The Olympus OM-D E-M1 offers professional performance in a small and lightweight body. Photography News asks travel and portrait photographer Neil Buchan-Grant why he thinks it’s the perfect tool for his trade Neil Buchan-Grant INTERVIEW
Tell me a little about the images you’ve taken with the new OM-D camera of Mina (right): where were you shooting? Are you pleased with the results? We travelled out to theWestern Algarve and stayed in a spacious two-bed duplex with balconies on the upper floor. Mina broke her foot in three places just before we left and narrowly escaped having to wear a cast! She did extremely well, considering she was on crutches the whole time. The weather was quite changeable, which actually worked to our advantage in the end as it enabled a good variety of indoor locations, beach and pool shots. I’ve only been shooting with models for a couple of years but I’m extremely pleased with these pictures: the luxury of having an entire week to work though different looks and experiment with the light out there was immensely enjoyable. How did the camera hold up? The E-M1 performed flawlessly and even the eyecup stayed on! I’m very happy with my E-M5 and E-P5, but with 5,500 shots taken over the six days, I definitely feel the E-M1 was the right camera for the job. The camera focuses very accurately and quickly and its huge buffer means I can shoot Raw for as long as I need to without slowing up. When we had good weather, I was more often than not shooting into the light and faced many tricky lighting situations – but as with the other Olympus models, the adjustment dials on the E-M1 allow for an extremely fast and intuitive workflow, and the superb, large EVF gives me the immediate visual confirmation that my exposure is right where it needs to be. I could never have enjoyed that luxury with an optical viewfinder. The 14-bit Raw files from the E-M1 are exquisite too, sublimely smooth with a real bite to the sharp bits! This camera really is a truly professional tool. What’s the best piece of advice you could give an aspiring travel or portrait photographer? Travel: If you can afford it, two or three bodies (one around the neck and one on each shoulder) can save a lot of time changing lenses. Take as many lenses as you can get in your bag, belt-packs are even better. It’s sod’s law that you’ll see a shot that’s perfect for the lens you left behind. Leave the one- lens philosophy to the Zen practitioners – with travel you need a good range of focal lengths to do a shoot justice. Portraiture: Look for great light first and foremost. Look for surfaces that can reflect a nice quality of light onto your model. If it’s sunny, find the shadows, the doorways and alleys where you can still use some of that sunlight, but in a more controllable and flattering way.
Interview by Charlotte Griffiths
Neil Buchan-Grant is an award-winning travel and portrait photographer who’s been using the Olympus OM-D system since its launch, so when the new E-M1 was unveiled, Neil was a natural choice to put the camera through its paces. We caught up with him after a recent shoot in Portugal where he caught the last of the summer sun in the evocative images seen across these pages. You’re a travel and portrait photographer by trade: what makes the E-M1 suited to your profession? Travel photography, by its nature, necessitates carting your gear around the planet. With increasingly ridiculous weight restrictions on airline hand luggage, the safety and security of your equipment are often at the mercy of the baggage transit system. With the Olympus system, the bodies and lenses are so small and light I can ensure I travel with my gear all the time, so even if my clothes go missing, I can still complete the shoot. I recently squeezed one body, eight lenses and an iPad into a bag which came in just under 5kg – the limit of the airline I was travelling with! I haven’t used it yet, but the Wi-Fi connectivity now offers a lot more functionality, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with remote shooting. In Portugal I just wanted to concentrate on the basics but with features such as remote shooting via the iPad, remote flash and Live Time, I can see a number of fun shoots ahead! Which Olympus lens is your favourite at the moment, andwhy? Are there any older lenses you’re looking forward to using? I am constantly blown away with the results from the 75mm. I normally shoot quite close up but find myself adapting my style to facilitate its use. It is the sharpest and most contrasty lens in the system. I also used the new 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens while out in Portugal – I’m more of a prime lens user normally, but this zoom is quite incredible. I had wanted to try out the legendary Zuiko 150mm f/2 at some point, but now I’m thinking the new 40-150mm f/2.8 (due late 2014) will service all my long-end needs if it’s as good as the short zoom. Do you use the Wi-Fi connectivity built into the new camera?
ABOVE Neil was often shooting in tricky lighting situations, but the handling of the E-M1 allowed for intuitive control. BELOWThe Olympus bodies and lenses are so small and light that Neil can travel to stunning locations without worrying about airline baggage restrictions.
Watch out for Olympus’s grand voyage around the UK. The company plans to spend the coming months bringing the E-M1 to as many locations as possible to give doubters a chance to see just what this camera can do. Keep an eye on www.olympus- imagespace.co.uk for details. STILLNEED CONVINCING?
The E-M1 performed flawlessly – I’mhappywithmy E-M5 and E-P5, but I feel the E-M1 was the right camera for the job
To find out more about the E-M1 go to the Olympus website www.olympus.co.uk.
Photography News | Issue 1
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