If it's a hot Sunday then it must be "Vintage Lens Day." Let's go for a walk and see how the ancient Olympus Pen FT 20mm f3.5 lens makes photos.

The Pen FT 20mm f3.5 lens, circa: the late 1960s. 
Photographed by a 17mm f1.4 TTArtisan lens on a GH6
A classic "grab shot".

 Many years ago, back in the early 1980's, I started buying Olympus Pen FT half frame cameras and lenses. They were cheap to buy in those days because people had not yet seriously embarked on niche camera collecting. Bodies in good shape were generally available for around $100 and most of  the lenses were well under that price. One of the lenses I bought back then was laughingly cheap. I think I paid $23 for a well used copy of the G. Zuiko Auto-W 1:3.5 20mm Olympus lens. It had a slow aperture which made accurate focusing with the old cameras a bit of a mess. I tried to tame it but with the tech of the day it was, for me, a lost cause. I stuck it in a drawer and forgot about it for several decades until those two Zany companies, Olympus and Panasonic, engineered the micro four thirds system. It came complete with a short enough flange to sensor distance to accommodate an adapter and still allow my ancient Olympus Pen lenses to focus on infinity. 

I started pulling old lenses out of the drawer but soon found that the early m4:3 cameras didn't do "punch in magnification" and that limited the usefulness especially of the shorter, slower lenses since their apparent depth of field made for sharp looking viewfinder images but woefully out of focus actual files. 

The faster lenses such as the 40mm f1.4 and the 60mm f1.5 stayed out of the drawer and were used on m4:3 cameras as well as Sony cameras like the New-7 and the A7RII. 

I recently re-upped with the m4:3 team and I checked out the focus magnification of the newer cameras and found it to be easy to use and well engineered to breath life back into the lenses that hadn't worked as well on earlier cameras. But I never got around to re-checking the 20mm f3.5 lens until this afternoon. Who knows why? I'd posit laziness but usually I'm pretty disciplined at getting to projects like this. 

At any rate I put the lens on a well proven adapter ring, dressed for the 98° high temperatures, put on a bucket hat and took the G9 and the 20mm f3.5 Olympus Pen lens out for a walk. We are also accompanied by the Oly 60mm f1.5 but its performance today will be covered in a future blog post. Maybe. 

The 20mm lens acts like a 40mm lens in a full frame, 35mm system. But one with an extra dose of depth of field. I noticed that light sources in the shots produced moderate flare and some aperture artifacting but I think that's to be expected since these lenses depended on their photographers using films with anti-halation backings and were not coated with the right coatings to reduce flaring with digital sensors. 

I used focus peaking in addition to image magnification to really hone in on correct focus and I think that was the missing link in my earlier tests; no way to really fine tune at the taking apertures the accuracy of the focusing. Today though I was able to absolutely nail focus even while stopping down to f5.6 or f8.0 and focusing there. Sean Reid imagines that the greatest accuracy when focusing manual lenses such as these is to do your focusing with the lens wide open and then stop down to make the exposure. I, of course, disagree and think that with high magnification and nuanced focus peaking you can reduce focusing error caused by focus shift from stopping down when  focusing at the taking aperture instead. 

Since I can clearly see the texture of the paint on the machine that is the subject of 
this photo I have to say that the lens is very capable of good sharpness performance
when used at f5.6 or f8.0. This image was taken at f8.0

Can a lens add to apparent (not actual) dynamic range?
Well, yes. Of course. Highlights bleed into shadows and vice versa.
The image just above is a good example of this. 

When I blow up the images and look at them on a high res monitor I can see that modern lenses are capable of a bit more sharpness but a LOT more contrast. I found that I can more closely emulate the look of modern lenses by adding contrast to the image and also making generous use of the "clarity" slider in Lightroom. 

While I wouldn't recommend that you go out and search for one of these when there are so many other better lenses in the same focal range I was pleasantly surprised that a lens designed in the 1960s for a film camera can still do a good enough job to pass for "good" in modern times. 

The lens is small, relatively lightweight and looks pretty cool on the front of a modern GH or G series camera. I would caution against using it wide open or stopping it down much past f8.0. But in the sweet spot, with the light coming from over your shoulder, it can still make nice photographs. 

