Journeying through photography


They call him Mr Blurry

Last year, I bought an Olympus EP-1 in an attempt to have a camera that was more portable than one of my Nikon DSLRs. The goal was to have a camera that I wouldn’t balk at carrying because of it’s size. The EP-1 came in a kit with the 17mm f2.8 Olympus pancake lens, which is both light and equates to a reasonable 35mm.

Quite soon after I happened across the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 which has now replaced the 17mm full time on the front of the EP-1. I have only used the Panasonic 14-42 lens I have once on a family day out, but since then I’ve switched back to the 20mm. Why have I done that? Just because the 20mm seems to be a really great lens and I’m just loving shooting it wide open! Is the 14-42 a bad lens? Nope, I just prefer the 20mm, but I’ve always been a sucker for fast primes when shot wide open.

Anyway, what’s this got to do with blur? I’ll tell you. I’ve only ever got blurry shots from the EP-1 when I’ve ignored the settings and ended up with a shutter speed of 0.8s or some other speed. If I pay attention to the settings, just like I do on my Nikon DSLRs I never get a blurry shot. But here is the thing, I have a friend who decided to look at small cameras to complement his DSLRs and eventually got round to renting an EP-2, a 14mm and a 20mm Panasonic lens set for a trip they were taking. So was he successful? Nope, most of his shots were blurry, and I’ve struggled with this – I can only assume either he was snatching the camera or ignoring the shutter speeds. Neither of which I would expect from him. The solution, rent the Nikon V1, and this time he had no blurry pictures! So unhappy with the cost of the Nikon V1, he has decided to rent a Fuji X1 – I’ve not told him yet, but it’s a brick (UPDATE: he found out).

I have a feeling he will plump for the Nikon, and I think this is probably more out of familiarity and comfort than anything else, but that is probably the most important thing with a camera – to feel comfortable using it. Me, well I’m sticking with micro four thirds, and starting to think about the 45mm f1.8 – Primes seem to be where it’s at with the m43 cameras and it fits with my self imposed rule of not buying a lens slower than f2.8 – maybe I’ll do a post on VR vs aperture.

If you want to read about his experiences, and I recommend you do, have a look here and here.

As for the picture above, this is from the EP-1 and 20mm Panasonic, shot handheld in the Natural History Museum in London. I shot it in black and white, but used the raw to recover the colour – I’ll explain about how I shoot with the EP-1 another time.