Posts Tagged ‘zuiko digital’

Deadly Poison

10 October 2009

Dear J-

As the hours pile up here at work I find myself increasingly tempted by various purchases I know I can’t (shouldn’t, mustn’t) justify.  I said before that with a few extra dollars in my pocket I’d invest it in a college education, but it feels like fifteen years ago and various bits of glass keep calling my name lately.  Trouble is I’ve already spent a small fortune in various shiny bits of silicon dioxide this year thanks to variously expensive moments of boredom leading to google searches.

That’s one of the reasons I love the clubsnap forums — some of the posts inevitably bring up the term “poison,” which I never quite understood until it was too late:  you’d despair that you wouldn’t be able to make anything quite so beautiful until you get your hands on that same piece of glass.  It’s all a lie, of course; photography starts in the brain — the framing and composition tell the story, and though you might believe that you need a particular bit to make it happen, chances are that you’ve always been able to do it all along.

Poison 1
Poison 2
(okay, really, this sub-link I ran across)

I still remember when I was collecting games for the Saturn — one of the ones I always wanted and paid an absurd amount of money for was Radiant Silvergun based on the glowing reviews I’d read.  After I got it on the shelf, though, I popped it in the machine maybe once or twice before shelving it forever — it’s not that it wasn’t a good game, or that I was too afraid of playing it (for the price it could have been minted from PURE GOLD).  It’s just that I couldn’t get good enough fast enough, which frustrated me to no end, great reviews or not.  One thing at a time, then; I’m still struggling with my first poison and don’t need to throw another slug down on top of it.  I think.

Mike

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Zuiko Hole

18 May 2009

Dear J-

There’s those that will always bemoan the lack of a ___ lens (insert your favorite type here; I like to pick on the lack of a shift lens in the Zuiko Digital line although pretty much any other lens that strikes my fancy is already there) in any lineup, never mind that it’s usually an exercise in mental aggravation — if you gave them that lens, would they buy into the system anyway? It came to me this way:  the lens that makes the most practical sense for most wildlife photographers (and some sports folks) is something like a f=400mm f/2.8 lens on 135-format film.  It’s generally just long enough, and are designed to work well with teleconverters, so for a relatively nominal price, you’d also have a f=560mm f/4 and a f=800mm f/5.6, most of the reach you’d need, reasonable quality (maybe not as good as the equivalent primes would be, but good enough for most purposes).  After all, there’s a reason that the Modular APO-Telyt-R system comes in 280/400/560 and 400/560/800 lens heads; they’re classical trios of telephoto focal lengths.

So, in 4/3rds land, where does that put you?  The DOF snobs would have you believe that more DOF is a handicap, and that your equivalent lens should be a silly f=200mm f/1.4; let’s ignore them for now and concentrate on the real world.  Truth is that depth of field wide-open on a f=400mm f/2.8 lens is nearly useless (not everyone wants to make things look like a Martha Stewart product shot, thank you).  No, a sensible f=200mm f/2.8 (or if you insist on the exotica, a f/2 lens) would do the trick nicely.  No one who’s had to lug a f/2.8 exotic into the field sneers at the f=400mm f/5.6, which would provide the same coverage and DOF as a f=200mm f/2.8 would on 4/3rds.

Problem is that it’s a serious overlap with the existing prime f=150mm f/2 exotic Zuiko, as well as the 50~200 f/2.8~3.5 and 90~250 f/2.8 zooms for that system.  It’s probably the reason Olympus hasn’t come out with one yet, despite the relatively low investment needed to design a superior f=200mm f/2.8 lens (such lenses having been around, in one form or another, since the 1936 Zeiss Sonnar “Olympia” for the ’36 Berlin Games– here’s some trivia for you; Olympics always bring out interesting lenses); too close, too much overlap.  And, as I’ve noted before, probably too much lens if they slot it into the SHG lineup; still, though, with the high-quality teleconverters available in the system, it seems like a natural fit to me, and one with a better price (I’d hope) than the existing SHG exotica.

Mike

Step Into Wide

11 October 2008

Dear J-

The nice thing — and the curse — with SLRs is that you’re always fiddling to get precisely the right sort of framing.  I’ve been trying different focal lengths, as I’ve found a few reasonably priced Leica R primes and the cheap Nikon-mount glass keeps a fair number of telephoto and tele zooms on the camera when I’m at the zoo or taking pictures of jet fighters overhead.

But when it comes down to people pictures, I’m finding that wider is better, and even the 35mm Elmarit-R (70mm equivalent field of view on a 35mm film SLR) has me backing up a little further than I’d like.  It’s time to get a real wide-angle; it’s time to invest a little more into the Olympus system, and that means getting back two exposure modes and a lot more automation (autofocus?  what?).  I’m therefore punting some gear that hasn’t seen daylight for a couple of months and looking forward to getting an actual meant-for-the-camera lens, finally.  You know, getting up to the current day in the real world is tricky.

Mike