After a bit of a break from taking photography seriously - a bit unfocused if not diffuse - I have been using the E450 for more or less snapshots and I have been with the family all the time this summer so the "better " more thought out shots have been actually compromised into being ever so slighty better but often lacking.
So this summer for the first in four years of E450 joy, I produced no signature portaits of the kids and no perfect landscapes. In fact: Quite a lot of mediocre results due to various factors, mainy of course concentration, but also some limitations of the camera: My main bug bears are then:
1) camera shake / movement blur
2) using too wide an angle
3) composition needing cropped which could have been in camera zoom or "shanks pony" zoom/ shifting my backside
3)b) titled images needing rotating and cropping out good composition
4) Olympus Greens
On the latter, the green, green grass of home is ever so slightly too green. I guess this is because olympus have chosen to optimise their system into producing stunning sky and sea blues and flattering skin tones (in contrast to panasonics crappy jpeg engine). I shoot only jpeg Large Fine now because without a full photoshop investment and a lot of time on my hands, olympus have hard coded the best jpeg conversion chip in the business and i cannot do better.......except for those garish lawns and hillsides.
I was a bit taken a-back by olympus having a vivid setting as factory default but more disappointed that "natural" still produced garish greens and rather flattering skin tones are more apparent. Reds and blues become more realistic thought.
The fix for images with a lot of green, such as lawns or grassy summer mountains is to set the camera to "muted" which suddenly makes the greens very natural and even adds depth and texture to grass details.
Just remember muted will give rather dowdy blues, yellows and reds while also losing some flattery in skin tone.
On the green issue i coud advise someone who is clued up and who has lightroom, corel 64bit or photoshop to then shoot raw and adjust per "keeper" shot first, then running a batch conversion on the series from the shoot. I would rather be behind the camera on location than in Post personally.
On being behind the camera, this brings me to point 3.
The main draw back with the earlier olympuw E series cameras through to the latter day last of the 10mpx my dear old 450 , pre E3 /30 ,was the small view finder. The OVF gives less than full view of the actual chip frame size and is small and difficult to use with glasses. I often find I am trying to catch my kids in full flight and at the right moment, head out of camera ,and i more or less end up shooting with a "blind" eye to the actual composition TTL.
This leads to most often shots which are too wide, shots which are tilted badly off plumb or zoom shots which are cropping off limbs.
For kids-in-action shots there is just going to have to be more praqctice in setting up and knowing what focal length will work best. CAF focusing in ljive view is too slow, but can be useful for candid shots of people at ease. Also a better eyecup is probably available for spectacle wearing clots like me. This then covers two.
I think i need to go back to looking at some posed, stock library family shots etc and get a feel for composition and then fire off lots of frames when i feel the golden moment is in there.
So no quick fix there, only a back to the basics, experiment and experience. At least i stand inspired as i have hardly lifted my olympus to eye this year!
Finallly the real bug bear for E450/420 and I suspect many other non image-stabilised E series cameras: low shutter speed .
Programme/ Auto mode in Olympus favouritises aperture wide for faster shutter for the same exposure. This is okay if you own the faster, over price f2.8 glass wear, but for the vast majority of we "hundred" series owners we dont own, and we cannot just go over to standard shutter priority and dial in because we have poor non base ISO. We shoot ISO200. Or can we?
Well we have had the sun here and i have bet on 1/320th on S mode as often as i remember to set the camera up. I then shoot even -0.3 a lot of the time to get nice saturation and further more I have been using a polarising filter all summer, whipping it twixt the two kit zooms it fits. The thing with the E series is that you can pull detail and colour out of the three quarter tones into the shadows, but the quarter tones are often poor and the highlights clip in.
So here I have dozens of S images and a good few high light range images which can be lifted, but you know what? ? I like underexposed landscapes and people shots and town or boat shots because it kills off blocky highlights and adds depth with heavy shadows which have good gradation into them.
My investment then for the end of the summer with no work contract for August yet, was a half price monopod which is a full 1669 mm extended ,almost eye height, which i will experiment with to see how much this improves my camera shake issue to free me up for A priority and low light shots.
I am inspired to do a blog based on the very theme post shooting. Watch this space.