We have come a long way since 2008 in terms of cameras and what they can do. But there is often a forgotten part of the photography Eco-system. We talk about cameras and lenses but we forget the very important part of the overall picture.
Four Key Areas
There are four aspects that have a huge impact on your photography and each of these four components make up and contribute towards the results. Consider all four when you are thinking about improving photography. Number one is the skill level that you possess as a photographer. Number two is the camera that you use. Number three are the lenses that you invest in which should be optically bright and cover ranges that are appropriate to your style of photography. However number four, and one that really needs to be thought about carefully, is the imaging software that you use for either raw conversion or enhancement.
Lets Compare 2008 – 2019
Take a look at the following photo. It was taken in October 2008.
Lets take a closer look into the image and see what is in there. Canon 24-105mm F4 lens.
Lets take another look but this time lets take the same image and process it using modern software. That’s right – the fourth and vital part of photography.
Photography results are dependent on the photographers skill and his tools. The four tools he has are his skill, cameras, lenses and his software.
When you compare the photograph above with the photograph below it is obvious that there is significantly more detail and a lot more shadow information that has been recovered with today’s software.
In the photograph above, Adobe software has been used to develop the raw image. Over the years a significant number of developments and a significant number of releases have provided us with much better tools to extract the information locked into those raw files. In the image below we suddenly see foliage as well as the details in the rock. It was a very windy and windswept day and now the detail within the waves and on the sand comes into focus. The two figures in the photograph are very tiny but they have a much more real feel when we develop them with today’s software. There is a warning sign in the rocks and whereas it almost blends into the background in the first photograph you can see it’s clear yellow colour and shape much more forcibly in the second development below.
Software, back in 2008 was certainly able to extract shadow detail however, in the process it often revealed noise that tended to slightly pixelate the image and detract from the overall look of the finished photograph. The scene itself is a remarkable rock coastline and having the two figures walking towards the sea in the bottom of the photograph made it pretty much a no-brainier when it came to use in tourism photography. For that reason, despite the absence of too much detail, the photograph was well received and well used.
Investing In Software Is Well Worth The Exercise
An experience that some photographers have commented on has been purchasing a more up-to-date camera, something that all photographers are very likely to do in any case, and then discovering that the work that they are producing is pretty much on a par with what they were producing with an older camera and then discovering, as a result of investing in raw conversion software, that both cameras had similar latitudes in terms of what could be extracted from the images.
The Canon camera that was used to take these photographs produced excellent images up to ISO 400. Personally today I would never be satisfied with the camera that didn’t work well virtually noise free up to around ISO 1600. So I am not advocating that people don’t update their cameras. Instead, the point we are making in this particular article is that it is important to remember that essentially there are four sides to the picture in terms of what you can get out of your images. Number one is the skill level that you possess as a photographer. Number two is the camera that you use. Number three are the lenses that you invest in which should be optically bright and cover ranges that are appropriate to your style of photography. However number four, and one that really needs to be thought about carefully, is the imaging software that you use for either raw conversion or enhancement.
There is a Substantial Difference In Results Obtainable From The Same Raw Files
There is a substantial difference in the performance of the various raw converters. Personally I have available to me at any time five different raw converters. That is a significant investment but I have discovered that some raw converters are more effective than others with various files. There is an argument that you can get there with just about any raw converter to which I would reply that some of them make it incredibly tough to get to the end result if they are not tuned to suit your camera and style. It’s also worth noting that some imaging software really doesn’t extract anything like the level of detail that is available and also some imaging software seems to get lost when it comes to dealing with noise. With noise you don’t want the noise reduction to make areas of the photograph look messy or blurred or muddy, you want to retain detail. Not all imaging software can handle this issue well.
What is the moral of this little experiment? Before you consider upgrading your camera or lenses, consider your software and your skill level. It could be that poor camera technique is resulting in poor quality images or else it could be that your raw converter is simply not able to extract the detail and style that you are aiming at. It takes time to really get to know a camera well so moving onto a new camera too soon can be quite a wasteful exercise. Worth thinking about.
