British Museum with my E-PL5

Now I am a bit more used to my E-PL5, I appreciate more of its finer points rather than its deficiencies.

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No one looks at it (I have a black model). I’ve never really believed the colour of lenses makes much of a difference to whether people notice you and your camera, but I do believe the colour and size of your camera makes a difference. The only way it is bigger than a compact is (potentially) the lens and the viewfinder (if used).

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Oddly enough DXOmark found that it has improved high ISO performance over the E-M5. I haven’t done a scientific comparison on the two cameras but the results from the E-PL5 at high ISO are very impressive. ISO 1600 is very acceptable and you can only really tell the difference by pixel peeping.

About the only look it attracted was a sneer from a girl using a DSLR…

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In any event, I visited the British Museum with it. The museum is one of my favourite places in London and is another example of the fantastic free museums of London. It is perfectly possible to dart in for 45 minutes at lunch and dart out again.

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The British Museum is a museum dedicated to human history and culture. Its permanent collection, numbering some eight million works, is amongst the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

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The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1887.

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Some objects in the collection are the objects of intense controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin. The Elgin Marbles, Benin Bronzes and the Rosetta Stone are among the most disputed objects in its collections, and organisations have been formed demanding the return of these artefacts to their native countries of Greece, Nigeria and Egypt respectively.

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The British Museum has refused to return these artefacts, stating that the “restitutionist premise, that whatever was made in a country must return to an original geographical site, would empty both the British Museum and the other great museums of the world”. The Museum has also argued that the British Museum Act of 1963 legally prevents any object from leaving its collection once it has entered it. Nevertheless, it has returned items such as the Tasmanian Ashes after a 20 year long battle with Australia.

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The British Museum continues to assert that it is an appropriate custodian and has an inalienable right to its disputed artefacts under British law.

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Today it no longer houses collections of natural history, and the books and manuscripts it once held now form part of the independent British Library. The Museum nevertheless preserves its universality in its collections of artefacts representing the cultures of the world, ancient and modern. The original 1753 collection has grown to over thirteen million objects at the British Museum, 70 million at the Natural History Museum and 150 million at the British Library.

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The Round Reading Room, which was designed by the architect Sydney Smirke, opened in 1857. For almost 150 years researchers came here to consult the Museum’s vast library.

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With the bookstacks in the central courtyard of the museum empty, the process of demolition for Lord Foster’s glass-roofed Great Court could begin. The Great Court, which opened in 2000, while undoubtedly improving circulation around the museum, was criticised for having a lack of exhibition space at a time when the museum was in serious financial difficulties and many galleries were closed to the public.

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The Great Court opened in December 2000 and is the largest covered square in Europe. The roof is a glass and steel construction, built by an Austrian steelwork company, with 1,656 uniquely shaped panes of glass. At the centre of the Great Court is the Reading Room vacated by the British Library, its functions now moved to St Pancras.

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Taken with my E-PL5, 9-18mm, 12mm, PL 25mm, 45mm and 75mm lenses.

2 thoughts

  1. Initially, I confess I hated the screen. It seemed too small and a bit of a kludge to use a 16:9 screen on a 4:3 camera. However, it is quite bright and relatively easy to see outside. I think it’s the same panel as used in the E-PL3, but perhaps with a gel layer instead of air between the LCD and the screen to improve the contrast.

    I don’t think it’s a reason not to get the camera, but if the screen size is important it might be worth looking at the E-M5 or the GX1 as they have much bigger screens.

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