Tag Archives: lenses

Lincoln Photo Show 2016

lce-photo-show
Today’s the day of the annual London Camera Exchange (LCE) Lincoln’s Photo show at the Lincoln Drill Hall on Free Schhool Lane and runs from 11am – 4pm, entry is as usual free

This year it is on a Sunday (previous years were the Wednesday nearest the 5th November – so a bit earlier in the year too); LCE promises a great day out for everyone from the keen beginner to the seasoned pro. They have stands packed with products, advice and demos from the likes of:

  • Olympus
  • Canon
  • Sony
  • Nikon
  • Sigma
  • Panasonicv
  • Fuji
  • Tamron

Along with a wealth of accessories from:

  • Manfrotto
  • Metz
  • Lastolite
  • Hoya
  • Tenba
  • Hahnel

This year LCE have three guest speakers, each giving an hours presentation on their work and how they achieve the results they get:

11.45am – 12.45pm
Gavin Hoey – Portrait photographer and photoshop master, Gavin gives a unique presentation using Olympus cameras and “smoke and mirrors” to create photography like you’ve never seen before.

1pm – 2pm
Joe Cornish – One of Britain’s most experienced landscape photographers, Joe will present his work on the most amazing landscapes in the world, sharing advice and techniques acquired in years of experience using Sony equipment such as A7RII and G Master lenses.

2.15pm – 3.15pm
Bertie Gregory – 23 years old and travels the world for National Geographic creating amazing films for the National Geographic Channel using Canon equipment including the Eos 1DX MKII. Examples of Bertie’s work can be found at natgeo.com/wildlife

All presentations are free and will run within the main hall along with exhibitions from a group of local camera clubs.

LCE also promise special show only offers and great part exchange deals – I’m not sure what these are so we’ll have to wait and see.

If there’s anything of interest I might post my thoughts and my highlights.

I (like LCE) hope to see you there too!

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LCE Photo and Optics Show 2015

LCE-PhotoandOptics-2015

Two weeks on Wednesday is this year’s London Camera Exchange’s Photo and Optics show. I have been attending the show for the last few years now and it gets bigger and better every year, it’s a testament to the hard work that’s put into this by the LCE staff not only in Lincoln but further afield too.

This year looks to be no different, it looks like Olympus will have the biggest presence at the show which is good for me and Damian McGillicuddy is back again doing two events at the show; the events will also be better as the stage at the back of the hall is where they will be held. This was the only criticism I have from last year’s show, the event area wasn’t situated in the best place; I’m glad to see that my view were heard and acted upon – thanks Dave.

As well as Olympus we will have Canon, Nikon, Sony, Fujifilm, Panasonic, Lastolite and many many more, you can find more details about the show by clicking here. LCE will also have many show offers on for the day so bring your wallet and speak nicely to the bank manager.

I am really looking forward to the show and I hope to see you at the event 🙂

Off to The Photography Show 2015 today

logo_tps15
Thanks to a day off work both Richard and I are off to Birmingham’s NEC today to see this year’s Photography show. Thankfully Lincoln is not too far from the NEC and so it’s only a 1.5 to 2 hour drive depending upon traffic. We both really enjoyed the show last year and although we won’t be going to the Superstage this year (last year we saw Joe McNally) there is still a lot to see.

This is the third day of the four day event and whilst many of the bargains will have been sold there will still be some good deals on gear – I am taking a list of a few times that I have been looking at – nothing exciting just a battery to two for my E-M1 and a new camera bag. Now that I shoot with an Olympus I will be heading straight for the Olympus stand so that I can book myself on one or two of their events running all day. I hope to see Aiden from Olympus there along with a few of the Olympus affiliated photographers such as Damian McGillicuddy and Rob Pugh as well.

However, just visiting the Olympus stand would mean that I will miss all of the other things happening on the day so I will visit many other locations to see what they offer and hopefully try out some of the more exotic gear too.

Canon
Canon have a few new items that will be on show including their new 50MP cameras the 5DS and 5DSR, these will be very similar to the 5D Mark III so beyond the handling I’m not sure what I will get from that. If we are allowed to take a few pictures on our own cards it might be worth it to see what a 50MP picture looks like. I also hope to have a go with the EOS M3 mirrorless camera too, I’m interested in how this handles and how good the add-on EVF is. The new 11-24mm f4 lens will most likely be there and I want to see how wide this is on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Colour Confidence
These guys are distributers for many companies in the Uk such as DXO and X-rite, they are also running some seminars during the day including one with Frank Doorhof who I wanted to see last year but his showing clashed with other ones during the day. I have one of his books and videos I really like watching him, I enjoy his style of teaching and this will be the first time I will see him Live.

