Monday, June 20, 2011

Using E-P2 Art Filters - Grainy Film

Olympus art filters, first introduced with the Olympus E-30 in 2009, are no longer anything new withing the Olympus brand nor outside in other brands. Canon and Nikon, as examples, have begun to add similar functionality in their latest DSLR offerings.

My E-P2 (as did the E-P1 before it) comes with eight art filters, one of which (number 5) is grainy film. Specifically it's grainy black and white film, heavy on the grain and heavy on the contrast. I don't normally use the art filters because the effects are not tunable and because of the very slow processing that takes place when they're used. For grainy film the amount of time the camera spends on a single exposure can be as much as 10 seconds. It also has a tendency to really chew through a battery charge.

But every once in a while I decide to play with the art filters, if for no other reason than the fact I paid for them and they sit unused on the camera.

Today, as I was out walking to get my lunch, it felt so hot and still that I decided to use the grainy film, with the exposure compensation dialed up into the positive range, to try and 'capture' the feel of the oppressive heat beating down on me. Some might say this is typical Florida weather, but this is still June, and you usually don't feel this until late July/early August.

Negative Positive

The trees are a small group right across the street from my office building. I've taken photos around here before, but today I stood back and cranked up the EV to +2.3 while looking through the VF-2. I wanted to wash out as much of the underlying grass and background as possible. I wanted an ethereal feeling. It looks almost like it was taken in the winter with snow all around, or a bit like an infrared photograph. I like the ambivalence it projects.

Dark Shadows

The wall was taken at 0 EV. I liked the way it turned out because the art filter brought out the wall texture, which adds a nice touch of detail to the overall photo.


Just a few feet down on the same wall was this pile of flats stacked in a corner. I tuned the EV down to -1 in order to truly darken the shadows and to bring out more detail in the wood. What is nice is that even though the wall in the shadow is dark, there is still some detail in the shadows to match the details on the light wall.

I love a good strong black and white images, with lots of details in the mid tones. I also like using these as straight JPEGs out of the camera. These were literally taken off the camera's card and uploaded to Flickr. This is similar to my experiences with the HTC smartphone camera, but without the post-processing on the camera. I'm going to start working with the grainy film art filter some more, and start experimenting with the other filters.


Everything taken with the Olympus E-P2 with M.Zuiko 17mm using the Grainy Film Art Filter.

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