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London calling...

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  • London calling...

    Hello to everyone here and thanks for approving my membership.

    I’m an enthusiastic amateur and have been swinging cameras around my neck since 1980 when I bought an OM-10. Up until Olympus abandoned the OM System I gradually expanded with many different lenses, bodies and heavily invested in their TTL flash system which was one of the main reasons I bought Olympus to begin with: the unsurpassed Off The Film (OTF) metering system.

    I still have some of the equipment but rarely use it anymore, my particular favourites are the 35RC I bought from my local Cash Converters for £5, and my Pen FT half-frame system which I still own and sometimes use today.

    My main interests back then always gravitated towards anything aquatic but I also maintain an interest in macro but on a budget. So no true macro lenses for me, just cheap and effective filter thread reversing rings and a Russian bellows. I rapidly learned about how sensitive depth of field is for macrophotography as I was taking images where an ant head filled the frame but the nearest part of the faceted eye would be in focus but not the part which was a hairs-breadth further back. As focus stacking didn’t exist back then the answer was ever smaller apertures and massive amounts of light placed as closely as possible to the subject, but even a brief flash at those power levels tended to cook the critters...

    After Olympus abandoned its 35mm customers I soldiered on for a while with the system taking advantage of cheap bodies and lenses as most users didn't want an orphaned system and finally gave up on it in 2003 after a holiday in Turkey where I shot dozens of rolls of film but noticed almost everyone else had switched to digital. I remained with 35mm a few years longer for underwater photography with a Sea & Sea Motormarine 2 outfit and later a Canon compact which was far better suited to snorkelling.

    I had largely given up on anything other than underwater photography by then which limited me to just our annual two week holidays in either the Mediterranean or Canary Islands, and what I saw of digital SLR systems still appeared to be a very immature technology so my first foray into the digital world was a Sony DSC-1 which was a fantastic little camera offering loads of creative control.

    My renewed interest in photography inspired my wife to find her own personal shutterbug and was eager to learn whatever I could teach her. That culminated in her purchase in 2008 of an E-510 system which she rapidly learned to use very effectively and expanded whenever what she owned was preventing her achieving what she wanted. Whenever I used her equipment I still wasn’t hugely impressed with it although she achieved great results. So after loads of research I bought a Konica Minolta Dimage A2. That was a bridge camera with a superb twin-touch superzoom range of 24mm to 200mm (35mm equivalent). I thoroughly enjoyed using it and took some of my all-time personal favourite images with it, but it was when I started to notice obtrusive shadow noise that the search began for another system.

    I judged that the technology was now sufficiently matured to invest in a dSLR. After much research I plumped for a Pentax K5ii: it was fully weather-sealed, a very important feature for me, along with the 18-135 kit lens which was also weather resistant. It also had a far larger and brighter optical viewfinder than any Canikons, and a lot more bang for my bucks than any other system could provide. I quickly bought an ultra-wide zoom for it, the amazing Sigma 8-16mm (roughly 12-24mm at 35mm equiv.), as extreme wide-angle lenses enable another interest of mine: the interiors of places of worship (despite being a committed atheist!). A little later I added the Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8, which is absolutely the sharpest lens I have ever owned.

    The trouble with owning such a razor-sharp lens is that it made me realise how soft the other two lenses were. The 18-135 sharpened up fantastically at about f/8, and even the Sigma got far better at that setting. Not a surprising discovery at all, but inconvenient when most of what I shoot is at low ambient light levels and usually where ‘pods are forbidden. The increasing weight of the gear around my neck was also becoming uncomfortable and I’d started looking at the FujiFilm mirrorless system which my wife now owned and was winning competitions at club and national levels with. The XT-2 was initially very attractive but lacked the vital IBIS which I had come to rely upon since my Dimage A2, and it was not a weather-sealed system. I waited for the XT-3 but that still did not answer my needs. So on 31st December 1018 at close to midnight, after much research and a complete failure by the Olympus “Test and Wow!” scheme to be able to get me a body and lens at the same time (!) I took the gamble of ordering an OM-D E-M1 mk2 along with the f/2.8 PRO 12-40mm and 40-150mm (plus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter) from Portus Digital, which saved me hundreds of £s. I’d been a loyal customer in the past of their shop in Wallington when it was H.Dew Photographic. I knew exactly what I was buying and that it would be a parallel import, but the company offered their own warranty and ensured that the charger cable was replaced with a UK example. As it happened, I was able to register the warranties for everything with Olympus UK without any problems.

