The Swedish flash manufacturer is one of the world-famous. Their studio flash systems are high-quality, very reliable and could be triggered remotely. With Air Remote TTL they have a remote control that can control the light amount via TTL. This makes the studio flash photography much easier than before and speeds up the workflow in the studio. In addition, it is easier to operate studio flash systems.
On the list are only high-grade cameras, which have as target group professional photographers in mind. Makes sense as those cameras are bought by poeple, who are very interested in photography and therefore most properly are using them also in the studio.
What about the PEN E-P7 and the OM-D E-M10 Mark IV
Recently Olympus released its own system to remote control their system flashes, which controls the flash intensity via TTL. The PEN E-P7 and OM-D E-M10 Mark IV are the first entry-level cameras that support this system. The basic requirements for this system are surely similar to the ones of Profoto. Therefore I just tested it. Air Remote TTL-O connected to the camera and set to TTL. Flash switched on and put to full power. The camera pointed to a white wall and released. Lo and behold, the settings of the flash are automatically reduced and the white wall is taken neutral grey. Seems that both cameras are working with the Air Remote TTL-O.
Are both cameras compatible now?
No, they aren’t. As long as the cameras are not on the official Profoto website staged, they are not compatible. It is possible that the cooperation with the Air Remote TTL-O no longer works at any time. For example when one of the firmware versions will be updated and the communication with the Air Remote TTL-O will be adjusted. On this occasion, you don’t have any possibility to complain that the cameras have to work. In addition cover my short test, not all functions, which has to be covered to be compatible. For example, it could be that the high-speed sync is not working or the flashes are not 100% in sync. Therefore I would not recommend buying an Air Remote TTL-O in case you own a PEN E-PL7 or an OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. In case you already own one to use with a compatible camera you also could try it on a PEN E-PL7 or an OM-D E-M10 Mark IV. In case you do, please leave a comment underneath.
Have you recognised that, if several photographers do together a photo walk, everyone brings different images back home? This is due to the different experience everybody has and therefore do recognise different things. Means photography has something to do with seeing, which can be learned with different methods. For example by using a theme when you are going onto a photo walk. This will sensibilities you and you will come back with different results than without.
Last but not least you could deal with a topic for a longer time this will change your perception.
Photo walk with a theme
Choosing a theme helps you to focus on a special topic and you will recognise motifs, which you otherwise missed. I do this from time to time and recognise after 2-3 hours, that I suddenly see only things fitting to the topic. For example with the photo walk “reflections”. In the beginning, it was hard to find motifs but was improving the longer the photo walk lasted. As we finished the photo walk suddenly I only saw reflections, even though that I was already on the way home.
The principle of picture cards is pretty simple. On the one side, you find information about the topic and a short description of how to realise it. On the other side examples, which should inspire you. You have two options in case you take images. Either you look through the cards and decide which one you are using, or, in my opinion, the more exciting, you just draw a card and just use the topic you get. In both cases, you will recognise, that it works to focus on one topic.
Deal with a topic
Especially in the last half-year, I recognise, that my way of seeing and how I take images has changed a lot. Due to the Covid pandemic, I have to work home a lot and therefore I went out during lunchtime to go through the park. Always a camera and a lens with focal length with me. The goal was to photograph local birds. In the first days, I heard the birds but was not able to see them. The more I deal with them, the more I saw the birds and was able to take images in the environment without feeding them. The highlight was, as I recognise a little bird while running on a small branch. Keen to know what it is I stopped and recognised that it was a nuthatch, which was flying to its nest.
Even so, the modern mirrorless systems nowadays have a decent battery lifetime, that gets you through the day, it can be yours that you get into situations where you must be economical with the remaining energy. I would like to give you a few tips and hand that will enable you to continue working as long as possible.
Tip 1 Use the display not the viewfinder!
Even though the back display of your camera is much bigger than the display in your electronic viewfinder, it needs much less energy. This sounds weird but is logical. The viewfinder has much more pixel and as switching pixels needs energy the viewfinder needs more energy. Besides, the refresh rate of the viewfinder is much higher than the one at the back display. This needs also more energy.
