The Bandstand at Night
Among the many lovely subjects to photograph along Brighton's seafront is this wonderful Victorian bandstand. I took this photo with the Olympus OMD EM5 Mark II last weekend after capturing that long exposure seascape with the old pier you may have seen earlier in my stream; a productive couple of hours indeed.
This image illustrates two of the things I really like about the OMD EM5 Mark II. First is the awesome stabilization. When you see a night photo like this you normally assume you'd need a tripod or a high sensitivity to avoid shake, but thanks to the EM5 II's stabilization I didn't need either. It's a handheld shot at half a second using the camera's base sensitivity of 200 ISO. I didn't even to open the aperture wide. I took it with the 12-40mm f2.8, closed a notch to f4 for the best quality. In fact half a second is well-within the capabilities of the stabilization as I've handheld this combination at one second with ease and even two seconds if I'm careful. So this shot was taken using the optimal aperture and sensitivity, and the fact it was handheld in low light was irrelevant.
Some photographers criticise Micro Four Thirds for its smaller sensor, but I rarely if ever need to shoot above 400 ISO thanks to the stabilization, even in dim interiors or at night. Of course if you need a fast shutter in low light, you'll need a high ISO and that's when no amount of clever stabilization will help you. But if, like me, you shoot mostly static subjects, then great stabilization can free you from shooting at high ISOs or lugging around a tripod. I love how I can easily shoot cities at night, handheld at low ISOs. Suffice it to say it's brilliant when taking photos in famous Cathedrals where tripods are rarely allowed.
I did however mention this shot illustrated two things I liked about the EM5 Mark II. The second is the fully articulated screen, which allowed me to compose this shot with the camera held high over my head and thereby avoid converging vertical lines. A vertically-tilting screen, such as that on the EM1, XT1 or A7 series would have let me compose over-head if I was shooting in the wide / landscape orientation, but here I was shooting in the tall / portrait orientation, for which a fully-articulated screen is necessary for easy viewing. Since I regularly shoot with the camera this way round, it's an important feature for me, and no longer an advantage of the higher-end Lumix G models.
Interestingly the EM5 II also inherits the Keystone Compensation of a recent EM1 update which allows you to correct converging verticals digitally as you compose. Another cool feature, but I loved knowing I could snap this shot handheld, over my head in dark conditions without compromising the quality in any respect. Capabilities like these have really transformed how, where and when I can shoot, and is why I believe the EM5 II is the best all-round camera in its class. Here's my in-depth review!http://www.cameralabs.com/reviews/Olympus_OMD_EM5_Mark_II/