Posts Tagged ‘Olympus 17mm f2.8’

Autofocus (Part 2) & Image Stabilization

While I previously whined extensively about the disadvantages of “square AF” (particularly on the E-P1), there is also a bright side to this new style of autofocus, which is that you can place your AF square anywhere you like on the frame. Of course, this is also possible on DSLRs with multiple focus points but it tends to be a higher end feature.

The E-P1 and GF1 were also designed with video recording in mind and both cameras continuous AF modes are quite capable. You can “set” a subject and have the camera automatically track it around the frame, it’s quite neat. I have yet to make much use of it though.

Anyway, moving on. There is a feature that I had underestimated on the E-P1 that keeps it in the running against its GF1 competitor and that is image stabilization. I have been using mostly the GF1 body with the 17mm and the 20mm these last few days and for about 30% of the lower shutter speed photos (i.e. 1/30 and less), there has been noticeable camera shake in the photos. On the E-P1, I only notice it about 5% of the time. Even at short focal lengths such as 17mm and 20mm, image stabilization can help. Apparently the mechanism adds a bit of weight to the camera but I think it’s a feature worth having.

[all photos with Panasonic GF1 / 20mm f1.7 / 17mm f2.8]

subject: Kent Wang, Purveyor of Fine Pocket Squares

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The Halcyon Days of … 2003, Canon SD10

There was a brief period back in the day, when men still wore frilly shirts and dueled each other with rapiers, Casio, then Sony, then Canon (and I think Nikon got involved too) released a slew of “mini-cameras”. They were, in effect, the netbook equivalent of the P&S at the time.

These cameras would have tiny, tiny screens of about 1 inch, a fixed length lens, moth-lifespan-like battery life but would also be really, really small and relatively cheap. I was enchanted by the little things and bought two. One was a Sony that reminded you of a big pill and delivered crap results, and the other was the subject of today’s post, the Canon SD10.

All things considered, the SD10 was not a bad camera. The lens was pretty good, 4 megapixels meant at low ISO, noise was pretty tolerable and although the battery life sucked, you could usually tease one more shot out of it by warming up the battery and turning it on again. It was small, no-nonsense and took pretty good pictures.

In the end, I’m not quite sure what happened to this fork of camera evolution. The Casio range turned into the under-appreciated Exilim range. Sony has those superthin cameras with touchscreens. Canon decided if they are going to make a small camera, it needed to be more capable, with zoom etc. I guess on top of that, we have modest cameras in our phones, iPods, laptops so the mini-camera has gone the way of the do-do. There is one direct descendant though, the little video-camera, but that’s too far out of my field.

Enjoy some photos of the SD10 and its somewhat distant great, great, great grand cousin, the Panasonic GF1. Appreciate that although we have made progress, they were built on the shoulders of really, really small giants.

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Good Lookin’ Flash

It’s got quite a Johnny Five sort of appeal to it, no?

[all photos with Olympus E-P1 / 17mm f2.8]

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The Cheap & Cheerful Olympus 17mm f2.8

The Olympus 17mm f2.8. Contrast-wise it’s a little bit flat, it’s really not that sharp and it has quite a bit of distortion. However, it gives a great field of view that is both narrow enough to be intimate yet wide enough to allow busier compositions. Thankfully, RAW files stand up to a good bit of prodding, so you can still get some impressive results out of it. For day-to-day snapshots, I prefer it over the 20mm f1.7. p.s. I really like the fingers of the girl below. Quite elegant, no?

[all photos with Oly E-P1 / 17mm f2.8]

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