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New Year's Walk and Last post here on OlyAllTheTime

Happy New Year folks.  Hope you are all set for 2018! I know I am getting there. Not there yet, but at least on the path. I spent the last day of 2017 the exact same way as I spent the first day of 2017. Out in the woods, in the cold, in the snow hiking, thinking and taking pictures. It was perfect and absolutely my favorite place to be.

After great deliberation, I have decided to officially close down this Oly All The Time website  & blog. I am not renewing the subscription for the coming year. While I have high hopes to shoot a lot more in 2018 I want to focus on photography and not on gear. I also want to manage time and money and only keep and maintain one website.

If you were not aware, I do write and manage a personal blog at www.imaginegnat.com. That is my primary location here and the single site I plan to use to share images and words going forward. I sure hope you head over there and give me a follow. 

It's been great. Thanks for all the support. Hope to see you out there!  

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Morning Walk with Olympus Pen F and 45 f1.2

I haven’t shared much about the new Olympus 45 f1.2. Why you ask?  I have not been in the mood to shoot. Its been cold. Really cold. Well below zero for many days. I also dont like shooting indoors   

But today i grabbed the camera for the morning dog walk.  It was -15 below zero so I only got a few snaps before my hands froze and the tiny battery in the Pen F started blinking red. But in short, this new Olympus 45 f1.2 Pro lens is dreamy. Seriously dreamy.  These are SOOC with my custom Monotone Setting 2. Nothing too great but a few examples of what this lens is capable of.

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More to come in the coming days and months.  Now where is that 17 f1.2.......  

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A quick trip to Taiwan with the Panasonic GM5 -The Ultimate Travel Camera

Black and White - Panasonic GM5 with Laowa 7.5

Black and White - Panasonic GM5 with Laowa 7.5

Recently, I made another work trip to Taiwan. We have an apartment in Taichung City and I have come quite comfortable walking the streets. I've shared and written in the past about these trips, they are work first, photography second...Or third.

My methodology to deal with the 13 hour switch in time zones is to walk in the evenings when I fel tired. If I am at the apartment, I tend to fall asleep and not adjust to the new environment and location. When I walk, I always take my camera. Over the past 15 years traveling oversees I have taken a few different cameras including the original Pen EP1, GM5, GX8 and Sony A7rii.  Each one brings it's own pluses and minuses. Given I would have little time to myself on my most recent trip, I took the small and powerful Panasonic GM5 with a Loawa 7.5 f2 and a Mitakon 25 f.95. I just wanted small and light and hoped to come home with a few keepers.

To be fair, the GM5 is quirky and mildly irritating camera. It's slow. It's got a small battery. The EVF is awful. The LCD is tiny, doesn't tilt and isn't the right aspect ratio. But you know what, it has become one of my favorite cameras of all time because it's small and the output matches the expectation. I paid $299 for this camera. It's a beautiful camera and for that price, it has beutiful images. For those reasons, I always can have it with me and I absolutely love it! 

As I have written, I did not shoot that much. Just a few evening walks when I wasn't at a dinner party with our partners. Here are a few pics. Leave a comment if you any questions about the images.

The first two are titled Room with a View. I love how quickly the weather changes here. Always a different mood. Both were shot with Mitakon, a fine lens but tough to focus with the little GM5.

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Black and White - Taiwan Fine Arts Museum

Black and White - Taiwan Fine Arts Museum

X Marks the spot - Taiwan Fine Arts Museum - GM5 with Laowa 7.5

X Marks the spot - Taiwan Fine Arts Museum - GM5 with Laowa 7.5

Red Racer - GM5 with Laowa 7.5

Red Racer - GM5 with Laowa 7.5

And one last shot. After almost 20 hours these neon lines at O'hare airport were messing with me.

Where am I and where are you taking me? - GM5 with Mitakon 25 f.95

Where am I and where are you taking me? - GM5 with Mitakon 25 f.95

And thats a wrap. I am already planning my next trip and now that I have purchased a Pen F, I am certain that will be my camera for the next trip. Stay tuned! 

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Contemplation - Olympus EM1 Mark ii or Panasonic G9

My favorite pour - Olympus Pen F with 45 f1.2

My favorite pour - Olympus Pen F with 45 f1.2

I spent almost 9 hours in the car yesterday with much of that time spent pondering the Olympus EM1 Mark ii versus the new Panasonic G9. 