    I fully expected a steep learning curve as reviewers often mentioned how clumsy and unintuitive the menus and information displays are on that camera. But they proved to be far worse than I ever expected. It seemed as if some engineers had got together and asked “How can we make a really good camera really difficult and unintuitive to use? And whilst we’re about it, make the information displays really tiny and hard to read?”

    For the last few months I grew to really hate what I’d bought and even until two weeks ago was ready to sell it on ebay. But on a trip to Strawberry Hill House last week I started to find it easier and had some great results. There’s still a huge amount of features which are just too awkward to use, and I really dislike how easy it is to set exposure compensation by mistake, but there’s still nothing else available with the features I need and which this camera has. Such as keystone correction: now that I’ve worked out how to assign that to the lens function button, and how to get the grid lines on the viewfinder display I’m much happier. So much so that I’ve just bought two additional genuine Olympus batteries bringing my total to four, and today my 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO will be arriving. Not quite as wide a view as my Sigma, but pretty close.

    I joined this forum when I was trying to find out how to assign keystone correction to a single button; but couldn’t find the answer and worked it out for myself.

    I expect to soon be selling my Pentax gear, plus the 35RC, Pen FT, various 35mm Zuikos and my OM-1n and other bits to fund the purchase of a second EM-1 mk2. With just two lenses I found I was swapping too often and with three that’s going to be worse. Especially as Olympus placed the lens release button in such a stupid place!
    Digicams:-
    Pentax K5ii, 2 x Olympus OM-D E-M1 mk2 (one with HLD-9 battery grip), Oly Tough TG-5, Ricoh WG-4, Canon Digital IXUS105 plus underwater housing.
    Lenses:-
    Pentax 18-135WR, Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8, Sigma 8-16mm (K-AF mount)
    All three Olympus f/2.8PRO zooms plus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter).

    Plus various 35mm OM bodies/lenses, Oly 35RC rangefinder, and half-frame PEN-FT body plus various lenses. MTO-11MC 1000mm f/10

  • #2
    Re: London calling...

    You're very welcome here!

    We're all on our own journeys and it takes different times to get comfortable with the gear but most of us work it out eventually

    Thank you for your very detailed and interesting account.

    Ian
    Founder and editor of:
    Olympus UK E-System User Group (http://e-group.uk.net)
    Four Thirds User (http://fourthirds-user.com)
    Digital Photography Now (http://dpnow.com)
    Olympus camera, lens, and accessory hire (http://e-group.uk.net/hire)

    Twitter: www.twitter.com/ian_burley
    Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/dpnow/
    Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/ianburley/
    NEW: My personal BLOG ianburley.com
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Re: London calling...

      Welcome to the forum with that impressive first post. Looking forward to seeing some images now.
      http://www.flickr.com/photos/flip_photo_flickr/

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: London calling...

        Hi 'Obertelli', and welcome!

        I've been thinking of going to Strawberry Hill House. Is it worth the trip?

        Jim

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        • #5
          Re: London calling...

          Hi Jim,

          My wife and I certainly thought it was worth the visit, but we only live in Croydon so only an hour to drive there.

          It has a free car park, and access to the gardens is completely free. Admission to the house was £12.95 each (AFAIR), and it's open until 4pm with last admission at 3pm. We arrived just after 3pm but they still let us in and it was still enough time. The volunteer guides in each room were very keen and knowledgeable.

          Strawberry Hill House is also very close to Bushy Park, Richmond Park and Hampton Court; the first two have wild deer populations. You're also right beside the Thames at Teddington, which has the lock separating the tidal and non-tidal sections of the river presenting further distinct photographic opportunities.

          Best regards,

          Rob


          Digicams:-
          Pentax K5ii, 2 x Olympus OM-D E-M1 mk2 (one with HLD-9 battery grip), Oly Tough TG-5, Ricoh WG-4, Canon Digital IXUS105 plus underwater housing.
          Lenses:-
          Pentax 18-135WR, Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8, Sigma 8-16mm (K-AF mount)
          All three Olympus f/2.8PRO zooms plus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter).

          Plus various 35mm OM bodies/lenses, Oly 35RC rangefinder, and half-frame PEN-FT body plus various lenses. MTO-11MC 1000mm f/10

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: London calling...

            Hello, and welcome to the Forum.

            I really like the image through the doors.

            Graham

            We often repeat the mistakes we most enjoy...

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: London calling...

