Hans Groen

olympus om-d e-m1ii and my equipment

Currently I own an Olympus OM-D E-M1-ii — bought it in the beginning of July 2019, on advise of my partner who saw me having fun with pictures I took at a party of my choir. My main lens is the Olympus D Zuiko 12-60/2.8-4. For lighter travel, I have a Lumix 14/2.5, a Lumix 25/1.7, and the Lumix 35-100/4-5.6. I also have a Zuiko 50/1.8, the standard lens of my Olympus OM10.

Contax with Carl Zeiss 50/1.7, versus Olympus with Lumix 25/1.7. Size does matter, a bit. (Picture was made with my handy, an LG, just in case you were wandering about the low quality.)

I started out long ago with the Zenith-B. More serious work I did with the Olympus OM10, but in the time of film I felt it too expensive for more then on occasions shooting pictures. After I lost the camera, together with two lenses, on a trip, I did not do much photography, until I got the Minolta Dimage D7. With that camera, I felt free to experiment and further develop my skills. I mainly do landscapes, architecture, and unusual objects from unusual viewpoints. Nice flowers I pick along the road also, but I never know their names.

After the Minolta I went back to Olympus with the E330. The E330 came with a 14-45/3.5-4.6 and a 40-150/3.5-4.5. I got the D Zuiko 12-60/2.8-4 after a year, because I found the 14-45 a bit disappointing in quality; though I later on used it as walk around lens on a long trip where we had to pack lightly and then the results I found pleasantly satisfying — I think I developed my skills and art over time.

When the E330 started to feel outdated (8Mp + AA-filter), I looked for a replacement, knowing that would be difficult. I love my D Zuiko 12-60, but that lens is made for phase detection AF. That was only available at that moment with the E-M1, but in a bit of a rudimentary form. And in 2016, the E-M1 was a candidate for replacement in the Olympus line up. I tried the E-m10 when there was a sale of the original model, and judged the af-behaviour with the 3/4 lens to be acceptable. I traded in the kit lenses, sold the E330 to someone who needed the body, and got back to the routine I had developed with the Minolta D7: look at the EVF to adjust the exposure. And what an improvement the E-M10 was in that regard: a good EVF, 16mp, and no AA-filter — almost rediscovering photography! Despite the light mismatch between a Micro FT and an original Four Thirds lens, I got good results at street parties and was also able to use my old Zuiko 50mm to good result.

In the end, we concluded that we could just as well get a matching camera for the D Zuiko 12-60. At the moment of writing, July 2019, I am still discovering all the extras this camera has to offer, and already enjoying the jump in quality with the newer image sensor and better EVF. And with the fast af this camera offers again — faster also then the E330, as far as I remember it. And after reading an article about how to set the camera for birds in flight (on Mirrorless Comparison), I will certainly look for those subjects again (after I stumbled on pelicans in Loreto, years ago).

My gear right now

The D Zuiko 12-60mm/2.8-4 is my workhorse: bright and with an excellent reach, from 24mm wide angle to 120mm tele, in fullframe terms. The Lumix 25mm I got because I wanted a traditional prime; it is of course a much lighter lens and it makes a good set for a relaxed ‘traditional’ walk around.

The Lumix 14/2.5 I got recently as a handy pancake lens for the Oly E-M10; that made a compact combination for street photography and when on a day trip with my road bike. Very cute and a reliable and versatile wide angle.

The Lumix 35-100/4-5.6 I got as a telezoom for events — it is comparable to the 70-200mm that is widely used in these circumstances. This lens should add a bit of reach that the D Zuiko 12-60 lacks.

And then I still have a Zuiko 50mm/1.8, which produces amazing pictures, still; the lens is of course fully manual, and I sometimes hesitate using it, but I have made quite a few ‘keepers’ with this lens. It brings back more of the craft behind the art. It also teaches you that tests and blur units are not the final word: this lens tests quite mediocre, but I find the results at f4 very pleasing, with a smoothness that some modern designs lack.

Decommissioned

I traded in the kit lenses of my E330, one of which was the D Zuiko 40-150/3.5-4.5. Maybe I should have kept that one till phase detection af became available again. At the other side, I found the 40mm just a bit too much tele when shooting events.

As a walk around prime I first bought the Sigma 19mm/2.8. It was a bit of a hate-love. I struggled a bit with the angle of view which when relating it to the frame diagonal is more ‘normal’ than a 25mm. I quite often found that I wanted a slightly wider angle of view — maybe I was expecting something more towards a 35mm angle of view. The other issue I have with this lens is that it is a bit too sharp — the lines in the image are not fluid as with the D Zuiko (I find the Lumix lenses I have right now also less fluid than the Zuiko). Shooting on location, I dropped it on a table (not high, about 40cm), and it then refused to function (repair is more expensive than what I paid for this lens).