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:

Biking in the pouring rain? Naw, head to the studio.

I have a wonderful relationship with an oral surgery practice in Austin.  One of the campaigns I do for them is a monthly, "meet the doctor" print ad.  I interview the doctor and find out what their interests are, outside of the practice, and then I photograph them in a way that reflects that passion.  It's amazing how wide ranging their interests are.  From competitive ski jumpers to ranching and rodeo the range of ads has been wonderful fun.

For a recent ad we (the doctor and I) decided that we'd photograph him on his bike.  He doesn't long distance rides all over central Texas.  The problem came in the form of a fast approaching deadline and a weeklong forecast of rain and cold.  We changed gears and decided to shoot indoors.

This is a typical studio shot of a person against a white background, with a sky stripped into the background, courtesy of PhotoShop CS5.  The aspect that makes this different for me was the use of large and small LED panels as our light sources.

The main light to the left of the frame was a 1,000 bulb fixture aimed thru a Chimera ENG panel with a one stop diffuser on its frame.  Two 500 bulb fixtures washed  the background while a 183 bulb portable (battery driven) panel provided the backlight.  I need a tiny bit more fill so I pulled in a white board on the right of the frame and bounced a bit of light in from another small, battery driven fixture.

Your monitor may disagree but on my monitor, in print and on printed cards the color is bright, saturated and spot on.  It was easier building the light for this shot than most of the stuff I've done with flash because I could see exactly what I was getting and I had infinite control over the output of each light source.

We work closer with the LEDs than I have with flash and I'm not sure why that is but the quicker fall off means that I have more tight control in each quadrant of the image.

The image was shot with a Kodak SLR/n Pro and a 50mm lens.  Yes.  The Kodak.  Last month.

I like the shot because it's fun and simple and it was the perfect application of studio LED lighting.  We knew we had what we wanted the instant the lighting was complete.