Monday, July 28, 2014

Midnight Portraits at ISO 25,600

Since I've been using Olympus digital equipment, I haven't been a fan of their auto focus or their low light capabilities.  The E-5 dSLR fixed some of that and the E-M1 mirror-less camera body fixed a lot more.

Last night, I was asked to a skate park around midnight.  It's not a good time for action shots no matter which camera you're using.  Please, don't blah blah blah Canon blah blah blah Nikon because I know that without lights, it's not going to work well.  Yes, there are a few models with increased sensitivity, but they're not perfect either and you'll still need lights to get great photos.

I got a few shots the way I used to do when I was using ASA 400/DIN 27 film.  I just don't care for most of what action shots I got.  Besides, at ISO 25,600, everything is better at 4x6 and not much bigger.  It reminded me of using ASA 1000 or 1600 film when ASA 400 was typically high.

I decided not to make any corrections to the shots because they often make the shots look fake.  Extreme conditions cause extreme problems.  It's the same with winter photography and snow.  I can make minor adjustments to improve the look but I generally leave them as is to enhance the feeling of cold.

Last night, I tried to use the E-M1 and 12-40mm f/2.8 lens.  I didn't think that it would work, so I also had my 14-35mm f/2.0 with me, and the Leica/Panasonic Four-Thirds mount 25mm f/1.4 lens is always in my bag on the adapter.  It's been very good, especially in these drought conditions to get near dark photos and in this case, it worked reasonably well to get photos at midnight.  I would consider the Voigtländer 17.5 f/0.95 lens but I really have to think about that at US$1199.99 for such a special purpose lens that isn't sharp until, say, f/1.4.  Having portable, battery-powered lighting would probably make more sense and allow me to work with video.  The Leica 15mm f/1.7 from Panasonic looks like a good idea.  I think they wasted too much making it too compact when it should have been greater for the US$599.99.  It's obvious that they took plenty of space for the focusing mechanism, as the 46mm filter size covers much more than the lens elements.

You can see the results below.  I was mostly pleased.

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