Leica
I do not get a chance to play with Leica gear very often so certainly be heading there. Although I am curious to see what the Leica T is like I do know that Richard is very interested in everything that they have to offer; after all he does have a couple of Leica M series cameras.

Nikon
There isn’t much from Nikon that I have not seen, the new D7200 will be very similar to the D7100 but how good is the expanded buffer? I have yet to see the Nikon 1 V3 camera and again I’m interested in how this handles too. Finally a play with the big boys the D810 and D4s with big lenses is needed to remind me of how heavy they are – you cannot argue with the image quality of the D810 but you are going to have to carry a large DSLR with heavy f2.8 or better glass to get the most out of it.

Olympus
Thanks to a chance meeting with Adain about a month ago and my local LCE stocking it, there isn’t much to see that I have not had a go with yet. Whilst the OM-D E-M5 Mark II will be the big news of the show along with the 14-150mm Mark II lens it would be nice to see the add-on “dot-view” viewfinder in action – I have a few questions about this. As I said earlier Olympus are running many events during the day and I would like to see some of these whilst I am there.

Panasonic
I have yet to play with the GH4 but this will handle similarly to to the GH3 but a go would be nice I would also like to see and play with the 42.5mm f1.2 lens and if they have it the cheaper f1.7 lens too. I am interested in getting the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm f1.8 lens so want to see if this is better.

Sony
They were not present last year which was a shame but they will be here this year. The only items of interest for me are the new Sony A7 MarkII and some of the new glass that is coming out. I want to see how good the focus and IBIS (In Body Image Stabilisation) are too.

What Else?
I could go on and on but there is so much to see more than I can detail here. The best idea is to visit the Photography Show’s website here and see who else is there and what else is happening.

Other Olympus announcements

I have already blogged about the OM-D E-M5 Mark II here along with some of my thoughts. Whilst the updated E-M5 was the main news Olympus also announced or pronounced some other photographic goodies too. You can see a few of these at 43rumors here.

7-14mm f2.8 PRO Lens
This is the third PRO designated lens to be released and will complete Olympus’s “Holy Trinity” of f2.8 glass, similar to Nikon’s Holy Trinity (14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm f2.8), Canon have a similar set as does Sony now for their A7 series cameras. Panasonic have had their 7-14mm lens out for some time now; however it is only f4.0 whereas the Olympus variant is f2.8. The downside to being faster is that that the Olympus lens is much larger and heavier; in fact it’s about the same size as the their 12-40mm f2.8 lens. Even though it is larger than Panasonic lens it is much smaller and lighter than the 35mm “full-frame” f2.8 glass from Canon, Nikon and Sony.

8mm-FE-Lens2

Like the other PRO lenses the 7-14mm is fully weather-selaed as well as dust and freeze proof, it has the clutch mechanism for manual focusing and also sports the lens function button too. The petal lens hood is built in and although it does not internally focus, the bulging lens element does not protrude outside the permitter of the integral lens hood.

There are still no details on pricing and the release date is scheduled for this summer (2015). If the lens is priced competitively I would certainly like to add this to my lens collection but we’ll have to wait and see and to be fair I would rather have another lens that probably won’t be released until the end of 2015 – the 300mm f4.0 PRO lens.

8mm f1.8 Fisheye PRO Lens
This is a new lens addition to the PRO range and until just a few weeks before the announcement was unknown of. Whilst the lens is weather sealed, dust and freeze proof it does not have a lens function button and does not have the manual focus clutch mechanism either. However, this probably isn’t a problem as the depth of field of lenses this wide do mean that you won’t need to adjust the focus much if manually focusing.

7-14mm-Lens

Until recently if you wanted a fish-eye lens for your M43 system you had two real choices. One was Panasonic’s 8mm f3.5 lens which is an expensive lens at £555, this does provide full autofocus and on Olympus bodies is stabilised too. The other option is the Samyang 7.5mm f3.5 fully manual lens – there is not autofocus or metering, the aperture is controlled manually too, this lens is priced rather competitively at £256 and also comes in Silver or Black as required. Now we have a third choice and bearing in mind that this is f1.8 compared to f3.5 I suspect that it will be quite expensive, this lens is also coming this Summer too.

