Off to Ballarat this morning to have
Zhivago examined again. All seemed OK except
for bilirubin in his urine, which Aaron
thought could be indicative of liver problems. Had a complete blood test done—another $250
in total—and heard back in the evening that the results were all fine. What a lot of money
we're spending on vets lately!
We've been selected to complete a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. We don't get the choice: we're required to. It
involved an interviewer coming along and asking lots of questions that she then typed into a
laptop. The whole thing was scheduled to take 1½ hours, but in fact we got it done in an
hour. Why can't we just do it online?
Despite the problems we had yesterday, my new Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera did arrive today. As I suspected, it was really sent
by Australian Air Express, about whom I have complained
in the past. In passing, it's interesting to note that that name is showing up less and
less. The AAE link now links to Qantas freight. I wonder why
the name changes.
And my lens was already in Ballarat
waiting for its drive around town. Before leaving for town, called Startracka and asked if I could contact the driver
and pick it up. No, they “can't stop on the side of the road”. Clearly they have to stop
somewhere—why not arrange something? But no, nothing to be done. Hopefully it'll be here
Picked it the camera up on the way back
from Ballarat. Without a lens I can't
take photos with it, of course, but there's still plenty to learn about it.
The first impression is how small it is. I won't take photos until I have a lens to put on
it, but it's about half way between my E-30 and Yvonne's compact camera.
So: what can I do without a lens? Examine the camera. The tripod mount is offset to one
side, by about 12 mm! And that on a professional camera! How do I calculate entrance
pupils? I'll have to mount it at an angle on the focusing rail and recalculate all the
distances. Why did they do that? There's no obvious restriction.
Also took a look at the instructions. Clearly this is a modern camera: there are none!
Well, almost none. I had already downloaded the manual from the web, only 165 pages of
it—not very much for a camera of this complexity. But do I get it with the camera? Yes,
but only on CD-ROM. The printed manual was in 3 languages, only 24 pages each when you
exclude the boilerplate safety instructions. It doesn't even tell you how to get your
photos off the camera! Olympus should be ashamed of themselves to not even include a
printed version of the manual in a camera of this class. And the PDF version doesn't have
any indexing, so I have to search the entire document for anything I want.
Still, it came with a CD with various software, including Olympus “Viewer” and the real
manual, both of which I already had. But it also offers online registration. Tried that in
my Microsoft box, but even that didn't work:
That's possibly my mistake in believing that if I click on a file system icon, I will get
some useful result. Finally found out how to start it. It required connecting the camera
to the machine, so that it could read out the serial number. Then it started a web browser
which wanted to know my date of birth—yet again! It also wanted my address, of course, but
it would only let me live in the USA or dependencies!
The manual was also older than the one I had downloaded, dating to April, 5 months before
the camera was released. In sum, the CD-ROM is useless.
OK, how about the “wireless LAN function”? I had already discovered that the implementation
is deficient, but today's experiments confirmed it. I can't connect to a network!
The wireless LAN function on the camera cannot be used to connect to a home or public
According to the instructions it's got to be a smartphone, not even a tablet, and I need to
install OI.Share, the smartphone app, whatever that is. The instructions give no help, and
neither does the software
download page. On the CD-ROM? Of course not. Once again I had to go to the
toyshop, though there's some information on this olympus site, which I could only
find with the help of Google.
I had in fact found and installed this app some time ago but not commented on it. Although
the video I saw a few months ago shows it using a tablet in landscape orientation, it's
clearly designed for smart phones, and my version displays only in portrait orientation.
And yes, it's the latest version. Maybe things will be better when I have a lens, but the
functionality is really minimal. There are so many things it could do, but not only does it
not support networks, it disconnects the tablet from the network when it connects to the
camera. Here a comparison of what I think it does (not helped by Android-typical lack of
documentation) and what it should be able to do:
This last point is particularly painful. I still have to transfer photos via USB.
There should be no need for that with a fast network connection. Hopefully they'll improve
things, but looking at the quality of Olympus Viewer, I'm not
holding my breath.
I've been keeping records of TV reception problems
for over 2 years now, during which time I've been able to narrow down the causes somewhat.
There's a strong correlation between reception quality and channel. In particular,
ABC TV is very bad, something that the ABC
people refute. Lately it's been so bad that I have basically had to throw out all
Then yesterday, with outside temperatures of 36°, my daily recording of Al Jazeera news on SBS was also unusable; normally it's perfect. Something
to do with the temperature?
Hard to say. The nightly recordings of Al Jazeera on ABC are usually useless—sometimes I
get no data at all—but last night the second one was perfect, along with another recording.
I can't make any sense of this.
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.
Reset my watch again today, from +4 seconds to -5 seconds. I forgot to mention last time I
did it, but it seems to be consistent with about 1.5 to 2 seconds per week.
This page contains (roughly) yesterday's and today's entries. I have
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