*This blog post has been written in collaboration with Olympus. All opinions and images are my own. *
In October it will be 4 years since I started my blog and I think I have been promising a post of this nature since the beginning. I remember when I first started, I felt so grateful to the bloggers who had written posts sharing information about the cameras they were using and most importantly, for a complete novice, all the practical tips they shared. At the time, the most popular camera for bloggers was the Olympus PEN E-PL7. It seemed like the perfect camera for someone starting out because it was compact and light, (it fitted neatly in my cross body bag) had in-built WIFI that would allow me to download the photos instantly to my iphone or operate the camera remotely using my iphone and, from what I had read, I didn’t need to have much technical knowledge to take good photos because the camera did all the work.
Purchasing my Pen was the first (and best) step I made towards becoming a blogger. For almost two and a half years, I carried my beloved camera with me EVERYWHERE. Most mornings I would trot down to a wall near my house with my tripod and snap my ‘outfit of the day’. I didn’t need to beg a member of my family to take my photo and I could take as long as I needed to get the right shot. It also meant that I didn’t need to feel self-conscious or silly, it was just me and my tripod (and the occasional nosey bystander!)
I was taking some photos in the street one day, with my camera attached to a flimsy tripod when a gust of wind came up and sent my tripod and camera flying and it smashed face down in the road. The flip screen cracked and was left hanging off one hinge and although it still worked, (believe me this camera is robust!) it felt like it was time for a replacement. In that time, Olympus had brought out an E-PL8 and then the E-PL9, so I decided the 9 would be a good investment and I am still so happy with it.
You may well be wondering if a camera is necessary now that the I-phone camera has improved so much. This has never been a question for me. Unless you have a good blogger or photographer friend who is willing to meet up often and take your photo, it is essential to have a camera that you can operate on a tripod. This is not something you can do too easily with an iphone. I also don’t think that you can compare the quality the images on an I-Phone (I have the X) with photos taken on a proper camera. For me the camera wins hands down.
I have the E-PL9 with two extra lenses. The 45 mm lens and a 30 mm Zuiko Macro lens. I tend to use the 45 mm lens (another brilliant feature of the PEN, the lenses are easily interchangeable. Just line up the red dots and twist on or off) for detail shots and close ups.
I have the touch focus set up on my camera, so I only have to touch the screen to tell the camera where to focus. If you look at the images below you can see that I have told the camera to focus on different areas.
The other feature I love about the 45 mm lens is that it gives a really lovely soft focus on the skin. Here’s an example of what I mean… this is an ‘as shot’ image, free from editing or retouching.
If you are looking to take your own photos, you will need to invest in a sturdy (!) tripod. I upgraded my flimsy tripod with this one from Amazon (£24.99) but there are many to choose from. It comes with a mounting plate (something I have lost several times and had to replace) that screws onto the back of your PEN.
Once that’s done, you fix the camera onto the tripod. This step is very straight forward.
Once your camera is in the right place, at the right height (you’ll need to play around here) you will need to connect your camera to your phone using the in-built WIFI.
Once you are connected to the camera’s wifi, you need to launch the Olympus image share app to use the remote control feature. The Olympus Image Share App needs to be downloaded and is available on the App store. Your camera manual will give clear instructions on how to do this, but the first time you connect your camera will give you a password that you will need to enter. You will only need to do this once.
Once you are connected you will need to select ‘Remote Control’ on the app and you will get a live view of what the camera is seeing on your phone. This allows you to walk around looking into your phone to make sure that you are in the right place. You will have options to take a series of images, or one image and can also set a timer so that you have time to put your phone out of view. Once you are sure you have the perfect shot, you can import your image straight to your phone. How clever is that?!
I will never forget our holiday with friends in Greece when I set up the tripod on the balcony of the villa – ran downstairs (quite a long way from the balcony, I was using my zoom lens which is 40-150mm) and then took a series of crazy group shots to record a very happy moment at the end of a wonderful holiday. This photo never fails to make me smile…
But this isn’t just the perfect camera for someone looking to start a blog or run an instagram account, this is a camera for everyone. I love using it to take good quality images of my cats, the garden and the children, (no relevance to the order here! 🙂 and love the feeling (and sound!) of operating a proper camera. We use our Iphones so much these days and while I don’t deny that they are brilliant for capturing those moments when you don’t have your camera to hand, I still like the idea of putting my phone away for good chunks of time, especially when on holiday.
The camera also features a flip down screen which is great for filming vlogs or family videos. I would love to say that my photography skills have progressed in the four years I have been using my Olympus cameras, but I am still on the auto settings and until I take a proper photography course, it’s unlikely to change. So believe me when I say you do not need to be a photography whizz to use this camera. I always try to take my photos in natural daylight and my other tip is to make sure that the sun is either behind you or to the side of you.
As you know I am always on the lookout for the best value for money and Olympus came to me with some really exciting prices, but they are limited time only – until midnight July 5th.
The first bit of good news is that you can get the much loved 45mm prime lens absolutely FREE when you buy one of the offers. (I think I paid around £200 for mine, so this is a really good deal!)
On top of that my special code CHLOE20 will get you a discount on the camera as well.
So on the E-PL8 kit with a manual zoom lens plus the 45mm – instead of the usual £680 RRP it is effectively £320 – a saving of £360!
If you fancy the E-M10 MKII (it has a viewfinder) instead, the manual zoom kit with the 45 mm lens would normally £830 RRP but is just £367.20 – saving an amazing £462.
And if you want to have the latest in Wi-Fi with Bluetooth technology, then the E-PL9 kit with the lovely slim pancake zoom and 45mm lens would normally be £860 but is £403.20 – saving £456.
Visit www.enjoy.photo/chloe and remember to put in my code to get the extra discount.
I hope this has been helpful, and if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I may not always have the answer but I can certainly give it my best shot!