I am an Oly man at heart. Always have been. I love the colors and absolutely love Oly lenses. But dang it Panasonic has been really doing well with their recent cameras bodies and lenses (albeit for their overall lack of consistent visual design). 

There are three things that I really dont like about the EM1ii and they apply to almost all Olympus cameras.  

1 - The underspec’d EVF. Even at launch the EM1II EVF was under spec’d and now it really shows and undermines a premium spec camera. This is a huge mistake on Olympus’ part. 

2 - Buttons everywhere  

3 - Deep and complex menues

The new G9 hits every single unchecked box of the EM1ii, at least for me. I particularly like all the stills features and after shooting the EM1ii in the dark alot in 2017 the lighted features with small LCD of the G9 really speak to me. Not to mention the huge EVF and simpler controls & menues. While I love the EM1ii its easy for my eyes to wonder.  

But....And there is a big but.  But, Panasonic has nothing to compete with the Olympus 40-150 2.8 Pro lens. Sure Panasonic has a rumored Panaleica 50-200 coming but that isn't even announced yet much less delivered any time soon. Sure you can use the amazing Olympus 40-150 but not with all the capabilty of Panasonic DFD focusing technology. This is the one big hang up I personally have. Aside from the lens gole and the fact I think the camera is kinda ugly, the overall package sure looks good.

I have handled the camera only for a moment at a local demo and it is an absolutely beautifully spec’d camera that I likely will own one day. The EM1ii still stands out though with Oly color, live time and a personal familiarity that makes it unlikely that I can let it go.  I will absolutely shoot them side by side and compare. Soon I hope as the Panasonic is supposed to ship mid January.  

More to come on this subject.  

 

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All I Want for Christmas is an Olympus 17 f1.2 Pro Lens!

Christmas Joy - Olympus Pen F with Olympus 45 f1.2

Christmas Joy - Olympus Pen F with Olympus 45 f1.2

As we make final preparations for our family Christmas I also must make my selection for camera and lenses that I intend to bring and shoot at our family Christmas gathering. While I haven't shot the new Olympus 45 f1.2 pro very much, I can tell you it is a true joy to use and shoot. It for sure is coming with me.  But, I'd be lying if I wasn't disappointed a little that Olympus delivered the 17 and 45 at different times with the 45 delivering 1st. 

I have wanted and waited for a premium 35 equivalent FOV lens for so long. Countless times I have talked myself out of the Voigtlander 17.5, mainly because I want AF with my primary lens.  I have been secretly hoping Santa Claus will surprise me and deliver it to my camera store early!

So....What is making the cut for Christmas?  Olympus Pen F with new JB Camera Designs grip along with the Panasonic 15 f1.7 and the 45 f1.2. That's it. Simple, light and powerful. 

If I don't get another posting up between now and the new year, thanks to all for the support here and Happy Holidays!

 

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Hunker Down

Bundle Up and Hunker Down - Pen F with Panasonic 15 f1.7

Bundle Up and Hunker Down - Pen F with Panasonic 15 f1.7

Its cold and rainy and the snow is about to fall.  Time to bundle up and hunker down. Hope to wake up with some actual snow on the ground. Fingers crossed.  

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Jensen Lake Sunrise

Jensen Lake sunrise - Olympus Pen F with Panasonic 15 f1.7

Jensen Lake sunrise - Olympus Pen F with Panasonic 15 f1.7

I mentioned in the last post that our late autumn/early winter sunrises have been spectacular lately. I can't seem to get enough of them either. I made it out yesterday morning for an early hike and stumbled into another great light and color show. The air quality and temperature make the colors just so pure and lovely. The super thin layer of ice on the lake also played into the picture above. 

I shot the image with the Olympus Pen F and Panasonic 15 f1.7, a combination I adore. This is a straight OOC jpeg shot with the vibrant setting. I must say though that I wished I had an even wider lens for the shot but the saying "Use what you brung!" pushed me to get the shot.  

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Morning Light

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Our late fall sunrises and sunsets have been just spectacular. Usually I am walking the dog, but yesterday I snuck out for a quick walk on my own. I am still getting a feel for the new Olympus 45 f1.2 pro lens.  Still need more time but its fairly obvious its a spectacular lens. 

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First Pictures with the new Olympus 45 f1.2 Pro lens!

While I wish the 17 f1.2 pro lens arrived first, you can't always get what you want. I sold my Panasonic 42.5 f1.2 and picked up the new Olympus 45 f1.2. It's a beauty! The images are so clean and transitions are so smooth. It needs real testing, but here are a two of the first pics from this lens.

