Tag Archives: Olympus OM2n

What Is Your Photo Style – Van Eyck or Monet?

Digital cameras today can give you very sharp clear images like the paintings of Jan Van Eyck.  Of course you can use fast lenses to soften focus and give you some bokeh, but sometimes Claude Monet and his style of soft images might be a better choice.

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Shot with Olympus OM2n 50mm f1.8 Kodak Ultramax film

Both the top photo and the above rose are similar subjects but the look is entirely different.  In my opinion it is easier to get the softer image of Monet using older lenses and film.

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Shot with Sony A7iii and Zeiss 55mm f1.8
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Shot with Olympus OM2n and 50mm f1.8 Olympus lens.  Film is Ektar

Which of these photos do you like best.  I like them both.  The Sony did an excellent job of balancing exposure and white balance and the film shot is the best one I have been able to get of this miniature Christmas tree with a lighted Christmas tree in the background.  I think in the case of these two shots the tools used were needed for this result.  I think to get the top shot with the Olympus camera you would need Portra 400 and the camera on a tripod.  Plus you would need a flash with a cap over it to diffuse the light, which I don’t have.  The Olympus does have TTL flash so that would be similar to the Sony.  The Oly does not have steady shot so to get this shot hand held might be hard.

I tried getting the bottom film photo with several digital cameras.  I was not able to get anything this good with the newer stuff.  My point here is that to get good photos you need a variety of tools and you need to keep shooting.  Keep trying and you will get some results you like.  I am not telling you to spray and pray.  What I am saying is to set up photos often and you will get some results you like.

Black and white adds a layer of mystery to draw you in.

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Both of these shot with iPhone XS Max.  IMG_0150

Do you like the black and white or color best?  Of these two I prefer the black and white because it removes us more from reality than the color.  The color shot is more like a Xerox of the scene.  I like the black and white pulling us closer to the photo to see if the white spot is the moon or just a light.  And the black and white adds a bit of sidewalk and street to pull us in.  But I prefer color on the stained glass window.  And I like color on the yellow street sign.  Would these two pictures have been better with film.  No doubt in my mind that both the color and black and white would have been better with film.  Film adds a layer of distance between you and the objects.  There is the analog chemical film process to make the image, and then the film image is scanned to make it a digital of the film.  What is very nice is that the scanning is a Xerox of the image the film created.  So all of what the film renders of the scene comes out in the scan.  Using film and then doing a high quality scan is a great combination that adds the film’s rendering and then when you digitize it you can do some editing digitally instead of working in a darkroom.  The best of both Worlds.

If you want clear clean sharp renders of the scene then digital is the best way to do it.  But on the other hand if you want to create an impressionist version of the scene I suggest film and then scanning.  Old lenses also help to give the impressionist look.  Plus throw in some black and white.  Every time I shoot a roll of black and white I always think that I should shoot some more black and white.  I generally do not get that same feeling when shooting black and white digitally.

Kodak Ektachrome – Is Back – And Here Are Some Image Samples

After waiting a year and a half for the new Kodak Ektachrome I finally got some.  These samples are from the first roll of Ektachrome e100.  The featured image at the top of the page was taken last weekend and is totally unedited.  It did not need any editing and this is exactly as I got it back developed and scanned by North County Photographic in Carlsbad CA.  When I saw this shot on my computer this afternoon I just went “wow” look at those colors.  My second thought was, “I can’t improve this image and am going to leave it alone.

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Kodak Ektachrome e100 shot on Olympus OM2n with 28mm 2.8 – UV filter only 

The above picture just POPS with that pink animal costume for halloween.  The Olympus OM2n is a very good film camera.  It was the very first SLR that metered the exposure right off the film.  That was handy for this shot as I trimmed off a bunch of overexposed but not blown out image to the right.  Most positive film (slide film like Ektachrome) does not have the dynamic range of print film or digital.  My impression from shooting one roll of the new Ektachrome is that this film has more stops of range than most slide film.