14-150mm f4.0-5.6 Mark II Lens
Olympus also released the second version of their extreme wide to telephoto M.Zuiko lens, this was no surprise as the previous original version had all but disappeared from stockist shelves. The lens will be available soon for £549 (ouch!!!) and is also dust and splash proof too.

m14-150-2_blk_stand

Lens Roadmap
With all of these additional lenses, Olympus had to update their roadmap too:
10_1

OM-D E-M1 v3.0 Firmware update
The final “big” announcement were the details that there would be another firmware update for the OM-D E-M1. Although I welcome anything that improves the performance of the camera I’m not sure that this warrants a major release number of v3.0. The firmware gives the following improvements:

  • 9-fps sequential autofocus on top of the OM-D’s benchmark Dual Fast AF, refocusing for each frame to deliver pin-sharp stills with zero blur
  • Compatibility with the latest version of OI.Share (v2.5), which in turn enables Live View control during video recording via a WiFi-connected smartphone

The upgraded firmware will be available from 24th February 2015 free of charge via the Olympus Digital Camera Updater. The updated Olympus Image Share app (v2.5) was released on 5th February and is already on my iPhone and iPad and now also supports iOS8.

Dot-sight Viewfinder
Olympus released a whole plethora of accessories for the new EM-5 Mark II (like the new flash, battery grip, usual cases, etc) but also an item first seen on their superior compact cameras, the externally mounted (via a hot-shoe) “dot-sight viewfinder:

PDP_EE-1_BLK_open_back

When shooting at full telephoto with a long lens it can be very difficult to ensure that the subject remains in the viewfinder particularly if that subject is in motion such as a bird in flight (or BIF as it is known); this is due to the very narrow field of view of telephoto lenses. This accessory assists in framing when photographing far-away subjects. The brightness and position of the reticle can be adjusted. Because it is powered by a coin-type battery, it can be used when attached to the hot shoe or cold shoe. This accessory has the following features:

  • Dustproof and splashproof dot sight
  • Compatible with any camera with a hot/cold shoe mount
  • Slide lever style opening mechanism
  • Reticle brightness and position can be adjusted
  • Perfect for super telephoto shots of wildlife

What is not known at this time is how this works in conjunction with different telephoto lenses, I will have to wait and see for reviews of the device which still isn’t listed on the Olympus UK site; the only mention is on the Olympus US site. The availability date and UK price are also unknowns at this time too. If this is priced correctly and is truly a useful device I may invest in one.

wrap-up
So after a very quiet time at CES earlier this year Olympus have pre-announced a lot of new stuff for the Japan based CP+ show, this runs from the 12th to the 15th February. There are more than a few items that I am interested in here but I will only invest in an item if it solves a photographic problem that I have, this is something that Moose Peterson preaches and is a rule that I have started to follow.

Christmas Dogs 2014

Zara in Christmas Hat

Zara in Christmas Hat

A few years ago back when we had two other dogs – Tessa and Topaz, I took a few photographs (snapshots really) of them wearing a full size Christmas hat calling Xmas Dogs. They were captured using a 1.7MP Fuji MX1700 digital camera which in 2000 was the only realistically priced digital camera around; this camera used the horrible and flimsy Smart-media cards that were only a few MB in size, you read that right, that’s right MB not GB!

This Christmas my sister (Louise) brought with her a small Christmas hat that she had used with her cats with the express intention to use it with our current dogs (Zara and Seska) and getting some photos of them wearing the hat. I think that either Louise or my mum took some photographs on their iPhones but asked if I would like to take some shots too. The hat was left with me and I decided to plan a small shoot with the dogs with and without the hat. The shots in this post were all taken over a two day period using the Olympus OM-D E-M1 camera and the rather excellent 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens. I also used the two Cactus RF60 flashguns that I own along with the V6 Transceiver in TX mode.

Day One Shoot:
The idea for both days was to photograph the dog on a stool (anything without a back) with the Christmas tree behind them, using a wide aperture (f2.8-f4) the tree would be out of focus and it would produce some nice “bokeh”. Just to be clear here “bokeh” is the quality of the out of focus background elements and has nothing to do with the aperture which really deals with the amount of background elements that are out of focus.

