Interesting idea about the death of print.

"Show me the picture NOW."

In the original Ghostbusters movie, released in 1984, Harold Ramis's character, Egon Spengler, declares: "Print is dead."

Last night I had some nice wine and some very tasty cheese with a photographer friend who is a much better photographer than I'll ever be. We got together so I could quiz him about a recent trip to Azerbaijan that he did for a travel magazine. He told me that the trip was very long in both directions and that he slept the first day he got there, shot for two days and then it snowed. He left on the fourth day. Basically he had two full shooting days. And yet, I sat in front of his computer screen and clicked through several hundred beautiful images. Not just beautiful in the sense that they were perfectly good travel images but beautiful because nearly every image had some subtext, some wry point of nearly disguised humor and an almost encapsulated narrative.

Now this photographer has been engaged in taking images for over 40 years, has done campaigns for Canon, McDonald's, Quaker, CNN, and a thousand other big name clients. He's worked for the best magazines and he's been profiled in Communication Arts magazine. And he currently holds a full time position as a staff photographer at a magazine.

As I was getting ready to head home I asked him his opinion about the state of magazines and print photography in general. That's when he dropped the line from Ghostbusters. I asked him for details and he just shrugged and said, more or less, that the writing is on the wall. We're the last generation for whom magazines and big circulation picture books were a primary medium. We're the last generation to value printed newspapers and we're the last generation who really cares about making prints and putting them on our walls. (And I think his optimistic assessment of "our generation" is anyone over say, 45).

If you are over 50 you are probably in some state of denial and you are waiting for all these media to make their comebacks. Sorry, I just don't think it's going to happen. Going forward I think still image display will become more and more like the trading cards in the first Harry Potter movie. The image will be on the screen until it's replaced by another one. The images of your family and your dog that used to have a place in your real world wallet have been replaced by the same images on your phone, living amongst the electrons that also make up your virtual wallet.

I thought about all of this while I drove home and turning on the radio in the car I heard an NPR story about the retirement of David Letterman. At one point he was the king of late night TV. At one point there was huge market share for late night TV. Over the past six years his audience has dropped by two thirds. And it's not like he is being battered by younger, funnier, brighter new stars. He's still more or less at the top of that game.  It's just that very few younger people are routinely sitting down and watching late night TV. There are so many other options and none of them are really time and schedule constrained. Jon Stewart may take Letterman's place or it may be some other rising star but it won't materially change the trajectory of late night TV watching. TV is now a medium for watching live sports events for a big swath of the TV watching public, and a habit for an older generation with insomnia. There is no replacement audience for what is effectively a continuation of the programming that Johnny Carson invented so many decades ago.

But saying that late night talk shows are dead or that print is dead is not the same thing as saying that photography is dead. I give still photography a few more years....

There is a certain power to stopping time and presenting it in two dimensions. But the point that I think we need to come to grips with is that the actual representation on a flat media has changed from permanent print to ephemeral projection or emanation. We're at a generational inflection point where the momentum favors audiences (eyeballs)  enjoying images on big screens rather than sitting, Buddha-like, reverentially sorting through much smaller boxes of prints.

I am, of course, conflicted. I am 58. I grew up with magazines and in the early decades of practicing commercial photography right alongside my hobbyist passion for photography my immersion in the printed piece (both from the darkroom and the CMYK printers) was complete and seemingly unshakeable. I love the print but at the same time acknowledge that to other less weathered audiences the print is almost at the point of being, "quaint." An affectation of an older age.

We've slid in this direction much more slowly and more comfortably than we did when we transitioned from taking images on film cameras to making images on digital cameras. The ink jet printer craze was a comfortable decade of buffer from the rigor of the darkroom to the immediacy of the screen. Those printers have been a way of easing ourselves into the future without a wholesale abandonment of the trappings of print. And I expect prints from the ink jet machines to have a decades long death slope mostly because many of my generation will continue to use them and my generation seems to be on track to live a long time.

