Yosemite Lower Fall with Olympus E-5

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citizenlouie Senior Member • Posts: 1,113
Yosemite Lower Fall with Olympus E-5

I checked Wiki, didn't realize E-5 is turning 10 years young this year.

Well these are examples of what E-5 can do with 14-35mm f/2 SHG:

The Bridges, the Rock, and the Skyline

E-5's sensor is definitely aged, but it still gives excellent balance of color and contrast. Despite being noisier than modern m4/3 sensors, I usually tone down Lightroom's sharpening and noise reduction to allow Zuiko 14-35mm f/2 SHG to shine. That is the natural Olympus E-5 color ("Camera Natural" in Lightroom). I did not move the Lightroom sliders. The only other post-processing I did was to straighten the frame, because I am very bad at holding the camera straight.

I picked this one to show do not ask what your camera can do for you, but what you can do with your camera. Golden Gate Bridge juxtaposes with Bay Bridge. The rock is mimicking Telegraph Hill. The span of GGB is parallel to the horizon, creating a panorama picture-in-picture of the San Francisco skyline. The relaxed mood of the foreground contrasts with busy atmosphere of the City.

Notice Zuiko 14-35mm f/2 SHG draws SF skyline in such great clarity, despite of the distance. You'd have to use dehaze in Lightroom with lesser grade lenses to get such clarity, but detail may not be recaptured if it's post-processed as opposed to be recorded in RAW to begin with. I think I used a polarizing filter, but not 100% sure, but it's a handheld shot.

Yosemite Lower Fall

Do you see anything special about this photo? Probably not, other than Yosemite Fall is such a natural wonder. And that's the beauty of E-5 and Zuiko 14-35mm f/2 SHG. The body and lens team did the impossible thing and present it nonchalantly, so viewer is focused on the subject, rather than the technical challenge.

The day was May 9, 2019. Thunder storm was expected.  The dimly lit trail was exacerbated by the shade of dark cloud. The roar was not from the thunder (yet), but the exhibit of prowess of Yosemite Falls.  With water plunged for the total of 2,425 feet, it instantly dispersed into droplets as it hit the bottom, creating mist shrouded all around in hundreds of feet.  One can be drenched in matter of seconds.

I went there well-prepared.  I had chosen Olympus E-5 for such purpose (it's my tenth anniversary since I got my first Olympus).  I covered it in rain gear, rubber banding the opening, so only the front element of the lens was exposed.  You have to pre-set your aperture and focal length, as you literally only have two seconds to frame and click shutter before the lens gets too obscured by water to acquire a decent photo.  Wipe, pounce, and repeat.  You do that while avoiding bumping into other tourists, or they getting into your previsualized view.

Notice the shutter speed of 1/13" at ISO 200 f/2.8.  You cannot do this with FF without a powerful IS.  You definitely cannot do this without proper weather sealing.  And you cannot do it without a lens the same class of Zuiko 14-35mm f/2, which still painted the photo with reasonable sharpness and micro-contrast, despite of water droplets meniscus in the air and on the lens.  Of course, the signature 3D rendering of the Super High Grade at the fraction of the cost of a Leica (you may have to see the large version of the photo if it's not destroyed by the compression of DPReview gallery).

Little epilogue here.  On the way back to the camp.  A couple was asking me to take a photo for them.  When I looked through their Nikon 5x00 (don't remember which model, but it's a consumer-class Nikon), the very small OVF was completely fogged (think about it..., E-5 has a larger and significantly brighter OVF than an APS-C DSLR).  I had to rely on the AF beeping to make sure they were in focus.  Obviously they had visited either the Yosemite Falls or Bridalveil Fall (which had the visibility of your arm's length when you're getting close that day).  On the other hand, E-5 performed as normal the entire trip.  OVF was not fogged a single second.  No electronic issue.  Zuiko 14-35mm f/2 SHG was not fogged either, and performed like it was nothing.

Can you put a DxO score on that?

 citizenlouie's gear list:citizenlouie's gear list
Olympus E-620 Olympus E-5 Olympus OM-D E-M10 Olympus E-M5 II Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R +18 more
Olympus E-5 Olympus Zuiko Digital ED 14-35mm 1:2.0 SWD
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