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Firmware update – more creative freedom for long exposures

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 PRO • F1.8 • 8 sec • ISO 100

I’ve been called a ‘night addict’ by fellow photographers, and they may well be right. I always find the night time, the peacefulness, and sometimes even the solitude to be wonderful experiences. At workshops, I’m often asked why I use Olympus cameras with an MFT sensor for night photography. The reason is that Olympus gives me a range of unrivalled functions and options. Live Time, Live Bulb and Live Composite are functions that let me see an image come together. I can watch what’s happening and, if necessary, I can stop the exposure whenever I like.

When I’m looking through the images on the computer, I’m always surprised at the level of detail the MFT sensor captures, how much scope for editing there is even in the shadows, and the dynamic range in the images.The high-quality, fast Olympus lenses are also ideally suited to night photography. At full aperture, the lenses are so powerful that I can fully utilise the available light intensity.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO • F2.8 • 40 sec • ISO 320

Autofocus works extremely well at night, and it’s usually possible to focus. I can also manually focus the camera at any time using the Snapshot ring. The Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO lets me focus on individual stars. Thanks to the excellent image stabiliser, with up to six aperture stops longer shutter speeds are possible. The ‘Live View Extension’ function also lets you precisely compose the image in dark environments by brightening the preview image.With new firmware updates, Olympus cameras and Olympus Workspace are always improving. The most recent firmware update has attractive new functions for night photography. 

This new Composite function in Olympus Workspace allows you to create composite 16-bit TIF or JPG images from any number of individual ORF or JPG images. Another advantage over the Live Composite function on the camera is that the individual shots are all available and can be used, thus creating a history of the shot. Individual images that include things like light interference can now be removed straight from the series and each of the images can be edited as desired before creating the composite. For example, you can highlight individual elements or adjust the white balance. This gives you new options and more freedom to compose images in Olympus Workspace. Compared with the Live Composite function on the camera, light is accentuated differently. Even the smallest differences in brightness are detected and integrated into the composite image. The excellent functions like ‘Fisheye Correction’ or ‘Keystone Correction’ can also be used for composite shots.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO • F2.8 • 30 sec • ISO 320

Olympus Workspace Composite now gives you a new option of improving noise behaviour and creating a shot with outstanding quality. There are also no longer any time restrictions on shot duration; shots of star trails can now be taken over a whole night, for example. Shots can be taken in both interval mode and continuous mode using the remote shutter release.

The Darker function is also new. By contrast with Live Composite, the dark areas of the image are modified, not the light areas. I’m very excited to see the creative images that the Olympus community will soon be creating. It’s a function that needs you to change your way of thinking, because it goes against the laws of exposure in photography. It’s precisely this that makes it unbelievably exciting and allows images to be photographed and created in a completely new way.

There is now a new option of drawing on the camera’s performance when editing ORF files. By connecting the camera to the computer with a USB-C cable, I can use the high performance of the camera’s processors and edit the images so much faster. The images can also be edited on the camera, straight from the card. This can only be done if the images are taken with the OM-D E-M1 Mark II. Another new addition is the ISO 100 setting, and extra autofocus functions have also been added.

OM-D E-M1 Mark II • M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 PRO • F1.8 • 15 sec • ISO 200

The performance range of the OM-D E-M1 Mark II with the most recent firmware update is impressive. As a photographer, these new functions give me more creative freedom to bring to life my ideas for long exposures. I can capture impressive images of subjects such as star trails, light trails, thunderstorms and even shooting stars.

Featured products:

OM-D E-M1 Mark II
M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm F1.2 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital ED 8mm F1.8 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm F2.8 PRO
M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm F2.8 PRO

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