Haakon is really motoring around the house!

Haakon is really motoring around the house!

The long view on the long way home

The long view on the long way home

I have another trip next week and I hope to shoot this lens a bunch. More thoughts and pictures to come. It's a beauty though. Not sure it really justified selling the Panasonic 42.5 but whats done is done. More to come.

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A week in New York with the Olympus Pen F - A quick user review

I spent the week in New York City with an an Olympus Pen F. I've rented on in the past as well as written about how I am smitten with the Pen F.  I finally found one for a fair price and bought a used one. I left for New York with only three lenses, the 15mm Panasonic f1.7,  Laowa 7.5 f2 MFT wide angle. and a rented Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 version ii.  I also packed a mini tripod and an extra battery. That's it. It all fit in a small Ona bag.  What were my thoughts and experiences with the Pen F and this kit?!

First some pictures. I will start with the black and whites.

The Pen F was an amazing companion in NYC. I always had it on me. Much of the time I was shooting the manual focusing Laowa 7.5 and just set aperture to f5.6 set at infinity and pretty much everything was in focus. I was really grooving on the ultra wide field of view.  I think everyone whom has reviewed the Pen f has commented on the design, the great sensor and the black and white modes.

I, too, will comment in saying that I think the Pen F is a beautifully built camera. I did use the black and white JPEGs but must admit, that in the end, I still prefer my own BW conversions. I was also impressed with what I was able to pull from the RAW files (in Lightroom).

The camera performed flawlessly with no shut downs, or issues. It handled light rain and some ocean spray from the ferry. Only once did I put the second battery in. It's quick to focus (it does slow down in low light). In the end, I shot about 1000 images in New York, some of which I share here.

All was not perfect though. My biggest problem is actually the On/Off switch. It's beautiful and functions well, but I left the camera on often and quite frankly with the touch screen and all the buttons and knobs, I often brought the camera to my eye with wonky settings. I also struggled to trust the EVF brightness. I noted this with the EM1 Mark ii when I went to Iceland earlier in the year. I often underexposed the shot. I have to correct this habit and use the histogram.

But all in all, I had a blast shooting this camera.

A couple of notes on the lenses. Nothing too deep here. If you have a question about any of these lenses, please leave a comment.

- The Panasonic 15mm f1.7 is a dreamy little lens. It's a gem. Great color, contrast and of what I brought, superior image quality. It was by far the best lens I had with me, but I wanted wider.

- Laowa 7.5 - Pretty capable and fun, but not in the same league as the Panasonic 15. Just not as sharp, not as good of color or contrasty

- Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 version ii - I really did not like this lens. It had a tough time focusing and I only used it for something like 3 shots.

Now, for the color shots.

Honestly, I came home wishing that that the next Olympus Pen model would be a scaled down version of what I went with. Simple design. Less buttons. A tilt screen instead of flip out. A higher quality EVF. I little more weight to the camera.

But in the end, I was very pleased with the images and that I had a camera that was really un obtrusive. If I went back again, I'd definitely take the Pen F, but would likely take a different lens trio, something like the Panasonic 12 f1.4, and the new 17 & 45 Olympus Pro f1.2 lenses!

 

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New York City with the Olympus Pen F

I just spent the week with the Pen F in New York City. My kids marched and performed in the 2017 Macy's Day Thankgiving Parade. How cool is that, right?!  Here is a quick preview. All images shot with Pen F, converted from RAW in camera and sent to phone for editing. I am downloading now and will post a real set of images likely this weekend.  Until then, here is a preview.  

Image 1 - Sponge Bob. Shot with Laowa 7.5 f2 wide angle

Image 2 - Take my picture - The Met. Shot with Laowa 7.5 f2 wide angle

Image 3 - Shapes and shadows - Shot with Panasonic Leica 15mm f1.7

Image 4 - Lady Liberty - Shot with Panasonic Leica 15 f1.7

I had an amazing trip. So many good images. Can't wait to share more images and thoughts on the Olympus Pen F.

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Haakon's 1st Birthday

Been out and about exploring life with not much blogging. Lots going on. Just a super quick post with a pic or two from Haakon's 1st birthday.  All shot with the EM1II and 25 f1.2. What an amazing combo.    

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What a fun day with family and friends.  Hope you all had a great one too!  

