A tale of three lenses. Two Panasonic and One Olympus. In the end it's all about the optics.

 25mm Panasonic Leica.

I thought it might be fun to post some samples of the three lenses I was carrying around yesterday in San Antonio. I'm practicing with the lenses and camera because I have several jobs coming up at the end of the week that will require me to shoot lots of images in all kinds of lighting and I'm planning on taking the two GH3's, some cool modern lenses and a few old chunks of glass and I'd like to proficient operating the cameras and quickly getting in to the groove with the different lenses. There always seems to be a re-adjustment period required for my brain when I switch between sensor sizes and especially between formats.

The image just above and the one just below were taken with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm 1.4 lens. It's crispy and modern looking and it looks good from wide open all the way down to f8. I'll use this one for all the social photography I plan on doing this Saturday. This is one of the lenses I originally bought when I was shooting with all the earlier Olympus gear. It works well on the Panasonic but my one wish is that it had image stabilization....(or that the GH3 had IS built in). I know the Olympus cameras have great IS built into the camera but we'll see how abstaining from coffee and stress work out before I go out and buy yet another solution.

Part of a "Day of the Dead" altar at the St. Fernando Cathedral in San Antonio, Texas.

The six images just below were taken with a very inexpensive zoom lens from Panasonic. It's the 45-150mm lens. It's relatively tiny, has image stabilization and seems to perform well enough...especially for the price. It's a bit slow for interior work but for anything exterior it should work well. All of the photographs in this blog were done handheld which should be a caution sign for anyone hell bent on using the images as the final litmus test of quality. We can always do better with a tripod... 

The final six images (below) were all done with the ancient Olympus Pen FT half frame 50-90mm f3.5 zoom lens from the early 1970's. It's not as contrasty as the modern lenses but with a little boost in contrast and just a tiny, tiny smidgeon of sharpening I think it holds up well. The secret with older, single coated lenses is to try never to shoot them into a light source unless flare is the special effect you are looking for. The lens is all metal construction, incredibly well made and in perfect operating condition decades after being first pressed into service. I find its incredibly smooth zoom and focus rings to be as good as anything on the market in the last few decades.

Have I learned anything wildly new shooting the GH3, it lenses and the old legacy lenses?

Yes and no.

The new glass is sharp and good pretty much across the board.

The older fast lenses from the Olympus Half Frame Pen FT series are 

remarkably good. As good (one stop down) as just about anything being cranked out

by the camera makers today.

The 60mm f1.5 is awesome at f2

The 70mm f2 is really sharp and nice at f2.8 

and the 40mm f1.4 maybe the sharpest lens I've used for this camera system.

They are a bit more trouble to use than the AF stuff but the reward is

in a look that's a pleasing combination of 

sharp and mellow.

That's about it.

Studio Portrait Lighting


Govis said...

Am I the only one who sees the sky colors as purple?

Claire said...

I myself have the PEN F 38/1.8 and it's one of the best lenses I've ever had, it's killer sharp wide open, I love it on my NEX 7. The PL25/1.4 was the only lens I truly enjoyed on m4/3, though the Oly 40-150 I had was way better than it had any right to.
On another note, now that we've had a colorful bunch of walkaround pictures, can we please get a square B@W portrait or two ? ;)

Peter F. said...

I'm finding auto white balance to be off a bit with my legacy lenses. That would be on the EM5 and NEX6. I don't know why that would be true... isn't the camera "reading" the light as it is coming into the sensor through the lens? (I do shoot in raw, but adjusting WB in LR still takes time).

Peter F.

Jim Tardio said...

I have the Panasonic 45-150 lens as well and can verify its quality.

But I'm really blown away by the new version of the Panasonic 14-140. This is a really great lens all the way through its range, and it's only a couple of millimeters larger and a mere 2 ounces heavier..but uses a 58mm filter.

I bought one to try with the intention of sending it back, but now I want to keep it.

Check it out if you can borrow one.

Stan Yoshinobu said...

I can foresee future VSL posts featuring the Oly 75/1.8, Panny 35-100, and the PL42.5/1.2 Nocticron.

Michael Matthews said...

Govis....as one reader with a cheesy HP monitor (Best Buy sale bundle) my impression of the skies in this series is not purple, but incredibly dark blue.

Incredible in the literal sense. But, then, it may be the monitor.