Pinterest For Photographers Explained (By A Photographer)

Pinterest is a social media platform with circa 250 million users. Pinterest is a rapidly growing social network that uses visual media as the basis for content.

In this post I will explain how I as a photographer use Pinterest. I am going to tell you how I have been using Pinterest to attract well over 375,000 unique visitors per month with minimal thought and effort. I will then tell you how to set up your Pinterest account properly, and how I am going to be using Pinterest to help grow my photography businesses in a planned systematic way.

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But first, before I go any further

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Please follow me on Pinterest by clicking HERE. We all need to be asking others to follow us!

This is something that I have not been very good at - asking people to follow me.

Why do I use Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social media platform where pins have a much, much longer life than posts on Instagram, and Tweets on Twitter. Pinterest is different from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I do not use Facebook and put minimal effort into Twitter and Instagram.

It is a visual platform where people go to curate ideas and find stuff. I will say that again – it is a visual platform – ideal for photographers then!!!

Each and every pin has much more value now and in the future than a Tweet or Instagram post.

I see Pinterest as a long-term investment, which is consistent with the approach I am taking with the content on my websites – I am working to achieve long-term, organic, sustainable growth.

The long-term plan with Pinterest and my websites

Work done now will benefit me in the future. To give you an excellent perspective of this it takes up to 35 weeks for a post to reach its full potential with the Googles robots– work done now is very much work that will provide benefits in the future.

This has been frustrating in the past as I did not know this and thought that what I was doing was not working, so I would change things.

Now I know how long this takes, I am sticking to my plans.

And the results I have achieved to date are for work done in the past – now I am consistently adding to that excellent foundation on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

What am I using Pinterest for?

To drive traffic to my websites. That is the brutally honest truth. I want as much sustainable traffic to my websites as I can get, with the minimal effort and expense using a variety of channels and sources.

This is what I have been working on for some time now – getting more traffic to my websites using

  • High quality, regularly posted content

  • Pinterest

  • YouTube

  • and to a lesser extent the other social media channels.

And the good news about Pinterest

Pins on Pinterest have much longer shelf lives than other social media. More on that later. But hopefully now you are interested enough in using Pinterest to promote your own photography business.

And as a visual platform it is surely great for photographers! So one of the main things that you need for Pinterest, great imagery, should not be a problem for us photographers.

The writing of this post was the beginning of me taking Pinterest much more seriously, and actually researching Pinterest properly and coming up with a structured plan going forwards.

Lets’ get into the weeds on this.

How I have I been using Pinterest so far?

I have not been using Pinterest with much thought or logic. When I started off with Pinterest it was just another social media platform that I thought I should be on, so I took it as seriously as the other social media platforms.

Which is not very seriously, just another necessary evil that I thought I had to contribute to.

I have been using a service called Tailwind to schedule my posts. I have again done this with little thought (more on Tailwind later).

This and sharing pins from the Pinterest app on my phone.

So it is a bit of surprise that at the time of starting to write this post I have 386,000 monthly unique viewers (this number changes on a daily basis).

Check out the screenshot from my iPad.

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Is that many unique monthly views good?

Well it can’t be bad, but to be honest it is not the end game here. This is very much a vanity number, but I also treat this as an indicator of the direction of travel – the bigger the number the better things are going.

So I am not getting too hung up on that number, even if the scale of it is to be completely honest rather exciting news for me.

A better number is the “Monthly Engaged” one

In the last 30 days I have 19,541 “monthly engaged” people. This is an increase of 144% - and this is a number that I do take seriously.

“Engaged” is defined by Pinterest as “people who see your Pins and people who act on your Pins”.

How many followers do I have?

161 (see later for the individual board followers)

That is not a lot.

But that is not the point.

How many re-pins have I received?

5471 in the last 30 days. And this number is trending upwards. I take this is a very good indicator.

Which are my most popular pins?

When I check Pinterest Analytics this is what I find.

My most popular pin is this pin of a photo of a waterfall

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1.4k impressions quite quickly which is good news. I think that the vertical picture format helps with this one.

And the next most popular pin, with 1.3k impressions?

Another very recent pin, and one of my blog posts that I have shared from Rick McEvoy Photography onto Pinterest titled Very Quick Photography Tips – 105 Things Worth Knowing

I thought this one might work well, being a long post with lots of info and a title that has attracted interest.

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All these numbers come from Pinterest.

And how much traffic has my website seen?

This is the important thing to me. My web traffic has been growing significantly, so here are the numbers from Google Analytics. Actually this is a screenshot from Squarespace Analytics (which uses Google Analytics), which gets me these numbers really quickly.

Here is the screenshot from my iPad.

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As you can see I got 44 referrals from Pinterest in the last 30 days. Whilst that is not in itself a big number it does account for 88% of the social media referral traffic.

One for me to definitely keep an eye on.

Like I say not a lot of traffic, but all the work I have done not only on Pinterest but elsewhere is done now and will hopefully bear fruit in the future. And now I am adding to the work already done.

What is the Squarespace Analytics App?

My main website is on the Squarespace platform. The analytics app is excellent and gives me better live reporting than Google Analytics does which is interesting.

My other websites, Paxos Travel Guide and Photos of Santorini are built on the WordPress platform.

How many Pinterest boards do I have?

Well in starting my research for this post I had a look at my own boards, and they were a bit of a mess I have to say.

I have deleted lots of boards, leaving just the following

  • Architectural Photography

This is my core business area so there should be a board for this I guess!

  • Other people’s photography

This is literally other people’s photos that I have seen on Pinterest and just liked.

  • Paxos Travel Guide

I have a website called Paxos Travel Guide, so a board just for that website is entirely appropriate.

  • Photography

Generally photography stuff that I have found interesting.

  • Photos of Santorini

Again, I have a website called Photos of Santorini so there is a board dedicated to just this.

  • Photography Gear

Photography gear – well what did think this would be?

  • Rick McEvoy Photography

This is where my weekly blog posts get shared.

  • Travel

Pins by other people all about travel.

  • Travel Photography

The new board. When I got thinking about this I had missed one of the points of Pinterest, which is to promote my photography, so this board is a new board in which I am pinning my own travel photography work.

