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Thread: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

  1. #1
    PeterLeyssens
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    using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Hi,

    I've been on and off 43 forums since the first cameras were introduced but, after being disappointed with my E-420, I decided to go with a Panasonic LX3 until I felt the digital camera technology was mature enough to produce outstanding compact bodies with interchangeable lenses.

    That was the plan, at least. Then I dropped my LX3 and the repair would cost as much as a new one. And then the E-P1 kits turned out to be not much more expensive than a new LX3. So I'm thinking about an E-P1 +17mm kit and an MF-2 ring to mount my OM 50/f1.4 or f1.8 as a starter kit for 43. I tried the E-P1+17 kit in a shop and it felt quite nice: this must be the first time I'm holding a digital camera with interchangeable lenses that feels solid without being a huge brick with a grip. Very much in the Maitani tradition of the OM bodies that I'm still using.

    I've read up on some forums and I know how to switch between zoom and normal view for manual focusing: that seems to be okay. I didn't find feedback yet about using an optical viewfinder like the VF-1. How does it work ? Can I keep the LCD in zoomed-in mode for manual focus and just snap away ? With autofocus, do I get some kind of feedback that the lens is in focus (preferably a LED or a subtle beep, so I can turn off the display) ?

    Finally, can somebody with a Panasonic and an Olympus compare Panasonic's dynamic B&W to Olympus' film grain modes ? I work a lot in B&W and I want the JPEGs to be good B&W out of the camera. The LX3 in dynB&W did exactly that. I will have no time to work in RAW for the next few years, so that is not an option.

    Thanks,


    Peter.

  2. #2
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    Terry's Avatar
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterLeyssens View Post
    Hi,


    Finally, can somebody with a Panasonic and an Olympus compare Panasonic's dynamic B&W to Olympus' film grain modes ? I work a lot in B&W and I want the JPEGs to be good B&W out of the camera. The LX3 in dynB&W did exactly that. I will have no time to work in RAW for the next few years, so that is not an option.

    Peter.
    I find the dynamic B&W from Panasonic to be outstanding. I haven't played with the Oly art filters as much but I really don't like their grainy B&W. It seems to obliterate a lot of the mid-tones and gets too contrasty (with some whites almost looking blown out) and with too much grain for my taste. It depends on the look you are going for. I can see using the Oly setting just not all the time and I'm not sure what other B&W options they have that can be fine tuned other than that art filter.

  3. #3
    PeterLeyssens
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Hi Terry,

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I find the dynamic B&W from Panasonic to be outstanding. I haven't played with the Oly art filters as much but I really don't like their grainy B&W. It seems to obliterate a lot of the mid-tones and gets too contrasty (with some whites almost looking blown out) and with too much grain for my taste.
    That's also my impression, unfortunately. The Panasonic dynamic B&W is fantastic, indeed. Hoping for others with more direct Olympus experience on feedback how they work ?

    (and for feedback on using an optical viewfinder)

    Thanks,


    Peter.

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    The finder your talking about is for the 17mm.
    It only shows image and no other info.
    I like it for that reason.
    It's as accurate as any Leica finder. I normally use hyperfocal distance on the street with it....
    But, if you set the AF target down 1 click.. You can use AF in a pinch.

    The Oly Jpegs are excellent out of the camera.
    The art filters are cute but I don't use them as they are slow to process. I do Raw only.

    The Pen 1 is my favorite camera even over my Pen 2.
    There are some amazing deals on the net.
    Shooter

  5. #5
    PeterLeyssens
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Hi Shooter,

    Thanks for your input !

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    The finder your talking about is for the 17mm.
    Or the 50mm Leitz finder I still have laying around that I could use with the 20mm or with a C mount 25mm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    But, if you set the AF target down 1 click.. You can use AF in a pinch.
    How would that work ? Can you turn off the LCD and will it switch back on if you want to confirm if AF has done the right thing ? Other focus confirmation alerts ? Or does the LCD stay on the whole time ?


    Quote Originally Posted by Streetshooter View Post
    The Oly Jpegs are excellent out of the camera.
    The art filters are cute but I don't use them as they are slow to process. I do Raw only.
    Hmm, not such good news: I won't have time to process raw to B&W.


    [/QUOTE]The Pen 1 is my favorite camera even over my Pen 2.
    There are some amazing deals on the net.[/QUOTE]

    Links to EU sites are highly appreciated


    Peter.

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    Subscriber Member Streetshooter's Avatar
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Peter....
    Set the camera like this....
    AF to AEL button.
    Lens reset to NO.
    Fn button to LCD on/off....
    Auto Power off to NO.

