Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Olympus PEN Image Quality Test

Although all the Olympus PEN cameras use the same 12.3 megapixel sensor, incremental improvements to image quality have been made through the models over the last three years. In particular, a weaker anti-aliasing filter was introduced with the third model, the E-PL1, and maintained through subsequent iterations (E-PL2, E-PL3, E-PM1, E-P3). Here I will test the E-PL2 (released January 2011) against the E-P2 (released November 2009) in order to see if there is a discernible improvement in IQ.

I will provide the usual disclaimer that I am no equipment tester; I have no special gear, charts, calibration equipment, etc. Most of the time I simply take "normal" photos and see how they turn out. Every so often I resort to shots under more controlled situations, and that's what I will share with you today. Likely others have performed this same exercise before, but I like to prove things to myself!
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Overview of the Olympus PEN Camera Range

E-PL2 (left) and E-P2 (right): front view

I've written previously about the handy Micro Four Thirds (MFT) format cameras, first in an Introduction and then a three part review of the Olympus E-P1 (Part One, Part Two, Part Three). In this article I'll answer the question "which Olympus PEN should I get?" by comparing the seven different models released since July 2009.
Monday, March 26, 2012

Advice To A Would-Be Wedding Photographer

Wedding of Robbie & Jen

I'm not much of an expert at event photography. I've shot a handful of family functions for close friends, a christening here, a wedding there. I'm simply not the sort of person who could do this for a living. Now that even the professionals are struggling to make ends meet, I wouldn't exactly recommend that it's a great time to leap into the wedding photog game.

But everyone has a camera and it's easy for that "anyone" to be asked to shoot a wedding. I see an awful lot of questions on photography fora that start the same way: "I'm shooting my friend's wedding for free and..." The problem is, that's the wrong place to start. The odds are stacked against you already and it's unlikely that a group of well-meaning internet strangers can help you.

Though it might sometimes make sense to volunteer your time for free, I think it's a big mistake at a wedding. Read on, and I'll explain.
Sunday, March 25, 2012

Garrykennedy Woods

trunk and vine

These photos are from the Mother's Day trip our family took out to the woods on Lough Derg. It's challenging to render botanical matter in an interesting way. It might look great to the eye, as one is enjoying a stroll. But it can be confusing and messy within a frame as the camera sees it. Here are four samples I think are successful. Two are in B&W and two are in colour, since I can never settle on one approach or the other.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

More on the Olympus VF-2 Viewfinder

Sennheiser and the living room

In my last article I introduced the VF-2, an electronic viewfinder for the Olympus PEN series of mirrorless cameras. It's the first EVF I've used for any length of time. Although I am still in early days, I want to take this post to share my initial opinions, and also write something about camera stabilisation.

Those who have compared, say that this is one of the best EVF units available. To avoid confusion, I should mention that the original VF-1 model is a simple optical framing device for a single lens, more a rangefinder accessory than anything else. The subsequent VF-3 model has lower resolution (920K instead of 1440K) and was introduced mainly to provide a less expensive choice. The Panasonic EVF, available for their line of MFT cameras, is also said to be of lesser quality.
Sunday, March 11, 2012

On the Vampiric Edge with the VF-2 Viewfinder


There are plenty of sites where technophiles post their experiences with the latest gadgets, advance copies of pre-production cameras and other adventures on the so-called "bleeding edge". And there are also those who harbour an almost fetishistic fascination with cameras from yesteryear, marvelling at how difficult it is to take photos with them, how much specific knowledge and practice is required to get them to perform to standard (and how superior they are once all that is accomplished).

I am sympathetic to both extremes, but find myself somewhere in the middle. I'm content to seek out the best deals in gear two or three years old, without sacrificing the convenience and functionality of recent technology. This is motivated not only by a desire for value for money, but also out of a distinct dislike for consumer culture that mandates the release of three (or six!) slightly different models a year. By buying slightly older units discarded by bleeding edge dudes, I do my small bit to help prevent electronic landfill. And save lots of money.

What's the opposite of "bleeding edge"? Perhaps the "vampiric edge", sucking the remaining life-blood out of something that would otherwise be discarded.
Thursday, March 08, 2012

Sublimation in Montréal

My short composition "2003 UB313" may now be heard at Oboro, Montréal, as part of the exhibit Sublimation: An Exercise in the Immersive. This collection of audio and video works was curated by Helen Frosi, of SoundFjord gallery in London; Yann Novak, sound and video artist based in Los Angeles; and France Jobin, sound artist from Montréal.

After a successful opening 3 March 2012, the exhibit runs through 7 April. Fluid Radio has a comprehensive article with links to video clips.

I wish I could say "see you there". But if you're in that part of the world, it looks like an unmissable show.
Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Website Reboot

Website Reboot 2012

Welcome to my 2012 website reboot! It is still the case that I have many different sites, but I've cleaned out the deadwood and kept 15 links on my robinparmar.com hub. This is now nicely decorated with CSS, HTML, Javascript, and a soupcon of amoeboid protozoa.

Theatre of Noise still has pride of place, since this is where I post my activities across all areas of interest. I even post about my website changes, which flirts with recursion. This blog is an easy place for people to get updates, thanks to the handy RSS feed. My most vital activities are as a composer and performer, so Remanence is next, followed by the escalation 746 site since that too is oriented around music production. (I have a new remix to post soon.) Further on, I've chosen to highlight my Vimeo and Facebook pages, but haven't done the same for my many other social networking sites, since they are under-utilised.

Further update details follow, since this is the best place to remind myself of what I've done.