This is probably the last batch of photos I will ever take with the 25mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens. I don’t enjoy using it, partly because of focusing ring and aperture ring positions and partly because of bad image quality. In the next couple of days I will write a micro 4/3 centric review. Expect a very negative verdict.
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Do you know that feeling when you fall in love with somebody or something anew? Well, I loved the cheap 50mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens on the Nikon 1 V1 – not so much the ease of use on the N1 camera but the bokeh and its unique rendering. And now using it on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 – with exposure metering, IBIS, focus peaking and magnification – I find that I’m falling in love with it again. 🙂
Since I posted my first batch of photos taken with the brand new Olympus OM-D EM-10, I’ve had more time to study the camera and to take some additional photos. I must say, as much as I enjoy having the IBIS and the flexibility which the larger m4/3 sensor and the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 and Olympus 45mm f/1.8 provide in terms of low light performance and DOF control, almost equally I hate the color rendition, seemingly random auto white balance and “dark” metering of the E-M10. The Nikon V1 with the Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 (you can read my review of the lens here) still have some advantages which make the setup very fun to use. For example, the V1 has extremely precise metering and Auto WB, vastly superior to the both systems the E-M10 employs. I find that with the latter I’m constantly correcting exposure by +0.3-0.7 stops to get the result I’m used to with the V1. And even then, some work in Lightroom is needed to make the highlights “roll off” as smoothly as with the V1. The reason for this is no doubt the fact that the E-M10, while having greater dynamic range overall, has less highlight headroom and a steeper curve in the highlight region (but more shadow headroom) than the V1, thus underexposing constantly to protect those highlights.
I’ve had my Olympus OM-D E-M10 for two weeks now, but due to being swamped at work and having some business meetings abroad I couldn’t find the time to write a blog post about the camera and the first batch of pictures I took with it. Together with the E-M10 I also bought the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 and the Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4. Both seem to be excellent lenses. I can’t say much without some thorough testing first and I don’t like to go out on a limb, but Olympus cameras seem to be like mini super computers with loads of customization, which can be overwhelming at first. But once you assign the functions you want to the Fn buttons and customize the features and the way the camera operates to your liking, chances are you won’t need to dive in to a menu for a looong time. The E-M10 is the opposite of the Nikon V1. You can customize almost anything and the level of manual control is insane, but in a good way. The aspect of the camera I like best is undoubtedly the IBIS. With the V1 I’ve learned to hold the camera firmly and to do my best to avoid any movement. I even hold my breath when going under 1/50th of a second, but with the Olympus I find myself shooting anyway I see fit, while still getting sharp photos free of camera shake. Anyway here are some of my first photos with the E-M10, 45/1.8 and 25/1.4, most of which were taken at high ISO (ISO1600 and above).
I’m aware that my Nikon 1 Nikkor 32mm F1.2 review is very late – pretty much everyone, including Nikon, has given up on the Nikon 1 system. But on the off chance that you are one of those people, who have incurably fallen in love with the this tiny system, my findings could still be of some use to you. So, what is the Nikon 1 32mm F1.2 and how does it perform?
I’ve been using the Nikon 32mm F1.2 prime lens for many months now and I have owned and used the Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens for much, much longer. I think it’s safe to say that I know both lenses inside and out. Looking at their properties – like focal length, suitability for beautiful bokeh, and so on – one inevitably arrives at the conclusion that these two lenses serve the same purpose inside their respective ecosystems and that therefore they are very much comparable. In my opinion both of them are great lenses in their own right. There are huge differences in the image quality department, however, which I’m going to discuss in the following article.
I’ve had the Canon FD 200mm F4 Macro for about a month now and I’m still getting used to its size and weight. It’s a massive lens, but due to its long focal length it allows you to sit back and shoot macro subjects from a long distance. You don’t have to worry about scaring away insects and arachnids you are photographing, but you have to concentrate really hard to keep the lens/camera combo from shaking too much. In my experience the 3-axis IBIS in the Olympus OM-D E-M10 is definitely overwhelmed by the massive shake. What resolves this issue to some degree is activating the high speed burst mode. Shooting with 8 frames per second improves the odds of capturing at least a few sharp pictures tremendously. “Spraying and praying” is most definitely the way to go, when it’s windy, your subject is moving and you are shooting handheld. Since I’m one of those lazy macro shooters, who can’t be bothered to get up before sunrise or to lug a tripod, it’s windy and my subjects are very active most of the time when I’m go out to do macro photography.
I’m now gonna show you some of the images I’ve taken since last time.
The Ricoh GR Digital III is a seven year old camera. It was introduced in the summer of 2009. This was way before serious compact cameras with 1” sensors – such as Sony RX100 series, Canon G5 X, G7 X (II) and Panasonic TZ100/ZS100 – hit the market. At the time there were only a handful of pocketable serious cameras to choose from. What made the Ricoh GR Digital III stand out for me, were its 28mm equivalent prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.9, a for its time speedy operation and auto focus thanks to the GR ENGINE III image processor and the lovely 920,000 dots 3 inch LCD screen, which looks great even by today’s standards.
With a size of 1/1.7” its sensor was considered very large for a compact camera at the time. And, to top it all off, it was one of the few compacts to offer RAW capture, which made all the difference in terms of achievable image quality and post processing headroom.
All of these (and many more) features had their price, of course. The tiny GR Digital III was released with a hefty £529.99 / $699 / €599 price tag. One could buy an entry level DSLR with a kit lens or a double kit for the same amount of money. But still, getting the Ricoh was worth it, if you wanted a serious and very capable carry-anywhere camera. In my opinion it’s worth it to buy a used one even today, so many years after its release. Keep on reading to find out why.
After my last post regarding the Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 CCTV C-mount lens I have purchased a revers mounting ring for micro four thirds. It’s a 55mm to M4/3 mount mounting ring, which is too large for the Cosmicar. I have therefore attached the lens to two step-up rings – a 40.5mm to 52mm and a 52mm to 55mm. It’s not an ideal solution, but I wasn’t able to find a reverse mounting ring with a smaller filter thread. Anyway it works and surprisingly well at that. I haven’t calculated the maximum magnification ratio, but it puts all my other macro setups to shame. See the anthers in the following photo which was shot with the reverse mounted Cosmicar 8mm f/1.4 on my Olympus OM-D E-M10?