But I don't expect that Ben's cohort will have anything like the same regard for print. I think the younger the audience the more comfortable they are with digital screen viewing of images. And, if you consider still images as the raison d'ĂȘtre of print you'll quickly see why, while Egon Spengler's prediction was decades premature, print will actually die off. The images don't move and the generations entering the markets (and their immediate predecessors) were entirely acculturated in a time when television was the primary, in many cases sole, and ubiquitous medium of their maturing experience.

There will be no nostalgia for a "lost art" by a generation that never really experienced the immersion into that art or the commercial trappings of the still photography construct. All currently powerful art seems to be either retrospective printed work or of the moment moving art and most of it takes place on a screen. We may not like that but we need to remind ourselves, as commercial artists, that the delivery system is the message. Making stills is fun. There will be markets for stills as long as older generations have disposable income and the will to use it on consumer goods. There will be niche marketing as there are now many targeted niche magazines for mature audiences.

But it's a sunset medium now being replaced by electronic stuff that moves and talks. We can emotionally reject the new market or we can adapted, play in it and remain happily relevant. It really is our choice.


Family portrait of Kirk's Zany Panasonic Collection.

From left to right: GH3 with an Olympus Pen FT 40mm f1.4 (speedy, sharp and competent. My most used video interview lens, so far...). Olympus Pen FT 50-90mm f3.5 zoom (for those times when you need a softer, more, ahem, ethereal look to your photos...reading between the lines...). A G6 with an Olympus Pen FT 25mm f2.8 (perfect for manual focus pulls in video). The Olympus flash (same as the Panasonic flash...). Behind the flash is the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f1.4 ( a darling lens with happy performance). To the front again, the Olympus Pen FT 60mm 1.5 which is wickedly sharp from f2.5 on down and at 2.5 gives one just the right amount of focus control for wonderful portraits...). Behind it is the new, Panasonic 12-35mm f2.8 and right next to it is its companion lens, the 35-100mm f2.8.  Hanging out in front of the 35-100mm f2.8 is yet another Olympus Pen FT lens, the 38mm 1.8. Moving over on to the right is another GH3 sporting the ultra light 45-150mm 4.0 to 5.6 lens and on the far right of the frame are two of the new style kit 14-42mm lenses, one in black and one in silver. 

A fun day. I finally rounded out the m4:3 system in preparation of the arrival of the GH4. I was up early walking the dog and thinking about my typical all or nothing and take no prisoners approach to changing camera systems and re-thinking my whole knee jerk impulse to banish my Sony full frame gear. Once the dog and I got back to the house I went out to the studio and looked at the pile of stuff on the floor and remembered Chad's comment on the site yesterday. I decided to keep a few bits and pieces of the Sony collection aside. It was an easy decision when it came to a99 versus a850. The a99 went right into the going away box. Not because it isn't a superb imaging camera but because it's a mediocre video camera and that was one of the reasons I first bought it. The a850 on the other hand does what it is supposed to do very well....

I also kept back the Sigma 70mm macro lens because I honestly feel that it's one of the sharpest lenses I have ever owned and I used it, in conjunction with the a850, to do a recent job for a museum that turned out very, very well. They are a good team. I didn't want to break up the team. And I intend to use the 70mm with an adapter on the m4:3 stuff.

Another survivor is the tiny Sony 24-105mm f3.5-4.5 which is a rather good performer for the size and price. I kept it as an all around lens and a slow substitute for a 50mm lens. Finally, I couldn't bear to give up the Sony 85mm f2.8. It's a cheap lens to begin with and I didn't think I'd get much in resale so I kept it around for those moments of weakness when I've temporarily decided that nothing will do but a full frame, 85mm portrait. Four great batteries and done.

