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Friday, June 22, 2018

Equipment Changes After My Loire Valley Trip


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After going through all of my images from my Loire Valley trip (and deleting some 90% of the images), I have come to the conclusion that a couple of things have to change. I always tend to do this type of thing, it's the only way you're going to find out what works, what doesn't and what you have to change. I normally don't like a post-mortem, but this is exactly what I am doing here.

Let's start: Cameras.

Both my Olympus E-M1 Mk I and E-M5 II worked a treat. I have no reason whatsoever to change anything here. Image quality is outstanding and the IBIS on the E-M5 II is marvellous. I must admit, I prefer using Olympus cameras to Panasonic, just don't ask me why.


What did work, and then again, didn't was the Panasonic TZ101. If you followed my rolling report about my trip to the Loire Valley, you saw that under good lighting conditions the TZ101 did actually take very good quality images. Under dull lighting or early evening it didn't do so well, especially at the long end. Slow aperture at the long end, low light and not very good at high ISO were more than likely the problems. The lens has also flaws at certain focal lengths so it's not quite what I hoped it would be.


This is the one camera I would have to change if it wasn't for the fact there isn't anything else out there to mach it. It has an EVF (not a particularly great one but it works), it has a long zoom lens (with a few flaws), and it has a relatively large sensor (1"). It is small and compact, and has good battery life. So, all in all, it ticks the right boxes when I just want to take something small with me. Hate going out without a camera, you never know when an opportunity is going to arise.


So what's the solution? Sony RX10x series? Panasonic FZZxxx series? Yes, really good cameras with everything I need except for one thing. They are large! They are fully blown bridge cameras that don't fit in a jacket pocket. They are also quite expensive.


Solution: There isn't one really. This is the only camera on the market that ticks all the boxes. Unless I've missed something. I will keep the TZ101 and keep using it until something else comes onto the market. If I have missed something, and anyone out there has noticed that I've missed something, please, please reply. I'm always open to suggestions.

Lenses:
I had no problems whatsoever with my primes. They all stay in my bag. I.E. Olympus 25 f1.2, Olympus 75 f1.8, Olympus 12 f2, Panasonic 42.5 f1.2.

But what about zooms? The Olympus 75-300 Mk I made some nice images but, it is very slow, lacks contrast and fails to lock onto certain subjects; there has to be a better lens out there. It's ok for what it is and it does the job some of the time but not all of the time.


I'm not going to purchase the Mk II of this lens. That is not going to happen. The only other one out there that is worth considering is the Panasonic 100-400 f4.0-6.3. I've seen some great images from that lens but it is also a very expensive lens (as I write this post). The Panasonic is f6.3 at the long end and the Olympus is f6.7. I would spend a lot of money for a little gain at the long end. The Panasonic might be the better lens but, right now, it's too rich for my blood.


Solution: Keep the Olympus 75-300 until the price for the Panasonic 100-400 f4.0-6.3 comes down. I think on my next trip I will make do with the Olympus 14-150 Mk II which is what I used to do in the past. My only complaint about that is the wide end starts at 14mm which is 28mm in FF terms. I like my lenses to start at 12mm, a 24mm equivalent lens. 28mm isn't really wide enough.

My wide angled lens, the Panasonic 7-14 f4 is small, light, and sharp. Excellent lens overall except for one problem. Flare. I thought I could cope with this problem but it was extreme during my trip to the Loire Valley. It actually ruined a lot of images that were otherwise fine keepers. Flare sometimes works in certain images but in others, it just doesn't belong there.


The flare problem might be because I was using the lens on an Olympus body. I knew there might be problems because it's a well documented fact. What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of flare present, and it was also present in images where I least expected it.


What to do? It does make sense to try this lovely little lens out on a Panasonic body. God knows I have enough of them. It should be fine I hope. If it shows nearly as much flare problems like I just experienced, the lens must go.


If I do replace it, it will be with the Panasonic 8-18 f2.8-4.0. I've read enough reviews on this lens and it also seems to be very sharp and not a sign of any flare anywhere. The Olympus 7-14 f2.8 is a nice lens, but again, the price brings tears to my eyes.


I’ll update this post when and if I make any changes to my equipment.


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I'm an enthusiastic photographer who likes to tinker with manual lenses on most camera formats.

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