Update on my Micro 43 Challenge

Last week I spoke about my overlooked Panasonic G9 micro 43 kit and how I was challenging myself to shoot with it through June. Well, I may have failed depending on how pure you view my challenge. You see the weather here has been hot, dry, and sunny for the past week. This has caused a lot of atmospheric haze and most of the time colour shots with the G9 look terrible. That’s when I decided I needed to broaden my challenge to include an infrared camera.

The reason I don’t mind including another camera is that it’s my old Olympus EM5 micro 43 camera. I had this converted a few years back to shoot infrared using a 665nm filter. Here’s an example from Wednesday this week.

Chatsworth House gardens. Olympus EM5 with Infrared conversion and Panasonic 12-60 lens
Chatsworth House gardens. Olympus EM5 with Infrared conversion and Panasonic 12-60 lens

I shot this image on Wednesday in the ground of Chatsworth House, looking down on the maze. It’s a handheld exposure of 1/160” at f/7.1 and ISO200 at 16mm. The lens is the Panasonic Leica 12-60 which performs wonderfully on the infrared Olympus EM5 body. I then processed the RAW file using Capture One before converting to black and white using Exposure X6.

Strangely two things happened over this past week:

  1. I found the little EM5 a joy to use. Not only is it half the weight of the G9, but it’s also half the size. This makes it extremely easy to walk around holding in one hand.
  2. I shot at least 5 times more images using the EM5 than I did the G9.

It’s probably not a good comparison because the EM5 is a better camera for walking around and snapping. When I use the G9 it’s great for considered photography which isn’t what I’ve been doing. Nevertheless, it’s reminded me how good the little EM5 is and makes me wonder if a good used EM5 MKIII would be a good investment.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. The Nik Collection 4 was launched the other day. If you are wondering what’s new, you can watch my review video on YouTube.

5 thoughts on “Update on my Micro 43 Challenge

  1. Hi Robin
    I like the image very much. Summer mood in The Valley of Loire or the manor in the movie The Draughtman‘s Contract (nice music from Michael Nyman too),… pleasing associations.
    I am still not able to process my IR images like that.
    Keep well, Robert

    1. Thanks. I’m glad you like it.
      It’s actually quite easy to process the IR RAW files like this. After converting the RAW file like you might any other RAW file, I just apply Exposure X6 from Exposure Software and pick one of the Infrared simulations I like. Actually, there is a little more in that I’ve tweaked a few of them to create my own but the basics are the same.

      1. Thank you for your quick answer and suggestion Robin! I am hesitant to try yet another software (and to have to learn it). May I try your patience and ask you, what does Exposute X6 do differently or more for IR images than LIghtroom or Photoshop? I do not like the results of channel swap in PS, maybe because I never get WB as I see it in all those videos in Internet. I tried DNG Converter, but got not enough freeway to change the WB. I have conversion to 550nm if I remember correctly (cannot check right now).

      2. That’s tricky to answer because Exposure X6 is a complete editing package that is like a combination of Lightroom and Photoshop. It also comes with a huge library of film simulation presets that are an excellent match for some great films. In terms of infrared, it has dedicated controls for adding the glowing Halation effect (you could also use the Glow filter in Nik Color Efex Pro). The grain controls are also very good and allow you to change the size of the grain as well as how much you apply to the highlights, midtones and shadows separately. I find the infrared film simulations that come with the software very good for converting regular colour images. I often just apply one of the Exposure X6 presets to my infrared images and get a result I like. I feel quite lazy doing this but then time is scarce and I don’t want to waste it. It’s worth looking at the trial version to see if it works for you.

  2. Hi Robin
    Thank you very much for your answer. I have had a look at the Exposure site meanwhile and saw, that it might help. As far as I understand, you confirm my impression of the software. Perhaps, I should pull myself together and try it.
    Maybe I just have the wrong conversion, false colours are not my thing. Maybe too stubbornly I wanted to change them into „real IR in B&W“. With stronger IR filter I am getting from the camera mages more to my liking, less postprocessing necessary.
    Thank you again, I appreciate your help very much.
    Keep well, Robert

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