Sunday, July 12, 2009

Olympus Pen E-P1 part 2: some test shots

I took some random test shots using my new Olympus Pen E-P1 micro-4/3rds camera.

(See previous blog entry here.)

I have four compatible lenses and two adaptors.
  1. Shown mounted on camera: Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm (f/3.5-5.6) kit zoom (micro-4/3rds mount).
  2. Back left: Voigtlander Nokton Classic 35mm f/1.4 manual focus prime lens (Leica M mount).
  3. Back right: Olympus ED Zuiko Digital 8mm (f/3.5) Zuiko fisheye lens (4/3rds mount).
  4. Not shown: Olympus ED Zuiko Digital 9-18mm (f/4-5.6) wide-angle zoom (4/3rds mount).

  5. Voigtlander VM adaptor (Leica M to micro-4/3rds).
  6. Olympus MMF-1 adaptor (4/3rds to micro-4/3rds).

First light with the Nokton (1/100s, f1.4, IS, noise filter: low). Available light, ISO 3200.

Title: Lunch

Checking for noise and detail at the C-clamp area below the Guinness. 100% crop:

Title:焼酎 (Shōchū) [Nokton 35mm/f1.4, 1/100s, ISO 800.]

Soft focus image courtesy of natural means: from condensation on refrigerator in the humidity of summer.

Title:京王線 (Keio Line) [Nokton 35mm/f1.4, hyperfocused 1/30s, ISO 125.]

Taken from a moving train. IS comes in handy. Using Manual mode to explicitly set a slow shutter speed. Normally, one would use a manual aperture lens in Aperture priority mode on the E-P1 (the camera will automatically choose a shutter speed that gives proper exposure).

Title:愛ちゃん (Ai-chan) [Nokton 35mm/f1.4, 1/1000s, f/1.4, ISO 200.]

Outside Tokyo Taiikukan (東京体育館). Notice only subtle blurring of the background despite f1.4 on the 4/3rds sensor and 1/1000s fast shutter speed.

f1.4 on 4/3rds depth-of-field is equivalent to f2.8 (2x) on a full frame sensor. Given that, and subject distance required for framing, perhaps a lens with f1.2 capability or even faster would have been better. But then the it wouldn't be so nice and compact as the 35mm f1.4.

Title: Tokyo back street [14-42mm M.Zuiko kit zoom, 1/125, f/6.3, ISO 200.]

Taken through the window of Ootoya (大戸屋) just behind Yoyogi station (代々木駅). Just a stone's throw but a world away from the severe modernity of the NTT Tower and the hustle and bustle of Shinjuku station (新宿駅).

If one doesn't need shallow depth-of-field from the f1.4, or its low-light capabilities, the slower f3.5-5.6 14-42mm kit zoom is actually much more versatile and less fiddly than the manual focus Voigtlander prime.

Title: Natural lighting

360° spherical panorama: (full resolution, 12MB) (low resolution, 1.6MB)

At Tokyo University. Use Quicktime Player to view either of the full panorama .mov files.

This is my first spherical panorama with the E-P1. Taken with the 8mm fisheye lens attached via the MMF-1 adaptor on a special rig. More details next post.


  1. The combination with the fisheye is interesting for taking panoramas. Somewhere I've seen your setup with a panorama head. What about using a lightweight lens ring like the wooden BoBracket from But with this setup you can only take n shots around, so the field of view must cover also the zenit. However, I'm interested to see a set of raw images from your current pano setup.

  2. Would be nice to use a BoBracket. Certainly that would be more compact. But the Olympus Digital Zuiko 8mm fisheye is not one of the lenses listed by Bophoto.

  3. Thanks for your post. How is manual focusing with the Nokton? Do you have longer focal lenghts with M bayonet? (and how does that work? e.g. Summicron 50 or longer..)

  4. Hehe sorry, I guess I didn´t read all of your post..anyway, it would be interesting to hear some comments about how manual focusing works with this camere...

  5. I can play 1080 X 1920 (as well as 720P) H.264 files, but trying to play your e-p1 video, I get the message that it´s not supported for 64bit Windows??

  6. For manual focus, one has to cycle through the modes until we get to focus mode (the green rectangle is visible on the liveview). Then the 4-way keypad can be used to move the green rectangle around. Then hit OK to enter magnified view. If handheld, at this point, the display will be pretty jumpy. Moving the secondary (vertical) roller will adjust between 7x/10x magnification. Focus the lens manually. Hit OK to pop back out of the magnified view. Frame. Shoot.

    I think it would be cooler and so much faster if there was a small touch sensitive area on the camera body so that it would jump into magnified mode (and out) whenever a finger is covering that area (or uncovered). Then place that touch sensitive area so that when one's hand moves to the focus ring, a spare finger could naturally rest there.

    My two cents, but Olympus hasn't asked me for design hints :-(