Olympus 75mm f/1.8 - Low light - High ISO

Click on above image or here for zip file of jpgs.

I've shot a series of images in very murky light, which has resulted in the use of apertures of f/1.8 when in programme exposure and I also selected f/2.8 in aperture priority. I was interested to see how the 75mm performed with my OM-D under those circumstances. I have included the out of camera jpgs. in the zip file, as under these circumstances that it what I would normally use. It was pretty dark for these shots and most are over ISO 3200 and go up to ISO 25,600. Considering the values of the images I'm not sure I would have got much at all with a slow zoom.

While this is something that I don't do much these days, it is typical of some situations I have worked in the past. The camera / lens combination had no problems focusing on any of it, including the black camera. 

What you think of how the camera has rendered the files, is down to personal taste. For me, the images are somewhat "smeared" but work pretty well unless viewed at 100%. It does show that the OM-D is some way on from previous m4/3 cameras in terms of being able to cope with this kind of light for hand holding reasonably well, and certainly as well as many APS-C sized sensor cameras.

However, the main reason behind this was to see how the lens performed, and as I indicated I didn't encounter any problems. I was interested to see that the camera tended to default to 1/160th. sec, virtually everytime in programme mode, including when the IS was on. Having seen the results, if I repeated the exercise I would be inclined to try and see if I could use a slower shutter speed and still get sharp results, as the lower the ISO the better the files look.

m4/3 now has a range of "fast AF primes" 12mm f/2, 20mm f.1.7, 25mm f/1.4, 45mm f/1.8 and 75mm f/1.8. In addition to this there are obviously a large number of possible manual focus options via adapters. All of this means that working in low light is not the problem it once was for the system. While obviously not in the same league as the Fuji X100 and X-Pro 1 and many DSLR's it does make the OM-D in particular, workable in dark conditions. I'm still not convinced that its good enough to shoot the indoor sections of a wedding for example, if I was still getting paid to do that, but provided you don't expect to view or print the files too large, then it performs OK. 

It is often the case that in situations such as these, a fast telephoto is a very useful tool, and the 75mm does its job very nicely. Whether we will ever get to the stage that m4/3 can be seen as being a good low light format, who can say. I imagine though that if this size sensor gets to that stage then it probably means that larger sensor sizes have also improved. Certainly I think its the case that the sensor in the OM-D performs better in low light than some of the older APS-C ones, but things do move on and I suspect the next generation will probably regain the advantage.

However, very positive results again for the 75mm, in terms of handling and performance. 

For all review posts on this lens - click here.

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus
For comment and discussion - join me over at Google+
about soundimageplus - soundimageplus website
soundimageplus on flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/45203414@N06/
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group - http://www.flickr.com/groups/1705334@N24/
soundimageplus on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/user/soundimageplus
soundimageplus on Vimeo - http://vimeo.com/user1050904/video