I bought my two new lenses at Precision-Camera.com and was delighted to find that their prices were as good (or better) than the prices from Amazon and B&H and Precision-Camera.com threw in free shipping from the front counter to my car. In all seriousness it is nice to inspect each lens before accepting it. I've gotten repacked lenses and lenses that came in damaged packing from other sources so it's nice to be certain before you close the transaction.

I'm shooting tests this weekend. I'll let you know how it all pans out.... Now, what to do with those two Pentax K-01's???? That's next. 

Riddle me this, Batman....Will my Canon 9000 printer ever work with Apple Mavericks?

Motorola Guys Making the Wafers. Circa late 1990's.

Or will I need some science people to deconstruct my printing paradigm and reimagine it?

Serious, the ole Canon Pixma 9000 was working all fine and dandy and then I upgraded and .... kapowy!!! Zapp! Slam#, Pow!!! it's no longer recognized. Do I give up and send the printer on it's way or do I persevere in the hopeless delusion that it's something simple that I just haven't figured out yet?

Guide me, oh brilliant readers! Shazammm!!!!

The problem was solved: Here is the solution offered by reader, Phil Lewis:

MAC Print Drivers

You have to remove the new apple drivers and use the older Canon drivers.

1.) Download the  Snow Leopard 10.6 Canon drivers (newest on the Canon website).

2.) Reset the printer system.   This removes most of the files in the /Library/Printers folder; however, there are still hidden files in the folder that had stuff that think contribute to the driver "confusion".

3.) Set Finder to see hidden files.  Opened Terminal and entered:

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE
killall Finder

4.) Removed the (now unhidden) canon folder from /Library/Printers

5.) Install the new driver obtained in step 1.   This installs the printer in the Printers & Scanner System Preferences, and the printer will run with the 10.6 driver.

6.) Reset Finder to hide hidden files from Terminal

defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles FALSE
                killall Finder


Going all the way into a system.

Yeah. This will come as no great shock to anyone who's been following the VSL blog for any appreciable about of time. It's the part in our program where I rationalize switching systems yet again. So, buckle up and lets get started in the big, happy game called, Fantasy Camera Bag rationalization.

Emphatic disclaimer: I have received absolutely nothing from Panasonic or Sony. No free gear. No under the table or over the table money. In fact, the money flows in one direction: from my wallet to their accounts. I am not being loaned any gear, I have not requested any gear. No one is putting a gun to my head to make this switch nor are members of my family being held hostage awaiting the outcome of this anticipated trade. 

As many of you know I started doing video projects back when I owned the Canon 5D mk2 and I upgraded to the Sony a99 because, on paper, it looked to be a great hybrid solution for someone who wanted to shoot both high res stills and very controllable video. By controllable I mean that the interface would be simple and straightforward enough to handle manual control of sound levels from external microphones, focus easily via live view through the viewfinder (EVF) and yield beautiful, sharp files. The Sony a99 does two of those three things very well. The front programmable control meant that I could change sound levels on the fly with on screen confirmation. If I wanted to ramp up my sound control I could ante up an additional $800 and have XLR inputs and cleaner pre-amps. The focusing set up was also good and allowed for AF while shooting or magnified focusing during set up, along with focus peaking (not available during video shooting). But where Sony stumbled was in the visual part of the equation.

The video was fine for interviews with decent head sizes but had a tendency to look soft and detail-less with wider shots. The video was not as good as the video Ben and I were getting out of the $600 Sony a57.....

I struggled with this until last fall when I bought the first of my Panasonic GH3s. That camera was an eye-opener for me. It checked all three boxes and checked them well. The audio implementation is straightforward and the sound files are clean and full. The AF works as well in video mode as the bigger and more expensive Sony and the image files absolutely blow away the a99. It's night and day. Now, I have to preface this by saying that I am comparing what's coming out of the cameras on my memory cards. I understand that I can pull uncompressed files out of both cameras that look really, really good but I am looking for a very straightforward work flow and I much prefer not having to have an outboard digital video recorder in the loop. At all. Much for the same reason that I usually don't use my Zoom HN4 digital audio recorder....too many steps for no enough reward.

