#Olympus art filters

Olympus E-PL2 Review . Part 1

The E-PL2 (SOOC image from XZ-1).

The E-PL2 (SOOC image from XZ-1).

The E-PL2 (SOOC image from XZ-1).


Just like the Olympus XZ-1 Review earlier, this review IS gonna be about the SOOC images! Some may think that SOOC images aren’t important cause they choose to shoot in RAW anyway, BUT RAW does not mean “unprocessed”. It basically means “UNCOMPRESSED”! That’s why Nikon D3x’s RAWs are different from Sony Alpha 900’s RAWs even though they have the same sensors. And having a Good Image Processor saves you more than half the trouble, whether you shoot in RAW or JPEG.

Image Sensor + Image Processor + Optics = Image Quality.

Good image quality does not just rely on one element.

Before showing you the selected images (MORE are in my flickr, kindly follow my instructions at the end of this review), I will like to share my short verdict of the E-PL2. I have used the first digital PEN E-P1, then the E-P2, E-PL1 and now this pre-production E-PL2 and what I have to say in a short conclusion is:

1. THIS IS NO E-PL1 mk2!!! Even though it has the same image sensor and processor as the E-PL1, it’s ergonomics are DIFFERENT. Finally, I have back the DIAL which I personally think is indispensable. Next, it feels much more solid than the plasticky E-PL1. It definitely has a better grip with that nice textured rubber on the side. It is so much better looking than the E-PL1! It’s Matt Black!!! (Not glossy… I hate glossy)

2. The NEW 14-42mm mk2 kit lens has a Remarkable Improvement in AF speed! It is MSC (movie-still-compatible), which means AF is silent and fast, totally no sound recorded in video when lens is zoomed in and out! This is not just as claimed by Olympus! The Difference IS EVIDENT!

3. The E-PL2 has included so many variations to it’s Art Filters, which I personally am having a headache as to what to use in what situation. BUT I fell in love with it’s Grainy Film II Mode which renders the image lower contrast as compared to the often too-overly-contrast grainy film mode which existing PEN users are experiencing. And my favourite workflow which I developed with the E-PL2 shortly in these 10 days is shooting in the Grainy Film Mode II with Art Frame ON and recording it both in JPEG and RAW at the same time. The RAW is my backup in the case when highlights are blown.

I have also been using the NEW Olympus Viewer 2 software to convert the RAW files when necessary and I must say this is the easiest software I have encountered in my years of using different digital cameras. Results from the software are also excellent. The main setbacks of the software which I have found are:

a. Art Filter Variations NOT included. Things like Grainy Film II, Pop Art II, Art Frame, etc.. ONLY the basic Art Filters are included and that includes the Dramatic Tone Art Filter. (I know many “die” for this…) Will there be any hackers who would hack the software and make these Art Filters available to all other RAW files… that I don’t know, I am not a software geek.

b. Certain corrections can’t be done, like Contrast, Picture Tone… this could be due to the pre-production E-PL2 I’m using… so it may be too early to draw a conclusion.

Grainy Film II Mode, with Art Frame, ISO200, F4, 1/50sec.

Grainy Film II Mode, with Art Frame, ISO200, F10, 1/250sec.

Another variation of the Pop Art Filter. This is shot in Pop Art Filter II with Soft Focus Effect.

4. The NEW 14-42mm mk2 lens is designed for fitting the NEW macro converter, wide converter and fisheye converter. So if you think these new converters can be fitted on your existing 14-42mm lens, you are wrong. Soon we’ll see the old 14-42mm kit lenses flooding the used market at dirt cheap prices! The macro converter allows 0.28x magnification at 24cm with the 14-42mm lens at 42mm. The wide converter turns your 14mm to 11mm wide. The fisheye converter gives 120 degree view.

I personally think that the “perfect combo” could be using the m-zuiko 14-150mm lens with a step up ring 37-58mm (available from Olympus) to fit on the NEW macro converter! You can also do the same for the m-zuiko 40-150mm lens since it also has 58mm diameter!

5. Macro Arm Light: This is innovative! It is a pair of alien-looking flexible arms with LED lights for use in macro photography. Now macro photography has gone to a new level of excitement.