Should I have deleted these other boards?

NO. DO NOT DO WHAT I DID.

I should have kept them there – they were not doing any harm and might have had some gems in there but as I can’t recover them I will just have to get over this rather stupid impulsive mistake.

Do I have a Pinterest business account?

No. well I didn’t, and that was the beginning of this post and the beginning of me taking Pinterest much more seriously.

Getting a Pinterest business account was the first thing to change.

And when I checked I had already done this – I did have a Pinterest Business Account – I just did not know this!

And no this does not cost anything.

How am I going to use Pinterest going forwards?

Well this is the point. I have managed to get 386,000 monthly unique views (and this number is trending upwards), but in the same period only 44 referrals to my website.

That puts the numbers in perspective nicely.

And gives me the incentive to be a bit more systematic about this.

Before I go on, a word on Tailwind.

Tailwind is a paid service allowing you to schedule posts to Pinterest. You have to pay for this and having heard lots of good things I paid the annual subscription of circa £70.

I have used Tailwind to quickly schedule lots of re-pins and have even joined 5 tribes to share my stuff within groups of people with similar interests, namely travel, photography and travel photography.

So Tailwind has been a great tool which I will continue to use.

But there is more that I need to do.

I need to post more of my own posts.

Before I do that I need to make sure that my Pinterest account is set up properly.

When I first signed up to Pinterest I did not have a clue what I was doing, so it makes sense to go back to the beginning and check that everything is as it should be,

Convert to Pinterest business account

Sorry I had already done that!

Other things that I have needed to correct/ update/ improve

  • My profile.

I have added to this significantly – what it did say was

“Photographer, blogger, writer, website creator”

Hardly putting the effort in eh?

So this is what I came up with. There are 160 characters available, so I had to get the best value out of them!

“I am Rick, a photographer based in the UK specialising in architectural, landscape and travel photography. I am also a website creator and freelance writer.”

That should do it.

  • Confirm the website.

Doing this means that I can see what people Pin from my website. I had already done this so nothing more to do here.

One last bit of housekeeping that I did was to edit my boards. If you remember I have lots less boards than I used to have, and now they all have nice descriptions which are relevant.

  • Add the Pinterest button to my website

I had not done this would you believe!

This is another very good thing to do (that I really should have done) – add a Pinterest button so people can pin photos straight from my website. This is why Pinterest is good for photographers – it makes the visual side of my website very easily shareable, which is exactly what I want.

Now when someone hovers over any image that small Pinterest logo appears top right in the image.

I am glad that I have sorted this little lot out – my Pinterest account looks much more cared for now, rather than being a random collection of stuff.

And in researching this post I have managed to set my own Pinterest account up properly which should pay dividends for the future.

Now that all that good stuff is out of the way it is time for the most important question.

What do I need to pin? I got there in the end.

Pin in a consistent way

Ouch. I have not done this. I have randomly added pins as and when the thought came to me.

I will come back to scheduling later, but the point here is that you should pin stuff every day, and to pin at a consistent and peak time is useful.

The only problem with the peak time bit is when is that in the day? My photography website is a global .com website. And my travel photography business by its very nature has global appeal.

If you have a shop in England the timing should be easy enough to work out – it is less clear for online global needs.

What should the content contain?

Pinterest is a visual platform so visually appealing posts work well. I am a photographer, so photos are what I will be posting. My own photos, as well as other peoples’ photos that I like.

And lifestyle photos outperform product photos. A photo of someone actually using a product is more likely to sell than a product photo.

Obviously I am a photographer, so images are my main thing, so I am ok. If you are in a different area of business you will have different needs which I recommend you research before going nuts and pinning stuff!

If you are not into photography then you can use stock photos. If you sell products then product photos should be of a good enough quality to sell your products.

And on the subject of photos – very important

Vertical formats work really well, as they fill the screen on a phone. For a digital camera that is portrait format, not landscape. And in terms of image size the 3:2 aspect ratio is just fine. So 600 pixels wide x 900 pixels high is perfect. That is 2:3 aspect ratio thinking about it!

My most popular pin is a portrait format photo of a waterfall.

And significantly more people use Pinterest on their phones that on tablets and actual computers.

Significantly more. This is a biggy.

And one that I have failed to take account of.

Text on photos

Now this is news to me. I have been sharing photos without text on them. This is something that I needed to look into. Do I want text on my lovely photos?

No – I do not.

But I need to get over myself.

This is one that I will look at in more detail.

Branding

Pinterest followers do not generally search by brand, they search by thing, or source of inspiration. And the inspiration I have to offer is my photos. And of course my most excellent writing!

Content

I reshare a lot of other people’s pins. This fills up my Tailwind schedule with stuff quickly and with minimal effort.

But the posts that are my own need more work, time and care.

I am happy to have a mix of re-pins and my own stuff. A suggested good mix is 7 re-pins and 3 of your own pins per day.

I am not going to be that conscientious to be honest.

Sorry before I get into the content let’s talk about hashtags.

Stuffing a post with hash tags is not the thing to do on Pinterest. 3-20 is a suggested figure. 3-20 relevant hashtags at the end of the text in the post is all that is required.

Simple and sorted.

I will go with the lesser end of this scale, 3 – 5 hashtags.

What about the content?

Well Tailwind fills up my queue nicely, but I want something more.

So this is my systematic plan for Pinterest.

I am going to add 1 new pin of my own every day. And I am going to add these using Tailwind. By creating the pins is Tailwind I can schedule my pins, adding a months’ worth at a time, and then add the re-pins to fill up the posting schedule Tailwind has created for me.

I want to consistently produce new pins, but I also do not want too to spend a lot of time on this. And once I have added my months pins I can forget about Pinterest. Other than checking those numbers far too often that is!

So how does 1 pin per day look?

Rick McEvoy Photography Board

I post a weekly blog from my main website which is shared automatically on Pinterest. That is the core content that I want to get onto Pinterest, so it is good that this is done automatically.

And I will add the weekly videos about the content of my weekly photography blog which I have just started posting to YouTube.

That is 8/10 posts.

That’s a good start sharing content that has already been created!

So to the other boards.

My travel photography website pages.

