My 50mm macro lens, used as a “normal” one

I once bought a used ZD 50mm/2 macro lens from the Four Thirds digital series, and I still love that one. Its autofocus is slow on CDAF machines like our small Pens and the E-M10, but the rendering of that lens is, in lack of another word, special. And yes, it’s very very good as a macro lens, but since I bought it I mostly used it for portraits and the likes – with an equivalent field of view like a 100mm lens on film, and with a max aperture of f/2 it’s just beautiful for everything. Here are 1 picture from this morning, and two from my lunch break:

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Arno, buying breakfast for us

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The view from the middle

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Selfie in the lift, fim simulation, toned

All three of these photos were made with the lens wide open at f/2, where it’s nice and sharp already. And if you stop it down one or two stops, it gets razor blade sharp. But that’s not the point of it – from all the lenses we have, and we do have some nice ones, this might still be the one with the most beautiful rendering of the image, and therefore, if you will, “the best”.

As always, thanks for viewing.

Some more digital monochromes

Here are a few more photos which I made with my camera set to black & white:

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Panasonic Leica DG Summilux 25mm/1.4 fully open at f/1.4)

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm/1.4 fully open at f/1.4)

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Tuna the cat, November 2017 (Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm/1.4 at f/2)

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Arno, November 2017 (Olympus OM Zuiko 135mm/2.8 at f/4)

Thanks for viewing.

135mm on (Micro) Four Thirds

So today I took another one of my Sunday walks. Or rather, two – I had to interrupt after 2647 steps to get some rain protection. For my electronic camera, not for me. So here are some pictures I made today:

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I used the lens wide open at f/2.8 whenever that was possible. Only when my camera complained that even 1/4000th and ISO 100 was still too bright, I stepped it down to f/8 if necessary.

Thanks for viewing..

First (test) photos taken with my new old lens

I’ve spent all my breaks and free minutes both yesterday and until noon today with my new old lens – on my film camera, where it belongs to. And again, which looks like this when paired:

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My new old lens again. I used it with film today.

I took this picture with my 45mm/1.8 Micro Four Thirds “portrait lens”, and with the modeling light of one of my studio flashes (with a socked beauty dish mounted to it). Didn’t use the flash since I didn’t want to kill the background light from the kitchen.

When I had filled my third roll of Tri-X at noon (approximately half of these using this new lens), I brought the films to the local drugstore for development, and mounted the lens to my digital E-M10 camera, using an OM/µ43rds adapter. I took lots of photos already, but nothing serious or worth to be shown. What I can tell so far is that the lens is indeed sharp. It can show a bit of “fringing” when shot wide open against lights, which is to be expected – there’s no automatic correction since the camera doesn’t even “know” which lens is mounted to it. Otherwise, there’s no big difference between using it wide open and stopping it down, and it shouldn’t – on Micro Four Thirds, you’ll be using only the middle quarter of the area of film.

Here’s our bookshelf from a few minutes ago, with the lens wide open at f/2.8:

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And here’s the same two stops down at f/5.6:

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Really not much of a difference – even at 100% I can read the description on the pack of HP ink just fine, and everything else looks good as well. And it stays this way until at least f/11 – if you stop down any further, you’ll notice some beginning diffraction at f/16, and more of it at f/22.

I’ll use it more over the coming days, and show more photos as soon as I have some. But the real proof will of course be the films, which should be ready in 10-14 days. If I see some good results from those, I’ll scan the negatives and show them as well.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

A wide angle lunch walk, and a new old tele lens

Today during my lunch break, I walked what Arno and me call the “Autobahnrunde”. I had the Panasonic Lumix 14mm/2.5 lens on my camera, and the field next to the Deutsche Bank buildings was freshly cut, so I got a few rare and unhindered perspectives:

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When I was much younger, I had a Canon A1 camera, with a set of three lenses: a 28mm/2.8, a 50mm/1.4, and a 135mm/2.8. For my Olympus OM-2N I only had 50mm lenses until today, but when I saw a 135mm/2.8 Zuiko in excellent condition for a very good price at KEH, I decided to get it. It got picked up by FedEx on Monday, and made it here until today even with their “standard” shipping option.

