Everyone's hyperventilating about the Olympus 75mm 1.8 but me. I've got something even better.....

This image was taken with a priceless and rare Olympus Pen 60mm 1.5 lens.  @f 2.0.  I've blown it up from the original file and taken a good look.  Even close to wide open it gives the best Canon and Nikon lenses a run for their money and it's over forty years old.  Don't tell me Olympus can't make lenses.  Watch out Leica.

I needed an image of my Hasselblad to go with a column I wrote for theOnlinePhotographer.  I could choose from Nikon macro lenses on Kodak full frame bodies, Sony macros on 24 megapixel bodies and 120mm Makro Planars on Hasselblad bodies but I decided to use the right tool for the job and make the image with my Olympus Pen 60mm 1.5 lens on my Panasonic GH2 body.  The file is immaculate. Couldn't do better with anything else.  The background was filled with barbed wire and op art and all kinds of nasty detail but look at that depth of field control...  Okay, the wall in the background is painted gray but it does have some imperfections that aren't showing up because of the DOF.

You can't find the 60mm's anymore.  I'd gladly sell mine for $5,000 if you really need one.  But the 75mm  1.5 is probably just as good.  And a lot cheaper than combing through the collector market.

Part of getting really good lenses at good prices is being able to see the future.  I bought mine in 1982.

My advice today?  Run out and buy some film Hasselblad stuff. Get mint condition stuff.  Not to shoot (you could if you felt moved to...) but to collect.  They're not making it anymore and it really was the soul of film photography...

Thanks for reading.  No ads today.

Bill Beebe sent me this link: http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/meet-the-new-boss-worse-than-the-old-boss-full-post/

Read it and think about how artists are increasingly (not) compensated.  I don't want to get into a thing with anybody but it's an well argued POV.

Thanks, Bill.


  1. actually, you don't really need to buy anything new to do good photographs. Just point your camera at stuff you really love to look at.

  2. Don't tell people that, the last thing photographers need is collectors pushing up the price of hasselblad gear the same way they have with Rolleiflex cameras. Go buy a hasselblad now, they are more affordable then ever, then use it, it's what they are made for.

  3. ...just point your camera at stuff you really love to look at... This is so well said! I did some "advertising" for my low cost gear (Olympus E-PL 1 with Kit lenses 14-42 mm and 40-150 mm - the body is also in Germany available now for less than EUR 150,--!!!) some hours ago in my weblog and added some thoughts about shooting portrait. Would you take a short look? Wolfgang Lonien and you have inspired me for this!

  4. I've been collecting a few old Nikkor lenses to use on my GH2 and EM5. I love the look of the old Nikkors (I'm not talking necessarily about the file they create, just the appearance) and the performance seems "good enough" to me.

    So right about not needing stuff. The EM5 (which I bought) is not going to make my photographs better... after all, like you Kirk, I own the GH2. But I like toys, and collecting them is a hobby all-into-itself.

    Anyway, it occurred to me the other day that not once has anyone said to me when viewing an image or print that "you should of had a better lens", or "you need a better camera".


  5. Nahh, those Hasselblads beg to be used. In fact, I'll go ahead and enjoy the journey to my destination through the back, scenic roads in the '58 Cadillac convertible. The sun is out giving off a beautiful light this morning, and am taking out the Hasselblad out for a ride.

    1. This is a man who knows how to live...

    2. I have to say that I was metaphorically speaking. While I do not own a '58 Cadillac, I do own a Hasselblad 500C/M and consider it to be like a classic Cadillac. Beautiful inside and out; begs you to not leave it in the garage, but to take it out on a leisurely ride; you certainly enjoy your destination, but the car and scenic back roads made the journey very enjoyable. The Hasselblad is the same way.

  6. I had the Oly Pen F 40/1.4, 60/1.5 and 70/2 when I was working with the Lumix G1. Delightful lenses. Between when I bought them and when I sold them, they'd increased about 2x in market value.

    The same thing happened between when I got into Pentax gear and when I exited using that brand—the half-dozen older Pentax lenses I'd bought for $100 total in 2004-2005 returned double that *each* in 2008-2009.

    My current collection of "future investment" lenses include Nikkor 50/1.2AI-S, Micro-Nikkor 55/3.5 Pre-AI, Nikkor-H 85/1.8, Micro-Nikkor 105/2.8D-AF, and Micro-Nikkor 200/4 ED-IF AI-S. I use them on Nikon F, Olympus E-1, and Ricoh GXR-M bodies so I get a lot of use out of them as well as am finding that their prices are rising as more TTL electronic cameras are coming on the market.

    Don't tempt me to get into Hasselblad equipment again. I miss my 903SWC ... :-)

  7. Just as I stop spending money on gear for a few months today (after a few relentless pro Hasselblad posting days from Mr Tuck) I find myself scanning dealers ad's for Hasselblad 500 CM's - Gee, thanks Kirk! :-)


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