I am going to add one photo Pin per week to each of the boards Photos of Santorini and Paxos Travel Guide.

That is another 8/10 pins.

Travel photography

I am going to pin 10 of my travel photography photos per month to this board. This is quite a commitment, but I hope that using Tailwind this will be not too much work. I do have lots of images after all that I want to get out there, and my main focus here is on travel photography, so this needs some real work!

And with each of my Pins I will write natural text with a sprinkling of hashtags at the end. The key here is natural content, not just trying to force things.

Travel Board

This is going to be re-pins of other people’s stuff.

Architectural Photography

I forgot about this board. My day job. One pin per week is a must.

Photography Gear

One pin per week of one of my gear shots plus lots of other people’s pins.

Photography

Anything goes on this one – anything that takes my interest.

Other Peoples Photography

Just re-pins of photos that I like.

And that is all my boards covered.

How many Pins have I go to?

Based on a 4-week month that is 34 pins per month.

Perfect. I will do this starting July 1st – my schedule is full up until then.

This is my formula and my plan based on everything I have learned – let’s see how this goes.

Resources/ further reading/ listening

I can recommend the Simple Pin podcast, which is a podcast about Pinterest which I have recently discovered and learnt a lot from

And also their website - Simple Pin Media.

I also learned stuff from excellent articles from on Hootsuite.

Tailwind

I have mentioned Tailwind – I am a paying customer to Tailwind and use Tailwind to manage my Pinterest activities. If you are interested in growing your Pinterest traffic I can recommend Tailwind, which is the main reason I have achieved the number of visitors that I have to date.

Finally, what are my top 5 Pinterest Photography boards

1 - Rick McEvoy Photography

At the time of writing 1.3k Pins and 141 followers.

2 - Travel Photography

At the time of writing 28 Pins and 137 followers

3 - Architectural Photography

At the time of writing 200 Pins and 138 followers

4 – Paxos Travel Guide

At the time of writing 181 Pins and 139 followers

5 – Photos of Santorini

At the time of writing 603 Pins and 148 followers

I am interested to see how these individual boards develop over the second half of 2019.

Finally finally - Please follow me

Pinterest - click here for my Pinterest page

YouTube - there is also an accompanying YouTube video for this blog post which you can view here

And of course you can subscribe to my photography blog straight from my home page.

I know - multimedia productions!

Rick McEvoy

Summary

I hope that you have found my explanation of Pinterest helpful, and that I have convinced you to at least give Pinterest a go.

I will write an update later on this year – lets give this new strategy a few months to hopefully do its magic and get lots more traffic over to my websites.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP - photographer, blogger, website creator

31 Important Features Features For Your New Camera

A few weeks ago I wrote about my old faithful Canon 6D, and asked if I was ready to replace it, and if so what with? I spent lots of time talking about the Canon 6D in that article.

So here are 31 important features features for your new camera. This based on how I have used cameras in the past, and how I am going to use cameras in the future. This is with a lifetime of photography experience. In producing this list you will learn what camera features are genuinely important to me in my work as an architectural, landscape and travel photographer. And which features are by default not important. I hope that this will help you choose your next camera.

I am going to refine this list down to the essential items that I need, which will determine what my next camera should be.

A new camera is a significant purchase in so many ways, so time spent identifying the features required will ensure that the best choice of a new camera is made.

By the way these are all features that will help me to take better photos, which is my number one priority.

Why am I writing this list now?

This list started off when I was writing a previous blog post about my Canon 6D, and brought together thoughts I have been having for some time. The starting point really was what would I do if I broke my Canon 6D – this is an entirely likely scenario as I am

  • Intrinsically clumsy, and

  • Take photos on live construction sites

  • Like putting my camera very close to the bit of land where the waves and land meet.

  • Take my camera with me absolutely everywhere

  • Seriously I am really clumsy

What has made me think about changing my camera?

So once that thought process had been initiated, the cogs started whirring slowly.

The 3 primary reasons/ concerns/ potential issues

1 – My dodgy old mince pies (like the rather too early Yuletide reference?)

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My eyesight is getting worse as I get older. Well we are all getting older of course but I have a bit of a head start when it comes to age – I am already 51.

It is my eyes that are the issue. I have been short sighted for donkeys’ years now. But in the last 5 years my near vision has got worse and worse.

Add short-sighted to losing your near vision and it is a royal pain in the X! Try seeing all those small lights and dials on a camera, and then switch your vision to distance – not easy.

2 – A different way of working

Yes – I am working in a different way now. My Canon 6D is still doing an excellent job with my architectural photography work, but there are other things that I am doing now, travel photography and vlogging. My Canon 6D is not fitting the bill as well for these areas of my work.

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3 – I just want something shiny and new

Shock confession. I want a new camera. There – I have said it now. I think that this has become one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. I started writing about not replacing my Canon 6D and find myself here writing this post with much too much enthusiasm!

To be fair to me my cameras tend to last me five years so I am due for something that will take me into the year 2024 – imagine what technology will be doing for us by then!!

Back to the subject in hand - here are the 31 features that I want in my next camera.

These 31 things are in no particular order, and are a list of the things that came to me when I sat down to capture the headings for this article. 31 just happens to be the number of things I came up with – there is no significance to this number!!

1 - Smaller and lighter than my Canon 6D with lenses attached.

I found myself using my iPhone more and more on holiday. I basically couldn’t be bothered getting my Canon 6D out all the time, and really enjoyed the ease of using an iPhone.

I know – its not Canons fault I’m lazy!

I used my Canon 6D for sunrise shots, where it was just me and the sunrise, no on else around and just me to think about. I used my Canon 6D on my travel tripod, the Manfrotto 190 Go.

I would really like something much smaller and lighter that I can take on trips and not be burdened with.

My 6D is not that big to be fair – it is just the collection of stuff together that bugs me. And I know there is smaller stuff out there.

Talking of tripods I also use a Platypod and a very small tripod called the Manfrotto Pixi. If I had a much smaller camera, I would have more options in terms of tripods and other supports which is rather exciting.

2 - In camera HDR

I am going to refer to my Canon 6D as my camera from now on. OK?

My camera has built-in HDR, but this is only to Jpeg files. I shoot in RAW only, so this feature is of no use to me.