A fun way to get in a 3.5 mile walk, exercise one's distance vision, get acclimated to the coming heat waves, and to see if one's technique can help compensate for an ancient lens. A nice way to spend some time with a camera. 

next up: Is the Pen FT 60mm f1.5 still relevant in 2022? Is it still a sexy portrait lens? Is it worth the current used prices? We'll see. 


Today I shot Raw + Jpeg. The Jpegs (previously posted) were in black and white while the raw files were.....raw files. I thought you might like to see what some of the stuff I shot looked like in color....


I walked around downtown this morning just getting my "sea legs" with the Panasonic G9. I purposefully shot everything in black and white as my primary intention. I posted those shots earlier this afternoon. But I'm always curious how things look in color too. Especially if I'm testing out a new camera or a new lens; or both. If you shoot in both file formats and use the most current rev. of Lightroom the raw files maintain their black and white profile unless you change it. I wanted to see how the color performance of the duo looked so I pulled some of those files as well and reset them back to color. 

The first photo (above) was taken at f11. I was curious to see three things in this sample. 1. Would diffraction at f11 be obvious in this shot when compared to the shot below which was done at f5.0? 2. How would the different apertures affect the specular highlight of the sun being reflected off the tall building. Also a fun thing to compare in the images above and below. And, 3. In both or either examples would the bright light source induce some weird flaring, softening of contrast or manifestation of artifacts?

From my observations the resistance of the Olympus 12-45mm Pro to flaring and artifacts is very superior. Which points to good design, good manufacture and great lens coatings. Another observation is that I really like the sun star and I don't think diffraction crept in and killed the effect of the image. I also like the fortuitous bird in the top frame....

None of the photos here has been retouched to deepen the skies or increase the blue saturation. Sometimes Austin just looks like this.. The images above and below are examples of two different focal lengths taken from the same vantage point. I like the wide one best. 

old and new.

While the GH6 and GH5ii are exemplary video cameras I think that even though the G9 is over four years old at this point it is still the preeminent photography variant of the Panasonic system and doesn't even need to be updated, upgraded or otherwise messed with. It does a great job in 2022 and it floors me that it's now so cheap to purchase. Even if I did have a little extra help from the universe. 

But you know, according to one wag on the web, I only keep on accepting commercial photography assignments so I can afford to keep buying cameras. Not really true and a bit condescending but there it is...

Getting reacquainted with an old friend. The familiar feel of the Panasonic G9.

Swim practice was the first event on today's agenda. The coached workout started at eight o'clock. The water was delightfully cool as the pool management has started using the water chillers with the arrival of Summer weather. Are we Western Hills Athletic Club swimmers a bit spoiled? Well maybe...

After most swim practices I head home and eat something for breakfast and then blossom into the day's typical activities like reading the current news or catching up on over night email. But today I made a point to stick the G9 in the car and, after a heroic amount of fun swimming I headed straight downtown to reacquaint myself with my new Panasonic G9. I knew it would be bright and warm by mid-morning so I didn't need a fast lens, only a sharp one. The first choice that came to mind was the Olympus 12-45mm f4.0 Pro. It's sharp as an etching tool and as a bonus it may be the lightest lens I own. A perfect combo for a jaunt through urbania.

First stop was the Torchy's Tacos over on 2nd street. They serve a really nice bacon, egg and cheese breakfast taco. Then it was a cross town ramble over to the convention center to take a peek at the arrival of attendees for a Trump"rally". Out of morbid curiosity. But very few people showed up so I moved on and photographed different stuff. Almost all of which is in black and white. It was different for me because I'm usually downtown in the mid to late afternoons and the light was coming in a different direction than I was used to. 

Today was mostly a black and white photography day and I was happy to see that my muscle memory of using using the G9 was intact. The menus seemed familiar. Everything fell into place quickly and without effort. The camera's profile for black and white, "l. monochrome d" with a little tweaking worked quite well and I was once again amazed at the apparent sharpness of the little Oly Pro zoom lens. 

