As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been mulling over battery options — partially because OEM batteries are fairly expensive, and partially because some 3rd party options have potentially attractive additional features.
I’d gotten busy with regular life activities, and almost forgotten about my promise to do some testing, when I ran across this interesting video on YouTube. In the video, a Finnish gent tests an OEM BLH-1 battery and some 3rd-party replacements for it, using an OM-D E-M1 camera. I liked his approach, with a few provisos — namely, that I think using the internal intervalometer was causing him some of his issues (camera stops recording before the battery is fully discharged, residual charge level varies from battery to battery).
When the folks at OM System (formerly Olympus Imaging) released their new flagship camera, the OM-1, it came with its own new high-capacity battery — the BLX-1. As is usually the case with new battery designs, supply was tight at first. But pandemic supply chain issues (and maybe other problems) have helped keep supply tight since then, and prices for BLX-1 batteries have only gone up in the meantime.
So what’s an OM-1-loving / cost-conscious photographer to do? Plenty of 3rd-party batteries are available on various websites, with varying price, performance, reliability, and safety. I’ve seen good results from ProMaster accessories in the past, so I thought I’d give their batteries a try, particularly since they’ve recently introduced BLX-1 “equivalents” with a twist — built-in USB charging. What follows is a “first impressions” view of the situation (more details will follow in a later post).
The fine folks at OM System have just announced the upcoming release of their new LS-P5 audio recorder (it’s now available for pre-order). A variety of tutorial-centric videos have been released as part of this announcement, but I couldn’t find a direct comparison of the LS-P5 to its (slightly dated but still pretty good) predecessor, the LS-P4 (update on that situation is below).
Photo courtesy of OM System
So based on available information, I pulled together my own high-level comparison — I’ve got an LS-P4, and wanted to know if the new gadget would be worth the upgrade for me. Continue reading →
Like many photographers in the Olympus / OM System world, I’m in the process of upgrading my photography gear from the E-M1III to the OM-1. Fortunately, SmallRig just started shipping a camera cage for the OM-1, since their long-unavailable cage for the E-M1II (which also fit the E-M1III) does *not* fit the OM-1. Before I sell off the old cage, I thought it might be helpful to compare the two models for anybody that may be in the market for one or the other.
At a high level, there are some key changes: some mounting points went away, or moved; the overall shape changed just slightly (in the process, access to body-front buttons is improved); and the new cage has a built-in Arca-Swiss mounting plate and captive attachment tool.
Back in February, I preordered one of the new OlympusOM System OM-1 camera bodies, and after a few weeks of waiting, it arrived at my local camera store. There are plenty offullreviews of the camera available for your perusal online, so I won’t attempt to compete with / duplicate them.
Just the same, I’ve spent a few weeks traveling with the OM-1 (using it daily), and I’ve got some thoughts:
The Olympus OM-D E-M5III can be the basis of a fantastic small photography system. You get good performance and good features (including weathersealing) in a lightweight, compact package.
But for those of us with larger hands, an E-M5III can be a little too compact.
And then, of course, people have been reporting problems with the durability of the camera’s mounting plate. So, both usability and camera protection could drive you to adding some sort of grip to an E-M5III. But preferably not something large and/or heavy enough to make the camera as big as its larger brothers in the E-M1 series. Continue reading →
If you’re like a lot of people, you’re spending most of your time at home these days, thanks to the Coronavirus. It’s pretty easy in those circumstances to start feeling cooped up.
Luckily, photography gives us some treatments (if not a cure) for cabin fever while waiting for the worst of the pandemic to burn out. If you’re on Facebook, I’d recommend joining Joe Edelman’s Tog Chat group — while this group normally focuses on fashion / portrait photography, Joe’s opened up the admission criteria for the duration, in order to support what he’s calling the “Stuck at Home Photography Challenge.”
The best part is, you really don’t need any new or particularly expensive gear to participate — just your camera, and things you likely have around the house. I’ll show you some of my contributions to date as examples.
Edited 3/28/2020 to add measured power data for both battery charging and tethered shooting.
Olympus, to their credit, has finally been replacing their old proprietary USB camera cable interfaces with USB-C on more-recent OM-D camera bodies. But until the E-M1X was released in early 2019, this just provided a data interface — for things like firmware updates, and file transfers.
With the E-M1X, Olympus began to use USB-C as a power interface as well — for battery recharging, and for tethered power supply to the camera. Olympus took a middle ground with the E-M5III, using USB for data and battery charging (but not tethered power, and even then using an old-school micro-USB connector). More-recently, the E-M1III followed the E-M1X‘s example in using USB-C for data, battery charging, and tethered power supply.
I’ve recently seen confused exchanges online about the uses and limitations of USB-C with the E-M1III — so as a card-carrying geek, I thought I should attempt to clear things up a bit. But first, you’ll need some background — so find yourself a comfortable seat and a warm beverage, this won’t be a fast read. Continue reading →
Lost in all the hustle over Olympus‘ latest camera body offering (the intriguing yet rather pricey E-M1X), some less-glamorous items were far more interesting to me. Namely, Olympus’ new line of weather-resistant flash gear. The hub of this lineup is the FL-700WR, so I thought it’d be a good thing for me to quickly review (I’ll circle back to the subject in a few months after I’ve had time to put some serious miles on it).
For starters, let’s look at broadly how the new flash fits in the current Olympus line-up:
So the high point (physically) of day 3 on the Inca Trail is Runkurakay Pass — with views just as good as Dead Woman Pass had, but not nearly as painful to get to. Just before the pass, the trail winds between two small hanging lakes (I haven’t been able to find any reliable names for them). First, we’re looking uphill / west across the lower / larger of the two (you can see some of my hiking buddies on the trail above it to the right).