• Keep The Focus for Street Photographers

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    I was recently featured in a book written by my good friend and CEO of Cosyspeed, Thomas Ludwig.  Check out the information below and feel free to download it today.  The price is right, FREE!

    DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE EBOOK ‚Äď A MEDITATION GUIDE FOR STREET PHOTOGRAPHERS

    ‘Keep the Focus’ is a free eBook and practical guide on how to improve your street photography with three meditation techniques. The more you familiarise yourself with these techniques, the more you will find yourself able to better concentrate and focus when taking pictures. This will have a visible impact on the quality of your photos! It may even stimulate your creativity and create new potential and possibilities.

    Outstanding Street Photographers have contributed to this project, such as Mike Boening, Valerie Jardin, Eric Kim, Marco Larousse, Thomas Leuthard, Rinzi Roco Ruiz, Spyros Papaspyropoulos and Forrest Walker. Many thanks to you guys ūüôā

    DOWNLOAD THE ENGLISH VERSION HERE

    FOLLOW KEEP THE FOCUS ON FACEBOOK

  • It’s Here – The New Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II

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    Well, it’s finally here. ¬†The new and amazing flagship camera is out and ready for preorder. ¬†It’s an absolutely amazing vehicle to make your creativity come alive. ¬†The Speed, Image Quality, Portability and Reliability is second to none. ¬†Be sure to stay close by for more posts here and at Mirrorless Minutes. ¬†I am in New York right now getting ready for a great press event tomorrow. ¬†Can’t wait…

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    Looking to pre order?  Check here.

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  • Shutterbug Magazine Feature

    Recently I was featured in the August edition of Shutterbug Magazine talking about my passion for photography and the new Olympus PEN-F

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    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

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  • Announcing the New TG-TRACKER

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    TRACK THE EXTRAORDINARY: NEW OLYMPUS STYLUS TOUGH TG-TRACKER CAPTURES EVERY DETAIL OF YOUR ADVENTURES

    CENTER VALLEY, PA, May 24, 2016 ‚ÄĒ Olympus expands the outdoor video experience with the latest member of the Tough product family, the new Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker. The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is the first rugged experiential camera that combines Olympus‚Äôs Tough rugged capabilities with an advanced Field Sensor System,*1 a 204¬į ultra-wide-angle F2.0 high-speed lens and Ultra HD 4K 30p video capture to record brilliant action video with corresponding activity data. The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker‚Äôs built-in Field Sensors include GPS,*2 a barometric-pressure sensor, a temperature sensor, an e.Compass and an accelerometer. Data logs can be displayed simultaneously with recorded images using the Olympus Image Track app, enhancing the excitement of reliving outdoor action with an immersive, data-rich viewing experience.

    Like all other cameras in the Olympus Tough‚ĄĘ series, the Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is optimized for the most extreme shooting environments, with five rugged capabilities: waterproof to depths of 100 feet,*3 dustproof,*4 shockproof from 7 feet,*5 freezeproof to 14¬įF,*6 and crushproof up to 220 pounds of force,*7 ‚ÄĒ no protective case required. The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker represents a new category of rugged cameras with its Field Sensor System that‚Äôs capable of capturing location, altitude and depth, g-force and air and water temperature while users record videos and still images of their outdoor adventures.

    A high-intensity LED headlight is integrated into the camera body for shooting support in low-light conditions. The bundled SG-T01 Steady Grip helps with stable framing during hand-held shooting. The Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker’s compact body and tilt-out LCD monitor provide for quick and easy video capture, including low- and high-angle shooting.

    Link to purchase the TG-Tracker

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    Main Features

    Field Sensor System for capturing all the action of outdoor adventures

    The wearable-device market has expanded in recent years, offering ways to automatically record location information, steps walked, calories burned and other life-logging data. In the same spirit, the new Olympus Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is equipped with the Field Sensor System, which includes GPS, a barometric-pressure sensor, a temperature sensor, an e.Compass and an accelerometer. Users can select from three different display options on the LCD monitor, including a compass display, level display, and log display, to show the data captured via these sensors. Log Mode records data without video for extended time periods.

