It was a noisy morning wakeup for some on Friday. They showed up outside my Villa at 6 am. I waited until it got lighter to make these images. You can’t see it was noisy, but it was. You can see the dust they were stirring up. They were cleaning the roads before they seal them.
I used my Leica X2 with its 24 mm lens to make the above images. I really like that focal length and camera, but I am not sure about the future. I miss having a viewfinder and a tilt LCD on the Leica X2; therefore, I am thinking about replacing it with a Fuji X-T1 with a prime lens.
I am also planning to sell my Canon 70D and all of its lenses. It just isn’t fun to walk around using the camera due to the size and weight. I am going to try replacing it with the Fuji X-T1 with prime lenses rather than heavier zoom lenses. That will create a big change in how and what I photograph as well as reduce the amount of gear I use.
If I get the X-T1 and use it to replace both my Canon 70D and Leica X2, I have been thinking about getting three primes lenses and no zoom lenses. The prime lenses I had been thinking about were the Fuji 18 mm, 35 mm, and 60 mm. I could also get the 23 mm f/1.4 R lens with an effective focal length of 35 mm, but I don’t want too many lenses. The 23 mm focal length has been a good all-around focal length for many pictures and it could possibly be a one lens compromise for the 18 and 35 mm lenses.
The above dithering about what lens focal length I should get wasn’t getting me to a decision, so I took a step back and thought about why I’m making a change in cameras. I feel that it is necessary to reduce the size and weight since it is hard to walk around with a cane and a camera and sometimes with a bag; therefore, I need something lighter and smaller, but with good image quality. From this perspective, smaller and lighter, both the Fuji 23 mm and 35 mm lenses are medium in size; but, the Fuji 27 mm F2.8 lens is a smaller and lighter lens and is also a focal length compromise between the 23 and 35 mm lenses. It also has a better price, so I plan to try it as a better compromise due to weight and size. I have ordered the X-T1 with the 27 mm lens. I will use that lens while seeing if I like the X-T1 in terms of size, weight, and ergonomics. If I keep it and sell the Canon and Leica, I will then probably eventually get the 18 mm and 60 mm lenses.
As you have probably already figured out, this change in my cameras and lenses will create changes in what and how I photograph. I am going to let the “tail wag the dog” so to speak; i.e., adjust my photography to fit lighter and smaller gear. I will be writing about that after I get the X-T1 and am sure that I’m keeping it. I tried the Olympus E-M5 with the 14 – 150 mm lens and ended up not keeping them. The ergonomics and image quality weren’t quite what I’m looking for. Note that I haven’t mentioned how the Nikon 1 J5 camera and lenses fits into my future scheme. I’m still pondering that.
I have been to the park before with just a zoom lens that didn’t cover the wide to normal range so I took the Olympus 14 – 150 mm to try it out under a variety of focal lengths in bright light. The micro 4/3 sensor of the Olympus E-M5 doesn’t have quite the dynamic range of a larger sensor but I’m comfortable with it so far.
I haven’t just been using the Canon SL1 while I have been learning, and deciding, how to best use it. For the above pictures I used my Pentax K-3 and made these images at a focal length of 300 mm, or effective 450 mm. I am still concerned about not being able to take such images if I mainly use my prime 24 mm lens on the Canon SL1. I have decided that I really don’t wish to carry the heavier K-3 and 55 – 300 mm zoom lens, but that I still would like to be able to make such pictures in the manner of the above. My indecision is what to do about it.
I may give up long focal length photography or I might compromise and look for a lens to use on the SL1 that is lighter. Another choice might be to use my micro 4/3 Olympus EPL-5 with a long lens. For some reason, I keep “walking away” from my micro 4/3 imagery. I liked using it for my most recent long-term project of photographing the model railroaders here at Homewood, but my primary outlet for those pictures will be a video/slide show made with shorter focal lengths. My problem is that I would like a higher quality longer focal length lens. I have been using my low-quality 40 – 150 mm f/4 – 5.6 lens. If cost was not a concern, I could try the new Olympus E-M5 II and the Pro 40 – 150 mm lens; but I don’t wish to spend that much money for such limited use.
Another “discomfort” that I have, is switching back and forth between cameras with totally different control and menu set-ups. That and the need for multiple lens collections for different systems is a drag on my photography and finances. Resolving these issues requires owning just one system; but, which one? I now have Pentax, Canon, and micro 4/3 systems. I would prefer to use one. Should I replace the non-Canons with another Canon DSLR with some longer lenses to supplement my SL1?
I would like to consider my next system as my last one … one that will serve my needs into the future. I doubt that I am alone relative to this issue. Does anyone out there have any recommendations?
This image gives you an idea of the conditions here as the Mallards stand on the ice, but the quality of the image isn’t the greatest. I used my Olympus 40 – 150 mm lens on my Olympus E-PL5 held on a monopod while zoomed all the way out to 150 mm (effective 300 mm) from my back porch. In addition to using that very inexpensive lens zoomed all the way out to take this picture; I also cropped it quite a bit and then resized it up.
I do wish I had a better, longer lens; but that would be going back on my decision to try to become a bottom feeder in photography; i.e. see what I can accomplish with the entry-level cameras and lenses. There has been so much hype on the web about all the latest and greatest and most expensive photography gear that I am rebelling. I am tired of being told that I need the latest “bells and whistles”. I am of the opinion that most folks don’t need the latest and greatest and most expensive gear considering how we display our images. That is why you are seeing this picture as well as the ones in my previous posts taken with the entry-level Canon DSRL.
