Nave of Winchester Cathedral seen from below. Photo by Eduardo Libby

Traveling with Micro Four Thirds Cameras: Winchester, UK

A recent trip to southern England became a nice test for my Olympus Pen-F as a travel camera. I will keep adding posts about my new experience with the Micro Four Thirds format.

The last time I visited Europe I had my beloved Nikon dSLR with me and of course it performed flawlessly. For this trip, the promise of smaller-lighter-just as good, that we hear on the MFT marketing proved too suggestive and I went for it.

Reflection of a brick-building on a car. Photo by Eduardo Libby
Before going to Winchester we spent a day in London. Reflection of a brick-building on a car.
The Shard as seen from Tower Bridge: Photo by Eduardo Libby
The Shard: London’s relatively open skyline allow for buildings to show their architecture well… and get all sorts of popular names.

Now, off to Winchester!

Ruins of the Archbishop of Winchester House, England. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The ruins of the Archbishop of Winchester House. Next door is his present residence.
The oldest standing house in Winchester. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The oldest standing house in Winchester was built in the fifteenth century.
Flint, bricks and stone walls are commonplace in Winchester. Photo by Eduardo Libby
Flint, bricks and stone are the trademark of Winchester building style.
Brick mason's day off? Photo by Eduardo Libby
Brick mason’s day off?
Go and get your mom! Street photo by Eduardo Libby
Go back and get your mom!

For our visit to Winchester I used two lenses: an M. Zuiko 12-40 mm f/2.8 normal zoom and a Panasonic Leica 8-18 mm f/2.8-4 ultra wide. The Pen F has in-body image-stabilization and I found it to work perfectly well with these non stabilized lenses.

So, what’s the practical difference between this system and a dSLR?

First, the electronic viewfinder gives you a “what you see is what you will get” experience as you can see the result of your adjustments before taking a photo.

Second, the image stabilization seems more effective in MFT perhaps because it is easier to compensate the smaller size sensor or lens elements? A four f/stop stabilization advantage was not difficult to obtain.

Third, at a given f/stop you get double the depth of field than a full frame dSLR. If you do not need subject to background separation then you can get enough depth of field for urban subjects at f/4 or 5.6 (you would need f/8 or f/11 and far more light in 35 mm). Now, if you want nicely blurred backgrounds… you are better off using a larger format camera.

Old door in Winchester. Photo by Eduardo Libby
I would like to hear explanations for the different patterns made by the bolts as one moves up and down on this door.

Is weight/size an advantage? It all depends on you. The larger grip of a dSLR makes for a more comfortable shooting and carrying in hand experience. Having said this, my camera bag certainly was lighter and had more space for other items!

Window refelction of buildings near Winchester College. Photo by Eduardo Libby
Buildings near Winchester College reflected on an old window.
Nave of Winchester Cathedral. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The nave of Winchester Cathedral is the longest of all Gothic Cathedrals in Europe.
Nave of Winchester Cathedral seen from below. Photo by Eduardo Libby
The nave of Winchester Cathedral looks almost organic when seen from below. Leica 8-18 mm set at 8 mm (16mm equivalent in 35 mm).
A statue inside Winchester Cathedral. Photo by Eduardo Libby
A statue inside Winchester Cathedral. Dynamic range at base ISO is adequate in the latest MFT cameras.
Choir-stalls of Winchester Cathedral. Photo by Eduardo Libby
Choir-stalls of Winchester Cathedral.
Photo of a Young priest in Winchester Cathedral. Photo by Eduardo Libby
A young priest announced the end of visiting hours and rushed away to carry out his duties.
Image of old buildings at sunset in Winchester. Photo by Eduardo Libby
Flint-decorated old buildings at sunset in Winchester.

 

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