Photography News 115 - Newsletter

Big test

PERFORMANCE: LIVE GND The OM-1 Mark II is the world’s first camera with built-in graduated neutral density filters. Live GND mode has three strengths: ND2, ND4 and ND8. Three gradations are available: soft, medium and hard. The filter can be angled and placed anywhere within the frame. The electronic shutter is used, with a brief delay for the filter to apply the effect

after the exposure. It supports various exposure modes and handheld use. This set was taken with a tripod- mounted OM-1 Mark II in metered manual using an exposure of 1/125sec at f/11 and ISO 200. The filter was placed just above the boat and not moved during this sequence to show the differences. The files are straight out of camera.

ND8 soft

ND4 soft

ND2 soft

ND8 med

ND4 med

ND2 med

ND8 hard

ND4 hard

ND2 hard


Working with so much extra data means the in-camera processing time is slightly longer. Using a Lexar 300MB/s SD card – shooting at 14-bit versus 12-bit – the shooting times were 5secs and just under 4secs respectively. I shot comparisons in different scenarios and worked on them in Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and OM Workspace. Did I see any practical benefit in shooting 14-bit? Hand on heart, not really. On the scenes I tried, perhaps in very contrasty situations, serious use of the highlight slider meant bright areas appeared to stay clean

neutral density, with a top limit of ND128 or 7EV. That uplift takes the feature to the brink of serious long- exposure shooting; add a 3EV ND to the lens to get an effective 10EV. The ND128 option worked as promised so no issues there, and the extra stop is worthwhile.

rather than veiled grey. Given that shooting 14-bit High-Res Shot is only marginally slower than 12-bit – and the file sizes are only around 10% larger – I would use 14-bit just in case I needed the extra headroom. Next up: Live ND shooting. The OM-1 Mark II gains an extra stop of

DIALLING IN THE FUN The OM-1 Mark II’s handling has been improved over its predecessor with rubber-coated command dials, allowing easier use with gloves

Next on the list is Live GND shooting, and this is very much an innovative feature. Grey ND filters are important with scenic photography, helping balance the contrast between the typically bright sky and darker foreground in your shots. The OM-1 Mark II offers a range of ND gradations at your fingertips. These include soft, medium and hard in 1EV, 2EV and 3EV strengths. You can position the effect and adjust the angle according to your preference. The four-way controller alters the gradient’s mid-point position, while the front input dial adjusts the effect’s angle by 15° – the rear dial

works in 1° steps. Essentially, the grad effect can be precisely fine- tuned and positioned. It’s hard to picture many photographers, including pros, carrying nine grad filters in their kitbag, especially considering the limited usefulness of the 1EV grad filters – plus the added cost and weight they bring. So, to have nine grad filters built into the camera is awesome. What’s more, they work extremely well. I started working with them as I would with actual ND grads. I determined the correct exposure for the foreground in manual exposure

EYE FOR DETAIL Taken at Slimbridge Wetland Centre, the OM-1 Mark II was fitted with the ED 150-600mm lens at 473mm using an exposure of 1/1000sec at f/9 and ISO 500. The camera’s bird/eye detection AF handled the pale yellow eyes of the greater flamingo well

36 Photography News | Issue 115

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