The Olympus E-30 12.3 MP DSLR has brought back a feature I haven't worked with since the film days: true multiple exposure capability. And unlike the film days, with the E-30's Live View functionality, it's much easier to compose your multiple exposure compositions because the previous exposure serves as an overlay while you compose the next. You can combine up to 4 exposures into a Jpeg or Raw file. That's right, the E-30 will build a Raw file for you based on multiple exposure information. After testing this feature, I found this to be a huge asset.
Let's start with a simple 2-shot multiple exposure I captured at Schulz Museum in Santa Rosa, CA. I super imposed my favorite Schulz character, Woodstock (he was a writer after all!) on to a sign with the Schulz logo and museum information. Using Live View, it was simple to make the two-image composition.
The challenge I had with multiple exposures in the past, was there was always an element in the shot that I wanted to change. But since the image was already committed to film, there wasn't much I could do about it. Now, thanks to the ability to capture Raw, I have much more flexibility once I return to the computer. The main thing I wanted to do with this image, other than bump the contrast and saturation, was to tone down the top feathers on Woodstock's head because I found them distracting against the logo as shot. (See above image.)
I first made my global adjustments in Adobe Camera Raw 5.2 (using the workflow I recommend in my book, The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers.) Then I opened the image in Photoshop CS4, and created a new layer for cloning. I completely cloned out the feathers that were on top of the logo, then decreased the opacity for that layer until the image looked the way I wanted. The entire post production process was less than 15 minutes. In part, because the hard work of combining the images was taken care of at capture. All I had to do was a little touch up work.
You can also keep a catalog of images on the xD card in the camera (yes the E-30 has xD and CF card slots) and use them as a stock library for overlays. So you don't even have to create the multiple exposure on the spot. You can sit in the comfort of your home and play with the images you have on the E-30 to create entirely new works of art.
There are many features on the Olympus E-30 that I like, but the ability to combine images -- either at capture or in Play mode -- helps make the E-30 one of the most creative capture tools I own.
Woodstock multiple exposure captured with an Olympus E-30 DSLR with a 12mm-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Olympus zoom, 1/125th at f/5.6.
Also see my article on the SoftFocus Art Filter function in the Olympus E-30.