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Old 23rd July 2009   #1
jonoslack
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Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

Well, of course, there's lots of stuff about whether it should have an EVF, or a better optical viewfinder etc.

Having had mine for a few weeks now, I've kind of settled into a new way of taking pictures - The LCD may not have enough pixels, but it has a remarkable angle of view.

I find myself holding the camera down and forwards and using the LCD for framing only - for detail, and for 'catching the moment' I'm also looking at the subject.

It's rather like using a Leica M for street, zone focusing, and then holding the camera down a little and shooting - only in this case you have a big advantage with the ability to frame the shot on the lcd at the same time added to the extra DOF of the 4/3 sensor.

Fiddling about with a tiltable LCD wouldn't be that much of an advantage - I've always found it to slow me down, and also make it rather obvious.

It allows one to be involved with the subject and the camera in a way which an EVF simply doesn't (I still always feel like I'm looking at history). This makes for better candid shots, and for those who like street photography, a whole new vista opens up.

For nature stuff, it's also great - you can hold it up/down whatever, and the great angle of view means that you can very quickly frame a shot and grab it (this time using autofocus).

I was expecting to be adding optical viewfinders . . . but I shan't bother.

Of course, you could say 'but that IS just like a point and shoot'. But there are three BIG differences:
1. the angle of view of the LCD (which CAN be seen in bright sunlight)
2. the configurability and ability to use lots of lenses with IS
3. the Image quality, which is much close to an APS
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Old 23rd July 2009   #2
Terry
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

I agree with a number of points. I am not buying the viewfinder for it.
The angle of view is very good and I pointed this out with the 7-14 combined with the level you can really keep it low and level at the same time which can be extremely important with that lens (to avoid converging vertical problems).

I just hold the pen differently than any other camera I own but that doesn't make it awkward either. It feels comfortable.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #3
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

+1.

While I've only used the E-P1 for a couple of weeks, I haven't ONCE thought I needed an EVF. In fact, I have found the LCD approach to be a real plus for managing perspective control... no more tilting buildings. I also find that I'm more likely to try different angles, etc with E-P1, since it is so easy to get low, get high (no pun intended), etc for a different perspective/approach.

E-P1 is a different tool, and I will use it differently than a DSLR. Like any tool, it has strengths and weaknesses. I just need to learn how to exploit its strengths to my advantage.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #4
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
Well, of course, there's lots of stuff about whether it should have an EVF, or a better optical viewfinder etc.

Having had mine for a few weeks now, I've kind of settled into a new way of taking pictures - The LCD may not have enough pixels, but it has a remarkable angle of view.

I find myself holding the camera down and forwards and using the LCD for framing only - for detail, and for 'catching the moment' I'm also looking at the subject.

It's rather like using a Leica M for street, zone focusing, and then holding the camera down a little and shooting - only in this case you have a big advantage with the ability to frame the shot on the lcd at the same time added to the extra DOF of the 4/3 sensor.

Fiddling about with a tiltable LCD wouldn't be that much of an advantage - I've always found it to slow me down, and also make it rather obvious.

It allows one to be involved with the subject and the camera in a way which an EVF simply doesn't (I still always feel like I'm looking at history). This makes for better candid shots, and for those who like street photography, a whole new vista opens up.

For nature stuff, it's also great - you can hold it up/down whatever, and the great angle of view means that you can very quickly frame a shot and grab it (this time using autofocus).

I was expecting to be adding optical viewfinders . . . but I shan't bother.

Of course, you could say 'but that IS just like a point and shoot'. But there are three BIG differences:
1. the angle of view of the LCD (which CAN be seen in bright sunlight)
2. the configurability and ability to use lots of lenses with IS
3. the Image quality, which is much close to an APS
Greetings Jono,

I bought the viewfinder when I bought the 17mm - it was a waste of money. In the case of the pen not very practical.

I agree with the sentiment that the LCD could use a few more pixels. I have wondered if more pixels would impacted the absolutely marvelous angle of view capabilities of the LCD and if this was planned by Olympus with their choice of LCD. It certainly is better than I expected in bright light conditions.

I spend a lot of time shooting street candid type pictures and have been using SAF MODE 3 - which often allows me to establish a zone focus and as you point out using the DOF benefits of 4/3 I don't miss much.

I keep the camera at shoulder level in my right hand looking left to frame. To some degree Mode 3 over comes the less than speedy AF and eliminates any shutter lag time (the PEN AF is faster than me at manual focus). What I like is once I hit the AEL-AF button and obtain focus I can let go and shoot away (Release Priority ON) at anything within the "zone" depending on distance to subject of course - again taking advantage of the DOF of the 4/3 sensor.

I have been using Panasonic lenses, 7-14mm and 45-200mm and I am very happy with both on the E-P1.

Best regards.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #5
Mike Hatam
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

One interesting thing about the LCD...

When I wear my polarized sunglasses, I can see the LCD perfectly when I hold the camera in "landscape" orientation. But if I tilt it to "portrait" orientation, the LCD screen goes completely black.

It's as if the LCD is polarized, and when the angle of the polarization of the LCD conflicts with the angle of polarization in my sunglasses, it blacks everything out.