You read through the magazine or the review on the site and immediately you start thinking about how your photography would improve if you had that camera or lens. But is it true? Do you really need all that gear and all those innovations? Will all those extra, often incremental improvements, really show up in the finished shot?
Initially, when you first get involved in photography you might genuinely believe that you need all the gear that you could possibly get your hands on. Or you might feel that you must have one particular camera or lens and it will make all the difference. Photography experience however provides insight into the overall craft. Camera craft is something that you acquire as you get involved in photography. Genuine photography assignments provide insight into photography that you might never experience in the casual setting. Whether you get involved in actual professional or semi-professional photography or you join a camera club and put your work against others so that you can improve your skill, you quickly realise that it isn’t all about the gear. In fact, you might realise that the photography market is sometimes overly influenced by the emphasis placed on certain innovations as opposed to what is really important in photography.
Cameras have been very good for quite a while now.
To illustrate this I have several hundred thousand images available on my hard drives and I’m still getting very good sale from images that were taken by cameras that were available in 2008. Ask any professional photographer who’s been around for the last decade and don’t be surprised to find the same story. You will often run into professional photographers using photography equipment that is six or eight years old and getting excellent results. They will read the reviews and look at the innovations with genuine interest but with an experienced eye that helps them to sort the difference between what is needed and what isn’t. Genuine photography experience provides that extra insight.
Don’t Get Me Wrong – Gear is Important!
There is however an important distinction to make in this discussion. There is an old story about the person who goes out and buys a top of the range tennis racket, which makes the point that, they don’t automatically become a better tennis player just because they own a better racket. However, it’s also true that a better tennis player will often use a better tennis racket for the simple reason that a better player is able to get and use the benefit of a more balanced racket that is strung in a particular way.
Practice Makes You Better!
The same is true with cameras. Buying a better camera will not make you a better photographer. However, a better photographer will probably use a better camera for the simple reason that they now know how to get the best out of the camera and they see the benefit of having a better dynamic range or a faster focus or a better colour gamut overall.
My brother once put the point bluntly when we were talking about the old saying that a workman doesn’t blame his tools. He replied that the good workman wouldn’t let himself be found with useless tools. The same is true with a photographer. You do need good tools.
It Has To Perform
However, in the field the photographer needs the camera gear to perform. He isn’t thinking about how many megapixels the camera has or what it can do in different areas of performance when he’s in the field. Regardless of the style of photography you are focussed on, there are just so many other things that you need to think about. Composition is the key. Whether you’re shooting nature and you need to grab a specific moment or action where the same is true or if you’re photographing a group when you’re trying to organise everybody in the group into something that doesn’t look like a dog’s breakfast, you’ve got so many more things to think about other than how many megapixels your camera has or how many frames per second it can do in the field.
There are always Compromises
You choose the right tool for the job and then you get on with photography. If you need something with high frames per second you are perfectly happy to accept a lower megapixel because you recognise that you can’t have both. And for that matter a 24-megapixel camera that can shoot at 12-20 frames per second is pretty much going to be able to do just about everything that you as a photographer will want.
You can have too much emphasis on gear, and you can have misplaced priorities when it comes to what is important. The problem with this is that it can also stifle your photography. Using just the gear that you need and that is appropriate to the style of photography that you’re doing at that point is just so important.
Perspective Means That Often Photographers See Cameras Differently
I read a letter just recently about how a group of camera reviewers rated a group of 10 cameras and how another group of photographers rated the same group of cameras. The reviewers placed the cameras in one specific order using megapixels and frames per second as the priority whereas the photographers put the cameras in a completely different order based on how they perform in the field and how quickly they acquire focus. There were points of overlap such as the placement of buttons and tools and the comfortable feeling of the camera system in the hand. However whereas the reviewers were focusing on the number of lenses that were available in each system, the photographers knew that as long as they had the principal lenses available that were appropriate to their own application, it didn’t really mean an awful lot to them that the given camera didn’t have quite the range of lenses that another camera manufacture offered. This just illustrates how the difference in view can occur.
