Skip to main content

New Month, New Gear

Panasonic 14mm

Yes, you're looking at my latest acquisition, the Panasonic 14mm 1:2.5. I purchased it along with two CN-160 LED lights. The lens' price is now about about the same as the current price of the M.Zuiko 17mm. I've been in a slow boil since the front cosmetic ring fell off the 17mm a year ago while I was traveling up in Boston to a SISO conference. To this day I have no idea why the ring fell off. Sending it into Olympus to get it fixed would have cost me enough in combined shipping and depot charges that I could just buy another. But I didn't because I found it unbelievable that anything like that would happen to a lens little more than nine months old. And I didn't feel like hunting up the receipt to prove when I'd bought it, even though I'd entered the serial number into the Olympus on-line system when I bought it.

And then I thought about getting the Panasonic 14mm to replace the 17mm. It was wider (28mm equivalent vs 35mm equivalent) and 1/3 stop faster (big whoop). It also appears to be sharper, at least if you believe Steve Huff's review. It's not that I don't like Steve's reviews, but Steve always seems overly positive. I don't think there's a piece of camera gear that Steve's handled that he didn't like. But this time I have to concur with Steve's conclusion that the 14mm is better than the 17mm, especially with regards to image quality.

I'll have a full-up review of the 14mm on Matthew's Reviews in a few weeks.

M.Zuiko 17mm vs Panasonic 14mm

If you've been visiting Kirk Tuck's site, then you should know that Kirk's published another of his excellent books (LED Lighting: Professional Techniques for Digital Photographers), this one on lighting with LED-based lights. I've got a gratis copy for review. As part of that review I purchased a pair of CN-160 lights (they have 160 LEDs in the fixture). I probably need several more to help balance out the light a bit more, but two are enough for a tyro like me. I've lived with a pair of FL-50Rs (one in a soft box, one in an umbrella) for a while now and managed to produce passable work with them. But I'm going to need at least one more, if not two more. But at $40/light, it's not much to spend.

There is one characteristic Kirk mentioned about these lights, and that's a strong green tint. He was right about that. When I pulled these up in Lightroom 4 they were green as the hills of Fujiyama. A quick custom light balance with the eyedropper brought things back to (near) normal. Of course that's the lazy photographer's way out. Kirk has better advice in his book; buy the book if you want to find out what it is, and a whole lot more.

One other characteristic I didn't see in the book, and that's power consumption. The CN-160s I got use a variety of batteries, including AAs. I picked up a pack of 20 AAs at a local Office Depot, and it looks like after messing around for the evening I've hit the batteries pretty hard. These lights are going to eat up AAs like candy, so I will probably pick up one of the rechargeable battery packs recommended on the side of the box the CN-160s came in. Oh, and I will have a long review of Kirk's book up, probably around the weekend. I wanted to at least try my hand at some of the techniques in the book, rather than just say "I just read the book."

Panasonic 20mm vs Panasonic 14mm

I am still strongly enamored with the Panasonic 20mm. Even though the 20mm is small, the 14mm is diminutive. Sitting next to the 20mm it makes the 20mm look bloated. The diameter of the 14mm is the same as the outer diameter of the lens mount on the E-P2.

Late Afternoon

It won't win any awards, but this is first light through the lens. Late afternoon. A maple in my back yard which has quite a bit of new growth on it, early even for Florida. Shot wide open at f/2.5. Center bits look nice and sharp, and there's quite a bit of "bokeh" (bleck!) in the photo. No the lens isn't right up in the leaves, but it's close, about a foot to a foot-and-a-half (I had to reach up for this). I'll have more worthy photos when I write my formal review on Matthew's Reviews. Until then it's out and about trying out the new lens.


  1. Oh good, there is a blog post! The Lumix 14mm may not be the best wide-angle lens ever made, but my own rational for wanting that lens is that's it's so darn small. And the IQ is more than good enough for the goofy photos I take. Yes, I'd much rather have the Olympus 12mm f/2, but the $800 price tag, along with the extra $100 for the lens shade seems a bit steep. I can live with the 14mm for 1/3 of the price, even without a lens shade.

    The LED lights really interest me as well. I've always liked the idea of WYSIWYG lighting, and the LED lights make that a bit more accessible for ahobbiest like myself.

  2. I'm thinking about this one as well, Bill. According to the blur graphs at, it should be very sharp - much better than the 17mm, and not much less so than the 12mm which costs lots more. So yes, this is a very interesting and cute little lens, and I'm very much looking forward to what you'll have to say about it. Did I say already that I love the photos you take?

  3. Thank you Ronald and Wolfgang.


Post a Comment

All comments are checked. Comment SPAM will be blocked and deleted.

Popular posts from this blog

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…