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Happy Father's Day

Almost walking - OMD EM1II with Olympus 25 f1.2

Almost walking - OMD EM1II with Olympus 25 f1.2

We spent the weekend away with family.  My wife's brother is celebrating Father's Day for the first time.  What a special boy and amazing time we had.  Hope you all did too.   

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Morning light

Morning light - Sturgeon Lake, MN - Olympus OMD EM1II with 12-100 f4

Morning light - Sturgeon Lake, MN - Olympus OMD EM1II with 12-100 f4

Woke up to this. Beautiful light on a beautiful morning. Grabbed the EM1II and 12-100 and ran out to the dock. Haven't shot this combo in a while and I am once again blown away by the stabilization in this camera body & lens combo. 

Hope you had a great morning too.   

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Layers

Layers - Panasonic GH5 with Olympus 12-100

Layers - Panasonic GH5 with Olympus 12-100

Took a quick walk in the woods before heading north with family, bike and camera.  Beautiful morning in the woods.  Carried GH5 and 12-100. For the record , I am not liking these two together but it's what I had. But I made the best of it.  

in other news my 8-18 Panasonic zoom came in but I can't grab it prior to leaving today so I will pick it up next week. Excited as I have missed super wide capabilities for some time. 

Have a great weekend folks.   

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A bright spot on a not so bright day

I chased my kids around to soccer matches all weekend. I didn't carry a camera on Saturday but I wanted something on Sunday so grabbed the GH5 and Oly 12-100 to experiment on the sidelines. 

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Unfortunately I did not get a chance to shoot as before the games even started the skies opened up with lightning, severe wind & rain followed by hail. We took shelter in our car and hoped for the best.  

Thankfully my daughter's smile was a bright spot of the day.  

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Of note in my brief moments of operation I am not sure that either of the 12-100 or the GH5 image stabilization work at all when paired together. While taking shelter in the car I searched the internet for information.  The few articles and threads on DPReview were not from actual experience but speculation. In use the 12-100 doesn't seem to work  very well on the GH5. I will do some more experimentation and report back but if any of you readers have personal experiences or info please leave me a comment.  

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Blowout

Blowout - Panasonic GH5 with 42.5 f1.2

Blowout - Panasonic GH5 with 42.5 f1.2

Every time I get more serious about photography I lose my interest and find myself ill and dis satisfied. I don't like my images, I don't like my gear, and so on & on. It culminates in a blowout wit me wanting to sell it all and shoot a point and shoot film camera. 

Thankfully photography isn't where my income comes from and when I get to this point, I set the camera down and do some other things. I ride my bike. I drive my RC cars. I shoot a Fuji Instax.   

That is where I am now. I hope to find that joy and inspiration in shooting again soon.  I am confident it will return soon. 

Hope all of you are having more luck than me with your shooting.   

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Oriental Poppy Flowers

Full Bloom - Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic 42.5 f1.2

Full Bloom - Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic 42.5 f1.2

It is always a special time when these beautiful flowers bloom. Every year my wife and I are elated when the glorious orange petals show themselves. Given the blooms pretty much only last a couple of days I always try to snap a picture or two for the other 360 or so days of the year.  Here is my favorite shot of the morning.  

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Field Testing the Panasonic GH5

I am out testing the GH5 and I must say I am impressed! Really impressed in fact. All cameras have some issues though. Thankfully I am not having any critical issues with the GH5, only a few minor annoyances or niggles. More later after more testing. 

Here are a few shots from my first real outing with the Panasonic GH5. More to come.  

So far, so good.  More to come. 

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1st Quick Outing with the GH5

Convergence - Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic 12 f1.4

Convergence - Panasonic GH5 with Panasonic 12 f1.4

I had a quick, family outing yesterday with the GH5. Only shot about 100 frames. I am very impressed with this camera. I need some time to master the controls and learn about best settings for continuous autofocus, but I am certainly impressed. In fact, other than jpeg color output and hi res mode, I think I prefer it over the EM1 Mark II.

I know all these things are personal preference and your results may vary, but I am impressed so far with the following.

- EVF - Wow is it awesome. I do wish the refresh rate was a bit higher, but it is huge and bright and clear. I can't wait to try manual focusing with vintage glass.

- Controls - They are in a good place and feel great to me. The only thing I strongly dislike are control wheels on the back and the GH5 still has one. But, I do love the layout and the controls do work for me.

- Grip - It feels solid in hand and I like the larger size, especially with the 42.5 f1.2. I will try it with the 100-400 later this week too.

So far, I am impressed. More to come.

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