MT’s Scrapbook: Sunday afternoons

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The first entry in the Scrapbook is a quasi-narrative one from a lazy Sunday – the perfect kind of thing for which to test the entire pretext of the exercise. There was enough photographic content to keep me challenged and in practice, but not so much as to turn into the primary purpose of the day – oddly, not something I’ve had to worry about too much in the past, pre-family. Finding that balance again is challenging. Definitely not perfect, but more importantly – with enough verisimilitude that it’s pretty much as we remember it, which oddly, reminds me a bit of shooting film on family holidays when I was much, much younger (and pre-serious-photography). MT

The Scrapbook series is shot on an Olympus PEN F, with unedited JPEGs straight from camera bar resizing (and of course some choice settings).

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. emmanueljoannin says:

    Gorgeous monochrom shots.
    But what about colors in JPEG ? Are they compliant with your demanding expectations ?

    • They’re good enough for social stuff and non-critical work, but anything serious and I go back to the Hasselblad.

      • emmanueljoannin says:

        I ask because I had in mind the GX85/GX9 as an “everyday” second camera.
        But your article on the PEN-F makes me think about this neat (but expensive) camera as well.

        • I had the GX85 before this – it’s competent for most things, much better than the PEN F at video, but the default color profiles are dire. JPEGs are not usable both because of the color profile and the processing engine; on top of that – sorry, but it didn’t win any prizes in the ergonomic or tactility stakes. Given this is the camera that I want to carry and use for casual experimentation – I am willing to sacrifice the spec sheet for the experience (ironically, thus making it the right tool for this particular job).

  2. Excellent images! Were these taken with the mono 2 profile?

  3. Lovely images. Why the costly pen f and not say the em10m3? Does the pen offer anything i iq over the less costly models or just nice retro design ?

    • Couldn’t care less about the retro design – but I do care about material quality and haptics; the EM10.3 is plastic and feels like it. The PEN-F is metal. Quite simply: you’re not going to shoot much with a camera you don’t enjoy using. Yes, the sensor is better, and yes, there are other IQ differences – there are a lot more in camera processing options that are not available on any other model (the HSL adjustments, B&W color filters etc.). I’ve explained that (and more) in this post.

  4. Good photographs as usual. I am just asking myself why your daughter on most images looks a bit upset or angry. Perhaps she thinks “OMG dad is coming again with a camera!”. 😄

  5. Lance W says:

    LOL. The one with the tablet is so good.

  6. Ming,

    What lens did you use?

    Thank you,


  7. I really like your stylist choice for this set. I’m curious if you’ve found a jpeg profile with the Pen that works for you?

    I prefer shooting color with my E-M1mk1, but I just can’t manage to find something that handles the highlights–specifically blonde hair in outdoor light. I routinely underexpose 2 stops to manage the roll-off, but this kills jpeg as a real option. I assume similar results can be achieved with the mk1, but does either the Pen F/EM1mkII improve on this front?

  8. Wonderful set Ming, lovely family. I am always amazed at how pleasing to my eye m43 photos can be…especially for this kind of non-technical photography and especially from Olympus. There are certainly reasons to shoot big sensor-big rez cameras but for this kind of photography not only is it over-kill, one could argue based on sets like this, its the wrong tool for the job. A Pen-F or similar (E-M1 II for me) is in fact the perfect tool.

    • Thanks – yes, for social stuff I’m definitely in favour of small and fast over large and higher quality; one day I’m sure we can have both, but in the meantime – the right tool for the task, as usual.

  9. Nice monochrome SOOC shots. These have much more contrast (and less DR) than your normal B/W pictures. I think they look similar to Ilford Delta, minus the grain of course

  10. Terry B says:

    Ming, what a lovely mini-portfolio of your wife and daughter. How she’s grown since the first images you posted of her. She seems a willing model, except perhaps with the two shots of her in the water. Looks like she could be saying “Daddy, why did you make me do this?” I’d love to know what she seems to be critiquing in the shot of her looking at the screen. The final shot is wonderful, catching her adopting the stance of her mother, perhaps unconsciously.

    Personally, I don’t think it really matters what cameras we use for family memories, some may be more enabling, but it’s the image that is more important.

    • Actually…she has this strange personality when it comes to swimming. On one hand she keeps badgering us to send her for lessons, then absolutely hates it when she’s in the water. But then badgers us again until the following week…

  11. Scott Deviite says:

    Is_PF01155 the Summilux? Love the Jpeg monochrome simplicity of it all. I was recently back in our old haunting ground Venice shooting 8k RED for a small crewed feature and the director asked if I would shoot production candids with his GH5. I suggested L. Monochrome. He said he needed color. O.K. L. Monochrome/Raw. After seeing the shots, the production didn’t even bother with the raw and decided to go Monochrome the rest of the shoot. Now It seems I need to step up to Pen F from my GX85!

    • Yes it is – good eye. Only problem with the PEN F is the video output is really crappy compared to the GX85/ E-M1.2…

      • Scott Deviite says:

        Re the Summilux. I have been following your use on the Pen F and Hassy. RED Monstro 8k FF Vista Vision 36mp has an M Mount capability. I am gearing up to shoot a mainly two character narrative- 3 camera proscenium style- cross cams and flat using only one focal length, looks like it is going to be the 50mm Summilux. With the M lenses instead of PL monsters, the RED becomes a very small footprint camera. Any suggestion on an color/rendering matching Leica M wide and short tele to complement the 50? Maybe that would also work on the Pen F and 1xd? The RED/OLY/HASSY Leica M would be a hell of a kit.

        • Worth a look given it has much larger frame coverage than you might think, and does nicely cinematic things with cropped sensors, too.

          M wide/ short tele – sorry, tricky. Wide especially – there really isn’t anything else that will cover the X1D, and the PEN F needs something much wider (and plays nice with M4/3’s very thick cover glass). Longer – easy; the 90/2 APO ASPH would fit the bill.

  12. Great family photos Ming, the little acts of life. And, your daughter is as cute as can be.
    I have two cameras set permanently to monochrome, and am regularly amazed at the quality available. (A Fuji X100S and Pan LX100).
    It took some trial and error with the setting details, but now the beauty of it is that I’ve learned how each sensor reacts in different situations, much like film, and adjust accordingly and almost automatically. “I’d better overexpose slightly or I’m going to have no shadow detail” sort of thing. I use spot metering and usually simply move the spot slightly, (moving the camera a few millimetres into a slightly darker zone will do it), to get the exposure I want, half-push the shutter, reframe and shoot. It works surprisingly well and my computer time has been cut drastically.
    After a bit more time with it, is the Pen F suiting your needs?

    • Thanks – she’s only cute when she chooses to be; the rest of the time…aargh!

      PEN F: so far so good, though as with all small sensor cameras you have to watch it once the ISO starts climbing. Fortunately small fast primes and IBIS mean that venturing above 800 is a rare occurrence.

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