However, if you are getting the macro arm light, it’s better to use it with the macro converter, unless you have a short specialized macro lens. Reason being: the arms are NOT long. (in this case, I doubt the compatibility with the 14-150mm and 40-150mm lenses. I haven’t try, so I can’t say for sure…)

Shot with macro arm light attached to the hotshoe with 14-42mm lens zoomed in at 42mm. No macro converter was used as it has not arrived from Japan at the time of shooting.

6. PENPAL: a bluetooth transfer device. I was told that this is NOT compatible with the APPLE iPhones/iPads. Sad… I am still wishing a bluetooth transfer technology to my iPhone for me to upload images on the go to facebook and flickr (which has automated resizing capability).

The following are the rest of the selected images:

iAuto Mode, ISO200, F9, 1/250sec.

Dramatic Tone Art Filter

Dramatic Tone Art Filter

iAuto Mode, ISO200, F10, 1/500sec.

Pinhole Art Filter, ISO200, F4.5, 1/50sec.

iAuto Mode, ISO200, F5.6, 1/200sec.

Shutter Priority Mode, ISO200, F3.5, 1/3sec handheld.

iAuto Mode, ISO400, F3.5, 1/60sec.

With SO MANY FEATURES packed into the E-PL2, this is obviously NOT a E-PL1 mk2!!! To view full resolution images with EXIF data, please have a flickr account, add me (click here), and send me a message. I’ll make sure you see them!

My First Experience with Urbanscapes 2010

I have had a busy week so this post is kinda 2 weeks late… so sorry… here are my E-PL1 ART FILTER shots of the event. For those who missed this event, remember to look out for it next year! If you are a ART lover, you would definitely love it!

It’s an annual BIG gathering of Artistic Talents! We have had great music, great Art Works and even Tribute Screening of the late Yasmin Ahmad’s films! I did not have the time to really enjoy the event as I was “working” with Olympus… … so these are the limited shots I did for the day. All images are either done in Pinhole, Grainy Film B&W or Diorama Art Filter. No further post-processing has been done. Enjoy…

Urbanscapes 2010, Olympus Photo Walkabouts

Can everyone shoot artistic images??? With a camera like the PEN, almost!

Though I have been teaching photography for a while now, I find that there’s just one thing that can’t really be imparted: how to see artistically!

But with the latest technology, digital cameras like the Olympus PEN series which produces fantastic jpegs straight out of camera, and with the additional in-camera Art Filters… … shooting ARTS straight out of a small and portable interchangeable lens camera has never been so easy before!

I have the images to prove you here. Not all are excellent but most are impressive! These are ALL the images from the participants of the 3 sessions of Olympus Photo Walkabouts on Sat, 26 June, Urbanscapes at KLPAC!

The shots are mostly shot with E-P1, some brought their own PEN, and only Art Filters are used.

Guess who are the 6 winners? (if you do not already know…) Click and enlarge the individual images, put in your comment if you wish.

Judging was based on the public’s votes and 3 judges: the Urbanscape organiser, our Olympus GM Kee Nyap and myself. (Not all the winners’ shots are among my personal 6 favourites… so judging was fair… :p)

My Olympus E-PL1 Workflow and Re-Review

Okay, as promised in my previous post, you shall see my crappy shots in this post. Again, I seriously think my shots aren’t half as good as some of those Olympus Brand Store Guys. But, still I really enjoyed the shooting session with the whole bunch of them. Join me for photography workshop in future. It’s fun!

I have been getting quite a number of questions emailed to me regarding the use of the Olympus digital PEN E-P1/2/L1… so I’ve decided to list down here how I usually “manage” the camera.

1. I shoot in P mode when I just wanna concentrate on getting the shot, the expression, the action, irregardless of the depth-of-field. In fact, I want a deeper depth-of-field in order to quickly capture a moment, minimizing the risk of getting things out-of-focus. “F8 and be there.” Like Weegee said.

2. Using the camera in P mode when there’s sufficient light, i.e. when ISO does not automatically go up to 1600 with corresponding aperture of F3.5-5.6 for the kit lens is fine for the “F8 and be there concept”. Yes, I use Auto-ISO too. Sometimes, when I want more control, I will set the ISO manually.

But for lowlight usage, WATCH your shutter speed. Even with the Image Stabilization (IS) ON, a slow shutter speed CANNOT freeze action. Image Stabilization helps to capture non-moving subjects in sharpness when shutter speed is slow.