The farmer's market at Republic Square was also on the agenda and I bought a wonderful cherry and almond scone from one of the vendors. After a couple hours of photography my Birkenstock Sandals (which I have never come to terms with) were starting to chaff my feet and the temperature, even before noon, was cresting 90°.  I figured it was time to head home, look at the files from the G9 and embrace the kindness of the office air conditioning...

To sum up, I'm thrilled I bought another G9 to replace the two I mistakenly let go of during the onset of the pandemic. I should have had more faith in their staying power. Click the images to see them bigger.

The capper: the S5 battery, when used in the G9, seemed to last forever. I shot all morning and it's still showing "full." 


Gordon L. wanted to know what I thought about having (or not having a studio). I thought this might be a fun topic.


The view from my desk. 
Happy that for once you can actually see the floor...

Gordon asked me this:

"How about your perspective on the pros and cons of owning studio space? Do you have or have you had a studio?  If so, has the space gotten larger, smaller, or non-existent? (Or if not, why not?) What do you use it for? Do you have a need or interest in using your photo studio as a video studio?"

Gordon asks an interesting collection of questions. And I have about 35 years of experience trying to either rationalize having or not having a dedicated studio space. Let's jump into it. 

When I started out in photography I was a teaching assistant at the University of Texas College of Fine Arts. I was assisting three really great photographers: Reagan Bradshaw, Charlie Guerrero and Tomas Pantin. All three were highly accomplished advertising photographers who were teaching commercial studio photography. We had an enormous studio space in the fine arts building and a lot of my job consisted of supervising students as they learned to work with 4x5 and 8x10 inch view cameras in conjunction with electronic flash lighting. For four semesters it was the perfect place for a budding photographer (me) as I sat in on the studio lessons (generally five hours a day for four days a week) and then I helped students grapple with the technical stuff. I was getting paid to learn from true masters.

A real benefit of my time as a T.A. in that space was the space. A giant working studio with high ceilings and what seemed like unlimited A/C power on tap. And all the camera and lighting gear a 1980's photographer ever dreamed of. 

After my teaching assistant gig several of the instructors gravitated back to the much better paying occupation of making and licensing great photographs for huge companies. I was tagged to enter the teaching arena to replace the exiting pros. I guess the administration figured I had learned a lot by osmosis. I worked for UT for the next two years as a "Specialist Lecturer" in commercial photography and I must have done a decent job since a fair proportion of my students went on to successful careers at the tops of their photographic fields. Some popping up a bit later as direct competitors.

But staying with the subject of "the studio" it can be a burden to have too much too soon because when you finally resign to follow your own dreams you miss all the largess of an excessively well funded university. You actually have to figure out how to acquire your own gear with your own money. And pay for space to put the gear into.

Back in the mid-1980s real estate was cheap in Austin. I rented a studio in a building that used to be a musical instrument warehouse in east Austin. A crafty entrepreneur who was also a film maker bought the building and divided it up into individual studio spaces. Mine was bare bones. It was on the second floor of a building with no elevator so when we went "on the road" with the heavy gear of the time it required us to bring it all up and down the central stairway. 

There was no central air or heat in the building so each individual studio took climate control into their own hands. My studio space had no outside walls but it was at the end of a long corridor. I put a small window unit A/C up on a wall, vented out to the corridor. Complete with a drip line to the outside. In the winter we thought warm thoughts and prayed for a quick return to warmer weather. Sometimes gloves were standard studio wear.

At the time I was shooting tabletop images and portraits for Texas Monthly Magazine, shooting daily co-op ads for a bookstore chain, and occasionally photographing local bands like "The Butthole Surfers", "The Lounge Lizards" and Charlie Sexton. 

I mostly survived financially from the table top tableaux, illustrating book content. If it was a detective novel with a femme fatale we were selling I might have gotten a comp from the ad agency that included a Walther PPK handgun integrated into strands of pearls and always the book itself would be part of the photo construction. All these ads, done almost daily, were used in newspapers in black and white. 

