, the lens was not weather sealed. At that price, the Oly, without weather sealing and less sharp than a $ 350 lens was not exactly  something that got me excited.

At this point in time, I heard about the Sigma 19mm F2.8. This lens was retailing at around $150 around christmas time. a quick review of the test results at various sites told me that the lens was pretty sharp on a m 4/3 and focussed pretty fast as well. Although the max aperture was F2.8 (one and half stop slower than the other options), but the price made me  take a risk.

I have been using the lens for the last 3 months. Sharp enough for me ( i shoot streets not test charts) and very fast in focussing. There is zero shutter lag. The lens has not left my OM-D for the last three months. 

One word of caution though, this lens & cam combination takes about 3 seconds to start up from the time you switch on the camera (indexing of the lens happens). So, a quick shot when your camera is switched off does not happen. Otherwise it performs well. The new version of the lens is expected in a fortnight. Hopefully, that would be even better



Olympus OM-D E-M5

Well, most of you must be thinking… Not one more micro 4/3 camera in the already congested space. Well, I also thought so when the read the burb about the product launch. I must admit, I belong to a genre of photogs who feel they have been there and seen it all. To top it, I use a cam with a APSC aensor. Would I want to move down the value chain to a further smaller sensor ? Nyet !!!!

Then I was talking to a friend. A man who is an expert on cameras, if there was one. He had laid his hands on a pre-production model of the camera. Combining the camera with a prime lens of his choice, he produced results (SOOC JPEGS) which were just mindblowing. The crisp colours and the sharpness of the pictures blew him away. Mind it, this was a gentleman, who owns both a Canon EOS 60 D and a Nikon D 7000.  He now plans to jettison his APSC sensor cameras and plans to but the OM-D and a couple of primes. He also mentioned that the 5 axis image stabilisation is nothing like he has seen till date. He was happily shooting at 1/16 and 1/8 of a second without any perceptable shake.

Just imagine what such a camera with a fast lens can do for you.

Since I needed to validate what I heard from one source, I decided to keep a watch on what the major websites had to say. And soon enough, DPreview  posted a few pictures from the camera. I looked at the comparative pictures against some of the sharpest cameras known to man – Full Frame and APSC sensor. Well, this sensor was as good or better than most of the big names.

I know there will be some knitted brows after reading this. Hence, I am attaching below the link to the comparatives. See for yourself.

I know it is counter-intuitive to believe a micro 4/3 will challenge sensors double its size

Watch this space. We will be back with more information.

Comparison – Canon EOS 5D MkIII vs Nikon D800

Well, now that we have seen two major launches in the last few days in the Full Frame DSLR segment, I thought it would be interesting to look at their specifications, side by side.

But before we get there, what I understand is that both are very capable cameras but have very divergent approach to image making. While nikon has upped the ante in the Pixel game, canon seems to be focussing more on the image quality/noise supression and ISO image quality. As of tnow, we do not have any sources for comparing image quality but should be there soon.

Camera Feature Canon 5D Mark III Nikon D800
Sensor Resolution 22.3 Million 36.3 Million
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Dust Reduction / Sensor Cleaning Yes Yes
Sensor Size 36x24mm 35.9x24mm
Viewfinder Type Pentaprism Pentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage 100% 100%
Viewfinder Magnification 0.71x 0.70x
Image Size 5760 x 3840 7360 x 4912
Image Processor DIGIC 5+ EXPEED 3
Storage Media 1x Compact Flash and 1x SD 1x Compact Flash and 1x SD
Continuous Shooting Speed 6 FPS 4 FPS, 6 FPS in DX mode with MB-D12 battery grip
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 to 30 sec 1/8000 to 30 sec
Shutter Durability 150,000 cycles 200,000 cycles
Base ISO ISO 100 ISO 100
Native ISO Sensitivity ISO 100-25,600 ISO 100-6,400
LCD Resolution 1,040,000 dots 921,000 dots
Exposure Compensation ±5 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments ±5 EV in 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV increments
Bracketing ±3 EV in 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV
Exposure Metering Sensor iFCL metering with 63 zone dual-layer sensor 91,000-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering III
Boosted ISO Sensitivity ISO 50, ISO 51,200-102,400 ISO 50, ISO 12,800-25,600
Autofocus System 61-point high-density reticular AF (up to 41 cross-type points) Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX with 51-points (up to 15 cross-type points)
AF Detection Up to f/5.6 Up to f/8 (up to 9 cross-type sensors)
Built-in Flash No Yes
AF Assist No, only with external flash Yes
Video Output AVI, H.264/MPEG-4 in MOV Format H.264/MPEG-4 in MOV Format
Uncompressed Video Output No Yes (HDMI)
Video Maximum Resolution 1920×1080 (1080p) @ 30p 1920×1080 (1080p) @ 30p
Audio Recording Built-in microphone Built-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional) External stereo microphone (optional)
LCD Size 3.2 diagonal TFT-LCD 3.2 diagonal TFT-LCD
HDR Support Yes Yes
Built-in GPS No No
Wi-Fi Functionality Eye-Fi Compatible, WFT-E7 Eye-Fi Compatible, WT-4A
Battery LP-E6 Lithium-ion Battery EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery
Battery Life 950 shots (CIPA) 850 shots (CIPA)
Battery Charger LC-E6 Charger MH-25 Quick Charger
Weather Sealed Body Yes Yes
USB Version 2 3
Camera Construction Magnesium Alloy Magnesium Alloy
Dimensions 152 x 116.4 x 76.4mm 144.78 x 121.92 x 81.28mm
Weight 860g 900g
MSRP Price $3,499 $2,999

