Tag Archives: OM System

The Image Doctors #224

Hands-on with the OM-1 Mark II

This week, we both got the opportunity to get our hands on the brand new OM System OM-1 Mark II. While there are lots of early reviews out there from insiders, we had some specific features we really wanted to test, including:

  • Human Face/Eye detection (improved algorithm)
  • Subject detection autofocus with tracking and smaller AF-target areas
  • Continuous AF with tracking enabled when subject detection is off (C-AF+TR)
  • Slower frame rates in SH2 sequential shooting settings (12.5 and 16.7fps)

We then offer our take as to whether or not the OM System OM-1 MarkII should be in your bag.

Pushing the envelope

Testing the Olympus 100-400mm with a teleconverter

The Olympus 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens is a surprisingly good performer, especially considering its sub-$1500 price point. It’s not a lens that I’d even consider using with a teleconverter, because you lose quite a bit of light in that scenario. Nevertheless, I figured I’d try it out when I was in San Diego last week leading my birds in flight photo workshop.

I put the Olympus MC-14 1.4x teleconverter on the 100-400mm and happened to encounter a song sparrow at relatively close range. So I gave it a shot. At these extreme magnifications, the lack of a good optical image stabilizer was noticeable (IBIS gives better results with this lens), but I kept the shutter speed high, and hoped for the best. I surprisingly got a couple of keepers, but autofocus accuracy was reduced somewhat (not unexpected).

song sparrow
Song sparrow at 1122mm effective, f/9.0 ISO 20,000 (click for full-size image).

In the past, I might have tossed these images out… ISOs 20,000? But by using DXO Pure Raw 3 to de-noise the raw files and a little Topaz Photo AI sharpening, the results were quite usable!

Skip the Travel Tripod?

Advances in image stabilization systems make shooting hand-held easier than ever

Christmastime in Europe is a magical thing to experience.

In 2023, I went on several trips where travel photography was the predominant style. That meant focusing on outdoor/street scenes, and indoor/ architectural scenes. These subjects are particularly prevalent in Europe, where I took a group of clients to visit Christmas Markets in Austria and Germany, along with a stop in Prague.

As always, I recommended for my clients to bring a lightweight travel tripod, because a primary goal for us was to shoot during the twilight/”blue hour.” Having a tripod in those situations can be really handy, because it allows you to shoot slower shutter speeds and keep your ISO down, which often leads to cleaner images (less noise, and more dynamic range).

I was excited to be using my new OM System OM-1 kit, with a couple of zooms (12-45mm f/4, 40-150 f/4) and two small primes (9mm f/1.7 and 25mm f/1.8). My entire kit only weighed 3.5 lbs.; less than my Nikon Z9 and 24-120mm f/4 combo, which I lugged around Croatia in 2022.

Along with my camera, I packed my trusty Gitzo traveler tripod and a small ball-head, and flew off to meet my clients in Prague, excited to capture photos of these magical cities at Christmastime. That’s when reality set in.

Continue reading Skip the Travel Tripod?

The Image Doctors #196

Wildlife Photography with the Olympus System

This week, we took our annual overnight trip to Mt. Evans (made possible by our sponsors) and photographed wildlife and landscapes in the alpine tundra above 13,000′ elevation. Joining us this week on the show is Dr. Shalah Parker, who recently got back into photography and is using the OM Digital Solutions OM-5 micro four-thirds format camera, and was with us on the shoot. You can find some of Shalah’s work at her Facebook page, Side Quest Photography.

The Sheer Audacity of Size

Putting an 800mm lens in a shoulder bag?

Billingham Hadley Pro camera bag
The Olympus 100-400mm telephoto zoom lens easily fits in the small Hadley Pro bag from Billingham.

A few years ago, I was gifted a Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder bag. It’s a very well-made waterproof bag that is ideal for use as a walkabout bag for smaller kits. It’s dimensions are fairly small: 15 3/8″W x 6 3/8″ D x 9 3/8″ H. This makes the Hadley Pro an easy bag to put under an airplane seat as a personal item when traveling. I’ve taken this bag to places like Croatia and Scotland, where it was perfect for a small travel kit, like a Nikon Z7 ii and two zoom lenses.

However, I never thought I’d use this bag for transporting a super telephoto zoom. That is, until I tested it with my OM Systems OM-1 camera and Olympus 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens, which has an equivalent angle of view to a 200-800mm lens on a 35mm format camera. By removing the lens collar (something I don’t need for hand-held shooting anyway), I was able to easily fit this telephoto zoom into the Hadley Pro bag. The OM-1 with 12-45mm f/4 lens attached fit as well, and I still had yet another empty compartment available to me.

Top view of the Billingham Hadley Pro bag with 100-400mm lens and OM-1 body with 12-45mm f/4 lens attached.

My colleague, Rick Walker, pointed out something else while we were out shooting together. One could theoretically pair the 100-400mm with the outstanding Olympus 12-100mm f/4 zoom and have a two lens kit that covers the entire range from 24-800mm equivalent, in a bag that fits under the seat of an airplane. Mind blown!