Not a great photo, but I walked to the store at night to get a pop. I brought the E-P7 and the Panasonic 20mm 1.7, which, notably in the 16 megapixel sensors, would cause issues with low light. But also would be difficult to take in low light. I find that the E-P7 has substantially worse image stabilization than the E-M10.4, maybe in line with the 10.2. I find it difficult to take photos with the E-P7 slower than about 1/5th of a second. Now, mathing that out, that’s about 3 stops of stabilization. Not great, but better than the E-PM2, which would struggle at about 1/8th.
The snow provides a few extra stops of light, though. For example, tonight, I took this, in my normal testing spot.
This has an EV of around -1.5
I normally get about -3 to -4 EV in that spot, meaning the snow gives at least a few stops of light.
And here it was quite bright in fact. I’m going to try to develop some tricks to get down to a half second. I really intend to use the 20, 17, and 25 with this lens, so I need it to work a bit better than I’ve got it so I can take photos in darkness. In the mean time, 1/6 seconds is quite easy. So easy I didn’t really try.
I picked up this 70-300 for $130, doubling my focal range. 300mm is approximately a 20x zoom from base focal length. Now, take the 50 megapixel handheld high res shot into account, we’re looking at 40x. Oh baby. I can also use a teleconverter, but I don’t think those actually work too well. They don’t on telescopes, and they don’t on camera lenses. Anyway, I picked up the 70-300 because it isn’t a lot bigger than the 40-150, which it turns out I don’t hate, but I do hate how it works on contrast detect AF bodies. Works fine on the E-M1.
The issue is, I’m, for most intents, done with telephoto for the time being. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will bring the lens on my trip in a few weeks, I want to see things close up when I’m far away, but I’m not walking around much with it right now. There’s not a lot to see. We’ll see how I think on my next trip. They _are_ quite big. I just don’t like walking around with a big camera and lenses.
I’ve done some fooling around with the lenses. I’ve run into some issues with my primary photography methods, and I’m not sure what the technical issue is. The E-M1 Mark 3 autofocuses at ISO 25600 in the dark with native lenses, but won’t do it with the adapted lenses or in handheld high res. That means I have to manual focus these bad lads, and with the handholding and magnification and low refresh rate of the viewfinder, it’s very difficult. I think it’s remarkable I got the one I got here mostly in focus.
I went and got the big boy lens because shooting the coatrack there on my 25 was allowing the background too into the shot. What I should have done was go get the big boy.
Yes, I have also apprehended the 50-200 f/2.8-3.5. It’s 2.8 up to 100, so it’s about the level of those pro zooms with a little extra reach at the cost of a small amount of aperture. I should have gotten that for the night shot. I have played around with it a little bit, but not too much. Yes that’s a Panasonic GM1. More on that in the future. And I’ll probably come up with some more pictures from the 50-200 at some point in the near future too.
But why get the fast lens? Well here’s why.
This is a photo of some deer. I wanted to take a photo of these guys in the neighbours’ yard and I had to get quite close to do it. No problem, I did, but it would have been convenient to get them from afar and shoot for longer with a slower shutter speed. But you know, I could get the 45 1.2… no just kidding no fucking way.
Lately, I have been resorting to, essentially, this, if I need a photo that would normally be done with a long lens.
I just get closer. I know, it’s zooming with your feet as the kids say. There have only been a few times, like the situation with the dog at the top of the post, where I’ve needed a telephoto for the shot I wanted. Not like these are keepers or anything, they’re just nothing snapshots I’m putting up while I’m playing around but still.
Hello internet. I have done something I have acquired a beige whale. What is a beige whale? I believe it was coined by Cathode Ray Dude in a video a year back. The idea is that it’s something about which you’ve known, have always thought would be cool to own, but are not sufficiently interested enough to seek one out or pay fair market value for. Kind of like, you think if you see one at a garage sale you might pick it up. For me, for 15 years or so, it’s been a macro lens. So I bought the old Olympus 50mm macro from 2003. Here it is next to a couple lenses you may know the size of.
Yeah, it’s an F/2 lens and it’s not much bigger than the Panaleica at half its focal length and the Yi 42.5 f/1.8. This is a nice little lens. And it’s fast. This is my new portrait lens. It does extend a bit when focusing, though, though I prefer that frequently if it can keep the size down in my pocket.