I did several projects for Zach Threatre with the GH3 and several for Austin Radiological Associates as well. In each case the GH3 delivered better files than the Sony a99 I had used previously. And, with the Panasonic I was able to use a much wider array of really decent optics from as far back as the 1960's. I am even able to repurpose the Rokinon Cine lenses for use with the GH3.

I recently did three jobs with different cameras and the net results were enough to push me over the edge and make me consider finally dumping the Sony stuff and going fully back into m4/3. One job is a video that I shot here and in Chicago for a technology client. I was able to use two of the GH3s to shoot two different POV's simultaneously. The system packed down so well it fit under my airline seat. The footage was wonderful.

I shot portraits a few days after the completion of the video shooting with the same cameras and loved the look I got with the GH3s coupled with the old, adapted, Olympus Pen F lenses. The raw files were just great! And the footprint was much reduced. Both on the shooting days and in post.

Finally I looked at my perception of Sony's roadmap into the future and I came to the conclusion that, rumors to the contrary, that Sony's support for the traditional Alpha DSLT line of cameras and lenses would waver and then fall of the side of a crumbly cliff. Regardless of what Sony say I believe that they will put all their resources into cameras like the A7 and A7r as well as fixed lens cameras like the Sony RX10 ( which I still love ) and the R1X. Neither solution really made me happy.

I could be wrong and Sony could come out with a replacement that fixes everything but I think it will cost too much and require new lens purchases to realize its potential.

Looking into the equipment cabinets I realized that I had to make too many choices when going out to shoot jobs and I'm still of the mindset that so much of our work will be web res and video going into the future.

Tomorrow the Sony stuff will get boxed up and sent away. The next time I step out of the studio and head off toward the land of super models and caviar it will be with two GH3's, a 35-100mm f2.8 and its companion, the 12-35mm 2.8.  Joining them a bit later in the second quarter (waiting just long enough to see if there are any big gaffs) will be a GH4. Everyone in the equipment drawer (with the exception of the Samsung) will be able to use the same lenses and the same flashes. Joy!!!

Of the Sony collection I'll be keeping some Sony stuff I'm holding on to the Sigma 70mm Macro because it's the single sharpest lens I own right now and the best macro I could imagine. I'll get rid of the 58 flash with the funny shoe but will keep the 60HVL to use with the RX10. The RX10 isn't going anywhere!

The idea of 24-200mm equivalent in a small package is a wonderful thing to savor and roll around on the tongue of one's mind.  One small bag. Many possibilities.

Had I never started shooting video for money I'm not sure I would ever have made the leap. But when I compare even the stills side by side my feeling is that some lenses make more of a difference than even the sensor size or the pixel count. I am ready to downsize.....again.

Let you know how it all turns out. 


Photographing the Dress Rehearsal for the Gospel at Colonus. The Zach Theatre Production.

I left the studio with a motley selection of cameras and lenses. In a break with my past process I left most of the zoom lenses at home and went to shoot the dress rehearsal of The Gospel at Colonus with a motley selection of ungainly manual focusing prime lenses. Seemed a bit risky as my 58 year old eyes aren't the quickest manual focusers and the screens in digital cameras certainly aren't set up to aid in getting the best focus. But what the heck?

I grabbed a Sony a99, a Sony a850, the 35mm and 85mm 1.5 Rokinon lenses, a Hasselblad 150mm f4 with an adapter for totally manual use on the Sony cameras and, to hedge my bets just a little, I brought along a sleeper lens; my little Sony 24-105mm 3.5 to 4.5. Everything fit snugly in an old, black Domke canvas bag.

From the right spot in the theater the 35mm covers the entire stage. From halfway back in the house the 85mm is great for small groupings and the 150mm is a good focal length for head to toe shots of one or two actors.

