Category Archives: Equipment review and test

MS Optical 35mm Lens on an Olympus EM-5

Olympus EM5 with MS Optical 35mm

Olympus EM-5 with a 35mm MS Optical lens mounted

The Parar lenses made by a Mr Miyazaki of MS optical in Chiba Japan. At least with this one and the earlier offerings are a commendable Japanese attempt to return to the original lenses that photographers had available to them in the early part of the 20th century. It probably comes as a surprise to many of todays photographers that there have actually been very few major developments in lens design in the last sixty years or so and even then they can be counted on one hand. The main ones being Aspherical lenses and ‘nano’ lens coatings. Granted materials and production techniques have improved no end but basic design not much. The super triplet is one that I am quite proud to own and are based on a British design that dates from 1893. It is still made today for cine and large format lenses by the same company. They were Ansel Adams favourite lenses and have been used by likes of Rollei  Voigtlander and many others. Its a design that produces incredible clarity and sharpness in the MS optical manifestation and worth every cent if you can lay you hands on one. I used this one mostly on my M9 before it was stolen by a pair of our local abo miscreants. The other ‘ancient’ lens I am extremely fond of is the Zeiss Tessar I have a 2.8 50mm that dates from my school days. At some point I would like to lay my hands on a 28mm and a 35mm. they also made a few telephotos 75mm and I believe a 135mm but I have never seen one of those…

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Tiny florets a second time…

Tiny florets - another day another flower!

Olympus EM1 OMD ƒ/8  5s  60mmMacro lens with extension rings illuminated with Olympus macro lights.

These tiny perfumed florets are 2.5mm across the width of the petals so this image is about 5x life size on yours truly’s monitor. Setting a custom white balance on the EM1 is about as easy as it gets with any camera and a custom white balance is a must when photographing florets with the Olympus macro lights. These lights are set a half power which gives some idea of the lighting power that they are capable of. Flowers photographed with LED’s seem loose a bit of colour saturation.

About eight or ten years ago I made up some LED macro lights when they first became available specifically for photographing small items of jewellery I had two mini banks in clusters of three fixed behind a couple of Stofen flash diffusers it worked quite well until the transformer burnt out. After it happened a second time I gave up on the idea when a couple of the then expensive LED’s fried.  This is fairly common in Western Australia as our power supply tends to be quite dirty. Over the years we have many appliances die prematurely due to power fluctuations…

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DXO Olympus sensor comparisons

I just read some where on an older news feed (Rumors?) that the sensor in the Olympus EM-1 OMD is actually a Panasonic sensor and not a Sony as in the EM-5. So I decided to take a look, I know there is a lot of controversy about DXO comparison tests BUT at the present time like for like DXO is consistent at a glance for key factor stuff. Incidently I am seriously looking at incorporating DXO optics pro into my workflow as a RAW converter, its impressive. But I digress,  this sensor comparison is interesting especially with all the hype floating around about how good the Sony A7R and A7 are supposed to be.
Now I would not be so foolhardy as to suggest that the Sonys FF’s are a valid comparison to a micro 4/3  sensor but Panasonic have a certain likable image quality in their sensors that I find quite appealing. Its the same kind of difference on a larger scale between Leica lenses and Zeiss lenses I like both but have a soft spot for Zeiss because of the warmer colour render, that probably comes form using the Zeiss M42 glass in the 60’s and 70’s. As I see things at this juncture in time we have the Sony, Panasonic, Fuji, Sigma and several others that all produce different sensors and all have a real discernible look about them. Much in the same way that was the difference between films, now there’s fodder for a good discussion!
However how small, there is a difference between the E-M5 and the E-M1, while I haven’t used the E-M1 to any extent I’m so tempted to switch, maybe I’ll convert the E-M5 to IR. The E-M1 feels so right in the hand and the controls perfectly fit my fingers when the camera is raised to the eye which I struggled with on the E-M5. Fact is I have had real problems with it on the E-M5. Without the extra grip I have almost dropped the camera twice while changing lenses. The other features that make it for me? The WiFi capability for sure, a back focus button capability that I surely miss on the E-M5 and the weather sealing, but its the ergonomics that are the clincher (LOL) for me.
For small product work and real-estate shooting micro four thirds really has come of age and become a workable professional tool I can’t see any reason to return to a DSLR…
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