*New Kid On the Blog! Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 lens, first look.

leica 15mm f/1.7

 

Hi all.  Sorry for the lack of activity on the blog.  Lots of things happening in the Robichaud camp of late, many of which have required a large amount of time, energy and emotional involvement.  All’s well, and one thing I’ve been really wanting to share is a quick look at this new micro 4/3 gem.  The (Panasonic) Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 aspherical micro 4/3 lens is the fourth Leica branded lens for the micro 4/3 system, and much like the others I’ve shot with, brings with it a unique signature.  Boasting a fast f/1.7 maximum aperture setting, and a 30mm equivalent field of view in a solidly built little package, it should prove to be another success for the system.  An odd focal length, but one that if embraced, can give someone a unique wide angle that moonlights as a semi-standard a-la the more traditional 35mm focal length.  I have always been a 35mm lens fan, and not a fan of the 28mm lenses, rather opting for a 24mm as my wide angle and the 35 as my semi-wide/standard focal length of choice for all around shooting, this lens has forced me to reassess my past comforts, but to be fair, the Oly 75mm falls into that same category, and I love that one, so I’ve found room in my heart for odd focal lengths in the past.  Okay, let’s take a quick look at this little lens…

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*Olympus 45mm f/1.8 Lens on sale!

IMG_7115

I’ve been on the fence for years now regarding a moderate/short tele micro 4/3 lens having been pretty happy with my adapted Contax G Zeiss 45mm f/2 Plannar lens, until fate dealt me a debilitating blow last week which saw my trusty 12-32mm pancake zoom bite the dust.  I’ll get into that in more detail later, but looking to replace it, and having a difficult time finding one, I came across the current Olympus Lens Rebates (click here to see them all).  The Oly 45mm f/1.8 lens is largely regarded as one of the best lenses for the system, especially for the price.  Right now, that normal price of $399 is down to $349 as Olympus has issued a $50 rebate which runs through June 14th, 2014 according to Oly’s website.

While I’ll do a more in depth review on this little gem shortly, come on in for my initial thoughts and sale links.

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*Panasonic Battle, GX7 vs GM1

GX7vsGM1blog

As is always a bit of fun, I’ve gone through and pitted these two cameras against each other to see if I could tell much in the way of a difference in the file quality.  DXO says there’s a 4 point difference in the performance between these two sensors (in the GX7′s favor) yet they seemingly employ the same sensor and processor…  Seems a little weird, and while I feel DXO does a good job at giving all of us a great resource from which to compare different cameras, it didn’t seem to add up on paper.  C’mon in, We’ll have a look at files from each of these micro 4/3 cameras…

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*Lumix GM1, mine’s smaller. A quick look at the smallest MILC camera.

this little piggy...

How small is too small?  How about a micro 4/3 camera that is smaller than most any fixed lens compact sporting a 1/1.6″ or 1/1.7″ sensor (not to mention any of the 1″ sensor cams, or even most compact p&s cameras I’ve owned)?  Well, I’d heard that the Panasonic Lumix GM1 was small, but I don’t think I was prepared for HOW small this thing actually is.  Have a look…

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*Another set of this guy’s opinions, or Mirrorless Lens buying guide!

IMG_6052 - Version 2 (1)

As requested from the camera body shopping guide post (thanks Tim and Chris), here are my opinions on the best lenses for the various mirrorless systems.  Keep in mind that I have not shot extensively with all of these lenses, or at least, many of the lenses for systems that aren’t the micro 4/3 system aside from the tire kicking in stores or when getting the chance to shoot friend’s gear, so my opinion is based on minimal use combined with personal intrigue and web based research.  Because I don’t own an X series or Alpha E (NEX, etc) camera body, I have not been able to access many of the lenses on offer for any period of time, but there are a few I have, as well as those that I would certainly look long and hard at if I was invested in these systems.  As for the micro 4/3 lenses, I have those down pretty well.  C’mon in and I’ll lay out my faves…

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 3

Rainier Morning Ascent

PART 3: Processing your shots

After applauding your choice to invest in featherweight cameras and optics that have the image quality to rival top end digital SLR’s (well, in many scenarios anyway), it all comes down to processing, and turning those files into the beautiful images you knew they’d become.  While weight is no longer a huge part of the equation, it is now time to see if we’ve compromised our ability to document our travels for posterity in all their pixel rich glory…

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 2

PanhandleGapDaleBLOG

PART 2: Shooting your trip

You’ve already suffered through my long winded gear explanation in the previous post about gear weight in part 1. Here are some of the images and techniques I use with the gear being utilized for each shot, laid out. The above panorama shot was a handheld series of 5 frames, shot in portrait orientation using the Canon EOS-M and 22mm f/2 lens. The third and final part in this series will focus on the actual processing of the shots and won’t really have much to do with backpacking per se, nor the weight saved, but hopefully can show that with these small cameras, image quality is not compromised.