The tree was on a small table at the far left of the room next to the book case, as I didn’t want to re-arrange the room I left it where it was and worked around its current location. I placed one of the kitchen stools a couple of feet in front of the tree; on the stool I arranged a few of the christmas cloth napkins that we had so that the corner pattern on each was covered or out of shot. The cloth napkins were predominantly what I call “Christmas green”, they had a “Christmas red border” on the outside but this was quite thin so was not too distracting.

I took some meter readings of the tree at f4 (going for f2.8 was pushing it) and at ISO 800 I worked out what shutter speed was needed to get the tree exposed, it was quite dark in the room as it was the evening – remember shutter speed controls the amount of ambient light in the room in flash photography.

With the ambient light readings noted, I placed the two flashguns. The flash to camera right was on a lightstand with an umbrella acting as a reflector – the flash fires into the umbrella and then bounces back. The flash was initially set to its lowest power 1/128 and was left at that power, the flash was on channel A. The flash to camera left was placed onto a quite high CD cabinet and then I placed a gold reflector on the back of the settee just to the left of the stool, the flash was angled at the reflector this flash was also on channel A at 1/128 power. I took meter readings of the flash and then set my camera to manual with the readings (f4, 1/128s and ISO 800) and took a few test shots of a toy dog on the stool. With hindsight these are a little under-exposed a little so I had to push them a bit in Lightroom. I should have gone for a stop more light – such as 1/60 shutter speed or maybe 1/64 power on the flash?

However I did manage to get the following shots of Zara and Seska. My favourite is at the top of this post, the slight tilt of Zara’s head just makes the shot. I started with Seska which as the smaller of the two dogs had no trouble sitting or standing on the small stool, however she was not too happy at being there. I was also having trouble focusing as the light levels were so low, however this is the best shot that I got that is OK but is slightly soft. Fortunately, the expression carries the imperfections in the technical areas:

Seska in Christmas Hat

Seska in Christmas Hat

Zara on the other hand managed quite well on the stool and was less worried even though she is much larger than Seksa, I managed to get more photos of Zara in focus, she is quite happy having her photo taken:

Zara in Christmas Hat

Zara in Christmas Hat

Both dogs were praised during and after the shoot and fed a few more doggy chocs that they both really like. 🙂

I later post processed the images the next morning (in Lightroom) and was a little unhappy with the results for Seska as they didn’t turn out like I hoped. I liked the overall idea of the shot but decided that a daylight shot was needed to help with the focus and I would try for a bit more light, I had too much as it happens. I must remember to check ALL of my camera settings such as the ISO!

Day Two Shoot:
This was also the last day that I could take the photos with the tree in the background as it was going to put away. So we moved the tree onto the ground and used the lower but larger “puffe” that lives in the living room to put the dogs onto. The puffe was covered in the same green cloths and the extra space to camera left meant that I could use my second stand and umbrella on both sides. Again both flashes were set to their lowest power and pointed into the umbrella for a reflected flash. This time I set one on channel A and the other on Channel B. Good practice and common sense dictates that when you are using multiple speed-lights on different channels you go from A to D starting at camera left on going around left to right sequentially, unfortunately as I haven’t got round to uploading the latest firmware the flash to camera left would only work on channel B, the flash to camera right didn’t care and worked on any channel; so I used channel A in this instance.

I took meter readings of each light and the ambient too and the plan was to shoot at ISO 400 at around f2.8 to get the maximum separation between the dogs and the tree. I concluded that 1/250sec was right. I started here and later changed this to 1/200sec to get an extra half a stop of light. The flash to camera left was at 1/128 power and the flash to camera right was at 1/64 power – I was trying to get some light into the dogs left eye, I also changed the angle of the flash and stand to get it as close as the dog as possible but just out of frame. This helped but in hindsight a reflector in front of the dog would have helped bounce the light into their faces – they both have large “eyebrows” at the moment!

However, with the test shots out of the way I took some shots of Seska with and without her hat as well as Zara without her hat. We also removed Zara’s peach jumper as she looked better without it; rest assured the jumper was re-applied after the shoot was concluded.