Yes there have been some hints, I did get a new camera. Neither my E-M10.4 or 10.2 are any more. Essentially the 10.4 got rid of for the exact same price I paid for it, and the 10.2 I’m just mad at due to low light performance, and no longer need a camera witn an optical viewfinder if I have the E-M1. It’s bigger, which sucks, but it’s very fancy and the viewfinder is actually larger. Not commonly advertised.
Anyway, I picked up this lens because it was cheap and because it was fast. I had heard tell this lens was the reference lens for 4/3rds. It was literally the sharpest lens available, and you know what? It outresolves even the E-M1.3 at 80 megapixels. Just to be clear, that’s saying this lens can handle a 320 megapixel full frame camera (if it had the coverage). Look.
These things look rather close, but how close are they really? What’s the difference from one lens to another in this focusing business? Can we not just use minimum focus distance on our other lenses and just crop? Eh. Sometimes. Look at this screw.
Pretty big difference there. You can definitely see detail you never could with your eye. This is the copper windchime we have out back.
It’s also been cool to try it with the high resolution modes that Olympus has put in their high end cameras. Here take a look at the following image full size.
Go ahead. Click on it. It opens up as a 50 megapixel JPG!
The raw files for the 80 megapixel high res mode, whence came the extremely close shot of the watch, are TWO HUNDRED SEVENTY megabytes. And the resolution is TEN THOUSAND BY EIGHT THOUSAND (or thereabouts). 10368 x 7776. What the hell man.
More updates to come. I also picked up a 70-300 and a…you know. Camera.
It’s probably doable but it would be a pain in the butt as you’d need to shoot a very large number of relatively short exposures with a long focal length lens. Star movement would actually end up being the limiting factor rather than stabilization at the focal length needed to resolve even the largest galaxies. Much easier to use a cheap tracking mount like a Skyguider or a Skywatcher and save yourself the headache.
You’re right lol. I’ve done that– 3.2 sec exposures, 50-100 of them and then stacked them later. I bought a mount just a few months ago and the whole process is much easier now.
OutsideTheMatrix and Whumber had this conversation on the DPReview forums and I want to dispel some ideas here about astronomy. I used to run an observatory and people think that certain things are difficult to see, and they’re not.
Galaxies are neither small nor particularly dim. I went outside under bright suburban skies tonight, with a near as makes no difference full moon so the sky is about as bad as it’s going to get. I shot wide angle lenses on my E-M10.4, then cranked up the dehaze to show you guys. These are not good photos, they’re just easy grabs to prove astrophotography can be easy. It won’t be good but you can do it for yourself with anything.
The following photos link to photos I put on those forums. Best to open in a new tab.
Andromeda. Also clearly visible is the double cluster and myriad open clusters in Cassiopeia
There she is.
“Andromeda is easy,” I hear you say, “you can see it with your naked eye if you’re looking in the right spot.” Yes. You can. Let’s go hard mode. How about M81 and M82?
This is Bode’s galaxy at 17mm.
I process images with dxo sometimes, and I did here but I think dxo lost a bit of the galaxy so here’s a screenshot of the ORF and the dxo dng.
Here we have Bode’s galaxy…actually we also have the Cigar Galaxy.
I can tell. You don’t believe me that those bits of noise are galaxies. Take a look here.
Left is a good photo. Right is my handheld photo with a 17mm lens. Yes, they’re both there.
So, as we can see, you don’t need long focal lengths or exposures to resolve the galaxies. I could get them to a decent resolution, theoretically, on a 40mm lens in the case of M81 as long as we’re doing a wide field in dark enough sky, and Andromeda is actually 6 full moons wide in a dark sky, so you can fill the frame with the damn thing on a relatively modest telephoto lens. It’s clearly visible on the viewfinder with live boost on, even.
It happens that I know where these objects are so I was able to point the camera at them, but as you can see, with the 25 and 17mm lenses, you can get huge swaths of the sky to accidentally get an object if you don’t know it’s there.
Not a good photo, but a summary. These are my lenses I have for my Micro 4/3rds cameras. I still have some Canon lenses, but ignore that for the moment. I just want to say that new, these are the prices (I’m substituting new prices for the Micro 4/3rds versions of my 4/3rds lenses and taking away the cost of the MMF-2 adapter). I’m taking the prices from Adorama, which are frequently discounted. The lenses are as follows, left to right.
