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An Irritable Word about Photography Gear

Why I Love the Micro 4/3 system


Yes, the golden circle behind me is a halo, although the grumpy text to follow will convince you I am anything but angelic.

But to the point: Despite the endless blather of Nikon Nazis and pixel peeping noise hysterics, I find the 4/3 system suits what I presently want to do photographically. In particular, the micro 4/3 system, especially my beloved E-P2 with its VF-2 electronic viewfinder, gives me a tactile feel close to the that of the Olympus OM-1 that I shot -- and liked -- for years. My second Micro 4/3 body is the Olympus E-PM1, and though I doubted my preferences for manual shooting would be served well by it, the price won me over. It turns out I love the little beast, and I find changing settings on it rather easy. Furthmore, it takes good quality video, and that will be a boon on a trip like this. I accepts the accessory viewfinder I have for the E-P2, and delivers an even nicer image in it. The picture quality is wonderful. What's not to like?

I will be taking a capable and varied photo kit that is small and won't cause too much wear and tear on my 60 year old shoulders. Except when I joyfully backpacked with a 4x5 monorail view camera, I've never been in love with big and bulky. The point of a hand-held camera is, for me at least, to carry something small and unobtrusive, as small as will do the job efficiently and well. I'd shoot a Leica M-9 if I could afford to. I have no argument with anyone wanting to carry a huge SLR and an arsenal of lenses looking like the barrels of heavy artillery; but it's not for me unless I'm going birding.

But I'm not looking to start a war of preferences. You need to shoot with something that works for you, and something you just love to pick up and shoot with is even better. That's how I feel about my kit, which not only does what I need and want it to do, but which gives me great pleasure to use. With a couple of good, fast prime lenses -- the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 and the Olympus M. Zuiko 45mm f1.8 -- I don't use the higher iso settings that make so many shiver with horror at the noise. And if I do use them, a bit of noise does not bother me, preferably developed from a raw file with noise reduction and filtration set to off or low, saving as much detail as possible and dealing with objectionable noise in a separate program, typically NeatImage. As a carryover from my days as a black and white film photographer, I prefer a well defined grain to the mushy loss of fine detail that aggressive noise reduction and some fine grain developers produce.

So..... I hope you enjoy the pictures to follow. We'll be in Sukothai on Sunday, and I expect to have an SD card full of shots by Monday afternoon.

Posted by aethelraed 18:43 Comments (5)

Almost Ready

The Sunday before departure

Surprisingly, I really am almost ready to go and will have little to do after today to prepare for Thursday's departure (Nov. 3). from L.A. I've sprayed several sets of clothes with permethrin, having decided to forgo the sick-making, systemic anti-malarial drugs. I've printed my e-ticket receipts for all flights, copied the travel insurance card and policy, got inoculations deemed prudent and the documentation of it, and I have it all in a large envelop with my passport. Moreover, I know where that envelope is, a not insignificant accomplishment given my habitual state of disorganization. The traveler's checks are bought; I've got a small but capable photo kit and a netbook onto which to download pictures. My toiletries are all packed, as are medications, sunscreens, bug repellent, etc. And now I have a travel blog.

In short, I am ready to stop talking about this trip and to fly away.

Your papers please!

Posted by aethelraed 11:28 Comments (1)

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