I would shoot the images, soup the film in our small, shared darkroom down the hall, go grab dinner or a beer and some nachos and then come back to the studio (about 800 square feet of space) and make 11x14 inch prints until I got one just right. It could take a couple of hours, it could take all night. Some subjects, like white on white took forever to get right because black and white prints tend to dry down darker and you end up having to go back in and lighten them. But in the wet print days there were no sliders to slide.

And my constant nemesis was having to spot each print with Spot Tone to make sure any dust spots were rendered invisible. 

My studio rent was about $500 a month and that included utilities. I probably did 300 or 400 assignments in the space over the three years I rented it so it was definitely worth the cost. I don't think I could have done as many of the jobs I did if I had to work in a shared space or a temporary space. And dragging the gear back and forth would have been a killer. 

Once the business outgrew that space, and I developed a preference for effective heating and air conditioning, I moved over to another building close by (all just one block east of the main freeway that divided the warehouse district from downtown proper) that was developed by the same guy. 

My space seemed infinitely bigger. It measured about 60 feet in one direction and 30 feet in the other. The ceilings were 24 feet high and there was a full on loading dock down the hall. There was also room for a full darkroom which I had carpenter finish out for me. I put in a Leica V35 enlarger for my 35mm film work and an Omega D5 for the larger formats. In the late 1980's and until 1997 I was shooting in that studio nearly every day, six or seven days a week. And then printing the black and white stuff which we never sent to a lab. We shot 35mm for some stuff, and everything else was medium or large format. 

The bigger, nicer studio enabled me to go after much bigger and nicer projects. We did tons of work for Motorola, Texas Instruments, IBM and Dell. When I say, "We" I'm not referring to the royal we. I worked almost every day with an assistant who kept the details straight. I also had famous photographer neighbors like Wyatt McSpadden and Michael O'Brien. Really wonderful photographers that I could call on if I got stuck with some photo problem. Or with a bidding question.

Some days we'd shoot in the studio and other days we'd bring the station wagon around to the loading dock door and fill the car. We'd head to a location and shoot all day long and then come back and unload and lock up the gear before dropping color film by the lab. Black and white still stayed in house.

The larger, longer space helped define a style for me. I was able to put backgrounds 20 or 30 feet behind a portrait subject and I was able to use longer lenses further back from my subjects. Many of my favorite portraits that grew out of that style are the ones I often show here. It was a technique I learned from Albert Watson.

While the space was great I was spending half of my life there. And spending $1500 a month for the privilege. It wasn't a burden since annual billings were in the $250,000 area. And rent is tax deductible. 

But then B. and I decided to grow up and have a kid. And digital was ushering itself into the business mix for professional photographers serving high tech clients. Photoshop became pervasive. The darkroom became a storage space and more and more of my work was being done on location doing environmental portraiture and location ads. The totality of that space was less necessary.

With a kid on the way we needed to move out of our nice but small condominium in Austin's Tarrytown neighborhood and find a place where we could raise a child well. That meant moving into the best school district. We looked for nearly two years before finding a house with a detached garage building that could be transformed into a studio and office. The rent at the downtown studio had crested $2,000 a month and when combined with the condo mortgage we figured that if we could find a single larger space to own, that would incorporate both our home and my office and studio, we could put together much nicer version of both and eventually fully own the space instead of throwing away the money on studio rent. 

We found a lovely home in central Texas's best school district and bought it. I hired a friend who was a contractor to take the large, freestanding rock and cedar garage building and finish it out into workable studio space. He charged me about $20,000 and I have used it nonstop for the last 25 years. The space is about 800 square feet and has a high ceiling with no cross beams to clutter up the space. I can float a softbox up about 12 feet in the air without it being impeded. When we did the studio construction I had my builder do a wall of windows on one side and two more windows to the north side. There are storage closets on one window-less side that have solid core doors and deadbolt locks. The studio space is about 12 feet from the front door of the house. 

In this space I've done countless portraits of the rich and famous as well as members of the middle class and many unknowns. I've done too many technical tabletop projects to remember. And, in the process, we cut our monthly outlay by about half during those peak earning years. 

