Taking Stock 3


Samsung NX10 30mm f2 pancake lens

The Olympus E-PL1 and Samsung NX10 /soundimageplus/2010/08/taking-stock-2-samsung-nx10.html now have new homes. As stated before, not because they are bad cameras, because they are not, but to try and prevent the place looking like a camera shop. With the Panasonic L1 having departed a while ago, there are now 6 cameras here. Two Canons - 7D & 550D, Two m4/3 - GH1 & E-P2, Two Leicas - M9 & X1.

In the first Taking Stock article, /soundimageplus/2010/08/taking-stock.html 5 of these cameras are on the keep list. The Olympus E-P2 is at the moment, undecided. I'm not usually sentimental about cameras but selling my first E-P2 earlier this year to help finance the M9, was very difficult. That was a black one. The one here at the moment is the beautiful silver version.

Silver Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Zoom

Keeping a camera because of its looks is perfectly legitimate, so why do I feel vaguely guilty about it? I love using it, not because its the best camera I have for handling, though its nice, but just because it is what it is. A beautifully designed camera. I would go so far as to say that, for me, it is the most beautiful camera ever made. 

I also love using it with the kit lens, as in the picture above. Though I think the Olympus 14-42 kit lens is underrated, there's no doubt that fitted with other lenses such as the 14-150 Leica Vario-Elmar zoom, 20mm f1.7 or any of my M-mount lenses, the E-P2 produces better results. 

While shooting stock photography allows a lot of freedom in terms of what equipment can be used, there are quality issues to take account of. Since its a m4/3 camera I have to interpolate the files up to 48MB+ for certain picture libraries. This does result in a loss of quality. Looking at an image taken with this camera/lens combination and then comparing it with an image shot on the X1, the Olympus/kit lens version does suffer by comparison. There's an even more unfavourable difference when compared to an M9 image.

I have no problems with submitting the E-P2/Kit lens images to picture libraries. They are perfectly happy to accept them, even when interpolated. I have sold many images taken with this combination, often used at large sizes, and there have been no complaints. Going back a year or two they would have been almost state of the art for a digital camera anyway.

Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Lens Zoom

Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Lens Zoom
Both images above - Olympus E-P2 14-42 Kit Lens

So by using this camera/lens combination I'm certainly not committing commercial suicide, knowing that images taken with this choice of gear are perfectly satisfactory for the markets I supply. But the knowledge that I have the means to produce a better quality image nags away at me. 

Its a dilemma that many of us may face. Do we use the gear we like using or is the quality of the final image all we should be concerned about? The E-P2 won't be going to ebay anytime soon as I like it far too much. Whether I ever reconcile the conflict I have about the quality issues, I don't really know. Not everything in life is black or white, I exist in a grey area most of the time and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. For the moment I'm prepared to tolerate a slight drop in image quality to use a camera I love. Whether that will continue, time will tell.

Words - D
Images - D & A