Michael Rammell

Olympus Launch the OM-D E-M1ii

Olympus, Gear, MicroFourThirdsMichael Rammell8 Comments

At last! On the 19th September 2016 Olympus announced the long awaited OM-D E-M1ii.

When the original OM-D E-M1 was launched it was able to quite comfortably replace (and improve upon) so much of what a traditional DSLR offered. This attracted many to make the switch (including me as I waved goodbye to over £10K worth of Canon equipment!). In the time since that camera was released though we've seen Sony and the 'Big Two' in the DSLR market continue to iterate and improve with mark 2's of their own. Us OM-D E-M1 owners were all scouring the rumour sites for possible mentions and specs of the E-M1 mark ii, but Olympus kept us waiting for the official launch to play their hand.

This latest OM-D feels long-overdue for many. But now it's finally here! And we all know what they say about good things coming to those who wait...

#OMDRevolution - the Olympus OM-D E-M1ii has been announced! The OM-D E-M1ii will sit firmly at the top of the OM-D range and is Olympus' new flagship Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Camera.

#OMDRevolution - the Olympus OM-D E-M1ii has been announced! The OM-D E-M1ii will sit firmly at the top of the OM-D range and is Olympus' new flagship Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Camera.

Incase you missed it; Olympus streamed the entire launch in rather Apple-esque fashion by talking through each of the new features with an accompanying slide to detail the changes.  

If you want to watch the entire presentation just hit play below. Or if you are just looking for a summary of the features packed into the new E-M1ii, then scroll down a little further.

Spec Summary

In the announcement presentation Olympus provided two very useful slides. The first showed the new and impressive headline specs of the E-M1ii, with the other then showing how much each area is imroved upon vs the original OM-D E-M1:  

The new E-M1ii spec, including a new 20Mp sensor from Sony, capable of 4K video, 18 frames per second and 121 focus points, all of which are on-chip phase detect and ALL of which are cross type! 

The new E-M1ii spec, including a new 20Mp sensor from Sony, capable of 4K video, 18 frames per second and 121 focus points, all of which are on-chip phase detect and ALL of which are cross type! 

63% Faster EVF response rate...this new viewfinder is apparently pretty impressive! 

63% Faster EVF response rate...this new viewfinder is apparently pretty impressive! 

It seems that Olympus really have listened to what photographers were asking for. Countless times in the Olympus groups I've heard photographers demanding better AF tracking, two card slots and a bigger EVF.

All of these things find their way into the mark 2 with a series of other very welcome improvements too. In the presentation Olympus of course put a lot of focus (no pun intended) on the E-M1ii's focussing abilities. It was said that as well as being faster and more accurate to focus, thanks largely to the 121 all cross-type on-chip phase detect focus points, that this new mark 2 will also be able to maintain and track focus on a moving subject far, far better than before. I rarely heard any complaints about auto focus with the E-M1, but if there ever was one, this was probably it.

Olympus Pro Service

The topic of the the E-M1ii's focusing system was discussed for quite some time and it was after this that I thought they would draw the announcement to an end. What else could there be to add?

Well, as I've discussed and written about before, it's one thing to have a camera and a system capable of helping you to make professional-grade images, but it's something else entirely to have the support of the manufacturer when it comes to warranty, support and repairs. To this end Olympus announced the launch of their new pro level support plans too: 

Standard, Advanced and Elite Service options will be available. Although not shown in this slide, it was mentioned in the presentation that next-day loan cameras would be available with a plan... 

Standard, Advanced and Elite Service options will be available. Although not shown in this slide, it was mentioned in the presentation that next-day loan cameras would be available with a plan... 

The E-M1ii and Pro Level Service offerings were not the only announcements today though. I've included some of the other details at the bottom of this post, such as the new battery grip and other accessories.

My Thoughts on the OM-D E-M1ii

In all honesty, in a bid to have this post released in as timely a fashion as possible I had much of it pre-written with the expectation I would just add a few images from the live stream. Much of what I had written still stands, but, the entire presentation - in combination with the E-M1ii's specs and the Pro Service plans - reveal so much more to me than just a new camera. There is a message being sent from Olympus here: Olympus are after the professional market in a big way and not just weddings, portraits, pets, landscapes and wildlife - we're talking top level sports photography too!