Right up until the onset of the pandemic we were shooting projects in the space. Mostly they were individual headshots and technical work but more and more stuff was moving to locations. People are currently enamored with environmental photos. It's a plus to be able to schedule portraits here though around my schedule instead of trying to do work out of a shared space where you would have to juggle multiple peoples' schedules in addition to the client's schedule. But the biggest benefit is that my post processing computer and business computer are housed there and if I'm not shooting something chances are that I'm doing post processing, making web galleries, doing marketing projects or billing clients.

The biggest benefit of all was the near elimination of a daily commute for 25 of my most productive years.  I could see Ben off to school, do work, take a break to go volunteer at his schools, all of which (from K-12th) were less that five minutes away from our house/office. Assistants would regularly join the family for dinners after long days of work and the kitchen was always open during the day. 

I use the studio these days to shoot individual headshots for a couple of large medical practices that are part of national speciality groups. The rest of the time it's a place to store cameras with some assurance of climate control and to write these zany blog posts. It's home base for the business. 

Finally, if you think about it, being able to combine a house with a studio on the same property and on the same mortgage means that having a studio enabled us to reach a little higher for the property. When one thinks of businesses on thinks of the long term investment. According to the tax assessors the value of our property in west Austin has increased by ten times since our purchase. Considering my "free" rental of the studio for 25 years and the eventual return of more money than I ever imagined in home equity the studio basically made possible my entire photographer lifestyle and could also have paid for a couple's good retirement. 

I'm not getting rid of the studio space even if I decide to retire from the commercial work in the near future. I love having a quiet space to work in and write in. I love having my gear and lights close by. Sometimes I'll watch a video about a technique and walk out of the house and into the studio to try it out for myself.

Gordon also asked about using the studio for a video space. While it would be nice it's not practical given the size of the space and the ambient noise. I have an air conditioner that works well but is too loud for the audio to work. I live in a neighborhood where people are buying houses for a million dollars and up and then scraping them off/tearing them down and building bigger and zanier houses on the lots so there is constant construction noise during the days. The construction comes and goes and I'd have to go crazy on sound proofing to make the space work at all well for video. It's also too small to do effective video camera work in. You can cheat a lot in photography but you need a wide frame for video; especially for green screen work. This just isn't enough. 

But that's fine with me. Most clients are looking for video production in their own spaces (interviews and process stuff) so when I have a bigger video project I hire assistants and sometimes a producer and we pack up a rental van or big SUV with our C-Stands, carts and lights, etc. and head to the location to work. When the job is over I'm not having to chase P.A.s and clients out of my house and studio before dinner. We pack up at the location and leave. Nice and done. 

But, where video is concerned editing is a bigger part of most projects, time-wise. So a fast computer and a small assembly of SSDs is somewhat critical and the office here gives me a space and the gear to do as much editing as I think I want to do. I can also have editors work here in the studio and I can drop in during the day, after swim practice, to see their progress.

There are a number of rental video studios around town if I have a project that needs interior, dedicated space but video projects have a longer time line from concept to approval to final scheduling so there is usually more than enough time to find a rental resource. Some photo assignments come up quickly and the studio is a nice fall back for those times. 

I'm happy to rent studio space elsewhere for video work because we always bill it back to the client and we always mark up the cost. In effect it's a profitable part of the job budget. It's the same way that we rent our video gear packages to our clients to cover the cost of maintaining and replacing gear. A standard way of doing business in the video production industry. 

So, the mortgage is paid off, and the studio is still open. That means every job I take is even more profitable than before. 

Good quiet studio space is critical if you like to experiment with lighting, photo techniques and post production workflows. It's critical if you want to leave lighting and sets set up for days at a time. But mostly I find it emotionally important to have a dedicated space to do art in. When I walk in the door I'm there to do something related to my craft and having those formalist boundaries helps motivate me. 

So --- nice to have a space. Good for clients. Great investment when combined on one's own property. A nice refuge from daily work stress. A sharable space to help out friends or younger photographers who sometimes really need a space to do an important project in. Close to the fully stocked refrigerator in the house. A small tax deduction for the space. Great security. Great neighbors. 

Live without a studio space? No thanks.

Gordon, let me know if I answered your questions. Thanks for the prompt. KT

I couldn't resist. The pricing on the G9 was too good. I'm sure it will be superseded next week by the G10.... Here's my story.

