I held off for a long time on buying a portrait focal length for the Micro 4/3 system and despite the stellar reputation and modest pricing of the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens, I’d found myself more or less happy with my adapted Contax 45mm.
The Contax G Zeiss 45mm f/2 lens has a pretty amazing reputation of its own. In its day, it was touted as being one of the sharpest standard lenses available, even garnering praise over some more illustrious Leica lenses in the same focal length neighborhood. While I wish I had some Leica glass with which to test and back up that claim, let’s just say that the little Zeiss lens has done okay for itself and still goes for a decent amount of money now that the weird proprietary focusing mechanism has been worked around and this lens can be adapted to most any mirrorless camera nowadays.
So, how do these two compare? Let’s see…
If you’ve been waiting for an Alien Skin software sale, now may very well be the time. I’ve not ever seen them offer any more than 50% (I don’t even remember seeing a half off sale in the past!) so it is as good as I’ve seen it!
I like the AS plugins a lot, and have been absolutely loving the new Exposure 5. You can read my take on some of their plugins via the links below, and you can buy any of these directly from AlienSkin.com (click here). I get no kickbacks from Alien Skin, and have no monetary incentive to sell their plugins, I just really enjoy using them and for those who may also be interested, it won’t get much cheaper than this. Go get you some.
Exposure 5, the best gets better
Bokeh 2, blur it out
Snap Art 3, release your inner artist
One of my absolute all time favorite lenses has been my EF 135mm f/2 L USM. Before I’d acquired this lens, I was looking for a mid range tele lens that I could use for portrait work as well as use for events, sports, etc. The 135L a few years back cost me exactly as much as the Oly 75mm f/1.8 does today. Yes, the Oly uses much less in the way of materials, far less glass, and is actually a 75mm lens, not a 135mm (or 150mm to be more accurate) lens, but, for the Micro 4/3 format, it is as close to that magical piece of glass that the 135L is for the Canon system. Both are metal, neither are weather sealed and they’re each their own system’s mid-tele master. Even with the extra glass, the 135L is a noticeably faster focuser (I’d assume largely due to the USM focusing motor and a superior PDAF in the EOS DSLR’s) but as to the quality of the actual images…
It’s a hard thing to admit to myself really. Being that I’ve been in love with the Lumix 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens for so long, I never really thought about acquiring a lens for the Micro 4/3 format that provided such a similar angle of view. Now that I have, I must make a decision, which do I keep…
If you’ve been on the fence about any of the Alien Skin plugins, now might be a great time to pull the trigger. Of course, they offer all of their plugins as full featured, free trials to try before you buy. You have about a week, get at it!
I’m a big fan, if you’d like to read my reviews on some of their plugins that I use and suggest, hit the links below:
Exposure 4 (tons of wonderful color and b/w film filters, a personal fave)
Snap Art 3 (instantly turn images into paintings)
Bokeh 2 (replicate the bokeh from high end lenses, or just have fun obliterating the background)
You can purchase any of the plugins, or bundles directly from Alienskin.com
I know this seems a bit like a sale’s pitch, and something I try not to do with the blog, but I love these plugins, the company they come from and both Jeff and Jimmy are really cool guys, so support ‘em if you can.
While at times my blog has dropped a few pegs in the daily pecking order of demands on my attention and immediacy of my prioritization, it has continued to be a vehicle for networking and international friend making. The connections and conversations have proven to exceed my expectations and I wanted to take a moment to thank the folks who have helped not only promote my ramblings, but help me grow as a photographer and fledgling digital artist…
Bokeh (/bō’kɛ/): In photographic terms, has grown to mean the subjective quality of the out of focus areas in a photograph, and how a particular lens renders out of focus points of light (adopted from the Japanese term boke 暈け, meaning fuzzy, disoriented, et al). Pronounced BO (as the bo in bone) and KE (as the ke in ken) if we are taking it directly from the Japanese word, while the “h” was added to help non Japanese speaking photographers pronounce this adopted term (see the wikipedia article for the history on the term and idea in photographic application). While the definition, pronunciation and it’s subjective nuances are often debated as to it’s application in the photographic realm, it hasn’t stopped Alien Skin from creating a plugin that beautifully applies an out of focus blur to selected areas of an otherwise focused image. With their second release, Bokeh 2 has added new bells and whistles as well as a more refined control of both radial and planar regions within an image and it’s area of focus. Read on for examples and why I think this is a wonderful deal of a plugin.