Handheld Before Sunrise

This article shares a selection of photographs that I captured handheld before sunrise at LaSalle Park in Burlington, Ontario. I must admit that it felt a bit odd to head off during the wee hours of an early November morning to capture some landscape images without a tripod.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/4, 4 seconds handheld, ISO-200

Having some prior experience with the IBIS performance of my Olympus OM-D E-M1X, I was very confident that I would get some useable images. Even when shooting multiple second exposures handheld. My only real concern was if the weather conditions would remain calm.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/3.2, 1.6 seconds handheld, ISO-200

I found that the dual grip design of the E-M1X made it feel very comfortable and natural to capture longer exposure handheld photographs using a portrait orientation.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/4, 2.5 seconds handheld, ISO-200

My handheld shutter speeds ranged from 1 to 4 seconds for the photographs featured in this article. It is important to note that I wasn’t propped up against a tree, or a railing or a fence. These were all free standing shutter speeds.

Shooting with slow shutter speeds allowed me to use base ISO-200 for all of these photographs captured handheld before sunrise. Hmm… every time I type “handheld before sunrise” it feels a bit incredulous.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/5.6, 3.2 seconds handheld, ISO-200

As I was composing these handheld low light images, I couldn’t help but harken back to my full frame DSLR camera days. Without a tripod, most of these images would have been impossible for me to capture successfully at ISO-200. Technology has certainly advanced, giving photographers a lot more handheld flexibility. This really suits my personal shooting style as I hate using tripods.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/4, 2 seconds handheld, ISO-200

I arranged to meet a photographer friend of mine at LaSalle Park. He arrived when it was still “dark o’clock”. We wandered around the pier area for a while, capturing images along the way.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 40mm, efov 80mm, f/4.5, 1 second handheld, ISO-200

As you can see in the photograph above, I was able to include my friend in one of my handheld compositions. This image was captured using a shutter speed of 1 second with an equivalent field-of-view of 80mm.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 17mm, efov 34mm, f/4, 1.3 seconds handheld, ISO-200

In the past, I had captured a few low light landscape images with my E-M1X using slow handheld shutter speeds. This was the first time that IĀ  really tried to put my camera’s IBIS capability to the test with this type of subject matter.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/5.6, 1 second handheld, ISO-200

Suffice to say that I was completely satisfied with how my Olympus OM-D E-M1X performed. Unless I do some Live Composite imagery, use the Tripod Hi Res mode, or do some extremely long exposures (e.g. 8 seconds or longer) with my E-M1X, I can’t see why I’d ever need to bring a tripod with me.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 12-40mm f/2.8 @ 12mm, efov 24mm, f/5.6, 1.3 seconds handheld, ISO-200

During the eight months that I’ve owned my Olympus OM-D E-M1X and selection of M.Zuiko lenses, my M4/3 kit has kept on redefining what is possible. This produces an incredible feeling of creative freedom every time I’m out with my Olympus camera gear.

Technical Note:
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Photographs are presented as 100% captures without any cropping.

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8 thoughts on “Handheld Before Sunrise”

    1. Hi John,

      Since Olympus rates both the E-M1X and the E-M1 Mark III as having 7 stops of IBIS, I assume the IBIS performance demonstrated in this article would be the same for the E-M1 Mark III. The IBIS rating on the E-M1 Mark II is 5.5 stops which is still very good.


      1. Re IBIS, Tom;

        The excellent Mirrorless Comparisons review (E-M1X vs E-M1 ii … in Part 2, section titled “Sensor shift: IS”) says E-M1 ii performs at 6.5EV when using the 12-100mm M.Zuiko IS Pro lens – which would be my natural choice.

        The decider for me (to go with the E-M1 ii) was from comments in the review at the bottom of that same section (just above the Autofocus section) … which I’ll paraphrase, as I can’t paste them here [Yes, I understand šŸ™‚ ]

        1) “I didn’t find that the M1X gave a substantial advantage for stills” [which is my only interest – – I don’t do video).

        2) “I was curious to see if there were any hidden differences between these two cameras (ie. M1X & E-M1 ii)” … Conclusion: “they behave in a very similar way”.

        3) “I was surprised not to see a more relevant difference …” … “I guess Olympus already raised the bar so high with the E-M1 ii that any further improvements must be found in subtleties …”

        My conclusion: E-M1 ii will be good enuff for me.


        PS. My Sony kit is now on ebay : Have already received an offer at full asking price! – if only I’ll post it to Florida and provide my details for payment …. Yeah, right !!

  1. Just to clarify, Tom – – Are you simply hand-holding – or are you using Handheld High Res mode ?

    If the former, as I understand it to be – then that’s amazing !!

    John TKA

    1. Hi John,

      These are regular resolution images… not Handheld Hi Res. I typically note Handheld Hi Res, Pro Capture or other special features in my EXIF data when used.


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