Or is it?

Is there a different way of looking at this? Has the technology of cameras, sensors, image capture and image processing progressed to the point where there is no real difference between Jpeg and RAW?

Is there a camera that makes this differentiation irrelevant?

And is there a camera that makes HDR irrelevant as well?

Well it’s a thought.

Can a single image capture be enough?

Or a single image capture processed using something like Aurora HDR.

3 – GPS

GPS is a must for not only my travel photography, but also my commercial photography and the stuff I do on the way to and from shoots.

I have GPS on my Canon 6D which I always use, which I find incredibly useful.

I use the Map Module in Lightroom a lot, especially when I am writing about my photographs on my various websites, blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

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GPS is pretty much an essential tool for me.

4 - Wi-fi

I use Wi-Fi to remotely control my camera using the Canon Connect App. I have used this to activate my camera from the top of my painters’ pole in a couple of situations.

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

Me using the Wi-Fi on my Canon 6D

This photo was taken in a pretty harsh environment, a gravel loading facility next to a live rail siding. I had to photograph the gravel being unloaded by the 360 machine from the train into the gravel bays.

And when these guys are unloading from a train on a live rail network they get on with it!

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

No time to wait on this shoot with my Canon 6D

The other example is where I want to take a photograph of a building from higher than ground level, like the photo above. Getting to first floor level, which is only circa 3m gives a completely different perspective, and also means that my camera is at first floor level, eliminating the need to correct verticals.

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

Architectural photography in Hampshire using a painters’ pole

5 - Connectivity as good as an iPhone

In the year 2018 why do cameras not have the same functionality and connectivity that we all enjoy with our phones?

My Canon 6D is an older camera now granted but cameras in general seem to lack way behind phones.

Why can’t I take a photo and share it with a client immediately? I can with my phone.

6 - The functionality of an iPhone

Same point relay but rather than connectivity functionality.

7 - Connectivity to my iPhone (thinking about it)

improving that in a clever way could negate the need for the two points above.

8 - In camera image processing

What do I mean by this? I guess I am talking about Jpeg image capture with more processing, meaning I can use images straight from camera (with the connectivity mentioned above).

9 - Fully articulated screen

I put my camera on a painters’ pole. I also put my camera on the ground, on a Platypod or Manfrotto Pixi tripod. I hold my camera out of windows.

I hold my camera out in front of me to get over things.

For all of these situations a fully articulating screen would be a huge bonus to me – this would genuinely help me taking photos.

10 - A screen I can actually see in normal light and also in direct Greek sunshine

I am getting old. I am (rather tragically) over 50. And my eyes are not what they were.

The screens on my Canon 6D are an issue. The tiny numbers in the viewfinder are also an issue to me.

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

Photographing the sunrise on Santorini

I have been getting away with these shortcomings mainly by the way I take my photos. I pre-set most of my camera settings so most of the time all I am changing is the aperture and the point of focus.

When I want to deviate from that in any way the problems begin.

And I have noticed recently that all things that I do with my Canon 6D are becoming more difficult. Not just my Canon 6D of course – all things that I do that involve close focus.

And the distance stuff isn’t that great either.

Oh the woes of getting old…….

A large bright screen will help I have no doubt. Going from my iPhone 7 Plus to my Canon 6D screen is like going from my iPhone back to one of the old Nokia phones with the little screen – remember them??

11 - Touch screen with full functionality

This ties in with points raised before, putting all these bits together to get something approaching iPhone touch screen functionality.

The thought of a touch screen that is as user friendly as that on an iPhone or iPad is rather exciting to me.

12 - Ergonomics that make it a pleasure to use

My Canon 6D works for me ergonomically. I have handled some smaller cameras and am not sure how they handle ergonomically – that is a very good reason for going to an actual camera shop and actually holding an actual camera rather then reading reviews online.

The internet will never replace a shop for the experience of actually holding something and getting that tactile experience – that is one reason why it is so important that we all go to shops and buy things, or there will be no shops and nowhere that you can go to hold an actual camera.

13 - Simple logical menu system

Not a lot more to say really – I have heard that other camera manufacturers systems are not as good as Canons, which I am used to. And to be honest I change so little, maybe because there is so little to change, that this is not currently an issue.

This may be an issue if I had a camera with more variables to play with. One to think about,

14 - 4K video with high quality audio recording

I currently do 99% of videos with my iPhone. Now I do have a DJI Osmo Mobile that I need to make better use of but I would like to do more 4K video with an actual camera – my Canon 6D does not do 4K video of course.

My videos are not the best, but on the plus side check out this lovely 6 minutes of sunrise tranqulity on the wonderful Greek Island of Paxos.

15 - Excellent Vlogging/ recording capabilities

I am finding the need to produce more videos, some for my own promotional purposes, some for clients I am working for. At the moment all I am doing is holding my iPhone up in front of me and talking into it using the built-in mic. Whilst the picture quality is adequate the sound is not good enough.

16 - Smaller cheaper lenses offering similar quality

This ties in with my desire to have smaller camera gear especially for travel photography. I have found in recent trips that I have been using my iPhone more and more for day to day shooting, using my Canon 6D for sunrises and stuff like that.

Whilst the iPhone has a remarkably capable camera it just does not compare with my Canon 6D and Canon L lenses, and nor should it to be fair.

17 – High quality sensor

I love the sensor on my Canon 6D, and love the images it captures. This is a 20 MP sensor, and I will not accept a lesser performing sensor.

Another intangible here is how the sensor on another camera will perform, and what will the look be of the images?

18 - Excellent low light performance

My Canon 6D has excellent low light performance. Well I think it does. Again performance needs to be better than that I currently enjoy.

19 - Stuff like time lapse, long exposure and other good stuff etc built in

I want some toys and things that I can play with and have some fun! And I want to be able to use the latest technological developments in my photography. I know it is all about the composition but I have worked hard on that over the last year, and will continue to do so going forwards.

I just want some fun when I am taking my photos and some new things to try out.

20 - A sensor that doesn’t need cleaning

I hate removing sensor dust spots. Hate it.

So a sensor that doesn’t need cleaning will be good. Not an essential but a nice to have.

