New Gear: The Olympus OM-D E-M10 - First Impressions

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

Last week, I read a post on Peta Pixel about a rumor that Canon might make a mirrorless camera. That post linked me to another post about how one photographer switched to FujiFilm's mirrorless camera line. The mirrorless camera removes the mirror from the camera body. The mirror in a DSLR allows you to see through the lens in your viewfinder - taking the image through the lens and reflecting it into your eye. Losing the mirror clears up a lot of space and makes the camera much smaller. After reading the aforementioned article, I started fantasizing about a mirrorless camera: how much easier it would be to take with me on the few trips that I do make, how I could have a camera on me at all times and a good camera at that. Not that my iPhone isn't a good camera, it does the job and it has given me some of my favorite photos. But while I wait for the iPhone 6 to come in the mail, my aging 4S crashes when I take photos now and it just isn't cutting the mustard.

So I started looking for mirrorless cameras. The whole point is that I'm not replacing my beloved Canon 6D. I know it and I love it. It isn't a 5D Mark-Whatever, but it's a damn good camera and it suits me just fine. But it's huge. And it's heavy. But mostly, it's expensive and huge. I can't take it with me to New York City and take pictures with it as I walk down the street. It draws attention to itself just because it's a DSLR and it says "Canon" on it. Long story short, I was really into getting a smaller, unobtrusive camera.

I spent at least three full days obsessing over it. Then agonizing over it. Which company is better? What do the price brackets mean in terms of quality? Do MegaPixels really matter? What the hell is aspect-ratio and why can't I find a simple explanation of it? Lens selection is pretty important. So I spent a lot of time on snapsort.com comparing FujiFilm X series cameras to one another, the Sony a7, the Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the Samsung NX300. I made three pros and cons lists and comparison lists. I even asked the know-it-alls on the Reddit subreddit r/photography, and of course felt insecure with the advice I was given. I kept going back and forth and back and forth and it finally came down to the Olympus and the Sony cameras and the $500 that separated them. In an ideal world, I would get a Leica camera, but I am even hesitant to buy $20 Bumble and Bumble hair shampoo... so Leica was out of the question and will be forever confined to my ultimate wishlist alongside a Hasselblad because that's what photographers are supposed to want, right?. The Sony a7 was the top of the heap, but would come out to be the same price as my refurbished 6D and while it would be smaller, I'd be just as anxious carrying around with me.  I own an Olympus OM-20 film camera so I figured I'd already be somewhat familiar with the system. And maybe I could use the same lenses (I can sort of, but not really). Regardless, I saw a massive deal on Amazon: the Olympus OM-D E-M10 body with a 14-42mm kit lens for $700, a free 40-150mm lens and they even threw in an Amazon Basics camera bag. It took me a few days to pull the trigger, but then I realized that the deal was pretty phenomenal considering I'd save about $350-400, and I really wanted to take it with me on holiday.

It was delivered a day early. As I unboxed it, my face transformed into what I'm told was a priceless expression. It is tiny. Miniscule. It looks and feels like a camera for ants. It's adorable. It's light. It doesn't feel real, it's that tiny. The lenses are miniature, although the 40-150mm zoom lens extends out in a way that my friend described as very "Diglett"-like. What's surprising is how light they are. The 14-42mm lens has a locking mechanism which allows you to smush it when it isn't in use - something I doubt I'll ever get used to as it's in the same place as my Auto-Focus/Manual-Focus switch on my Canon. To be honest, I thought I broke the lens when I couldn't figure out how to close it. They're so light that it wouldn't surprise me if I had.

When I turned the camera on, I found it to be less like my DSLR and more like a digital camera, which turned me off. There are a lot of features and menus and icons and it's just very cluttered. (I believe this is one of the common criticisms for the OM line). I had a very hard time finding the things that I wanted, like changing the loud auto-focus beep or even finding the manual focus, and have yet to fully explore the extensive online manual. There's a smiley face icon on the menu that I find really disconcerting and I have no idea what it means. I can't even do a ctrl+f for the smiley face in the manual... The biggest challenge is the view finder. It's a digital viewfinder. I am unsure how that will affect the battery life, but I have a feeling negatively. There is a dial to sharpen the image in the viewfinder, which is odd in comparison to seeing a perpetually crisp image in my DSLR viewfinder and if it isn't clear, I know there's something wrong with my lens. But this is the entire point of a mirrorless camera. Without the mirror, you can have a miniature camera. On a DSLR, you can look through your lens, compose your shot through the lens and it feels real and organic. With the digital viewfinder, it feels like you're trying to look at everything through a video camera feed. It just feels less "real." However, I imagine it's a lot better than having to compose your image on the screen. The Olympus has a touch-screen feature, but I doubt I'll be using it.

