My “other” hobby is photography. So I thought I would loose a few words on my blogger camera setup. I am very much interested in the technology and hardware aspect as much as taking the pictures. So I am buying and selling a lot of camera gear. There actually was one time when I owned four different digital camera systems with their respective lenses. And that is not counting the analog cameras as well. I bought into the systems to see which one I would like most. And after a while it was clear to me, that I felt best with a full frame rangefinder system and the Micro Four Third (MFT) setup.
The first because of the picture it produces are simply magic. The second because it is a power house in a very compact package. When it comes to MFT, for me, it is all about compact size. So even “bigger” MFT cameras wont do. But as said, the size plus that I can do all kinds of things with it. It works for vacation/traveling, portrait, macro, bird photography. And yet still I have a camera that fits into the pocket of my cargo pants or a jacket. Not with all the lenses of course. 🙂
So it is no wonder that the camera I used most and lately I use exclusively for shooting the pictures of this blog is an MFT camera. It is the Panasonic Lumix GM5. This was after the Olympus O-MD E-M5 and the GM1 the third MFT camera I owned. And the GM5 has it all. Well maybe except a stabilized sensor. This is actually the reason why I would like to get a second MFT body, the Panasonic GX80. But that is material for another post. Coming back to the GM5, to me it combines a very small package with all the functions I could wish for. Very important for me is the electronic finder that I use a lot.
And the lens I “lately” discovered to work best for my cigar shots, is the Olympus 75mm f1.8. Because of MFT sensor-size the 75mm translates into 150mm, if compared to a full-frame camera system, and this makes this lens a larger fixed focus tele-lens. Compared to other telephoto-lenses it is still very small and has autofocus which I desperately need as my keeper rate with manual focus is significantly lower in product shots. Another advantage is, that f1.8 is rather fast, so I can still get a nice picture in a dimly light smoker lounge or inside of a closed room with artificial lighting. And this with the Olympus 75mm’s much praised sharpness.
And last but not least, the 75mm allows me to take a product-picture from a distance I feel comfortable with. I do not have to lean-in like crazy. Actually I do not have lean-in at all or only if I want to get a macro shot. For macro shots I do not use a dedicated second lens, if not I go the cheap way. I use a screw-on macro lens, I got from Amazon. Sure, the image quality is worse when compared with a dedicated lens. I am sure. But I can carry this screw-on lens in my bag together with the GM5 and attached 75mm lens and all the other stuff I need, on a night out to smoke, no problem. And since major parts of macro pictures are always blurred anyway, I do not feel the loss in quality is that bad.
When it comes to the Olympus 75mm another point is that I like the background blur (bokeh) it produces. It is very pleasant to me. And the hokey is obviously a product of being a fast and a telephoto lens. I like it more than bokeh from other lenses, e.g. the 45mm’s.
That said, background blur is a bit of the Achilles heel of MFT. But it seems that better and faster lenses for the MFT system are released by the month. So this is really making up for the smaller sensor. This is for instance why I really like the Mitakon 25mm f0.95 manual focus lens. Being made for MFT it still offers sufficient leeway by having enough depth of field to forgive smaller focusing mistakes when taking a picture with manual focus. But the overall picture it produces, for me, can easily hold up with pictures taken on bigger and more expensive setups. And the pictures made with this 25mm lens have this sort of pop and character that I look for. This is why, when not taking pictures for this blog, the Mitakon 25mm is practically glued to the GM5.
As can be seen in the picture above and mentioned in the introduction, I use my GM5 for every photographical challenge. This is why, next to the 25mm and the 75mm I have a fisheye lens from Rokinon to go really wide. To go really far I have the rather new Panasonic 100-400. The 100-400 translates into 200-800mm which is an incredible reach. Together with the in-lense stabilization this is as good as it gets. And this while it still fits into one of my small Freitag bags, leaving room for other lenses or cameras. Even though I have this lens for only a few weeks, I prefer it over the 100-300 from Panny already. It obviously has more reach. But call me crazy: I think the stabilization helps me to get shares images as well. And an honorable mention goes to the holga-filters that I put on once a year, when I feel really artsy. 🙂
One of the advantages of a mirrorless camera as well is the possibility to adapt third-party lenses to it. Since the distance from sensor to lens-mount is so short, there is room to mount an adapter and practically use every lens produced. That is with two restrictions:
a) Adapting a lens will enable you to use it with manual focus only. At least for the moment there are not many adaptors that transfer the signal from the camera to the lens, so manual focus has to do.
b) Due to sensor-size you have to multiply the lenses size by two. So a 50mm lens from Nikon turns into a 100mm used with an MFT camera.
But those two restrictions, in my case, are not so relevant because I am a wide angle junkie and the lenses I posses are manual focus anyway. 🙂 In the picture above you can see the MS-Optics 28mm F2.0 with M-Mount attached to the FM5 and on the side there is the M-Mount Voigtländer 10mm. On the GM5 I can use them as fast 56mm prime lens or as a ultra wide 20mm lens. But most importantly is that I enjoy shooting with them a lot!
Finally a short word considering the accessories seen in the pictures. The green leather camera case is from Cotta. The wrist strap is from gordyscamerastraps. And to make some of the pictures I used a Gorilla Pad.
Hope you found some good, usable information in this post and got some inspiration for a blogger camera. Or possibly not only for a blogger camera! After having played around (for years) with other systems like Nikon and Sony, I can say that I am very happy with my MFT setup! And in case you want to see more, and not only gear-pictures, you can check out my photo blog, including a link to my flickr-page: frontlefteye.com. 🙂