I do not know if this is even a thing – one of the problems with mirrorless cameras is that the sensor is closer to the bit where you mount the lens as there is no mirror there. On an SLR there is a mirror in-between the rear lens mount and the sensor which must provide some protection.

21 - Interchangeable lenses

Now this is an essential. I want to be able to change lenses, I want to be able to expand the range of lenses that I have in the future as and when needed.

And I want the lenses to be of a similar quality to my current Canon L series lenses.

22 - Tilt shift capability

I have a tilt-shift lens that I rarely use. The truth is I do not like it. It is manual focus, and I have managed for so long without it that I am in two minds whether to get rid of it or not.

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens

Canon 24mm tilit shift lens


I have been planning on using my tilt-shift lens for a prolonged period of time but have never got around to this.

I think that this may be because don’t really want to – I feel like I am forcing myself (potentially) to use a piece of kit just because others say I should.

It is unlike me to do such a thing so lets just park this and say that it will never happen.

That’s tilt shift lenses done then!

23 – Ultra-wide angle lens

This might be an issue with crop factors. At the moment I have a Canon 17-40mm lens on my full frame Canon 6D. If anything I want the ability to go wider than 17mm if at all possible, but without the size and expense of the canon 11-24mm lens – an awesome lens for sure but not what I am looking for at the moment.

This could be a deal breaker for me.

24 - Bespoke programming – Custom Function that works!

I have never got on with the custom functions on my Canon 6D. I think this is my own fault, a definite display of petulance and a lack of time studying this feature.

But to be able to have pre-sets that I can switch to automatically to mix things up is very appealing to me.

25 - RAW Capture

I shoot in RAW, process in RAW and output in Jpeg. But with the new technologies out there is this still a thing? Or has the in-camera elastic trickery made this a thing of the past?

26 – EVF

I have tried various EVFs in shops, and also at Gatwick Airports’ Dixons World Duty Free. The main thing that I do with my airport downtime is look at cameras and marvel at EVFs.

I love the way that you get live exposure simulation in the EVF – such an awesome thing to be able to see.

The EVF however needs to provide the same optical experience as the viewfinder on my Canon 6D though – field of view here is a consideration together with brightness and realism.

And the size of the stuff in the EVF.

27 – Computational photography

I know very little about this, but the advances in technology must be being included in image capture?

I am sure that with the power of processing things like sensor size, mega pixels, noise and stuff like that the gap between high end and lower end cameras is closing.

28 - Focussing in the dark

My Canon 6D is pretty good at this. I have written about this on my blog and also on the Improve Photography website.

And to be honest people have been surprised that I find the Canon 6Ds low light focussing capabilities.

I am sure that newer cameras will have better low light focussing capabilities than my Canon 6D so I expect to see benefit in this area with a new camera.

29 – Weather-sealing

I need a weather-sealed camera. All my photography is done outdoors. And I don’t stop for the rain.

And I work on live construction site which are wet, dusty inhospitable and noisy places. Not that noise is relevant here.

30 - And the ability to output straight from the camera.

Straight from the camera onto the internet. This is a new business need which I will expand on in the summary.

If I could take a photograph with image processing pre-sets that I knew would give me the initial level of processing that I wanted that would be a start. There is of course the question of the metadata, filename, title and description. But I guess they could be added after the event?

I need to be able to add high quality metadata to my images – this is something I am quite fastidious about.

It is the ability to be able to get processed images out of the camera and onto my websites that I am keen to have.

31 – Shiny new loveliness

I have often written that there is too much talk about gear, which I still maintain is true. But this does not mean that I do not want some shiny new techie loveliness now!

And when I get a camera I do tend to use it for a number of years.

But there is a genuine worry here

What if I jump ship to another manufacturer and don’t like it? If I were to get a Canon EOS R, which is a strong contender, I would be staying in the Canon ecosystem. I would know what I was getting, but with lots and lots of bells and whistles in addition.

But what if I went elsewhere and just did not like it – that does worry me.

I need to narrow things down

I need to provide a bullet point list of essentials – I will do this and post it next week, along with any feedback from this post and the one that I published on Improve Photography titled.

Or do I have two camera systems?

Canon 6D

Canon 6D

I might have missed a trick here. My Canon 6D works just fine, and still captures great images. What if I got something super small for travel?

Maybe I need two shortlists – one for a replacement to my Canon 6D (and all the other related products) and one for an addition to my Canon 6D.

I think that I have just cracked this particular conundrum – to systems.

Keeping my Canon 6D for my architectural work opens up more possibilities for my other work.

Summary

There is a serious point to this. I have embarked on some new products, one of which I have recently completed.

I have written about this before on my photography blog, but it is wholly relevant here.

I am talking about my new photography website Photos of Santorini. And more significantly the websites I have planned for the future. I want to be able to work in a different way for the next websites I am producing, including having the ability to add photos direct to website pages to speed up production of these websites.

I want to publish images straight from the camera with no further processing required.

This will also allow me to produce new websites whilst out on location which will be massive for me.

Rick McEvoy

If I can add the images I can add the text using my iPad to a prepared website – now that would be really cool and transform the way I work.

So there is a serious point to this.

That and the fact that my eyes are getting old and less useful!

OK I’m done now

I hope that you have enjoyed reading this post, and please if you are able to point me in the right direction for my next camera please do so. And one last thing - check out the video that accompanies this blog there on my YouTube channel.

Rick McEvoy ABIPP – Photographer, blogger, website creator extraordinaire

Minimalist Travel Photography Gear – This Is What I Use

Regular readers will know that I have been moving towards smaller camera gear.

Well having got back from Canada how was my minimalist travel photography gear? It was pretty good to be honest. In this post I will tell you all about my much-reduced amount of gear for travel photography, the good, the bad, the annoying and the not needed!

I hope that this post inspires you to take less gear out with you and concentrate on taking photos – this has certainly worked for me!!

First, here is the stuff I took for a weeklong trip to Canada.

FullSizeRender.jpg

Yep, this is all I took for a week long break to British Columbia in Canada, visiting Vancouver, Whistler, Pemberton and all places in-between!