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Ektachrome shot with Olympus OM2n & 50mm f1.4 & tungsten blue filter

And when I saw this people shot (of my wife) using a bounce flash, a lot of tungsten lighting, and using a tungsten filter it made my very happy.  It means that this Ektachrome gives good skin tones.  That puts this slide film ahead of Velvia 50 or 100 that I use for landscape but not people shots.  Both give what I consider unflattering skin color.

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Same as the last one but with me in the picture

I have to say I really like these skin tones.  I usually have to do some color tone editing with most films and on these two people shots I only cropped the photos and made minor exposure adjustment.

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Ektachrome with 28mm and UV filter

On the other hand this Ektachrome does not like it when I bring up the shadows in Lightroom.  When I used the auto setting on Lightroom Classic this photo got much too grainy.  So I went back to the original and increased the black table cloth just a little.

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same as the last one

I really like the colors of Ektachrome e100.  But this is my first roll and I have 7 more in the fridge to get some more experience.  You can see from the above photo that when you go from full shade to full sun that it holds up pretty well.  If I had been using a separate light meter I would have likely added a stop to the exposure and that shade of this shot would not have blocked so much and the full sun would have been just slightly overexposed.

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The above is a mixed sun – shade – and a tiny bit of skin.  When you look at this blown up you can see sharp bricks to the right.  And sharp photo overall until you get to full sun.  Very likely something like Portra 160 or 400 would have held on to the highlights a few stops longer but I do not think the orange in the T-shirt would have been nearly as bright.  Ektar would have worked but the skin would have had more of a red hue.  And the Ektar would have had a different overall cast to it.  But I think Ektar or Portra would have been almost as good with the details.  That said, with just my gut reaction I think for this shot I like the color rendition of the Ektachrome the best of all three of these.  I am sort of smitten with this film after one go at it.

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Look at this nice color and clarity.

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Good mixture of shadow and highlights.  The Ektachrome handles it all really well.

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These colors are just fabulous.  Bright, saturated, but not overdone like Velvia can get.  The above shot I only cropped I did not adjust the color at all.

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Very lifelike colors.  I did not post process this photo expect for crop.  The colors look exactly like what I saw in the field.

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I used a little dehaze on this to cut down the glare from reflections, but other than that this is right from the developer.

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I shot one roll of 36 and got back 36 images.  None were junk, but some were better than others.  My overall comment after this one roll is to say that my long wait for this film was worth it.  Kodak has a stunning winner on it’s hands.  The price is a little steep, $12.95 per 36 ex, but that is the same price as fresh Velvia or Provia.  If you are into film buy some and see what you think for yourself.  If you are not into film, give it a shot.  After just buying a Sony A7iii and a Zeiss lens I can tell you film is not more money than digital.  Get yourself a good quality SLR with a 50mm & 28 or 35mm and go enjoy.

Buying And Selling Cameras On Ebay

I have bought and sold a number of cameras on eBay over the last 5-10 years.  Recently I sold two Olympus pocket film cameras I had owned since new.  I had used both of them in the last year and was just ready to try something new.  The one was an Olympus XA, which is a high quality rangefinder pocket camera that comes with a clamshell case.  Mine has worked perfectly for over 30 years and very likely will work for another 30.

My Olympus XA
My Olympus XA – Now being used by it’s new owner.

This camera has been highly rated by many.  It is a solid completely adjustable small rangefinder with a good Olympus lens.  I think most of the reason I sold it is I prefer a 50mm lens to a 35mm as on the XA.  Plus I just consistently got better pictures with my Olympus OM2n.  I was surprised by how much this camera sold for.  It was about half of what I paid for it new.

The second pocket Olympus I sold was an Infinity Stylus.  This was one of the first auto focus clamshell type cameras.  It was also reviewed well over the years.  This did not bring a lot of money, but the person who bought it is getting a very reliable camera that I have shot several thousand pictures with.  Again, most of the reason I sold it is I just like the 50mm view as opposed to the wider view with this camera.