3. To speed up the camera, I always TURN OFF the automatic preview on my LCD and use my camera in Sequential Shooting Mode. To capture a certain action, I usually shoot 2-3 frames to get the best shapes and forms. I also hardly “chimp”, i.e. look at previews when I shoot. I don’t wanna lose a moment while “chimping”!

4. In my personal opinion and experience with different brands of digital cameras, I found out that Olympus’s RAW files are not all that “tweakable” as compared to the other brands. I figured out that since I am not getting a whole lot more from it’s RAW files, unlike the Canons or Nikons where the tolerance can go as far as 3-4 stops, I’d rather shoot Olympus JPEGs. I also figured out that the Normal JPEGs are good enough for me for general usage as I find no visible difference comparing them to the Fine JPEGs.

However, if I need to use the camera to shoot any stuff that’s exceptionally important, I will still shoot RAW, more for my mental and emotional consolation. Olympus’s JPEGs are about the BEST you can find in the world. The only other brands which I think can come close to it are Leica and maybe Pentax. Okay, I know I may sound subjective, but look at the skin tones! Any colors on any inanimate objects can lie BUT skin colors DON’T LIE! (If you still disagree with me, okay.. it’s my personal taste, alright?)

5. The E-PL1 has much lesser noise at high ISOs as compared to the E-P1 and E-P2, so I am more confident using it at ISO1600-3200.

6. According to Steve Huff’s review, he complained that the movie-record button on the E-PL1’s back can be easily and accidentally depressed BUT I have since found out that it only takes less than 5 steps to OFF the switch permanently in the menu system! No Issue At All! Just OFF it and use the same shutter button for recording video and stills. (Menu-Button-oFunction-Off)

7. I shoot in A mode when I wanna shoot at specific apertures to achieve the depth-of-field I want.

8. I prefer P mode over the E-PL1’s i-auto mode as I don’t like the i-enhance to be always ON as it does in the i-auto mode. Personal preference.

9. Generally, Olympus JPEGs can be a little under-exposed. So some brightening is usually necessary at post-processing. Or for the E-PL1 users, you can choose to use it’s Live Guide, which is “idiot-proof”. If you know digital cameras, a little under-exposed is definitely better than over-exposed as burnt highlights in digital files can never be restored.

10. When using the Pin-hole Art Filter, images may seem a little under-exposed too, so some brightening at post-processing stage will be good.

11. When using the Grainy B&W Art Filter, avoid high contrast scenes as highlights can easily be washed out!

12. If you are a fervent Art Filter Fan, I suggest you shoot RAW and choose your desired Art Filter in Olympus Software afterwards so you can enjoy shooting without having to wait for the “almost forever” in-camera Art Filter processing. Those few seconds can mean eternity when you are out there.

Okay, finally, there’s ONE THING I hate about the E-PL1!

It DOES NOT HAVE AN ORIENTATION SENSOR! Which means, I have to manually rotate all my vertical shots! Olympus, is it that expensive to have this included in the E-PL1? This should already be the norm among all digital cameras of year 2010!

Here are my shots from the street shoot, constructive comments are welcomed!

Drying her hair by the roadside, hip shot.

Pinhole Art Filter Effect

Prostitute outside motel entrance, hip shot. I forgot to watch my shutter speed!

panned shot of man walking past


Fierce! Hip Shot.

Pin Hole Art Filter


My small reflection in-between.


Security Guard


Diorama Art Filter

Diorama Art Filter

Pop Art Filter, shot by manually focusing till patterns appear

The following are two shots by the NEW 9-18mm M-Zuiko Lens. This is such a small, compact and sharp lens with good close focusing distance! It’s in stock!

Shot with NEW 9-18mm M-Zuiko Lens

Another shot by the NEW 9-18mm M-Zuiko Lens

Lastly, the bunch of Olympus PEN Street Shooters! Shot by a stranger. Isn’t it great to have an “idiot-proof” camera for a stranger to hold? I’m sure the in-camera IS helped. LOL…

Malaysia Olympus Brand Store Street Shooters!

Related Posts:

1. BEST Street Photography Machine

2. Photo-enthusiasts ROCKS!

3. The Power of Small Cameras

4. E-PL1 Review

5. More about the E-PL1

The (one of the) “BEST” Street Photography Machine Ever Made!