It might look a lot when laid out like this, but this is the least amount of gear that I have taken. And there is some more work to do to get to the minimalist set up I am after. But I am getting there.

Why am I writing about this?

Well this all started last year when I went on a two-week trip to Rhodes, and apart from photographing sunrises I did not get my Canon 6D out of the boot of the car at all. I was basically fed up with the bulk of my gear. Now this is not solely down to the size of my Canon gear, although that is part of it. It is also because I take too much stuff that I do not need.

Is mirrorless micro four thirds gear the travel photography answer?

In part yes. Sure the gear is smaller, but it is not that small that on its own this is the answer. When I stick my 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens on the front of an Olympus micro four thirds body it is quite a chunk of glass.

Sure if I used the 12-42mm pancake lens I good could get my Olympus EM10 Mk 2 in my pocket, but that is not my lens of choice.

Basically less gear is the other part

I always pack too much gear. For this trip I packed much less gear, and some of it I did not use. I will get onto that later but let’s start with the good stuff.

What did I like about my minimalist travel photography gear?

Well I liked the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2. And the 12-40mm F2.8 Pro lens.

I didn’t use the 40-150mm lens – to be fair other than to make sure that it works I have not needed this lens yet.

What did I like about the Olympus OM-D EM10 Mk 2?

Well it is quite new to me, so there is still the novelty factor, shiny new syndrome. A quick word about the camera and the main things I liked, and I will get on with the rest of the gear.

The size of the camera

As I said before the lens is quite a lumpy thing but that is my choice to use a Pro lens, but the camera is still smaller than my Canon 6D – smaller to make a difference.

The amount of space in my camera bag for other stuff.

I managed to get my camera and lenses in the bottom section of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack, leaving loads of space for other stuff.

I actually had a half empty bag for the flights to and from Canada which was different. And my bag was much lighter and did not have bulging sides.

The Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

I love the EVF on my Olympus camera. This is the first time I have owned a camera with an EVF, having spent a lifetime taking photos with SLRs and then DSLRs, all of which have an optical viewfinder. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Changing the focus point on the touch screen

I did not know how much I would take to the touchscreen, but it has been brilliant. And I mean brilliant in helping me to take photos. One of the main uses I have found for the touch screen is to change the focus point just by touching the screen where I want the camera to focus.

I do not want technology just for the sake of it – I want technology that helps me take photos.

The tilting touchscreen

Another thing that I really like and will be even better when I get the EM5 with the rotating/ tilting screen.

I like to take photos from unusual angles, high and low, and the tilting screen helped me with that.

The clarity of the screen

Yes the screen is brighter and easier to see. I have not tested it in Greek sunshine yet, but things are looking promising. And next month I will be trialling this little gem of a camera in Greece which I cannot wait to do.

One handed operation

I was able to walk around the Granville Island market in Vancouver and quickly raise my camera, focus and shoot with one hand, which was actually easier than doing this with my iPhone which was brilliant.

This is as close as I get to street photography!

The levels on the camera

Yes the Olympus EM10 has horizontal and vertical indicators in the viewfinder which I absolutely love.

Another word on packing gear.

I took a rear lens and body cap meaning that I could separate the camera and lens meaning they took up even less room in my camera bag.

And what about the other gear?

I also liked the Peak Design cuff – this was a big improvement on the strap that I was using, and this clever wrist strap tightens nicely around my wrist but is easy to remove – another great product from Peak Design!

And my favourite travel tripod

Yes, my good old Manfrotto Pixi is even more at home with my Olympus EM10 on it – I set it up on the top of the Whistler Gondola and recorded the skiers flying by down below – I did this whilst drinking a lovely hot coffee at the summit.

This is the scene, and here is one of the videos. I forgot to photograph my iPhone on the tripod but here it is rested on the window cill before I rememberd that I had my mini tripod to hand!!

Taking videos with my iPhone

Here is the video

What did I not like?

It is not all sweetness and light - there were things that I was not happy with that need sorting.

There always are……

The way the camera sits in my camera bag.

This is something I need to look into. The camera is so small there is no logical place for it to be secured on the top section of my Peak Design Everyday Backpack, which is where I like to have my cameras. My Canon 6D sat nicely in the top section of my bag – well it filled it to be fair!

No GPS

This is something that I really miss – the GPS on my Canon 6D was an invaluable tool, and my Olympus EM10 does not have this. I am going to have to look at how I can sort this when I get the EM5.

There is a work round for now – take photos on my iPhone and I can copy and paste the GPS data into the metadata of the photos taken with the Olympus camera, but this is a faff I can do without to be honest.

This is the main sticking point at the moment that needs to be sorted.

The fact that the widest I could go was in full frame equivalent 24mm – I want wider than that.

I use a 17-40mm lens in addition to my 24-105mm lens. And when I use the 17-40mm lens most of the photos I take are taken at the 17mm end.

So the question is this – do I get the 7-14mm lens? This will give me a super wide 14mm focal length. One for the future methinks.

The grip on the camera

The grip on the OM10 is too small for me – I am used to the big chunky grip on the Canon 6D to be fair. When I get the EM5 I will buy the grip that will sort this issue out.

The way that the tripod sits in my camera bag.

An unexpected annoyance was the way that my new travel tripod, the Peak Design Corey, sat in my camera bag. This needs looking at – I ended up with the tripod head either pointing up above the top of the bag or face down getting damaged.

Has this camera changed the way I take travel photographs?

Yes, In a number of ways,

I use it more and noticed that I have less photos on my iPhone. Not good for immediate use but as this is not really a priority to me definitely a good thing.

HDR

I have done more single image captures. This is in part down to having the wonderful EVF. Talking of which.

EVF and live in viewfinder exposure compensation

I used AV mode and exposure compensation pretty much the same way I did with the Canon 6D, but enjoyed it more, especially the instant feedback in the EVF of the image capture.

And what about things that have not changed?

Yep there are things that have not changed which is a good thing - this is not an exercise in binning everything I have been doing in the past after all!

Go to focal length

I still start wide and zoom in when required. So 12mm is my default focal length, as was 17mm with my Canon 6D.

I am going to analyse the focal lengths that I use – after all if I only ever use 12mm I might as well get the 7-14mm Pro lens and give myself room to play in the ultra wide arena.

