I keep going down, and back up, the rabbit hole. I sell one camera system, get another, sell it, and often go back to an earlier system. Round and round, up and down I go. Sometimes it is because I think the grass is greener on the other side, sometimes it is because camera manufacturers leapfrog one another, and sometimes it is because my needs change or at least I get a different idea of what I like. Another problem is that I switch back and forth between what I think I want to do. I also like change and trying different cameras and lenses.
I have another problem with preferring to use one style of camera that does not fit what I have available to photograph. It is a case of photographing what fits the camera and lens or changing gear to fit what is available to photograph. My solution has been to look for a compromise in gear or to acquire multiple cameras. Recently I have been using an Olympus E-M5ii with various lenses. I previously sold my Fuji X-T1 camera and moved to the Olympus since I wanted the minimum size and weight to achieve an effective focal length of 600mm as well as the small prime lenses for walking about while making my personal pictures. I no longer have as much a need for real long focal lengths but I do now need zoom lenses for my event photography as well as the best low light capability that I can afford. But, I still like prime lenses for my personal photography. I therefore decided to go back to a Fuji camera.
I bought the Fuji X-E2s along with the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, primarily to photograph events, etc. here at Homewood. If that works, and I intend to make it work, I will order prime lenses to supplement them when I don’t wish to carry zoom lenses. I will likely sell off some or all of the micro 4/3 gear. My desire is to settle down and work on photographing with just the Fuji camera; but I will delay selling any of the micro 4/3 gear until I am sure I can make it work for my needs.
Rather than get a DSLR style camera like the X-T1 or 2, I decided to get the rangefinder style X-E2s. Further back I owned the X-E1 when they first came out and liked that style, but not the focusing as much. They have improved the focusing a lot since then. The X-E2s style of camera works a lot better while photographing in and around people, especially when I get a prime lens later, and it is lighter and fits in a small bag easier. I also purchased the 55-200mm lens so that I can photograph from behind the audience during events, etc.
Fuji just announced that they will be selling new prime lenses. These coming lenses are another reason that I went back to Fuji. I prefer using prime lenses on a camera that has external controls, but fast zoom lenses are better suited for documentary photography.
Yesterday I went to town, parked my car in the square, and walked around a few blocks. It was an area that I often photographed about 2-4 years ago; but I wanted to try something different this year. This time I used a small pocket travel zoom camera, the Canon SX720 HS with a 40x zoom. It only produces jpeg files but I have still tweaked them into a style that I think works well with the jpegs in Adobe LR.
One problem that I had in the past was that my cameras (I used different ones) attracted attention and, if I used a long zoom lens, even more attention as well as lots of weight to carry. This time I wanted to try a small camera that didn’t attract attention which could be carried in a pocket or the palm of my hand and which had a very long zoom lens.
The above are two of my test samples. My desire is to eventually utilize the compression and the great depth of field (DoF) of the small sensor and lens to create a particular style of image. The above images don’t demonstrate it yet. These were chosen to test out whether I could hold the camera steady enough at maximum zoom and to see how good the DoF was. Over the coming days I’ll show you more images that I made in town as I ease towards a style I’m interested in.
You can see the physical size differences and the maximum zoomed images of both the Olympus E-M5II with the 75-300 mm zoom lens and the Canon SX720 HS in the images below. Both are zoomed all the way out and were hand held. Also, I will remind you that this Olympus micro 4/3 setup is smaller than any of my previous APS sensor cameras. The Canon is a lot smaller than earlier camera systems I owned. For several years now I have been on a campaign to see how small I can go and still retain appropriate image quality.
You can tell which image was taken with each camera since the effective zoom of the Canon was greater at 720mm. Also, when comparing the images, remember that the Canon image is a 20MP jpeg and the Olympus image is 16MP and was taken raw and converted to a jpeg using LR. In my opinion the Canon is a better camera for my use in town.
PS, the Canon is a good travel camera if you only photograph in bright light and stay out of dusty conditions. I wish I had it when I traveled in Egypt and Tunisia and Costa Rica; but I would have also taken my Olympus TG-4 for use in the rain of Costa Rica and the dust of Tunisia. For the conditions in Ireland, my micro 4/3 camera with a prime lens worked better when I carried it in my rain jacket pocket. I had more indoor pictures there as well as the darker cloudy conditions sometimes.
I find it refreshing to have sun and no rain and be able to go back to using my micro 4/3 cameras. I used my Olympus E-P5 with the Panasonic 20 mm prime lens to make this image of the flower on a neighbor’s Rhododendron. The 20 mm lens focuses close enough for me to make this composition with no cropping and no up-sizing.
Look at the camera and lens I used to get the images in my previous post (lower right in slideshow mode). I have decided to use micro 4/3 sensor cameras due to a combination of size, ergonomics, image quality, and cost. In order to keep the cost down and quality up, I purchased a used Olympus Pen E-P5 since it has the same sensor and uses the same battery as my Olympus OM-D E-M5 II. I plan to use a few prime lenses with the E-P5 and use the E-M5 II for my longer focal length work, primarily at 300 mm focal length. This will enable me to stop frequently changing lenses and grab and go quickly.
The E-P5 doesn’t have a EVF but I don’t need one for inside or low light work. The lack of the EVF hump also makes it easier to carry in a vest or jacket pocket. It is a little on the heavy side but is built like a tank and should withstand being thrown into various small bags, etc. I need the EVF on the E-M5 II for use with long focal length lenses since it makes it easier to hold the camera-lens steady to compose in bright sunlight. A big plus for both of the cameras is the 5-axis image stabilization system. It is quite good, but I still need to hold the camera steady with long focal lengths to focus on the area I want.
I decided to sell all of my Fujifilm gear and go with Olympus due to the size and cost of the lenses. I used my Fujifilm X-T1 and 35 mm lens for the last time to make the above picture. Using the Olympus smaller sensor cameras keeps the weight and cost of the long lenses lower. I decided that I couldn’t afford or carry the long focal length Fujifilm lenses. Using the E-P5 with prime lenses rather than the X-T1 enables me to have and use one system.
There are three earlier posts which discuss differences in image quality as well as some of the reasons for ending up with these cameras: Round 1, Round 2, and Changes. Click on each to read each of them if you haven’t already read them. When I earlier decided to go with the Fujifilm system, I planned to only use shorter focal length prime lenses and give up images of wildlife and distant compressed landscape details, but I found that limited my photography and therefore I went back to some longer focal length photography.
Buds are breaking forth. It was overcast with occasional light showers but I went out in between drops to see if I could get these images with a 20 mm micro 4/3 lens. It was hard to get the camera to focus on them but I found that if I held a finger next to the buds I could focus easier on the larger finger and then, since the camera had found the range, I didn’t have trouble focusing on the buds.
I noticed the crescent moon last night so I tried a few things with my camera. Sometimes what it sees isn’t what we see with the naked eye. The following is probably what most of us saw with our eyes.
The following is what I saw through the lens as I made adjustments to the camera settings.
And the following is another view I was able to capture.
Then as I was heading back inside I noticed these reflections on the pond.
I am having fun as I push the limits of the excellent image stabilization of the E-M5 II. These were taken handheld at shutter speeds between 0.05 and 0.5 sec at 270 or 300 mm focal length …. An equivalent of 600 mm.
“The only provable reality of a photograph is its physical existence — a flat piece of paper with some smudges on one side…Most adults have to regain the ability to experience pictures directly and deeply. Contrary to their convictions that they understand everything, most people have to reestablish the ability to let a photograph speak for itself. And paradoxes abound, one has to earn the innocence of vision — by hard effort, by serious and deliberate search for meanings in photographs.” Minor White