Acquire the Craft
So, there is a difference between the perspective of a photographer when it comes to looking at photographic equipment. If you understand the different perspective that you will acquire as a photographer when you have a deadline to meet and performance in the field is absolutely essential, then you will acquire camera craft. Photography experience provides insight into the overall craft of photography. When you put yourself in photographic competitions against other photographers you will quickly realise that having 10 cameras in the closet will not make you a better photographer. Two photographers with identical equipment will produce very different results. There is a divergence between perception and reality in photography and it’s important to capture this difference and understand what is really important.
There has been a lot of hype about the Nikon Z series. Image quality is great. Focus speed isn’t usable for our photography. Even flowers blowing in the wind are problematic. . Landscapes and stills are a strength. But if it moves.. well don’t expect to track it well. And yes we’ve updated and will still update. It’s just how it is. Most Nikon fans are hesitant to acknowledge this and the fans just blame poor technique but the reality is that even close shots of flowers blowing in the wind are a challenge for this camera. We averaged less than a 32% hit rate with the Z7. With the D850 closer to 90% in the same conditions.
We’ve used the Z7 for 5000+ clicks but until some improvements come along it is reserved for landscape and studio work. Although it hunted in a product tent. That’s right. We were shooting items for display on the web and the focus was hunting on a tripod in fixed conditions.
In contrast the Sony focusing with mirrorless is amazing. And now with the new firmware for the Sony A9 and the a7r3 the tracking is phenomenal. Birds, planes, cars, boats, goodness… The A9 tracks beautifully. Its amazing. And the hit rate is in a different class. The update to the A7r3 is also sensational.
Additionally Sony have improved the quality of JPEG out of camera to within a smidgen of perfect on the majority of occasions.
With Nikon our recommendation is the D850. Sure it isn’t mirrorless but the focus and tracking are excellent and the image quality it on the top podium. In DSLR terms the D850 is right there.
Remember. If it isn’t in focus well…what was the auto focus there for?
50mm gives an excellent field of view and is generally free of distortion. In a recent post we looked closely at using a 50mm primes for most of the shooting. We were looking at a 50mm Sigma 1.4 which is super sharp and the Mikaton 50mm 0.95 which can be sharp but well stopped down.
There was virtually 100% preference for the 0.95mm lens images. Not clinical – simply gorgeous!
The images above were taken at the beach in Geraldton. I really like the sensor on the Sony A9 and the fact that using the electronic silent shutter we can shoot at up to 1/32,000 of a second. This makes it possible to use the Speedmaster Mikaton 0.95 50mm lens without the need for ND filters in bright light conditions such as these. Less messing around and more photographs.
Its wonderful to play with light using such an amazing lens
Even at Night… Photography is easy
We fancied a bite so we nipped to this Dome cafe on the coast at Geraldton. Most of the Domes are pretty good. It was very dark but with the 50mm Mikaton 0.95 50mm lens it was easy to get some atmosphere in the shots. The good thing about shooting with such a large aperture is the fact that you can minimize noise. there was virtually no noise in these images and they have that same large aperture 50 mm STYLE.
I visited the Denmark river and the old boat ramp. In the past I’ve sold images from this area. But now I could isolate key features with the 50mm. The day was relatively overcast but there’s a certain brightness about these 50 mm images. As you can see the area of focus is easy to define.
Great isolation of subjects is easy when using this particular Mikaton Lens.
The shots were taken near the residency building in Albany. Apart from the artificial lighting it was actually quite dark. While we were shooting the car park lighting came on which is quite bright and that changed the feel of the images.
It was quite windy and stormy on the coast and I took a lot of images with a telephoto lens. However these images were taken at 50 mm and are very complimentary and detailed. The tonal balance and detail is excellent with this lens.
Another feature of shooting with the Mikaton lens is the ability to isolate the subject. As this lily image illustrates, you can achieve a soft and shallow depth of field with precise focus when combining the benefits of a large aperture lens with a mirror less camera.
And finally here is a mixed selection of images that show the character of this lens. I really like shooting with 50 mm and I can see its appeal. More and more a 50 mm lens is finding its way into my constant kit.