    1) GPS

    The camera uses GPS (with GLONASS and QZSS functionality) to precisely calculate the user’s latitude and longitude from satellite signals. Additionally, Assist GPS can significantly increase the speed of the system’s positioning calculations by downloading satellite information ahead of time using the Olympus A-GPS Utility computer app or the Olympus Image Track smart-device app.

    2) Barometric-pressure sensor

    Altitude and water depth are calculated based on air- and water-pressure information. When the camera is submerged below a depth of half a meter, the Underwater Detector will automatically switch the camera to the optimal mode for shooting underwater so you can focus on getting the best shot without worrying about complicated controls. The monitor log display will also automatically switch from altitude to water-depth information.

    3) Temperature sensor

    This sensor records ambient temperature with a high degree of precision. The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker captures water temperature in both Video and Log Mode, and air temperature in Log Mode only.

    4) e.Compass

    This sensor tracks the direction in which the camera lens is being pointed. It provides an easy way to confirm direction when shooting outdoors.

    5) Accelerometer

    This sensor measures acceleration (g-force) on three axes to record the photographer’s movements. When a preset acceleration level is detected while a video is being recorded, the Chapter Function*1 automatically identifies and bookmarks the moment. This feature supports editing and playback of exciting scenes, like when jumping and landing in intense sports such as snowboarding and motocross. Users may choose from two levels of acceleration or may turn this feature off.

    Rugged capabilities: waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, freezeproof and crushproof

    With its sealed construction, the Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is waterproof to depths of 100 feet (30 meters). The waterproof seal also makes the camera dustproof, so users don’t have to worry when operating the Stylus Tough TG-Tracker in dusty areas. The dual-layer chassis makes for superb shockproof performance, allowing the camera to clear drop tests from heights of up to 7 feet (2.1 meters). Operation is guaranteed in temperatures as low as 14¬įF (-10¬įC), so you can shoot in cold-weather environments where other digital devices fear to tread. The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker also boasts a rigid construction that can withstand loads of up to 220 pounds of force (100 kilograms of force).

    High-quality images captured with an ultra-wide-angle lens

    1) 204¬į ultra-wide-angle F2.0 high-speed lens

    The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker‚Äôs ultra-wide-angle lens was developed using advanced optical technology. Its 204¬į angle of view is wider than that which can be captured by the human eye, allowing it to record action videos with a dramatic perspective, especially useful for ultra-wide views of outdoor sports scenes.

    2) TruePicTM VII for 4K Image Processor and backlit CMOS sensor

    The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is equipped with the TruePicTM VII for 4K Image Processor, the latest iteration of the TruePicTM image processors used in the Olympus OM-D and PEN compact system cameras, now with 4K video capability.*2 It quickly processes data from the high-sensitivity, low-noise backlit CMOS sensor to produce high-quality images.

    1. Versatile shooting style and superb controls

    The compact body provides for quick and easy video capture no matter your shooting style, allowing low- and high-angle camerawork. An SG-T01 Steady Grip is bundled with the camera to help with stable framing during hand-held shooting.*3 The MC-T01 Mount Coupling comes with a small mirror on the front to assist in capturing wide-angle group selfies.*4 The high-intensity LED Headlight is built into the camera body for shooting support in low-light conditions.*5 Its quick-action operation lets you swiftly illuminate subjects for high-quality imaging. Even when the camera is turned off, users can press and hold the Info button to activate the headlight for standalone use.

    1. Compatibility with the Olympus Image Track smart-device app

    The Stylus Tough TG-Tracker is equipped with built-in Wi-Fi.*6 Using the exclusive Olympus Image Track app, users can easily transfer videos recorded on the camera, along with field data, to a smart device. Users can also display the log data and view images simultaneously, enjoying the experience of the shooting environment during playback. Within the app, the data display can be switched between geographical information and altitude/depth information to best match the scene, and data is saved so that users can conveniently check the information at any time.

    Other Features

    • Time Lapse Movie mode*7 for fixed-point observation of movement such as crowds of people, clouds crossing the sky or flowers opening.
    • Loop Recording function for easier video-data handling.
    • Bundled with the UP-T01 Underwater Lens Protector for underwater shooting.*8
    • Graphical user interface (GUI) for intuitive control.
    • Electronic 5-Axis Image Stabilization*9 for compensation of every kind of camera motion.
    • 4K Video playback via HDMI connection.
    • Remote control and image transfer with the Olympus Image Share app.