Canon Launches two Primes – Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM & Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM

Canon has launched two prime lenses with Image stabilisation features : The 28mm and 24 mm F2.8 IS USM. These are new launches with IS.  These lenses present a new paradigm – wide primes with image stabilisation features.

(EF 24mm F2.8 IS USM)

(From Canon lens literature)

The Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM lens is the ideal entry focal length into the world of ultra wide-angle photography. A compact, fixed focal length 24mm lens equipped with Canon’s Optical Image Stabilizer technology that offers up to 4 stops of shake correction along with a ring-type USM and advanced CPU with optimized AF algorithms for fast auto focusing. Full-time manual focus feature is available for manual focusing even while in AF mode while a minimum focusing distance of 0.66 ft (0.20m) offers dramatic wide-angle images. Aspherical lens elements help improve image quality on the periphery while a 7-blade circular aperture diaphragm delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds. Lens coatings are also used to help minimize ghosting and flares. Offering spectacular image quality, silent and smooth operation in a compact body, it’s the ideal lens for capturing both stills and video. Name Canon EF 24mm f/2.8 IS USM Image Circle 35mm Type Wide Prime Focal Length 24mm APS Equivalent 38mm Max Aperture f/2.8 Min Aperture f/22 Diaphragm Blades 7 (circular) Lens Construction 11 elements in 9 groups, including aspherical lens elements Diagonal Angle of View (Based on image circle) 84 degrees Focus Details Rear-focusing; USM with full-time manual-focus override Front Element Rotation No Zoom System n/a Closest Focus 0.20m / 0.66 ft. Magnification Ratio 0.23x / 1:4.3 Filter Size 58mm Dimensions (Length x Diameter) 55.7mm x 68.4mm / 2.19 in. x 2.69 in. Weight 280g / 9.9 oz Notes Image Stabilizer (up to 4-stops of correction). Typical Online Price US$850 (Available June 2012)

(EF 28mm F2.8 IS USM)

 A 21st century update to a popular and widely used fixed focal length lens, the Canon EF 28mm f/2.8 IS USM is a fixed focal length wide-angle 28mm lens equipped with Canon Optical Image Stabilizer technology, superb image quality and performance perfect for use in any number of photographic applications. Sharp, clear images are easy with an Optical Image Stabilizer that offers up to 4 stops of shake correction while a ring-type USM and advanced CPU with optimized AF algorithms enable faster auto focusing. Aspherical lens elements help improve image quality on the periphery and lens coatings help minimize ghosting and flare. A 7-blade circular aperture diaphragm delivers beautiful, soft backgrounds. Compact and lightweight with outstanding lens performance, it’s the perfect lens to go with any EOS DSLR camera whether shooting stills or video.



Adobe launches Lightroom 4

Adobe launches Lightroom 4 with incremental features :

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 offers additional features. Some of the new features include a completely new book-creation module, expanded support for video, soft proofing capability, and geo-tagging of still and video images via a Google Maps-powered module. Image editing tools have also been significantly updated, with a new process version.

Summary :

While this is a major upgrade but the changes are easy to comprehend. There are strong tools to handle video as well. the book module would probably evolve in the days to come. and finally there is a improved Raw file handling.

Well, is it worth a upgrade ? will love to hear about it from folks……

For further details, visit the adobe site below :