I walked into the theatre about fifteen minutes before the doors opened for the audience and spent a few minutes chatting with the person who shoots video documentations of each dress rehearsal, Eric. He's a freelancer I've known for decades and his work is great. He was using a Canon C100 with the 24-105 as a wide camera and a Sony F3 with a long zoom for following actors and doing closer comps. Eric was taking a feed from the sound board into one channel of each camera and on the other camera he had shotgun mics. The shotguns were to capture room ambience should he need to layer that into the sound mix. Always good to have stuff up your sleeve if your primary audio is too good...

When the show started I realized that the 150mm, from my chosen position, was a bit short for more dramatic close ups so I bit the bullet and implemented the clear image zoom for some of the shots on which I wanted a tighter composition. Yes, I could have cropped the images in post and gotten the same effect but I don't always have the luxury of touching every file if we have a tight newspaper deadline so I wanted an in camera solution. It actually worked well.

My biggest concern was the ancient Hasselblad lens but it functioned very, very well. I shot a lot with it wide open and the rest of the images from it are one stop down at f5.6. I missed focus often enough but I do tend to shoot a lot and refocus a lot and my excess of zeal worked to my advantage in covering my butt. In retrospect I should have magnified the focus frame every once in a while just to double check. I'll do that next time.

The 85mm worked exactly as I expected it would. I tried to stay around f2.8 leaning to f4.0 and when I did that I was rewarded with sharp files and good exposures. It's nice to shoot theatre with a click less aperture lens on an EVF camera because you can slide in small exposure changes in a very fluid way and with an instantaneous feedback loop. It's nice.

The hard lens to focus was the 35mm 1.5. There's too much depth of field at the stopped down taking aperture to really nail focus the way I'd like. Again, a bit more time spent with the focus magnification on the a99 would have helped. And, again, there are plenty of sharp frames for each scene to chose from. I'm just used to AF lenses nailing everything you point them at.

I ended up editing down from 1200 images to 580 images to submit to the theatre's marketing team and out of those I gleaned the images shown here. Nearly all of them are from the Hasselblad 150mm lens. Beyond the focal length the tonality of the lens seems very pleasing to me as does (dare I write it? the Bokeh). 

My happy surprise last night was just how well the Sony a850 and the 24-105mm lens play together. I finally got the camera dialed in for theater work. The secret is to turn the noise reduction down to low or off entirely and do your noise reduction in post. It's also wise not to go higher than ISO 800 with this camera. But the trade off is that when you follow these simple rules you can make the sensor produce very, very sharp files. The 24/105 may or may not be a sharp performer on its own but it shines when coupled with the sensor in the a850. I shot the lens wide open or nearly wide open all evening long and was impressed with the files at 100% on my monitor. Glad this lens didn't leave in a recent purge. Today I'm walking around with the a850 and the 24-105 and I feel like I got stuck in a time machine and transported back to a different imaging era....

The play is directly by Zach's artistic director, David Steakley. It's absolutely beautiful. He is a master of directing dramatic musicals and his cast had the audience on their feet more than once. The Gospel at Colonus is an adaptation of Sophocles' original telling of the Oedipus Rex story but this story of forgiveness and redemption is set in a church tent revival. The mostly African American cast includes so many of Austin's finest vocalist that the show is really an embarrassment of riches.

I had photographed a production of the Gospel at Colonus 16 years ago in a smaller Zach Theatre. That production was also directed by David Steakley and it too was a wonderful production, but in a different, more intimate way. When last night's performance was over I mingled with the actors and realized that nearly a dozen had been in that first production so many years ago. It was like a homecoming for us. Many hugs and smiles!

As I sat through the play I realized that most of us, in our own ways, could use a bit of redemption and forgiveness from time to time.

