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When your first mount the 14-42mm micro zoom lens on the Olympus E-P1, you might see this message on your LCD: "Please check the status of the lens." Do not fear. Nothing is wrong.

All it means is that the lens is in the "locked" position. The message is E-P1 speak for "unlock the lens." All you have to do is twist the zooming ring to the left until you hear a click. Then lens extends, and you're in business.

When finished shooting, there's a little switch on the zoom ring that you hold down while twisting to the right. This allows you to lock the lens again so it's as compact as possible. This quickly becomes second nature. But it can throw you for a loop when you first get the camera.

More Information on the Olympus E-P1

If you're interested in the Olympus E-P1, check out my ISO Comparison post. I run at series of photos from the camera staring at ISO 100 all the way up to ISO 6400. I also have a podcast covering the features of the E-P1. I also have a First Look at the Olympus E-P1 article at Macworld Magazine.


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What's more fun than shooting the Statue of Liberty? Taking pictures of photographers trying to get their own shot of the grand lady.

On a recent trip to New York to test the Olympus E-P1, we took a water taxi out to Coney Island. On the way, we made a "drive by" stop near the Statue of Liberty for a quick photo op. It was fun to get my own stock photo of the Statue, but maybe just as fun to grab this candid of the photographers working the shot. As we always say on a photo shoot, after you get the first shot, turn around and look to see what's behind you.

Photos by Derrick Story, captured with the Olympus E-P1 digital camera.

If you're interested in the Olympus E-P1, check out my ISO Comparison post. I run at series of photos from the camera staring at ISO 100 all the way up to ISO 6400. I also have a podcast covering the features of the E-P1.


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The number one question I've received since readers knew I was testing the Olympus E-P1 Digital SLR was about its low light performance. So I've put together a batch of images ranging from ISO 100 all the way through ISO 6400 so you can see for yourself how the E-P1 (with new image processing engine) performs.

Both Jpeg and Raw (processed with Olympus Master 2 software) versions are included on the Digital Story Flickr page. The images were captured in Mahattan's Lower East Side around 8 pm on June 16, 2009. Here's how I took the shots.

The Olympus E-P1 was on a tripod using the self-timer to trip the shutter. I had the kit 14-42 mm lens mounted using Programmed exposure and auto white balance. I used the Raw+Jpeg recording format. The Jpegs you see on my Flickr page have not been processed. They are full size and straight from the camera. If you click on "All Sizes," you can see the original image at full size.

This image was captured at ISO 400 in Raw mode on an Olympus E-P1. Click on the picture to see a 100 percent magnification of a portion of it.

The Raw files on that page were processed in Olympus Master 2 using a white balance setting of 7500 K with exposure set to +0.2 EV. Sharpening was set to +1. The images were then exported as Jpegs from Olympus Master 2 and uploaded to the Flickr page without any further editing.

In the Raw files, I like ISO 200, 400, and 1600. I haven't done enough testing to understand why there was some smearing at ISO 100 and 800 with the Raws. ISO 3200 and 6400 should be reserved for special situations where getting the shot outweighs its high level of noise.

ISO performance is a very personal thing among photographers. Everyone has their threshold for image noise. Take a look at this collection of shots and decide for yourself how the Olympus E-P1 performs in low light.

The Olympus E-P1 kit with 14-42 mm lens will be available at Amazon.com for $799 US.

If you want to listen to a podcast about the Olympus E-P1, check out Meet the Olympus E-P1.


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State of the art technology melded with Olympus Pen tradition, the E-P1 digital camera is a new breed of DSLR featuring HD video, Raw format, micro 4/3rds, in a stylish stainless steel compact body. In this podcast, I walk you through the feature set of this latest innovation by Olympus.

Pros

  • Well-crafted, attractive stainless steel body.
  • Raw, JPEG, and 720p recording formats.
  • Excellent image quality with 12.3 MPs resolution.
  • Good combination of manual controls and automation.
  • Many creative features such as multiple exposure.
  • Clear menu system and easy to use camera controls.
  • SD and SDHC memory card instead of xD Picture Card media.
  • HDMI output.

Cons

  • Motion JPEG AVI codec instead of MPEG-4.
  • No external microphone jack.

The Olympus E-P1 kit with 14-42 mm lens will be available at Amazon.com for $799 US.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Splash is the June 2009 Photo Assignment. You can capture anything from a child jumping in a pool to an olive dropping into a martini. You can read more about how to submit on our Submissions page. Deadline for entry is June 30, 2009.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (24 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our new Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!


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The Olympus E-P1 digital SLR camera blends traditional looks with modern capability. Visually, it celebrates the styling of the original Olympus Pen camera that was introduced in 1959. But at its heart, it features the latest Olympus technology, including a micro four-thirds lens mount, 12.3 megapixel capture, and Raw, Jpeg, and AVI recording formats. In many ways, it's the most exciting Olympus release in recent history.

On June 19, 09, a handful of photographers will be testing more extensively the Olympus E-P1 in New York City. This will give us a chance to drill down into its features, examine the images it captures, and share those pictures with you. In my case, I already have opinions about the things I like and don't like about the camera. This shoot will help me better articulate those thoughts.