              A warm welcome.
              Cameras: E-M5, E-PM2, OM40, OM4Ti
              Lenses (M.Zuiko Digital): 7-14mm/F2.8, 12-40mm/F2.8, 40-150mm/F2.8+TC1.4x, 12-50mm/F3.5-6.3, 14-42mm/F3.5-5.6 EZ, M.ZD 40-150 F4-5.6 R, 75-300mm/F4.8-6.7 Mk1, 12mm/F2, 17mm/F1.8
              Lenses (OM Zuiko): 50mm/F1.2, 24mm/F2, 35mm/F2.8 shift
              Lenses (OM Fit): Vivitar Series II 28-105mm/F2.8-3.8, Sigma 21-35mm/F3.4-4.2, Sigma 35-70mm/F2.8-4, Sigma 75-200mm/F2.8-3.5, Vivitar Series II 100-500mm/F5.6-8.0, Centon 500mm/F8 Mirror
              Learn something new every day

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: London calling...

                Hi and a warm welcome.

                I enjoyed that read of your walk to olympus. Actually I found the lens release on the Oly pretty well thought out. If you grip the body with the hotshoe between your left hand thumb and index finger, then grip the lens with your right hand with the thumb facing the body, you would have the index finger just in front of the lens release button.move your finger slightly to push the button and 1/4 turn anti-clockwise and wolla the lens is out.

                That keystone, you can assign a button for it. I have assigned the top button on the body for it. a press with my middle right finger I can activate or deactivate it with my eye still on the viewfinder. Button assignment can be found in the Menu/settings in B.
                * Henry
                * Location: Subang Jaya, Selangor
                * Malaysia


                All my garbage so far.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: London calling...

                  Welcome to the forum...…………..:-)
                  Mark Johnson

                  My Sailing Page

                  My Flickr

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: London calling...

                    Thanks Henry.

                    It’s not so much a walk to Olympus as being a circle back to it as that’s what I started with.

                    Also thanks for the advice about button assignment, but I had already worked out how to do that and assigned it to my lens function button.

                    I still think the lens release is poorly placed, but I will get used to it. On the original OM and Pen systems the button was on the lens ideally places where my thumb goes as I grip the lens to rotate it, whilst holding the body with the other hand. My Pentax K5ii is also better as the button is on the body exactly where my index finger naturally falls when I grip the body for a lens swap.

                    It doesn’t help that an injury left me with permanent nerve damage and significantly-reduced touch sensation in the digits of my left hand.

                    But as I already typed, I’ll get used to it.

                    Best regards, Rob
                    Digicams:-
                    Pentax K5ii, 2 x Olympus OM-D E-M1 mk2 (one with HLD-9 battery grip), Oly Tough TG-5, Ricoh WG-4, Canon Digital IXUS105 plus underwater housing.
                    Lenses:-
                    Pentax 18-135WR, Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8, Sigma 8-16mm (K-AF mount)
                    All three Olympus f/2.8PRO zooms plus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter).

                    Plus various 35mm OM bodies/lenses, Oly 35RC rangefinder, and half-frame PEN-FT body plus various lenses. MTO-11MC 1000mm f/10

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: London calling...

                      Welcome!
                      I see you still use the original Pen occasionally - you’ll find a few others on here that do the same.
                      If you are going to sell off your OM gear do advertise it here first, since several of us might be interested and it’s good to keep it in the family. There are also a lot of well-known long-term forum members, which makes it a safe place to trade.
                      Regards,
                      Mark

                      ------------------------------
                      http://www.microcontrast.com
                      Too much Oly gear.
                      Panasonic GM5, 12-32, 12-35, 15. Laowa 7.5.
                      Assorted legacy lenses, plus a Fuji X70 & a Sony A7S.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: London calling...

                        Thanks Mark.

                        I’ll definitely offer my assorted 35mm gear on here first. If I can bear to part with them: I have an irrational emotional attachment which has so far prevented me from letting them go. But not with my wife’s E-510 and lenses which she’s on the cusp of asking me to sell on her behalf. The E-510 is worth a pittance, but she did invest in some pretty good glass as soon as she tired of the standard kit lenses.
                        Digicams:-
                        Pentax K5ii, 2 x Olympus OM-D E-M1 mk2 (one with HLD-9 battery grip), Oly Tough TG-5, Ricoh WG-4, Canon Digital IXUS105 plus underwater housing.
                        Lenses:-
                        Pentax 18-135WR, Pentax DA* 200mm f/2.8, Sigma 8-16mm (K-AF mount)
                        All three Olympus f/2.8PRO zooms plus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter).

                        Plus various 35mm OM bodies/lenses, Oly 35RC rangefinder, and half-frame PEN-FT body plus various lenses. MTO-11MC 1000mm f/10

                        Comment

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