I seem to be in a flurry of shooting, writing, experimenting and posting lately. That is how it goes. Ups and downs of inspiration, opportunity and motivation. Lately I have found myself inspired. Partly because I driven to figure out my gear for the coming cycling and outdoor kids activities.
While many of the folks landing here are just as much interested in my my experiences with the Fuji X-T1, I am finding myself more interested in my EM1. Many may wonder why and in some ways I can't fully answer. The X-T1 is an incredible camera. However, when I need quickness and performance, I grab what I am most comfortable with and for me that is the EM1.
Recently I sold off my beloved Olympus SHG 35-100 f2 lens. It really is a show stopper of a lens, but for me it sort of defeated the purpose of m/43. I mean if I wanted to carry a lens that big and heavy I just as well lug a full size DSLR with a lightning quick 70-200 f2.8. It was doubly hard selling that knowing that I planned to purchase the diminutive Panasonic 35-100 f2.8 lens. I was completely set up to not like the Panasonic 35-100 given how beautiful the rendering was on my Oly 35-100. However, after a weekend of shooting, I have come to the conclusion it is a keeper.
While it may not give me the absolute performance, I believe this is a work horse type of lens for an aspiring micro 4/3 photographer. It does everything really well and yet nothing in an outstanding way. Here are things I like though.
- Size - It is small and light and mates well with the overall size/weight of the EM1. I prefer to use the grip when using a 70-200 equivalent. It just gives me more to hold onto and stabalise as I shoot. Of note, it is roughly the same size as my Olympus 12-40 pro lens.
- Internal focus - This lens has internal focus, thus the size never changes. I like that. Makes the system and size constant.
- Focus tracking - Works pretty well. More on that later. While I am not getting the keeper rating I once did with my Nikon D700 and 70-200, I am happy with my results.
- IQ - I like it. It's sharp. It give me the separation I desire. Overall, a great lens. Occasionally the bokeh is a bit noisy depending on back ground
- f2.8 aperture - Sure is nice to have the extra light gathering capabilities compared to some of the other short telephoto zooms for m4/3
Things I don't like
- Bokeh - As noted above. Not creamy and incredible like my old 35-100 f2.
- Lens based OIS when paired with Olympus body. I tried turning the Olympus IS off and using the lens based OIS which I prefer for sport shooting because I don't have to use menus to switch from stationary shooting with IS to panning. I ran into issues when doing this. I got some flickering in the EVF and I had more difficulty locking onto the subject. You can see this below in my series where I have sequences from 4 laps of the 1 mile race. Sequence 1 is the most out of focus and that was using the lens based IS. I turned it off and had more success on lap 2-4 with no flickering of the EVF.
The above picture is my favorite shot of the weekend. It is a full zoom to 100mm at f2.8. I like both the compression of the runners as they are about 50 yards apart as well as the isolation of my son.
But, I also thought I'd take this opportunity to share several focus tracking sequences taken consecutively on each of the 4 laps of his 1 mile race. I am sharing these un edited. I shot them RAW with zero adjustments, crops or anything is Lightroom. They ares straight exports. While I know I can get more out of the raw files, these sequences are more about the ability to focus and the starting point of images that one might get with this lens.
Lap 1 - Lens OIS on with in body IS turned off. This is where I had some trouble getting focus lock and some flickering/shimmering in my EVF. I imagine that this could be related movement, but it was odd and noticable. Lap 1 did not give me the best results. I quickly reframed and tried to relock, but was un successful. Sort of bummed because you can see my son smiled at me and I missed the shot! Darn it!
Lap 2 - I switched OIS off as well as internal IS off. I had much better results and in unscientific tests quicker lock on as well as success tracking as I slightly panned.
I also re-framed on lap two and the system quickly locked back on.
Lap 3 - Same settings - Sorry for the reverse order here. I was not able to reload these easily.
4th and final lap
Anyway, nothing scientific here, but I got some stuff I wanted and I like. If I were out there for paying gigs, I'd have to have a lot more experience with this kit or I'd want to use my old D700 and 70-200. But, for me I can be a dad and get some shots that I love. That is what matters and I think I found my combo that I intend to shoot in the coming outdoor track and soccer season. Now...Olympus please bring on the longer 40-150 pro zoom!
Lastly, as a side note - I must confess it is pretty darn fun to watch your son lead a race from start to finish! Really impressed by the drive and tenacity of my son and thankful that I have a few pictures that capture those moments.