More to report soon. In the meantime, if you want to get the scoop on the feature set for this camera, listed to my podcast titled, Meet the Olympus E-P1 digital SLR camera.


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It's almost as if the Eye-Fi folks heard our grumbling. No Raw file transfer, no selective uploads, no Ad Hoc connections. Well, they've fixed all of that with the new Eye-Fi Pro 4GB SD WiFi memory card.

The $149.99 card provides you with both Jpeg and Raw upload capabilities, the option to send-up only the pictures you want to transfer, and still includes Geotagging and widespread HotSpot access. You'll need a SDHC compatible camera, and of course some sort of WiFi access. The uploading can work in the background while you continue shooting.

If you have a hankering to transfer images directly from your camera, and you sometimes shoot Raw, this might be one of your most affordable choices.


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"Graduation" - Grab Shot 178

"I was trying some low-light candids during a high school graduation last week." writes Joann Wilson. "It was a little frustrating because the graduates looked bored and fidgety much of the time, making it hard to get a group shot where everyone looked alive."

"The fidgeting was a particular problem since the low light forced me to shoot at about 1/15 sec. I was about to pack up and leave when they announced the last thing on the program: a music slideshow with pictures of the graduates through the years. Suddenly they all woke up and sat in rapt still attention for the whole 5 minute slideshow, allowing me to finally get a decent shot."

Joann used her Canon 20D with a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L on a monopod. Settings were: ISO 1600, f/2.8, 1/15 sec., and 70mm focal length.

Photo by Joann Wilson. Click on image to zoom to larger size.

If you have a candid you'd like to share, take a look at our Submissions page, then send us your Grab Shot. We'll try to get it published for you on The Digital Story.

And you can view more images from our virtual camera club in the Member Photo Gallery.


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Does the just-announced iPhone 3G S finally qualify as a reasonable compact camera? In addition to its resolution bump to 3 megapixels, the new device includes autofocus with "tap to focus" control, VGA video recording with editing, auto-macro, and improved battery life. I take a closer look at this device to see if it's the mobile camera we've been waiting for.

Monthly Photo Assignment

Splash is the June 2009 Photo Assignment. You can capture anything from a child jumping in a pool to an olive dropping into a martini. You can read more about how to submit on our Submissions page. Deadline for entry is June 30, 2009.

Listen to the Podcast

You can also download the podcast here (21 minutes). Or better yet, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our new Flickr Public Group. It's a blast!


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-


Podcast Sponsors

SiteGrinder lets you take ownership of your websites. Effortlessly output pages right from Photoshop.

Red River Paper -- Try the $7.99 Sample Kit.

Add Magic to Your Slideshows -- FotoMagico presentations are so amazing that your audience will be asking how you did it.


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Good timing for new camera owners. Apple's Digital Camera RAW Compatibility Update 2.6 brings Raw support to the new Canon T1i (500D), Canon EOS Kiss Digital X3, Nikon D5000, and the Olympus E-30. Since the update is implemented system-wide, the upgrade applies to Aperture, iPhoto, and Preview applications.

I had Canon T1i and Olympus E-30 Raw files already in my Aperture library. This meant that I could look at thumbnails, but if I tried to view anything larger, I would get a "file not supported" message with no image. After applying the 2.6 update, the message went away, but Aperture still had a hard time generating full size previews from the Canon T1i Raw files.

When I uploaded new T1i Raw files to Aperture after the update, however, everything worked great, and the new Raw decoding for the camera was quite attractive.

So I guess the moral of the story is not to add Raw files to Aperture until the camera is officially supported.

The Difference is Night and Day

I've been in rapidly changing light the last few days. I could literally stand before a scene at Mono lake, take a picture every two minutes, and have five completely different images without ever moving a step. I had a similar experience in Bodie when the early morning was clear providing vivid colors, then as a storm moved in, the light completely flattened out.

But you don't have to be on a road trip to take into account how the passage of just a few hours can completely change a shot. I have two examples for you to consider. The first shot, captured in Bridgeport, was recorded at 4 pm on June 6 with a Canon Rebel T1i. I love retro signs, and some of the motels in the Eastern Sierra have that great 50s look that I'm such a sucker for. I always make sure I go street shooting, even if the main street is only a half mile long.

Then around 8 pm, I noticed that the sunset had completely changed the appearance of this little Eastern Sierra town. This time I grabbed the Canon G9 and went for another walk, photographing again some of my favorite landmarks.

As you can tell from the examples, the difference is night and day. This effect is something I try to keep in mind, whether on the road or in my home town. These images aren't exactly Monet's haystacks, but I'm glad to have them in my library.

Top photograph captured with a Canon T1i, 24-105 mm f/4 L zoom, ISO 200 at f/8. The bottom image taken with a Canon G9, ISO 100 at f/4. Both pictures processed in Adobe Camera Raw 5 (part of Photoshop CS4). For more information about image processing with CS4, check out my book, The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers.


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