    So, if you use the finder for framing and you quickly need AF, you look thrunthe finder at the center of the frame. The target are is actually large....then
    when you hit the AEL button, the AF hits the center of the frame...( move the target down 1 click)

    Now when you go back to a preset focus distance, you hit the AEL button to lock focus...
    The camera will stay there until you hit the button again...even if it switches off ...
    The lens will come right back to that distance....

    The Fn button allows you to control the screen. Use it to check an image, info etc, then hit it off to conserve power.

    It's a very fast accurate camera set up this way....
    If you shoot in Jpeg, it's a very fast operation but the filters require more time....
    Not a concern of mine....

    I don't post links....maybe someone else can help there....

    Remember that most finders you get are made for 3/2 aspect and if you use the m-43 stuff on 4/3, it will read different.
    If your using Jpeg only, then change the aspect ratio on the camera to match the finder you get...

  7. #7
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    About B&W on E-P1

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I find the dynamic B&W from Panasonic to be outstanding. I haven't played with the Oly art filters as much but I really don't like their grainy B&W. It seems to obliterate a lot of the mid-tones and gets too contrasty (with some whites almost looking blown out) and with too much grain for my taste.
    Shooting monochrome on the E-P1 you can adjust contrast on a scale from -2 to +2. You can also adjust exposure compensation. Here is a 100% crop of a quick shot at contrast -2, -0.3 EV. Almost 100% (Flickr reduced it from 1089 pixel width to 1024).


  8. #8
    PeterLeyssens
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your input. The description of how to use autofocus manually sounds good and the B&W looks good. I think I'll go for a good deal on an E-P1 + 17/f2.8 (€440 + shipment) to get into 43.


    Peter.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Annna T's Avatar
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterLeyssens View Post

    .... So I'm thinking about an E-P1 +17mm kit and an MF-2 ring to mount my OM 50/f1.4 or f1.8 as a starter kit for 43. I tried the E-P1+17 kit in a shop and it felt quite nice: this must be the first time I'm holding a digital camera with interchangeable lenses that feels solid without being a huge brick with a grip. Very much in the Maitani tradition of the OM bodies that I'm still using.
    Yes, the E-P1 and E-P2 are really nice to have in hand. I got one a year ago, just as the E-P1 was released in order to complement my 5D. However, now that the E-P2 is out, I'd rather go for an E-P2. The main reason is the electronical Viewfinder. Beware that the lcd is almost useless in bright sun. This is spoiling my pleasure to use the E-P1 in bright sun. Then it becomes not only impossible to focuse a manual lense, but also impossible to compose/frame a picture correctly (it becomes difficult to control the border of the frame). I didn't get the 17mm lense with the viewfinder, so my answer is a little biased. But anyway, with the E-P2 and the electronical viewfinder, you would have all the needed info in the viewfinder, unlike with the external optical viewfinder.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterLeyssens View Post

    I've read up on some forums and I know how to switch between zoom and normal view for manual focusing: that seems to be okay.
    It is OK, but a little slow. You have to push the info button several times in order to navigate through the different info screens; you can customize the camera in order to allow only those which are important to you and disable the others. You have to choose between the comfort of having many info screens at disposal and the ability to operate faster with manual focusing. Once you are focused, you have to hit the info button again in order to return to the full frame. On the Panasonic GF1, a half pressure of the shutter would bring you back to the full frame, which is somewhat faster and more intuitive. To sum up, shooting manually will slow you down, unless you are using zone focusing (but beware that DOF isn't behaving the same on MFT cameras as on full frame), so this takes some time to get accustomed to. In particular, the 1/3 DOF in front and 2/3 in the back of the subject is no more true; you have a shorter DOF in front and a longer in the background; the nearer you are and the longer the lense is and the more pronounced it will be. For me that makes zone focusing more difficult than with 35mm film. But I guess that someone practicing a lot would get accustomed to it.


    Quote Originally Posted by PeterLeyssens View Post
    I didn't find feedback yet about using an optical viewfinder like the VF-1. How does it work ? Can I keep the LCD in zoomed-in mode for manual focus and just snap away ? With autofocus, do I get some kind of feedback that the lens is in focus (preferably a LED or a subtle beep, so I can turn off the display) ?
    I think that the VF1 is completely independant of the lcd; it is just an optical window plugged in the hotshoe of the flash. So you can activate the lcd at the same time and keep it showing the magnifyier, yes.