The original OM-D E-M1 was a camera ahead of it's time trying to muscle it's way into the world of sports and serious professional photography against a field full of mature DSLRs and big white lenses. Whilst some (myself included) felt it was good enough to seamlessly step into the arena's of wedding and portrait photography and that it was even capable of shooting motor sports with great success, it perhaps didn't ever quite cut it as a top-level sports camera for the professional sports photographer. The omission of dual card slots, limited (or at least a lack of) pro level support and it's ability to track a subject being lesser than that of a DSLR, meant that many pro sports photographers just thought of it as another fad mirrorless camera. This was all despite the original E-M1 having always been widely acknowledged to be the best of all of the mirrorless cameras when it came to auto focusing capabilities - even today! (sorry Fuji Shooters, but it's true!).

However, the E-M1, like every DSLR and mirrorless, had it's limitations. You wouldn't have any trouble convincing many wedding and portrait photographers that the E-M1 was a capable replacement for a DSLR when it came to their work. I certainly felt that it was more it was up to the task and it has proven to be great.

To me at least, as great as the E-M1 was / is, professional sports photography always felt just one step beyond its' reach. Shooting top level team sport events such as football (Soccer) or situations where the subject changed direction and distance rapidly presented the E-M1 with just a little too much to handle. As a result the E-M1 was never largely adopted by professional sports photographers and failed to garner recognition as a true replacement sports photographers' camera, which quite possibly hampered its' bid to be more widely recognised and acknowledged as a professional level camera. 

The OM-D E-M1 mark ii now sets out - backed by Olympus PRO service - to take that one final step that it's predecessor arguably couldn't quite make. With it's much improved auto focus system and array of features that any professional sports photographer would demand it appears well placed to do just that! Spec-for-spec the E-M1ii aims to stand toe-to-toe with those big old DSLRs and over-sized white lenses. This is a massively bold move from Olympus. It's something that Sony and Fuji just aren't attempting (or at least they don't appear to be attempting or advertising that this is something they want to achieve). Olympus have set out their stool. Can a camera seen by many professional sports photographers as 'plucky' and 'diminutive' really move in on what has traditionally been the home of those behemoth size camera bodies and lenses?

Even if the OM-D E-M1 mark ii can't do it yet - Olympus are the only company that appear to be trying to take mirrorless cameras in the right direction by attempting to break into that market. With the announcements on offer from Canon and Nikon at Photokina I'm left feeling incredibly un-inspired by those brands and the directions in which they are heading. If we see OM-D's at the next Olympics and pitch-side at Premier League football matches, I can see the perception swinging so heavily that it may just kick start a complete sea change in what it is photographers consider a mirrorless camera capable of being: a truly professional camera suitable for everything from weddings, macro, product, portraits and, the holy-grail; sports photography.

What do you think of the E-M1ii?

Are you going to be buying the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mark 2? What do you think of the new model? Can you see this camera taking over in the field of sports photography? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Some more slides from the Olympus OM-D E-M1ii Announcement

The front grip has been made larger, which makes sense considering the largest M.Zuiko lenses (the 40-150mm f/2.8 and the 300mm f/4 were released after the original E-M1 was first made. Dual card slots and improvements to battery longevity were also mentioned...hallelujah! 

The front grip has been made larger, which makes sense considering the largest M.Zuiko lenses (the 40-150mm f/2.8 and the 300mm f/4 were released after the original E-M1 was first made. Dual card slots and improvements to battery longevity were also mentioned...hallelujah! 

A slide showing the layout of the new auto focussing system. Impressive! 

A slide showing the layout of the new auto focussing system. Impressive! 

The E-M1 was ever-reliable. Olympus have recognised this and only seek to build upon that reliability. It was a staple of the success of the E-M1. 

The E-M1 was ever-reliable. Olympus have recognised this and only seek to build upon that reliability. It was a staple of the success of the E-M1. 

4K Video, 1 stop of noise improvement, higher dynamic range and the 50 megapixel hi res shot are all features in the E-M1ii. 

4K Video, 1 stop of noise improvement, higher dynamic range and the 50 megapixel hi res shot are all features in the E-M1ii. 

New accessories include a new vertical grip, which features a directional button pad all of it's own to mirror the same pad you would find on the camera body, making portrait-oriented shooting even easier than ever. Those who use flash will also be pleased to see news of a new FL-900R speed light as well! 

