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Pushing Limits

Lulu black and white

Waiting for the Power - LR

These are photos of Lulu, one of the three cats that live at my home. The occasion was this past weekend when a major rain system passed up the Florida peninsula. It rained all day Saturday and Sunday morning, dumping a good six inches where I live. Just as the rain finally tapered off and stopped, the power went out. And so we sat in natural light for several hours before the power came back on.

Lulu and Ruby were in the TV room along with me. The TV room has north facing windows which let in a lot of natural, soft light. I was sitting in my comfy chair with my E-P2 and an Olympus OM G.Zuiko 50mm 1:1.4 silver banded lens mounted on it. I stopped it down to f/2, and fired off a series of photos of Lulu and Ruby. The two I kept are the two you see here.

The black and white photo was post processed in Silver Efex 2, while the bottom was minimally processed in Lightroom 3.5. I like what I see digitally, but I like how it prints even better.

I've been reading a lot lately about the better look of medium format. I have decided to push this little camera with its little sensor such that the results are indistinguishable from film medium format, at least on prints up to 11 by 14 (or 11 by 11 with square).

I have two OM nifty-50s, one the original G.Zuiko and the other the all-black Zuiko. It must be because I've seen J. J. Abrams "Star Trek" one time too many, but I've come to love the way the G.Zuiko flairs and softens, especially wide open. I've come to embrace and incorporate the flaws. The photo below, of the OM 20mm 1:2.8 mounted on my E-P2, was taken with the G.Zuiko mounted on my E-1 and wide open.

Mixes and matches

I also prefer the old OM lenses on the E-P2 body. It has a certain look and feel that I prefer and can't be matched by any other combination of lens and body. My hands are almost magnetically drawn to the E-P2 with one of the nifty 50s. It's a joy to hold and a real joy to use.

Mathew Robertson has decided to get off the upgrade treadmill by moving back to film with his Zeiss Ikon. I prefer to step off the treadmill for a while with a hybrid approach of legacy Olympus film lenses on a simple digital body. I think we're both after the same goal, enjoyment of the art and science of photography without needlessly spending a fortune. I'm also doing it to prove a point, that with sufficient attention to art and technique that the results can at least match medium format.

Only time will tell.


  1. agreed, although as I age I find having a viewfinder more important so I instead use a G1

    The OM 50 f1.8 is a sweet lens too and considerably cheaper and more compact.

  2. I don't think I can overstate the excitement I got from reading your take on achieving a "medium format feel" from digital. I read the post I think you eluded to in your writings and I left that post apparently feeling like you. Enamored with the beauty of medium format and a longing to re-create that sense of depth and contrast "fairy dust wonder" using the digital tools I have at my disposal.

    I think it is pretty obvious you are well on your way to capturing that in your work, and I hope that I can find the time and patience to perfect it on my end as well.

    Thank you as always for such a good read, and this time for one that echoes a feeling I have buried deep inside me.


  3. Your 1.4 OM Zuiko is very very nice at f2, better than my 1.8 OM Zuiko fully open - which is to be expected. I'm also a bit after simplyfying things, and maybe the film or MF look, and with closeups like these you can really achieve that a bit. I find however, that when taking full-body portraits of people you see the difference of the format immediately. The much bigger 6x6 (or 6x7 or 6x4.5) film clearly has an advantage for that type of "bokeh" work you see so often these days.


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