I wasn't 100% on board. It felt new-fangled and different. It seemed overly-complicated for something that was supposed to simplify things for me. But then I started exploring the menus (admittedly, they're rather circuitous) and started making the small changes as per my preferences and then I put it next to my DSLR and remembered how small it is. It is so damn small. And it's really cool.

So I'll be figuring it out. But that's my new camera and my first impressions of it.

35mm Film - Black and White from Autumn

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

I don't know why I hardly use black and white 35mm film. Perhaps because I can still manage to buy a 10 pack of Ultrafine Xtreme black and white film for $30 and that just doesn't happen for other film. I had a grab bag film order and received a roll of Kentmere 100 Black and White film, popped it into my Olympus OM-G camera and took some photos throughout the fall.


120 Film - Black and White from Autumn

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

I'm so negligent when it comes to film. I let the exposed rolls sit and rot before I take them to get developed. I often forget to pick them up once they've been developed (unless they come in the mail, in which case, there's no good excuse there. It's literally delivered to me). I wait to scan them and I wait even longer to process them and longer still to post them.

The likelihood that anyone actually reads or sees any of this is rather slim, but whatever. Here they are: the 120 photos from my Lubitel 166B and my Diana F+ in black and white.

Birds on a Wire

Birds on a Wire

Former Coca-Cola Bottling Co. building on Mass Ave. Lubitel 166B

Former Coca-Cola Bottling Co. building on Mass Ave.

Lubitel 166B

Former Coca-Cola Bottling Co. building on Mass Ave. Lubitel 166B

Former Coca-Cola Bottling Co. building on Mass Ave.

Lubitel 166B

Cops patrolling on horseback around Monument Circle Diana F+

Cops patrolling on horseback around Monument Circle

Diana F+

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument - Double Exposure Diana F+

Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument - Double Exposure

Diana F+

Lubitel 166B C-41

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

I hardly ever use 120 film in color. I tend to think Black and white as a little more forgiving. Post-processing is easier. And I don't have to pay through the nose to get it developed. In fact, I'll be visiting Mr. Poster in Broad Ripple tomorrow to get the film he's developed. But I did stick a Kodak Ektar 200 in there (I think). Here are some of the photos I got back

Coming up next: 120 and 35mm black and white.

Sam chopped all that wood in the photo above this one.

Sam chopped all that wood in the photo above this one.

The last outdoor Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace event until the spring.

The last outdoor Indie Arts and Vintage Marketplace event until the spring.

Back when it was pretty outside

Back when it was pretty outside

Protectors.

Protectors.

Downtown Indianapolis

Downtown Indianapolis

On a Walk

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

My family lives in a pretty idyllic spot. Though a stone's trow away from the suburbia you'd expect from the over-populated state of New Jersey, they live amongst cattle, fields, hay, and over-priced boutique restaurants. I was out for a walk in their neck of their woods.

This little guy ran up to me as I shouted a stream of expletives while on the phone with my dad. Some monster...

This little guy ran up to me as I shouted a stream of expletives while on the phone with my dad. Some monster...

Of course, I save my favorite for last, but I doubt many of you made it this far. If you did, well, this is my favorite.

Of course, I save my favorite for last, but I doubt many of you made it this far. If you did, well, this is my favorite.

In Flight Photos

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

Holidays have become synonymous with traveling. My family lives in New Jersey while I live in Indianapolis. So I flew to New Jersey.

My flight on Wednesday was delayed several hours, allowing me to take photos of unsuspecting travelers.

iPhone 4S - VSCOcam

iPhone 4S - VSCOcam

iPhone 4S - Hipstamatic - VSCOcam

iPhone 4S - Hipstamatic - VSCOcam

When I finally got to board my flight, I was too nervous to stop taking pictures.

