Monday, November 02, 2015

Glorious KL Sky After the Haze

Note: If you were in Malaysia and you have lost an Olympus PEN E-P5 Silver body, it is possible I have found your unit. Please read this blog here and contact me personally. 

The haze in KL is gone, after repeated episodes of heavy downpour over the course of more than a week and the shift of wind direction. That spells out overjoy for us photographers who shoot mainly outdoor. I sure hope the haze is gone for good!

I have posted up about a possibly stolen Olympus PEN E-P5 unit which I have acquired recently, and I would like to thank all you beautiful people for the words of encouragement, and most important of all, sharing out the info. I would think that not too many people in Malaysia have lost an E-P5, and most of the photographers are connected through social media (Facebook is still the number 1 social network in Malaysia) No one came forth and claim the E-P5 yet, and the offer to return the camera to the rightful owner shall remain open as long as the E-P5 is with me. However, I will have to set a time limit before I start using the E-P5, and I am setting a one month deadline. If no one claims the E-P5 from me after one month from now, I will start using the unit for my shutter therapy sessions. By then, at least I know I have tried my very best to find the rightful owner. 

So what did I use for my shutter therapy during this past haze-free weekend in KL? Olympus PEN E-P5 which I grabbed from the office. I paired it with my own beloved M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8. There was one particular shot that I wanted to do so badly, a landscape shot of the city from a far, taken during sunset. The weather did not disappoint, and the skyline was blessed with dramatic cloud formation, with strong golden warm sunset light over the city. I could have created a HDR shot but I decided against that and presented the classic silhouette style instead. This was probably the most beautiful shot of the city I have ever made. 

Sinset over KL. Which lens you ask? That humble kit lens, M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ, at 12mm widest angle. 


I originally wanted to stay on until dark and capture some long exposure images of the city at night, but decided against that for a few reasons: I was alone, I did not feel safe, and my instincts told me to not stay after this shot, and I made a last minute decision to attend a local photography exhibition (Persona Exhibition 2015, happening now at Publika, KL), where many of my friends were also attending. Since the haze is now gone, I shall probably come back to this same spot at night with some friends and capture the beautiful city scenery in the dark. 

And so yes, the adventure with the Olympus PEN E-P5 started. 

Now, the big, big question, which some of the people I have met at the exhibition have already asked me, why did I sell off the Panasonic GM1 and purchased the E-P5 instead?

I could write on and on a lengthy blog entry but lets keep this short. I have mentioned, clearly, the deal was too good to resist. The E-P5 was selling so cheap, it was a no brainer t get one. After I sold the GM1, I only had to top up RM100 (less than USD25) to obtain the E-P5. 

With that RM100 difference, I gained the following advantages:

1) 5-Axis Image Stabilization  
I don't think I need to convince you how important and awesome the Olympus 5-Axis IS truly is. 

2) Dual Dials! 
The single dial was just not easy to operate on the GM1

3) Tilt Screen
A lot of my composition and framing require low and high angle, a tilt screen is a game changer for me

4) Hot-Shoe
Though I rarely use flash, but that option is crucial when I do need it. 

5) 1/8000sec Mechanical Shutter
While the shutter speed on GM1 goes as fast as 1/16000, in actual fact, anything faster than 1/500sec, you are forced to use electronic shutter. That means, for extremely fast moving subjects, there is a chance of "jello" effect, with the subject being strangely elongated. With mechanical shutter this problem is solved. 

6) Ability to attach an EVF
Not a deal breaker to me, if I need to use EVF I will grab an OM-D, but hey, having an option is always a bonus. 

7) Better Handling
Often, some lenses felt out of balance with the tiny GM1 build. E-P5 provides better balance, thus improved handling with most micro four thirds lenses (for bigger lenses eg 75mm F1.8, or 40-150mm F2.8 PRO, OM-D is better recommended). 

I loved the GM1, and it is a fantastic, capable little camera, which I have used often and I have made many images which I am proud of. Between GM1 and E-P5, if price is not a factor to differentiate between the two cameras, E-P5 is a clear winner! Therefore, when I got the E-P5, it was to replace my GM1. 

Olympus PEN E-P5, it is not the latest camera in the market, but gosh, it does look gorgeous. 

All images shown in this blog entry were taken with Olympus PEN E-P5 and M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8, unless otherwise stated. 

Red Uniform

Halloween Video Shoot

Portrait of a Stranger 1

On the Floor

Something to Scare Your Children With

Hands

Portrait of a Stranger 2

Lazy Sunday Morning

Superman

Petaling Street. Another kit lens 12-50mm shot. With beautiful sky like this, it is impossible not to change your lens to something wider! 

Fried Rice for Lunch

End the session with an Overpriced Coffee. Remember the flowchart I made not too long ago? This cup of Flat White certainly qualified. 

I arrived just in time for sunset. Before shooting the opening photograph, I made this shot with the 25mm F1.8. I stopped it down to F22 to create the starburst effect on the sun. 

I am falling in love with the E-P5 all over again. Focusing was lightning fast, 5-Axis IS worked like a charm, tilt screen helped me grab some low angle shots, and images came out sharp, detailed and with beautiful life-like colors! All that, and the camera looks so sexy. That M.Zuiko 25mm F1.8 felt like it was made to match the E-P5 perfectly. 