$599 9-18 $299 25 1.8 $899 12-40 2.8 $399 17 1.8 $138 42.5 1.8 (actually a Yi, not a Yongnuo, but it’s the cheapest similar lens) $267 Panasonic 20mm 1.7 $697 Panaleica 25mm 1.4 $1199 17mm 1.2 $99 body cap $129 40-150 $1199 25mm 1.2
That’s about $5900 in lenses. I paid
$200 9-18 $150 25 1.8 $410 12-40 2.8 $240 17 1.8 $60 42.5 1.8 $180 20mm 1.7 $257 25mm 1.4 $664 17mm 1.2 $99 body cap (I bought it new) $30 40-150 $665 25mm 1.2
That’s about $2950 in lenses. In otherwords, straight up half price. And what happens when you order a lens and it’s gasp not on sale?
I paid full ass price for the second version of the 20mm f/1.7 back in 2013. At the time, the damn things were nowhere to be found and they cost an arm and a leg. I picked up a used E-P3 that year for like no money, and it became my travel camera. It got stolen. 😦
How do you make sure you get good lenses? Only buy from good guys on eBay with lots of orders and a high rating, or buy from sellers you meet personally. If you want to take some chances, you can get much cheaper gear than I got, but if you don’t, just buy on eBay from good sellers. Look at the pictures. If the glass looks clean, buy it.
Okay this adapted 4/3rds lens is soft as hell and half the time doesn’t even focus right. I might get the classic travel zoom, the 14-150. It’s about $200 used, so I reckon that ain’t bad, and then I don’t have to carry around a telephoto zoom in addition to normal stuff. Fast telephoto zooms are expensive so there’s no way in hell I’m doing that. For fast apertures, I’m just sticking to the primes. Here was my kit for the walk. The E-PM2 was the main camera (and it has functioning image stabilization), so that’s what the big boy lens went on. The E-PM1 was the backup, and so I brought along the still not that likable 17mm 1.8.
Both the E-PM1 and 2 were shoved into pockets. In hindsight, I could have definitely brought along an E-M10 with a pro lens, but I was concerned about size and I did want to do some telephoto stuff. In the future it’ll be the 12-40 f/2.8 and a prime.
I had problems all day with the lens front focusing. It did it in the example above, but I think the image is cool enough that I kept it. I also used some film presets from DxO Filmpack. I like to make everything look like Velvia anyway, might as well actually make it look like Velvia.
I spotted some ducks, which are standard camera testing fodder for any photographer, and I noticed a few issues. 1. The lens is soft. Really soft. These ducks you see above you went through a round of Topaz Sharpen AI. 2. There’s heavy heavy color fringing. 3. It can’t focus for shit.
Not even Topaz Sharpen AI can save these things. They’re hella soft, and I had to correct for color fringing manually then can’t even get a usable image out of it because AI sharpening software can’t do anything!
I did see this muskrat, and the AI sharpening software helped a little bit. Actually I think this image is really a great example of what software can do. That’s an unusable ISO for a 10 year old camera and I missed focus here, or really, the camera did, and here it is. Perfectly tolerable for internet sharing. If you zoom in and look at it at full resolution you’ll see the artifacts from the software cleaning up what it could.
Back to wide angle for me! It’s remarkable how sharp these Olympus primes are at 1.8.
I related that I had picked up a telephoto zoom a while back, and I posted some comparison pictures. Today, I made it a point to shoot some telephoto. I didn’t get a lot of good pictures necessarily, but I do remember why my 55-250 EF-S lens was my most used.
I had forgotten the composition option available to me without telephoto. Okay, yes, in the specific instance posted above, that is within the kit zoom range, or near to it, so I could have gotten that if I brought the kit zoom. Which I never do. What I have been telling myself is that basically, I can just crop in and be fine, or that I don’t zoom in much, and that’s right, I don’t…but I’m thinking it’s largely just because I don’t have one of these things. I’m really enjoying it, so much so that I want the 75-300! Yeah, I know, that’s a little farther away, but still. It’s a want.
