I remember when I first picked up a wide angle lens to use. I hated it, absolutely hated it. It made everything look so small. I had visions of seeing these wide-open spaces portrayed elegantly with my new fangled lens. I got rid of that lens.
The problem, of course, was the photographer, not the lens. After I learned how to use one, many years later, I always made sure to have one in my kit. For the last few weeks, I’ve been debating on whether to buy the Panasonic 14 mm f/2.5, or the Olympus 12 mm f/2.0. I’d read so many different articles and opinions. I did some experiments to see what was the difference, in field of view, between a 12 mm and a 14 mm, or 24 and 28 mm equivalents for 35 mm cameras. In the end, it came down to just a difference between seeing the whole room, or most of the whole room.
I decided to get the 12 mm. The price difference was rather large, with the Panasonic going for about $325 new and the Olympus, $800. As you can see, more than double the price for only 2 mm difference and a half an f/stop, if that. I liked the idea of a matched lens to the camera, so I went kind of the middle and bought a used 12 mm for $600, not quite twice the price. The lens is only available in the silver color, but it is a nice, professional looking lens, has a decent weight to it, and feels well made.
For a quick switch to manual focusing, should you desire, it has a nice pull ring around the barrel. Pull it in, it disengages the auto focus, pull it back out, AF reengaged. This is really nice for those close focusing situations when the AF might be a bit confused about which edge you wish to focus on.
Included in this post are a couple of shots from the lens. I was very interested in the cloud formation, which was actually steam from the neighborhood nuclear power plant. I took several shots, at f/5.6 with featuring the clouds. Like most wide angle lenses, this lens has depth of field to spare; however, the nice thing about it is that if you open the aperture wide enough, you can still put the background out of focus, which is kind difficult to do on small sensor cameras.
I’ve shot it nearly wide open, at f/2.8, and as you can see, the DOF trails off nicely, at least I think so. It’s not the prettiest bokeh that I’ve ever seen, but it certainly isn’t ugly.
Also, what’s nice is that there’s not so much distortion, although there is some, but I come to expect that and like it, especially the distortion near the lens. I’ve not tried it on architecture, just yet, but then again, I don’t take many architectural shots. If you shoot in JPG, the camera will make automatic corrections for this, and other Olympus lenses to correct for barrel distortion, etc. Also, I believe that Lightroom makes some corrections, too.
I did experiment with it for a few shots, taking some self-portraits, none of which I kept, but they weren’t bad, actually. They weren’t distorted in the manner that I imagined … this is a well adjusted lens, unlike its owner.
The colors that it delivers seem to be pretty neutral. I have, however, turned off the Olympus warming mode, so to speak.
I really like the lens. My arsenal is nearly complete. I have one of the lenses on the E-M1, the other, the 45 mm f/1.8, on the E-M5. I’m ready for battle.
I was standing, looking at the lake, enjoying the last rays of sun. I saw him come down the tree, to my right, circle around behind me, then stop. I wondered what would happen if I stood absolutely still, so I did. Eventually, he made a wide circle around my to my left, stopped and looked at me, came closer, and closer. As a matter of fact, he came so close that I thought that he might actually mistake me for a tree and run up my leg. LOL. I was hoping that he was a bit smarter than that.
I had my hands in my pocket, I moved ever so slowly to get them into position for taking a picture. I took several. Mind you, I had on a 12 mm lens, a 24 mm equivalent, so, as you can see, he was pretty much right on my shoes almost. I did crop it a bit to bring him a bit closer.
After a bit, he lost interest in me as a potential tree and decided to move on.
This morning as I was walking through the woods, especially after taking this shot, I thought of how great it is to have digital cameras with viewfinders on the back. Normally, I don’t use it, as I prefer to use the regular viewfinder. The rear viewfinder has a few disadvantages, glare being the most notable, to me; however, this morning, in the shade of the trees, it really came in handy.
This particular shot was pretty low, right on the ground. With my eye to the viewfinder, I would have had to be lying prone, on the ground, to get this shot, or would have had to make a guess. I probably would have made the guess. I didn’t have anything to lie upon and the ground was a little bit wet. However, probably solved with the articulating viewfinder and an assist from the on-screen level display. Ain’t technology grand!
I follow Robin Wong’s blog. I like his street photography portraits as well as his write-ups about Olympus gear. He’s an Olympus Malaysia employee, is a fan of Olympus equipment, and enjoys what he does. His gear reviews are the types that I like to see. They are not scientific; simply put, they are “man on the street with the camera” types of reviews; however, not everyone feels the same way. It’s interesting to see some of the comments that he gets about his reviews, about how he wasn’t fair to this camera or that, about how he wasn’t scientific about his approach, and for it to have meaning, it must be scientific. His responses were reasonable, detailed, and courteous in his post: About My Gear Review
It’s amazing how much time and thought that he puts into these reviews that he gives away for absolutely free. One of the reasons that I don’t do many reviews, at all, is because of the time and effort that it take to put into them to make a decent one and, personally, I’d rather be out taking photos for fun.
At any rate, probably those who are criticizing his work have never written a review, nor probably ever will. My other thought on that is that they are claiming bias because he didn’t select the particular camera that they own – validation, ya know. Perhaps those that complain should do their own comparisons/reviews, then, at that point, perhaps they could draw their own conclusions and finally get some satisfaction.
I took quite a few photos while walking in what passes for winter around here. In fact, we had close to a foot of snow. This was the most snow that I’d seen since I’ve been living in Charlotte. However, out of all of the photos that I took, this was my favorite one. This one, I didn’t go looking for, per se. I didn’t have to think about it.
For the most part, the day had been overcast; however, just before sunset, the sun decided to peek our from behind the clouds. I grabbed my camera, had a look in the backyard, and noticed a single ray shining on my pot that formerly held basil and sage. The basil, well, it is long since dead, but the sage, a hardy fellow, lives in despite the weather.
That was it! My favorite. My first favorite, I think, for 2014 – Notice, Cedric, no people in this shot. This one is destined for the printer and a frame, for sure!
I saw these folks when I went for a walk this afternoon. The dog was pretty excited about it and stopped by to greet me before continuing with giving his sleigh ride. Everyone seemed to be taking things in stride.
Even as I type this, the snow continues to fall and even increase. As a matter of fact, I hear a little sleet mixed in with it. My E-M1 performed flawlessly. I had to wipe the lens a couple of times after first getting outside because the lens was warm and the snow was melting upon contact; after a short while, it became just as cold as the outside and I had no further issues. The snow and sleet just bounced right off.
As you can see, after a 90 minute walk, or so, the camera was a bit encrusted in snow. No issues!