Ever since the Olympus E-30, Art Filters have been introduced to DSLR as an instant one touch in camera processing capability to instantaneously transform ordinary looking images into artistic results. The similar feature was also included in all current Olympus PEN line-ups, and of course the latest DSLR Olympus E-5, which I am currently using. I have to admit I am not really a fan of the Art Filters, and I do not really believe in letting the camera handle my post-processing job. If I were after certain artistic effects I would rather do the processing myself after shooting.
Nevertheless, having the Art Filters in the camera, and not using it is like having that free chocolate bar when you purchase a box of instant coffee and not eat it. Hmmm, that was not a very good example, but you get the idea. Hence, I decided to go out one day, and just shoot primarily with the Art Filters. This basically went against my usual photography style, and normal presentation of final images. Yes, it is something different, and I say, why not?
CROSS PROCESS Art Filter
A light bulb under broad daylight.
Sitting at the ledge.
A man with only one arm.
I was told by a friend that my current blog entries have started to become "repetitive" and my images somewhat look more and more redundant. My response was: I needed to go through this repetitive process until I find the "breakthrough". I am afraid I have not found my breakthrough yet. Knowing this in mind, the experimentations, or rather a fun session with the Art Filters is a break from my repetitive and redundant photography style. Do cut me some slack, even in the beginning of any world renowned photographers, they did not just wake up one day and suddenly decide, hey, I want to be a world renowned photographer today.
Apart from Dramatic Tone Art Filter, this was the first time I have tried the other Art Filters in the camera extensively. The ones that I find of any use, and would actually consider are Pinhole, Grainy Film, and Cross Process. Sad to say, I find most of the other Art Filters rather, erm, useless. Of course, this was definitely open to individual preferences. Another good point to note is that the processing speed on the Olympus E-5 while applying the Art-Filters has been increased dramatically, and there was almost no lag (provided you use a high speed CF/SD card). I know the lag in the current PEN series was quite annoying, but surely, this will be improved in the next PEN line-up, perhaps the E-P3?
GRAINY FILM Art Filter
"I put my face on my hands..." Better Days, Pete Murray
Out of the TV into the world of B&W.
Sleepless on the streets of KL.
PINHOLE Art Filter
I really have no idea what that is.
The heavy vignetting can suck out the subjects at corners of the screen, hence composition must be done carefully for this art filter.
Cloths hanging outside the door.
I did find myself enjoying the Art-Filters. They provide fast, fuss-free and thoughtless results, almost instantly, with just one push of a button. They create effects that even a very good photo-editor would take probably 5-10 minutes to achieve for one image. Will I constantly use the Art-Filters in my ordinary shooting? No, I do not really see how Art-Filters can help, or enhance my style, in most of the genres that I am exploring in: macro, street, food, events and weddings. The Art-Filters just feel out of place. I am definitely still more comfortable doing my own post-processing, because I can have full control of what I want to accomplish in my final image output.
But, at the end of the day, where was the fun of it?
True, I admit it was fun using the Art Filters. Sometimes, we should just throw the technicalities aside, we should ignore our ordinary shooting style, we can just forget what we thought is good photography for a while, and just have fun. Just point, and shoot. No, I am not saying we must do this a lot, but maybe once in a blue moon, when we find ourselves wanting to do something crazy for a while. Art Filter is the answer. They represent everything that I am not.
POP ART Art Filter
Gotta love the strong colours.
Not an everyday sight on Malaysian streets, I must say.
GENTLE SEPIA Art Filter
Genuine smiles from the young. I think at certain age, we have lost the ability to smile straight from our hearts.
DRAMATIC TONE Art Filter
Gotta love the pseudo-HDR effect.
I think if I were to keep one Art Filter and throw away all the others, I will not hesitate to say I want the Dramatic Tone to stay.
I am aware there is a new breed of photographers, the users of micro 4/3 system (especially the Olympus PEN group) growing, and PEN strongly pushed the capabilities and uniqueness of their Art Filters amongst the users. It caused such a huge wave that even Canon has to somehow
plagiarize incorporate the Art Filters into their latest DSLR, Canon 60D.
Do share your thoughts on the Art Filters. Should they be included in a DSLR, a professional equipment, and if you say no, why not? Do we really need Art Filters at all? Can you live without the Art Filters? How did Art Filters change your shooting style? How did it help improve your photography vision? I would really love to hear from you.