I am very sorry for the overdue updates to this site due to my busy schedule lately. I actually have the images of the “Mom and Baby Fair” photo kiosk shoots that are yet to be posted… followed by some of the images of last week’s workshop’s night street shoot… and etc..

Not too long ago at Olympus, we had a workshop training with the staff of the newly setup Olympus Brand Store at Mid Valley Shopping Centre Unit #LG068. There were a total of 8 participants and we had a street shooting session at Petaling Street, each holding a Olympus PEN E-P1 with the 14-42mm kit lens. I was using the Olympus PEN E-PL1 with the kit lens.

As I have always said, Images That Speak! Let the images do the talking. Now, let’s see some of these amazing shots and you tell me, is the Olympus digital PEN one of the BEST street photography machine ever made?

Yes, I know… the person behind the camera plays the Major Role in seeing and capturing the images, but we absolutely can’t deny that the Olympus PEN indeed helped us so much in getting what we want! It was a truly enjoyable and memorable street shooting session we had with the digital PEN!

And do you know? It’s not the first time I encounter in my teaching that a student with the least knowledge in photography actually produces the best shots! This is enlightening! If you have been a photographer for many years and if you call yourself a “PRO”, you really ought to think along with me, why does this actually happen, I am saying, a person who knows nuts about photography, takes up a camera and produces a higher amount of keeper shots as compared to someone who’s actually trained in aperture and shutter speed.

The question is, “Are we all too bothered with what white balance to set, which shutter speed to use, which focal length is best, what aperture is better… etc… OR are we more concerned of getting that expression, getting that “look” we saw, getting the moment?”

The following are the selected shots by the 8 participants.

NONE of the pictures are cropped. Only slight brightening is applied to some of the color shots. If you are a PRO who often crops your own shots during post-processing, you ought to be ashamed. All of them are staff in the Olympus Brand Store and they are not PROs. They are not even frequent shooters! Due to the large amount of pics in this post, I shall feature my own shots in a separate post. I seriously don’t think I got better shots than some of these here.


Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1

Pinhole Art Filter in E-P1

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1

Sleeping Guard

Foreign Worker

Asking directions from a monk?

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1, same sleeping guard from another point of view.

Grainy B&W Art Filter in E-P1, I like the tension in this shot.

Pop Art Filter in E-P1

Related Posts:

1. Photo-enthusiasts ROCKS!

2. The Power of Small Cameras

3. Olympus E-P1 Review

4. Olympus E-P2 Review

5. Olympus E-PL1 Review

Olympus PEN E-P2 Review

Basically, the new added features on the PEN E-P2 are quite minimal. The main differences of the E-P2 vs the E-P1 are:

1. Two NEW ART FILTERS: Cross Process and Diorama,

2. A hot shoe for the highest quality Electronic External Viewfinder currently in the market, in which the same hotshoe is used for the Olympus external mic to collect the best quality sounds during HD video recording,

3. Focus-tracking (it locks the focus on a moving subject. Unfortunately, I tried engaging the continuous-shot/sequential-shot mode but it failed. Focus-tracking can only be used on single-shot mode.),

4. I-enhance mode (if you are a MAC user, it’s like the “enhance” button in “IPhoto”. It does improve the colors.),

5. You can now use remote control to control your slideshow-viewing when the camera is connected to the HDTV via HDMI cable.

Below are some shots I did with the new Art Filters. To show the effects of Cross Process, I did an extreme comparison with the Pop Art filter to show the differences in color rendition. To me, Pop Art gives a “Leica-like” or color slides kind of saturation. Traditionally, if you print a color slide on a photographic print, you get real saturated colors. “Cross Process” brings the colors to another extreme.

Comparison between Pop Art Filter and Cross-Process Filter

Comparison between Pop Art Filter and Cross Process Filter

Cross Process Effects:

Uncleared mess from a torn-down building with apartment flats in the background

Uncleared mess from a torn-down building with apartment flats in the background

Reflection on the ground

Reflection on the ground

My Reflection

My Reflection

Now I know some helicopters have 5 propellers

Now I know some helicopters have 5 propellers

A Corridor View of a Typical HDB Flat in Singapore

A Corridor View of a Typical HDB Flat in Singapore

Malaysia LRT

Malaysia LRT

View from Overhead Bridge, Malaysia LRT

View from Overhead Bridge, Malaysia LRT

Boy waiting on staircase

Boy waiting on staircase

In film days, cross-processing is done by either shooting color slides and processing them using color negative chemicals OR the other way round. Today, this is still very much loved by the lomographers and myself.