Tip 2 Reduce display brightness!
Once you are using the back display you could optimise the setting. By reducing the brightness of the display you can save additional energy and extend battery life.
Tip 3 Switch of image stabilisation!
Olympus OM-D camera does have fantastic image stabilisation, but to be able to correct movements it needs energy. In case your battery life is at the end you have to decide whether you would still use the image stabilisation or not, but you can shoot some more images.
Tip 4 Switch off Autofocus!
Even though that manual focus in a modern camera is realised by electro motors, you are able to save energy in case you switch off the autofocus. Especially when you are shooting slow-moving object as you just have to set the focus once. The autofocus on the other side is moving the motor every time you half-press the release button. Alternatively, you could use the back button focus method, which uses the AEL/AFL button to activate focus.
Tip 5 Keep your batteries warm!
The capacity of batteries highly depends on the temperature. Working in cold conditions the battery life is much shorter than usual. Therefore I have always one battery close to my body to keep it warm, mostly in my pocket. In case the battery in-camera is dying I can use the one in my pocket.
Even if you have no studio equipment and have to stay at home, it is possible with simple tools to shoot beautiful images. Windows are perfect light sources and with some creativity, you can even handle to hard light. But first about my image. I had the plan to shoot an espresso cup with fresh, steaming coffee. Here my result.
First I looked for a suitable window that had enough light and set up my image. A wooden board from the kitchen served as background. A piece of fabric as a black background that I found in the closet. In theory, a t-shirt, duvet, or something similar would probably work as well. Since the light through the window was too hard, I had to think of something. Since I had no alternative, I cut up sandwich bags and stuck them to the window with adhesive tape. You can see this quite well in the next picture.
On the other side, you can see a brightener that I still had at home. If you don’t have something like this at home, you can alternatively use a simple piece of white paper. Coffee is made quickly and the cup, like it, is quickly put into the image. But I quickly discovered that the steam after the fresh brewing was not strong enough to be visible in the picture. So a creative solution was needed. First I tried a match, but unfortunately, the smoke was too strong. It looked unnatural. Then my son had the idea to light a coffee bean and let it burn until it glowed. This worked very well. The advantage is that you could put the bean in peace behind the cup and the smoke lasted long enough to take a picture.
In case you are shooting several motifs during the day and would like to sort them right away, OM-D cameras allow you to make folders in camera. When your motif is changing you can change the folder and therefore the images are sorted when you are coming home. Depending on your workflow this could be very helpful.
How to make a folder
The easiest way to reach the settings menu is as in most cases the Super Control Panel. While shooting the Super Control Panel is reachable via the “OK” button.
1In the Super Control Panel you can choose the small card symbol in the lower-left corner. Press “OK” to open the settings menu.
2 Choose the option “Assign Save Folder”. You can choose here wither to make “New Folder”* or choose an “Existing Folder”.
*If you would like to make a folder with your computer, please take care that this folder is located in the folder “DCIM” and that the folder name has the structure 101OLYMP otherwise the camera is not able to find it.
3 In case you would like to make a new folder, the following dialogue allows you to adjust the number of the folder. An own name is not possible.
On the same place, you can select the folder you would like to save the images. Please be aware that the replay mode can only show the images of the chosen folder. In case you have more than one folder you can move images by pressing the “OK” button in the replay mode.
The automatic or preset white balance is useful for normal situations. In case you would like to have a precise white balance or you are working in difficult light situations a user-defined white balance offers you much better results. In case you don’t work with RAW files, which can change white balance in post-processing, with OM-D cameras you could use the One Touch White Balance.
How to use the One Touch White Balance
1. Press the “OK” button to activate the Super Control Panel. Choose white balance and press “OK” again.
2. Choose a “Custom White Balance” and press the “INFO” button.
3. Shoot a neutral object (i.e. white sheet of paper or a gray card), which covers at least 75% of the image area.
4. As soon as you took the image the camera asks you whether you would like to save the white balance or not.
In case you need to have custom white balance often you could also program a button with the “one-touch white balance” function. This has the advantage that you could save the customized white balance by pressing the button only, without going through the menu.