New accessories include a new vertical grip, which features a directional button pad all of it's own to mirror the same pad you would find on the camera body, making portrait-oriented shooting even easier than ever. Those who use flash will also be pleased to see news of a new FL-900R speed light as well! 

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Shooting Soccer with an OM-D: Can it do it?

Reader Question, Olympus, Musings, MicroFourThirdsMichael RammellComment

This week we have a question that was sent in from Andrew Kern (or, AJ). Rather than replying to the email directly I thought it would be best to answer AJ's question right here on the blog for everyone to see.

If you're in a position to listen then go ahead and hit play on the audio player below, if not, scroll down a little further and you can read through today's question from AJ and my response. Either way the audio is the same as the text to make sure you're not missing out.

AJ is an Olympus shooter photographing High School Soccer (or, as we call it in the UK, Football :) ). AJ writes:

Hi Mike,

I'm already in the Olympus camp. I jumped in buying an E-M10 kit with the stock lens. After that I picked up a 40-150mm f/4.5-5.6 MFT lens and after that a used 4/3 50-200mm f/2.8-3.5 non-SWD with an adapter. Using Manual Focus with peaking and High sequence mode I have managed to get good results by anticipating where play is going to be and then focusing there. However, I'd like to increase my keeper rate and not feel as though I'm missing shots by anticipating play. Most of the games happen under lights near dusk so I feel that a fast lens is a must. I'd love to say that my gear puts bread on the table but that's not true. So my question is what should my next investment be to help me:
  1. Better glass (OLY 40-150mm f/2.8)
  2. Better body that can better use the glass I already own (E-M1 second hand prices should dip a little when the E-M1 mkII is released)
  3. Something else?
Thanks
AJ

Thanks AJ for your question. This is rather timely. Only last week my good friend Paul Griffiths and I were discussing how each type camera has it's place as a tool. Paul, being a Fuji shooter and myself, using Olympus of course, both agree that when it comes to professional sports photography a sports-oriented DSLR is probably still the way to go. I'll dive into the reasons why in just moment as part of my answer. But, to start I'll address each of your three points separately:

1. Better Glass?

When is there a reason not to get better glass? Well, in all honesty the answer is actually that you should be using the best that you can reasonably afford, with particular emphasis on the 'that you can reasonably afford' part. AJ mentions that sports photography doesn't pay his bills, which to me says instantly that AJ should be looking for good value in his lenses and equipment. That said, when it comes to sports photography we need more than just sharp glass. We've all come to know and love Olympus lenses for their sharpness, there is no doubt about that. Even some of the entry level lenses that could be considered budget options are able to resolve fantastic sharpness.

However the difference these days between a top lens designed for a Pro and an entry level lens isn't just it's ability to resolve sharpness. That's more of a minimum requirement. The difference in fact is the quality of the components inside those lenses, specifically the motors and mechanisms that rotate and move the optics inside the barrel. Naturally more expensive lenses will use higher quality components, which, as you would expect work faster and more accurately. So yes, in effect the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO will focus faster than the lenses you've mentioned in your question and they'll stand a better chance of maintaining that focus too.

Add to that the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is a constant f/2.8 aperture and comes with a tripod/monopod collar and you're looking at a lens that is definitely more tuned to shooting soccer. That said, the lens won't make all the difference. In fact, a better body will likely be a smarter investment:

2. Better Camera Body?

The OM-D E-M10 you mention is quite similar to the other OM-D's in the range, however, let's be clear; sure it may be able to produce images just as sharp, but again, it's ability to maintain focus on a moving subject is going to be far more limited when compared to it's more premium brothers. Even (and especially) when compared to the now rather old Olympus OM-D E-M1. Aside from not having things like weather sealing, the area in which the E-M10 comes up short is that it only has contrast detect autofocus. So, when it comes to locking focus on a static subject in reasonable light it shouldn't have a problem at all, but the issue is when that subject is moving and light is less than favourable.

You may have seen my motorsports images that I shot with the E-M1. There were some circumstances that allowed me to do this. For starters, the E-M1 itself makes use of phase detect autofocus, meaning it is able to better determine the subject by the distance between the subject and it's background and by what's moving. The E-M1 does this in conjunction with contrast detect; it will pick out the vivid colours of a car (or the lights on the side of a car in the case of Le Mans) and use that to help maintain focus. Above all that though, and perhaps most importantly the subject is moving in such a way that it is ultimately easier to photograph: the cars themselves are actually moving in a predictable motion; i.e from left to right and they're also maintaining a relatively similar distance to me throughout the entire panning range.

