Friday, July 20, 2012

Are We There Yet?

Leica DG Summilux 1.4/25mm ASPH
Olympus E-P2, M.Zuiko 45mm, f/5.6, 1/100s, ISO 400, 0EV
When does a photographer have enough equipment? How many bodies or lenses or special gizmos (as my wife calls them) must a photographer own? At what point does the photographer finally say, "Enough?" I don't know if  I've reached that point, but I came a lot closer with the acquisition of the Panasonic Leica Summilux 25mm.

The Panasonic Leica 25mm has developed something of a mythic reputation in the µ4/3rds world. It probably picked up part of that reputation from having LEICA stamped on the lens, but most of it comes from the owners who've used it and swear by it (as opposed to swearing at it). The µ4/3rds system might not have the best sensors (until the E-M5 showed up), but many of the systems lenses are second to none, like the 25mm. Given the choice, I would rather have the glass in the µ4/3rds system than in just about any other system, and that actually includes the loftily praised and priced Leica system itself.

The following samples were taken late this evening after I got home, opened the shipping box from B&H Photography, and slipped the lens on the E-PL2. The sun was already setting behind the trees in the neighborhood, casting the back yard into deepening shadows. They won't win any awards, but they do illustrate the power of this lens, especially wide open or close to wide open.
Hibiscus Opening
Olympus E-PL2, Leica 25mm, f/1.8, 1/1000s, ISO 200, -1EV,
Under the Shade
Olympus E-PL2, Leica 25mm, f/2.8, 1/2500s, ISO 200, -1EV
Ruby
Olympus E-PL2, Leica 25mm, f/1.8,  1/4000s, ISO 200, -0.3EV
Lulu
Olympus E-PL2, Leica 25mm, f/1.4, 1/80s, ISO 200, 0EV
With the purchase of the 25mm I've pretty much rounded out my prime lens arsenal. I have the Panasonic 2.5/14mm, the M.Zuiko 2.8/17mm, the Panasonic 1.7/20mm, and the M.Zuiko 1.7/45mm. I have two kit zooms, the M.Zuiko 14-42mm II and 40-150mm II R. The primes are fast while the zooms are slow, but fast enough for what I need. This is 180° opposite of my regular 4/3rds system, which is composed of two E-1s, an E-3, the Zuiko Digital 12-60mm, 50-200mm, and 9-18mm zooms. The only primes I have are the Sigma 1.4/30mm and Zuiko Digital 2/50mm Macro. They're big, they're heavy, and they pretty much stay in several bags and on the shelf. My digital Pen system, with three bodies, five primes and two zooms fits in a single Domke F6 bag, with room to spare for the chargers, batteries, flash cards, and cables. The Domke is a lot easier to travel with than either of the larger bodies and lenses.

I have probably made my last major µ4/3rds system purchase. The primes are all fast enough that I can shoot in just about any lighting situation I come across, and if I can't, well, I can't. And if I can't I won't worry about it. I love the way the cameras handle and the results they produce.

Fotokina 2012 is coming up in September. I'm going to sit back, enjoy what I have, and wait patiently for September (which is not that far off anymore). I've heard lots of rumors, but rumors can't take photos, and too many large, expensive, and over-hyped cameras have disappointing flaws when they finally hit the marketplace. My gear isn't perfect; far from it. But it's more than "good enough", and will provide a lot of affordable enjoyment in the months and years to come.

Yeah, I think we're there.

Technical

That top photo of the E-PL2 with the 25mm was taken with the other uber-lens, the M.Zuiko 1.8/45mm on the E-P2. Everything post processed in Lightroom 4.1.

3 comments:

  1. Beautiful shots. I just put this lens on my list recently. Now that I have seen these I'm sold.

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  2. Thank you. It's good to know my photography didn't drive you away from the lens :)

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  3. I commented on your photo on Flickr already - and this lens is also on my list, definitely *before* even an OM-D camera body. Why? Because that lovely little 20mm I carry around all of the time actually belongs to my wife (I want the same 45mm she has as well btw, and also the 12mm one day).

    Oh yes, those lenses are gems.

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