TPF Noob!
Jan 7, 2017
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I am a beginner (passionate) photographer and I bought my olympus OMD E-M10 around a year ago. It came with the kit lens M. Zuiko 14-42mm EZ and the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 40-150mm 1:4.0-5.6 R. After a year playing with it, I find myself not being very satisfied with my pictures anymore and was wondering if I chose the wrong camera or lenses (not that I really chose my lenses.. they came with the camera).

I do mostly street, lanscape and cityscape photography, including night pictures. The street shots are mostly good but lanscape and night shots kind of lackluster. More specifically I find these pictures not to be very sharp and to have a lot of background noise, even when I stay in reasonable ISO and aperture ranges. Also, I occasionally like to in-room some bokeh effect but did not get great results yet.

I find myself a bit stuck now and would love some input on any technique/equipment that would help.

While the camera/lens does have some affect on mage sharpness, photographer skill and knowledge has a lot to do with it too.
Most digital cameras have an anti-aliasing (AA) filter on front of the image sensor. How aggressive the AA filter is in each make/model of camera varies. Some are very aggressive, some aren't, and some cameras don't have an AA filter. The AA filter helps avoid moiré.

Using the appropriate auto focus mode and auto focus area mode for the shooting situation is important as far as setting up the camera. If you use inappropriate setting no camera is going to deliver sharp photos.

Understanding how to control depth-of-field is also very important since several factors are involved - point-of-focus distance relative to lens aperture, lens focal length, how far behind your main subject the background is.

The relationship between lens aperture, shutter speed, and the ISO settings matter too, particularly for minimizing image noise in the darker parts of a scene.

Understanding the limitations of image stabilization is also helpful.

Do you use a good and steady tripod when you do landscape/cityscape photos?

How Do I Use My Digital SLR?: How to Get Sharply Focused Images
Compare three good cameras and their sensor performance, low light scores, and dynamic range, and color richness at Base ISO.

Nikon D7200 vs Olympus OM-D E-M10 vs Nikon D610 | DxOMark

Multi-element zoom lenses verus modern, high grade primes.

Night shots would be an area where a lower-scoring sensor's performance could be an issue, quite easily.

Bottom line: there was a HUGE improvement in sensor quality, and HOW EASILY a raw file can be adjusted. SONY made the improvement in 2007, and it has become a bigger and bigger issue, as Sony-made sensors have revolutionized noise, and exposure handling, both in the field, and in post-processing. Once you move to a Sony sensor with an 85+ score range, and into the 13.5 to 14.7 EV dynamic range, you've left the first two generations of digital imaging behind.

A FULL 2.3 EV better EV range? That's a LOT. That is significant. When there is a deliberate OR an accidental exposure setting, it's possible that the 2.3 EV could be 3.3, or 4.3, or 5.3 EV different in the un-favorable direction; this is the elephant in the room that so many people eiehter igonre, or choose NOT to see. iof you make a mistake, or deliberately bias the wrong way, your 2.3 deficit might be 3,4,5 stops against you. Simple math, but something the naysayers constantly omit, or deny, or do not realize exists. They keep saying, "you can make goodf images with brand X! It's the photographer! it is skill." No, not entieely true: there comes a point whwere the SUPERIOR hardware's advantages become very,very clear. But, on internet fora, brand warriors will often defend inferior or outdated equipment to their last breath.

Let's be honest: 2x FOV crop, small sensors are NOT the best for landscape work, nor for night work. It is pretty simple; you're seeing limitations in the very areas one would expect them to be, based on the sheer size of the sensor, and the lenses, and the age of the technology, and the type of sensor.
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Post some photos for critique / feedback.
Are you using a tripod for you night shots?
At night I usually use a 2 second delay or a remote trigger. One time (actually it was at sunrise) I got lazy and was pressing the shutter by hand. I was bracketing photos automatically and noticed that the first frame was blurred, the others were not. It was a telephoto, so heavy, and my manual push of the shutter was causing slight movement of the camera which I did not even notice. My camera is mirrorless. I use a tripod 90% of the time. The olympus is a nice camera. I owned a OLY E-620 which was a 3/4 and probably used your same kit lens.
Thank you all for taking the time to post responses! I do use a tripod at night but not during the day. I will try to post photos soon for feedback

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