Micro four thirds, a tripod, and two legs: kit testing.

I am going to introduce these photos by a quote from Thom Hogan. Then I will discuss why I was carrying a tripod around Brighton beach, west of Dunedin this evening.

Not a single one of you phrased your biggest problem as being “I need more pixels” or “I need more dynamic range.” None of you really said your problem was that the camera’s frame rate was too slow to capture what you shoot.

What are we getting from the camera makers? More pixels. Better dynamic range. More fps.

Now, that’s not terrible. I think all of us will agree that if we get more pixels we get better digital sampling of the scene we’re photographing and more cropping options. That if we get more dynamic range we can produce better highlight and shadow detail when we want to. That if our camera is a Formula One race car when it comes to frame rates that we might get some shots, or at least choices of shots, that we’re not currently getting. Those are all okay things to gain. Solving some of our smaller problems is something we want done, too.

But those three things were not your biggest problem.

You see, I was testing the Olympus on a tripod to see if I could get sharp, accurate images in low light. I had a Sigma 20 mm f2.8 lens — but it was only at the very end of this sequence that I was using it wide open. Most of the time is was at F 5.6 or 6.3.

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You see, I have two trips coming up this year, to places that I cannot revisit easily or cheaply, and I want to get photos. Without packing bags into the hold — and both times I will be away from home for about two weeks. One of those trips is to a high crime area.

I need a kit that is small, light and discreet. Ideally, one that can fit in a workstyle bag that looks like I am a professional, not an amateur photog. That includes a tripod… a portrait lens, and a prime. It is far easier to do this using an Olympus Em-10 and a couple of primes plus one zoom than my usual FX kit (D800, 20mm F4, 35mm F2.8, 75mm F1.8). If I go light I can use a TLT Tim. I might even have room for a folding medium format camera. But I need to test this out.

So while Robyn was running around photographing oystercatchers I was trying to catch the light. You definately lose something in find details — particularly in trees beyond depth of field, where there is with the sigma lens some chromatic aberattion, but the results, both hand held and on tripod (some of these shots were taken after scrambling half way up cliffs) were reasonable to very good.

Photos processed in Darktable. Exported as png, 1000 pixel. Contact me if you want bigger.

Getting lost [And no need to upgrade a D800]

These were taken on the way to a hydro lake and at the lake on Valentine’s day: before I got lost and was navigating back the long way… we ended up finding the main road an hour from home.

I can get details at full size on these photos: I consider that the sensor in the d800 and successors punches a bit above its weight. It is not as good as the best medium format film I have used — but those shots are taken with 6×6 or 6×9 cm film.

Nikon d800: processed in Darktable: details as per the photo. All photos 1000 pixels, 16 bit png.

A walk around Karitane [Sigma 19 mm f2.8 m4.3 lens]

These four photos were taken in the inner harbour at Karitane on Sunday, using an Olympus M10, and a Sigma 19 mm (40 mm equig) lens at f 2.8, 1/4000. Some tweaking in darktable after importing them. The lens is very sharp, and has limited depth of field.

As using Darktable, all photos png, 1000 pixels max length.