I got a new camera; I think I’m going to like it.

I got a new camera recently, thanks in part to some recommendations from the fine folks at residentevilonearth.com and schnitzelbahn.com. I had an Olympus E-500 before (still have it, looking to get rid of it, leave a comment if you’re interested in an aging DSLR with moderate use and a fair number of accessories) and really like setting up shots. But, even as one of the smaller DSLRs on the market (at the time in 2007 and even now), the schlep factor was starting to get to me. I wanted DSLR-like control over exposure and aperture and white balance and stuff, but without having to wade through an endless mess of menus and scrolling, and without all that weight on my neck. The Micro Four Thirds format is really a great compromise in that regard. I’ve known for a while that I wanted to upgrade downgrade modernize my camera. But I wasn’t ready to commit to more Olympus gear, and I wasn’t ready to jump into a whole new line of other gear (most likely Canon or Nikon). I definitely wanted some better high-ISO performance than what the E-500 could offer and wasn’t opposed to the dimensions of a full-blown DSLR; but those Micro Four Thirds cameras were another class smaller and though I am loath to admit it, those PEN models sure look slick. And I’ve discovered

  1. my Metz 48 AF-1 flash works with through-the-lens (TTL) metering on this PEN, and
  2. one of the kit lenses for has a threaded diameter of 58mm, the same as the lenses for my E-500, and matching my circular polarizer

both of which mean I get some re-use of previous equipment purchases.


So I pulled the trigger on an E-PL2 after pricewatching at amazon.de for a few months and pestered Herr J and Frau A at schnitzelbahn.com about low-light performance, lack of a viewfinder, and other stuff like that. I am seeing much better (though still not excellent) low-light performance, and playing with the art filters (for example, Dramatic Tone, like in the two larger shots above) is pretty fun. I like that I get that effect in-camera or by applying it to the RAW images in the supplied Olympus software. And the video quality seems great (to me, because I’ve never had an HD-capable video camera before, much less as a secondary feature on a DSLRish camera).

I think this little camera and I are going to have a lot of fun together.

Henry & Pete



These are some of Sarah’s cousins. We don’t get to see these guys very much, but on our trip to the U.S. last month, we did a three-car caravan road trip down to Oklahoma City from Kansas City for a wedding in another branch of the family. We have pictures of them as near-babies on our family picture shelf in our apartment and I still think of them as being that size.

I was hoping to get my photographic tech nerd on and do something nice for my wife’s family simultaneously at the rehearsal dinner the night before the wedding, but the flash sync to the camera wasn’t working correctly. I have an external flash made by the Metz company (and a mounting bracket) for my Olympus E-500 and for whatever reason, the camera’s shutter speeds were way longer than necessary with the flash, which washed (almost) all the images out. The flash also appeared to fire at random intervals, even without pressing the shutter button.

These images were pretty much the only two I managed to salvage (applying a little saturation adjustment and red-eye reduction thanks to UFRaw and the GIMP). I think I resolved the problem of the flash and camera synchronizing improperly only by making sure to do these steps in the following order:

1. With both devices off, connect everything.
2. Turn on the camera.
3. Turn on flash.

Then it seemed to work normally. Unfortunately I figured that out too late. Incidentally, the instructions specify that you shouldn’t connect/disconnect the flash and camera while either one (or both) of them is switched on, but they don’t say the camera should start up first.

couple things

Here are some various things that are going on with us at the moment.

Little Bitty Peach PiesEdeka’s got nice white-fleshed nectarines from France in stock. I bought five of them, feeling nostalgic for France last month. Guess what? They were every bit as good. So I stopped eating them and the rest are going into some personal-sized pie pans I bought at Little Bitty Peach Pies cookmal! at the DEZ. What a neat store! I am sure that is going to be a dangerous place for me/us (like Pryde’s in Kansas City). Plus, they sell KitchenAid standmixers…now, if only our Siemens-branded Küchenmaschine would sputter and die…

the new clock

the new painting

In other longing-for-France news, we finally hung some stuff on our walls. We’d been planning this since having bought a painting and a cute clock at the Sunday market in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue back at the beginning of our France trip. Odd thing though: we couldn’t, for the life of us, find our hammer (necessary for wall-mounting light stuff not requiring drill-in wall anchors). Fortunately the Real store is only about 7 minutes away by bike and they’re open until 20:00 on Saturdays. Else we’d have to wait until Monday when the stores are open to get our wall decorations up.

mid-pie And these photos were brought to you by some new gadgetry: Sarah’s new point-n-shoot camera and my new flash for the DSLR. I love my DSLR and trying new stuff out with it, but I don’t always love lugging it around with me. Samsung E55 Samsung E55This little number should be ideal for the sneaky snaps at the grocery store or capturing German Man Short-Shorts while out and about.

One last thing: give us your Southern-Spain travel stories. AirBerlin has published their fare specials for Spain up to and including summer 2010, and we’re thinking about a four of five day trip, with a flight into and out of Sevilla, sometime in the Spring – like March or April, but preferably not in the week leading up to Easter.