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iPhone 4S - VSCOcam

iPhone 4S - VSCOcam

Awake the Wilde at Tonic Ball 2014

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

The gentleman who models for me most often, Sam Griswold, is also a bass player in the band Awake the Wilde. They performed their renditions of Velvet Underground and Lou Reed songs at this year's Tonic Ball on November 21, 2014. They truly rocked their covers and even concluded their set with an original entitled, "Bad as I Want," a song I can only describe as indescribably sexy.

The band members are identified from left to right. Go check out their Facebook, like their page and get ready because their new album is about to drop soon.

Alex Roth (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar)

Sam Griswold (Bass) | Bill Eckhart (Lead Guitar)

Alex Roth (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) | Andrew Davis (Drums)

Alex Roth (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) | Sam Griswold (Bass)

Brock Lucchese (Rhythm Guitar) | Alex Roth (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar) | Andrew Davis (Drums) | Sam Griswold (Bass)
 

Sam Griswold (Bass)
 

Alex Roth (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar)

Bill Eckhart (Lead Guitar)

Brock Lucchese (Rhythm Guitar) | Alex Roth (Vocals/Rhythm Guitar)

Thrifted Finds: Kodak Pocket Instamatic 40 Camera

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

The first Saturday of the month is Goodwill day. Everything at Goodwill stores is 50% off. Not far from our local Goodwill is a store called "Vintage Vogue," which is a subsidiary of the former. Basically, Goodwill takes their "best" merchandise (arbitrarily, it seems) and marks them up a few dollars. On 50% off day, it's worth the trip.

About two months ago, my boyfriend was digging around the miscellany when he came upon a little brown pouch with a long strap. Within, he found a small camera. Knowing how geeky I am for film cameras, he ran up to me as I was trying on over sized blazers and showed me the item. I opened the pouch to see a sad little Instamatic with the company's emblem plate taped on. I was going to leave it, thinking it was a camera that I couldn't buy film for. Lucky for me, he shrugged me off and decided to get it anyway as it was only three dollars. Then I noticed that it was a 110 camera and that there was no battery necessary. Then I bought it for myself and I'm glad the only defect was the taped on KODAK plate.

I took it to the Monon trail before dropping off a roll of black and white film at Indianapolis's Mr. Poster. I wasted about four exposures not knowing how to open the shutter, but the rest turned out pretty great.

Lo-Fi Fun & The Cost of Film

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

A long while ago, I purchased two little 110 cameras. One was a keychain that could actually fold up into a square when there was no film in it. The other was a Holga Micro 110. At the time, I was doing my undergrad in NYC and somehow, no one in New York City could develop my film. Instead of sending it out, I just shelved it for three or hour years. When I moved to Indiana, I decided that was close enough to Kansas to get the film developed. I did. This post isn't regarding those photos, though, because they were pretty lousy. Anyway, I got some more rolls of 110 film from Lomography, inserted them into the cameras and tried to snap away. I exposed one roll when one of the cameras broke (I think it was the shitty little keychain.) The other two turned out okay and will be posted below... but not before I've made my spiel.

My local lab just moved to a shiny new facility in downtown Indianapolis. They used to develop and scan color 120 rolls of film. When they moved, I walked in to drop off about four rolls of 120 and four or five rolls of 35mm. The guy just slid the rolls of 120 back to me and told me I had to ship them out now.

Dwayne's Photo in Parsons, Kansas is one of maybe two or three labs in the entire country that develop 110 film and they're the most affordable lab when it comes to developing 120 film. What was once the cost of developing copious amounts of film was now a single roll. My heart dropped to my feet when I eventually received my electronic bill after miscalculating my order. And since they don't readily make 110 scanning masks for my scanner, I had to make do with the low-resolution scans Dwayne's offers. It's a sad day when you can feel the death of film in your wallet. True, people are trying to maintain the tradition of making and developing film, but a smaller and smaller number of people seem to care. Oh well... here are my pictures.

Next time, I'm making a happier post about a thrifted Kodak instamatic. Stay tuned.

Wedding on Lake Michigan - July 4, 2014

Wedding on Lake Michigan - July 4, 2014

Wedding on Lake Michigan - July 4, 2014

Wedding on Lake Michigan - July 4, 2014

Wedding on Lake Michigan - July 4, 2014

Wedding on Lake Michigan - July 4, 2014

Lake Michigan - July 5, 2014

Lake Michigan - July 5, 2014

Lake Michigan - July 5, 2014

Lake Michigan - July 5, 2014

Lake Michigan - July 5, 2014

Lake Michigan - July 5, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Blissfest - July 13, 2014

Pond Hill Farm - July 2014

Pond Hill Farm - July 2014

Fisheye From the Summer

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

Winter arrived in Indianapolis far earlier than expected. Yesterday, it was 18 degrees at its highest.When I finally scanned my roll of film that was taken with my Lomography Fisheye camera, I got to relive some fun shots from the summer. So as the snow is freezing onto the ground, take a look at these; they might warm you up a little.