Soccer, or Football and other team sports, whether that's hockey, Basketball, NFL football etc will pretty much all feature players changing directions and pace quite rapidly, which is why really you see the top sports photographers using those cameras with full frame sensors with a multitude of huge pixels making use of phase detect (often cross type I may add) focus points. Another factor is  of course the multiple subjects. You will have players on the same team in the same colours both in the foreground and the background of your frame making it even harder for the rather limited focussing system on the E-M10 to determine which is the intended subject. Effectively cameras, such as the Canon 1Dxii and the Canon 7D are all going to lock focus using both the contrast and the distance of the subject and then be able to better maintain focus on that subject. They're going to far superior at shooting sports than the E-M10 (and E-M1) Which brings me to my final answer...

3. Something Else?

My answer to this last part is purely because your question talks about high school soccer. If you were shooting anything else, such as motorsports, weddings, portraits, macro work etc then sure, I'd tell you to keep at it and keep practicing, if you can reasonably justify an E-M1 and or a 40-150mm then go for it - it will help your cause.

But, given that you're shooting soccer, I would advise you to go and hire, or even buy if you're that way inclined, an old Canon 7D mark 1 at least and see if you can get a telephoto lens to go with it. You'll be able to see the difference immediately. Your keeper rate will improve no end. Not least because of the more capable auto focussing system, but also because the optical viewfinder is simply faster at this point in time. Perhaps in future the EVF's we've all become so fond of will refresh just as though you were looking through the lens, like with a DSLR. For now though, using a mirrorless for sports will reduce your keeper rate.

That's not to say that practicing won't get you some way to negating this. I found that with motorsports my keeper rate went up every time I went back to the track to make more photographs. 

Lastly, I would add also that even Fuji and Sony mirrorless cameras won't do the same job as a high-fps, crop sensored DSLR can do when it comes to shooting this sort of subject. I'm sure they'll be there before long though. At the time of writing and recording this post an announcement for the E-M1ii is just a week away, but right now, if we talk about using the right tools for the job, I think realistically the most instant way to increase your keeper rate when photographing a team sport such as soccer, is to pick up a DSLR.

Your Results?

I would love to see sample photographs of Football (soccer), NFL, Hockey or any team sport that you've made using your OM-D or O;ympus camera. Share a link below for us all to go and take a look at and I'll be sure to give you a shout out in the next episode.

As always, don't forget to subscribe using the subscribe page to ensure the next time you're reading this blog, that it's in your inbox!  



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Moving Images and Folders inside of Lightroom

Tips, Tutorials & Tips, VideoMichael RammellComment

Lightroom has become such a popular post-processing tool; helping to really lower the barrier to entry to post-processing. No longer do we all need to know about layer masks. Global changes are made easier in Lightroom and the management and processing of large batches of photographs has been made easier!

But, as many of us have adopted Lightroom as our go-to tool it's also fair to say that many of us have not yet adopted what Adobe consider to be the 'best practise' way of doing things and we often eschew the tools and methods available to us in Lightroom and find a way to 'bodge' things instead. One such thing I hear about all too often is the way in which people move their files and folders around.

It's been a while since I put together a Lightroom video and so this week, following a discussion I was having with a good friend of mine, I've put together a short video to explain the quickest and easiest way to move files and folders inside of lightroom - the way Adobe intended and designed!

This is appropriate for Mac and PC users, so, whichever you use click the link to watch the video and learn how to do one of the most simple things ever in Lightroom.

Let me know if you found this video useful by dropping a comment below. Remember, if you have a question about Lightroom or want to know about my work flow in anyway - just get in touch!

Next week on the blog I take a question from a subscriber about using an OM-D to shoot Football (Soccer). Keep an eye out for that one!



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My Three Favourite Olympus Lenses

Gear, MicroFourThirds, OlympusMichael Rammell3 Comments

It's been a few weeks since I've managed to sit at my desk and write for the blog, but in that time over 50 of you have subscribed! Thank you to all you newcomers and subscribers.

