Vanilla Week: Santa Cruz Sunset

X-T10 | 35mm | 1/80sec | f/8 | ISO-200

Taken the first day of my BFF’s bachelor party weekend. This was captured with my first mirrorless camera, the dainty and hella cool Fujifilm X-T10: a 16 megapixel APS-C crop sensor camera whose low light performance matched my 21 megapixel full frame Canon.

It is also a megapixel myth-buster. I have printed this image as large as 13×19″ and not only is the image sharp and free of artifacts, but the plaque above the door is perfectly readable.

Bonus: More on Olympus’ Bonkers IS

Here are two other hella experimental handheld test shots I took, just to see what the Olympus/OM System was capable of.

Six muther-fudgin’ seconds, y’all:

E-M1MarkII | 12mm | 6sec | f/7.1 | ISO-250

This was high up in the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Walt Disney World, at 8:15 PM, with a gentle rain starting to fall. Sure, it took several tries to nail the shot, but six muther-fudgin’ seconds, handheld! Take that, any other camera system!

Could I have gotten it some other way? Yup – by raising the ISO to 1600 and shooting wide open at f/2.8 I could have easily captured the same scene with less hassle, but the object of the exercise was to see how long I could handhold the camera.

Here’s another at a modest 2.5 seconds:

E-M1MarkII | 25mm | 2.5sec | f/8 | ISO-200

Once again using a low ISO and a high F stop to keep the shutter speed as slow as possible, but once again a tack-sharp image, handheld. The irony is not lost on me that I had the shutter open for the 2.5 seconds of the fireworks display where almost nothing happened. Timing is a harsh mistress.

This IS system is indeed bonkers. Forget fractions of a second: if you’re looking for a travel camera that will shoot at “nigh impossible” shutter speeds, an old Olympus E-M1/E-M5 or new OM-1/OM-5 needs to be in your travel kit.

Vanilla Week Continues: WDW Fireworks

OM-1 | 32mm | 1/3sec | f/5.6 | ISO-200

As the sidebar says: “Fine Art Nudes, Erotica, Travel, Portraits, Cats.” Having featured Harrow yesterday, let’s continue vanilla week with this image from last Halloween Eve.

One of the things that I adore about OM System (formerly Olympus) cameras is their class-leading image stabilization (“IS”). In fact, their IS was the thing that sold me on the system. Back in March 2022 I was visiting my favorite local camera store, Southeastern Camera in Carrboro, prior to a trip to Disney World. In the used case was an eight-year-old Olympus OM-D E-M1 MkII for about $650. Every photographer in the world gets GAS (“Gear Acquisition Syndrome”) on a bi-weekly basis and despite being a Fujifilm fanboi, I have been fascinated by Olympus since my film days (circa 1987). But they are Micro Four Thirds cameras, and in this “bigger is better” world their sensors are “too small,” so I’ve always discounted them as an option.

But the GAS was strong and lately I had started eying them again. After all, they were technological monsters, despite the teeny sensor. So when I saw the E-M1 MkII in the case at a “why not?” price point, the GAS became too much to bear.

“Golly,” I said, “it would be really keen if y’all had a used 12-40mm f/2.8 on hand.”

“As a matter of fact, we do!” came the unexpected reply.

Well, shit. I guess I was buying an Olympus kit.

And sweet raisin danish, I’m glad I did! The next week I took both it and my Fujifilm kit to Walt Disney World. Over the next five days I captured 4,200 images and not a single one was with my beloved Fuji. The photo above is a big part of the reason why: I’m hand-holding this SOB and because of the fantastic IS I am shooting firework photos as if the camera is locked down on a tripod. As much as I love Fuji, there was no way in Hades I was going to be able to replicate this on a non-IS body. I may get lucky, but with the E-M1 I was nailing every shot.

And 1/3 sec is nothing for Olympus/OM System. This is hardly pushing the envelope: in my March 2022 tests I was shooting four to five second exposures just to see if I could do it, and sure as shit I could.

But that’s a story for another day.

I came back from that trip a convert and almost immediately upgraded to OM System’s new flagship, the OM-1, which which this shot was captured. I still have my beloved Fuji kit, which I use for about 95% of my studio and portraiture work, but the OM-1 is my go-to one-lens travel kit.