*Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 Lens, Tested

Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6 lens review Yet another kit lens has come onto the scene.  On paper, ho-hum, a little wider, a little shorter, still slow, no focus ring…  Why would this particular kit lens be a better choice than the other current options?  Yes, it’s tiny and light weight and nearly as small as the Lumix 14mm Pancake lens, but what’s this?  It’s reasonably sharp at all focal lengths and all apertures and offers us a 24mm equivalent lens as opposed to the moderate wide 28mm equivalent in most all other kit zooms… Interesting.  Hit the jump for my user review on this little optic…

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*Panasonic GM1 Reviewed – Say hello to my little friend

gm1 and friends

I have spent the better part of the last month shooting with this camera almost exclusively.  I wanted to really get a feel for this tiny machine, its ins and outs, before I wrote up any type of review.  While being the smallest interchangeable lens system camera body currently available, it certainly has some ergonomic drawbacks, but that begs the question, who is this camera for, and can it be a compliment or even replacement for another of the micro 4/3 system cameras, even {gasp} a larger system camera?  Well…

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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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*Panasonic Lumix 20/20 vision! v.1 vs v.2

2020

What the what?  Why did Panasonic replace a seemingly near perfect lens with one that from initial reports didn’t remedy the AF speed which was really the only major gripe about the first version?  Well, let’s see…

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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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*One man’s opinion, or Holiday Shopping guide 2013!

P1060085

The season for the commercialization of spirituality (or, SFTCOS) is upon us and following suit, we have been absolutely bombarded with new offerings in the digital photography department.  Taking the holidays out of it, and looking at it purely from a gear point of view, it is truly an exciting time to be shopping around for the best bang for your (or a loved one’s) buck.

Over the last 4 years that I’ve written this blog, I’ve been asked quite a few questions about which cameras, lenses, systems, et al, are the best.  While I’ve chosen the gear I’ve chosen for my own personal reasons, there are so many others out there that offer their own set of pros and cons, and to put it plainly, there is no universal truth, nor answer to that question.

Come on in and I’ll give my take on which of the newly announced cameras over the last year or so are the most intriguing, interesting, best value or just plain confusing…

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*Canon EOS-M: Almost there, kinda.

canon eos-m

The last few years have seen a very large push in the photographic landscape toward smaller, lighter, high performing mirrorless interchangable lens compact system cameras. Most of the major camera manufacturers have produced something in this new segment. As Panasonic started the whole party off with the G1 a few years back, Olympus, Sony and Samsung jumped in quickly thereafter. Pentax and Ricoh have even had some interesting ideas since. Nikon and Canon watched this segment closely I’m sure, and calculated their entry into the mirrorless ring. Nikon took a different tack, creating a very small (comparatively) sensor system and Canon came up with this, the EOS-M. A few weeks ago, and after what many saw as a response to very poor reception and subsequent lack of sales since its introduction, Canon dropped the price of this APS-C sensor, mirrorless compact camera through the ground and I bit. Here are my thoughts on the camera itself, the Canon approach and where I think they need to go in the future with this…

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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 vs Canon 135 f/2 L

the showdown

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…

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*Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye, get wide.

IMG_3776

In the world of photography, a fisheye lens to me is kind of like a purse is to my wife.  Follow me for a second here.  You only use it on certain occasions and for certain purposes, with certain outfits if you will.  For the other times, you have a plethora of other purses to accessorize to your need.  For the times that you need that one, zany purse, the only one that goes with that crazy belt, then the fisheye is the ticket.  Since I’ve become re-enamored with photography, I have stopped asking about and wondering why my wife has as many purses as she does (and constantly wants more…sounds kinda familiar right?)  Don’t worry, I’m not turning this into a fashion blog, c’mon in and I’ll show you some shots of and from the stellar Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye lens.

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