I wonder if there is some type of polarization in the LCD, which helps it work in such bright sunlight.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #6
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

Aren't all LCDs polarized? Try looking at your computer monitor with polarized sunglasses...
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Old 23rd July 2009   #7
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

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Aren't all LCDs polarized? Try looking at your computer monitor with polarized sunglasses...
That is correct. There is a sheet of polarizer on the LCD.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #8
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

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Aren't all LCDs polarized? Try looking at your computer monitor with polarized sunglasses...
unless of course you still have a CRT monitor ;-)
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Old 23rd July 2009   #9
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

getting to what's different in the way of shooting, I was saying before (on another thread) that using the E-P1 may be more like the way I was able to use my IXUS camera ... holding it out from where I am and aiming by where it feels like I'm pointing it. Especially with wider angles this often works .... Eg




taken from my bike with my left hand held out to one side while riding along the freeway in Tokyo ... I'd spotted this as looking cool, so I went back to try it with the camera out of my pocket this time ;0)
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Old 23rd July 2009   #10
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

I have a number of "out the window" shots, done with DLux4 or K20d. Certainly easier with the DLux4, but as you'd expect you can push around the K20d files more.

The Pen is sort of the "anti-anal" photography tool. There is something about using an OVF and fiddling with all the dials and switches that can seem very calculated and cold at times. There really is very little of that with the Pen unless you desperately want to fiddle. But even then it isn't the same.

The only time I run into trouble is if I'm shooting with my dSLR and then immediately grab the Pen. I instinctively bring it to my eye. But then I kinda laugh and hold it out where I can see it. From that point it is just like a slightly larger/heavier DLux4 that gives a "better" file. I can just point and shoot. I'm lazy. It works. I'm happy.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #11
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

Thanks Jono - I think we're on the same wavelength here... even before my E-P1 arrived, I was looking forward to shooting this way :

Shooting portraits with the E-P1

and further thoughts... relating to the usual "buncha digital-spoiled whiners" (not my words, but wonderfully accurate ) on dpreview.

Tuning in to the E-P1

The last few weeks have convinced me that, either by luck or judgement, Olympus have designed the perfect camera for Street and Social shooting in the UK - I've never felt more relaxed as a photographer!

E-P1 + 17mm f2.8 pancake
1/160s f/5.6 at 17.0mm iso200


1/1250s f/5.6 at 17.0mm iso200


I'm shooting more than ever - having this camera with me everywhere

Cheers

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Old 23rd July 2009   #12
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Mosley View Post

and further thoughts... relating to the usual "buncha digital-spoiled whiners" (not my words, but wonderfully accurate ) on dpreview.
I only go there when someone links from a "sane" forum and always end up shaking my head. I am shocked that some of the DPR regulars don't already have Nobel *and* Pulitzer Prizes for how brilliant they (think they) are.
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Old 23rd July 2009   #13
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

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Originally Posted by sc_john View Post
+1.

While I've only used the E-P1 for a couple of weeks, I haven't ONCE thought I needed an EVF. In fact, I have found the LCD approach to be a real plus for managing perspective control... no more tilting buildings. I also find that I'm more likely to try different angles, etc with E-P1, since it is so easy to get low, get high (no pun intended), etc for a different perspective/approach.

E-P1 is a different tool, and I will use it differently than a DSLR. Like any tool, it has strengths and weaknesses. I just need to learn how to exploit its strengths to my advantage.

+2.... in fact, errr, I have now had such a strong conversion to the Way of Jono since he suggested this to me a week or so ago that I have started to do it not only with the Pen but with my 5DII.

Tale wags dog shock headline!

Tim
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Old 23rd July 2009   #14
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

Jono,
I was giving up on this camera. I have a thread across the street on the small sensor forum. Anyway, I accepted the fact that the camera wasn't for me and then I read this thread......all the sudden...the light started shining.......I have been trying to get past the focus scale/OVF issue...
to the chase...I got the camera this morning....I made about 110 exposures...and the great thing with this camera is the hip shot as you explained....very good screen....I could see even when the camera was down my side....I even could see the AF box.....unreal....

anyway....thanks to all the members here on this forum.....
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Old 23rd July 2009   #15
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Re: Using the Pen - a different way of shooting

G'day Jono (and all)

You've pointed some things that I've been trying to communicate to many about the Pen. You have to change your mind set when using this camera and, if you do, everythig will fall into place.

I got the Pen with the zoom, but soon after also got the Nokton 50mm f1.1. I've been using the Nokton way more than the zoom and love the way everything comes together. I find it much more effective than the zoom in usability. And despite the speed of the Nokton, it's way easier to focus in very low light.

All Olympus now needs to do is provide a one buton activation of the focus assist, with a smaller zoom (maybe 4x) and return to normal view with half press of the shutter button, to speed up the manual operation. I'm sure that this will come.

I'm so liking the manual lenses, so much so, that I'm considering getting the Voigtlander 12mm to give me a lens at the wide end. Whether you use the Olympus lenses or something else, this camera came perform brilliantly, if only you leave most of your DSLR habits in your DSLR camera bag.

Cheers

Ray
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