My entry level used zoom (The 40mm-150mm I’ve been talking about) is soft wide open. Say it with me. Sssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhoooocker. Something I’m being impressed by, though, is the bokeh quality. Here, let me give you some examples. Following are the 40-150 at 150, the 42.5 at 1.8, the 12-40mm Pro lens at 2.8 and the 25mm pro lens at 1.2
Yes, the lighting had changed by the time I got to the 50. But you can compare and contrast with those lenses quite a bit actually. You can see the same ambitious spider web, but all the Olympus lenses have a smoothish quality to their bokeh. While the 2.8 has more depth of field than the Xiaoyi lens, it seems noisier. Angrier or something. Compare that to the 25mm 1.2 with its outrageously smooth bokey, I mean, holy smokes. It’s not a telephoto, either.
But, again, I have enjoyed creating decent bokeh with the 150mm lens, especially when I don’t have to get close to it. I ended up taking some photos that I wouldn’t have taken without it, mostly because they’re not good, but people seem to like plant and flower photography, so here’s some of the stuff I got earlier today.
This was cool, because I would never get to take a photo of this window with anything but a telephoto. Maybe I’m a creep. I might be a creep.
I’m a little bit concerned I’m going to hit a wall with some photos soon. I don’t live in a city, I live in the suburbs, and don’t really have an excuse to go anywhere or so anything. Gonna definitely run out of stuff to take pictures of soon. D:
Today was an unsuccessful Halloween for me. Only 6 kids made it down my street. Sad times. I decided, actually, to take a walk after the suggested time ended to see what was going on in the neighbourhood. It was a ghost town after about 8 PM.
There were a few stragglers, but the rain I think tempered the attendance. We’re used to cold, snow on Halloween is common, but it was warm today and wet. Not just a drizzle, but a pretty standard light rain.
As I walked about, cars passed me slowly, and I saw others about, at the end of their driveways as well.
“How many kids you get?”
“Shit a couple dozen.”
They’re on the main drag of the neighbourhood, not bad, but we got that 10 years ago.
“Man that sucks.”
“Yep, you want a beer?”
So I hung out with some guys for a while while they dumped the candy into the late “kids” bags. They were teenagers. As an adult, you have a negative perception of teenagers as troublemakers, because they are, but they still have kid mindset. It doesn’t matter if they’re 5’7″ or something, they want candy. It was a fun time. I love grade 8 kids.
I walked back, and didn’t really see anything worth taking a picture of as the cars slowly rolled by, but I did lift my camera a few times to see through the viewfinder, and holy smokes, it was soaking wet. I have had wet cameras before, of course, but I had been visiting the DPReview forums where everyone’s super into the weather sealing, and I thought about it.
I know that some guys are out there in the pouring rain, which is why they sell those waterproof camera things (which may or may not be plastic bags people rubber band to their cameras), and for those guys, yes, get that OM-5 with the weather sealing. But for us normals? Uhh, my E-M10 is fine. To be fair, I’m using a weather sealed lens, but if you look at that photo up there, I took it with a NOT weather sealed lens, and that camera’s fine too.
Anyone have any example of a camera dying due to rain or sand or something?
I have decided that I am going to test one of the other big things people tell new photographers – take photos in black and white. To understand lighting or some shit, I don’t know.
I’m personally of the opinion that people have a lower standard for black and white photography, as it’s less common and therefore your impression of the quality of an image are biased.
However, I think I understand it. Steve Huff used to do a blog talking about photography, and he loved Micro 4/3rds cameras, in particular the Olympus models. He was a huge proponent of the out of camera grainy black and white film look. I get it, but I have to fiddle with it.
I took a walk tonight with the E-PM2 to the gas station and decided to take a few photos, which you’re going to see here. It was pleasurable, and the frankly D minus tier photos I took got a bit of a lease on life when turned black and white in the camera.
But again, they’re not good, they’re just different.
In addition to that, some photos just need to have the colour to look right, or don’t do well with the black and white grainy film effect. So, what I did was I did the standard RAW + JPG I do so I can see the photos in black and white, then I edited them in Lightroom as I do to look like how I like my black and white stuff to look.
I did discover something interesting though: putting on the black and white thing on the camera meant that extremely dark things were difficult to see. Consider the following.
