Tag Archive for 'olympus'

Olympus 1030SW video problems

Not that I take videos with my little 1030SW very often, but when I do I’d at least like to be able to play them on my mac. As it was my Finder would crash every time I’d try and preview an AVI, or Aperture would crash on trying to import when these avi’s were present.

It turned out the problem was with the AviImporter Quicktime plugin, which I fixed by replacing it with the Perian plugin (in /Library/QuickTime). Now they play no worries.

Olympus Stylus 1030SW review

A few months ago I purchased the Olympus Stylus 1030SW, the unbreakable and waterproof little point and shoot. Having spent the bulk of the time using my E-500 with reasonably nice f/2.8 lenses in the last few years it initially felt like rather a downgrade. The quality of the images wasn’t all that great, particularly for landscape shots. For close up people type stuff it does well, and I can commonly get away without the flash.

Recently I got a chance to try out what I saw as one of the coolest features of the camera: the waterproof bit. Having given it a brief test run one evening with a glass of water, the real test came as I prepared to jump into the water along Ningaloo Reef, on the Western Australian coast near Exmouth. Attached with rubber bands, I took it into the water and tried it out inbetween gulps of seawater. Two of the nicest shots I got are posted here. They came out beautifully, so I’m totally stoked I went to the effort and cost to get a waterproof one…

The camera spends pretty much its whole life in my pocket. Being waterproof I think it can hack a bit of dust and the odd bump. As it happens it got a solid hit one day, but saved me a bit of pain. One of my tent poles slipped out of my hand pitching the tent one evening, and recoiled straight into the camera in my pocket. Damage documented below (as is the rubber band setup for swimming)…

my bashed up olympus stylus

my bashed up olympus stylus

Any Olympus people who want me to be a poster boy for their unbreakable camera can use my story for the reasonable price of an E-3 back…

So in short: nice camera for cool stuff like swimming and treating roughly, but not an SLR. No surprises.


So the day after the conference finished, we flew up to Exmouth to search for whale sharks, sun, and a break from the Canberra winter. We found it.

Saturday we went out on a boat with 3 Islands Marine in the hope of swimming with a whale shark. The morning was spent with a nice dive on the Ningaloo reef. I got to test out my new Olympus 1030SW, supposedly waterproof but as yet untested (aside from a bit of testing with a water glass). Turned out it works beautifully, and takes really nice photos.

Ningaloo reef

Ningaloo reef

We then moved on outside the reef to find big fish to swim with. The company uses planes to spot their fish, and had to call in a second one when they hadn’t found one by lunch time. On the way we saw some humpback whales on their way north.

While we were watching the whales, the whale shark call came, and we and the other boats raced down to the spot. There was only the one whale shark that day so we had to share with some other boats. We got several swims so I didn’t feel like we missed out at all.

Come swim time we dived in and split into two groups so the fish could swim between us. It dutifully did so and was extremely cool…

Whale shark

Whale shark

My camera worked nicely too, as you can see.

Having tired ourselves out, we headed back. We met some more humpbacks on the way, these ones much more playful, showing a bit of tail for us to photograph.



An awesome day, and probably worth the $350 or so it cost us. The rest of the photos are here.

New camera

I’m now the proud owner of the bullet-proof Olympus Stylus 1030SW. It’s rather different to using my E500 SLR, but should be a fun thing to have in my pocket for those “I wish I had my camera” moments.

my computer

Olympus MF-1 OM adapter

So Christmas has been a great time for sitting in front of the TV doing pretty much nothing. It’s also a time to drink some beer and play with my camera. I am fortunate to have in my possession an old 50mm f3.5 zuiko OM macro, and to use it I went and bought the adapter Olympus have to use these old lenses on the new digital SLR’s. Really there’s little to review. At about US$100 it’s a pretty expensive annulus, which is rather tight to get both onto my E500 and the lens, but it’s fun, and worth it if you have old OM lenses you want to bring in to the digital age.

I haven’t used a macro much, but here’s part of the sticker on one of my favourite Magic Hat beers…

mmmm Magic Hat beer, fresh from Vermont

I also too a few photos of the cats we have here, and the good ol’ National Geographic world map.

where I live right now

Raw problems with Aperture

Olympus raw files for exposures over 3.2s come up looking all blown out in Aperture. The files are bigger than usual, so I guess they have some noise reduction information within them that Aperture doesn’t know what to do with.

illustrating the problem

Hopefully someone has a suggestion… and they did!

A solution is to convert to DNG files using Adobe’s DNG converter. A possible advantage of doing this for all files is that the DNG is about half the size of the equivalent ORF, a potentially huge saving on disk space. There are further dicussions about this around the place (e.g.).

Olympus 50-200 zoom lens review

Having just taken delivery of my brand spanking 14-54mm f2.8-3.5 lens to replace the factory one that came with my E-500, I realise I’ve never said anything more about the 50-200mm I got a while ago. So here’s a few comments from an amateur…

First off, the lens feels solid in the hand. It feels like a thousand bucks, which is good since that’s about what it’s worth. I just took it though Peru for three weeks and I think it survived all the dust admirably, especially since I used it more than the normal zoom, and we went places like Cerro Blanco, which is a combination of sand dune and desert. I think photos like the one below speak volumes for what one can do with a lens like this…

Child at the llama farm

So what are the bad things? The first downside (though maybe this applies to all lenses, I don’t know) is some reflections when pointed directly at bright lights (e.g. the sun). The way around this is obvious I guess… though I do like sunsets.

sunset in NY, note massive reflection

Another thing is some vignetting at medium zooms, like around 100mm. I’ve only noticed this recently in photos with even backgrounds, such as the sky so it’s not particularly obvious. The image below is at 117mm and f/5.6.dog nasca line with fading around the edges

Aside from those two things, I love this lens, and currently use it more than the normal 17-45mm (this may change with my new purchase however). I like that it feels solid, I like the sleeve tripod mount (which I use to carry it with sometimes. I don’t own a decent tripod yet, which you need for the weight of the lens), I like that I can get close to things without having to.

I think I’m finding that this lens is consistently sharper than my 14-54mm f/2.8-3.5, which has never really wowed me. I’ve recently become somewhat disillusioned with the Olympus ISO performance and picked up a D700 with a 50mm f/1.4G, but have kept the Olympus basically because the 4/3 2x crop means the 50-200mm is a great zoom to have, and way cheaper than anything comparable I could get for a FX Nikon.

So go on, buy it! However, I’m not any more than someone who likes taking nice pictures, so if you want a proper review by someone who knows there are some out there (e.g. here here and here).

Olympus 50-200 lens

mmmm expensive…

I’ve just become the proud new owner of the Olympus 50-200mm f2.8-3.5 zoom lens. It feels very well built, as it should for something that costs about a thousand dollars and weighs about a thousand grams.

My first chance to play with it was at Niagara Falls, where I got the chance to let the lens do what it does best: zoom and have a short depth of field, without the need to lug a tripod amongst hundreds of other tourists. Here’s one of my favs.

niagara falls

The rest of the Niagara Falls pics are here.

Digital SLR!

haha I guess i forgot to mention that I have recently purchased an Olympus E500 Digital SLR. Hence the cool picture in the previous post. I’ve found some helpful web resources so far that might help you if you have one of these cool toys too.

Olympus Firmware page

DP Review Olypus forum

An excellent review (wrotniak.net)

I always wanted a fisheye lens