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 1

mirrorless diet

PART 1: Preparing for a trip

Have you ever had to pack for a trip, a hike, climb, vacation or another adventure where you’d be carrying everything on your back or slung over your shoulder?  Gear laid out on the floor the night before leaving for the trip after having unpacked and repacked to see if you could fit everything in less space getting rid of everything you can to save weight.  For those that saw their toothbrushes in half to shave off a few grams, or anyone that could stand to lose a little weight in the camera bag, this series of articles may be useful.  Now, the question is, can we do this, and still carry quality photographic gear with us?

This will be the first part in a three part article focused on capturing images while backpacking and wanting to keep weight down while not compromising image quality.  It is also potentially useful for any travel situation where gear weight may become cumbersome.

I’d like to thank Yukon Trading CompanyMarmotJetBoil, LEKI Trekking Poles43rumors.comExpert Shield screen protectors, and B&H Photo for the continued support, and particularly for much of the stuff provided for me during this trip.  Losing weight isn’t always fast and cheap, but they’ve helped make it sexy.  Throughout these articles, I’ll be mentioning and linking to various products that I use(d) and highly suggest looking into.  Fortunately for me, we got hooked up with companies that put quality at the top of their list.  It doesn’t hurt that they also engineer some of the best, lightest and highest performing gear on the market, so, thanks guys!

Never has weight been more a factor for me than when trying to stuff all my gear into a pack with the realization that I’m going to have to carry all this stuff on my back for days on end, all while climbing, hiking and sliding around in the snow. I will start by disclosing that I am far closer to resembling a photographer than a back country, mountaineering aficionado. I’ve certainly been adventurous throughout my life, spending many nights in the elements, climbing and hiking my way to the next spot so that I may eat dried fruit, ramen and nuts for dinner, or do my best to create aches in areas I was previously unaware my body had by forgoing any type of sleeping pad or pillow. Most of the time, when I travel, or set out on any type of adventure, photography is a very large part of it, and I’ve tended to sacrifice other comforts to enable the room for my camera gear. Since adopting a mirrorless setup, I’ve not had to sacrifice at all…

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*Panasonic Lumix 100-300mm, waste of time, or amazing value?

Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6

One huge benefit to a smaller sensor is the effective focal length multiplier.  Sure you can crop into an image captured at a wider angle, or on a larger sensor but as we have seen in the focal length vs sensor size post, when utilizing a smaller (relative to full frame) sensor, you can actually decrease your depth of field with the same focal length if shot from a fixed location, all while generically increasing your focal length by way of the effective multiplier in that smaller sensors crop into the larger image circle.  Aperture is aperture as far as exposure is concerned, so even by this standard, f/5.6 is relatively quick when you consider the focal length and price.  This said, is the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm f/4-5.6 (<UPDATE! click the link to see it at B&H, and if you click on “Savings Available” the price is down to $499 if you purchase one of the three things that qualify, like the $10.99 software…) worth the price of admission when you consider you get a 600mm lens able to shoot at f/5.6?  Let’s see…

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*Olympus 75mm f/1.8, all it’s cracked up to be?

Oly 75mm f/1.8 Lens

After my recent disappointment with the Olympus 60mm f/2.8 macro (read here), and my ongoing ups and downs with the Olympus OMD EM5, I have been looking to be convinced by Olympus.  I hear so much about Oly’s stellar reputation, but I’d not personally felt those plaudits justified through my experiences with the few Olympus products I’ve owned (hopefully the fanboys will be kind to me here).  In comes the M. Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 lens.  A solid, sharp, 150mm EFOV lens with quite a reputation of its own has come onto the scene.  After returning the 60mm macro, I wanted to make sure that the investment in the 75mm lens would be worth it to me…

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