Canon have an extremely good reputation when it comes to lenses. This reputation is well earned. They do make some extremely good lenses and it is one of the attractions of using Canon cameras. There are a bewildering array of lenses to choose from and you could easily find yourself wondering what would be the best thing for you to use personally. The more photography as a subject can be made simple then the better it is for all of us. That’s our approach and that’s why we provide short and simple advice.
Not all photographers will outgrow the kit lenses that come with their camera. So don’t be in a particular hurry until you have really mastered the lens that you have already. You can get the sort of mentality that says that if you get a better lens it will make you into a better photographer. Better lenses or lenses with greater ranges will give you different opportunities but often provide more choice and this in turn can confuse the photographer. Sometimes less is more when it comes to being an effective photographer. Some photographers have learned that simply using a standard lens of either 50 mm or 35 mm or thereabouts is more their style and actually helps them to grow as a photographer.
When it is time to buy that next Canon lens here are 4 that should be on any shortlist for consideration.
Having said this if you are interested in taking your photography further and you are wondering about the various lenses that Canon make here are some of our observations based on our own experience using a number of Canon lenses over the years. There are four lenses in particular I would recommend. I know that at the conclusion of this section there will be people reading thinking, why wasn’t this lens or that lens included. And yes there are other options. But the fact is that for a variety of styles of photography that are more specialized there are lenses that are appropriate but there wouldn’t necessarily be useful in every situation. For example, one of my personal favorite lenses is the Canon 100 to 400 mm L-series. It’s great for bird photography and for capturing distant objects. But most people are going to be focused on other aspects of photography and therefore this is a general guide. I also use a Tamron 24-70mm lens but this section is on Canon and all of the photos were taken with the lenses mentioned. So here are four of the best.
The Canon 24-105mm L Series F4 is a classic workhorse
The first lens that I would always encourage people to try is the Canon L series 24 to 105 mm lens. It’s a F4 lens with image stabilisation. It has excellent contrast. It’s a very useful range and the images that come from this lens are sharp and clear. For some professional photographers this is the one and only lens that they use. That’s right they just use one lens and this is it. So, try it out. Here are a few images take it with the 24 to 105 mm lens.
The Canon 24-70mm F2.8 Series 2 is simply amazing.
The second lens which is really an alternative to the one above is Canon’s famous 24 to 70 mm lens F2 .8 in the L-series. It’s a brighter lens but doesn’t have the reach of the 24 to 105. Wedding photographers love this lens because it’s a beautiful lens to work with and works very well both inside and outside. Most commentators lament the fact that it doesn’t have image stabilisation however we’ve never ruined any photographs as a result of not having stabilisation with this lens.
Its sharp and bright and beautiful. Here are a few images taken with 24 to 70 F2 .8 lens.
Sharp wide and beautiful! Canon 16-35mm F4 IS L series lens. Seriously great lens!
The third lens that I would always encourage people to look at is the Canon 16 to 35 F4 image stabilized Zoom which is also an L-series lens. This lens is incredibly sharp. The angle of view is beautiful and it also focuses very close. Again there are landscape photographers for which this lens is an absolute must. It’s pretty much perfect. It’s one of the sharpest lenses that can produce and when you’re doing landscape photography you want to capture good contrast this lens is ideal. Here are some photographs taken with the 16 to 35 F4 L-series.
The Canon 70-200mm L Series Lens. One of the very best lenses available.
The final lens that we would recommend is to take a look at either of the 70 to 200 lenses. There are two lenses that stand out. The 70 to 200 L-series F2 .8 and its sibling which is an F4 lens.
I love the rendering of the F2 .8 version but there are a lot of people who swear by the F4 version because it is smaller and lighter and I know a number of photographers that prefer it to the F2 .8.
It’s an excellent lens whichever you choose. Here are some images taken with the F2 .8 version current at 2019.
A few others.
Honorable mentions. Just for those that think that the lenses should have been included. The Canon 50 mm 1.2 lens and its 1.4 lens sibling are both excellent lenses. Also the Canon 85 mm 1.2 and its 1.4 sibling are worth considering. 1.2 version of the 85 mm lens is a challenge to work with and a lot of people preferred the F1 .4 with its image stabilisation. I love the 1.2 version myself but I would warn you that there is a steep learning curve. It can also fool the metering on the Canon camera and as a hint if you have that lens take a look at that area because it will help you to master the capabilities of the 1.2.