Below are some shots done with Diorama Art Filter. It mimics the effects of a tilt and shift lens. If you shoot subjects from a distance, the images give you a miniature effect, like the name “Diorama” describes. I also wrote about a friend purchasing the tilt and shift lens HERE before. To show the difference between Diorama and ordinary images, see below.

Image with No Diorama Art Filter applied

Image shot in Natural Mode with No Diorama Art Filter applied, somehow I found that the E-P2's Natural Mode does not produce as rich colors as the E-P1, this is probably due to me using a pre-production E-P2 with firmware not upgraded yet.

Image with Diorama Art Filter applied

Image with Diorama Art Filter applied

Here are some other images shot in Diorama Art Filter Mode:

Singapore HDB Flats

Singapore HDB Flats

Singapore HDB Playground and Recreational Park

Singapore HDB Playground and Recreational Park
Children playing soccer

Children playing soccer

Another view of the HDB Recreational Park, Singapore HDB Flats are like condominiums!

Another view of the HDB Recreational Park, Singapore HDB Flats are like condominiums!

Just for comparison, here are also some samples of similar effects created with a 5Dmk2 and a 45mm tilt and shift lens shot by Mr Peh:





1. I find the two new Art Filters very interesting and useful especially the Cross Process Art Filter, since I love the cross-processed look. The Diorama effect also can freshen up perspectives and inject new inspiration into shooting.

2. The Electronic External Viewfinder is like looking at Live View through a peep hole. It is of very high quality 100% viewing but to me, it does not make much of a difference since I hardly shoot in extreme sunlight glare conditions and so I’d rather use Live View. I have found that using Live View freshens up my perspectives in shooting by offering a whole new range of possibilities and angles achievable! I have no complaints at all on the high quality LCD Live View offered on both the E-P1 and E-P2. Don’t you forget, Olympus pioneered Live View among all other brands! And of course, now they created the highest quality external electronic viewfinder you can ever find in the market. For all those who have this thing about using viewfinder to shoot and “hate” Live Views, the E-P2 is a good option.

3. For video lovers, the E-P2 will be a much better choice since you can get much better sound quality using external mic and also have the option of using the 2 extra Art Filters plus Manual-exposure mode in the video mode for creativity. Almost all the Art Filters are useable in the HD Video Mode except the Pin-Hole Art Filter which does not produce a smooth quality video (video-recording is stunted) and also the Diorama Art Filter which records in 2 frames per second but playback in 15 frames per second. However, the Diorama Art Filter Video gives you another creative option to record a “Charlie Chaplin” kind of comical effect, but in color and creative blur. Even videos shot using Pin Hole Art Filter can appear artistic. It depends on your creativity.

4. Focus-tracking is great but I will love to have it more functional in sequential/continuous-shot mode as it’s better to shoot a few more frames for moving subjects. It’s a pity that when I use it in sequential-shot mode, the frames slow down quite a bit, in which I find it not useable.

5. And as for the i-enhance mode, it’s another great option for nicer colors (actually I find that Olympus’s colors are already very nice by default). The HDMI remote feature frees you from sitting inches-near to a HDTV if you often do on-the-spot presentations. Nice option for family get-togethers if you are often the family photographer.

Olympus is selling the E-P1 alongside with the E-P2 together, so I don’t think E-P2 is a replacement model. At about RM1k more (RRP: RM3799), it’s worth the difference if you are fanatic over the two new Art Filters OR you are a creative video person who would want to use the new Art Filters for Video and get better sound quality OR if you “MUST SHOOT WITH VIEWFINDER”. I believe the E-P1 still caters for the majority in terms of pricing.

Lastly, if RM1k is no big deal to you, BLACK IS NICE! I love BLACK! Cheers!


My Favorite Favourite Favourite Song of All Times!!! Click Here and view the images at the same time.

When you are in love, you are in heaven. You forget all unhappy things. There’s no way anyone or anything can take that feeling away. Oh… how deeply I still love my wife after more than 12 years of marriage. Thank You, Lord!

Clouds 4Clouds 5Clouds 1Clouds 2Clouds 3Clouds 6

Olympus E-P1, A Class of It’s Own.

