Olympus E-1 Shooting Portraits

Just a few weeks ago, my friend Van Ligutom (IG @vanligutom) arranged an outdoor portrait shooting session, and I tagged along. I decided to bring the underused Olympus E-1, a dinosaur from nearly 20 years ago for this session, together with the amazing Zuiko 50mm F2 Macro lens. I also decided to do a POV style video, showing you what's happening around me and in front of my camera before I click the shutter button! It was a much enjoyable session, the E-1 performed above expectations and I got some shots that I personally like. The POV video can be found here (click). 

The Olympus E-1 was the first Digital SLR from Olympus, the first Four Thirds format camera ever, and the same Four Thirds format is now still used in modern cameras the OM-D and PEN series from Olympus/OMSystem. I chose the E-1 for several reasons - the famed Kodak CCD image sensor that produces excellent colors and pleasing skin tones, since this was a portrait session, and I also love the superb handling of the camera, having unparalleled ergonomics and that beefy grip was just so comfortable to hold. Other camera manufacturers can learn a thing or two about camera handling and ergonomics from this Olympus E-1. Also that sweet, soft, dampened shutter sound begs the E-1 to be clicked again and again! 

I know some would question whether the 5MP files from E-1 is enough, I'd say depends on what you do. This was not a commercial shoot, this was a fun session and I intended to post my images to social media only, and for those reasons the 5MP is plenty! I'd argue that having less megapixels to work with will make you a better photographer, realizing that you don't have any room to crop at all, you will take every composition and framing a lot more seriously before you spam that shutter button away. Thinking more before shooting is always a good thing. 

I paired the E-1 with the Zuiko 50mm F2 Macro, which was a great macro lens but also very suitable for shooting portraits. The medium telephoto reach allows better perspective control, having less distortion making the images look more proportionate and flattering for portraits. Also having tighter background compression means the framing is cleaner and there was less background to deal with. The longer reach and bright aperture F2 also creates shallow enough depth of field to blur off the background, isolating the model effectively. The bokeh quality is excellent, soft, creamy and dreamy. There is a 3D quality to the rendering of the 50mm F2 lens that makes the images look very realistic, and they just pop!

I hope you enjoy these photos! More portrait shooting to come for sure!

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