Using graduated ND filters on mirrorless cameras

 

_IGP8946I wrote about my new lens a couple of posts ago. One very useful side-effect is that it has a 52mm filter thread which just happens to be one of the sizes I have of Lee filter system adapters. This means I can finally use my Lee filters on my Olympus OMD-EM10, especially my neutral density graduated filters. Ever since buying the Olympus with the kit pancake lens, which had an absurdly small 37mm filter thread, the fact that I couldn’t use the ND grad filters on that lens was the main reason I carried on using my Pentax. No longer. I went out yesterday and shot for the first time with the new lens and using ND graduated filters on the Olympus.

It didn’t work quite the way I thought it would. On an SLR you look through the viewfinder and use the depth of field preview feature to stop the aperture down so you can line up the filter and get the light/dark transition in just the right place.

I tried this on the Olympus. Out of the box it doesn’t have a dedicated DoF preview button but using the ability to assign functions to buttons I have assigned DoF preview to the video button (red button on right of top plate). However, as soon as you slide the filter down to line it up while stopping the lens down, the display (which of course is an electronic live view) compensates for the effect of the filter and brightens the scene.

What I found instead to be more useful and practical is to set the display to show red flashing on any over-exposed areas. Then slide the filter down until all the red flashing areas (presumably in the sky) disappear. Then you can increase the exposure (shutter speed or aperture) until just before the red flashes reappear.

This may actually be more accurate than it is on a normal DSLR with optical viewfinder. It certainly seemed to work well yesterday.

This is likely to push my Pentax right to the bottom of my bag and I expect nearly all shots from now on will be Olympus shots.

Exciting times – new printer arrives

_IGP7847

I’ve been using an Epson 2100 printer for many years to make all of my prints. It’s been very reliable and makes great prints. It’s still in perfect condition but I’ve been forced to stop using it by Epson, who have stopped making ink for it.

So I now have a shiny new Epson P600. I wish I could say it’s Epson’s latest model but it’s been around for years. It would have been nice if I could have waited until they launched a brand new model so I don’t get in the same situation again with the inks.

First print
The first print finished – it was perfect

First impressions:

  • A little bigger and more heavily built than the 2100 and perhaps seems more sturdy
  • Both the Photo and Matte black inks are permanently installed (good) but you still need to flush the lines when you change between matte and photo black (bad)
  • It can take about five minutes to start printing when you do the first print of the day – it just sits there chuntering and whining doing who knows what before it starts to pull the paper through
  • Installation was a breeze and the first print I made was perfect
  • Colour and sharpness are noticeably better than the 2100
  • Printing is a little quicker than the 2100

I’m using Epson canned profiles whereas I had a custom profile made for me for the 2100. Looks like I’ll stick with the canned ones (at least for Epson paper) because results are so good.

It also comes with a free ColorMunki monitor profiler. It’s a shame I already have an X-Rite i1 profiler so I don’t actually need another one but it would be a nice bonus for anyone who doesn’t yet have one. The ColorMunki is a discontinued item (hence why Epson are giving them away, I suppose) but I’m sure it’s still very useful.

What's in the box
What’s in the box – a ColorMunki monitor profiler is also included

I’m also now in possession of three trial variety packs of Fotospeed paper to try different surfaces and see if I like them better than Epson paper. I’m quite excited.

Nine inks
There are now nine inks vs. seven for the 2100 – that’s going to be expensive when I need refills