a supposedly fun thing

i’ve visited the olympus perspective playground in berlin. it’s a very laudable advertising campaign that olympus launched in several (european) cities since 2013. you get to visit places that are usually not publicly accessible (like the opernwerkstätten or in this case the heizkraftwerk in köpenicker strasse) and you get to use gear that usually is publicly accessible but of course only if you have the correct pocket size. the entry is free and you can see (and photograph) the works of young artists in cool and colourful plastic art and meet other like-minded photographers.

this time i tried the brandnew olympus e-m10 mk III and it seems to be a very capable camera. a lot of these pictures where shot with iso6400 and they hold up quite well. nevertheless the camera did not trigger any g.a.s. in me. i guess i’ll still have to wait for a potential successor of my trusty e-p5 which unluckily would happen to be the successor of the pen-f, too, so probably much too expensive anyway. but i digress.

next time the playground comes to town i’ll do it again :)

photokina impressions


i’m back from my vacances and also used the opportunity to go to cologne and visit the photokina again. i somehow really like this fair a lot. all these photographers in one place… and you can touch all the expensive cameras…. i even held the new mirrorless hasselblad (x1d – “well under 10000 Euro” ;))! and i can tell you that everything felt right about this camera. it even had a quite fast autofocus. nice one.

so the first post-holiday post is a photokina post and contains some impressions from my visit in cologne and photokina. normal operations on this blog will resume soon.

besides the hasselblad i have also tried the new 12-100mm f4 m.zuiko pro zoom and the 25mm f1.2 m.zuiko pro prime. i could even insert my sd card into the em-5 mk2 models that carried those lenses so i could take some snapshots. unfortunately my current version of lightroom does not support the em-5 mk2 yet, so i have to present the ooc jpegs. since this is an indoor enviroment the zoom (or at least the attached camera) struggled a bit with the system being f4. but see for yourself later in this post. (i apologize to the mobile readers, because the gallery feature that shows the captions of the pictures when ‘hovering over’ with the mouse is not really available on mobile devices…)

let’s start off with some photography instead of gear from the leica stand:

leica has two stands on photokina. one gear oriented one and this gallery stand that is a real highlight of the show. they present several photographers in very nice surroundings. it feels quite like a very modern museum.

most camera manufacturers try to get some attention by using female models. it kind of works when i consider the crowds…

the friendly but quite slow (in terms of service) guys from lomography had a little contest to win a lomo instant! i was interested of course and the objective only was to shoot one film of fuji/lomo instax – and donate your personal data of course… i couldn’t resist. since fuji shut down their peel-apart films and so made my polaroid unusable in the mid-term, i’m considering a replacement. so i tried out the lomo instax wide. it is not really comfortable to use but the moment it ejects the photo… still magic after all those years!

some stuff from sigma and an interesting apparel manufacturer with quite nice looking and well-thought out clothing stuff (cooph), albeit very expensive so i guess i’d rather buy a lens than a jacket.

the panasonic stand had some information on some future lens additions to the micro-four thirds line-up. i think i’d be interested in the wide angle zoom probably…


three new bright panasonic m43 zooms under development or study


a catchy truism by olympus. i like the font, though

i was really interested in the new olympus lenses that got announced on the first day of photokina. the new olympus 25mm f1.2 pro prime lens and the 12-100mm f4 pro zoom. both seemed really big too me and they are big. both felt good in the hand and almost balanced on the em-5 mk2. but only almost. i guess on the em-1 mk2 this might be different. i don’t think they are particularly well suited for shooting with the pen-series and looking cool at the same time.

on the other hand both lenses look really nice, they feel really nice and i was under the impression that one can make really nice pictures with both lenses.

here are some out of camera jpegs from the 12-100mm f4 mounted to em-5 mk2. if you go into the gallery you can even view them in full size. i think this lens is definitely a winner in the realm of versatility :)

since i only took booth people pictures with the 25mm f1.2, i won’t show them here to protect the innocent (and me, because the pictures are not really good for i might have messed up the settings in the quite dark surroundings).

and here a gallery with some random shots that i happen to like both from photokina and from my walk to the hauptbahnhof to get back to berlin.

… and as i said before: normal operations on this blog will resume soon.

one thousand and one posts

time flies like an arrow and fruit flies like a banana…  today i was notified  by wordpress that i had made my 1000th post on .documenting.the.obvious.

so this is my 1001st post! 

i wanted to celebrate this a little bit with a wee glimpse into the archive of the last five years  – i hope you enjoy it.

light bending

light bending

another entry for the window series.

shot at the 2014 reprise of the olympus photography playground that started two weeks ago at the ex-opernwerkstätten in berlin mitte. more pictures of that event will certainly follow. made with the lent combo omd e-m10 and m.zuiko 14-42mm ez pancake zoom.

the pen is mightier than the old pen (a kind of review)


the successor shot with the predecessor

after three years of using the olympus pen e-pl1 and being very happy with it (it was my first interchangeable lens camera and a real eye opener) i thought it would be nice to upgrade a bit.