Before closing I must say that the stage design, the costumes and especially the lighting are magnificent. Lighting is a tough thing for production photographers in that the lighting on stage is designed to appeal to the human eye and the dynamic range and color shifts are beyond the sensors in our cameras and our skills to change convincingly sometimes. We do the best we can to approximate the feel of the show but seeing it in person is so much more powerful than photographs can ever be. I look forward to going back again and again to see this play without a camera in front of my face so I can study the intermixed play of light and and expression on the faces of the actors. What a great workshop for anyone interested in the craft of imaging.


Gearing up for a dress rehearsal.

Can't leave well enough alone. That's me in a nutshell. The above image was shot for Zach Theatre a year or so ago and I absolutely love everything about it so why, a year later, did I sell the 70-200mm lens I created it with? It was one of those weeks where it seemed so logical to purge everything and just commit to a micro four thirds system. And the lens was getting long in the tooth. And Sony was just about to introduce a new one, etc. etc.

At the time I felt certain that I'd fall in love with the Sony A7 or A7r and I'd want the new, native 70-200mm ex lens for its smaller size and newer glass. My brain is generally too optimistic. Either that or I just don't think through things very well.  After handling the new cameras I was pretty darn sure I'd be waiting for at least gen 2.0 on those puppies.

Soon after I sold the big, fast lens I engaged in a bout of small sensor hubris and photographed a dress rehearsal with the new Sony RX10. The client was delighted and I was pleased (overall) with the results but there's something bite-y about the above image that I didn't get out of the small camera. And, so here I am getting ready to shoot another dress rehearsal tonight and wondering what my wandering proclivities will serve up this evening.

The play is the musical, The Gospel at Colonus, and it's filled with great singers and wonderful costumes.

I'm shooting the dress rehearsal with a couple of a99's. I have no doubts about the wider angles. I've tested and tested the Rokinon 85mm 1.5 and the 35mm 1.5 (wide stage shots) and I love em. One or two stops down from wide open and they might as well be macro lenses....

But what about the longer end as represented by the above image? I've been thinking about this since Friday. My first thought was to borrow my friend, Frank's 35-100mm f2.8 and use the Panasonic GH3 but I wanted to keep all the files in the same color and tonality family. I could rent a lens but that seems like cheating to me...

But last night I was looking through the seldom used but much appreciated equipment drawer and I found a 150mm f4.0 Zeiss Sonar lens for Hasselblad sitting near the bottom smiling at me. And, in a sign from the photo gods it already had a Hasselblad to Sony Alpha adapter on it. I didn't want to depend on my last vague memory of the lens's performance so I spent some time this morning shooting around the studio and in the house. I've looked and looked and looked and what I see is a sharp lens with high contrast at f4.0 which becomes even sharper and contrastier at f5.6. Couple that with the clean ISO 3200 on the a99 and I think I'm ready to go. Yay! Focus peaking.

Of course, I could crash and burn but either way I'm sure you'll be reading about the adventure tomorrow.

I am also taking along the new Samsung NX30 and the 50-200mm zoom lens I wrote about last week. I'm anxious to put it through its paces and see how it handles both the focusing in contrasty stage light and the higher ISO's that the slower apertures will require.

Breaking with my traditional process I'll probably shoot the big Zeiss lens on a monopod. Not because I need the extra stability but because the thing is so damn heavy.....

Adventures in mismatched and eccentric equipment continue. Stay tuned.....

Balancing the load.

I'm usually a very disciplined person and I hate it when my personal schedule gets wrinkled but sometimes you have to roll with the course of life. I planned to start the year off the same way I always do: Swim practice in the early morning, office work till lunch, writing or shooting until family supper and then a few hours of reading before bed. It's not necessarily an exciting life but it's satisfying and comfortable.

But right around the first of the year one of my siblings was diagnosed with cancer. My octogenarian parents needed some help and my business inexplicably increased back to the levels we were used to before the great recession. You can't do everything. Something has to bend.

