If I might be allowed to blow my own trumpet for a minute, I’ve been a real ‘influencer’ of late. Convincing bloggers of the world to adopt Disqus, the commenting system, for one. Persuading photographers to plump for the Olympus E-PL1 as a second example. Pft. Who am I kidding. I just like gadgets and tend to evangelize.
What really gets people to go for these products is that they are, very simply, great products. It’s nice to know stuff I write at least gets read though! But influencer? I’m not convinced. Let’s experiment. Attractive ladies of Delegacion Coyoacan aged between 18 to 30….the fashion for 2011 is shorter skirts and more cleavage! Let’s see how that works out….
I did, however, get an email some months ago from a chap in Bangalore, asking me for my recommendation as to what camera he should buy. How cool is that? Bangalore to Mexico City. In a flash. Viva la internet! Or le internet? Have the Frenchists made up their mind yet? But anyway, I sent back a few suggestions. Top of the pile was the Olympus E-PL1. Of course that would be my number one recommendation – I did buy one myself. He replied, thank me for my help, and telling me the E-PL1 it would be.
Yesterday I received another email. He’s actually bought one, on Christmas Eve. A new, proud owner of one of the finest cameras you can buy for around $500. He sent a couple of photos along with it for my comment. They were both great, but the one I posted below was awesome – great reflections. I played with it a little.
The original is the right hand image. I got rid of the leaf with the Clone tool in Photoshop and put a bit more light in the shot. Turned up the vibrance a little too much though. Looking at the two side by side below, I prefer the original. Although when viewed full screen it does need more light, and then I prefer my own manipulation.
Anyhow, he had a couple more questions – some of his shots were blurry and he was unsure how the Image Stabilisation settings work. He also wanted to know about getting news lenses. First thing I’d recommend to anyone with a new camera is to get themselves an account on Flickr and make use of the community. Firstly, I’d love to see more photos! And Flickr is an easy way to share.
Secondly, you can explore other E-PL1 photographers efforts and see what they are getting out of the camera. There are groups too, and it isn’t hard to find one or two dedicated to this camera. There are plenty of discussions going on, and helpful members who’ll give lots of opinions of what you’re doing right or wrong, and how you can get the most out of your camera. The important thing is to upload lots of photos and get chatting to other members. It’s hard for me to say why some shots have come out blurred without any more information.
It’s probably that the camera wasn’t focused properly when the shutter was clicked. I get that more often when the camera is set to Continuous Focus, so I now usually have it set to Single Focus. It’s also one of the Olympus’ few weak points – it’s not the fastest focuser. Macro shots also sometimes struggle to find focus – I’ll often switch to Manual Focus for that. I really don’t play around with the image stabilisation an awful lot, but I’m not convinced that that is the cause of any problems, especially in good light.
As for lenses. The kit lens that comes with the E-PL1 is decent. A kit lens is very rarely, if ever, anything more than ‘ok’. It does the job and I have no real complaints, but once I’m rich enough I will splash out on some new glass. Top of the list is the f1.7 pancake lens. That wouldn’t be at the top of everyone’s list, but I have a baggy pair of jeans with big pockets and with the pancake lens attached,
Lenses are not cheap though. I’d love the professional 14-35mm f2.0 SWD but at nearly $2,000….a bit out of my price range. I can dream though. An f2.8 lens is a little closer to any budget I might one day have, but it is still pricey. The lower the f number, of course, the more light you can get in, the better your low light photography will be, and the greater depth of field you can squeeze out.
I guess after the pancake lens my next purchase may well be a zoom lens, such as this one. It’s cheap, has a decent range, and produces reasonable results. I keep an eye out as well for new lenses hitting the market. But until my finances improve substantially, I’ll just continue having fun with the lens I have – it does the job nicely!