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Living by Mirrorless and Jpegs

I just completed a 3-day assignment covering the Artisan Cheese Festival in Petaluma, CA. Instead of shooting with my DSLR and RAW files, I opted this year to use my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II and shoot in Super Fine Jpeg mode. (You can read more about this setup in the article, Daring to Shoot Jpeg).

Daring to Shoot Jpeg

My Aperture library now has 1,500 new images of cheese making, classroom instruction, ballroom festivities, marketplace sales, and more. The images look fantastic, and my turnaround time for the PR agency has been the fastest ever.

The bottom line is this: if you're careful with your shooting technique and use quality gear, Jpegs from today's cameras are sharp, colorful, and professional. Event photographers don't need to be a slave to the RAW workflow. Use the best format for the situation, and dazzle your clients with the results.


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This workflow has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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New owners of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II should be happy to know that Adobe has released ACR 8.8 with RAW support for the latest Olympus mirrorless camera.

ACR-with_Em5Mk2-web.jpg

Current Bridge/ACR owners simply need to go to Help > Updates to download the new version of the software.

After a bit of testing, I'm happy to report that the RAW interpretation seems good. The software read the embedded lens profile for my Olympus 75mm f1.8 portrait lens, allowed me to apply a Camera Portrait profile, and did a nice job with all of the basic adjustments.

My guess is that Lightroom users will have to wait a bit longer for E-M5 Mark II support as Adobe is working hard to put the finishing touches on Lightroom 6.

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I began the photo shoot with the boys using the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 prime, a spectacular lens. But then we started moving around, and I needed something more versatile if I was going to keep up with these guys. So I reached for the Panasonic 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. zoom. That was a good call.

twins-and-brick-wall-web.jpg

To be honest with you, this optic defies logic. It is incredibly compact, measuring 2.19" x 1.97" and weighs less than 5 ounces. Yet it covers the equivalent of 70-200mm, and it does so with fantastic sharpness, contrast, and color.

panasonic-35-100-side

Once we found an intriguing urban alley to work, I mounted it on the Olympus E-M5 Mark II. And that Olympus/Panasonic tandem allowed me to keep up with a pair of teenagers.

I originally bought the Panasonic 35-100mm as a travel companion for my assignment in Cuba. And it performed so well there, that I've kept it in my daily camera bag. Now it's an optic that I seem to reach for daily.

Since this zoom includes optical image stabilization, it's a great choice for both Olympus (with sensor based IS) and Panasonic (optical IS only). In other words, if you have a Micro Four Thirds body, this lens will serve you well.

And at $379, it's not going to break the bank.

For more on this excellent lens, see my Field Test from Dec. 2014.


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The Panasonic 35-100mm f/4.0-5.6 ASPH. MEGA O.I.S. zoom has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: Eye-Fi Rubbed RAW, Expensive Filters, Lowepro Reboot, Planning and Staging an Exhibition - All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Lowepro launches weather-proof Fastpack backpacks for traveling photographers - "Both bags include Lowepro's All Weather AW Cover, which is basically a built-in raincoat that can be untucked and pulled over the bag in a rain shower. The tablet sections feature what Lowepro calls CradleFit padding that grips and suspends the tablet so that it remains protected in the event of a drop. Using compression straps the bags are designed to also attach to the handles of rolling luggage, and both can support a tripod via straps and a mesh pocket."  (Source: DP Review)

fastpack-bp-top.jpg

In other news... Eyefi's newest Mobi Pro SD card lets you sync RAW photos - "Self-proclaimed as 'the most powerful wireless SD card ever', the Mobi Pro sets itself apart from Eyefi's lower-level Mobi cards by now allowing you to transfer RAW files to your desktop or mobile device, straight from your camera." (Source: Imaging-Resource)

Story #1 - Think of Your Filters as Very Thin Lenses - I just spent $48 for a Hoya 46mm EVO Antistatic UV(0) Filter. Why would I do such a crazy thing? Here are a few reasons:

  • Absorbs Ultraviolet Light (helping to reduce bluish cast)
  • 16-Layer Super Multi-Coating (99.8 percent light transmission )
  • EVO Antistatic Coating Repels Dust
  • Water, Stain, and Scratch-Resistant
  • Optical Glass Construction
  • One-Piece Low-Profile Filter Ring (lessens the likelihood of vignetting)
  • Front Threads for Filter Stacking

And then I add a few more...

Story #2 - You Can't Beat the Price for the Fotor Image Editor - I've been playing with a lovely, smart and free image editor called Fotor. Will it replace Aperture? No way. But it does leverage Mac OS X technologies in an elegant, fun package. I discuss in this segment of the show.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Planning and Staging an Exhibition with Konrad Eek.

You can watch Konrad in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Konrad's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Virtual Camera Club News

The TDS Bodie/Eastern Sierra Photography Workshop is Sold Out.

News from Red River Paper: Have you made your archive 6 prints yet for 2015? The best backup system in the world is high quality prints properly stored. I recommend that photographers do a print run of their best twice a year. Here's why.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (35 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until May!