Family comes first. That's a given. And, since I have a kid on a trajectory to a private college in the northeast this Fall it seems important to take full advantage of the income opportunities as presented. That leaves swimming (or not swimming) as a safety valve. I've had to miss many aqua days for travel and for projects that just flat out take time.

But even in that there is some sort of blessing. I've cut my swimming days from six to about three a week. I could use more endurance training but the extra days of physical rest mean that I have more opportunity to recover between swims and that leads to faster swims----while the endurance lasts.

And all of this started me thinking about balance. Life balance. Work/play balance. Responsibility and reckless abandon balance.

There is an anomaly in many freelancers' brains that grew in power during the lean years of the economy. It's an new few thousand lines of brain code that basically says: "Take every job that comes through the door because you never know when the bottom will drop out again!" And this brain code makes it tough to enjoy any down time. I know that when I finish an assignment; any assignment for any budget, a hour later my brain is badgering me and saying: "Hey! Yo. Lazy boy. When are we going to work again? Get on the phone. Move or starve!"  And yes, my brain is very bossy.

But I think the balance is the key. My sibling is making a good recovery and responding well to her therapy. My parents are back at home and doing well. The gracious firehouse of business is mostly unabated but thankfully all the jobs so far are good and creative and fun. I missed some swims. And I missed some walks. But I'm not missing the chance to spend time with Ben or my parents. And there's the balance.

My world didn't fall apart when I ratcheted down my swimming. I know it's hardly a permanent state of affairs. In fact I think I've put the same level of discipline and enthusiasm into learning a new craft (video) and fine tuning an old one (photography). The rewards are different but they are rewards none the less.

I have a tendency toward anxiety and it comes to the fore when I am confronted with change. This first quarter has been rife with change. But I'm happy to find that I am handling it better than I thought I would. Take care to banish Ambiguity, Loneliness and Indecision from your process and everything else seems to fall into place.

Life can be hard work. I have to remember to balance in some down time.


A wish list for those wonderful folks at Panasonic, Olympus or some cool third party lens company.

photo: ©Alan Pogue.

I wish the systems I want to shoot with came with all the lenses I want to shoot with. But they don't. And here's what I want from the genius lens designers I know are out there somewhere. I'm tired of all the half-assed pancake lenses. I want some stuff we can sink our teeth into. And I want stuff we can use to make big money with our cameras. It's one thing to adapt lenses hither and yon but an entirely different thing to have perfect optics for the things we need. 

When I ask for lenses I am not asking for an adapter to use an existing other system lens on my micro four thirds camera, I am looking for lenses that are made for the joint system. I want the lenses to AF (where appropriate) and to meter in the automatic modes (where appropriate). And I want them all to just work...

Let's get started. 

First off I want a 10mm tilt shift lens that opens up to f4 and looks equally good at f11. Forget the laws of physics and the too often touted effects of diffraction. Use magic/science/firmware to give me what I want. This would be an all around lens for people who shoot small cameras but still want to keep doing architecture. This focal length is long enough for just about anything real and would be easier to make than a 17mm equivalent. Make this one sharp and elegant and watch the hordes of architectural shooters bail from the Canon system and rush to embrace. 

Then give me a 50mm tilt shift lens with a fast f2.0 aperture so I can do lots of fun product, table top and weirdly focused fashion stuff. Can't be that hard. Why isn't it here already?

I want a fast 10.5mm prime that starts at f 2.0 and has no rectilinear distortion whatsoever. I had an Olympus 11-22mm lens that was nearly flawless and if Olympus can do that in a zoom just think what they should be able to do with a single focal length...

Next up I want a long fast lens I can use for video projects. The 14-140 focal length is just fine but what's this chicken-poop changing (slow) aperture nonsense? Let's make this one an f2.5. I know it will be bigger and heavier but video is all about being on a tripod, being on a jib or being on some sort of support for dolly work. I don't really care if it's big and heavy as long as the focus doesn't change through the zoom range and the aperture doesn't shift either. Make this one in a PL mount and make it cover super35 in the video game and you'll have the world beating a door to your factory. Especially if it's affordable. Say.....under $5,000. 