why would i think that, what’s wrong with me the e-pl1? isn’t the image quality great? yup, it is. it really is. i have to admit that for my style of shooting the e-pl1 probably is good enough. then again, i thought maybe i have my style of shooting because of the e-pl1? preference of bright static subjects? hmmm.

when i tested the sony a99 this spring and discovered its really fast autofocus and the two control dials for changing exposure very conveniently  i quickly ventured into new territory of street photography with more people in it. scenes where i wouldn’t even had raised the e-pl1 because i knew the camera would be too slow to focus accurately or it would have been too dark already, or both… so with the exception of its sheer size (and price of course) the a99 triggered a bit of g.a.s. ;)

since i’m a real fan of the m43 format because of the size advantage i naturally started looking there. i used to skip the panasonics because of the lack of in-body image stabilization, a feature that panasonic obviously now incorporates into the very soon to be announced  lumix gx-7.

of course there was the om-d. a beautiful 70s design with a new sensor, built-in viewfinder, two dials for changing exposure, and a really fast autofocus. after trying the om-d several times i nevertheless decided it was not for me really. i didn’t like the form factor that much (it did not fit into my bag properly ;)), the dials are placed a bit awkward, it had no built-in flash, what would i do with my vf-2 (the external viewfinder i sometimes use and enjoy)?

and the om-d’s price was steep… regarding the last issue, the e-p5 has made no progress or rather it has even “progressed” in the wrong direction unfortunately.

then there was the e-pl5. actually a winner in many regards. i think if olympus would have sold a body-only version i had bought the e-pl5 and lived happily ever after. but that’s not how the story goes. the e-pl5 is a nice camera for sure but it lacked a bit of sex appeal imho. i did not find it particularly good looking (with the exception of some full frontal shots where the e-pl5 really looks great). the design of the display looks like an afterthought, a design feature i did not like on the e-pl3 already. it has no built-in flash. furthermore the user interface was not so much different from the e-pl1 and that was something where the a-99, the om-d and finally the e-p5 really deliver.

so i was quite excited when the feature set of the e-p5 was announced and quite equally shocked when the price tag leaked. long story short:  i really won a sony rx100 from a photo magazine, i sold it for around 500 euros and that helped tremendously with my decision to go for the e-p5 despite the price.

well, good for me, but how does the e-p5 perform compared with the e-pl1?

as hoped and expected it trumps the e-pl1 in almost every respect: it is a lot faster in several regards. the ergonomics of the two very correctly placed control dials allows for speedy operation of the camera itself. the autofocus is a lot faster (albeit not really as fast as the a99). the shutter release via touch screen is a great addition to the tool box and speeds up the workflow when it matters.

it has 1/8000th as minimum shutter speed. that means essentially i can leave my nd filter at home (i won’t but i could ;))

it has a much better higher iso image quality. from iso 800 upwards the e-p5 wins hands down, no competition and at lower iso one can lift the shadows even in jpg that would not have been remotely possible with the e-pl1.

it has an auto focus illuminator which is a bit awkward to use in the face of people but nevertheless remarkably effective…

it has the mythical 5-axis image stabilization that really seems to work. at least there is the hissing sound that also the om-d emits. jokes aside, i am under the impression that the stabilization really works quite well but only for the first picture in a series? maybe someone can enlighten me here. if i am in sequential l-mode (which is my default mode) the first shot of the series is typically sharp but the second and third not so. maybe i missed a setting here?** the live stabilization on the display is amazing. i have tried the zuiko 100mm  and it was really impressive how steady the image on the display was.

it has a much better display. bigger, much higher resolution, tiltable, and very touchy. i think it has a very slight greenish colour cast but maybe that’s just me (or mine?).

it has wi-fi and can be remotely controlled via app on my android mobile but not for whatever reason with my i.onik tablet for which the app is not available.

it looks like a young god (even the hotshoe is black ;))

heck, it’s even a little bit smaller in height than the e-pl1.

and yes, it finally has focus peaking!  focus peaking is really helpful with manual focussing when implemented correctly. i really liked it on the sony a99 and the rx100. on the e-p5 it feel a bit gimmicky because it seems implemented as an art filter that considerably slows down the screen refresh rate or at least it seems to do that. it worked reasonably though, but i haven’t tried it a lot yet.

the only thing that concerns me a bit is that i am not as happy yet with the pictures at base iso as i was with e-pl1. unfortunately i cannot really describe it. i miss something but i don’t know exactly what. maybe the additional megapixels don’t give enough room for the other pixels to breathe or something. now, at the latest, you know why i called this ‘a kind of review’ because i cannot really substantiate my impression. i’m quite confident though, that there is a ‘right’ parameter setting in the e-p5 and i will find it.

another reason for being just ‘a kind of review’ is the lack of test shots or – even better – comparison shots between the same scenes once taken with the e-pl1 and once with the e-p5. i have to admit that i’d love to do such a comparison but i did not have the time yet. maybe i’ll update this post in the next few weeks.