Of all the cameras I regret selling (and there have only been a few whose absence I really feel) the Panasonic G9 is at the top of the list. Lately, here on the blog, I've been sharing photographs and stories about jobs done back in 2018-2020 with a pair of G9s that I bought new. The cameras and also the lenses were very good but I succumbed to the lure of full frame and the G9s were shuffled off in some misguided trade deal. I figured that with the pandemic and the almost total halt to jobs in 2020-2021 that if I didn't sell the older stuff it would be rendered obsolete over time. Of course, I have been wrong many times before.

Recently I bought a GH5ii and also the newer GH6 and I've used both on two larger event projects as well as some smaller portrait sessions. Both are excellent cameras and they are well packed with features but...I made the mistake of casually handling a used G9 at the local camera store and all the nostalgia and good memories of the jobs and personal work done with that camera came flooding back to me. Why? Because the camera is shaped and designed to be just right in my hands and just right, technically, for most of my uses.

I've gone back and forth over the last two weeks, trying to decide if I really needed to re-invest in one of the new G9s the store had in inventory or if I was letting emotion cloud my fiscal judgement. But you know the story, emotion easily trumped the logical part of my brain and I let my favorite camera "consultant" at my local store know that I was seriously considering restocking the camera --- mostly for old time's sake but also because I am convinced that once they exit the market that design and configuration will disappear as well. And then I'll want one and they'll be gone.

I called earlier in the week to check on pricing. There's a general sale going on across most of the USA dealers that dropped the price from $1299 to $997. I continued to mull over the my state of need, the health of the stock market, my latest property appraisal and the price of unleaded gas. 

Yesterday my "consultant" texted me to let me know that the store was offering an additional $100 "instant rebate" off the already manufacturer rebated price. This would bring the camera price down to $897. I gave up my temporary bout of financial responsibility and sent back a text saying that I'd like to come by and grab one of the G9s while they were still in stock. I hate driving at rush hour so instead of zooming out there yesterday in the late afternoon I asked him to meet me at the store at 10 a.m. this morning and I'd get the camera from him then. 

At the risk of jinxing myself I seem to be having a really good day today. I showed up at 10 a.m. and there was a line of customers wrapped around the side of the Precision Camera building waiting to get in at the opening. Nice for Precision Camera. I got into the line and asked what the deal was. PC was holding a "Photo Expo" and giving out random coupons to the first 50 people in line. Most of the coupons were for small discounts on gear or free lens cleaners or something. But I was told that one lucky coupon out of the 50 was for $100 off anything. No strings attached.

The doors opened, the manager shuffled the coupons, greeted the customers and let each one pick their own coupon. The coupons were face down so no one knew what was on the face until after they selected it. I never win at small things so I presumed I'd get a lens blower or a $5 off coupon. I pulled a card from the stack and turned it over. I had just selected the $100 coupon. Which I could immediately apply to my G9 purchase. That brought the price down to $797 but the fun didn't stop there. 

For this "Photo Expo" there were a number of representatives from the major (and minor) camera manufacturers and accessory makers on hand to show off their lines and to answer questions. The Panasonic guy was there. I went over and after a bit of desultory back and forth I cut to the chase and asked him why "every time I buy a new Panasonic camera there is always a sale on the same product the following week or, more recently, a free battery offer attached? I always seem to miss the sales and I always missed the battery giveaway." 

The rep glanced at my boxed G9 and said, "We're out of G9 batteries. It's too bad you didn't get an S5 because we've got plenty of batteries for that camera." I smiled and said, "I do have an S5, and a GH5ii and a GH6 and I didn't get extra, free batteries for those either." The rep graciously admitted defeat and turned to my "consultant" and asked him to pull a free battery for me out of stock. And yes, the S5 batteries are backwardly compatible with the G9. 

I didn't want to push my luck any further so I took my purchase and my additional battery and headed to my car. Which I drove home very carefully just in case the universe was looking to balance out my good fortune with a bit of friction. 

The final pleasant surprise was that Panasonic had updated the firmware in all the current G9s in inventory so when I pulled it out of the wrapping the camera was already showing the latest firmware. That's a nice touch. 

