Another power failure this morning at 7:51. Contacted Powercor—finally, after 5 minutes of waiting—and was
told that it was a widespread outage, and that it would take the standard 2 hours to fix.
Had just shut down my computers when the power came back, after only 19 minutes.
Today the lens for my Olympus OM-D E-M1 arrived, so I was able to start playing with it. It's also now
time to compare it with other cameras. Yes, it's much smaller than the E-30, but nowhere near as
small as a compact. In fact, with the lens it's considerably bigger than the Pentax SV. Here left to right
the E-30, the E-M1 and the SV, each with standard lens:
It's not until you realize that the photos were taken hand-held at 4 seconds and 0.6
seconds that the results look relatively good.
The things that are really supposed to be better about the camera are the autofocus and the
viewfinder. The autofocus is really amazingly fast compared to my E-30, itself quite a fast
camera in its day. Under normal lighting it's almost as if there's no delay at all, and
even under poor lighting conditions it's not too bad, though it does use an AF assist light
(amusing, considering that it doesn't have a built-in flash). And with this lens it's just
as fast with “Live view” as it is through the viewfinder.
What about the viewfinder? It's amazing! It takes a bit of getting used to not being able
to see anything until the camera is turned on, but it's really as good as an optical
viewfinder, and there are apparently lots of clever things it can do, once I get past the
Then there's the sensitivity. My E-30 has a maximum ISO rating of 3,200/36°. The E-M1 goes
all the way to “25,600”/45°. That's confusing, because it seems that 25,600 (if there were
such a thing) would be 45.1°, so I need to correct it in my exposure reporting functions.
It's all the sillier because the sequence is 10,000, 12,800, 16,000, 20,000 and 25,600, not
the same relationship as the values 1,000, 1,250, 1,600, 2,000 and 2,500 at lower ratings.
But it allows me to take photos like this forgettable one:
It's too dark, of course—I don't know why—but the exposure is 1/15 s at f/2.8. At normal
sensitivity that would be about 8 seconds. And of course it's noisy, but not unbearably so.
Later I might compare it with the E-30 at 3,200/36°.
What about the 802.11 wireless link? It's not networking, as I've established yesterday,
and it's really difficult to understand. Given the appalling state of the documentation, I
found a couple of videos on YouTube that were
helpful. This one shows
how to use the wireless link; it's non-intuitive, at least for me. But yes, it is
possible to read the QR code with the
tablet—if you haven't already input the password.
It's really difficult to understand how to use the app without instructions. There are
silly icons which mean nothing to me, and which aren't described anywhere, like this icon at
How do I tell it to focus? I don't know yet. My attempts only got it to take photos.
Maybe the incomprehensible icons hold the secret. But, as those screen shots show, the
viewfinder function does rotate with the orientation of the tablet. The other displays
don't. And then there's the bizarre discovery that, although I had told it to only take
photos in raw format, the ones taken remotely stored both raw
and JPEG images. Still much to learn.
And the lens? I haven't done any optical tests, but it's clearly better than the Zuiko Digital ED
12-60mm F2.8-4.0 SWD in the close-up range, where the 12-60 shows pronounced barrel
distortion. But I ran out of focal length a couple of times. As I had already noted, I
have taken a large number of photos at 60 mm focal length, and 40 mm doesn't cut it. It's
quite possible, if the 12-60 focuses fast enough, that I'll sell the lens. There's
certainly quite a demand for them at the moment.
Converting images was more of a problem than I expected. I've already established that the
new version of DxO
Optics “Pro” will require the “Elite” version to convert the images. But based on
experiences with images from the E-5, also an “Elite” body, I
can at least look at them. But no, it refuses to even select them, although it doesn't
officially have support for the body yet.
So I had to use Olympus Viewer 3. Was I up to date? Hard to say, but finally I established
that I wasn't. I had version 1.01 (so where's the 3?), and the current version is
1.1, released round the time of the announcement of the E-M1. But Viewer itself would
perform the update for me. Let it go at that, and it came back with the startling
information that I was already up to date. How I love broken software!
In the evening did some attempts to determine
the entrance pupil of the lens.
They were inconclusive. I've tried to use the remote control via tablet, but it's not clear
that that will work well enough. More to do tomorrow.
On with my trying to understand the Olympus OM-D E-M1 today. How
I wish it had a manual.
The first thing I continued with was to try to work out
the entrance pupil of the lens.
My intention had been to use the remote control Android app. But I quickly ran into a
serious problem: while the resolution of the electronic viewfinder on the camera is
excellent, I couldn't say the same thing about the remote viewfinder:
That's appalling! A little searching showed that one of the few interesting knobs I can
tweak is the choice between “fast” and “high quality” viewfinder. When I switched to the
latter, things got marginally better:
But that's still terrible quality, and the speed leaves a lot to be desired. I'm left with
the impression that there are significant speed problems with the network connection, which
might also explain the lack of functionality for transferring files to computers.
Also investigated the other functionality of the remote control. There seems to be
really no documentation, and I'm still left wondering what the button at top right
means; maybe I'll find the icon in some other context. There seems to be no explanation for
why it stores the image in both raw and JPEG
formats when run remotely, even though the camera is set to raw only. In general I'm quite
disappointed by the quality of the remote app control. I can only hope that they improve it
Also today, the news that
DxO Optics “Pro” now supports the E-M1—and not a
single Four-Thirds lens, as promised.
What software can I use instead? No idea. Olympus Viewer 3 is
really pretty bare-bones, and the results I get from the default settings don't compare
Also tried out the flash for the first time. Also not very inspiring. It seems to
underexpose greatly, and it seems that the flash exposure compensation doesn't work. In any
case, these two photos were taken first with no compensation, then with +3 EV compensation,
but there was almost no difference:
Strangely, the EXIF data showed the flash
exposure information in a different format from the E-30, requiring tweaks to my
exposure compensation functions: instead of “Flash Comp” it's now “Flash Exposure Comp”.
And some of the values are Just Plain Strange:
Another try with the pizza oven today. This time I preheated the stones in the kitchen
oven—I'm concerned about the heavy gas consumption of the pizza oven. That certainly
helped: without the stones, the oven heated up to 320° in less than 10 minutes. I had hoped
to get the stones a little hotter, but I only partially succeeded, with the stone
temperatures round 280°. The pizza on the upper shelf was done after about 12 minutes, but
it had stuck to the stone, so it took me a couple of minutes to get it out. After that, the
one below was still quite pale, so I remove the upper pizza and put the lower one on that
shelf, after which it browned pretty quickly.
Unfortunately, the result was not as good this time. Not the oven's fault: for some reason
the dough had not risen as much, and with the longer baking time it was rather hard. I need
more experience, as well as a way of keeping things consistent from one time to the next. I
don't have any good idea how to do that with allowing the dough to rise.
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