The reason for the absence was largely because I've been so busy and focused on shooting weddings. The wedding season here in the UK typically runs from April to September and this year has been my most hectic yet! With me shooting nearly every weekend and then post processing during the week, I've had to shuffle a few regular tasks around and give priority to the wedding work, naturally. I also had a bit of an accident where I was knocked off my bicycle too. Many evening's were taken up with Physio to get my shoulder back to a good place, when I would have perhaps otherwise been writing. So all in all, a busy schedule meant something had to give.

At every wedding my Olympus OM-D E-M1 has been on-hand and has worked flawlessly every time.

But, over the course of the weddings I have shot this year I've tried to refine what equipment I've had with me in the bag over my shoulder (and what equipment gets left in the other bag in the car). Despite using Olympus gear I still have to lug around a fair bit of kit including no less than 2 light stands that each reach up to 9 feet, a 40" Octabox, reflectors, flashes and constant lights. So, suffice to say the lighter my camera bag can be the better. It's for this reason I decided looked at which lenses I've used the most; those lenses that have earned a permanent place in the bag. I've even sold a couple of lenses as a result of this exercise too, including my 12-40mm f/2.8 and my 25mm f/1.8. More on that later in this post...

Although my need to reflect upon which lenses I favoured most was borne out of my desire to work with only the essential lenses at weddings, I do feel that this list actually represents my favourite all-round lenses for any type of shooting situation. So, if you're not a wedding photographer, this post will still hold true for you too...Enjoy!

1: 7-14mm f/2.8 PRO

The 7-14mm f/2.8 is the newest addition to my lens bag and a lens that I anticipated for such a long time before its' release. As a wedding photographer and a keen landscape photographer too, an ultra wide angle like this makes up 1 of 3 of the 'Holy Trinity' of lenses; that being an ultra wide, a standard zoom and a telephoto zoom. In my favourite three here, I include 2 of the 3 lenses from that trio (with the 12-40mm f/2.8 missing out).

The 7-14m is an absolutely amazing lens and scores very highly in every department: the build quality is second to non, its' super sharpness and ability to focus well in low-light make this lens very versatile.

The effective field of view becomes a 14-28mm on an Micro Four Thirds sensor. It's a focal range that can help you to produce some massively creative and interesting photographs, results that perhaps a slightly less wide lens just couldn't offer (the 12-40mm f/2.8 for example). Here are a couple of shots I've made during 2016 using this lens.

As with all wide angles, the key is often to pay attention to those things that need to be excluded from the frame, as much as what you manage to capture within it. Owing to the extremely wide field of view it's not uncommon that you'll find things sneaking into the frame that would have perhaps been outside of the frame were you shooting with a standard zoom or something slightly less wide.

The 7-14mm pairs up wonderfully with the OM-D E-M1 in particular with matching build quality and performance. Thanks to its constant f/2.8 aperture it's a fast lens too, meaning it can be used in many situations only adding to its versatility.

I've used the 7-14mm f/2.8 at weddings and find that the wider shots tend to give a feeling of grandeur to a scene. Think of large staircases and shots from low down on the ground - that wide angle perspective can help to give a feeling of huge by exaggerating things near the edge of the frame and stretching things out to make them look taller or wider (not a good thing with people mind you!) I wouldn't typically use the lens close up to a person unless I was intentionally looking to distort them. These two images show my typical use of a wide angle:

The wide field of view also allows a photographer to capture more in the frame when you have less room to work with, making this especially useful in situations where another lens would have simply too narrow a field of view.

As with many wide angles, flaring can be an issue if you shoot into a light source, but with this 7-14mm I embrace this. The flare and behavior of the light as it bounces around inside the elements can create a wonderful effect. For example (not an award winning image with that wonky horizon):

Another trait of many wide angles and something that the nature of the Micro Four Thirds format 'enhances' is that it is susceptible to chromatic aberration, but with software like Adobe Lightroom, I rarely, if ever, consider CA an issue at all as it is so easily removed with only a few clicks. No layers or masks required!

2: 17mm f/1.8

The 17mm f/1.8 is the only prime lens to make it into my top three favourites, which is actually odd for me when I think about it because I feel that the Olympus bodies work especially well when paired with a prime. It really was a close call between the three primes I do use regularly; the 17mm, the 45mm f/1.8 and the 60mm f/2.8 macro. But, ultimately, the compact size of the 17mm, coupled with its stunning build quality wins it for me.

