Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Merry Christmas to all...

Olympus EP-3, Pop Art with Starburst filter
Yes, I know, it's a bit late for 'Merry Christmas', and even too late for 'Happy New Year', but it's the thought that counts - isn't it?

Nevertheless, the holiday season is upon us (here in New Zealand at least), and most people have two weeks off over christmas and new year to recharge the batteries (so to speak) before 2012 starts in earnest again.

Having just bought the EP-3, there's only been one thing on my mind (other than reading some good books), and that's to get out and shoot with it as much as possible.

My first real opportunity came when we decided to head out a few nights before christmas the check out a local christmas tree display, and some houses decked out in lights.

EP-3 with Grainy Black and White filter
The Christmas three display was held in our local theatre, so the lighting was fairly low. I have the EP-3 set to 'Auto' ISO, within a range of 200 to 1600 when I'm using the P, A, S, M modes, and not surprisingly the camera set itself on 1600 and stayed there all night.

The more I use the EP-3, the more I 'play' with the built-in art filters - starting out with 'pop art' to really add some punch to the colours, and then adding a starburst to see what sort of effect this would give me.
There was colour, colour everywhere, so I had fun shooting with the camera set to pop art for a while, until some little voice in the back of my mind (listen to that little voice) told me to try going the exact opposite and shoot in black and white.

EP-3 with Grainy Black and White filter
I really liked the resulting images - the black and white lending itself more to shapes and shadows than the punchy, in-your-face pop art filter. Look closely in the photo above and you can make out me taking the photo with the EP-3 in the gold ball. There's some great bokeh in this image as well, with a nice sharp ball falling away very quickly to some creamy out-of-focus background. Very nice.

Christmas Lights. EP-3 in standard colour mode
When we left the tree display and headed outside to shoot some of the houses, I went for a more 'traditional' approach - switching the camera back to 'standard' colour mode. I've been shooting jpegs straight out of the camera, even though I know the EP-3 shoots in RAW. Most photographers who have used the Pen series (and other Olympus DSLR's) agree that Olympus do an amazing job of nailing jpegs, and I would have to agree. I haven't really had to do amy 'tweaking' of the files so far, especially when you take the art filters into consideration. It's pretty much all done for you in-camera.

I had a blast shooting the christmas light with the EP-3, especially taking it up to ISO1600. The resulting files are pretty clean, even though the lcd screen gives you the feeling that it's going to be pretty noisy.

My only gripe on the night isn't with the camera itself, but with a third-party battery I purchased for it. The Olympus battery died on me not long after taking this image above, but I had prepared for this by bringing along a freshly charged battery I bought off of trademe (a NZ internet auction site). Popped it in the camera, pushed the 'on' button, and nothing happened! Nothing! Bugger. Seems like I got a dud. Very disappointing - and it will be going back to be replaced. Hopefully I'll have more luck with the 'new' one?

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