Tagged: Olympus 45 mm

Fisher Place … Unusual Local Color

Click on any of the above pictures to view them all larger in gallery mode.

I was walking down Frederick Street next to the Sheppard Mansion one day when some bright colors in a window caught my eye.  When I stopped to look and spotted the plaques on the house I was really baffled.  It was the Fisher Place, a pre-Civil War building from 1846.  Why did it have colorful Mexican gowns in the windows?

When I got back home I did a little research and found that the building had been donated to the Borough of Hanover in 1993 by Jane Fisher Sneddon with a stipulation that it be used to house local non-profits.  It is currently occupied by “The Hispanic American Center of Hanover”.

Getting Closer

One of my considerations for a new project is taking macro pictures of flowers, etc.  Olympus has a nice 60 mm macro lens but the higher the focal length, etc. the greater is the need to only shoot with a tripod due to the extremely small depth of field (DoF) and difficulty in focusing on the area of interest.  Since I don’t wish to spend the money for such a limited-use lens nor do I wish to have to use a tripod, I am looking into options.  Since I also don’t wish to photograph insects in great detail, I am exploring the option of using my 45 mm lens and then cropping and re-sizing to get photos.  The above images are the results of one attempt.

The advantage of using the 45 mm lens is that it is a nice sharp lens pretty much across the field and theoretically the DoF is deeper than with a 60 mm lens.  A disadvantage is that the minimum close focusing distance of the 45 mm lens is only 19.7 inches while the 60 mm lens is 7.4 inches.

PS … I tried similar pictures using the 14 – 42 mm kit lens at the same aperture, etc. and they were not as sharp.  Prime lenses still beat zoom lenses for sharpness especially at the extremes of the zoom focal lengths.  Sharpness isn’t always needed, but is essential if you wish to crop into a picture significantly and still have good details.

Down the Road

I have a Canon S95, a Pentax K-5, and an Olympus E-P3 camera with multiple lenses for the K-5 and the E-P3 … more cameras than I need or use.  I mostly use the E-P3 because of the quality, size and weight compromise.  In addition, I seem to be gravitating towards using a prime lens on the E-P3 … the Panasonic 14 or 20 mm, or the Olympus 45 mm.  My dilemma is what will I need in the future?  It’s always easier to look back in time, and these cameras have all served me well under different circumstances.  The question is, what will I need down the road?  Will one of the newer cameras better serve my future needs?

I’m contemplating replacing my cameras with the new Olympus OM-D, E-M5.  It would give me the weather protection that I have with the K-5 but in a much smaller, easier to carry system package.  It would also allow me to continue to use the micro 4/3 lenses that I have and love, but it might not have the image quality that I can get with the K-5. The E-M5 might be the single camera solution that I have dreamed about.

My current reservations are:

  • Will I use a camera enough to warrant buying a new one?
  • Will I really need an all-weather camera?
  • Will I do a lot better with the EVF of the E-M5 due to my eye-sight?
  • Will I be able to handle the E-M5 with one hand if my other hand is holding a cane or walking stick?
  • Should I keep the E-P3 for backup?

If I only knew what was down the road.

Walking with a 45 mm Prime Lens

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.