What gear did I use?

  • Olympus OM-D EM10 and 12-40mm Pro lens

  • Pec Pads and Eclipse lens cleaning solution

  • Spare batteries and charger

  • Spare memory cards

  • Manfrotto Pixi for videoing skiers on the mountain

  • And what gear did I not use?

  • My brand new shiny three-legged thing tripod

  • My Platypod

  • My 40-150mm lens

Did I miss my Canon 6D?

No, not really. I was quite happy as I was.

And I have noticed since I got back from Canada that I am missing some of the features of my Olympus camera which my Canon 6 does not have, especially the EVF and touchscreen.

I know that newer Canon cameras have these features – it is just new to me with the gear that I have.

And some of things have very quickly become instinctive to me. I have started touching the LCD screen on my Canon 6D to change the focus points, but this is not a touchscreen, so nothing happens!

What about my ageing mince pies – sorry eyes?

I have adjusted to the smaller camera just fine, as the screen is much bigger than the one on my Canon 6D, and the EVF is much clearer and easier for me to read.

I should write an article titled “Cameras for the over 50s!” – actually that is not a bad idea.

I was concerned that I would struggle to read the dials and screens on a smaller camera, but this has not been a problem at all, which is a pleasant surprise.

A word about my Canon gear

My Canon gear still works wonderfully well and is still what I use for my commercial architectural photography work. This post is not a mirrorless is amazing/ DLSRs are so last year post. Nor is it an Olympus is better than Canon post.

No – my Olympus micro four thirds camera gives me options which are always good. And having some shiny new (albeit second hand) photography gear does help.

I am not knocking DLSRs or Canon – there is still a big place for both.

Lessons learned for the future

I think that the EM5 Mk 2 with grip will work even better.

Do I need to get a wider lens? I am going to stick as I am for now, and for my next trip I will take the other body with these two lenses.

I did not miss the longer focal lengths, meaning that my choice to buy the 12-40mm lens instead of the 12-100mm lens was the right thing for me.

I will hold the thought that the 7-14mm lens might be my go-to lens,

The one thing that I need to work out is a camera bag. I have contacted Peak Design and asked for their advice – lets see what they come up with.

Update – the good folks at Peak Design have got back to me and advise that I use the lower sections of the camera bag, which is not great as I want the camera to be sat on top of my camera bag so I can access it – one for me to work on.

I do have an idea.

My camera and my iPhone

The other thing which I mentioned earlier - I used my camera more than my iPhone to take photos. This is a good thing – the reason that I started looking for other gear was because I found myself not using my Canon 6D on a trip last year – it sat in the boot most of the time.

Now this is not good for the immediate access to images that my iPhone gives me – this is of course one of the brilliant things that an iPhone does.

But this is not the biggest thing for me, so I can live with it. I am more concerned about capturing the images I want whilst I am away which I can work on when I am back in my office.

Summary

This post is all about the minimalist travel photography gear that I used on a trip to Canada – there is a bit of refinement, but I am on the right road to having just the gear I need with me.

Rick McEvoy

I will write an update in June after my next trip and see how I got on using my new gear photographing a Greek Island with lots of sunrises!

Please check out my post next week which is all about Pinterest, the social media platform which is actually useful.

Rick McEvoy – travel photographer, writer, blogger

JPEG Explained In Plain English

There are lots of acronyms in the photography world. And I am not a fan of them. But this is a universally used acronym, and an important one for us photographers to understand.

JPEG explained in plain English. Simple. JPEG is a digital image file format, and a method of compressing files to make them smaller and also readable by anyone. JPEG files have an amount of processing applied at the time of image capture that cannot be removed.

JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, but that is not important to us here!

What is important is JPEG files and their relevance for us photographers, and that is what I will explain here, along with telling you how I use the JPEG file format in all my photographic work.

Before I begin, what do I mean by a file format?

When I say file format I mean the type of file that is created by a digital camera when an image is taken. Cameras take photos in JPEG, and more sophisticated cameras also offer the option of a different format called RAW in addition to JPEG.

There are other formats, but I will stick to the two most common formats in this post.

So JPEG refers to the type of file that your digital camera produces, or to the file type that you save an edited image as that other people can look at. Don’t worry – I will explain.

What file formats are there other than JPEG?

The most common formats digital images are taken in are JPEG and RAW.

Do I need to know about JPEG?

It is important to know the difference between JPEG and RAW file formats. The selection of either the JPEG or RAW format before taking a digital photograph will have a direct impact on the data captured by the camera. This will impact on the processing and the finished image, and some of these things cannot be undone.

So yes, this is important.

What is the difference between JPEG and RAW files?

There is a fundamental point here. A JPEG file is compressed by the camera, with an amount of processing “baked in” to the file that cannot be undone.

A RAW file has no processing added by the camera, it is the bare RAW image capture with no processing applied at all.

This is the main difference.

When you are taking photos with a digital camera JPEG is one file format that you can use. RAW is an alternative file format that you can use to take photos with.

With my Canon 6D I can take photos in both JPEG and RAW at the same time, which I rarely do to be honest.

What is the actual difference between JEPG and RAW files?

A JEPG file looks much better than a RAW file, as there has been some processing done to the image on capture. A JPEG image looks more finished, because it is!

Here are two images taken using my Canon 6D using the RAW + JEPG camera setting. No further processing has been applied.

The RAW file taken with my Canon 6D

The RAW file taken with my Canon 6D

The JPEG file taken with my Canon 6D

The JPEG file taken with my Canon 6D

Photos courtesy of Paxos Travel Guide.

A JPEG file looks more like a finished image. Well it does when compared to a RAW file, which is dull, flat and lacking in colour, detail, vibrance sharpness and brightness.

Dull and flat basically!

Are JPEG and RAW file sizes different?

Yes. JPEG files are much smaller than RAW files. Taking the two photos above as an example, these are the respective file sizes of the two images after import unedited into my Lightroom Catalogue.

JPEG file – 8MB

RAW file – 25MB

I know that the JPEG file is still quite large but the image that you are seeing on the screen was compressed on export from Lightroom and is actually 222KBs.