So this is how it looks on the camera:

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And this is how it performs on the digital E-M10 camera (where the angle of view is more like from a 270mm lens on film) – this is wide open at f/2.8, and without any CA or other “corrections” applied:

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Of course I will test this lens extensively over the next few days on both the film and digital cameras, but what I can see so far is that this should be a nice “people” lens. Let’s see if I’m correct.

Thanks for reading and viewing.

Some crops from today, in black and white

Let’s talk gear a bit.

When Kirk Tuck lately mentioned “My lens of choice today was the older, Contax Y/C Zeiss 50mm f1.7 lens, with an adapter. I shot almost everything at f2.0.” (that was in his blog article I mentioned already), I thought of course of my old and manual OM Zuiko lenses, which are quite wonderful. Of course I thought of using them, but didn’t. Until today.

On my Olympus OM-2N camera I have the G.Zuiko Auto-S 1:1.4 f=50mm lens, and in the camera I have Kodak 400TX (“Tri-X”) black & white film. So my plan for today was to take and to use that camera and lens, but if I’d taken only that one, I wouldn’t have anything to show right now – film still needs some time for development and all.

So I decided to also use my second lens from the OM System, the Zuiko Auto-S 50mm 1:1.8 “made in Japan” lens, adapted to my digital OM-D E-M10 (so I would have something to show right now).

Like Kirk did with his Contax/Yashica/Zeiss lens, I let my 1.4 Zuiko on the film camera on f/2 most of the time, but you can’t use the 1.8 Zuiko at f/2 – so I used that one fully open (also most of the time, when I set one camera to f/8, so I did with the other as well).

And since I had black & white film in my film camera, I set the digital one to black & white as well, and also to a 3:2 aspect ratio, just like my 135-type film has (it’s “full frame” in modern terms, meaning it has the Kleinbildfilm format of 24x36mm – which is 2:3).

So – the title says “crops”, and that is what today’s images from the digital camera are. I framed (and “composed”) everything using the film camera, then using the digital one I took another image from the exact same position, only with f/1.8 instead of f/2. So from the digital camera I have a crop of that “full frame” of the film – the sensor of (Micro) Four Thirds cameras is ca. 13x17mm, which is about the quarter area you have on 135-type film. So the crop factor is about 1:2 (or the angle from the lens looks a bit like a 100mm lens would have on the film camera). Depth of field is almost identical using that technique of course (in fact my digital “crop” camera at f/1.8 has less depth of field that the “full framer” film camera at f/2), but the digital doesn’t show the full image – or the film shot is much wider. Name it as you will; this is what I did today.

So here are some of these “crops”:

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The next one was taken with the lenses at f/8:

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And this one was at f/2.8:

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Nice and sharp – like all Olympus lenses (the 1.4 version is a bit better than the 1.8 one). Back to f/1.8 (or “fully open”):

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And one last one which I took with the digital camera only, just to show you my camera of choice of today – the Olympus OM-2N, photographed using one of its own lenses:

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I’ll show you the film images as soon as I have those films developed.

Thanks for viewing.

The right camera, the right lens

There are a few other photographers whose blogs I follow; one of those I read since years is Kirk Tuck, a professional photographer about my age from Austin, TX, USA. In his latest blog post he wrote about a walk with his Panasonic G85 (which is here called G80, its successor is the G81), married with an old and manual focus Contax/Yashica/Zeiss 50mm/1.7 lens.

And yes, nice results. My main and now only camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M10, which is comparable, and like Kirk I wanted to take a walk with that camera today. I could have used one of my older and manual Olympus lenses from the OM system – I have the 50mm in both versions, with apertures of 1.4 and 1.8. Or I could have used the Zuiko ED Digital 50mm/2 Macro which I also love and which gives me autofocus with the right adapter. But instead, I just used the 45mm/1.8 from the newer Olympus Micro Four Thirds series of lenses, and like Kirk, I let it on f/2 almost all of the time.

