1.15.2011

Olympus EPL2 Review, first installment.


This afternoon I shot my first stuff with the EPL2.  Fadya came over to the studio to help me do photos for an upcoming book and I pulled out the camera with the 40-150mm zoom and the VF-2 mounted on top.  I stuck the unit on top of my tripod and grabbed my meter to take an incident light reading from Fadya's position.  When I looked through my finder, set in the 6:6 crop mode it so reminded me of the images I used to get from my old Hassleblad that I switched the color setting to monochrome and started shooting.

We were using a since light source.  It was two LED lights thru a 4x4 foot diffusion panel.  The lights far back and the panel close to Fadya.  I used a couple of black flags, one on either side of the diffusion panel, to keep light from spilling directly on the camera or on the back wall.  I used an ePhotoInc 1000 and a 500 LED fixture for the light.

My first two observations are these:  1.  The lens is very sharp, even wide open.  2.  The camera does a better monochrome Jpeg than the ones I get out of the Canon DSLR's.  Someone actually took some time to make a great conversion algorithm.  It's almost exactly how I would have liked a roll of black and white film to turn out.

I'll admit that I'm flustered by one thing:  I can't seem to reliably have the super menu come up on the back screen.  That sucks but I guess I just need to hit the manual again.

The focus was fast and the shutter noise wasn't bad at all.  Most of today's shoot was done on other cameras but I did knock out 50 or so frames and liked em just fine.  Fun little camera and it seems to work well with the BLS-1 battery that CAME IN THE BOX.

More to come.

Ooops! Almost forgot.  The camera does do color.  Very nice color.  Here's a jpeg:

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Holy Cxxx!!!! Those are beautiful. Are you sure these aren't medium format?

Marino Mannarini said...

Just so so so lovely portraits!

Robert said...

I would never hesitate to use a roll of my favorite B&W film (Ilford pan f 50 (if it still exists)) but Monochrome in camera feals like your throwing away so much, especialy if you can do it exactly the way you want in PS. Any way beautiful shots.

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Wow. But then again: your portraits get a "Wow" from me most of the time - it's not the camera...

Nice ones, like them very much.

Kapatos said...

I did did never get so smooth and effective B&W from my E-3. That's awesome.

FrankG said...

Kirk,

The little Oly DSLR that could. Wonderful portraits and I love what you are doing with the LED lighting. Wouldn't it be nice if Olympus could add art filters that duplicated the look of vintage film stock and at the same time reduce the view finder info down to the bare necessities.

Nicholas Condon said...

I really wish the E-PL2 had the little metal thumb roller that the E-P1 and E-P2 have. Because the other wheel does double-duty as a wheel and a four-way controller, I find myself accidentally turning off or resetting my ISO or something every time I use it. I suppose they had to save it for the E-P3.

Pat said...

You do find some really beautiful models. Great shots too.

Wataru Maruyama said...

Haha point taken about the battery already;) Great looking shots. The 40-150mm lens is looking like a keeper.

James.M said...

@Robert: I've recently started using in-camera black-and-white settings as a way of intentionally restricting options. It feels a bit like it did the first time I put a prime lens on my camera: cutting down the field of possibilities in one way (one focal length; one baked-in black-and-white recipe) seems to free my mind up and help me make better choices on the remaining options. At least that's how it feels for me, for now. Your mileage may vary (as if that needs saying!).

Anonymous said...

More images please.

Steve Dodds said...

Lovely! I don’t think it’s going to be a loaner for long. Guess you won’t be needing that 7D any more. I’ll give you my postal address later :D

Alan Gallery said...

Tuck

I got a 60's David Bailey buzz off the first picture initially - the TLR thing - square frame, tight on the top. But then I saw what what you were doing was more balanced, intimate and gentle. You do it every time. Thanks!

Patrick said...

Amazing detail. Post some high iso tests please~!

John F. Opie said...

Hi -

With the E-System, simply shoot RAW+B&W JPeg. The Raw remains raw, as it is a dump of the sensor, and you can generate very nice JPegs from it. The B&W Jpegs you can generate are, as you've noticed, outstanding: the EP1 is my favorite camera to use for B&W...

