Day 219 – Steam trains and Olympus

I entered an online competition which was shared by Gavin Hoey, a photographer I follow online since hearing him talk at a local camera club event to try out some Olympus cameras for the day and to take some photos on the Bluebell Railway. Details of the event – and other events – can be found on the Olympus Image Space Web Site and amazingly I won a space.

I was nervous, it was a long way to drive, particularly after just being away again… but I am determined to meet new people, try new things photography and this was the perfect opportunity. There was just over 30 people there, I met and chatted to Gavin 🙂 who had a place too, and I got to experiment a bit with an Olympus E-M1 which is there professional camera and a 12-40mm pro lens.  The package would currently cost about £1,500 on Amazon.

First impressions was that the camera felt very very light in compared to my canon set up, it was 1 2x crop sensor rather than a 1.6, which meant that my lens had a range therefore of 24-80mm if compared to a full frame camera. it was also complicated… there were a lot of functions in a small space, and they reacted differently than my canon. I though I had captured images on the day in raw – but somehow ended up with only jpgs.

The first three images are taken on the Olympus.

Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm lens. F4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO200
Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm lens. F4.5, 1/1600 sec, ISO200
Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm lens, ISO200, f4.5, 1/100sec
Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm lens, ISO200, f4.5, 1/100sec
Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm lens, F11. 1/200 sec. ISO200
Olympus E-M1 and 12-40mm lens, F11. 1/200 sec. ISO200

I also tried when I could to take photos on my canon, I used my 17-70mm sigma lens, and my 28-300mm lens. My canon setup was significantly heavier, more bulky but I did feel more competent that I could enable it to function the way I wanted it too, and I know this would come with practice with an Olympus. When it came to editing and choosing my best images interestingly I preferred the ones on my canon 28-300mm lens, the glass is much sharper.

The guard, ISO320, F6.3, 1/320 sec
The guard, ISO320, F6.3, 1/320 sec
The guard, ISO125, F6.3, 1/320 sec
The guard, ISO125, F6.3, 1/320 sec
Canon 17-70mm. ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec
Canon 17-70mm. ISO100, F5.6, 1/160sec
canon 28-300mm, F6.3, 1/200 sec, IS0 100 - The Bluebell Railway
canon 28-300mm, F6.3, 1/200 sec, IS0 100 – The Bluebell Railway
The station, canon 28-300mm lens, F14, 1/200 sec, ISO250mm
The station, canon 28-300mm lens, F14, 1/200 sec, ISO250mm
Double header - ISO500, F14. 1/100 sec, 23-300mm lens
Double header – ISO500, F14. 1/100 sec, 23-300mm lens
The points, ISO250, 1/100sec, F14, 28-300mm lens
The points, ISO250, 1/100sec, F14, 28-300mm lens
Under the train. 28-300mm lens, F9, 1/125sec, ISO1000
Under the train. 28-300mm lens, F9, 1/125sec, ISO1000
The lines man and the photographers, 28-300mm lens, F9, 1/320 sec, ISO500
The lines man and the photographers, 28-300mm lens, F9, 1/320 sec, ISO500
Gavin Hoey taking photos too - I think he was doing a panorama, ISO125, F9, 1.160sec
Gavin Hoey taking photos too – I think he was doing a panorama, ISO125, F9, 1.160sec
Low comparison shot with the Olympus, ISO100, F8, 1/160 sec
Low comparison shot with the Olympus, ISO100, F8, 1/160 sec
Engine drivers x 2, ISO250, F6.3, 1/320 sec
Engine drivers x 2, ISO250, F6.3, 1/320 sec
Double engines, ISO400, F6.3, 1/125sec3
Double engines, ISO400, F6.3, 1/125sec3
The engine driver - F6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO10003
The engine driver – F6.3, 1/500 sec, ISO10003

I was open minded, there was a fantastic group of people in attendance and they all had different cameras – some were Olympus users, other Canon like me, Nikon, Fuji and it was interesting to see what they thought. The Olympus photographers who had made the switch did so for various reasons including:

  • The weight of the camera – medical reasons may have required them to have to shoot lighter
  • The versatility of the camera for street photography, it was small discrete, you could get a great shot and were unlikely to be noticed
  • Ideal for traveling and trips when weight was an issue
  • Ideal as an every day camera to carry.
  • Ideal if you were an everyday photographer and that it was fully customizable once you started on the manual.

But for me, I kept reverting back to my canon, I wanted photos at the end of the day that I was happy with and that were worthy of publication in a steam train magazine – if at all possible, and the canon came naturally.

Would I convert?

That is a huge question… at the moment, no, I like the feel when I press the shutter button on my canon more, I like the reaction I get from people when I use my 28-300mm lens and I feel a big camera adds to my confidence and for the kind of photos I want to take at the moment, I feel that the canon is the passport to those images – but if money was no object then yes I would – I would love to learn another system, send time setting it up as I like to use it, have something significantly smaller to sling into my handbag.

So today, I discovered it really is true that different cameras have different roles – full frame canon or a 2x crop sensor Olympus as my next body… I actually as surprised to say I would probably choose an Olympus …. I think it offers so much more flexibility.

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9 thoughts on “Day 219 – Steam trains and Olympus

  1. It’s a shame there’s not a “love” button on this page! These photos are wonderful, and truly awesome! I’ve been a “train-head” ever since I was a child, and LOVE what you have done here! Thank you so very much for sharing! It has brought back great memories!

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