Olympus PEN E-P1, image taken from dpreview.com

Olympus PEN E-P1, image taken from dpreview.com

I’ve been a professional photographer for more than 12 years, specializing mainly in portraits, weddings, people photography, whether choreographed or on-the-move. I have been a fervent Canon and Nikon user for years. But never have I encountered a small camera like the Olympus E-P1 that produces such quality in it’s size with such user-friendly features.

Talking about “Making Photography Easy”. For years, since the camera was invented, the world has been wanting to make photography easy. A view-camera needs about 11 adjustments in order to take a picture. Then came the Nikons and Canons that only require THREE adjustments: Aperture, Shutter Speed and Focus in order to take a picture. And if this wasn’t easy enough, cameras that came later began to even do all THREE adjustments for us – the Program Autofocus SLRs!

To read a detailed article on the above, click here.

Olympus E-P1, shot through car windscreen in a rain, B&W art filter

Olympus E-P1, shot through car windscreen in a rain, B&W art filter, 16:9 format.

Olympus E-P1 set to manual focus, b&w art filter.

Olympus E-P1 set to manual focus, b&w art filter, 16:9 format.

This shot shows that E-P1 is quick enough to capture action. My son did this action in a split-second. Tough not as fast as a DSLR, it is not that bad afterall.

This shot shows that E-P1 is quick enough to capture action. My son did this action in a split-second. Though not as fast as a DSLR, it is not that bad after all.

I often ask myself, “Why do camera-designers always want to make things easier for us?”

Especially as a earning professional photographer, doesn’t it seem obvious that as photography gets easier and easier, our commanding prices go lower and lower since more and more people think that they can “do-it-yourself” anyway?

But if I think as an artist, I just want to focus on my feelings, my imaginations, my visions and indulge in all my five senses when I go out and create images with my camera.

Isn’t it so much easier to have a camera that doesn’t interfere with my thoughts, by introducing questions like what aperture to use and what shutter speed to set or whether the image is in focus?

Okay, you may disagree with me on this cause deciding how blur the background we want it to be or whether to use a slower shutter speed to depict movement, or whether to set it off-focus in order to create some abstractness do play a part in our creativity process.

But my point is, sometimes it really helps if you just indulge in all your five senses without being distracted by technical functionalities, and shoot what you feel!


Olympus E-P1, B&W art filter. I pre-focused the camera to infinity before reaching out to shoot the birds returning to their home using the grainy black and white art filter mode.

Olympus E-P1, B&W art filter, 6:6 format. I pre-focused the camera to infinity before reaching out to shoot the birds returning to their home using the grainy black and white art filter mode.

Who says you can't see beautiful sunset downtown KL? Shot using "Sunset" Mode in Olympus E-P1

Who says you can't see beautiful sunset downtown KL? Shot using "Sunset" Mode in Olympus E-P1, 16:9 format.

Shot using "Pop Art" art filter, Olympus E-P1. This is a spontaneous shot, again done within seconds spotting the chef's head covered by a bunch of roast pork

Shot using "Pop Art" art filter, Olympus E-P1, 16:9 format. This is a spontaneous shot, again done within seconds spotting the chef's head covered by a bunch of roast pork

Olympus E-P1, shot using "landscape" mode. It really does make the sky much nicer.

Olympus E-P1, shot using "landscape" mode. It really does make the sky much nicer., 6:6 format

In today’s digital professional photographer’s context, things have just gone a lot worse! Our modern DSLRs contains at least 100 menu and function options! It throws you questions like “D-Lighting Off, Default, Auto, On, Normal?”, followed by trick questions like “Compression: Lossy or Lossless?”… etc. and etc.

Today, many professional digital photographers began to take pride in “setting their camera professionally” rather than concentrate on creating excellent images. Photography seems to have “developed more professionally” in recent digital days, cause to operate a DSLR is 100 times more difficult than an old film SLR!

And so we started thinking, maybe we can charge our clients more, since photography has gone so “difficult”! We started to tell our clients how high-end our equipments are, how difficult to use them, how expensive they cost, in order to justify and convince our clients to buy our services. I always thought as a proficient photographer, shouldn’t we be confident that our clients engage us because our works are good, not because of what equipment we own?