    Learn more information on the new TG-TRACKER right here.

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  • Introducing the New Olympus PEN-F

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    For the last three months I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to shoot with the new Olympus PEN-F. It is such a fantastic addition to the PEN line and it‚Äôs focused directly at the Street Photographer. The new PEN-F model gets its name from the original PEN-F introduced back in 1963 which sold over 500,000 units in its lifespan.¬† I am very excited today to finally start talking about all the wonderful features combined with such great technology. This blog post is not going to be comparing high ISO shots to those of other brand cameras or looking at how a certain lens functions with the new PEN. It will talk about my shooting experiences in multiple conditions on the streets of 4 major cities in the US, all of which have a great street photography vibe. This camera was able to adapt to each scenario and my intentions are to illustrate that through words, video and more importantly, the images I produced with the new camera. If you want a high tech review version you may have to look elsewhere because this camera to me is all about “feel” when I am in the streets and how it captures my creativity. It’s a camera that helps you understand the passion behind image making.¬† Hold on and fasten your seat belts, because here we go‚Ķ

    To start, you will find some great information in a video I did with fellow Olympus Trailblazer, Jamie MacDonald. After spending considerable time with the camera I asked Jamie if he wouldn’t mind doing a video type interview exploring the camera from A to Z. He captured that discussion on video and mixed in some images to give you a feel of how the camera operates in the streets. I would ask that you watch this and then come back to my blog to further explore the images I created with the PEN-F.

    When I first received the camera the timing couldn’t have been better because over that next 6 weeks I was going to be in New York twice, San Francisco, Chicago and of course my hometown, Detroit. I was more than excited to get out into the streets and work with it in as many conditions as possible. I shot over 2,000 images in this time frame and used every feature I could find on the camera. I documented all of my personal Monochrome and Color Profile Control settings by taking images with my iPhone and naming them after famous street photographers from New York City. You will see images and those settings below in my galleries. It was almost like eating an elephant, where do I start? I knew I needed to try every feature on the camera and I approached everything from a street photographer’s mind set.

    A couple¬†images with the new PEN-F compared with one of the original film cameras that debuted in the 1960’s. ¬†(click on image to enlarge)

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald                    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

    The Features

    Now that you have the back story on how I used the new PEN-F, let‚Äôs talk about some basics concerning the features. The 20 megapixel sensor was a surprising addition and I felt more comfortable letting my Auto ISO run up to a max of 8,000 at times while using the M.Zuiko prime lenses. I only used the primes from Olympus during my shooting. I never used zoom or PRO lenses from the Olympus catalog, but of course you can. The camera body was well balanced and felt very solid to the initial touch. It uses the same 5 axis stabilization as in the O-MD E-M5 Mark II which is second to none.¬† The outer casing was all black and sported a new exposure compensation wheel on the top right side which I loved to use. Very noticeable is the “sleekness” of the outer body seeing that there are no visible screws to be seen.¬† I can only imagine how much work this was for the engineers to hide the screws and give it this look.¬† Unlike the PEN models of the past this had an electronic view finder that was simply amazing and the eyepiece is located on the left side of the body. I was so happy about this because when I am shooting I like to keep both eyes on the street and now my right eye can be on the viewfinder and my left can be surveying the streets ahead. It was definitely one of my favorite features. Overall though, my top feature that I fell in love with was the dial on the front of the camera that allowed me to select Monochrome and Color Profiles. This is what makes this camera different than anything I ever shot with. Post processing, outside of a few crops, was nonexistent for two reasons. One is I did not have a RAW converter yet and most of everything I captured was the look I wanted before I began to shoot because of the customization through the Color and Monochrome Profiles.