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If you don't mind having a small ad parked in the lower right corner of your screen, Fotor for Mac is a clean, easy to use, powerful, and a fun image editor.

fotor-image-adjustment.jpg

The combination of adjustment sliders, effects, borders, tilt shift control, and text tool gives most photographers to power they need to spice up a photo and send it on its way. I also like the built-in collage maker and batch processor, unexpected bonuses for free software.

Fotor draws upon Mac OS X for its RAW processing (as it does in other areas too). So if your Mac provides RAW support for a camera, so does this app.

Bottom line is this: Mac photographers looking for a free editor with lots of punch should take a look at Fotor for Mac (It's also available as a sweet iOS app).

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The good news is that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II includes a stereo microphone jack that can be used for an audio input device of your choice. And you can use the External Grip HLD-8G to monitor the input during recording. The bad news is that the interface is somewhat noisy and you may not want to bother.

omd-em5-mkii-with-mic.jpg

I've done some informal testing using a non-powered Sony stereo mic, a powered Audio Technica clip-on device, and the built-in stereo pickups in the E-M5 Mark II itself. And after running through all of the settings, the built-in mics performed about as well as the external devices. Listen for yourself.

Audio Technica Clip-On Mic vs Built-In Pickups

I start out this video using a powered clip-on recording in mono, then switch to the onboard pickups in the E-M5 Mark II. They definitely sound different, but the amount of background hiss was about the same.

Sony Non-Powered Stereo Mic

This time around I recorded some music and just myself talking. No surprisingly, when capturing the music, background hiss wasn't really a factor. But once again, when it was just me, the hiss was noticeable.

Bottom Line

Since the video with the E-M5 Mark II is outstanding, it's worth figuring out the audio. For casual recording, I thought the onboard stereo mics worked nearly as well as low-end external units plugged in to the camera. So I can't think of a compelling reason to bring a separate mic for on-the-go video capture.

The next option is a mic with a 10db boost. These devices often have a narrow recording pattern, so they're not perfect for every situation. But they're well-designed for quick interviews and news reporting. The 10db boost helps compensate for the weak preamps in the camera.

The best audio is going to be recorded with a separate device, such as a Zoom, then substituted for the native audio in post production. For critical use, this is still the preferred method. Not everyone, however, wants to spend the extra time in editing. Just like everything else in photography, you have to figure out your priorities and go from there.

After listening to the samples, what do your ears hear?

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Nimble Photographer Logo

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

DxO Optics Pro is in the news today with their 10.3 release. Olympus also announces a handsome new travel camera with a 24X zoom and RAW support. And finally, Adobe released Photoshop Mix 1.5 with added support for Adobe Ink and the Cloud Clipboard.

DxO OpticsPro 10.3 Supports New Cameras, Adds Features

The latest update to DxO's image-processing software features support for the Nikon D5500, Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, and Olympus PEN E-PL7, as well as new correction tools and an improved user experience.

dxo-optics-pro-10pt3-web.jpg

The Mac OS X version also offers a new drag-and-drop feature that allows photographers to directly open a folder by dragging it into the Image Browser, providing quicker access to images. The correction tools have been revisited, now adding greater finesse and ease to DxO OpticsPro. The Horizon slider now makes small rotations easier to perform, and the Dust tool is also easier to use.

DxO OpticsPro v10.3 is now available in the DxO online store at a special discount through March 31, 2015.

Olympus Announces the New Stylus SH-2

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 features a 24x wide-angle optical zoom lens, built-in Wi-Fi connectivity for remote shooting and sharing with a smart device, RAW capture capability, and 5-Axis Image Stabilization that supports both still image and video capture. The SH-2 also adds new Nightscape Modes for night scenes and portraits.

oly-sh-2-with-case.jpg

The Olympus Stylus SH-2 will be available in April at an estimated street price of $399.99 (available in Black and Silver). For a complete list of specifications, visit the Olympus site.

Adobe Updates Photoshop Mix 1.5 for iPad and iPhone

Adobe has released Photoshop Mix 1.5 with added support for Adobe Ink and the Cloud Clipboard, allowing users to browse an album of their creative assets that can be pasted into an image in Photoshop Mix with one touch of the stylus. Photoshop Mix also now supports Wacom and Pencil styluses.

Also new in this update is the ability to merge images. In Overview, drag one image on top of another to combine them into a single image. Also, when the app is launched, prior to signing-in, users will get a quick hands-on demo of how to cut out part of one photo and add it to another to create a combination image.