So here are some impressions from my walk around noon today:

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Thanks for viewing.

That “full frame” look, and closed headphones

Yesterday I found a cat photographer on the Flickr blog, here. And it’s interesting to see that an (now considered old) Canon 6D is enough to get that “full frame” look – especially when using macro lenses or something like a 85mm/1.8.

Andrew Reid from EOSHD tho praises the new Nikon D850 – the best quality you’ll get if you need the best and have the money.

And the German-speaking “Sound & Recording” online magazine tested the Yamaha HPH-MT8 closed studio headphones, which seems to be an alternative to the Audio-Technica ATH-M50. Interesting; next time I’ll be in Cologne in the Music Store I’ll have to listen to both of them.

Thanks for reading.

Quote of the day, August 26th, 2017

“A well focused 12 megapixel camera trumps a poorly focused 24 megapixel camera any day of the week. A photograph of a captivating subject taken with a camera that’s mediocre at high ISOs still beats another noise free image of a coffee cup in a coffee shot every time. Waiting for the perfect camera is a fool’s errand.”

by Kirk Tuck, professional photographer in Austin, Texas, U.S.A., in a blog post of his.

Thanks for reading.

Learning just another (filmmaking) program, while not forgetting about photography

Recently, Zuleikha had just another gig as a musician (playing piano), and we recorded it – Mitchie on video with her Olympus E-PL5 and the 45mm/1.8 lens (on her tripod of course), and me with my Røde NT-1A microphone, the Focusrite Scarlett 6i6 (2nd gen) interface, and the Lenovo Thinkpad P50 laptop/notebook which I’ve got from my employer.

Zuleikha’s piano teacher asked us to make a DVD from all the attendees’ performances, so we recorded everyone instead of just our own daughter. And since then (that was Sunday evening), I’m trying to learn just another video-editing program.

Why? Well because Ardour is more like Avid’s Pro Tools – a music studio inside of your computer, and OpenShot is a video editor which we’ve used previously, but which also gave me some headaches already – for bigger projects like a full-blown DVD, it’s not the most stable and full-featured one.

So at the moment I’m looking at the community version of Cinelerra, which seems to be great. There’s a very nice article on the German ubuntuusers wiki, with some additional nice links, like the one to Raffaella Traniello’s “Cinelerra for Grandma” – that answered most of my questions (and struggles) so far.

It’s still quite a lot to learn – these are not your basic editors, but full-blown and -featured professional programs like the commercial ones on other operating systems (and also a bit like Ardour vs. Pro Tools or Logic).

And with all that music- and video-related stuff, I’m still not forgetting about photography, even if I do that only for private and family “jobs” right now. So I’m still regularly reading the most interesting bloggers (and pros) like Kirk Tuck, or Michael Johnston’s “The Online Photographer” (and listening to Brooks Jensen’s “Lenswork Daily” podcasts).

I just answered one of Mike’s posts for instance, which was about his thought of a dual camera system (one his iphone, the other one maybe a Sony A7-2). My answer to that one, in case you don’t find it on his page, was:

“Love the idea, Mike.

I’ve got an Olympus OM-D E-M10 (first gen) which in cameras is in my opinion the equivalent to what our Corolla is in cars. It will do the job, and get you the picture. Not the best, but a quite acceptable one.

But the A7 Mk2 is the one that really interest me, even more so since I realized that both of our Olympus film bodies (OM-1 and OM-2) are having problems with their shutters, and ruin many potentially good (and expensive) film shots. So yes, a “digital back” for my OM Zuiko 50mm/1.4 would be great to have.

Or maybe an FM-2; could even be better. But that wouldn’t accept my Zuiko lens AFAIK.”

So beside my full-time professional job (still having to earn a living for us all), and beside my honorary work in the school’s parents’ association, I’m quite busy at the moment. Holding on to the next task, like: make a DVD for the parents of the other young and aspiring musicians – and for their teacher of course.

But being busy, and being together with the young ones keeps you young as well – or so they say 😉

Thanks for reading.