Integrated Imaging System

Advancements in photographic technology are making it increasingly important for us to view our camera equipment as part of an integrated imaging system. We need to look well beyond simplistic assessments of cameras, based primarily on sensor size. It is true that the sensor inside a camera is an important component that contributes to its photographic capabilities, but technology brings so much more to the table for us to consider.

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. Photographs have been added to serve as visual breaks.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/100, ISO-1250, microscopic mode

The photographic technology that is available today is mind-boggling. All most of us need do is to look at the capability of our Smartphone compared to the sensor that is inside of it to recognize this reality. If all it took was a larger sensor to meet the needs of people, Smartphones would not have decimated segments of the camera market.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/6.3, 1/100, ISO-1600, microscopic mode

For example, when I look at the Microscopic mode of my Olympus TG-5 and the photographic results that this diminutive camera can produce with its tiny 1/2.3″ sensor (6.17 x 4.55 mm), it is amazing. Add the power of photographic software to deal with image noise to the equation, and it shakes some of our assumptions about the need for larger sensors to their core.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H mode

I recently read Andy Rouse’s review of the M.Zuiko 100-400 mm f/5-6.3 telephoto zoom lens. For those of you who may not be aware of Andy’s work, he is one of the most celebrated wildlife photographers around. His photographs are simply superb. You will need to register on Andy’s website to be able to view his review.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with MC-20 teleconverter, 180 mm, efov 360 mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO-200, Olympus FL-700 WR Flash used, subject distance 1.5 metres

If you take the time to read Andy’s review you’ll see some beautiful photographs made possible because of technology like Pro Capture H, IBIS, and focus stacking… in concert with Andy’s consummate talent. You’ll also be treated to Andy’s unabashed opinions about camera gear.

I couldn’t help but smile when reading this comment from Andy in his article, “The world of photography has evolved and changed beyond these out of date notions that pros only use a 600mm lens or something that is f2.8.  It pisses me off so much when I hear the same old misconceptions and bull churned out time and time again, get into the new world!!!!”

As an aside, but somewhat related comment, Andy’s view of JIP’s pending purchase of the Olympus Imaging business is…, “very, very big positive for the future of their cameras.”

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/11, -0.7 step, 1/1600, ISO-3200, Pro Capture H mode, subject distance 3.1 metres

If we truly want the best results for the money that we invest in camera gear, we need to view our cameras and lenses as only part of an integrated imaging system.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/2.8, 1/250, ISO-2000, subject distance 325 mm

The firmware inside our cameras, and the updates that it receives, is absolutely critical. For example, later this year my Olympus OM-D E-M1X will be getting a Bird Detection firmware update. This artificial intelligence based capability has the potential to revolutionize bird-in-flight photography.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 267 mm, efov 720 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-3200

I know that some readers have found it odd when I’ve stated in various articles, and in some of my replies to their comments, that I would not consider a camera that was not supported by DxO PhotoLab software. Have a look at the out-of-camera jpeg above. Then compare it to another jpeg created from the corresponding RAW file, displayed below.

Nikon 1 V3 + 1 Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 267 mm, efov 720 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-3200

Regardless of the photographic software that each of us may choose, we need to view it as an important part of our integrated imaging system.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/8, -0.7 step, 1/2500, ISO-1600, Pro Capture H mode

As we all know, it can take considerable time to become proficient with our photographic software. Constantly changing our software because we read that something else is supposedly better can be counterproductive if we haven’t become skilled with what we already use.

Olympus TG-5 @ 18 mm, efov 100 mm, f/4.9, 1/125, ISO-800

Recently I added Topaz Denoise AI to my standard post processing approach. It doesn’t replace DxO PhotoLab’s PRIME noise reduction in my flow… but is added to the end of my process. I’ve found that the two programs can compliment one another. Identifying complimentary components is at the core of taking an integrated imaging system approach.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko 60 mm f/2.8 macro, f/5, 1/320, ISO-1250, subject distance 245 mm, Handheld Hi Res mode

Photographic technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. What is a reality today, wasn’t even the faintest glimmer only a few years ago. It is easy to get caught up in the hype of bigger is better. Taking an integrated imaging system approach can help us discover our personal reality of when 1 + 1 =3.

Technical Note

Photographs were captured hand-held using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X + M.Zuiko PRO 40-150 mm f/2.8 with M.Zuiko MC-20 teleconverter @ 300 mm, efov 600 mm, f/6.3, 1/60, ISO-200, subject distance 1.1 metres

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2 thoughts on “Integrated Imaging System”

  1. Good thoughts Thomas.
    I am amazed at what the Olympus Tough cameras can do!! I generally only have it out when doing underwater photography, but when I do have it out for that, I have used it for other topics as well.
    I will go read Andy Rouse’s article now – Thanks for the tip

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