E-P5 is the first step of my plan to restructure my own personal photography arsenal. I shall reveal the big plan when the time comes. 

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50 comments :

  1. Hello robin. Your skyline photo is gorgeous! I bought a pen ep5 in January 2014 after reading your blogs. I loved everything about it. A brilliant camera. It went swimming last week and I have replaced ur with an EM1... But reading this made me very nostalgic. I loved that mechanical shutter... And the weight and strength of the body... It was such a sturdy camera I had dropped it several times, even disfigured the casing and it still worked like clockwork. You really don't get that kind of quality these days... I'm second guessing my decision to get the em1 instead of the pen... Hmmmm. Love your blogs.

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    1. Hi LanDogg,
      Thanks for the kind words and glad to know that you have loved and used your E-P5 to its fullest! I think E-M1 is a different camera, designed to be used differently as well (with EVF and larger hand grip). Nonetheless, for every day shooting casual camera, I would choose the PEN over OM-D anytime!

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  2. wow. That is a very dramatic sky!

    I like Red Uniform a lot too.

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    1. Thanks Glenn! That red uniform was my gav shot of the day

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  3. I nearly bought a GM1 as my second body to the E-P5 but than the deal was off (cheap)
    I paid a bit more for the second body E-P5 and for most of the reasons you mentioned I am glad that I did not get the GM1. The only thing that really had going for it was the smaller size.
    For me essential are:
    1) 5 axis stabilization
    2) tilting screen for low to the ground shots and no need to crawl/lay on the ground to see what is happening

    I thought that the VF-4 was a gimmick: why would anybody choose that over the OM-D E-M5?
    Well, it changed how I take pictures.
    If I need to nail the focus on tricky subjects I focus manually. The magnification/size of VF-4 is larger than E-M5 and therefore easier to use, for me. BUT the greatest advantage: tilting, just like the screen. I am now looking down into the camera and in my opinion I look psychologically less threatening to the person I am taking the image of.
    Covering one's face is in my opinion a deal breaker; only professional models can act naturally once I cover my face, but ordinary people that are not exposed to camera regularly stiffen up, really.
    Me viewing from the top and not facing them directly softens up a bi the situation, I think. Of course best is done just looking into the screen but is not always the best for me.
    Needless to say that for macro (low to the ground) shots the VF-4 is a must: can't get the same images with the OM-D

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    1. Gnarlydog,
      You have a good point there about covering the face! Did not really think about that but you are right, it is important to have that eye contact, connection and trust when shooting strangers (for me) on the street.

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    2. "why would anybody choose that over the OM-D E-M5?"

      I chose E-P5+VF-4 over the E-M5 back in 2013. Why?
      + 1/8000s compared to 1/4000s
      + Lever to quickly change dial mode
      + focus peaking
      + Anti-Shock 0 mode
      + quite small package if I wanted it that way (without viewfinder)
      and as you mentioned before:
      + magnification/size of VF-4
      + tilting viewfinder (this is one of the few things I miss with my E-M5II!)

      Cons were:
      - no weather sealing
      - E-M5 more appealing in style compared to E-P5 with VF-4 attached.

      I never regretted this decision :)

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    3. I bought an E-P5 a few years ago, mainly because I was tired of removing one fiddly cover on the flash and two fiddly covers on the E-M1 body (And making sure I don't lose them) each time I wanted to use off-camera flash, and wanted a camera with built-in flash. I chose between the E-M10 and the E-P5 and in the end chose the E-P5 because it uses the same battery as the E-M1.

      Then, this summer I had booked a bear photography trip to eastern Finland and realised that I would get a lot more pictures if I could have one body with PDAF on the ZD 150/2 and one on the ZD 300/2.8 at all times so I got myself a second E-M1, so now I'm well equipped. :)

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  4. HI Robin,

    Great fan of your blog. Yes agree on all accounts with the E-P5 versus Gm1. For me the E-P5 and EM1 are the perfect combination - having the same battery is a deal breaker for light travel. Versatility and weight savings. I have my 40-150pro stuck on the EM1 and something wide on the E-P5 ( like 12-32 or Oly 17mm) and with a few batteries and a charger then I am set for just about anything. E-P5 also more suited to bushwalking etc with the tilt screen. Great camera for the price.

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    1. Oh yes! Now that you have mentioned, I forgot to write about having the SAME batteries used in the OM-D! Definitely an advantage.

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  5. would you prefer the EP5 over the OM-D EM-5/10? ....just wondering ..you know....:).
    [ I think it may be more than just the OVF against the EVF...]
    regards

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    Replies
    1. I would not really compare a PEN to OM-D. As I have mentioned, if I were to shoot something serious, eg wedding, events, fast action shots, I would not hesitate to pick up an OM-D, mainly for the integrated EVF and better grip/overall handling. PEN is such a delight to use for street and casual shooting circumstances.

