Monday, March 27, 2017

Half-Frame Portrait Format: Image Aspect Ratio

The Half-Frame Portrait Format: Image Aspect Ratio 01
Olympus Pen EF
Olympus Pen EF
Image Aspect Ratio
While most of us take pictures in the landscape or horizontal format, half-frame cameras are inherently designed to capture images in the portrait or vertical format. Half-frame cameras capture images in the 3:4 aspect, an uncommon ratio, seldom mentioned except maybe when talking about images that are a bit too fat, a ratio that is difficult to work with, or image frames that are difficult to fill effectively. The film format for half-frame cameras is 24x18mm on a regular 135 film, which is half the size of a normal 35mm frame measuring 24x36 mm. With a half-frame camera, one can shoot and capture twice as many images on a standard roll of film - 48 shots on a 24-exposure roll, 72 shots on a 36-exposure roll, and so on.

Holding the camera horizontal with both hands is also the norm for taking photographs. The camera will normally rest in the grasp of the right hand with the index finger used to press the shutter release. On a more complex camera, the left hand will normally be used to focus the lens and other adjustments such as aperture and other settings necessary for the correct exposure of the shot. On a simple point-and-shoot, the left hand will just be a support to hold the camera steady. With half-frames, this is the same stance you will be holding the camera with, the difference being that your image will still be shot in the vertical frame. Rock steady images in 3:4 image aspect ratio.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Olympus XA1: Soft, Sharp and Saturated

Olympus XA1: Soft, Sharp and Saturated 01
Olympus XA1
Olympus XA1
Soft, Sharp and Saturated
The Olympus XA1 has only 2 film ASA speed setting - ASA 100 and ASA 400. ASA 400 film have light-sensitive materials which are larger in grain sizes when compared to films with slower ASA speed. Though the film requires less light for a proper exposure, photo images and may show up with visible grain. On a typical bright light situation, however, you can get away from motion blur and achieve great depth of field as the fast film speed lets you shoot with a faster shutter speed and smaller aperture.

One of the fun things you can do with the Olympus XA1 is using it to shoot in exposure lock mode. I used this technique on a couple of occasions, got the shots that I wanted and was delighted with the results. What you need to do is first to point the camera at the brighter light source, half-press the shutter release to activate the metering, then turn the camera to frame the composition and take the shot. The shutter button on the XA1 will be locked if the red pop-up flag is activated in insufficient lighting condition.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Half-Frame Portrait Format: Dedication

The Half-Frame Portrait Format: Dedication 01
Olympus Pen EF
I am dedicating this and other posts in this series to the 3:4 image aspect ratio, as photographed on the Olympus Pen EE-S, Pen EF, Pen FT and other half-frame format film cameras that I have or may collect along the way. I only had one thing in mind when I started the assignment with the Olympus Pen EF - use the camera to shoot only in the portrait of vertical frame mode. Yes, no horizontals or landscape mode, only verticals in the 3:4 image aspect ratio. The camera I will be using for this series is the Olympus Pen EF, which incidentally, is the last of the half-framed Pen Series cameras produced by Olympus. Fitted with a superb f/3.5 28mm lens, the EF is an all black model with white lettering. The design is further complemented with a flash unit powered by an AA battery.

A half-frame camera, also known as single-frame or split-frame, captures images at half the size (18x24mm) of a standard 35mm negative film (24x36mm). You can shoot twice as many pictures and get 72 exposures on a 36-exposure roll, 48 on a 24-exposure roll. Most half-frame cameras are manufactured with a vertical film framing setup, meaning that they shoot in a vertical (portrait) orientation as opposed to the horizontal (landscape) orientation of standard 35mm cameras. Operating the camera, as a point-and-shoot, is equally easy and can be done one-handed. Metering is by the standard Selenium 'electric-eye' system with the red pop-up flag that locks the shutter in low light condition. With the Oly, ous EF however, you can override this lock by activating the level to power the flash unit, cute.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Zuiko OM Auto-T 300mm f/4.5: Test Shots

Zuiko OM 300mm Test Shots 01
Zuiko OM 300mm f/4.5
Zuiko 300mm f/4.5
Zuiko OM 300mm Test Shots
Took the Olympus F.Zuiko OM Auto-T 300mm f/4.5 lens out of the dry-box and mounted it on the Olympus Pen E-P5 with the OM Adapter MF-2, just to see how it feels and handles, and what will it takes to lug it around on a shoot or assignment. On the Olympus E-P5, the lens will be an equivalent to a f/9 600mm super telephoto lens. Lined the combo up on the front porch, and grabbed a few test shots, wide open, of my immediate environment.

The test images here was shot in *.orf RAW, uploaded to Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3) for post-processing, and went through my normal workflow routine of edits with Brightness & Control, Gamma, and Unsharp Mask. Except for the use of Pop Art art filter effect in RAW Development Mode on the square formatted shots, no other development mode features was used. Probably best planned for sunsets, mountain photography, sports, or animals in the woods, the Zuiko OM is said to be a fine lens, tack sharp all round with little or no diffraction, and good contrast and saturation with the colors.

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