Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My personal review of the Olympus E-5 [part 2]

*This is an initial production unit of the Olympus E-5. The features and performance of this camera may be subject to change.


*All images were taken using super high quality jpegs. Minimal post processing was applied accept some minor cropping and exposure correction. Please respect copyright and do not repost without attribution.


*Click here for Part 1 and Part 3

10 October 2010 is an auspicious day for the Chinese, hence many couples getting married on that day. However, I was not going to attend any weddings. I grabbed the Olympus E-5 with a couple of lenses [14-35 SWD, 7-14, 50 macro, 50-200 SWD) and made my way out of the house. The sky looked gloomy. It was about to rain anytime, hence I just thought of walking around the neighbourhood to take some images and test the JPEG output of the E-5.


The Zuiko 50 macro is Olympus' sharpest lens, and using it together with the Olympus E-5 exemplifies this fact. The E-5 seems to have a revised autofocus algorithm that makes the 50mm less prone to hunt when its trying to achieve focus. Couple that with the creamy bokeh, and you've got a winner in your hands.

I'm not really a macro enthusiast, so please forgive me if these bougainvillea flowers look a bit plain. What I'm trying to say is that the Olympus 50 macro lens really shines with the E-5!

Some have commented that my posts contain too many examples with art filters. For those who prefer to pixel peep and look and the same images with various ISOs and white balance settings, you can look elsewhere for examples. I'm just showcasing what images the Olympus E-5 is capable of in the hands of an average Malaysian who likes to take pictures around his neighbourhood. It is indeed very vibrant without looking too unnatural (without the art filters of course), and they're very usable straight out of camera.


This is the soft focus art filter. Olympus seems to advocate it for flowers and romantic looking portraits.

The cloudy weather acted as a huge softbox and diffused the light from the sky above for elegant looking flower macros.

You can achieve creative 'macro' shots with the Zuiko 7-14 due to its close focusing distance. I used the dramatic tone art filter here. It does sacrifice some detail though.

Generally the time used to process the art filters has improved tremendously since Olympus first introduced them in the EP-1 and the E-30. However, some art filters require more time to process in camera than others.

The diorama art filter gives the image a faux tilt shift effect. This one took quite some time to process and write to my CF card (I'm using a Sandisk 16gb Extreme III by the way), so if you're going to use it for 'action shots', the camera might freeze for a while.

The pinhole art filter emphasizes the moody appearance of the old flats.

An abandoned motorcycle. There seem to be quite a lot of them around the area.

Dilapidated looking mail boxes. I wonder which post man bothers to send mail to the residents here.

Using the swiveling LCD again for low angled shots. It's really very useful for this kind of work. Dramatic tone art filter applied.

These colourful looking water meters look OK in natural picture mode...

but they can be made more interesting using the 'pop art' filter.

The bread man.

My stomach was feeling hungry after a while, hence I stopped at this small noodle store. The aroma was so tantalizing, hence I took the opportunity to order some chicken soup noodles.

The resident cook was amused when he saw me trying to take his picture.

Although shadow detail has increased for the E-5 sensor, its highlight capabilities are as the same as the E-3, even for low ISOs. With jpeg files, the possibility of restoring detail in the highlights is quite low, so make sure you get your metering right from the start before you click the shutter button.

The Zuiko 14-35 has very nice bokeh and shallow depth of field when used at f2 aperture. The highlights are almost perfectly spherical due to the use of the circular aperture blade design in the lens.

I wonder how food will look like with the pop art filter. Yuck! Its unnatural looking. Lets change back to the 'natural' colour profile.

Olympus visionary Lou Manna should be pleased with the natural and vibrant colour redition of the Olympus E-5 when used to take images of food.

Yes, the chicken noodles and boneless chicken drumstick taste as good as it appears here. Its true! :)

I hope I'm not making anyone hungry.. Food is an integral part of our lives as Malaysians :)

Old man waiting for his lunch to be served.

There was an indoor foodcourt nearby. Although the lighting conditions are a bit dim, I bumped up the ISO to 800. The jpeg files look very clean indeed. On my E-510, noise would be very evident at ISO 800.


Pork dumplings.

I seem to be photographing more people doing their marketing nowadays. Yes, the supermarkets are air conditioned and cleaner, but the fruits in the good old wet markets are more fresh and have more varieties.

I'll admit.. shooting wide open (f2) with the 14-35 wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. There were occasional misses, and it was a little frustrating having to take the image again and chimping on the LCD to make sure that I got the focus spot on.

Halfway through, I switched to the 50-200 SWD lens to try out how it performs on the E-5. It is perfect on the E-3, and thankfully it is wonderful on the E-5 too.

This lens is very sharp, even when zoomed in all the way to 200mm (400mm equivalent on 35mm sensors). The E-5 sensor gives an astounding level of detail - a joy to behold when pixel peeping the resultant image on my wide screen monitor.

I've not tested the 50-200 for sports applications that much, but it did manage to lock focus on this incoming motorcycle.

The bokeh of the 50-200 SWD is very smooth too.


Since I can't test out the E-5 in the zoo, here is some 'wildlife' that you can have a look at.

Look at the amount of detail available on the creature's head. It is rendered very finely and delicately, even though this is at ISO 800.

The roti canai man. The use of some fill in flash would've been desirable here. I had to sacrifice detail in the highlights in order to enable detail to appear in the shadowy area of the image.

Crispy spring rolls.

The skies would look very flat and lifeless with the default natural setting, but the dramatic tone art filter made this image more interesting to behold.

I hope you've enjoyed this series of images. Although the E-5 is not much of a street camera because of its size and weight (especially when paired with super high grade glass), it produces very good jpegs straight out of camera without having to be too worried about post processing.

Cheers. :)

6 Comments:

robin said...

I can see you really miss your 7-14 a lot. Good thing you had a great run with it on E-5.
Oh thanks for the cat. Cats never fail to please photography audience, I must say.

Justin B. said...

Great pictures, thanks for sharing!

p.f. said...

Those SOOC jpegs look really good. I guess doing review is different from taking pictures in your preferred color settings, as I found myself missing those photos processed with a touch of "Brandoneu's Olympus color".

I hope not asking too much to see more in-depth review on how the E-5 fairs in those areas where you've made your decision to use the D3s, e.g. when you claimed you're struggling with the AF on E3 in http://mychiaroscuro.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3350&highlight=brandoneu

cheers!

from a fellow Kuching guy

robin said...

I miss "brandoneu's Olympus color" too !!

Ron said...

hi... good review Brandon, but i got the sense that you slightly bothered by the AF issue in Low Light conditions and YES... please enlightened us by the D3s comparisons eventhough we now its different grade of camera :D

cheers

Fazzino Art said...

I love the shot taken with the diorama art filter. Need to get my hands on one of these cameras so I can test it out myself.

 

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