What am I looking at on my cameras LCD screen?

On a DLSR/ mirrorless camera, if you are shooting in RAW, after you have taken a photo you are actually looking at a JPEG version of the RAW file on your LCD screen.

I know this sounds a bit bizarre but this is what actually happens.

Do I use RAW or JPEG?

I always shoot in RAW on my cameras. This is to maximise the amount of data in the image capture process, and also gives me the maximum flexibility when processing images in Lightroom and Photoshop.

This is the part of my workflow that is relevant to this post.

  1. Set my camera to RAW image capture only

  2. Take images in RAW format

  3. Import RAW files into Lightroom

  4. Process RAW files in Lightroom and Photoshop

  5. Export images in JPEG format out of Lightroom for client issue, sharing or publishing.

It is only when I need to send an image somewhere that I convert the RAW file to JPEG. Normally this is done to an image or set of images when I export them out of Lightroom.

This is a simple task to do using Lightroom. At the time of exporting the images I also compress the files, the amount depending on the intended use of the images.

Why do I not shoot in JPEG?

I process every commercial image using Lightroom and Photoshop. I do not want processing to be done by the camera at the time of image capture. I want to do all the processing myself. And I want to capture as much information as possible.

Are there other file formats apart from JPEG?

As well as JPEG and RAW there are various other file formats, including

  • PSD

  • Tiff

  • Dng

  • Gif

  • Pdf

What is a RAW file then?

If you want to to know any more about RAW files check out the post next week on my photography blog which will be about this and this only.

One thing to mention here though is that to be able to open and view a RAW file you need software such as Lightroom or Photoshop. JPEG files can be opened by any PC or device (I am sure there are exceptions to this but exceptions is what they are).

Who are the Joint Photographic Experts Group?

Well I am not aware of them other than in relation to the creation of the acronym JPEG. And to be honest that is not important here!

Are there any other formats of JPEG?

JPEG is JPEG. There are variations in the level of compression of JPEG files, but the file format itself is universal.

Can anyone read a JPEG file?

Pretty much anyone with a conventional PC, Mac, iPhone or Android device should be able to open a JPEG file and view it.

How do I create JPEG files?

Over simplifying things a bit, if your camera is set to record images in JPEG then you don’t need to do anything else. If however your camera is set to record images in RAW format you need to either change the format in your camera or convert to JPEG using software such as Lightroom or Photoshop.

You can shoot in JPEG and RAW at the same time on some cameras, giving you the best of both worlds, but duplicate files.

How do I compress a JPEG file?

There is lots of proprietary software for compressing JPEG files. I do this in Lightroom, where I can change the level of compression at the point at which I am exporting a RAW file out of Lightroom. I can also change the physical size of the image, depending on what I am going to be using it for.

Do I lose image quality when I compress a JPEG file?

Yes you do. It has been said that the optimum level of compression is 92%. At this rate of compression the loss of image quality is virtually impossible to see, and the file size reduction is significant.

If you compress a JPEG file once, and then compress the file again, you get further loss of image quality.

A word on non-destructive editing

The editing I do to RAW files in Lightroom is non-destructive. This means that anything that I have done to an image I can undo. Once I export an image out of Lightroom, converting it to a JEPG fie, the changes cannot be undone to the JPEG file.

The RAW file is always there in Lightroom though so don’t worry!

JPEG vs JPG

These are one and the same so no need to worry about these.

Further reading

Next week I will explain all the advantages of shooting in RAW and exporting images out of Lightroom in JPEG format – pop back to my blog next week for this post.

Summary

I hope that having read this post you are now comfortable with what a JPEG file is, and when you should use this particular file format.

To sum up, I shoot in RAW and export images out of Lightroom into JPEG. It really is that simple.

Rick McEvoy Photography – photographer, writer, website creator

Product Photography At Home Using This £10 Amazon Accessory

I photograph buildings and places - I am not a product photographer, but needed to be rather quickly. Blimey| How do I do this?

Product photography at home was my only option. In this post I will explain to you how I used my existing camera gear and the Photo Studio Tent from Amazon to create, in three hours at home, the photos which you can see in this post.

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10 Travel Photography Blog Tips Helping Make My Blogs Better

I write travel photography blogs these days. And that gave me a thought for this blog post.

What would my top 10 travel photography blog tips be? How I can help people create better blogs? It was good to think about this and the work that I have done to date. So in this post I am going to share the 10 tips that will help you and I create better travel photography blogs, and hopefully more engaging, interesting and popular travel photography blog content.

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Is The Canon 6D Still Worth Buying In 2019?

7 years on from its release, I am asking the question “Is the Canon 6D still worth buying in 2019?”. And the answer? Of course it is - time does not make a camera rubbish. In this post I am going to tell you why the Canon 6D is still worth buying, giving you a great, economical route into full frame photography and great image capture capabilities.

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21 Photography Tips That Will Actually Make A Difference

I am going to give you 21 Photography Tips That Will Actually make A Difference in this post.  I am talking about things that really work and will genuinley help you. These are things that I have learned over many years as a photographer. These are not quick tips, some of these are ways of thinking about things differently.

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How I find photos in Lightroom quickly using Excire Search

A dull question but hopefully an interesting answer will ensue.

I have well over 70,000 images in my Lightroom Catalogue. How do I find photos in Lightroom quickly? Using Excire Search is how. In this post I will tell you what Excire search is and how I use it to find photos in Lightroom quickly.

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Sunrise Photography Settings That Work For Me Every Time

What sunrise photography settings do I use? Typically, I use F8 or F16 aperture, ISO 100 and the shutter speed the camera chooses using AV Mode on my Canon 6D. In this post I will tell you all about the camera settings I use which will help you take great sunrise photos easily every time. I will also tell you the actual camera settings I used to take the 5 sunrise photos included in this post.

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Professional photographers who use micro four thirds - really?

Are there any professional photographers who use micro four thirds? Well I have just joined the ranks with the purchase of an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mk 2. In this post I will tell you what micro four thirds is and why I am giving it a go. And my initial thoughts from the very first trials are that I love it! I expect that after my trials that I am going to fully embrace the wonderful world of micro four thirds, and I would love it if you joined me on this journey.

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