    Profile Controls

    The Monochrome and Color Profiles on the PEN-F make all the difference to an image maker looking to emulate old film quality in their shots or develop their own style and emulsions through its customizable settings. Each Profile Control has 3 settings. The first has no presets and you can make your own here. The second and third each have a specific setting which resembles certain types of film. I will explain these in more detail below with sample images.  (click on images to enlarge)

    Color Profile Control:

    • Profile 1 is up to you. You can adjust how the colors are depicted and select the level of curves and shadows that will show in your image all from the back toggle button located below the selection wheel. By using the right and left toggles you can go through the colors or select the level of Highlights and Shadows to make your own customizable setting. These are the settings I referred to earlier in this post about taking pictures of the screen and keeping it in my notes on the iPhone.

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    –Here is one of the Color samples I named Patterson.¬† These are highly customizable in color schemes and curves.

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    • Profile 2 is Chrome Film which has rich colors.

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    • Profile 3 is Chrome Film¬† with vivid saturation

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    Monochrome Profile Control:

    • Profile 1 is up to you. Like above in Color Profile 1, the same goes for the Monochrome here. The difference being you choose the color filter and you get one more option which is the selection of a vignette. The vignette is also found on all three of the Monochrome settings.¬† You also get one more new feature and that is film grain.¬† This is not your heavy handed electronic film grain options like in other filters.¬† I know for a fact that Olympus went to great lengths to make this a very realistic grain and it can be added in differing levels of density.¬† You will be surprised in the difference this grain has and how it feels like something from the past film days.

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    –Here is one Monotone sample I named Boogie.¬† Green filter, -3 on Vignette and -7 on both shadows and highlights

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    • Profile 2 is a Classic Film, like a monochrome film.

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    • Profile 3 is a Classic Film, like an Infrared Film.

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    You also have settings like Color Selector and Art filters we all may be used to when shooting with Olympus cameras.

    Here are some images from the Art Filters settings with some of my unique tweaks in those settings.

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    The Build and Quality

    As soon as you pick up the new PEN-F you will notice how well constructed and solid it feels in your hand. The button placements were right on the money for me and as previously stated I love the eye piece being on the left of the camera for how I shoot in the streets. The top controls are laid out well and the new exposure compensation wheel at the top is solid and clicks well when turned. You will notice a hole with threads in the shutter button to screw in a mechanical ‚Äúplunger‚ÄĚ cable release. In staying with some previous PEN designs the top is nearly level across the buttons and hot shoe with the bottom being ultra-cool with nothing more than the socket for a tripod plate (see comments above about no screws can be found). Smooth all the way across. It does have a fully articulating screen like the OM-D E-M5 Mark II and a solid raised portion on the back for your thumb rest. I was not able to shoot with the additional grip but would like to get one soon to see how it feels. I had no problem shooting with it though because I hand hold my camera with a wrist strap 95% of the time. The pictures below will give you an idea of what the camera looks like from many angles. They were all shot by Jamie MacDonald when we worked on the above video.

                                  

    Conclusion

    To tell you I think the new PEN-F is a great camera for the type of photography I do would be a huge understatement. It is the best street camera I have ever used and with the new Control Profiles for Color and Monotone along with a 20 megapixel sensor, it makes the possibilities endless. If you are a street or urban type of shooter you need to check this camera out as soon as possible and if not, you will love the versatility built into this new PEN-F for many types of image making. Olympus has hit a Grand Slam in my book with this new camera and I can’t wait to continue talking about it in the weeks to come on Mirrorless Minutes and in all my social channels. Please stay tuned for more and if you liked this post please consider signing up for my email list on my home page.

    Shoot Light | Shoot Often

    -Mike

    ©2015 Jamie A. MacDonald

     

     

     

     

    I would like to personally thank fellow Trailblazer Jamie McDonald for all the help in making the above video and snapping some images of the camera. He has some amazing skills on this type of project and I was glad he said he helped bring my story out to everyone about this new gem from Olympus.

    PREORDER THE NEW PEN-F HERE

    Other Specs from the camera you might find interesting:

    -OLED Electronic view finder approximately 2.36M dots
    -Simulated Optical View Finder mode (OVF)
    -AF targeting pad
    -Up to 1/8000 shutter speed
    -High Res Shot equivalent to 50 megapixels (8 shots combined into a single JPEG using sensor shift)
    -Lens tagging for 3rd party lenses