Another chance for an ancient lens.

I went to San Antonio yesterday to visit my parents and to walk around and try a few different lenses with the Panasonic GH3. My parents are doing quite well. And San Antonio is as fun and colorful as ever.

I took along three lenses: the 25mm f1.4 PanaLeica, the el cheap 45-150mm f3.5 to 5.6 zoom and an absolutely ancient Olympus Pen FT (manual half frame ) 50 to 90 mm, constant f3.5 zoom lens. I'm pretty sure that the old Olympus lens isn't even multi-coated but I thought I'd give it a try since I have two copies of the lens and the zoom and focus actions are still incredibly smooth and the aperture ring turns with a wonderfully damped precision.

I spent a lot of the day with the 25mm on the front of the camera because it approximates so well the angle of view I learned to like from shooting successive generations of 50mm lenses on old 35mm film cameras. I switched to the new Panasonic zoom when I got to the market because it was easier to pick out details and faces. Near the end of my time downtown I switched to the old Olympus zoom.

Because of the primitive coatings I expected the lens to have more flare and less contrast. Because of the zoom's advanced age I expected that the optics would never be able to match the glorious results of nearly forty five years of advanced optical progress. So I was prepared to open the files in Aperture, review them and then move on to the little gems created by the other two, thoroughly modern, lenses.

This was the first file I opened at full screen and I was partially correct, the image did need a bump in contrast. I chose to make the correction in the mid-range with the controls in the Aperture shadow/highlight menu. But I was partially incorrect because the file needed very little sharpening. No more so than a typical digital file from a camera with an filter over the sensor...

The Olympus zoom is a great series of focal lengths for a portrait photographer and, with the one button ability to zoom in to 8x and gauge correct focus it's a pretty handy combo with the Panasonic GH3. I'm looking forward to shooting some portraits in the studio with more controlled lighting. I already like what the lens optics are doing for the background at f5.6. Let's see what it looks like when paired up with a beautiful face.....

Studio Portrait Lighting

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