Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Camera, Lenses, Landscapes!
Get the right gear to cover all of your landscape shooting opportunities
Inspired by the classic Olympus OM-1 35mm film SLR, the new OM-D E-M5 mirrorless digital camera combines a classic look with the latest technology. This Micro Four Thirds System camera offers a number of features of interest to the landscape shooter.
First, there's a new 16.1-megapixel Live MOS image sensor. Along with Olympus' TruePic VI image processing, it provides improved image quality from ISO 200-25,600.
You can compose and manually focus (or monitor autofocus) via a new 1,440,000-dot eye-level electronic viewfinder (which, unlike many EVFs, is centered over the lens axis), with a 120 fps refresh rate. You also can use the tilting 3.0-inch touch-screen OLED monitor, great for odd-angle shooting and easy and touch-screen AF.
A new 5-axis image stabilization counters horizontal shift, vertical shift, rotary motion, yaw and pitch. It works for both still and video shooting, and is built into the camera body so it works with all lenses.
The contrast-based AF system is an updated version of the FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) AF system introduced in the PEN E-P3. At 240 fps off the sensor, it's twice as fast as the E-P3 system, providing a maximum shooting rate of 4.2 fps with 3D tracking AF. The camera can shoot at 9 fps in single-shot AF mode.
Able to handle heavy rain and blowing sand, the OM-D E-M5 features a rugged and lightweight magnesium-alloy body. The new M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm ƒ/3.5-6.3 EZ kit lens and provided FL-LM2 flash unit are also dust- and splashproof, as is the accessory HLD-6 Power Battery Grip.
For those who like to record motion in their scenic shots, the OM-D E-M5 can record 1920x1080 full HD and 1280x720 HD MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264) video at 60i (59.94 fps), and 1280x720 HD and 640x480 SD AVI (Motion JPEG) at 30 fps. A built-in microphone provides stereo Wave Format (Linear PCM) sound. You can shoot video in program, shutter-priority and aperture-priority AE modes or manual, and apply a number of effects, including the cool new Echo and Multi Echo (which leave a momentary residual image of a subject's movements).
Like all Micro Four Thirds System cameras, the OM-D E-M5 can use all Micro Four Thirds System lenses. The sensor has a 2.0x focal-length factor, but the 9-18mm zoom provides an angle of view equivalent to an 18mm lens on a 35mm camera, and the 7-14mm Four Thirds System zoom (usable on the OM-D EM-5 via the new MMF-3 Four Thirds Mount Adapter) provides a wide-view equivalent to 14mm. Due to their short flange-back distances, Micro Four Thirds cameras can use any lens for which an adapter is available, further expanding lens choices.
Panasonic's top Micro Four Thirds model has the best overall image quality in the current Lumix G line. The 16.05-megapixel Lumix DMC-GH2 looks like a mini-DSLR, but contains no mirror or mirrorbox, and an eye-level EVF replaces the SLR's optical viewfinder. The result is a very compact interchangeable-lens camera packed with features and performance.
The 3.0-inch, 460,000-dot LCD monitor tilts and swivels for any angle of shooting, while the built-in EVF provides live-view eye-level shooting when desired. The LCD monitor doubles as a touch screen—you can select camera functions, select the focus point and even trip the shutter just by touching the screen.
Autofocusing is via Panasonic's "Light Speed" contrast-based AF. You can call up positionable horizontal and vertical guidelines on the LCD when desired to help keep horizons level.
ISOs range from 160-12,800. You can set different aspect ratios (4:3, 3:2, 16:9, 1:1) while retaining the same angle of view with a given lens because the camera uses only 16.05 million of the sensor's 18.31 million pixels for a given aspect ratio. Intelligent D-range Control lets you bring out more details in bright and dark areas.
The GH2 can do 1920x1080 full HD video at 60p and 60i (and 30p and 25p, with a firmware upgrade), and 1280x720 HD at 60p in AVCHD format. It also can do 1280x720, 848x480, 640x480 and 320x240 Motion JPEG video at 30 fps. Variable frame rates can produce sped-up and slow-motion effects, and continuous AF is available. You can record stereo sound via a built-in or an external microphone. For full-resolution still images, the maximum frame rate is 5 fps and 40 fps at 4 megapixels.
Like all Micro Four Thirds System cameras, the GH2 can use all MFT lenses regardless of manufacturer. It can use other lenses via adapters; many are available. The Panasonic MFT lineup currently lists 14 lenses, from a 7-14mm wide-angle zoom and an 8mm fisheye to a 100-300mm zoom. With the MFT sensor's 2x focal-length factor, this provides focal lengths equivalent to 14mm through 600mm on a 35mm camera.
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