Just a comment to ponder…
When you have mastered your standard kit lens and you are ready to move on to other lenses that you feel will genuinely help your photography it’s always a good idea to borrow or hire lenses and give them a go. See whether they are suitable for your style of photography. Ignore the jokes about the cost of some of the L series lenses. They seriously are good kit. But you will probably find that lenses that you thought were going to be ideal may not be and others that you thought were probably not worth thinking about, may in turn, be perfect for you. It’s one of those aspects of photography that we all learn as we go along. There are steep learning curves with some lenses. I’ve seen photographers purchase the Canon 70 to 200 for use taking weddings who have struggled to master its unique abilities. It doesn’t just happen. You work it out. Its strengths are amazing so persist. Work at it and make the lens a tool that you use to achieve on the sensor the image that you visualize when you step into the situation.
As we said earlier. The more photography as a subject can be made simple then the better it is for all of us. We hope that is simple guide assists you.
Let me ask you a question. Do you want to carry a heavy camera around with you or do you want something light and easy to use? Do you want to carry lots of lenses around or do you want smaller lenses that cover a large focal range so that the whole thing is easy and you can focus on taking photographs? It’s simple isn’t it. The camera that most of us carry with us everywhere is on our phone. Who wants to be bothered with a heavy camera? Only a small community.
We need small light cameras that give us professional results.
But there are smaller options available. The Micro 4/3 system isn’t getting anything like the coverage in the press that it should. And it should because it’s good and it’s small and the images are great. Let’s take a look.
We need to look at Micro Four Thirds
The Micro 4/3 system has been around since 2008 when it was first proposed by a consortium of Olympus and Panasonic. The idea was to achieve a range of mirror less cameras with an interchangeable lens system used by both brands. Thus you can take a lens from Panasonic and put it on an Olympus and you can take a lens from Olympus and put it on a Panasonic Micro 4/3 camera. The sensor size is relatively small in comparison to other cameras which are termed full frame. Full frame gives the impression that there is somehow a standard but in reality this is taken from 35mm. There are much larger sensors than full frame however most sensors that are used in photography are considerably smaller than the Micro 4/3 sensor. In reality then Micro 4/3 is actually a reasonable size in comparison to most sensors used in photography.
Most cameras used today use much smaller sensors than micro four thirds. Much smaller! They are in our phones.
Compared to most of the cameras in use today the Micro 4/3 camera has a larger and better sensor. So-called full frame cameras [ and medium format cameras for that matter] are often much more expensive and yield good results but at somewhat of a cost in terms of price and size and weight. You know that you’ve got a full frame in board if you carry it for very long. Personally I am used to carrying rigs but even then I prefer to travel lighter where possible.
The Micro 4/3 sensor and camera uses an electronic viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder has been an absolute revelation for photography and you will doubtless have seen in the news if you follow photography that cameras manufacturers are almost tripping over each other to release mirror less cameras that feature electronic viewfinder’s. 2018 has been a landmark year in this respect.
If it were about size why do we get given small cameras and then huge lenses?
It appears to be a somewhat confused market because on the one hand the manufacturers are producing smaller cameras while on the other hand they are producing larger and heavier lenses. When it comes to establishing a lightweight system that gives extremely high quality images then the Micro 4/3 system is an option that you have to take a look at. It is light, fast, produces high quality images and has some simply amazing lenses.
Light and fast. Its what the market wants!
It is true that in low-light situations, and we’re not talking about evening but rather much later into the evening, full frame sensors will have an edge because they will not produce as much noise. Any subjective comparison however of full frame sensors in low-light situations will show that while they do produce a relatively noise free image depending on how careful you are setting them up, they do produce a soft image. Whether this is desirable depends on your type of photography.
