EM-1 II Lessons/Questions from the campground

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MichaelInGC Contributing Member • Posts: 544
EM-1 II Lessons/Questions from the campground

As some of you know, having read my previous posts, I am new to the EM-1 II having just bought one as I am switching from my old and heavy Canon FF. I have had the EM-1 II long enough to know how to use the basic functionality and some of the more exotic menu stuff and thought it would be a good idea to get away from my house and backyard and shoot some real scenery. This is summer in the US desert southwest so a trip to some high country is always welcome and my wife and I (and the EM-1 II) took a camping trip. I have only two basic lenses, but all I really wanted to do was test the camera in a forest setting.

The first thing to say is that it takes wonderful photos, even with the basic kit lenses, but I wanted to mention that first. The color, and the dynamic range, are great and the feel of the photos are as appealing to me as those from my Canon FF and, in some cases, more so. My testing taught me some lessons but also raised some question.

LESSON: Don’t try to take hand-held high resolution photos. Perhaps some people can, but I can not.

Actually I was able to hold the camera steady enough that I did not see any shake warning, but the high res photo came out blurry even though the normal photo came out fine. OK. I guess the manual is correct in saying use a tripod.

QUESTION: Some of my photos came out slightly OOF. I know that is the lens and, when I tested it, it seemed to be front-focusing slightly. Is there any way to do the equivalent of micro focus adjust that some Canon and Nikon cameras allow? That is, is there some way to bias the focus so it works with a lens that is not quite focus centered? I noticed a section in the menus talking about lens information but I am not sure what that does.

QUESTION: What is the lowest proper ISO to shoot at? I have my ISO set to auto and anytime the shutter speed/aperture combination starts to allow too much light into the camera I get a low ISO warning. Fair enough, but it does not tell me what ISO it is using below 200. I have seen reference to an ISO value of 64, but is 200 the lowest normal ISO value for the EM-1 II? What value does it drop to below 200? Any? None? Is there an ISO value of 100 for this camera?

COMMENT: The specs for the camera say that the battery life is 310 photos, but I was not getting anything like that. After using about 60% of the battery I had only taken about 175 and that means a battery life of perhaps 250 photos. When I realized that the battery was dropping quickly I closed the LCD in an effort to cut the power usage of the camera, but it did not seem to make much difference. What battery life do other uses get?

I ended up ordering a second battery since 250 photos does not seem adequate, even for my casual usage. Is there any way to lower power usage? I assume that closing the LCD would actually shut it off, but I do not know that for a fact (i.e., does the light in the refrigerator go off when you close the door?). Is there any way to shut off the LCD in the menu setup?

COMMENT: The Copy All functionality works very well, but it takes a long time to complete. I took a PNY UHS-1 chip from my Canon 5D3 and put it into slot 2 on the EM-1 II. I already have a Lexar 32GB 2000x card in slot 1 and the Copy All function for 155 raw photos takes a little more than 3 minutes. I have ordered a faster card for slot 2 but that seems like a long time to copy, almost too long to be useful.

The alternative seems to be to remove the card and copy the data directly to a computer or to hook up the usb cord and copy directly from the camera storage. What do most people do? How fast a card is feasible for slot 2 as all I was planning to use it for was to hold backup images. UHS-1 specs seem to vary depending upon whether the card is sdhc or sdxc.

QUESTION: The Focus Bracketing functionality seems to work very well, but the colors seem to be washed out a bit. In this case I used the raw images directly as input to the photo stacking (done with Affinity Photo Beta 4). I also tried processing the raw images to jpgs and then stacking the jpgs and that is the second photo. What do most users do with bracketed photos? Process the raw? Or first process to jpg and then process those for the stacked result?

Also, is there a best number of photos to process? I used 14 but perhaps that is too many? Or too few? Are there any “best practice” settings for bracketing?

Processed from the raw images

Processed from jpgs

Some of the shrubs in both photos seems to lack the color that was present in the shrub when I took the photos.

QUESTION: I set the Peaking setting to ON which I assume is supposed to show focus peaking when in manual focus. However I noticed that it does not seem to show anything in the viewfinder. Is that normal? Is it only supposed to show on the LCD? And, a related question, the images in the viewfinder often seem overly bright and harsh while those in the LCD do not. The viewfinder is probably not intended as an accurate color representation of the image, but is there some way to turn the glare down in the viewfinder? I remember reading something about dimming the viewfinder but do not remember what that was and can not find it in the manual.

I apologize for all of the questions. I had a great time playing with the EM-1 II and took a lot of photos that I am very happy with. But I am so new to using the camera that I have two or three times the number of question I asked that I want to find out about. I am planning to change completely from the Canon to the EM-1 II and just want to know what I am doing and what, if anything, I might be losing (other than a lot of weight and bulk) when I complete the switch.

As I said, the camera takes great photos and here are some from the campground. Thanks for your time.

 MichaelInGC's gear list:MichaelInGC's gear list
Olympus E-M1 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6 R Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm 1:3.5-6.3 EZ Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 EZ +3 more
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
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