So we started with Seska and once the initial “what am I doing on the puffe” look was over she settled down and let me take lots of photo’s, again I had some issues with focus but nothing like what I had had the previous day. All shots here have been processed in Lightroom and saved from the overexposure using the “Highlight” slider. The overexposure was only evident in the white parts of the fur and the white fur trim of the hat. The reason I had not noticed during the shoot is that I had changed my picture display from highlight and histogram view to full screen with no details so that the parents could see the shots as they were taken. IF i had set this back to the highlights warning I would have noticed and then set the ISO to what it should have been, the photos were around 1.25 stops too bright (ISO 400 vs ISO 1000).

Early into the shoot before she had fully settled down, I got this shot of Seska in the hat:

Seska in hat

Seska in hat

After a slight wardrobe malfunction I took some more photo’s without the hat:

Seska

Seska

As you can see when has settled down to a lying position:

Seska

Seska

Seska

Seska

So eventually we managed the best shot of Seska lying down and proudly wearing the hat:

Seska in hat

Seska in hat

I didn’t want to leave Zara out so this time I took a few photographs of her without the hat:

Zara

Zara

Zara was even better than Seska as she crossed her paws and “vogue” she was in the zone:
2015-01-03-CD2-1

The girls were again praised and plied with a few doggy chocs for being good subjects and I got some nice shots to boot. I will take some more shots of them after their next grooming session when their look their best in February. I will put into practice what I have learned here, check everything and check it twice. I will also upload the latest firmware into the RF60 flashguns and V6 transceiver – hopefully this will combat some of the issues I have found. I will also learn more about the OM-D E-M1 camera, although it is a fantastic picture taking tool there is a lot more that I can learn and master.

Prime movers

One of the main advantages of the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system is that there a lot of lenses available, most of these come from Panasonic and Olympus with a few from Sigma, Samyang as well as a smattering of lenses from much small players (such as Voigtlander).

I have used the Panasonic lenses may times before from the cheap and cheerful 14-42mm f4.5-5.6 to the more professional 35-100 f2.8 OIS lenses but have never used any of the Olympus lenses before although now that I am about to invest in their ecosystem I should consider their optics with a view to owning some of them.

35-100mm f2.8 Lens

Before I continue, I have always admired the quality of the Olympus prime lenses they are sharp, priced fairly (for the most part) and show the benefits of the MFT system as they are small and light. Some of the prime lenses are very well built too; the 75mm f1.8 lens is probably their top optic and would give Panasonic’s 42.5mm f1.2 lens a good run for its money. I should also state that this isn’t going to be a Panasonic bashing sessions eithe, they also have some very fine optics too.

Panasonic 42.5mm-f1.2

Stated earlier the main benefits of the MFT system is the number of lenses but the fact is that the Panasonic lenses work to their fullest capability on Panasonic bodies; similarly the Olympus lenses work to the best of their abilities on Olympus bodies. This is mainly due to the in-built lens correction algorithms built in to the Panasonic and Olympus bodies – for their own lenses. Secondly is the fact that Panasonic do image stabilisation in the lens (OIS – Optical Image Stabilisation) whereas Olympus do this in the camera’s body (IBIS – In Body Image Stabilisation).

The lenses are also marketed differently, nearly all Panasonic lenses come with a lens hood and lens bag, the Olympus lenses typically don’t although the new “PRO” line which only includes the 12-40mm f2.8 and the 40-150mm f2.8 do come with these accessories; the bag with these new Olympus lenses is nicer too. I suspect that the new PRO lenses, the forthcoming 300mm f4 and the 7-14mm f2.8 will also come with a hood and suede-leather bag too.

So without further a do what does the Olympus lens line-up look like? Olympus have 3 distinct ranges of lenses as well as a few oddities, these are as follows:

NOTE: All prices are correct at time of publication.

M.Zuiko PRO Lenses:

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f2.8 PRO – circa £799 (Weatherproof)
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f2.8 PRO – circa £1299 (Weatherproof)
  • M.Zuiko Digital 1.4x teleconverter MC-14 – circa £299 (Weatherproof)

Theses are the best Olympus lenses in their line-up and today include only the two fully weather-proof 12-40mm (24-80mm) and the 40-150mm (80-300mm) f2.8 lenses. The 1.4x teleconverter is technically not a lens (PRO or otherwise) but it only works with the PRO lenses (the 40-150mm and the 300mm lenses). They are all weather-proof (dust-proof, water-proof and freeze-proof). This means that you shouldn’t be afraid to use these lenses attached to and equally weather-proofed OM-D in adverse weather conditions. I wouldn’t go diving with them though! 🙂

ACCESSORIES_EZ-M4015__Product_090

The PRO range uses the best optics and are second only to the aforementioned 75mm f1.8 lens but only just. They use the very best that Olympus can manufacture and are not considered as budget lenses as can be seen by the price-point.

