Posts Tagged ‘photo’

My blogger camera

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Camera gear

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. 🙂

Panasonic GM5 with Olympus 75mm 1.8

The camera
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.

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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.

Panasonic GM5 Panasonic 100-400mm Olympus 75mm Samyang Fisheye

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. 🙂

Panasonic GM5 MS-Optics Apoqualia 28mm Voigtländer 10mm

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. 🙂

My other camera bag

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Photo

Since the post about my Freitag bag is still one of the most popular ones on my blog according to the amount of hits it gets, I thought I could post about my other bag too. 🙂

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And here it is. It is the Freitag HAWAII FIVE-O and like all the bags from this Swiss company it is made from second hand material. Namely truck tarp, bicycle inner tubes and seat belts. One very convenient thing for me is that I can adjust the shoulder strap. With that I can vary the spot where it touches my back or if I want the bag to be higher up to get a better look onto what is inside of it I can do this very fast and conveniently (and this is great when fumbling around with lenses or changing the battery on the go).

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Like my other bag I use this one as a photo bag too and I can easily carry one camera with an additional lens in this smart bag and as you can see from the picture there is even space for a second camera! Keys, handy, additional batteries and many other small things can be nicely stowed away as well. And so far I am not missing foam padding or compartments – at all. I simply put my cameras in a cloth bag (like the red one that can be seen in the picture) or I pack the lenses in a soft pouch and in they go! It can actually fit a big DSLR including tele zoom (in my case a 28-300mm) and I could even squeeze in a compact camera or a small lens. No problemo.

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I own this bag for a few months now and I am very happy with it as I was looking for a smaller bag to just carry around one camera and a few accessories/lenses. Most of the time when I want to go out and take pictures I have my “main” camera in my hand anyway so a bigger bag with just one lens remaining in it was simply too much. So this small and light bag really fits this bill perfectly. Plus due to the truck tarp it can take rain with no problem at all! I couldn’t think of a better (small) photo bag.

Photography – the other hobby

Written by feltedhat on . Posted in Photo

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Today I am writing about something completely different. Lately I did not find the time to rest and smoke a cigar or enjoy a Brandy. Actually many refer to me as a non-smoker because I am not chain smoking cigars. 🙂 In the last few weeks I wondered off on the paths of another hobby: Photography. It seems fairly easy compared to smoking as you can always carry a camera and it is easy to combine photography with family (most of the times).

A few weeks back I received a new lens, the Olympus 14-150mm to use with my Olympus OMD EM-5. A mirror less camera that I wanted because it is considerably lighter and smaller than a regular DSLR and it has an electrical view finder included. The 14-150mm lens is actually a 28mm to 300mm taking the crop factor into account. Or in short: this is a all-in-one lens. It covers wide angle up to tele zoom while at the same time it is compact and light. The first few images really met my expectations while I like the colors very much. Well above you can see one of those shots I am talking about and you can see a few more on my other website that is for photography only here.

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On another note I must say that I really come to like my range finder the Leica M8. Even though it is a camera that is from a technical perspective regarded as old (some even speak of electronic trash) we all now the lens is more important and the M8 together with the Summicron 35mm I own have been used for some of the pictures I most like so far. A truly unique camera that simply motivates me to go out and take pictures. Never the less I do think about its smaller sensor and how cool it would be to have a full frame Leica. Plus I must admit that I do find the pictures coming from the sensors used in the M8 or M9 (CCD) somehow have a bit more magic than the regular CMOS sensors that are used not only in the newest Leica M if not by other big names in the business. So the next logical step would be the M9. But financially it still is a big step that I not sure can be justified. But who knows, maybe the new Mini-M that will be announced by Leica in mid June is a solution. 🙂
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But what is all the gear in the world and pictures you like worth if they end up in a drawer or a photo book somewhere on a shelf? Sharing is a big part of this fun. On the one hand side this is why I have the website frontlefteye.com especially dedicated to photography and on the other hand there is flickr (you’ll find a button on the right upper screen for that). Initially I hesitated to do anything else apart from flickr. But the platform really is for sharing pictures without much personal comments and I found it not very attractive visually. To do it the way I feel it would be nice I then started with frontlefteye. And about two weeks ago I opened a tumblr account to share more pictures, pictures I feel would make my page “overflow” but that still are worth sharing. That said you must now that I try to limit myself to five pictures for every post on frontlefteye in order to make sure that I personally pick the ones I really like and not to bore people looking at the page. So there I was with my own page, flickr and a tumblr page. And then flickr came with a change where you not only have more space if not they made the whole thing more attractive visually! It took me two days to delete my tumblr account and move a few more pics to flickr and I am planing on using flickr more in the future while beeing more selective on my own homepage. Got to say, I’m pretty happy about it.

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Last but not least I have a few “projects” I follow. Or in other words I am much interested in old transportation means. Be it cars, trains, tractors. You name it. Squatters is another thing I started and there are some more. Hope that one day I have a nicer collection of pictures to publish something worth while. And in the mean time there is always the gear aspect of this hobby. I’m hoping that one day I can get my hands on some wide angle lenses like the Olympus 9-18mm or the Voigtländer 15mm since I really like what those lenses do with the actual subject. And I certainly could use a better tele for my DSLR, but that has lowest priority.

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I the mean time I’m trying to go out as much as possible and shoot and at the same time get inspired by fellow hobby photographers sharing their output on flickr and else where. An interesting world on its own!

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