This photo ultimately exposed correctly, and was nigh invisible when it showed up on the camera with the live preview. It’s actually been something I’ve been having problems with with my small cameras. I have forgotten how nice it is to have a viewfinder compared to the screen. I had difficulty composing shots in both darkness and bright sunlight as a result.
What I’m going to give a try to do here is just keep this up. I have gone into the camera and adjusted the black and white art filter to have a little less contrast and with a red filter on it as well, so it’s like I’m, you know, shooting with a red filter. For those who don’t know, black and white photography can be done just, you know, black and white, but you want to make it interesting. You want to have contrast. You want people to look at the shadows and the lights. One of the easiest ways to do that is to only let in one colour, and you can see how that changes your image and increases your contrast. Typically, I enjoy a red filter. It makes the sky look black, and the clouds stand out more. Typically very contrasty with just about everything. The photo above was done with a green filter.
I’ll come back to this later with an idea of if I think black and white images has helped my photo taking ability or not.
Oh bonus: Olympus has something called “Art bracketing.” I can take a raw AND JPGs with whatever filter I want on em, or none at all. I think this will needlessly complicate my workflow, but I might do it. The reason I keep the JPGs is as a backup if I lose my raws, which has happened once! However, Google Drive can take DNGs, process them shittily as JPGs and upload those to Google drive, so I think I’m pretty safe here to just have JPGs as black and white reference images.
The lens is sharp. That’s why you’re buying it. Or, maybe you want to take low-light photos. It can do that. So buy it. If you’re debating this or the Panasonic, well, it’s a bit more complicated, and dependent strongly on if you’re willing to buy used.
Let me digress for a moment. I remember when Olympus came out with the E-P1. At the time I was shooting Canon, which had solid image stabilization on some of their lenses. I could shoot 50mm down to about 1/15th of a second, of course that was with the zoom lens as it had IS. The E-P1 had sensor shift stabilization. That meant that it didn’t matter which lens I got, it would be stabilized and I could take lower light photos. That was a game changer. The first moment I could afford to get an Olympus, I jumped ship and picked up an E-P3 with the Panasonic 20mm and the kit lens. It was everything I wanted it to be. At the time, actually, the E-P3 had the fastest autofocus. Period. Not fastest contrast detect, but fastest. Straight up fastest. Faster than your 5Ds with L lenses. It was fast as hell, and you could use tiny primes down to 1/10th of a second. That was amazing.
Olympus wasn’t the only one with sensor shift IS, Pentax had it too. Pentax, in fact, was one of my big ones that I wanted to move to. Pentax managed to keep its old lenses and use their screw drive (?) autofocus, and indeed upgrade them with the sensor shift IS. Pentax also has an amazing history of pancake lenses. A pancake lens is a lens that is so thin you can call it a pancake. There are only a few pancakes for M 4/3rds: the 20mm 1.7 which I use almost by default, the 14mm 2.5 and the 17mm 2.8. Pentax has a shitload. They also had the lowest noise sensors on the market. The only thing that made me jump to M 4/3rds was the small size of the cameras, the existence of the 20mm 1.7, and the sensor shift IS. I took the hit on the noise.
In fact, that pancake is so good for me, I have used it a full 2.5 times more than my second most used lens, which it turns out is one of my Canons. It’s not just fast and small, but sharp as hell. Sharp as hell. Even wide open.That is another thing that lead me, and frankly, a lot of people to the system. There’s a lens that is going to do everything we need.
So, why would you get this lens? It’s subtley better. That’s it.
It’s sharp as hell wide open, and even sharper, somehow than the 20mm 1.7. Now if you’re reading this and know that qualitative camera lens reviewers say any lens is sharp that isn’t dog shit, do not lump this with them. This lens was, at one time, the sharpest single lens under something like $2000. It’s sharp as hell.
The internet seems to think the lens is “punchy,” and that it hits hard and sharp in the in focus areas, but has a better and more drastic out of focus rendering scheme than the 20mm. I don’t know any people, so I have taken a picture of some bushes to see this OOF rendering.
I’m not really seeing what they’re talking about, but it does have that 3D look that typically Leica lenses get, albeit muted by the comparatively narrow (lol) 1.8 aperture.
I mean, I guess I get it. It’s just got this something that makes it render well and it’s sharp as hell. So why is MSRP $500? Maybe the build.