Film: Kodak Color Plus 200

The First Snow

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

Technically, the first snow of the year happened on Halloween night here in Indianapolis. However, we got our first substantial snowfall yesterday and am now posting the pictures.

I took the photos on the now discontinued FP-3000b film and of course I squandered a few exposures. And I'm still racked with guilt. In my haste to peel apart the film, I dripped melted snow (so water) on the negative of my favorite photo and destroyed it partially. I also ruined another negative this way, but it wasn't nearly as good of a photo.

Colts Games

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

I've been hoarding these pictures until my 35mm rolls got developed, but here they are - a collection of photos I took at various Colts games.

Unfortunately, I won't be attending this evening's game against the Patriots. However, as current Indiana resident and a former resident of New England, albeit for a brief period of time, I can now safely say, "Go Colts!"

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos iPhone 4S - OlloClip Fisheye & Hipstamatic: Tinto 1884 Lens + C-Type Plate Film

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos

iPhone 4S - OlloClip Fisheye & Hipstamatic: Tinto 1884 Lens + C-Type Plate Film

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos Diana F+ - Ultrafine Xtreme 400. Double Exposure.

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos

Diana F+ - Ultrafine Xtreme 400. Double Exposure.

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos Diana F+ - Ultrafine Xtreme 400

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos

Diana F+ - Ultrafine Xtreme 400

IU Marching Hundred during the halftime show on September 28 Olympus OM-G - Lomography XPRO 200

IU Marching Hundred during the halftime show on September 28

Olympus OM-G - Lomography XPRO 200

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos Diana F+ - Ultrafine Xtreme 400. Double Exposure.

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos

Diana F+ - Ultrafine Xtreme 400. Double Exposure.

September 28 against the Tennessee Titans Olympus OM-G - Lomography XPRO 200

September 28 against the Tennessee Titans

Olympus OM-G - Lomography XPRO 200

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos iPhone 4S - OlloClip Fisheye & Hipstamatic: Vincent Lens + Irom 2000 Film

The first game of the season. September 7 against the Denver Broncos

iPhone 4S - OlloClip Fisheye & Hipstamatic: Vincent Lens + Irom 2000 Film

Life Finds a Way

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

Since I haven't had any commissioned work lately, I've been editing photos from a month or so ago. Last month, I took out my camera to our patio. There is a small fire pit there that we've stopped using since it began to rust over and collect trash. This fall, we noticed that life found a way in between the beer cans and cigarette butts.

The selective focus was achieved by putting both my camera and my lens at peril with the "free-lensing" technique, which produces the tilt effect.

Birds on the Canal

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

I've been "busy" (video games, personal problems, coping with more video games, other work, mostly video games) and had not gotten around editing these photos from September. But here they are - I edited them in between playing Costume Quest and writing.

This was on the Canal in downtown Indianapolis. People feed these ducks and geese so they get very close to you expecting you to have bread.

I really liked that one goose.

Headshots

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

I'm officially doing head shots now. In a moment of sublime convenience, my boyfriend (Indianapolis comedian Sam Griswold) happens to be as handsome as he is hilarious and was in need of some head shots. Here are three of my favorites. We took some very funny ones that he's reserving for later, but I loved taking some ironic "studio portraits." With this shoot, I discovered the idea for a new set to along as soon as I have a few more participants.

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Please visit Sam's website, Twitter, and Youtube page for a good laugh

FujiFilm FP-3000b

Added on by Pauline Shypula.

A little while ago, I saw that Amazon had temporarily lowered the price of the now discontinued FujiFilm FP3000b film. It's an instant 3x4 film in Black and White. I couldn't have been more excited to test it out.

My model is Sam, the burgeoning lumberjack.

I forgot that the film speed is 3000 so they're a little overexposed, but I still love them. I wish I had known about this petition to save the film from extinction a while ago. I better make some money and stock up on the now dwindling stock left over and do what I can with them before they expire.