JohnF

John Krumm said...

Looks great Kirk. If I hadn't blown so much on an E5 I could get one, but maybe later in the year we can justify it as a "family" camera. Really looking forward to seeing what their "pro" m43 looks like in a couple months, though I bet they make us pay for it.

Karl Jacobs said...

Kirk,

Are you going to test for the flare issues that have been reported with the E-PL2? I'd love to see that addressed.

kirk tuck said...

I've had three anonymous posters ask for the model's phone number. Sorry, not going to happen. If you are a working pro with a job for her (and a P.O.) give me a holler off line. Otherwise, nope.

steve said...

Fantastic job on your lighting model is beautiful you really show of the potential of a little camera...
Steve costello. PS I am so getting 1 as soon as possible

Ed Lara said...

Fantastic portrait photos, specially the black and white. I find that I am shooting more and more on 6x6 setting of my E-P1 as well-----it is such an elegant aspect ratio. I am sure you have seen the work of Cecil Beaton; I rediscovered a book of his photos which I bought a few years ago; after re-reading I realized that every single one of the 50 or so images were shot on a square negative. Amazing the way he composed within that square (and amazing that you used a Hasselblad as a street shooting camera at one point).

Dave Jenkins said...

If you like Beaton's work with the Rollei, you should check out Fritz Henle. He probably did more than anyone else to popularize the square format. In fact, he was known as "Mr. Rollei."

kirk tuck said...

I met Fritz Henle here in Austin and I have a book of his about Rollei photography but the two guys who influenced my use of the square most were Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Throughout the 50's and 60's they did remarkable work with the square.

Dave Jenkins said...

I envy you that. Henle was my first great inspiration in photography, and after more than 40 years continues to influence me. I wish I had known of his exhibit in Austin in 2008 -- I would have dropped everything and gone. I did later find out about the book and bought it. Just going through it again today, in fact.

I also like Penn a lot, but dislike Avedon intensely. He is Henle's opposite in every way.

Mark Chan said...

Kirk,

dunno why my first post didn't come up (know now, didn't finish thru with generated alphabet thingy). Assuming you still haven't figured the SCP setting for all situations yet.
Goto:
D on extended menu: Control settings (on E5) or info settings; you will have to set SCP on for all situations (PASM, I-enhance, Art Filters, Scene Mode) etc.

Again I don't have my (wife's) EPL2 with me but that's the spot its on my E5 (HeH)

Mark Chan said...

Ugh. Third time trying to post.

anyway if you want your SCP to come up at all situations try the following:
Goto menu D in extended menu settings.

Find the control setting of info setting (diff. on E5 vs others). Selesct SCP to be on for all modes (PASM mode, I-enhance mode - I don't think its allowed though, Scene Mode, Art Filter Mode).

I don't have my (wife's) EPL2 on hand at the mo, but that's where one goes on ones E5.

Regards - and great portrait - sure wish I could gain such skill (amidst the lack of talent...)

Mark

kirk tuck said...

If you like the blog please become a subscriber. And a follower. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

While the EPL-2 appeals to me and I will probably get one given the Olympus lenses I have, it doesn't exactly fit in your pocket once you've put a lens on it. Have you given any thought to using an advanced compact camera like the recently launched Olympus XZ-1? Any thoughts?

Anonymous said...

Hey Kirk -

Just wanted to say a big thank you for posting this and other info on the EPL-2. If you aren't getting kick-backs from Oly, you should! Very good review for practical photographers. I checked out the Oly in a camera store, then sat next door with a cup o joe and read your review. After coffee I went back in the camera store and bought it. Now, if they will only make more of those damn VF-2's! (All sold out as of today).

One question - I have a few lenses that I use on my Leica M3 and was wondering if you knew of a good adaptor(s) so I can use my primes? A big fan of covert photography (HCB is my idol), obviously...

I'm guessing my LX3 and D80 will be very unhappy with this purchase, since I feel like I can now leave them at home...

Thanks again