Saturday, May 09, 2015

Olympus OMD E-M10

I notice that the Olympus E-M10 is currently only $499 (with kit lens) at Amazon US.

I think this is a fantastic deal. The E-M10 (review) is a slight simplification of the E-M5, which was the camera which brought the Micro Four Thirds camera system into the professional sphere. (I think the only significant differences is that the 10 is not weather sealed, and the Image Stabilization is slightly simpler.)
If you combine this for example with the outstanding, compact portrait- and all-round fast lens 45mm F:1.8, you will have a flexible and powerful system capable of professional results (sharp portraits with blurred backgrounds, and a general zoom) for under $1000. And it is even much lighter and more compact than DSLR cameras. And of course you have what is now one of the widest and best selection of lenses on the market, going from good, compact lenses, reasonably priced, to more expensive lenses which are amongst the best money can buy (no joking).

Monday, May 04, 2015

New Leica M Monochrom (sic), review/trial

Whether you can afford them or not (apparently quite a few people can, Leica is busy), you may have an interest in reading about high-quality cameras. If so, this article is num-num. This is about the second version of the Leica M Monochrom, "typ 246". (It seems that Leica is following the trends of Apple and Amazon, no easy distinction of generations, an iMac is an iMac is an iMac, and Kindle is a Kindle is a Kindle. Sigh.)

A Black-and-white-only camera is not only interesting because of the purity and abstractness of the medium, but also because it has no color filter. This means that each pixel gets at least three times as much light as when a color filter is fitted (as it is in virtually all cameras). Imagine what this does for low-light power.

As as the camera does not have little filters in three different colors, this means that it does not have to guess what the light would be in pixel position x if the filter there had been green and not red. How much exactly this improves sharpness and tone accuracy, I don't know if anybody has tried to measure, but my guess is a doubling or so.

So I don't doubt this photographer when he says that the quality he is getting from this B/W full-frame camera with top lenses is "like from a field camera". (A field camera has a negative of 4x5 inches or even 8x10 inches. Not many of the general public are familiar with photographs of such technical quality.)

Of course like all high-end equipment, it does have lacks which laymen don't understand: it does not have Image Stabilization (anti-shake), and it does not have autofocus! A different beast.

New Leica Monochrom, "The Black Ghost"? 

And being digital, it can be fitted with an Electronic ViewFinder (EVF), which does away with that old downside of non-reflex cameras, parallax (non-precise framing), and also now lets them use tele or zoom lenses, impossible with film Leicas.
(Gotta admit that as configured here, the machine is very handsome and "manly". :-)
Update: Mark reminds me about Visoflex, a flip-mirror adapter one could/can put between the Leica and special lenses, like specially made tele- or micro lenses. So "impossible" is not correct. Though surely it had some serious limitations, since Leica made the Leicaflex camera too.