Monday, November 29, 2010

A wide new world - my new Panasonic 14 mm f/2.5

Back in the days of film, I had a Zeiss 25 mm f/2.8, which I quite enjoyed. Then with my Pentax K10D that lens got converted to a 37 mm equivalent. Even though that is a quite versatile focal length, every once in a while I missed working with a wider lens. That's why I could not resist when Panasonic launched the Lumix 14 mm f/2.5 for Micro Four Thirds cameras, a wide angle lens that is equivalent to 28 mm. It is a beautiful little pancake, even smaller than the 20 mm f/1.7. The E-P2 becomes even more compact with this lens on.

However, some of  the reviews so far don't seem to be so enthusiastic about this new 14 mm as they were about the 20 mm. Vignetting at large apertures, distortion and low border sharpness have been pointed out as being significant. So, what's my humble opinion so far? The lens is well built, compact and fast focusing. Vignetting can be used for aesthetic purposes or software corrected when undesired, distortion is only really critical in architectural photography, and border sharpness has never been a key factor for deciding the quality of a photo*. I'm much more concerned with relearning how to compose with a wide angle lens than with optical performance technicalities.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 14/2.5

* Concerning the (ir)relevance of optical sharpness when evaluating the quality of a lens, Ken Rockwell posted this interesting (and polemical) article in 2008.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The abstract rainbow

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

A gray scale depiction of a rainbow is something quite senseless. But the almost abstract result is not without interest.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The perfect rainbow

A few weeks ago we saw a beautiful rainbow, with incredibly intense colours drawing a perfect 180ยบ arch in the sky. Part of it was actually a double rainbow.

Soon after the initial amazement, one thought crept my mind: "I really need a wider lens!"

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Friday, November 19, 2010

Back at the museum (III)

That´s our daughter watching some of Grazia Toderi's intriguing video projections.
In a completely unrelated note, the photo above reminded me of the iconic Poltergeist film, released back in the early 80's. "They're heeere!"

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Back at the museum (II)

These two women walked ahead of us during most of our tour at Serralves. I couldn't resist taking a few shots.There was something humorous about them having the same hairdo.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A brief note on the new Pentax K-5

The new Pentax K-5 has been getting a lot of atenttion these days. Excellent sensor evaluation by DxO labs, reports of very low noise at high ISO sensitivities, quiet shutter... I did not buy the K20D because I thought it was not that much better than my beloved K10D. I did not buy the K-7 either, because, besides having a few new bells and whistles, it was not something I really needed. But finally, looking at the performance reports for the K-5, I would consider buying it today. If only... I hadn't meanwhile gotten an electronic-viewfinder-interchangeable-lens-mirrorless-compact-camera (we need a definitive acronym for these).

My Olympus E-P2 is far from perfect, but the concept makes a lot of sense to me. Sure, most current DSLRs have faster focusing and better reactivity. But they are bigger, bulkier, heavier. And the E-P2's performance is fine for what I do. Faster focusing is pointless if I leave the camera at home because do not bother carrying it. Being able to shoot candid portraits indoors at ISO 20.000 is useless if the subjects are made uncomfortable by the presence a conspicuous camera. This is all subjective, of course, but I wonder how many amateur EVIL (that's the most popular acronym) users actually feel the need to own/use a DSLR. I know I haven't been using my K10D since I got the E-P2!

If only there were a MILC (another often used acronym) with the well designed ergonomics, interface and build quality that characterize Pentax DSLRs... Well, by the way, there is a "61 to 80 % chance" rumour that Pentax will announce it's own DILS (yep, another one) on February 2011!

In the mean time, I leave you with a photo taken with my K10D that was forgotten in the bottom of the pile.

Pentax K10D + Zeiss Planar 50/1.4

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Back at the museum (I)

I've written about this before.  Serralves Contemporary Art Museum, in Porto, is a very interesting place to visit, not only for the exhibitions, but also for the architectural space.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Thursday, November 4, 2010


A while back we bought a large polyester and fibre glass canoe. We've been using it regularly almost every Summer, even with the kids, since it has enough space to sit everybody.

I never get tired of noticing how a river stream can form a very unique landscape when observed from the water instead of the margin.

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Spotted in the crowd

Olympus E-P2 + Panasonic Lumix 20/1.7