This is an image of “cheap” fast primes in the vaguely “normal” range for Micro 4/3rds. You can see which is which on the lenses themselves. I will say that the 17 and the 25 are built much better and look much better than the Panasonic/Leica lenses. They’re all metal, entirely, look high quality, and feel amazing. The Panaleicas are…cheap feeling and cheap looking. This isn’t necessarily a problem, as I don’t really care, but all else being equal, you want it to feel and look nice. And it looks nice. Much nicer than the Panaleicas. And, crucially, it’s substantially smaller than the Panasonic 25mm 1.7, which is similar in size to the 1.4 pictured here, and it’s very fast in autofocus. It also focuses well in low light more on that later.
Now, there are some problems with the lens, as there are with many of the best small lenses. It has massive fringing issues. Don’t believe me?
This is just some image I took wide open with the E-PM2. Pretty bright highlights, almost blown out. Now, what you don’t see is that I processed this through DxO which supposedly has a lens profile for the lens (Adobe Camera Raw would have been even worse), and still had to manually correct some fringing. This is what it looked like after DxO.
Woof. That being said, the Panaleica 25 1.7 has strong purple fringing as well. Want to see some heavy green fringing? Look at this one full sized.
All that being said, again, the lens is sharp as hell. Now let’s think about the other reason you might want this bad lad: low light shooting.
My rationale in taking these photos is simply thinking this. If I want to shoot Micro 4/3rds in the cheapest way possible exclusively for low light, how would I do it? If I was knowledgeable, I’d buy the cheapest camera with the 16 megapixel camera, and then buy the fastest lens I could at $100-$150 used. At that price, you’re limited to the Yongnuo, which is shit, two Panaleicas, and the 25mm Olympus and 42.5mm Olympus. Well well well.
The reputation, which is deserved, of the Panasonic 20mm and 25mm 1.7s is that they’re slow autofocusers. They are. The 25mm is also too big and not sharp. BUT, if you can pick up the 25mm Olympus for the same price, which I did (including free 1 day shipping on Amazon: $149.99), then you have a famously fast autofocuser that’s easy to use. So, I went outside and took some photos with the E-PM2 and this bad boy at massively high ISOs so we can see what we can do with this thing.
This one was with image stabilization turned off, and many used cameras have a broken IS system. Hell, my E-PM1 does. So I reckon you can, if you hold down the button, do 1/focal length on M4/3rds to get a good shot. Not bad!
Now what does it do if you have a working camera, and you’re into midnights?
It’s doable! You can even make the night look relatively normal if you drop that shutter speed to 1/6th of a second like the following image.
Okay, you spend $150 on the E-PM2 and $150 on the Olympus 25mm 1.8, you can see in the dark and take sharp as shit images too. That’s a win. But ONLY at that price.
Some people are walking around paying $500 for this lens. DO NOT DO THAT. If you need to spend $500, get the Panaleica 1.4. If you need to have a smaller one, get the 20mm 1.7. If you MUST have a 50mm equivalent that’s smaller than the Panaleica, then…I guess this is it, but know your inflexibility is getting you ripped off. For the love of god buy it used.
Anyway, good lens. Not as good as the Summilux, not as small as the 20mm 1.7. To me, this is in a no-mans land. However, it has a ton of fans out there online who rave about this lens. I just don’t get it.
For me, if I’m going out to a bar or something and need a fast lens to pocket, I’m bringing the 17 or the 20. Period. Probably the 20 once I stop trying to take images for this blog. If I’m going out at night and taking pictures is on my list of goals to achieve, guess what? I’m bringing the 25mm 1.2 or the Summilux. This is not as far as I know, going on my radar. That being said, I run 4 cameras. I have the E-PM1 which currently has the 20 on it, the E-PM2 which has the 25 1.8 on it, the EM10.2 with the 9-18 on it, and the 10.4 with the Summilux. I expect, when the 25 comes back, it’ll be parked on the 10.2, the 12-40 on the 10.4, and I will probably put the 17 or the Summilux on the E-PM2. As it is, this lens doesn’t have much of a place for me…but it’s such a good deal I’m going to keep it around for a while to see if I can use it. I did discover I liked the 17mm after a while too.
Skeptic, pen fan, musician, educator, baseballist, former owner of pink hair.