Photoshop Mix is a free app for the iPhone and iPad and is built with Adobe's Creative SDK to integrate a seamless mobile workflow with Creative Cloud.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This week on The Digital Story Photography Podcast: E-M5 Mark II Hands On Review, Beta Testing Photos for OS X, Who Let the Air Out of the Latest MacBook? All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Weekly Update - Iridient Developer 3.0 Released - Some of the key new features introduced in Version 3 include multiple new demosaicing algorithms for both Bayer and X-Trans sensors, new Clarity adjustment for enhancing midtone contrast, new options for adjusting overall tonality including an adaptive "Fill Light" style exposure adjustment and pixel neighborhood adaptive highlight/shadow adjustments,several new monochrome mixer conversion methods, a greatly simplified colour management setup, two new monochrome toning methods including Split Toning and Mono Tone, and much more. This final 3.0 release also adds support for RAW images from the Olympus E-M5 Mark II shot in the 40 megapixel high resolution mode.  (Source: Photography Blog)

In other news... Apple's radical 12-inch MacBook is the slimmest, lightest MacBook ever - Apple reveals a new 12-inch MacBook, a radical revamp that shakes up the winning MBA design by dumping virtually every conventional port--Thunderbolt, the SD card slot, a power connector, everything--in favor of a pair a single USB Type-C connection and an audio jack. That, paired with numerous other advances, helped the 12-inch MacBook become the slimmest, lightest MacBook ever--and it's silent, too. (Source: Macworld)

E-M5MarkII_BLK_top_M14-42EZ_BLK.jpg

Story #1 - Hands On Review of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II - Beautifully crafted, intelligent inside, the latest mirrorless offering from Olympus might be their best camera yet. I discuss why in this segment of the show. You can also read my article about High Res Shot, one of the standout features of the E-M5 Mark II, at c't DigiPhoto.

Story #2 - Beta Testing Photos for OS X - you can join the OS X beta program and test the latest version of Photos. I provide my first impressions.

Story #3 - From the Screening Room - Photoshop CC Essential Training with Julieanne Kost. For my money, Julieanne is the best Photoshop trainer in the business. And she shines in this tutorial.

You can watch Julieanne in action by visiting the TDS Screening Room at lynda.com. While you're there, you can start your 7 day free trial to watch all of Julieanne's movies, plus every other title in the library (including over 20 by yours truly).

Virtual Camera Club News

News from Red River Paper: Have you made your archive 6 prints yet for 2015? The best backup system in the world is high quality prints properly stored. I recommend that photographers do a print run of their best twice a year. Here's why.

Thanks to everyone who recently reviewed the TDS Podcast in iTunes!

BTW: If you're ordering through B&H or Amazon, please click on the respective ad tile under the Products header in the box half way down the 2nd column on thedigitalstory.com. That helps support the site.

Download the Show

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (33 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.

Podcast Sponsors

lynda.com - Learn lighting, portraiture, Photoshop skills, and more from expert-taught videos at lynda.com/thedigitalstory.

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

SizzlPix! - High resolution output for your photography. You've never seen your imagery look so good. SizzlPix.com. SizzlPix! now is qualified for PayPal "Bill Me Later," No payments, No interest for up to 6 months, which means, have your SizzlPix! now, and pay nothing until Sept!

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Even though the Apple Watch was the star of the show today, Apple's introduction of the new MacBook was a bonus that I was happy to see. And I think from a consumer perspective, it's an interesting machine.

new-macbook-2-models.jpg

Weighing in at just 2 pounds, the MacBook features a 12-inch LED-backlit display, 2304-by-1440 resolution at 226 pixels per inch (Retina display), Intel HD Graphics 5300, and a single USB-C port featuring USB 3.1 Gen 1.

It's that last feature that really shows the direction Apple is offering to its customers: a truly wireless world. Photographers who embrace the new Photos for OS X app don't need Thunderbolt and standard USB 3.0 ports. Your images live in iCloud and are available on all of your devices. No wires required.

The demise of Aperture fits perfectly into this scenario. My current libraries live on large hard drives connected to MacBook Pro 13 and 15 inch laptops via Thunderbolt. You could even say that I'm now officially old school.

But the fact of the matter is that the new iCloud/Photos/MacBook vision is for consumer photographers, not serious enthusiasts, and certainly not pros. A wireless world would not have worked for me when I was on assignment in Cuba. And there are many similar situations that I face every year.

I think 2015 is an exciting time for consumer snapshooters. It's going to be interesting to see how it shapes up for the rest of us.

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You can start testing the Photos app today by enrolling in the OS X Beta Program that lets you install the upcoming version of Yosemite.

photos-welcome-web.jpg

The process is easy. Here are the basic steps:

  • Designate a Mac for beta testing. I recommend that you do not use your primary work-Mac for this purpose.
  • Enroll in the OS X Beta Program and download the Yosemite Beta Access Utility.
  • Run the utility and install OS X 10.10.3 that includes Photos
  • Start experimenting with the application.

If you're an iCloud user, Photos can tap your library online. I advocate this as a starting point for learning the application. You can convert Aperture or iPhoto libraries to Photos as well, but I would save that for later once you've made a decision about how you're going to proceed.

photos-albums-view-web.jpg I recommend becoming familiar with Photos by using your iCloud library.

Plus, by using your iCloud library, you can witness one of Photos' most powerful features, automatic updating of edited images. For example, I converted an image to B&W in the Photos app on my laptop, then viewed it on my iPhone. The image appeared in monotone there too, just like on the Mac.

In the end, who knows how we'll integrate or not integrate Photos into our workflows. But we won't know where to begin unless we give it a good test drive.

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