The other benefit of these lenses is that they have a manual “clutch” focus system that can be engaged by pulling back on the focusing ring. This give the added benefit of something called “snap-focus” whereby the camera can be focused on an object at one focus distance and the focus can be snapped to a different focus by pulling back on the focus ring – the manual focus position over-rides the (usually) different auto-focus position.

When I purchase the OM-D E-M1 it will come with the 12-40mm f2.8 PRO lens and I have pre-ordered the 40-150mm f2.8 PRO lens form my local London Camera Exchange. In fact I pre-ordered the 40-150mm +1.4Ex combo pack as this saves you £100 over purchasing them separately.

When the 300mm f4 lens is released I would like to own that lens but it will come down to what it will cost – I suspect we will be looking at £1500 to £2000 – it could be more 😦

M.Zuiko Premium Lenses:

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm f2.0 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £556 / £739 (Snapshot)
  • M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £369 (Snapshot)
  • M.Zuiko Digital 25m f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £349
  • M.Zuiko Digital 45m f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £218
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f2.8 Macro MSC – circa £365 (Weatherproof)
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm f1.8 MSC (Silver & Black) – circa £719

Olympus also has a “mid-range” system of lenses that comprises purely of prime lenses ranging all the way from 12mm to 75mm (24mm to 150mm) and all but the Macro lens have an aperture of f2.0 or greater. All of these lenses are excellent optical performers and if Olympus were to create the lens line-up today many of these would have a PRO rating (it could be that even faster f1.4 or f1.2 variants are coming later).

Olympus 75mm f1.8 (Black)

All of these lenses also have the MSC designation which stands for “Movie and Stills Compatible”, this means that these lenses are silent or very nearly silent when they are focusing making them ideal for video with on-board sound-recording.

These lenses are however not fully weather proof apart from the 60mm Macro lens so this is most likely the reason that these are not PRO lenses. I can see a longer focal length macro lens in the future and that will probably be a PRO version.

As you can see both the 12mm and the 17mm have the “snap-shot” focus system as they also have manual focus clutch mechanisms.

M.Zuikio 60mm f2.8 Macro Lens

From this range the number one lens for me is the 60mm Macro as this is the most versatile lens there, I might also get the Black 45mm lens as it is so cheap. If I didn’t already own the Leica 25mm f1.4 lens I probably would have gone for the Black 25mm f1.8 lens too.

Yes, they are all magnificent lenses that I would obviously like to have but I have little practical reasons to own many more of them. If they come up cheap second-hand maybe…

M.Zuiko Lenses:

  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 – circa £480
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-50mm f3.5-6.3 EZ (Silver & Black) – circa £280
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 EZ Pancake (Silver & Black) – circa £250
  • M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 II R (Silver & Black) – circa £250
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 14-150mm f4.0.5-5.6 (Silver & Black) – circa £250
  • M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f2.8 Pancake (Silver& Black) – circa £230
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f4.0-5.6 R (Silver& Black) – circa £230
  • M.Zuiko Digital ED 75-300mm f4.8-6.7 II (Black) – circa £390

The budget or consumer lens range is the third in the Olympus line up an also contains their very first lenses released or newer versions of those lenses. You can see that they are not very fast; the 12-50mm has an aperture of f3.5-f6.3 and the 75-300mm lens has a range of f4.8-f6.7. All of these lenses are zoom lenses apart from the 17mm f2.8 pancake lens.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some gems in this lens line-up. The 14-42mm f3.5-5.6 Ez lens for example is incredibly small and compact when the camera it is mounted to is off. When the camera powers up the lens extends from it compact position and is ready to shoot. The “EZ” in the lens name is for “Electronic Zoom” and this lens is great for video and when you want a really compact lens on the camera. The lens also contracts into its compact home position when the camera is powered-down.

