Olympus OM-D E-M5 (see above)
Panasonic GM1 (my commute and casual camera)
Panasonic GF1 (my first ‘proper’ camera. Now retired.)
Iphone 6 (my oh sh1t, i forgot my camera, camera)
Left to Right: Olympus 45mm f1.8 | Leica 25mm f1.4 | Olympus 75mm f1.8 | Panasonic 7-14mm F4.
Not featured: Panasonic 20mm f1.7 | Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95
- Without filters / hoods – vertical size comparison.
- Without filters / hoods – lens size comparison. (as featured on Flickr Explore).
- With hoods – vertical size comparison.
- With hoods – view from above.
Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens
This lens is the nuts. It’s looks, feels, shoots,…. amazing. I can’t imagine not having it; if i had to only have one lens for the EM-5, it would be this one, no question. It has lessened my lust for full frame considerably.
I would say I use this lens 85% of the time.
Because I love the lens so much, I bought:
(a) a chrome 58mm UV filter from B+W
(b) the Olympus Lens Hood – LH61F- which is both ridiculously priced and beautifully well made. I did consider the third party OEM alternatives, but what sold me on the official version was the colour matching with the lens, and beautiful construction. The hood also comes with a much superior lens cap than the one which comes with the lens.
I regret neither purchase and would recommend both.
See here for the type of shot possible with this lens and the E-M5. It allows you to achieve shallow depth of field, at distance, in low light, with a small/light micro four thirds camera. The Bokeh is exceptional.
Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4
This has replaced the Panasonic 20mm f1.7 as:
(a) It is better in low light (wider aperture).
(b) It is faster to auto focus
(c) It is sharp at f1.4 and has beautiful bokeh.
I use this lens the 15% of the time that I’m not using the 75mm. It’s excellent for indoor low light people photography, paired with the E-M5.
See here for the type of shot you can take with this lens and the E-M5.
Panasonic 7-14mm F4
I bought this lens at the same time as I bought into micro four thirds.
I had thought I’d use it for landscapes, but conversely mainly use it for confined spaces. It’s the most extreem wide micro four thirds lens and I’ll keep it as the IBIS on the E-M5 makes it much more useful in low light situations, and it’s also excellent for close quarters video.
Olympus 45mm f1.8
I loved this lens until i bought the 75mm f1.8. The IQ and auto focus with the E-M5 is brilliant, it’s also a great size and weight and excellent value for money. However, it’s just not in the same league as the 75mm.
My favourite photo with this lens is here,
Panasonic 20mm f1.7
Legendary lens for the micro four thirds system. The IQ is in the same league as the Leica 25mm f1.4, it’s mainly let down by an older focusing system. It does however have closer focussing and smaller formatting, and so for both reasons i’ve kept it.
Voigtlander 42.5mm f0.95
I wrote about this lens here.
I’m mainly using it for low light / after dark photography. For this purpose the manual-only focus is actually helpful (all cameras hunt in the dark). As is the crazy aperture. Obviously.
I’m experimenting with:
- two high end SLRs – the Nikon FM3A and the Pentax LX
- two high end compact film cameras – the Contax T2 and Ricoh GR1V
All bought on ebay and inspired from this article by Ming Thien. I’m mainly using Kodak Porta 400 or Ilford HP5 film. Film is not cheap, neither is developing and scanning.
This is my favourite over the Pentax LX – faster quieter shutter (1/4000s v 1/2000s), better quality build and better viewfinder (rangefinder like approach, which really works well for all manual cameras).
The advantages of the LX over the FM3A are:
(a) Cheaper body
(b) Cheaper and possibly better glass
HIGH END COMPACTS
I really like this camera. It’s beautifully constructed, looks amazing and has a brilliantly clear view-finder.
Smaller from than the Contax T2. I’ve been throwing this into my bike bag for the commute. See here for a review.
Footprint wrist strap
The UK alternative to the Gordy straps – handmade and sold direct on ebay. Great value for money.
Barton Braided Chrome Camera Strap
(Barton 1972 website) – I bought this as an alternative to the Ciesta strap (below).
Because of the Braided Style it doesn’t twist / tangle (an annoyance with all flat straps i’ve had to date.). I went for the ‘Chrome’ variety which was 10 USD more than the standard version. It’s made from leather, but it does feel (and look) a little plastic-y as a result of the chrome treatment. The strap connects using a circular attachment (like a smaller version of a key-ring), so I had to take the triangular slots (for the flat strap) off the OM-D so i could connect it direct to the lugs.
The length is 105cm. I’m 6ft 2, so when I wear it around my neck, the bottom of the OM-D sits about 2cm above my navel. It’s too short for me to wear cross shoulder. If i were to chose again, i think i would go for the XL version (120cm), however this is only currently available in normal black (non Chrome), and the extra width of the XL strap might make it look a little over-kill on the OM-D.
Ciesta Mano Black Leather Camera Strap
(Ciesta web site) – available on ebay for c. £35.
link to Olympus site description.
After less than one month and limited use, the flash developed sync issues and would no longer work direct from the Hot Shoe – it would only work in remote mode. I sent it back to Olympus for repair – and to their credit they replaced it quickly.
I’ve only ever used it indoor for product shots, and for that purpose it’s been great.
Decent review on youtube here.
Billingham Hadley Pro, Khaki Canvas
If my wife ever asks (which she will), I ‘needed’ this bag in addition to the LV bag (see below), for the added lens protection, and because the LV lens wasn’t big enough for the E-M5 plus four lenses plus the FL600r flash.
Billingham sell this bag in three colours (Khaki, Sage and Black), and two materials (Canvas and FibreNyte). All look excellent, but my buying decision went as follows:
(a) Black – discrete but looks too much like a laptop bag.
(b) Olive – Kind of liked, but just felt a bit too stuffy.
(c) Khaki – The original Billingham colours. Tick.
I went for Canvas material over FibreNyte, as the FibreNyte is a little shiny and retains the as new look, whereas I’d like the Khaki bag to ‘wear-in’ and look a little more retro over time. Had I gone for Black, I’d have chosen FibreNyte, as I’d have wanted it to stay jet black.
Link to the billingham site – can buy direct.
Louis Vuitton, Andrei – Stylish Messenger Bag
Link to the LV about bag page. It’s ridiculously expensive, as you’d expect, but is far more discrete than most LV products. Extremely well made – the leather is thick and solid – it’s showing little signs of use, despite a year of lugging around.