I am not yet ready to claim that these are all that I am going to use. I may still go back to a top line, latest and greatest mirror-less camera, but I doubt it based on what I am learning now. So far I have tentatively decided to sell my heavy Pentax K-3 and all the lenses and rely upon micro 4/3 for my long focal length images, like above. I may get a longer lens than the 40 – 150 mm lens, but maybe not. I am also considering just shooting with my effective prime focal lengths of 28, 38, or 64 mm. I may decide to not photograph the long stuff (effective 300 mm like above), or with zoom lenses.
PS, you can get an idea the difference an effective 300 mm lens makes when cropped by comparing the above with the following picture made from the same location but with the effective 38 mm lens on the Canon SL1. If you look carefully in the center of the picture below you might recognize the ice pattern of the above picture.
Don’t forget to click on any picture and view them larger in gallery mode.
Pennsylvania German Fellowship, Homewood at Plum Creek residents, presented an Amish play “Sadie and Mose Go to The City.” The play was written by Arlene Marks, a resident here. They presented the play in the Chapel primarily for our less mobile residents. The “Joyful Singers” also serenaded the audience with German and English songs sung in German. The room was packed and I took most of these pictures from outside in the hall looking through the open door holding the camera above my head. There were also refreshments for the residents at the end prepared by our excellent staff.
For you photographic enthusiasts, the distance, lighting, etc. necessitated that I use my 40 – 150 mm lens wide open on my Olympus E-PL5 at ISO 3200 and at too slow a shutter speed for most of the pictures. In my opinion, I was working at the limits of the camera and lens, and that is why the images aren’t as sharp or noise-free as I prefer. I’ll discuss my photography situation more in my next posting.
I took these pictures early on the 4th of July after we had overnight showers. I hadn’t been doing much photography with the 40 – 150 mm lens and I wanted to look at some images at 150 mm. If I had my way, I would like to have a prime lens with 150 mm focal length if it weren’t too large or expensive, but I will stick with this lens for my diminishing longer focal length images.
I would like to primarily use prime lenses with the E-PL5 and get away from using longer focal length lenses. It is just a matter of convenience in carrying a small camera. The newer collapsing zoom lenses help reduce the size a great deal but I prefer the better image quality of the prime lenses and the ease of using them. I don’t have to unlock and extend and then zoom the lens.
My current intent is to use prime lenses whenever possible and to get up closer. If I can’t get close enough I’ll look for something else to photograph. How long I continue this style of photography depends upon what I can find to photograph. I am trying to limit my photography to primarily using 17, 25, and 45 mm prime lenses since I prefer the small sizes of the lenses and their image quality. I will keep and use this setup with a micro 4/3 camera until I determine whether or not I can adjust to this style of photography. I adopt ever-changing systems as my needs, abilities, and desires are ever-changing; so don’t be surprised if I end up doing something else.
I wasn’t going to use my 40 – 150 mm lens (effective 80 – 300 mm) on my E-PL5 camera when I was just out for a walk with no intention of getting any pictures. I considered it extra unneeded size and inconvenience; but, it deserved a trail period so I took it with me this morning. The above pictures are a few that I took at the maximum end of the zoom at 150 mm. I am now thinking that it will be accompanying me a lot more often than originally planned. It weighs next to nothing but it does stick out quite far on the front of the camera and sometimes gets in the way when hanging in this manner from a neck strap.
In earlier posts I talked about the advantages I have found in using 14 mm and 20 mm prime lenses while touring in Ireland, etc. I’m not going to repeat the advantages of touring with prime lenses since you can read them in many of my earlier posts. What I’m addressing today is why I have added another prime lens to my daily walks … the 45 mm f/1.8 Olympus lens which gives me an effective 90 mm focal length.
In Ireland the 14 and 20 mm lenses were ideal for the wider landscape pictures that I took, but I learned that while walking around Hanover city streets, the things with the most character were found in the smaller details. To capture this I decided to get the 45 mm f/1.8 lens to obtain a greater reach.
The question I’m sure you want to ask is “why not use my 14 – 150 mm zoom lens?” since it would give me a lot more focal length flexibility. The primary reasons are that it is bigger, weighs more, doesn’t have as good low light capabilities, and isn’t as sharp. The 45 mm lens is sharp at f/1.8 and the sharpness is quite good, and consistent at f stops between f/4 and f/8. If I wish to focus on details with the further stuff blurred, I can set the aperture at f/1.8 … can’t do that with the 14 – 150 mm f/4 to f/5.6 zoom lens. If I’m interested in maximum detail and depth-of-focus I can set the 45 mm prime at f/5.6 to f/8 and keep shooting without any thought. In addition, since the 45 mm is so sharp, and since I display my pictures on digital devices, I can crop-zoom significantly to home in on the details thus negating the need for a longer zoom. If I need to take a wider shot and don’t have a wider lens in my pocket, I can take a panorama with two or more pictures and then join them when I get home.
The only potential disadvantage of shooting with prime lenses is the occasional need to change them and this raises the possibility of getting dirt on the sensor or dropping a lens; but I haven’t found this to be a problem. My practice is to choose the best lens before going out depending upon where I’m going and what I’m shooting. In doing this I am almost always able to change lenses while sitting at home or in my car, and almost never need to change them while walking.
Since this is a different focal length than I am use to using, I have tried to learn more about shooting with it by walking around close to home. Above is a picture that I took while testing the lens under the conditions I expect to encounter. I’m showing the same picture below in B&W. That is another aspect of my pictures that I’m exploring; i.e. displaying the older buildings, etc. in B&W.