Until the PRO 7-14mm f2.8 lens is released your only wide-zoom options (in the MFT range) are the Panasonic 7-14mm f4 lens which isn’t cheap (circa £850) or the M.Zuiko 9-18mm f4.0-5.6 lens which is almost half the price.

M.Zuiko 9-18mm ED f4-5.6 Lens

The final lens that I will point out here is the 75-300mm lens, this is very similar to the Panasonic 70-300mm lens but is slower at the long end (f6.7 vs f5.7). Depending on who you believe this (mark II version) is very similar in performance to the Panasonic lens and maybe surpasses it. I’m not sure who to believe but I probably should have held onto my Panasonic lens until the PRO 300mm is available.

Although I wouldn’t mind having some of these lenses I will have to wait and see if good cheap second-hand variants come up as I would rather save my money for the 300mm and possibly the 7-14mm PRO lenses when they become available next year.

Other Stuff:

  • Body Cap Lens 15mm f8 (Silver, Black, Red and White) – circa £59
  • Body Cap Lens 9mm f8 Fisheye BCL-0980 (White & Black) – circa £89

Finally we have a couple of options that can only be placed in the “weird” lens camp. Both of these describe exactly what they do on the tin and yes both are (thick-ish) lens caps with a few built-in optical elements, they have no electrical contacts either.

Fish-eye Body Cap Lens

When you take into account what they are and what they cost they can actually be fun to use as long as you are aware of their limitations (manual focus, fixed aperture and limited optical quality). The fish-eye variant is particularly interesting and I will have to keep an eye out for a second-hand one preferably in black.

Lincoln Photo and Optics Show 2014

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The date for the “Lincoln Photo and Optics Show 2014” is getting nearer, in fact it’s 3 weeks away from today (on 5th November). As per the last few years the show is being held at the “Drill Hall” here in Lincoln only a short distance form the host’s (LCE) Silver Street store.

Apparently this is the 11th year that there has been a show, almost as long as I have lived in Lincoln. The first shows were held at “The Lawn” not far from the Lincoln Castle. Fortunately the last few years shows have been held at the Drill Hall and this is a far better and easier to get to location.

The show starts at 1PM and continues until 7PM and there is no entry fee; arrive early (after 1PM of course) if you want to grab yourself a bargain as there will be some exclusive show offers from LCE as well as some of the exhibitors who will be at the show, so far the list includes:

  • Canon – first public appearances for the 7D MKII
  • Olympus – Damian McGillicuddy will be there as will the new 40-150 f/2.8 PRO lens
  • Sony
  • Nikon
  • Panasonic – the new LX100 will be there as well as the GH4
  • Fuji – we might get to see some of the just announced lenses as well as the silver X-T1
  • Sigma – try the new 150-600mm lens
  • Manfrotto/Lastolite
  • Lowepro
  • Intro2020 (Tamron lenses, Metz lighting and flash, Tamrac photo bags and rucksacks, Hoya filters, OpTech straps, Lytro cameras and the 360 Fly
  • Hama (Sandisk memory cards, Celestron astro and field scopes and binoculars)
  • Hahnel
  • Swarovski
  • Vortex

This year there is a new “Live Arena” which will host a rolling series of product showcases, portrait shoots and seminars from industry experts and top pro photographers, the live arena schedule is as follows:

1.20PM – 1.50PM – Canon EOS 7D MKII showcase with writer and pro photographer Dave Newton.
2.00PM – 2.40PM – Portrait photography with Damian McGillicuddy and Olympus.
2.50PM – 3.10PM – Manfrotto tripods, heads and camera bags – product presentation.
3.20PM – 3.40PM – Animal photography with Wild Arena and Canon.
3.50PM – 4.20PM – Canon EOS 7D MKII showcase with writer and pro photographer Dave Newton.
4.30PM – 4.50PM – Michael Wayne-Plant – a talk on street photography and an exhibition of his work, in association with Sony.
5.00PM – 5.40PM – Portrait photography with Damian McGillicuddy and Olympus.
5.50PM – 6.20PM – Canon (details TBC)
6.30PM – 6.50PM – Lastolite studio kit – product demonstration.

Please note that the above times are subject to change; it is best to check the LCE events web site (here) nearer the time to make sure you don’t miss an event that you would like to see.

More information can be found on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/LCELincolnPro

Or you can follow Twitter for more updates at http://www.twitter.com/LCELincolnPro

I hope to see you there.