Back home safely, batteries charging, camera date and time set, memory card inserted and formatted. 

Ah. What a charming camera. 


When evaluating a new lens be sure to zero out all the weird parameters your camera may offer. Test the guts not the trim.


There's a lens that's been sitting in a drawer being ignored since the beginning of the year. I ordered it last year and when it came in I stuck it on a Leica SL, went into the camera menu and found an M series lens profile that I thought would match, didn't think another thing about it and then went out to test the lens and see just what my whopping $250 investment bought me. 

It was a silly thing to do. When I pulled a series of color files from the camera there was a decided color shift across the frame and, in general, the files didn't impress me much. I put the camera in the drawer and chalked it up to the result of yet another misguided bout of impulse shopping. 

Subsequently I read a long article on Leica and the way they profile their own past generation lenses (R and M) when they are to be used with the SL cameras. Many lenses have "color drift" when used with digital cameras because of the way lenses which were designed before digital sensors interact with the cover glass, etc. on the sensor bundle. I never gave this much thought but I remember something similar vexing Leica M8 owners to no end. I just figured that most wide angles were more alike than different and presumed that the image stabilization function needed the angle of view inputted in order to work well. 

Today I pulled the TTArtisan 21mm f1.5 ASPH out of the drawer to give it another shot. Now that I  felt responsible for the past test I was duty bound to give the lens another chance. I put the lens on a Leica SL2, turned off the lens profiles entirely, selected .DNG and M.Jpeg, and headed out for an "all manual" photography experience. Manual focus, manual exposure, set ISO, manual transportation (foot powered).

This time around the 21mm lens acquitted itself nicely. As you can see in the color files there is no discernible color drift, the images are very sharp and the tonality is all tasty and good. Shooting with a 21mm can be a lovely experience in some regards. With the exposures locked in and the lens aperture set around f11 one can take full advantage of hyperfocal shooting with reckless abandon. 

If one was to "ding" the lens for any shortcoming it would have to be vignetting. But that's endemic to wide angles as they get more and more wide-angle-y. The lens came in an L mount configuration, is built entirely out of metal and glass, is smooth and easy to focus and is one of the fastest 21mm lenses I know of. For the price it's pretty amazing.

I have one other lens that's a fraction wider. It's the wide end of the Panasonic 20-60mm L mount lens. It's sharp in a different way from the TTArtisan lens but it shares a penchant for darkened corners as well. 

Either lens works for me but I find that manual lenses are better suited to hyperfocal techniques were one roughly calculates the range of distances that will be in focus when the lens is set to a certain distance and aperture. With "focus-by-wire" lenses it becomes way too much guess work. So the 20-60mm is a lens I reach for when AF is more important than "old school street shooting." 

I was very happy with what I was able to do with the TTArtisan lens today. I'm glad I discovered my goof-up and made appropriate restitution. It's a much more capable lens than I originally gave it credit for.

What do we think about G9's, brand new, at $899? I think Panasonic is targeting me....

Vintage Lens Day. Tulips on the Dining Room Table.


I thought these tulips looked nice sitting on the dining room table next to the large glass doors to the garden. I was playing around with one of my older, Olympus Pen FT lenses and thought I'd see how it worked on the Panasonic GH5ii. The lens was set at f2.0 and I used the camera's aperture priority setting. The file might have been more flexible if I'd shot in raw but in this instance Jpeg was the recipe of the day. 

I like to have flowers around the house. There's always something to photograph...

The lens was the Pen FT 40mm f1.4 for the original half frame cameras. I think it's a very nice lens. Especially for portraits. 

A variation: 


A "grab shot" prior to a rehearsal at KMFA's studios. I was there to shoot some video. Good thing I brought a third camera along for fun.


I had two video cameras set up and I was just marking time before the start of a concert. There would be a rehearsal prior. This was the first of four musicians to show up and to pass the time I grabbed the camera I wasn't using for video and snapped a few pix. I think the Leica SL2 and the Leica 24-90mm do work together to create a nice sense of depth and structure to an image. Or maybe it's just the placebo effect of spending too much money on gear.

Available Light Only.