The Olympus OMD EM1 Mark 2 is simply amazing
The micro 4/3 answer to this has been to develop industry leading image stabilisation technology within the cameras. For example the Olympus OMD EM1 mk2 has unbelievable image stabilisation and, the company has just released a sports version which takes it even further. Image stabilisation allows you to shoot in lower light with low shutter speeds so that you do not need a high ISO setting for the image and therefore the sensor will not generate the noise that you are trying to avoid. It takes some work to get your head around this approach but once you get used to it you wonder why other companies haven’t really adopted it in the same way. Perhaps they are committed to a specific size of camera or a specific size of sensor. However, the public are voting with their feet when it comes to sensor size.
At a recent beauty spot I watched as people came to take photographs. Only one in 30 were interested in carrying a heavy camera. But most people were taking photographs using their mobile phone and the mobile phone was taking good pictures using a sensor considerably smaller than that found in the Micro 4/3 system. I believe that camera manufacturers are missing out on a major market because of concentrating on producing heavy cameras that produce good quality images but that simply do not find a market among a lot of people. People do want smaller and lighter cameras which is why they are very happy to use their mobile phone. People say that we are a photography society but when they do that they are referring to their phone. So any company that is able to produce smaller and lighter cameras that provide excellent image quality has clearly got a good handle on what the majority of people are looking for. And I would suggest that the majority of people are probably going to be extremely happy with a micro 4/3 camera. They are very very good indeed.
Because there has to be a standard for lenses in terms of establishing a lens size, lenses are based around the 35mm image. Thus a lens may be termed a 50 mm lens or a 135mm lens and this directly relates to a 35mm sensor. If the sensor is smaller then the factor by which the sensor is smaller affects the actual focal length perceived when looking through the viewfinder. So for example when a 50 mm lens is placed on a micro 4/3 camera where the sensor is considerably smaller than the 50 mm lens gives the field of view of a 100 mm lens or exactly double. The 135mm would effectively be a 270 mm lens.
Micro Four Thirds Lenses are amazingly sharp
In the world of Micro 4/3 the lenses are designed to take advantage of this feature. This allows very small lenses to give an incredible range of focal lengths and interestingly remarkable depth of field and remarkable sharpness of image. In my experience I have never produced images as sharp straight out of the camera as those that I have taken using the Olympus Pro series lenses on a micro 4/3 camera. So Olympus for example produce a 12 to 100 mm lens which in 35mm terms is a 24 to 200 mm lens. Can you imagine a company in 35mm land trying to produce a 24 to 200 mm lens and trying to make it of the same quality as the pro series that Olympus have produced? It would be ridiculously huge and incredibly expensive. Also Olympus have produced a 40 to 150 mm lens rated at F2 .8 which provides the equivalent focal length of an 80 to 300 mm lens at F2 .8. The nearest comparable lens in 35mm world is the 70 to 200 F2 .8 which has nowhere near the reach. And I would have to say in direct comparison of image quality the Olympus lens is simply amazing.
I always have at least two cameras with me and one of them is always micro 4/3. I’ve yet to walk into any situation where the micro 4/3 camera couldn’t get the shot. And it’s light and easy to use. It has the benefit of excellent speed and quality while at the same time everything that I need is right there in my hand. The lenses, are simply amazing and they have a sharp definition and the contrast that I wish some of my other much more expensive lenses could achieve.
I had the idea that micro 4/3 was the poorer neighbour to the full frame camera. I guess that’s the way that it’s marketed. I tried going with larger and larger sensors and I have shot with some of the most esoteric glass on the market. In some situations I’d have to say that the image quality of the larger sensors leaves the Micro 4/3 sensor behind. But that area of image taking is very small and there were ways of working around it using the Micro 4/3 sensor. I just had to learn a different way of shooting. On a recent trip I took two full frame sensors and one Micro 4/3 and returned from the trip with 900 images taken on the Micro 4/3 system that were easily a match for everything that I’d taken in full frame. And if I’d been taking the full frame equivalent of some of these lenses I would have needed a trolley. I didn’t because micro 4/3 system has amazing lenses that are light and have beautiful character.
Olympus are filling a really important need and people are voting with their feet. We need small cameras or else a lot of them are left on the shelf at home.