With build quality you would expect from a lens upwards of £600 and sharpness that you have come to know from some of the most premium glass, the 17mm f/1.8 is an absolute bargain as well as a lens for many occasions. I am an advocate of the saying 'You get what you pay for', but so often is the case with Micro Four Thirds you actually get more than you pay (this is especially true in the case of the 45mm f/1.8 which just missed out on my top 3. I'll come to that later).

The effective field of view equates to 34mm which is a focal range I feel really comfortable using. I've traditionally enjoyed a 50mm prime among my favorite lenses, but with the 4:3 aspect ratio of the MFT sensors I just feel sometimes that a photograph made with a 50mm field of view can sometimes feel rather square, whereas I much prefer a wider frame. It's for this reason that I sold my 25mm f/1.8 lens. It may not be an accurate thing to say, but the 17mm pairs up very well with the E-M1 and gives for a superb result. It's just how I 'feel'.

You'll find that much of the work here on my website, in my street portfolio, was actually shot with the 17mm. Again owing to it's size it is often the only lens I'll take to the streets of London with me.

The 17mm f/1.8 also has other features that really do help this lens to take the 'prime lens crown' (in my opinion) over the others from Olympus. Such as the fact that the minimum focusing distance is just 25cm (or about 10 inches if you prefer). This means you can get nice and close to subjects. When I'm shooting things like wedding cakes and details with this lens this technique can give for wonderful shallow depth of field whilst at the same time not giving that Macro look, which is a look I find works for me. 

Another benefit that makes this lens great is the very small front element. The size of the glass on the front of this lens is actually very tiny! Traditionally we expect the front element to be pretty much the same diameter as the lens itself, but because of the 17mm's near-pinhole size element, it means it's sturdy and tough and you don't find yourself constantly covering the front of the lens or worrying about it getting scratched. That makes this lens tough and ideal for many applications (street, weddings etc). Handy! 

3: The 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

The final lens to make it in to my top 3 favorite micro four thirds lenses is my favorite of them all. For me the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is something of a marvel: It packs the equivalent of 80-300mm in the size of a lens that is about the same as a Canon 24-70mm f/2.8.

I've written a full review of the 40-150mm f/2.8 right here on the blog. For my full thoughts and for more details about this lens you can check out that review too, but the fact is, in summary, this lens is fast to focus, sharp, has great IQ and the ability to resolve detail even at the farthest end. It's built like a tank but isn't too heavy. It features a clever retractable lens hood design. It doesn't hunt back and forth to achieve focus and performs as well as any premium telephoto lens you would expect to pick up for £2,500, even though a savvy shopper can pick one of these up for around £1,200 - £1,300 brand new.

At both ends of its zoom range, it does a great job. The first image of the three below is at 40mm. The second image is at 97mm and the third image at 140m

In addition, the 40-150mm f/2.8 was designed alongside and to work specifically with the 1.4x teleconverter. So, if you want more reach - you can get it without sacrificing much (if anything) in the way of image quality or lens performance. Sure, as with all extenders you lose some depth of field and the 40-150mm f/2.8 quickly becomes a f/4, but, with that extra that you gain it can often be a trade-off well worth making.

The 40-150mm f/2.8 makes it as my favourite in the top 3 because it was the lens that finally sealed the OM-D deal for me. It was when I tested this lens I was convinced that it had what it took to work as a replacement for my previous all-time favorite lens; the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS USM II (considered to be possibly the best telephoto lens in the standard telephoto lens class!).

Whether I'm at the back of a church photographing the first kiss, in a low light situation photographing a newlywed's first dance, in a forest photographing deer, track-side photographing motor sports or even making a studio lit portrait, the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO is a lens that will take all of those situations in its stride whilst feeling great to handle and use at the same time.

If I had to rescue one lens from a fire, it would be the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO.

Other lenses in my bag

I also have the following lenses in my kit bag and to be honest I love them all, but I find myself reaching for these lenses slightly less than those above that I've written about. Either because the above three lenses tend to be what I favor, or, in the case of the 45mm and 60mm Macro; they're a bit more specialist in their purpose and only suit certain scenarios:

It's only now I list my lenses that I realise over time I have really reduced what I have in my bag. This has been really effective in helping me to choose the correct lens for the right scene. It's great to have a lens for every occasion but be wary - that can often paralyze you with too much to choose from.

