Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Don't Underestimate The Kit Lens: Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 on PEN E-PL7

In the spirit of the frenzy happenings at Photokina, churning out endless announcements of latest photography products, pushing the advancement and technological barriers, I have chosen to put all the gear measurebating aside today. How did I do that exactly? Simple, for my shutter therapy session, I chose to shoot with one lens only: the Olympus Kit Lens that not many people cared much about, M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6. 

Kit lens is not something most people would want to stay with very long after their first system camera purchase, many looking for options to upgrade to pro zoom lenses (normally with constant bright aperture, eg F2.8), or adding prime lenses. It was not a surprising fact, since most kit lenses bundled with entry level camera (and in a handful of cases, mid-level to even higher level APS-C DSLR cameras) were usually performing less than mediocre, in terms of overall image quality. When setting up with prime lenses or higher grade zoom lenses, the original kit lenses become pale in comparison, generally not as sharp. 

However, let me ask you this. 

Have you used any Olympus kit lenses before? 

From the DSLR days, the Zuiko Digital 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 (Four Thirds version), which I used extensively for 2 years before upgrading to better lenses, to the latest offerings from Olympus Micro Four Thirds line-up, such as the M.Zuiko 12-50mm F3.5-6.3, and even the lowly, often underrated 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 2R. If you have used ANY of the above mentioned kit lenses (like really put them to good use) mostly bundled with Olympus cameras, you will realize that Olympus makes some of the best kit lenses out there, ever. I may sound like I am exaggerating, but I have photographs to show in this blog entry, and believe me this is not the first time I am blogging about the goodness of kit lens. 

Accompanying the kit lens, I used the latest Olympus PEN E-PL7. This time, I had the BLACK version. 

Prayers

Warmth
Who says kit lens can't render shallow depth of field?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Multiple Olympus Announcements: M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO Lens, OM-D E-M1 Silver and Firmware Upgrade 2.0

It is that exciting time of the year again, with Photokina happening, and all camera manufacturers pushing out new products and making huge announcements. Today, Olympus has officially announced 3 important updates to their Micro Four Thirds system range:

1) The highly anticipated M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO Lens
2) OM-D E-M1 Firmware 2.0 (available for both current E-M1 Black and the new Silver version)
3) OM-D E-M1 Silver


This is perhaps the only image that I have with ALL 3 new items combined: E-M1 Silver (already comes with Version 2.0 Firmware) and the M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 Pro lens


Olympus OM-D cameras have been highly successful, and well received by many professional photographers and photo-enthusiasts (much like myself) alike. Even DPReview.com awarded E-M1 the "Product of the Year 2013", and E-M1 has garnered praises from prominent photography bloggers such as Steve Huff and Michael Johnston (TOP). Since the introduction of the OM-D, Olympus has been targeting more serious photographers, mainly professional photographers and serious hobbyists who shoot in demanding and challenging situations, requiring a reliable camera system that will deliver the results. In this continuous effort, Olympus has placed their focus in developing the PRO range of M.Zuiko lenses, with the release of the M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8 lens and now, the newly launched M.Zuiko 40-150mm F2.8 PRO lens, a professionally built telephoto zoom lens to match the earlier standard wide zoom lens. In addition to that, the E-M1 has a major firmware upgrade, adding plenty of useful features, adding value to E-M1 users. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Taking Up The Challenge: Shooting with only M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 on Olympus PEN E-PL7

Note: For those of you Olympus users coming to Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival this coming weekend, there will be free professional camera and lens cleaning services for your Olympus products! Do not miss out. 


I planned to shoot with only the kit lens this weekend, since I have been using mostly prime lenses these days in every photography sessions. The forgetful me after a long week of work did not bring home the M.Zuiko 14-42mm EZ pancake zoom lens, hence I shall be doing the kit lens only shoot some other time. When I asked myself what else I could do differently this time for my shutter therapy session, I looked at the "fringe" lenses that I have. M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 is not exactly a lens which I would use as my first choice, and I will find every excuse to use any other lenses that I have. I have explained before why I am not the classic 35mm shooter, and I will not do so again, but lets just say using the Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 is quite a big challenge for me, and I am taking that challenge up today. Nope, no 45mm F1.8, no 25mm F1.8, just sticking to ONE lens for all day. 

The day started with Pudu Wet Market, and it was extra wet today, due to heavy rain during our shoot. I was with Joseph and Nik, both awesome photographers whom I have known from my active days shooting with the Sony gang. We had a coffee break, rather long one actually, until the rain tamed down a little before we continue clicking our shutters away. Thankfully the rain did gave way and we still had plenty of chance to grab some shots. I was armed with the PEN E-PL7, which unfortunately is not weather sealed. I would have worried less if I was using my own OM-D E-M5, which I decided to leave resting at home. 

I did not have any agenda or anything particular I wanted to achieve in this shooting session. Heck, I was not really doing any tests or further review for the E-PL7. This was my weekend, my only time free, and I wanted to do something for myself, and my shutter therapy has only one purpose, to make me happy!

Noodles and Seafood

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Answer Comes to Those Who Seek

A few years ago, a friend bragged about how superior his camera system was, being able to capture by continuously focusing on a flying dragonfly. No one knew how he did it, No one saw how he did it. I did not have the answer.

A few years later, the answer revealed itself to me. If you look at this image, it was not that difficult to guess how I got this Dragonfly in Flight photograph. It was so simple, so easy, that sometimes we seek answers at all the wrong places. Note that I was using Single-AF, not continuous.

Image taken with Olympus PEN E-PL7 and M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lens. 

Well, I could have said along the lines of "OMG the E-PL7 has improved Continuous AF that it can track flying insects!". That was the exact same thing that the friend did years ago, with his system. 

I guess those who have shot enough dragonflies will know the answer. I shall keep it open for you to guess, if you have not already known it!