|f7.1 ISO 100 1/200 of a second with the Zuiko 14-35 f2.0 lens and Olympus E3|
I used the Olympus E3 and Zuiko 14-35 f2.0 lens last night. Shot in jpg the whole time with a flash white balance. I find the Alien Bees strobes are normally about a 5050 Kelvin rating for white balance, but if you are in a hurry you can just set your camera to flash WB which is 5500 and everyone looks pleasant with slightly warmer skin tones than absolutely correct. Those red jackets of the officers really popped and the Olympus did a great job of nailing almost every shot. I did between 5 and 15 shots of each grouping of people depending on how big the lineup was. We then took the CF card out of the camera and gave it to Adam who was sitting at the laptop burning them to CD to give to the people. It worked well except for the one time I forgot to put a card back in the E3 and it wrote to the XD card that I forgot was even in there (I rarely use it). If there isn't a CF card in the camera, it automatically switches to the XD card if there is one so I didn't get a 'no card' error. We hadn't brought an XD card reader so I now have to deliver a CD of images to the RCMP station this morning to make up for my mistake. Oh well, there has to be one goof a night right? I left the XD card out of the camera the rest of the night.
|E3 with 14-35 f2.0 lens. ISO 100, f7.1 1/200 of a second|
The E3 with the four thirds sensor is perfect for this photo booth type of thing. The jpg files are nice and small (just under 5mb) and the colours are nice. Plus for those people you photograph that wish to print later to the most common enlargements (5x7, 8x10, 11x14) the sensor area is really close to that already so not much print cropping will occur. When I use a 2:3 sensor crop like in my 5D I always have to be aware to keep room on the sides of an image for cropping later. This is one of those instances as well when the large depth of field of the crop sensor is actually a good thing. When I'm using the full frame 5D in a studio situation I'm often cranking up the lights to get to about f11 or at least f9 so I can make sure to get everyone in focus in a group photo. With the crop sensor Olympus I can somewhat relax at f5.6 and at f7.1 I'm golden. I can just focus on the person dead centre and not sweat that everyone's pretty face will be tack sharp. That means I can run my strobe at a lower power, it recycles faster and doesn't blind everyone with every pop making it a somewhat less traumatic experience for my subject. The shallow depth of field of a full frame sensor is a wonderful tool and advantage most of the time, but everything is a trade off in photography and in this instance the crop, especially with the right lens, is the perfect studio tool. Having said all that, you do need room to stand back in your studio as the magnification of the crop sensor means you can't stand as close to your subject, so a tight studio space is a place where you will need a full frame unless you want to photograph everyone with a wide angle lens.
I did bring my 5D mk II last night though as well as Adam's 7D. That 5D is a miracle camera in some ways the Olympus just will never be. I walked out to the main area and took photos of the pipe band and tables at ISO 3200 and 4000 with no flash and nailed some really usable images. Plus it focuses accurately in the dark, though not nearly as fast as the 7D. I grabbed Adam's 7D for some shots as well, and I have to say that thing can grab focus so fast you wonder if it even worked. It really is amazing.
I'm off to photograph a roller derby team today which should be a nice change of pace. I have never photographed anyone in roller skates before. Has to be a first time for everything. I'll be using the E3 and 14-35 lens again, still trying to get a lot of use out of it. If I think of it I'll set the GF1 up on a tripod and video some of the shoot.