Olympus Infinity Stylus
Olympus Infinity Stylus

The lens in this camera is not the higher end Zuiko found on the XA above.  And therefore the results from this camera were of lower quality than the Olympus XA with similar film.  This camera had worked reliably for about 30 years.

The key to any sale or purchase is knowing what the fair market value of an item is.  I like old cameras and look at them on the internet a fair amount.  So I knew about what each of the above cameras should sell for and listed them appropriately on eBay.  My favorite camera of all time so far is the Olympus OM2n.  I have had one since 1980 and these are great picture taking machines.  Recently I had been thinking I would like to have a second OM2n camera back so I could load people film in one and keep landscape film in the second.  I was not planning on buying right now until I came across a full Olympus OM2n camera setup with one back, 50mm, 28mm, & 135mm Zuiko lenses, plus a motor drive, flash, few filters, and a nice case.  In my opinion it was priced at way lower than fair market value.  And the seller was rated 100% by eBay.

So I put in a bid at their opening price.  I went back the next morning and was still the only bid, but upped my highest pay about 11 bucks over my opening.  So I crossed my fingers and won.  I ended up just 50 cents bellow my max bid.  I think I won because I put in a max bid a dollar over what I figured people would max bid at.

The camera and kit arrived a few days later and the condition is excellent.  The motor drive has a bit of wear/damage on the bottom, but nothing bad.  After checking the meter it is a stop under.  But the motor drive works, and if I don’t want to take the camera apart and adjust the meter I just set it to a stop over.  In my opinion looking at recent sales of similar items I could resell what I bought for twice what I paid.  But I am not planning to sell.

Sample picture of Olympus OM2n
Sample picture of Olympus OM2n – The one I bought looks just like this.

My comments would be these.  1.  Knowing the fair market value of an item is the most important piece of knowledge you need when buying or selling.  2.  Dealing with a reliable seller is very important also.  3.  Buying and selling film cameras on eBay is fun.

I was able to add the second OM2n for less than my two pocket cameras sold for.  The OM2n with the lenses, drive, filters, flash, and case may have sold for $1,500-2,000 new.  I paid $110.50.  When I get some pictures back I will write another post.  My first roll is about half used.  I loaded it with Portra 400.

Two Big Advantages Of Film Over Digital Photography

The first huge advantage of film over digital is that you can use Velvia 50 with film cameras.  This film has been praised by many many others, but I just want to add a bit more.  Gosh this stuff makes beautiful rich opulent pictures.  I just love the colors it makes.

The red camellia colors on my retina screen are gorgeous.
The red camellia colors on my retina screen are gorgeous.
That chair is silk.  Velvia makes it richer than in real life.  And it is rich looking in real life.
That chair is silk. Velvia makes it richer than in real life. And it is rich looking in real life.
I love the colors of this faded rose.  On my screen the are very rich.
I love the colors of this faded rose. On my screen the are very rich.

A second big advantage of film is that you can get lots of great cameras who’s lenses are capable of great looking bokeh.  These pictures were all taken with an Olympus OM2n with a f1.8 50mm lens.  To my eye these pictures show great bokeh.  You can buy a very good example of this camera today for $100-150.

In addition to the rich red color on the rose, look at that bokeh.
In addition to the rich red color on the rose, look at that bokeh.

This next picture is just to pay respect to the wonderful effects you sometimes get with film.  I took this picture last summer and forgot it was in the camera.  This is at the top of a mountain in WA State and the fog effect is dreamy.  It is perfect to my eye.

If you don’t have a film camera now would be a good time to buy one.  I have noticed prices going up a bit on some cameras and skyrocketing on others.  Many of the good rangefinder and medium format cameras have gone way up in price.  What used to be $30 Yashica 124s are now $250 dollars.  And some of the old Olympus rangefinder cameras are now several hundred dollars.

And if you have a film camera and have not been using Velvia, do so.  Don’t let slide film’s supposed exposure fussiness dissuade you.  My old Olympus almost always nails the exposure.  So will your camera.

fog scene