Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII Sydney Photowalk & Review No. 2 You are free

Blue Hour, Sydney Opera House. Olympus OM-D EM1, 12-49mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/13sec handheld.

Blue Hour, Sydney Opera House. Olympus OM-D EM1, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/13sec handheld.

Ok, confession first up. The featured image was taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 as I took this and the newly released E-M5MkII. I was challenging myself to shoot the E-M5MkII with the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 lens and had the Olympus 12-40mm f2.8 on the E-M1, but when I needed to compose this shot in a hurry I just reached for the camera with the correct wide angle lens attached.

Bokeh & Stablisation Test with Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 40-150mm f2.8, 150mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/15sec handheld.

Bokeh & Stablisation Test with Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 40-150mm f2.8, 150mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/15sec handheld.

I remember when the first E-M5 was released in 2012 and was lucky enough to be a part of the Olympus / CNET Australia Sydney Photowalk. I was impressed with the tiny size, retro look and of the fantastic 5 axis image stabilisation. I dreamt of the day of walking out of the house without a tripod at night and that is what I did when we traveled around Europe last year for 3 months. I just took it for granted shooting at night or dark situations didn’t require a tripod any longer. Unless you were after longer exposures of a second or more. ( Even though I had heard of people shooting the E-M5 handheld for 2 seconds and getting a clean image.)

This fact hit home in Florence when I got a little too close to a laser show and burnt 2 rows of pixels across my sensor, one vertical and the other horizontal. My world collapsed. We were travelling to Venice the next day so the timing was cataclysmic. I did have a backup camera. My old Nikon D90 but on the first day when shooting blue hour, I couldn’t get a clean handheld shot and there was an ice cubes chance in Hell of getting an image at night handheld. Luckily for me I stumbled upon the only camera store in Venice the next day that had just received an E-M1. I bit the bullet, handed over my credit card and bought it at a financially painful exchange rate.

Now the latest E-M5 has improved the image stabilisation even further. So what better way of testing than shooting at the maximum reach of 150mm, equivalent to 300mm on a full frame camera. Now a general guide is your shutter speed should be no less then your focal length to maintain a sharp image. So 1/150 second should be your slowest shutter speed. Well Olympus is right with their latest ad campaign of “You are free” as you can kiss this rule goodbye. I went 3 stops under that to 1/15 second!!! and at f 2.8 achieved nice bokeh from about 20 feet away.

FaceTime from Circular Quay, E-M5MkII 12-40mm f2.8, 31mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/13sec handheld.

FaceTime from Circular Quay, E-M5MkII 12-40mm f2.8, 31mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/13sec handheld.

I then switched back to the E-M5MkII with the 12-40mm f2.8 lens near the end of the walk and captured this guy doing a FaceTime conversation so that the Sydney Harbour Bridge was his back drop. I don’t know how his phone was handling the dynamic range but I had no problems capturing everything I needed for this shot. I even increased the contrast a bit to give it a more dramatic feel.

As I had my own lens and cameras I didn’t need to borrow any gear the Olympus reps had. They had enough E-M5MkII’s and lens to suit the attendees which they limit to 15 people for this type of promotion. The good news is they will be holding more photowalks / social gatherings in the near future so if you missed out this time learning more about the Olympus gear don’t feel left out. You will have more chances this year.

As the walk ended I was just getting in the zone so ventured out on a solo mission around the back alley ways and walk ways around The Rocks area. Here are my 3 favourite images from that jaunt.

Back streets of The Rocks, Sydney. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600. 1/4sec handheld.

Back streets of The Rocks, Sydney. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600. 1/4sec handheld.

Stairs at Argyle Cut, The Rocks, Sydney. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/10sec handheld.

Stairs at Argyle Cut, The Rocks, Sydney. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/10sec handheld.

None shall pass. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 15mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/10sec handheld.

None shall pass. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 15mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 1/10sec handheld.

As I was making my way back to the train station I thought I would capture one last shot of Circular Quay Ferry Terminal with the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the background. It had been a long day with only 3hrs sleep, so when my camera changed into that uncharted territory of video mode I was stumped on how to change it back. Searching through the menu system trying to get back into picture taking mode was frustrating the life out of me. Then the penny dropped. Yes I’m an idiot. I had not locked the mode dial and had inadvertently changed it. That was the signal to go home to the missus and get some rest.

End of the line, Circular Quay Ferry Terminal. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600,  0.4sec handheld.

End of the line, Circular Quay Ferry Terminal. Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII, 12-40mm f2.8, 12mm @ f2.8, ISO 1600, 0.4sec handheld.

 

6 thoughts on “Olympus OM-D E-M5MkII Sydney Photowalk & Review No. 2 You are free

  1. Lovely read mate. Long time no see. I haven’t been shooting. But… I’ve been considering the em5 my ii. It’s value, features and compactness is screaming at me. Any chance you let me when the next Olympus walk is? I’m thinking of getting the new 14-150mm lens and the 12mm prime.

    1. Ali, Hi mate. Since we got back from our Europe trip last year I’ve been a bit quiet too. We certainly do need to catch up, Forresters Beach was amazing and would love to get up there again. I guess you meant the 40-150mm f2.8. It’s a great lens but it adds some bulk to the smaller cameras. Nowhere near the size equivalent 70-200 f2.8 on a full frame camera. As for the 12mm prime, it was my night time lens I used during our travels. Now I have the 12-40mm f2.8 I don’t use it as much. Only when I want to go ultra compact. There’s no word on when the next walk is but will let you know as soon as I know.

      Thanks for dropping by here mate, I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

        1. I just realised I misread it. It’s for. The PEN series cameras. Never mind.

  2. Geda’y Myk Slick looking blog buddy, great way to share your work, Recently picked up the OMD10 with the 14-42 ez kit lens. its a good lens but am hankering after the good glass and would love to give some of them a run on this great little magic box.Also had a great piece of luck on ebay while checking out lenses and picked up an EM5 with three lenses ,18mm f2.8, 12-50 1-3.5-6.3 weather sealed and the 40-150 4-.5.6.3 all for less that three weeks worth of fuel, This means I can venture out onto the rock platforms with out the rig shareing the same fate as my first Little Pentax Q and being drowned by an unnoticed green swell monster from nowhere lol. I have replaced it and it now piggys on the tripod with my Oly’s.
    Please if your heading up to the Central Coast to hang with Ali let me know it would be a pleasue to spend some time with you both ,cheers Jim B

    1. Hi Jim, it’s good to see you on the Oly team mate. :)) The EM5 is a very good camera. If mine hadn’t been destroyed by a laser in Florence I probably wouldn’t have bought the EM1 and then the EM5 mk2 but I’m glad I did. It’s nice to have a backup body. If I can convince Dianne to move away from her Samsung Galaxy camera and try the Oly I know she would love the better image quality. Then again all she is doing is posting to FB.

      I own 2 of those lenses, 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 and 40-150mm f4.5-6.3, both are good kit lenses. I also have the 9-18mm f4-5.6 a very nice wide angle lens. These 3 served me well along with the Rokinon 7.5mm f3.5 fisheye had all the focal lengths I needed. Then I got spoilt, I bought the Oly 12mm f2. The image quality and low light performance was amazing. That lens made me leave my tripod at home so many times as I didn’t need it for night street shooting or interior architecture. I also love the weather sealing too. Don’t have to worry when it’s raining 🙂

      When I do head up the coast I’ll let you know mate, more the merrier.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting. You’ve reminded me to put up a “What’s in my bag” page

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