    Yes, with AF you get a green light and a beep when the focus is OK, but this works only with AF lenses; legacy lenses don't communicate with the body, so there is not confirmation beep when they are in focus, you have to evaluate it using the magnifyier.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterLeyssens View Post
    Finally, can somebody with a Panasonic and an Olympus compare Panasonic's dynamic B&W to Olympus' film grain modes ? I work a lot in B&W and I want the JPEGs to be good B&W out of the camera. The LX3 in dynB&W did exactly that. I will have no time to work in RAW for the next few years, so that is not an option.
    The Olympus film grain mode is an artfilter which adds a special look to pictures : it makes them look as if they were taken with a grainy high iso film. As such it add a lot of grain and pushes contrast to the point of burning highlights and clipping shadows.

    If your goal is to produce normal look B&W, it is much better to use what Olympus names "Picture mode"; you have five modes : standard, natural, vivid, muted and monotone. If you set it to monotone, you can then choose between different tones : sepia, neutral, bluish etc.. You can also add filters (red, orange, yellow, green, etc... the ones you have on a film camera). Seeing the B&W pictures on the lcd is a great way of learning how to get better picture using B&W.

    To conclude, I'd avoid the E-P1 unless you have optical finders adapted to all your legacy lenses. If not, I'd rather go with the E-P2 & VF2 or with the E-Pl1 (not so cute, but can take the VF2 at a later date if you are on a budget and doesn't cost much more than the E-P1) a Panasonic GF1 would be more expansive I think, at least here in the EU (Olympus applies price similar to the US, but Panasonic are about 20-30% more expensive.

    Anna
    Last edited by Annna T; 14th July 2010 at 00:24.

  10. #10
    PeterLeyssens
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    Re: using the E-P1 with a VF-1

    Hi Anna,

    Thanks for your comprehensive answer !

    Quote Originally Posted by Annna T View Post
    However, now that the E-P2 is out, I'd rather go for an E-P2. The main reason is the electronical Viewfinder. Beware that the lcd is almost useless in bright sun.
    I agree. But a really extensive home renovation & a newly born have convinced even me that it's a good time to be frugal. I just bought an E-P1 pancake kit (with VF-1) for 440.

    About the screen: I'm curious to see what it gives. I hardly ever had a problem with my LX3 screen for composition, though it was indeed quite hard to see what was being shown in detail. I'll figure out in a week or 2.


    Quote Originally Posted by Annna T View Post
    It is OK, but a little slow.
    I didn't order an adapter yet, so I'm starting out with AF first. I thought I had an adapter for Leica LTM lenses laying around, but I can't find it. Anyway, the 17mm will be the lens for the foreseeable future.

    It's a bit silly that the Olympus doesn't do a cancel-everything with a half press of the shutter. That's such an obvious and intuitive way of working.


    Quote Originally Posted by Annna T View Post
    I think that the VF1 is completely independant of the lcd; it is just an optical window plugged in the hotshoe of the flash. So you can activate the lcd at the same time and keep it showing the magnifyier, yes.

    Yes, with AF you get a green light and a beep when the focus is OK, but this works only with AF lenses; legacy lenses don't communicate with the body, so there is not confirmation beep when they are in focus, you have to evaluate it using the magnifyier.
    Yes, that's the way it is. With the 17mm, you can remap the AEL to AF, switch of the AF and LCD and just push the AEL button to focus. The light then tells you it's in focus. By using the central focus area, this seems to work quite well without ever referring to the LCD. Looking forward to trying that out !



    Quote Originally Posted by Annna T View Post
    The Olympus film grain mode is an artfilter which adds a special look to pictures : it makes them look as if they were taken with a grainy high iso film. As such it add a lot of grain and pushes contrast to the point of burning highlights and clipping shadows.

    If your goal is to produce normal look B&W, (...) If you set it to monotone, (...)You can also add filters (red, orange, yellow, green, etc... the ones you have on a film camera). Seeing the B&W pictures on the lcd is a great way of learning how to get better picture using B&W.
    That's very good info. Sounds like a B&W chemistry lab in a camera. Definitely much more flexible than Panasonic's dynamic B&W. I don't mind learning how to use a few in-camera filters. I would mind having to work in raw and having to finish each photo by hand. I know that's the best way to get optimal results, but the renovation and baby are not only taking my money, they're also taking up my time.

    Thanks for your long post. I decided to get the E-P1 without your info, but I'm now even more convinced it's the right choice. Except that the E-P2 with VF-2 would be even better, but that's a choice I made because of the circumstances.

    Expect lots of construction works and baby pics soon :sleep006:


    Peter.

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