Fireworks with an Olympus E-M5

Over the years, I’ve settled into having two semi-related sets of photography gear — a “large set,” and a “small set.” My small set of gear is all micro-4/3 stuff, and I recently upgraded that body to an Olympus OM-D E-M5 (yes, bit of a mouthful there). Or to be more accurate, I should say that I ordered an E-M5 back in March and it finally arrived a few weeks back.

So buoyed by reports of good performance in low-light situations, I took my shiny new (surprisingly small) little camera with tripod and cable release to a fireworks display that our town put on recently.


One particularly nice new feature of the E-M5 is something Olympus calls “Live Bulb” mode — somewhat like the “live view” that many digital cameras provide, but this mode shows you the image as it builds up during a long exposure (while you hold the shutter open as with a regular “Bulb” mode).


I have to admit, it was easy to use, and I’m impressed with the results I’m seeing photographically. The longest exposure I did was 36 seconds, without a bit of grain in the dark parts of the image (at ISO 200).

The palms

The only odd thing about this approach to fireworks is that while Apple supports the new Olympus RAW format for most images, Aperture on my Mac couldn’t make heads or tails of images I took using Live Bulb. So apparently these files have a *slightly* different format than do other images from the camera (I had to run them through Olympus‘ software to convert them to JPGs). Update 6/2013 — Aperture’s happy with the RAW files now.


One way or the other, I’m impressed by the images I can make with this little camera. Now Olympus (and Panasonic, etc.) just need to produce a few more weather-sealed lenses for the micro-4/3 system, and I can start selling off my big stuff…

One thought on “Fireworks with an Olympus E-M5

  1. yep, i’ve been seeing good reviews on that one, i’d love to have one if i could.. that live bulb feature’s sounds nifty.. you got some great shots here.. 🙂

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