Olympus E-P1, B&W art filter

Olympus E-P1, B&W art filter 6:6 format

Olympus E-P1, B&W art filter

Olympus E-P1, B&W art filter, 4:3 format

The Olympus E-P1 is a camera so small that it fits into your bag easily. I have been carrying it and using it almost everyday since I bought it about 2 months ago. I use it for shooting “nonsense” in my daily life, use it for casual street shooting, and even use it for my professionally-paid wedding jobs!




The ISO is absolutely usable up to 3200. The default setting already produces fantastic images. It’s Auto ISO is also pretty reliable (I hardly have to switch it about). It’s IS (image stabilization) is most impressive! I ever use it down to 1/2 sec and still get a reasonably sharp picture.

You can choose to set “Graduation” to “Normal” instead of “Auto” to get deeper blacks but personally I prefer “Auto” as I prefer to increase contrast in Adobe Lightroom when necessary. I find that images can get too contrasty sometimes if I set it to “Normal”.

Olympus E-P1, Pin-hole effect art filter

Olympus E-P1, Pin-hole effect art filter, 4:3 format

Olympus E-P1, Pin-hole effect art filter, 6:6 format

Olympus E-P1, Pin-hole effect art filter, 6:6 format

Olympus is amazing in it’s in-camera processing! It produces such good Jpegs that you almost have no necessity to shoot in RAW for easy post-processing. It’s absolutely a camera for people who just want to concentrate on ARTS and have minimal worries on camera settings or post-processing.

Also, you can choose to shoot in 4:3 format (default), 16:9 format, 3:2 format or 6:6 format for your creativity.

I fell in love with E-P1 files once I laid my eyes on it in a camera store downtown and immediately ordered one for myself. I find that Olympus’s digital files are processed in such a way, closest to what film achieves comparing to other brands. Being a fervent film shooter, I can easily appreciate Olympus’s efforts in processing their digital files closest to what film achieves. (But if you really like film, shoot film! Digital still has it’s digital characteristics in it.)

I have used the Canon 5D, the Nikon D700 (owned 2 of each at my craziest times). I have gone through post-processing my images since “Adobe Photoshop 5” days. I would say this digital route for me since the Canon D60 (if anyone still remembers what it is) has been crazy! (I plan to write about my crazy path of switching from film to digital in a later post, so keep me bookmarked if you are interested).

What I can say is that after comparing the Canon files, the Nikon files and the Olympus files, I love the Olympus files the most! (Olympus is not paying me to say this)

I love the noise (It’s different from the Canon or Nikon’s noise), I love the skin tones, I love the contrast, I love the blacks (Nikon and Canon somehow captures blacks as grays), I love the colors and I love it’s Grainy Black and White and Pin-hole Art Filters!

Shot by my wife using "sunset mode". She's not a photographer, if you know what I mean.

Shot by my wife using "sunset mode". She's not a photographer, if you know what I mean.

Then, I love it’s handsome looks and it’s size too.

The best camera is the camera you can easily grab and use when opportunity arises. If you are looking for a camera that can boost your creativity, and it’s light and easy to carry around, with quiet and unobtrusive shutter sound, achieves jpeg files that require minimum post-processing, plus an added convenience of HD video recording (get an adaptor for leica m-mount lenses and you can easily achieve cinematic effects with F1.4 blur)… … … …


Wedding in 16:9 Wide Format by Olympus E-P1

Recently, I really enjoyed photographing a wedding and just couldn’t help posting it here. This is the first time I shot with my Olympus E-P1 with kit lens and entirely on 16:9 format, similar to your wide-screen Plasma/LCD TV, and adding short and exciting HD video clips of the games and church ceremony(not posted here).

It was truly exciting to have completed a slideshow with HD video clips in it on the day itself! It was fun! I shall be writing more about the Olympus E-P1 later, so stay tuned.

To my Bintulu Friends and my assistant Louis, many many heartfelt thanks deep from my heart to you all!

Bukit Tinggi Malaysia – 12 Jul 2009

A passing moment of clouds travelling past. This happened just for a few seconds before the light is all flat.

A passing moment of clouds travelling past. This happened just for a few seconds before the light is all flat.

Shot of the day – 12 Jul 2009, with my new toy (all my buddies know what it is). Good photographs depend on great imagination NOT gear. (Though the Olympus E-P1 grainy film art filter really helps this time… haha…) The best camera is the one in your hands.  Let’s all focus on expressing our IMAGINATION!