Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Creating a Vertorama

When photographing vertical buildings keystoning often occurs, that is the top of the building comes out looking smaller than the middle and bottom. Some people deal with this issue by using select lenses called tilt-shift lenses. Another, easier, less-expensive way is to create a Vertorama (some horizontal images stitched together.

In ACR (Adobe Camera RAW which is the same as Lightroom develop module) select the images used to make the panorama or vertorama in this case and merge them to panorama. The resulting merge image is a dng file (digital negative), therefore you can edit the file in ACR (or LR Develp module) using all of the RAW tools. 

OM-D E-M1X Firmware Version 2.0 with Bird Detection


Wahoo, bird AF is here (well, soon, on December 2nd)

Introducing Bird Detection for Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus

Center Valley, PA, November 17, 2020 – Olympus is pleased to announce the latest firmware upgrade for the Olympus OM-D E-M1X mirrorless camera, Version 2.0. Scheduled for release on December 2, 2020, this new version of firmware adds Bird Detection to Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus, an AI-based deep learning technology. With this new function, the camera automatically prioritizes detection of a bird's eye, for focusing and tracking, so the photographer can concentrate on composing images and capturing the moment. The new firmware also includes various functional improvements, such as RAW video data output to support professional video production. Additional firmware upgrades are available for the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, E-M1 Mark II and E-M5 Mark III. All available updates can be accessed at: https://getolympus.com/firmware.

OM-D E-M1X Firmware Version 2.0 with Bird Detection

Bird detection has been added to Intelligent Subject Detection Autofocus, and can recognize a variety of birds of all sizes. When using this version of firmware, the camera focuses primarily on the bird's eye and switches to detect and track the bird’s head or body if its eye is not detected. This feature performs well even in birds' natural habitats, where trees, plants, and other obstructions tend to come between photographer and subject, allowing the photographer to concentrate on framing. This functionality can be used in conjunction with Pro Capture, which is also a popular feature for photographing birds. Pro Capture mode virtually eliminates shutter lag and reaction time by recording sequential frames before the shutter release is pressed fully, and ensures the camera never misses decisive moments, as when a bird takes flight or captures its prey. Birds are detected across the entire AF coverage area when shooting with all M.Zuiko® Digital lenses, inclusive of super-telephoto zoom lenses. The functionality works even at the periphery of the screen, offering a greater level of freedom for framing.

RAW Video Data Output to the Atomos Ninja V HDR Monitor Recorder

4K 30P/25P/24P and Cinema 4K 24P video recorded on the OM-D E-M1X can be output as 12-bit RAW data and recorded in ProRes RAW format on the Atomos Ninja V HDR monitor recorder, enabling advanced professional video production post-processing tasks, such as adjusting exposure and color grading of recorded footage. The latest firmware for the Atomos Ninja V HDR Monitor Recorder will be required to enable this support. The firmware can be accessed here:  https://www.atomos.com/firmware/ninja-v .

Focus Stacking Support for the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Lens

With this firmware, the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO supports in-camera Focus Stacking, bringing the total to 11  compatible lenses.

Improved Video Image Stabilization Performance

The video image stabilization algorithm has been updated for natural recording with minimal shake, even when panning.

Supports Focus Indicator Display

This feature makes it possible to quickly check the focusing direction and approximate focus position during manual focusing.

OM-D E-M1X, OM-D E-M1 Mark III, OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and OM-D E-M5 Mark III Firmware Upgrades

Firmware Version 1.2 for the OM-D E-M1 Mark III, Version 3.4 for the OM-D E-M1 Mark II, and Version 1.3 for the OM-D E-M5 Mark III will be released simultaneously with firmware Version 2.0 for the OM-D E-M1X on December 2, 2020. Visit the following website for further details: https://getolympus.com/firmware.

Firmware Table


E-M1X Firmware Ver.2.0

E-M1 Mark III Firmware Ver.1.2

E-M1 Mark II Firmware Ver.3.4

E-M5 Mark III Firmware Ver.1.3

1.  Bird detection





2. RAW video data output





3. Lens that supports Focus Stacking added





4. Improved video image stabilization





5. Supports focus indicator display





Pricing, Configurations, Availability & Specifications

Olympus Firmware Upgrade Version 2.0, along with the other firmware upgrade versions mentioned here within are available free of charge on the Olympus website beginning on December 2, 2020. 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Olympus Releases Lightweight Super-Telephoto Zoom Lens


Introducing the M.Zuiko® Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO Lens. Equipped with a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, this lens covers a powerful focal length of 300-1000mm equivalent, and is only 4.1 lbs and 12.4 inches in length. Leave the tripod at home. 

