This is an art installation. This is a billboard. This is a blog about wall painting and graffiti. And a tale of two lenses.

One of the areas in which I felt I had shorted the Panasonic system and one reason I kept shooting with the big Sonys was my paucity of wide angles for the smaller cameras. I bought an Olympus 12-50mm and while it was good it wasn't great. When I thought about fleshing out the system my real intention was just to get a 35-100mm f2.8 to replace my long, fast Sony zoom and then be done with the whole exercise. But with business being brisk again and with the opportunity to divest more of the bigger system I figured I'd just swing a bit harder and get the double dose, the 12-35mm f2.8 and the 35-100mm f2.8 Panasonic X lenses. Now I don't use wide angles very often. I'm not really an architectural photographer and there's very little I like about my own capability to shoot wide. But at least six or seven times a year I need something that goes to the equivalent of 24mm (as measured on a full frame camera). In fact, I have two assignments coming up near the end of the month that may both, potentially, need some wide angle love so----

I walked around in a cold, breezy rain storm on Sunday just to see how the lens worked. I shot it wide open to make sure I liked the performance but as you can see in the image above and the one just below my brain takes control of the zoom ring and tries to get it as close to the 50mm (eq.) area in which I am obviously most comfortable. I'll say this from my tests: The lens is wide angle proficient and normal angle excellent. Hmmm.

Cake makes all lenses taste better. 

Interesting to me that I could have a new lens in the $1200 price range land in the camera bag but have it take far less priority in my scheme of shooting than a lens that landed only a few days later, the Sigma 60mm f2.8 dn. While I am happy with the work-like countenance of the 12-35mm with its promise of high performance and its swaggering Mega OIS image stabilization I have to admit that I find the $230 Sigma lens a lot more emotionally compelling. Maybe it's the narrow confines of the angle of view and maybe it's the need for more careful handling that makes it a better emotional investment for me. I just don't know. 

But when Studio Dog and I put in our mandatory four hour work day and pushed back from our respective desk and fluffy mat we were ready to grab a camera and go for quality walk. I looked at the two lenses on the desk and, without hesitation, whisked the 12-35mm Panasonic right into the file cabinet drawer marked, "Proficient Gear," grabbed the Sigma 60mm, and a GH3 body, and a leash and got into the car. We ended up downtown at the Graffiti Park, just west of Lamar Blvd. I was eager to see what was new since my last visit and Studio Dog was eager to see if she could disrupt my "professional" camera hold by tugging at the leash in sporadic and unexpected intervals....

 The image above is one of Studio Dog's favorites. She barked at it with a mix of appreciation and apprehension. After all, it is a much bigger dog and has the advantage of wearing goggles...

Ahh....those Panasonic colors. 

Part Two: An Unguided display of someone's art installation. How do I know it's an art installation? Was it my short career teaching at the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts? Was it all of the art history classes I sat through (wide awake)? Was it a 25 year career in the arts? My advisory position for a local college arts program? Naw. Look at the pictures below and you'll understand exactly how I knew that what looks like footwear is really ART.

End of art segment. Begin gratuitous, quasi-street photography. 

I have moved on from the examination of art and am now working to decipher just what is compelling and "sexy" about posing for photographs in front of disconnected graffiti... I am not making much headway. 

To recap: Panasonic zoom lens (12-35mm) = very good. And practical. Sigma 60mm f2.8 (cheap as dirt) lens = very good+fun to shoot with = score.  Park covered with Graffiti = colorful images.
Walks with dog = Existential give and take+treats.


Scott said...

"Studio Dog and I . . . pushed back from our respective desk and fluffy mat"

That puts you on the fluffy mat! Nice and comfy, I'm sure.

I like the photos. The graffiti looks just like the Mission District here in San Francisco.

Dennis Elam said...


My sigma 19 mm arrived this week. At a 38 mm full frame equivalent it is really handy for shooting groups of people around campus. And looks to be quite sharp. At $175 'used' on Amazon, a good deal,

G Gudmundsson said...

I really like your Sigma f/2.8 pictures, they are very sharp, the colours are vibrant and there is a 'pop' to them... the motives 'jump' out of the pictures... in a nice way, I think....

Excellent, thanks for sharing, as always...

Joseph Kashi said...

Another workable approach to small M43 lenses is to adapt some older lenses, as with your use of Pen lenses on current M43 cameras.

I've also had good luck with the mid-1990s 135 Leitz Tele-Elmars, as per Roger Cicala's published recommendation.

I've also had exceptionally good results with multi-coated 1970s M42 screw mount Pentax 100/f4 macro and 135/3.5 primes previously gathering dust in a drawer for the past 35 years.

The central 4/3 portion of the image circle of these full-frame is extremely sharp to the edges, even by modern standards.

Although consumer lenses, the construction quality is 100% machined metal, basically better than anything affordable today.