Qotd for July 2nd, 2014

Quite contrary to yesterday’s quote:

“And the exterior styling is as exciting as a 2002 Toyota Corolla body. But, like the Corolla, it’s a reliable, and for the most part comfortable appliance and it gets you where you are going.”

Kirk Tuck about the Canon T3i / 600D, here.

Seems that Ken Rockwell was quite right with his recommendations of basic gear, which he keeps repeating since a few years. And to celebrate that rediscovered wisdom, I think I’ll use my Olympus E-520 DSLR double zoom kit for this month, and nothing else.

Oh, and before I forget it: we love our 2002 Corolla… 😉

Thanks for reading.

Qotd for July 1st, 2014

“The question for an enthusiast with a few bucks is which to choose: A 16mp X-T1 body for $1299, an Olympus 16mp E-M1 body for $1299, or go the extra $40 for a 24mp, full-frame Sony A7?”

by Bill Danby, via The Online Photographer (see the readers’ comments)

I’ve asked myself that question many times already…

(Short explanation about the reason: for my style of photography, speed isn’t the most important thing, so I could live with all of the cameras mentioned above. And if I had some more “legacy” Olympus OM glass of different focal lengths, the choice would be easy I guess)

Thanks for reading.

Tuna the ‘tweener

Sometimes when it’s raining and Tuna – our cat – cannot decide if she rather wants to be outside or to stay in, she just sits in the opened door and waits.

“She’s a ‘tweener”

I told Mitchie, who laughed and agreed. Thankfully, at 18°C you can keep that door open for a while; it’s much more difficult in winter…

7de_6284033-tweener

Tuna the ‘tweener

Thanks for viewing.

One small, one not so small, and a few thoughts

Two great reviews about gear small and big:

1. Laurence Kim about the new Sony RX100 III, and
2. Ming Thein about the Ricoh/Pentax 645Z

So, two interesting cameras without any doubt, the first would probably be something for one of my nephews who likes small cameras and Sony, the other one is of course of interest to anyone. But it leaves some questions, and the first one comes directly from Laurence:

“How good is good enough?”

– and for that Sony camera, he answers that for himself with:

“I’d say it’s more than good enough to use not just as my secondary camera, but as my primary camera for just about all my non-professional use.”

The second question, and about the second camera of course, is the one about price. How much are you going to or willing to spend, and how much to you have to spend for a camera? Ming writes about that Pentax MF camera:

“Granted, as relatively ‘cheap’ as the 645Z is, it is still going to be far too expensive – and too much weight – for most photographers to consider; it’s a niche product and overkill for pretty much everybody but a very small group.”

Right. With a price for the camera body being about the same as the one we paid for our used Toyota, we’re talking serious money here, and even a colleague who has a Nikon D800 (the normal, cheaper one, not the -E) told me today that as an amateur, he’s probably at the uppermost border of “investment”, and spending anything more wouldn’t make much sense – to justify that, he should make much more use of it than he actually does.

So what do you need, and how much do you have to spend for a camera, and possibly some decent lenses for it? That depends of course – a lawyer or a dentist would probably get a Leica while those of us who have a more modest income would think (or dream) about that for long.

For me? The amount I would probably spend on a camera body is maybe somewhere around €1,500 – for that, you’d get a professional µ43rds or APS-C mirrorless camera like the Olympus E-M1 or the Fuji X-T1, or you’d probably even get an entry-level “full frame” camera like the Sony A7, the Canon 6D, or the Nikon D610. Anything higher I’d consider overkill.

But is it necessary to spend even that much? Not really. An Olympus E-M10 or a Sony A-6000 or any consumer-level DSLR have almost the same image quality than their bigger and more expensive brethren, in fact the sensor of my (and Mitchie’s) E-PL5 and the OM-D E-M5 are the same. And that E-M5 was considered a game changer in µ43rds, and DPReview wrote that if you want and/or need more, you’d have to look at “full frame”, not at APS-C.

