Monday, May 10, 2010

Photo walk 10 May '10

After having some laksa at Chong Choon cafe this afternoon, I brought my rig out for some tests to see how it performs in natural light. I will be focusing on its similarities / differences as compared to the Olympus E-3 that I've used before. I utilised aperture priority and auto white balance most of the time for these images. These images were shot in jpeg mode using the picture controls (eg. standard, neutral, vivid)and some of them were lightly edited in Lightroom to bring out the best colours and exposure. D lighting was left on 'standard' to preserve the highlights and increase detail in the shadows.

First of all, I must say that its metering is infallible. Whether in bright light or shade, it just gets the exposure right most of the time. I'm very impressed.

The original image was a little cold and dull, hence I increased the colour temperature and contrast in lightroom to make it more pleasing.

Most of the rural folks here still depend a lot on motorcycles, hence the wide availability of motorcycle mechanics in town. They're pretty busy most of the time, I must say.

I don't have a dedicated macro lens as of yet, but the one that I'm utilising now focuses pretty close, albeit not as impressive as some of the Olympus lenses (eg. Zuiko 12-60 SWD).

Some of the local folk are pretty friendly and don't mind a picture, for instance like this guy over here.

I managed to fiddle with the ISO controls a little to get a respectable hand holdable shutter speed for sharp images. The images are very clean.

In instances like this where the sun is shining brightly, my E-3 would underexpose most of the time, hence I had to resort to manual mode and spend some time fiddling the controls. This rig got it right almost all the time.

Another image that would be typically challenging to meter with the Olympus E-3 (hence causing underexposure), but this rig got it right despite the very bright white tiles covering most of the frame.

Quite a number of Indian Muslim traders have set up their sundry shops for generations selling spices and household products.

Though this shop looked very dark on the inside, I managed to get a very usable hand held exposure. You can see my feet from the window reflection.

For outdoor applications, the standard picture controls gave pleasing colours, albeit not as vibrant and natural as the Olympus files.

Now here comes the weird part. When I set the picture control to 'vivid', the post processing style of the images varies to a slight degree depending on the scene. The colours of the two images above look  disappointingly dodgy. Perhaps I should've customised the auto white balance to get a more pleasing result, but I doubt it will differ much from these examples.

The above three images are examples of what I regard as pleasing pictures using the 'Vivid' picture control setting. Why these three images look natural while the previous two doesn't appear so perplexes me. The colours of the blue sky and green foliage look awesome as what I would expect. Normally with the E-3, the metering system would get the exposure of the clouds right but the buildings would look a tad darker than desired. But with this rig, the exposure is spot on. The active D-lighting feature ensures no highlights of the clouds are blown out. This is great!

With a full frame sensor, you would have to use a smaller aperture to get more depth of field, or else most of the image would be out of focus. With a wide lens, an aperture of at least f8 is advisable to get most of the image in focus.

The jpeg files are extremely malleable if you shoot them at low ISOs (below 1000 in my opinion). I applied a +0.8 exposure compensation to this image, and no extra noise is apparent even in the shadow areas. With the Olympus files (RAW & jpeg), I couldn't even go half a stop before noise starts creeping into the image.

Which of these two picture styles would you prefer for this image? Standard or Vivid? I guess in this instance I would prefer the latter even though it doesn't look as natural as the former.

With regard to skin tone, the vivid picture style makes the skin tones look over saturated, hence I would keep it away from portrait applications. In this instance, I would rather go for a standard or neutral picture style instead.

I am very pleased with the results of the photo walk today because it shows me how I can use my rig effectively to get pleasing colours (albeit not as good as the Olympus ones) and great results.


1 Comment:

Reuel said...

Hi Brandon,
Great choice. If you can afford it and whatever is the best for your needs is all that matters. For me, I'm still waiting for the E-5. Hopefully it will solve my AF and high ISO woes. Enjoy it well!


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