  • 4.1 pounds! In comparison, the Canon 800 mm is 9.9 pounds, more than twice the weight of this lens. 
  • And the minimum focusing distance of the 800 is about 20 feet, very 4 feet for this lens!
  • This lens features a close focusing distance of 1.3 m (~4 feet) across the entire zoom range and close-up shooting performance with a maximum image magnification of 0.57x1, which increases to 0.71x1 when using the built-in teleconverter, for those who enjoy tele-macro shooting.

The $7,499 pricetag is not cheap (Tom and I started a "holiday saving account for it as soon as it was announced) but the cost of this lens is much less than other companies...

  • Canon 200-400mm $10,999 
  • Sony 600mm $12,999
  • Canon 600mm $12,999
  • Nikon 800mm $16,299 
  • Sigma 200-500 $25,999

  • Center Valley, PA, November 17, 2020 – Olympus is pleased to introduce the M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO, a high-resolution, super-telephoto zoom lens, delivering unrivaled portability, imaging power, and all-weather performance. Equipped with a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, this lens covers a powerful focal length of 300-1000mm equivalent1, and is only 4.1lbs and 12.4 inches in length. Leave the tripod at home. The high-performance 5-Axis Sync IS delivers the world’s most effective 8 shutter speed steps of compensation, enabling up to 1000mm equivalent1 handheld super-telephoto shooting. When paired with the optional M.Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter MC-20, this Micro Four Thirds® System ultra-zoom lens is capable of up to 2000mm equivalent1 super-telephoto shooting. For detailed product specifications, visit: https://www.getolympus.com/lenses/m-zuiko-150-400mm-f4-5-tc-1-25x-is-pro.html.

    Ultimate Super-Telephoto Optical Performance

    Lens construction consists of 28 elements in 18 groups, including a newly developed large-diameter EDA lens  and four Super ED lenses , reducing flares and color bleeding across the entire zoom range, and delivering superb edge-to-edge resolution and clarity. Olympus’ renowned Z Coating Nano technology is employed to suppress reflective light and provide sharp, clear image quality, even in difficult shooting environments, such as backlit scenes. The lens body features a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, maintaining high optical performance while enabling up to 1000mm equivalent1 handheld super-telephoto shooting, simply by flipping down the teleconverter. 

    Additionally, the lens is compatible with optional M.Zuiko Digital MC-14 1.4x and MC-20 2x teleconverters. When paired with the MC-20, this lens is capable of up to 2000mm equivalent1 super telephoto shooting. 

    This lens features a close focusing distance of 1.3 m (~4 feet) across the entire zoom range and close-up shooting performance with a maximum image magnification of 0.57x1, which increases to 0.71x1 when using the built-in teleconverter, for those who enjoy tele macro shooting.

    Unrivaled Portability and Weather Sealed Design 

    The lens barrel is designed using magnesium alloy and the lens hood with a lightweight carbon fiber to ensure that the center of gravity of the lens does not shift, due to imbalance, when the lens hood is used. Use of optimal materials in each area of the lens maintains strength and precision while delivering a compact, lightweight design with a length of 12.4 inches and weight of only 4.1 lbs. , for unprecedented mobility. Pairing this lens with the superb dustproof, splashproof, and freezeproof performance of the Olympus OM-D® E-M1X enables the user to continue shooting in punishing environments such as rain and snow with peace of mind. Compared with the black coating on conventional lenses, the heat-resistant coating of this PRO lens efficiently reflects the infrared rays of sunlight, keeping temperatures inside the lens from rising, even in blazing hot weather, for stable optical performance. The front element of the lens features a fluorine coating to provide a smooth and scratch resistant surface and allows easier cleaning for better maintenance.