Lenses I've Sold

I've recently sold both my 25mm f/1.8 and my 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO. Before I wrap this up I'm sure people will want to know why I sold my 25mm and 12-40mm lenses

25mm f/1.8

I mentioned earlier that I wasn't a fan of the 50mm field of view on the Micro Four Thirds System. Despite this when I made the switch over to Olympus I picked up the 25mm f/1.8. I felt that at the time that every photographer should have a 50mm equivalent in their lens bag. I owned that for about a year but found that I hardly used it, and when I did I wished I was instead using the 17mm f/1.8 instead for that slightly wider field of view. In comparison with the 17mm f/1.8, which is a very dense and somewhat heavy lens for its size, the 25mm felt plastic, too light and quite cheap in the hand (only when compared directly, but I think this speaks more to the quality of the build of the 17mm f/1.8, rather than anything negative about the 25mm f/1.8). I've never exactly had an issue getting in closer to a subject either and for that reason, the 17mm f/1.8 always seemed to be my preference. Don't get me wrong, the 25mm f/1.8 Isn't a bad lens. I just prefer the 17mm f/1.8 instead.

12-40mm f/2.8 PRO

The 12-40mm f/2.8 I appreciate is a highly popular lens for many Micro Four Thirds photographers. It's 24-80mm effective focal range make this an incredibly versatile lens. Couple that with the build quality we've all come to know and love of M.Zuiko PRO lenses and you have a sturdy lens ready for many situations. It does however just miss out being on my favourites list because I find the effective depth of field on offer (f/5.6 throughout the range) at this focal range just doesn't produce that same separation as some of the f/1.8 primes that sit in that same focal range (that being the 17mm f/1.8 for example). At a longer focal range, such as with the 40-150mm you can create better separation between subject and background whilst maintaining a preferred, tighter composition too. For that reason with the 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO the effective focal range is fine and you can still get that wonderful soft background that we've all come to know and love from a telephoto lens. I've found that whenever I'm shooting something and need that little bit of versatility, I will often reach for the 7-14mm f/2.8, the 17mm f/1.8 or even the 45mm f/1.8. My poor old 12-40mm f/2.8 rarely got a look-in.

In case you weren't aware, the crop factor of the MFT sensor is x2. As most of us may be aware that affects the effective focal range; with lenses such as the 40-150mm becoming an effective 80-300mm and the 12-40mm becoming a 24-80mm for example. What everyone may not know though is that focal range is not the only thing affected by the crop factor of the MFT sensor. The aperture of a lense is also effected too. However, there is a caveat to this. Firstly, the f/2.8 aperture is doubled and so works out at f/5.6 (2.8 x 2 = 5.6. Furthermore an f/1.8 has a depth of field equivalent to f/3.6). The reason then that these lenses are still advertised as 35mm film form (17mm f/1.8 and 12-40mm f/2.8) is because those lenses and apertures are still accurately representative of the speed of the lense. I.e they let in the same amount of light as other f/1.8 lenses. In simple terms, they have the ability to let in light, directly representative of their aperture, but a depth of field of twice of that.  

Conclusion

Thanks to Olympus putting the stabilization in to the body, Olympus lenses are all about optics, leaving the camera the job of steadying your scene. I believe that the stabilization on offer inside the OM-D bodies is the best available and the lenses are reaping the benefits of this. Because they don't need to feature those additional motors and parts the lenses are smaller and lighter. This, coupled with the sensor size of course means that they are smaller even still! 

Olympus, unlike Canon and Nikon have one sensor standard and make lenses specifically for that one sensor size. As such M.ZUIKO lenses are designed to work in perfect harmony without any need to compromise or have any sort of change to their design to take another sensor in to account. Square Peg - Square hole! 

So, whilst pretty much all of Olympus' lenses are absolutely superb, I've picked out my three favorites based on how much I find myself reaching for to the results I get. My switch to Olympus was of course motivated by the superb OM-D range, but those bodies would be nothing without stunning glass to mount to them. 

What are your favorite lenses? 

So, what are your favourite lenses? I've chosen all Olympus lenses here in my list, but that's not to say that I couldn't make use of those lenses on offer from Panasonic too! Post your comments and thoughts below and let me know what you find yourself reaching for when you head out shooting.



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