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  6. Robin

    Am so glad to read this. Thought this camera had gone into oblivion with so many "advanced" new ones on the market! I bought the E-P5 when it was launched and nearly swapped it for the new OM-D EM-1 a year later. In the end I have both in my collection. It is very helpful at times to have them both with you to save the trouble of changing lenses in a hurry. There is something about the E-P5 that a feeling of joy came naturally each time I pick it up. I like the solid build, compact size and subtle heaviness of this little gem. Underneath that nostalgic style is packed with features. If you chance a used one at ridiculously low price, you should grab it. It's a no brainer, like you said. And, oh ho ho, enjoy shooting away with it...

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    1. Hey SH,
      You are right about the Olympus PEN in general, there is just something about them that calls us to pick them up and shoot!

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  7. Great to see the flat white return Robin!

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  8. Hi Robin, thank you for this blogpost.
    I'm using an E-M1 and since a few weeks or so I'm looking for something smaller, but with similiar quality - now it seems I've found the solution, Thanks again.
    btw: You're doing some great shots, oh boy!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for the kind words, indeed E-P5 is a good solution with the price drop now.

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  9. Hi Robin, what a good idea. E-P5 as pocket-cam beside the OM-D series. With the 14-43 pancake kit lens it as real marvel. And it works like the "big" brother from the OM-D series but smallish! It is worth to take a look at. Thanks for the surprising idea.

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    1. No problem Jean, glad to be able to help.

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  10. Great shots as always Robin. I haven't commented in a long time and it's been overdue. I've recently returned to shooting m43 with the Panasonic G7 and have been wanting to add an olympus body. Might look around for a used E-M10, but forgot about the E-P5. It looks super sweet.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Wataru,
      Thanks for the kind compliments. If you do not think an EVF is an absolute necessity, then E-P5 is a great option!

      Delete
  11. Looking for a backup body to my E-M5. How are you dealing with the lack of EVF in bright sun?

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  12. Waiting g for your promised review of 40-150mm f4.0 R lens on EM1.

    I ALSO SHOOT WITH NOT SO HUMBLE 12MM - 50MM MACRO ZOOM LENS which is no kit with the glass it has.
    Bob gallagher, food photographer
    Veggiepowerburgers.com

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    1. Bob, a review consumes a lot of time and I cannot just pull it out of thin air. I hope you understand the amount of work and time required.
      When I wanted to do the review I had a long weekend to do it, but I was occupied with something else. I do not just simply shoot a few photographs and make a full review out of it. I have to make sure I have enough chance to properly test every aspect before writing an article about a lens.

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    2. Also the recent haze did not help (cant shoot anything unless they are close up, which defeats the purpose of using a long lens). Now that the haze is clear, if I do get enough time for a full day shoot, I will do it.

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    3. Thanks just hoping 40mm - 150mm f4.0 R is on the list.
      Bob

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  13. This lens opens the doors for a fresh new perspective; with a maximum reach of 500mm on FX-format Nikon cameras and a staggerin
    congratulations nice picture
    dimitatu

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    1. You were referring to 50mm? Not 500mm? That would have been staggering indeed!

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  14. Hi Robin,
    Can you please tell us the location from where you shot the first & last pictures.

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  15. The wildfires in this area were a problem. Occasionally, there is a great deal of brown in the sky still. I managed to get a reddish, fiery-looking double rainbow photo at the height of the wildfires.

    Hope that the health of all is not at risk there.

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    1. It has been raining a lot here recently. Hope the haze does not come back.

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    3. How bad was it? Here in Sweden, they were barely mentioned in the news, but a few environmental organisations were pointing out that they were an environmental disaster of unimaginable scale, releasing as much carbon as the whole US was doing, and resulting in the slaughter of a lot of wildlife. Hope the fires are out now.

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  16. Robin your photos are very stunning.
    I don't know how you do it but all those colors scream out of my monitor (really impressive).
    I have tried it many times but I'm nowhere near your punchy colors.
    Regards

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    1. Thanks for the kind words Daniel. You may try to boost the contrast in post processing for the deeper blacks and stronger, bolder colors.

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  17. Replies
    1. Not only did your blog encourage my purchase of the EM-10, but the Olympus 25mm lens as well :) which I've been using almost exclusively recently. I posted some shots at andrewjrobins.com if you want to check out my 1st forays 'back' into photography.

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  18. Just curious, how much did this 'overpriced coffee' cost? It looks yummy!

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    1. About RM11.65. That costs more than an average meal in Malaysia

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  19. Stunning shutter therapy as always Robin!
    A quick question : which 25mm lens, oly or panasonic? I'll use it mainly for food blogging ;)

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    1. I am no expert but recently purchased the Oly 25mm. Cost wise it was half the price of the Panasonic in Australia and I am very pleased with the results (link to my blog is andrewjrobins.com if you want to see recent results - a food shot too:)).

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  20. Robin, I too recently acquired the E-P5 with the EVF4 at an amazing price. I've long wanted it but hadn't owned a Pen since my E-P1. I am currently using some Lomography lenses but want one prime. Your thoughts on the 50 1.8 have me pursuaded that I could adapt to its focal length as my only lens. My other choice would be the 17 2.8, a lens I used with the E-P1. Anyway, I always enjoy your photos, stories and of course, the reviews.

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