    Powerful Image Stabilization and Fast, High-Precision Autofocus 

    The M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens supports 5-Axis Sync IS, and at 300mm equivalent1 delivers the world's most effective 8 shutter speed steps2 of image stabilization, and at 1000mm equivalent1 delivers up to 6 shutter speed steps of image stabilization, when using the built-in teleconverter. This powerful image stabilization is also available in the super-telephoto range, up to 2000mm equivalent1, when paired with the optional MC-20 Teleconverter. High image quality hand-held shooting is possible, making it perfect for wildlife, birding, nature photography, and more. Olympus proprietary high-precision lens thinning technology makes the focusing lenses lightweight, delivering fast and precise focusing across the entire zoom range.

    Other Features

    • Inner zoom system maintains the original length of the lens, even when increasing zoom magnification
    • Constructed with rubberized zoom/focusing ring, for comfortable operation
    • Preset focus function allows the user to set and recall favorite focal positions
    • Tripod base plate in a shape and size that is easy to carry
    • Strap eyelets are installed to improve transportability and reduced load on the lens mount
    • Rubber lens end cover, designed to prevent scratches on the front of the lens
    • Compatible with Focus Stacking , allowing the user to create composite images with crisp focus from front to back


    Focal Length

    35mm Equivalent

    Max Aperture


    Max Image


    35mm Equivalent

    M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO






    With Built-in 1.25x Teleconverter






    With Built-in 1.25x Teleconverter and optional MC-14 1.4x Teleconverter






    With Built-in 1.25x Teleconverter and optional MC-20 2x Teleconverter







    Zuiko PRF-ZD95 PRO Protection Filter (sold separately)
    This protection filter features ZERO Coating to suppress flares and ghosts from reflections and easy-to-clean, fluorine-coated, black-edged glass. The filter features a satin, glare-reducing black aluminum frame. MSRP: $324.99 (US)/$429.99 (CAD)

    LH-115 Lens Hood (included)
    This lightweight carbon fiber lens hood boasts excellent durability. A flocked finish on the inside of the hood prevents internal reflection.

    CSS-P121 Lens Strap (included)
    This lens strap is for exclusive use with a super-telephoto lens. It is made of mesh material to prevent discomfort, has excellent cushioning, and an anti-slip texture.

    LC-115 Lens Cap (included)
    This cloth cover-style lens cap is easy to attach and remove for quick shooting.

    LSC-1642 Lens Case (included)
    This purse-string lens case features three-layer construction that protects the lens and can be used to store the lens with lens hood, lens cap, protection filter, and teleconverter attached for safe storage and travel.

    Pricing, Configurations, Availability & Specifications
    The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens comes packaged with the LH-115 lens hood, CSS-P121 lens strap, LC-115 lens cap and LSC-1642 lens case. It is available for pre-order now for $7,499.99 USD and $9,999.99 CAD at participating local authorized retailers, or at www.getolympus.com, and will begin shipping in late January, 2021. 

    Monday, October 26, 2020

    live composite versus long exposures

    I was recently asked a good question about live composite versus long exposures...

    During a long exposure the exposure (all light) would build up over time, everything gets brighter, but people that have cameras with Live Composite technology can freeze the pixels and allow only new light to enter. Please note that Tom and I are Olympus Educators, but we welcome people with all camera types to come on our workshops and indeed have people with film cameras, smartphone cameras, dSLR cameras and all makes of mirrorless cameras come with us. You can view our workshops here: http://tinyurl.com/lisatomworkshops (sign up, free, to get notified of upcoming photo classes and tours)
    So let's compare...
    • Manual
    • Bulb
    • Live time
    • Live composite
    The image (and histogram) that would result from manual or bulb or live time would be exactly the same. The only difference is that with live time you get to SEE the exposure as it develops, see below. With live composite ambient light does not build up, only NEW light is added, see below.
    -- during the exposure, everything gets brighter over the designated time
    -- you cannot see the image until the 30 seconds are done
    -- Bulb
    -- during the exposure, everything gets brighter over the time
    -- you cannot see the image until the 30 seconds are done
    -- in bulb mode, you have to keep holding the shutter release but no one wants to do that because it can introduce camera shake/motion (and is not comfortable) so you hold a button on a cable release (or lock the cable release) to keep the exposure going and time it manually via another source to stop at 30 seconds (there are wireless cable releases that will show elapsed time and some cameras have built-in counter timers)
    Live time
    -- exposure gets brighter over the time
    -- You can SEE the image and the histogram on the LCD on the back of the camera as the images develops (so you could choose to stop the exposure ay any time making your photography more productive and more FUN). Live time is great for fireworks, some lightpainting, for using ND filters, for getting long exposures making the water look smooth and clouds go long)
    Live composite
    -- Again you can SEE the image and the histogram on the LCD on the back of the camera as the images develops (so you could choose to stop the exposure ay any time making your photography more productive and more FUN).
    -- only NEW light is added, you take a base exposure based on ambient light, and then only NEW light is added (from the earth turning and the star light or from the clouds moving or from a flashlight when lightpainting).
    -- For night photography if you have ambient light (city lights, light pollution, light from a lighthouse, etc. you can control that and it will not get any brother even if you expose for an hour
    --Prior to (and cameras without live composite) can accomplish this using an intervalometer to take many images and stacking all those images into layers in photoshop and masking over parts that get too bright.
    -- Whether in Photoshop on in-camera using stacked images also reduces noise, as for a ten-second exposure you only have ten seconds of noise (say at 1600 iso) rather than an hour of noise if you left the camera open continuously for one hour)

