Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Review: Eos M - Part Two

How does the Eos M handle itself in the street with some full frame lenses attached via the lens adapter?

To test all of this I drove to a street called Steve Biko road (formerly Voortrekker str) in Pretoria North . . .

Read part two of my review.

                  Eos M on steroids!  Mamiya 50mm lens and two adapters

The area is on the outskirts of Pretoria and is a mixture of residential, light industrial and retail. I feel relatively safe here and I like the 'look' of the place. There has not been much development of late so it reflects quite a bit of the old architecture mixed with more modern architecture and of course the 'modifications' subsequent owners made to the original buildings, sometimes horrendous and often very colourful...unfortunately there were not many people about on the days I chose to go there so I couldn't test my 'street people' skills with my new Eos M. I will leave that test for a next installment of my ongoing review of the Eos M...

Eos M and Ef 40mm f2.8 stm 'pancake' lens.

Initially I wanted to test some lenses with the Adapter Ef to Eos M. I found a nice colourful building with a bit of shade to stand in so that I could see the LCD viewfinder clearly. The 40mm pancake has the same contrast and colour as the 22mm and is also very very sharp. It is easily handholdable even though it does not have IS. On the Eos M the 40mm pancake is equivalent to a 64mm lens.

Eos M and  50mm Mamiya MF shift lens

Eos M and 22mm lens, handheld

The 'toy' I really wanted to test was my medium format Mamiya shift lens lens. On my Eos M it is equivalent to an 80mm lens on the 35mm format. Thus a short telephoto but with the added convenience of being able to shift left and right and up and down. In theory a nice lens for architectural detail. I wanted to see how it would perform on the Eos M. 

It is a bit more complicated in that the aperture is not automatic and one has to focus with the lens wide open, do the necessary shifts and then stop down to the chosen aperture, usually from f11 to f22. 

On the Eos M the Mamiya 50mm shift exhibits low contrast with some colour shift. One can easily see the difference in the colour of the sky in the images of the 'doggy parlour' posted above,  compared to the Canon lenses. But with an increase in contrast and other tweaks in LR4, its not too far off from the Canon 'look'. It is also not as sharp as the Ef lenses, although it is very sharp on my Mamiya ZD digital medium format camera. But it is sharp enough on the Eos M and I will use it. I bought a Photodiox converted from Amazon to be able to fit it on a Canon and it is even 'chipped' for focus confirmatio on my 5D2, I have not used it much but the R1000-00 price I had to pay to import the adapter was a lot less than the price of a new 45mm Canon tilt and shift at R13000-00! I thought it was worth a try. I need to do some more tests on my 5D2 to see how it works and what the quality is like....but more of that in a future post. 

Perspective corrected with Eos M and 50mm Mamiya shift lens.

Perspective corrected image with Mamiya 50mm shift

No perspective correction, camera tilted up. 22mm lens.

The next part of my test was to see how the Eos M Auto Focus an Auto Exposure modes performed with the 22mm lens in the street under 'normal' shooting conditions and using the Optical Viewfinder. 

The OVF is not as precise as the LCD nor does it show any settings or focus confirmation but its close to a 'normal' dslr viewfinder and it is more steady than holding a camera at arms length trying to focus and frame on a LCd screen. ther eis a 'beeb' when the  camera has found focus so its quite simple to know when to release the shutter. Viewfinders of some sort has been around since the beginning and it is a most elegant solution to a problem. Why Canon has ignored the viewfinder is puzzling but if one looks at other Canon consumer models it would seem that 'the viewfinder' or lack thereof is not high on Canon's list of what makes a 'good' photographers camera. Outside in bright sun light a viewfinder is also the best solution. But fortunately the Eos M has a hot shoe that can take my Leica OVF that frames the 22mm lens accurately. 

1/250 F8  Iso100 Flexizone Multi.
Overall sharpness good for a grab shot  and slow AF

I chose specific Post Processing settings to give me the 'look' I wanted. I am not really one for saturated colours. For this next batch of images made in Steve Biko road I reduced saturation by -40, increased clarity to + 50 and generally overexposed the images to a point just before they 'clipped'. Because of the overexposure I also had to add 'black' to bring some contrast back. Amazingly the Eos M ISO100 files could handle all of this even with the very contrasty noon light.

1/250 F8 Iso100 Flexizone Multi. Once again an overall sharp
image when viewed at 100%

Full AF and exposure.

1/250 f8 Iso100. Fexizone Multi. Focus points on pole but at f8 even the number plates
of cars in background were sharp. Shadows in original were dark but
 even some facial details of people in background  were  visible
after lifting  the shadows in PP.
Enough range to also retain highlights.

I also chose the 'scene intelligent mode' on my Eos M. This is the mode for 'dummies' and very little input from the photographer is needed, allowed or necessary. The camera does everything automatically and optimizes the exposure to obtain 'optimum brightness and contrast' by apparently 'analyzing ' the scene etc.

My reasoning was that the camera was probably optimized for shooting like this as proven by the lack of controls that 'old school photographers' normally used or burying them deep inside a menu system. The camera will even decide where to focus...

1/250 F8 Iso100. FlexiZone Multi. Af points on box and poles in
foreground but background acceptably sharp at F8

1/320 F9 Iso100. Flexizone Multi, focus point on pole in foreground but
 background acceptably sharp when viewed at 100%.

Here I changed Af to single point on red roof. At f11 even foreground is sharp...

1/250 f8 Iso 100. Once again focus points on poles in foreground yet background
 acceptably sharp even at 100%. continuous shooting mode as I
 waited for person in background to walk into the frame.

1/350 f9 Iso100 Fexizone Multi. Good sharpness all over.

I think the Eos M passed this test with flying colours! I walked up and down Steve Biko street for about two hours just photographing like I would normally do, except I didn't have to concentrate on any of the usual settings, like exposure, focus and  aperture for depth of field or not. In other words I used it just like a 'point and shoot', and it worked.

Back home in front of my monitor I could annalize the images at my leisure and see exactly where the camera had focused and which aperture it used.

in the bright light of a sunny day the camera used ISO100 almost all the time with the aperture around F8. In full sun it gave me fast shutter speeds and at F8 the depth of field was tremendous, which is how I like to shoot - lots of depth of field with sharp images.

1/250 f8 iso100. Flexizone Multi. Once again nice and sharp all over.

People often ask me if shooting manual is not more pure and authentic. I don't believe technical issues like focus or exposure has got anything to do with ones vision.  Its like asking if manual shutter cocking or auto shutter cocking has a bearing on the validity of the image. Who cares? Its just a simple technical process that can be handled much faster and most often more accurately by the camera itself. Most cameras have manual setting s that can override the auto settings if one wishes. Any competent photographer will also know when the camera will 'read' a scene incorrectly and adjust for that. But for most of the average scenes photographed by average photographers the camera will decide just nicely, thank you.

.... and if you don't believe me just have a look at the photographs above. Almost all the settings were decided by the camera. All I had to do was frame and press the shutter. And that's the way I like it, and I like the way the Eos M did it.

  Regards, Ivan

Please also have a look at my portfolio here at . . .http://ivanmuller.zenfolio.com/

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