Next up, bring back the Olympus 42mm f1.1.2 high speed optic that was made for the Pen system but upgrade it with sparkling new magic glass and make it diffraction limited (super sharp) at its wide open aperture. The PanaLeica is a good start. More like that!

I could also use a 25mm f2.0. I know this is the same focal length as the legendary 25mm Pana/Leica I already own but as a Panasonic shooter I want this one to have lots and lots of "bite" and I want it to include a new generation of in lens I.S. that's as good as the best I.S. on the market. I don't care if it's as big as the Pan/Leica or even bigger as long as it's shake free and full of aggressive sharpness. 

Moving on. Olympus went all sissy on us with the longer lens. Panasonic too for that matter. They assumed that people who were buying these smaller cameras would chaff at having to do a little lifting and straining. Screw that! Give me back my 35-100mm f2.0. I'm not interested in the milk toast version that Panasonic camera out with. I want the speed. We've seen that Olympus can to it now we need them to get their balls back and come out with an m4:3 version. Wanna make it lighter and more affordable? Make some of it out of industrial plastic instead of heavy metal. Wanna make it even more esoteric? Make most of the components out of carbon fiber. If you haven't shot with a 35-100mm f2.0 you need to borrow, rent or steal one. They are frightfully expensive (not really when compared to the lenses from Canon and Nikon) but they are wicked sharp at f2.0 and they stay at f2.0 all the way through the zoom range.  Come on boys! Suck it up and make some glass again that spanks the competition. It's not like you haven't already figured it out once.....

Along the same lines we need a really fabulous, powerhouse lens in the 12-60mm range. Something as sharp and contrasty as the Olympus 4/3rd system zoom but screw that lame shifting aperture. Get with the program and give us one that's f2.5 all the way through. Again, if the lens is sharp enough and draws beautifully enough to bring tears to your eyes I don't care if it weighs two pounds and it twice the size of the camera with a goofy grip on the bottom. I'd buy that. In fact, I did buy and use the Olympus 12-35mm f2.0 and it was an amazing lens. They can do this but Olympus is acting all skittish and cowardly because their market research shows them that delicate people want weightless lenses. Well, yes, that is one part of their market, but there are some of us who really want to rock the optics. Especially when we're using them to make videos. 

Again, lose the culottes, put on your big boy lens designer pants and get with the program. An ultra-fast, high performance, extended range normal lens that puts to rest all those stupid arguments about "equivalence" and how much light is hitting the sensor. Make the lenses faster and sharper and we'll make the full frame boys cry. Honestly.... How many fucking collapsible 14-42mm lenses will you make before you get a semblance of your pride back?

Moving on: I'd like a 90mm f1.4 for theatre work with the GH4. I don't care who makes it as long as it's good and delivers the images. Can't seem to shake the love I used to have for the 180mm lenses for my Leica R cameras. A lens like a 90mm f1.4 would go a long way toward making me forget...

One more....and it already exists in another related mount....Where the hell is the 150mm f2.0 lens from Olympus????? They made a great one for the 4:3 mount. Same sensor size!!!!! Just re-mount it and make it work with the AF in the new cameras. Use the carbon fiber idea to make it light and happy. But get the damn thing back on the market to compete with everyone else's FF 300mm 2.8's. 

Of course no one wants to shoot sports with your cameras; you haven't given them the OPTICS they need to make it all work. I don't really care if I have to manually focus the lens as long as someone keeps giving me focus peaking. It really works. 

Well, that's the list of stuff I want that isn't on the market in a non-adapter environment. If some of these camera guys want to stay in the market they'd better think of ratcheting up the excitement in the glass department. More new bodies are like farts in a hurricane. More new lenses. Real lenses. Now that would make people sit up and take notice.