    --here is what the back of the camera looks like while you are exposing

    We also wrote an article for Olympus, see comments Passion Magazine about live composite

    Tuesday, August 4, 2020

    August 4th: Olympus announced the new M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS!

     We’re excited that today @GetOlympus announced the new M.Zuiko 100-400mm F5.0-6.3 IS!

    This lens has 200-800mm equivalent focal length, AF/MF Switch, In-Lens Image Stabilization, Compatible with MC-14 and MC-20 Teleconverters, and AF Limiter. This lens features the same dustproof and splashproof performance as the M.Zuiko PRO lens series. Despite being a 200-800mm equivalent super telephoto zoom lens, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f5.0-6.3 IS lens is compact and lightweight, with a length of 205.7 mm, a weight of 1,120 g and a filter diameter of 72 mm. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400mm f5.0-6.3 IS lens is capable of 200-800mm equivalent1 telephoto shooting on its own, which can be further extended when paired with the optional (sold separately) M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x Teleconverter MC-14 or the M.Zuiko Digital 2x Teleconverter MC-20, for up to 1600mm equivalent.

    I am also excited to use this lens for insects and such! 
    The closest focusing distance across the entire zoom range is 1.3m and the maximum image magnification is 0.57x (or 0.81X with the 1.4X MC), allowing superb telemacro performance when photographing small subjects such as insects and flowers. Focus Stacking is also supported! This Focus Stacking feature captures multiple (3-15) images at different focal positions and automatically (in-camera) composites a single photo with a large depth of field that is in focus from the foreground to background.

    The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 100-400 f5.0-6.3 IS lens will be available for $1,499.99 (US). Shipping will begin September 8, 2020. 


    Olympus also announced the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV! If you’re looking for an entry-level camera that’s still packed with great features, this is one to check out.

    You can check them both out and learn more at bit.ly/NewFromOlympus!

    #BreakFreeWithOlympus #EM10MarkIV #MZuiko100400mm #GetOlympus #OlympusOMD #MZuikoLens Get Olympus

    Friday, July 10, 2020

    Multiplicity: Fun with compositing

    Informal family photo -- COVID style via multiplicity.
    Tom and I teach multiplicity quite often, here is one example of how multiplicity to use.