Can you imagine a 35mm lens rated at 24-200mm with an F4 constant and with sharp crisp performance? It would be huge and expensive. It would be ideal but it just isn’t there. Yes there are some alternatives but these are quite soft. I’m referring to a lens with pro specs that is sharp and meets the demanding expectations of professionals. Yet Olympus have achieved this with an F4 lens rated at 12 mm to 100 mm. Remember that you double the figures. The 12 mm to 100 mm lens is in effect in 35mm terms a 24 to 200 mm lens. Not only did Olympus produce a lens of amazing optical quality in this focal length, but they also were able to build in image stabilisation. Olympus understand the value of putting image stabilisation into the camera body, but they can also double up by adding image stabilisation to the lens as well and get the two forms of image stabilisation to work together. Using this lens equipped on the Olympus camera we have managed to handhold images in low light at 1/8 of a second that have been perfectly sharp. Something simply not achievable in the handheld form using any other camera system.
One of the most amazing lenses in 35mm photography and that most camera companies like to produce is the 70 to 200 mm lens in F2 .8. Most wedding photographers want this lens equipped on their camera when they shoot a wedding. And I’ve certainly used it myself and achieved excellent results. However, Olympus have been able to produce a pro series lens rated at 40 mm to 150 mm. Now remember that this is doubled which makes it 80-300 mm. And this lens is an F2 .8. That’s right, it gives you the equivalent focal length of the professional lens as produced by the major camera manufacturers but gives you the extra 100 mm of reach while giving you the same optical brightness. What’s more, this lens is incredibly sharp. It can even be equipped with a 1.4 extender which gives it the equivalent focal length of 112 mm to 420 mm. So two lenses in one and interestingly with the optical extender, the lens becomes a constant f4. This makes it a considerably better lens than many of its competitors.
And just how good are the images from the Olympus cameras? They are so good that many wedding photographers have no difficulty whatsoever in using them regularly and we now use an Olympus digital camera, being the Olympus OMD EM1 Mark2 as our reference system for reference for focusing speed and image quality.
Bear in mind that it is a 20 megapixel camera. So its a good size. Don’t let megapixels confuse you. A 40 megapixel image is considerably larger than a 20 megapixel image. Megapixels relates to size of image and not image quality. A 50 megapixel image is not that much better than a 20 megapixel image. It is simply bigger. Once you understand that the megapixel information has been misapplied to quality as opposed to image size, suddenly you have to take a look at the photo industry again and realise that 20 megapixels is enough for anybody. We can easily print images from a 20 megapixel image in large format up to 2 m high, with no discernible difference in quality against larger megapixel images. 20 megapixel is plenty of area to work with. The Micro 4/3 system is well worth considering. And I would recommend that people take another look at it.
As we said in the outset. People are leaving heavy and large DSLR cameras and large heavy cameras per se at home. At one time people got caught up in the hype and bought lots of them, but it’s amazing how many of these cameras languish at home, having been retired from use in favour of the mobile phone. I would argue that if the cameras were smaller and lighter people would probably enjoy using them more. And you can easily put together a Micro 4/3 system which is very small indeed based around the 20 megapixel sensor. Take a look. There are lots of options available. In fact, Olympus make a 12 to 40 mm F2 .8 version of their pro lens, which has an equivalent focal length of 24 to 80 mm. Think about that. While the competitors are giving you a 24 to 70 mm focal length Olympus give you 24 to 80 mm and the lens is very, very sharp. One of the things you quickly learn using the Olympus system is that you don’t need to apply anything like the amount of sharpening to their images than you do with full frame or 35mm sensors.
The micro 4/3 system can easily meet the requirements of most photographers on the market for a camera today. Don’t fall for the full frame 35mm frame hype. Look closely. It may be what you need it, but I’d be surprised if you don’t find that the Micro 4/3 system is much more appropriate. Next time I go to a beauty spot I hope that more than one in 30 will be carrying a camera. Perhaps some will be carrying a small, lightweight camera and getting amazing results because they reinvestigated the world of the Micro 4/3 sensor.
Below I’ve included some full frame images. But most are from the Olympus. Micro four thirds. Look at the quality and you won’t see any step up or down.