So, about €600 will get you a nice mirrorless Olympus or Sony (or Panasonic or Fuji) camera, and it would also get you some middle-of-the-road “consumer” DSLR which could be better for moving stuff (while mirrorless has other advantages).

But when lowest weight and form factor – maybe for traveling – are your thing, or if you simply demand the highest possible quality you can get today, have a look at these tests to which I linked above.

Thanks for reading.

Stronger than concrete

Taken this morning at work:

7de_6260315-stronger-than-concrete

How good to know that nature still is stronger than concrete…

Olympus E-520 with 40-150mm lens

Thanks for viewing.

That standard lens on my “Pen”

Both Kirk Tuck (on his blog) and my friend Thorsten Wieszniewski (with email) lately reminded me of my standard lens, which is a Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 on my Olympus E-PL5 “Pen”-type camera. And to both I replied that yes, it’s gorgeous, and one of the best we have. My blog header photo shows me using it, and take this quick snapshot for instance:

7de_6254016-bucket

Small purple bucket. Mixed light: daylight in the foreground, flash in the background.

Noticed the bokeh from the small standby light on our TV set? Here it is at 100% for all of us (you) pixel-peepers:

7de_6254016-bokeh-detail-640x480

Perfectly round at f/2 which I used here, isn’t it?

It’s my go-to lens, and because I have the 50mm macro on my DSLR, this 25mm rarely leaves my mirror-free smaller camera. It’s just that good.

Thanks for reading.

Nasim’s site

Do you know the Mansurovs? Well, as a Nikon photographer you may have heard of them, others probably not. But Nasim writes maybe the best camera reviews I’ve read so far, probably together with Gordon Laing and with Imaging Resource. And like Ming Thein for instance, he’s also photographer enough to show the potential of the gear he reviews.

Today he published his review of the Fuji X-T1, a camera which I handled too briefly to write anything meaningful about it. And as always, looking at the photos in his review, it’s much more than the “nice camera” I called it. See Gordon’s and Imaging Resources takes on the X-T1 as well if you’re really interested in that camera, or in cool review sites.

Nasim mostly writes about Nikon gear, because that’s what he and his wife are using. But he also has reviews about some other stuff, like the Olympus E-M5 and E-M1, some Canon or Sony, and even a Mamiya RZ67. Plus they also have useful articles and tutorials, so they’re well worth a visit. They? Yes, several people are writing there, see them on his “About Us” page.

So, Nasim’s site is called “Photography Life“, and well worth a visit (or as in my case, even a RSS bookmark).

Two photos *not* taken by me

Got a free haircut today from Mitchie (thanks!), and shortly after that she also took my picture in front of my storm grey, and lit by my beauty dish:

7deP6222599-wolfgang

Wolfgang, June 2014

After that it was Zuleikha’s turn, who until then had helped with holding a reflector on the shadowy side (and I took her part here):

7deP6222604-zuleikha

Zuleikha, June 2014

Then Zuleikha took a picture of her Mama which I cannot show here, tho it’s one of the best portraits of Mitchie that we have. It’s always the interaction between photographer and model, and that shows…

Anyway, thanks for viewing.

One more from Thursday, and one from today

Before we left town from our train station on Thursday, I took this:

7de_6193976-courage

Courage. Olympus E-PL5 with M.Zuiko 45mm/1.8 lens.

And this morning on our veranda I saw this:

7de_6210296-snails

Snails in a small bird feeder. Olympus E-520 with Zuiko 50mm/2 macro lens.

Thanks for viewing.

Going to school…

Today is a public holiday here in Germany, and so we took the chance to try the way to Zuleikha’s new school, which she’ll have to go each day starting from September. It’s two stations with a train, and some additional with a bus or by bicycle.

On our way back from that other city, I took a photo of Zuleikha during our train ride:

7de_6193991-zuleikha

Zuleikha, June 2014

Thanks for viewing.