    Tom and his siblings were together for purposes of his late Dad's estate. They wore masks and social distanced, but before everyone left Tom wanted a quick informal family photo. Rather than a more traditional family image wearing masks, Tom had each one stand and quickly grabbed an image of each sibling, using the ten-second self-timer for his image. It wasn't planned. There was no clothing consultation, no hairstylists, no formal posing, no flash, no reflectors -- but Tom did not want to let the rare opportunity of all five siblings together at once be lost.
    Multiplicity: Fun with compositing
    Multiplicity is also a FUN Way to Learn How to Use (and Master) Layers and Masks.
    July 21st 7pm Register here $99: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/113177440772
    Multiplicity is a photography technique in which the same person is photographed from different angles and directions and then the bunch of photographs are digitally re-mastered in Photoshop showing clones of the person doing different things all in one photo.
    If you're ready to take your creativity to a whole new level – and have fun doing it - this is the workshop for you! During this Zoom class, you'll delve into the innovative genre of multiplicity photography and what it can do for your photography.
    Instructor Lisa Cuchara covers everything you need to know including what multiplicity is, when and how to use it and why you want to do it. Discuss what you need for the shoot and walk through each step of taking the photos. Learn how to bring it all together, via Photoshop, layers and masks, as Lisa gives you a step-by-step tutorial on everything you need to know.
    You'll discover how to create an interesting story with a single shot – and breathe new life into your photo sessions.
    Create a unique "selfie" or just pretend to find your long lost twin and post the photo to Facebook, this will be a FUN workshop!

    Wednesday, July 1, 2020

    Exciting Olympus Announcements including the 150-400 (1000mm effective zoom)


    @GetOlympus just announced the newest updates to their lens roadmap – including a new 8-25mm F4.0 PRO, a 100-400mm lens and a telephoto macro lens! You can see the new roadmap at: getolympus.com/development

    I personally am looking forward to their macro lens. I love, love, love my 60mm macro (it is my favorite lens of them all), but am looking forward to a longer macro for those more skittish critters. Olympus has LOTS of lenses, but a longer macro lens will be great to have!

    2. If you’ve been waiting for @GetOlympus’ new M.Zuiko 150-400mm F4.5 TC1.25x IS PRO lens – great news! It’s scheduled to be released this winter – along with a first-ever Bird Intelligent Subject Detection AF firmware update for the E-M1X.

    This is the first Olympus® interchangeable lens with a built-in 1.25x teleconverter, extending the maximum focal length to 1000mm (35mm equivalent).

    Check out all of their updates: getolympus.com/development

    3. How cool is THIS !!!
    @GetOlympus is developing a firmware update to the E-M1X that adds Bird detection to the camera’s Intelligent Subject Detection AF! It’s scheduled for release this winter. 😊

    4. Did you see that @GetOlympus just launched OM-D Webcam Beta software?

    Use select OM-D cameras when calling your friends and family on programs like Zoom and Skype! Check it out at: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/olympus-om-d-webcam-beta.

    OM-D Webcam Beta is compatible with the following camera models:
    • E-M1X
    • E-M1
    • E-M1 Mark II
    • E-M1 Mark III
    • E-M5 Mark II

    Also check out Robin Wong' video on this -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j7UyNrLX1Dk

    5. Tom and I are excited to learn that we have three new Olympus ambassadors. Please join us to extend a very warm welcome to our newest Olympus brand ambassadors, Olympus Educators Steve Ball, Ryan Fisher, and Ben Knoot!
    • Ben Knoot is a nature photographer based in Arizona. Before graduating in 2018, he studied Environmental Policy and Environmental Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham Washington State. Ben now leads educational and instructive photography, birding and birding with a camera (BWC®) tours and workshops for Tropical Birding Tours (http://www.tropicalbirding.com). Ben’s goal while guiding is to provide a memorable, exciting and successful experience so that other people can enjoy photographing earth’s beauty as much as he does. You may have seen him on Creative Live during the free Olympus week.
    • Steve Ball is a bird photographer based in Seattle, Washington. The Pacific Northwest is where he discovered his love of photographing birds, while working for Olympus as a National Account Executive. He enjoys photographing all types of birds; both trained/education birds and birds in their natural environment. Steve also very much enjoys light painting. Steve has been voted ‘World’s Best Dad’ by his cats J
    • Ryan Fisher is a professional photographer based in Easton, PA. Primarily shooting events and weddings, but also conducts commission work including portraits, architecture, urban and rural landscapes, and some long exposure work, he’s proud to pursue his passion of photography in the community where he was born and raised, alongside his beautiful wife and three amazing kids. He owns two successful photography businesses: Lasting Image Photography by Ryan Fisher, and a photography group on Facebook he founded with the intent to educate photographers and nurture a positive photography community: “The Lehigh Valley Photography Group,” which is now 8,200 members strong, and showcases work by photographers from all over the world.
    6. Lastly, There are just a few days left to get your FREE Olympus camera, with the purchase of three pro lenses