but i do already have a preliminary conclusion: i’m quite happy with the e-p5 and i think the upgrade was definitely worth it.

stay tuned for more pictures made with the e-p5 in the future. here is another one:


the predecessor shot with the successor

**update 8.8.2013: yup, i missed something here. in the Gear C menu there is an option called “<sequential icon> + IS Off”. this has to be set to ‘off’. then the IS is ‘on’ during sequential shooting. unfortunately this does not seem to be the default. i found that hint in this very helpful user guide about the om-d so this seems to be a known issue.

photography playground (part 2)

some more pictures from my first visit at the om-d photography playground. this time i included some of the exhibits as well as the location. i think all of the pictures have been taken with the om-d and the kit lens (12-50mm). please have a look at the gramophone needle. this was taken at iso6400. i think the quality is quite amazing.

the playground was closed last friday by the way. i hope there will be some similar projects coming.

cubistic chamisso

chamissoi had pictured him differently…

shot with my olympus om-2 and the om zuiko 100mm lens on paradies 200 film on one of the first springy days of this year (before winter returned with his puffy snowy fist).

disclaimer: of course chamisso’s bust is in hibernation here. if you are interested in a look under the covers check wikipedia. he sports a quite cool heavy metal haircut.

opel analog (yellow)

opel analog opel analog

opel analog

i’m usually not very much into cars but i could not resist this very nice yellow opel gt 1900.  accidentally two other yellow cars appeared and could be purposely included then.

shot with the olympus om-2 and the om-zuiko 100mm@f4 on paradies 200 film in berlin mitte last weekend (on the same roll of film as the half bike (red))


half bike (red)

half bikeseen in friedrichshain, berlin. shot with the olympus om-2 and probably the om zuiko 50mm on paradies 200 film about a year ago. i only had the film developed this week ;)

cylon tower

cylon tower

a warm welcome by the cylons… this building is apparently supposed to house public service. that’s architecture i don’t really understand but nevertheless (or probably therefore) find fascinating. and i have to admit, the building in colour and bright light is not as intimidating as it might come across here… ;)

seen in venlo, the netherlands.

online shoes

online shoes

it is quite common to find shoes online in berlin. i really don’t know how (ok, i can imagine) and why they end up in the air but obviously some people do. if you happen to know these people i’d be happy to be enlightened. e.g. i always wonder whether the former owner of the shoes had to walk away on his/her bare feet or whether these are spare pairs of shoes.

this picture was processed with a little help of dxo labs’ polaroid 669 emulation.

when ebay gives you lemons, make lemonade

i recently got a nice all-black olympus om-2 film camera from ebay. i was pretty excited to try it because i got all those nice om zuiko or at least om compatible lenses and i never really shot film before. so i put in a roll of (quite old) kodak ektachrome 200 (by courtesy of my girlfriend) and took it out for a short stroll to the neighborhood. the negatives were ready after three days and got scanned and burned on cd, too (at rossmann). that’s what i got in the package i took home.

take that hipstamatic ;)

sorry, was that leaky or lucky?

btw. all pictures got a bit pushed contrast wise… it was really impressive how low contrast can get.

the yard

a heart for slackers

berlin 2012

new york dogs

cups of tea

i kind of like the leaky effect but of course you could add that in post quite easily nowadays if you are so inclined. what’s not so easy or at least i don’t know a good way of doing this is the very nice film grain.

online shoes

winter colors

what’s more the handling of the om-2 is really really nice. it is solidly built but not too heavy and has a nice metal feeling. and is has the looks !

probably i’ll send this one back and try to get another one.


about a week ago i’ve finally received the olympus m.zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens from amazon germany. i want to show some test shots here to demonstrate what this lens is (at least) capable of. i’m using it on the already venerable olympus e-pl1. i guess the autofocus performance will be better on the newer (e-p(l)3 and e-pm1) models.  after some trials to shoot portraits wide open i think that a better autofocus performance and probably the possibility to program focusing on the eyes or even on the closer eye would help tremendously if it’s not a formal portrait session. this is due to the really thin depth of field the 90mm equivalent deliver at f1.8.  i think i will find out about the benefits of a faster autofocus probably next year ;)

as always there are no people here, so if you are looking for genuine portrait examples  i cannot help you here. but i still hope that you enjoy what i have. if you click on the images you will find a bigger version (though not original size) if you are interested in a little pixel peeping. i don’t see any flaws with the image quality of the lens by the way. it’s tack sharp, there is no vignetting or at least a lot less than on the lumix 20mm, the amount of chromatic aberration is neglectable, it has good contrast and the bokeh is very nice in most situations. but i think a lens hood might prove helpful in bright light but that’s practically true of all lenses.

bar (f2.2)

lampion (f1.8)

2 mannequins (f1.8)

2 mannequins 2 (f1.8)

lonely guitar (f1.8)

bruschetta semplice (f1.8)

window frames (f2.5)

continental (f1.8)

nails (f1.8)

the lab (f1.8)

the disappointed tree (f1.8)