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Where to go from here? A discussion.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by TNcasual, Nov 7, 2017.

  1. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    One of the greatest aspects of mft in general and mu-43.com in specific is the diversity of usage of the gear. The system allows for those who actually make a living with their cameras or those who just want a something that takes sharp photos with a camera that fits in a purse or jacket pocket. The forum allows or each of those groups, and everyone in between, to have a place to bring together experiences and help each other grow as photographers. I am a serious amateur. I am not overly knowledgeable in optic design, the intricacy of the exposure triangle, or even what all my equipment can do. I just enjoy making pictures for myself and sharing what I create with others. Maybe I can help others in their hobby/passion, maybe I can't. But others sure do help me in mine.

    Over the last few years that I have been in the system and part of mu-43.com I have reached out for opinions on what I should buy next, or what to trade up for, let go. It has always been great advice. That has led me to my current kit. I am pretty happy with what I have. I realize there are holes (UWA, fast telephoto, etc), but I am pretty content with my current set up.

    For clarification here is how I tend to use my equipment:
    • Bodies
      • Olympus E-M10 - Main camera, I use it almost exclusively. Love the size and Live Composite.
      • Olympus E-M5 - My inclement weather/hiking camera and second body. It tends to sit on the shelf unless I want two bodies and/or need the weather sealing.
    • Native Lenses
      • Olympus 14-150ii - General lens. Used with the E-M5 for weather sealed kit. Also used for travel for its versatility. While IQ falls off pretty quickly with light, I still get some good results.
      • Olympus 60 - More than a macro. Takes great landscape and architecture shots. Also great when playing with Live Composite. My next camera gear purchase will most likely be macro lighting to really make it shine.
      • Panasonic 14 + GWC - For when I want absolute compactness. I don't use the GWC much, but hate to sell it because it does give me my widest FL. It does introduce some distortion, though. Unfortunate when shooting architecture.
      • Panasonic 100-300 - My long telephoto. Used for wildlife and such. I also like it for its capability to create great bokeh, I think it is underappreciated for this.
      • Sigma 30 1.4 - My go to lens. Gives great results, has outstanding lowlight ability. It tends to be my most comfortable FL.
    • Adapted Lenses
      • Leica Elmarit-R 28 2.8 - This is probably my favorite lens. As with the Sigma 30, I "see" in this focal length. It is sharp, contrasty and just fun to shoot with. It is hyperfocal at f5.6 which makes a great street shooting lens.
      • Leica Summicron-R 50 2 - This lens brings out my creativity. It is my go to for long exposure and foggy landscape shots.
      • Leica Macro-Elmar-R 100 4 - This lens/bellows is big and heavy. It rarely leaves the house or yard. It is slow to use, but is great for playing with Live Composite and other creative ideas.
      • Kipon Baveyes Leica R Focal reducer - I got this to add some versatility to my Leica R lenses. So far I am a little disappointed in the results. I need to do some more testing with it.
      • Super Takumar 50 1.4 - The legendary rendering just makes this a fun lens. I don't use it as much as I should.
      • Super Takumar 105 2.8 - My last purchase (spur of the moment.) It has the great rendering as well. It is not tack sharp, but it still pulls in great detail - its hard to explain. I think I will really like it.
      • Agfa Color Telinear 130 4 - From my father's old Agfa Ambi Silette. It's soft, but gives a very clean result. I tend to add in a tube to get closer focussing - otherwise the minimum focal distance is ~10 feet.
      • Steinheil München 75 3.5, Kaligar 1.5" 1.9, Fujian 35 1.7 - These I don't shoot with much. The SteinHeil Munchen is an enlarger lens that is an extremely sharp macro. The Kaligar is an 8mm movie lens that only close focuses and has a strong vignette. I just never got comfortable with the Fujian.
    With all of that being said, I would like to see what other's opinions might be. I am not looking to satisfy any GAS, I just would like tap into some of the knowledge of mu-43.com.

    Am I missing anything?
    Where should I stretch myself?
    What should I spend more time/money on improving/exploring?
    Should I give it all up and start collecting spoons?
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2017
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 2
  2. rloewy

    rloewy Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 5, 2014
    I find that I love the O75-300 and the super-long telephoto lens seem to be the biggest thing missing from your kit. It is not used all the time - but there are places where a very long zoom is really wonderful.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    Oops, I for got to add that I have the Panasonic 100-300. I will make the edit.
  4. Turbofrog

    Turbofrog Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 21, 2014
    If you want a cheap solution to expand your vision a bit in a totally different direction, I would recommend the Samyang 7.5mm/f3.5 fisheye. Everyone raves about the image quality, and it's significantly wider than any rectilinear lens. Very small, light, and affordable. Great for hiking, and focuses very close so it can give you some really, really interesting images as a result.

    Totally different from anything that you've currently got in your kit, so it might help you to "see" differently.
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Like Like x 1
  5. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    Well it's hard not to see that as GAS pure and simple.

    I didn't see anything about what you do with it...photographicly, anything about what a piece was for... Some photos?

    Perhaps into restraint on buying gear without some reason?

    for some photography is an expression, others a documentary assist tool. I would look into the why for you. It wont cost much money but may take time.

    Depending in the answers you find in the above reflection perhaps.

    Some food for that process
    in my view ...: Gearing towards a photographic vision
    • Winner Winner x 2
    • Like Like x 1
  6. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    As I said, I am not looking for gear exclusively. I am content in my equipment. I am looking for ideas on what might be interesting photographic avenues to pursue, that could be gear or that could be techniques.

    As for images. Here is my Flickr account. (as it is in my signature)
  7. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I have considered a fisheye a few times. I am afraid I would like the novelty of it for awhile, then get tired of the distortion. The Laowa lens looks interesting, too. I remember seeing some close-up images with it, or one of the Kowa lenses. Ultra wide angle macro (close-up not real macro) was an interesting concept. Might actually be fun with some of my Live Composite work, too.
  8. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    I see you falling into a trap that I recently escaped from here. I'd collected lenses that covered all focal lengths without actually looking at what I photograph and what I need. I have recently had a big sort out and sold those lenses that, while technically adding something to my kit, never get used because I don't take those photographs. A great example. Is the olympus 50-200mm with teleconverter. We have all seen posts waxing lyrical about the value it offers - but I never shoot long telephoto, so it's just a large paperweight in my bag.

    I wonder if it is worth turning the question around - its not about what gear you are missing, it's about what pictures do you want to take that you can't right now. Sometimes the answer to that question will be gear-related (I wanted a wide angle that could provide shallow depth of field for example, so splashed out for the 17.5 f/0.95); others it will be opportunity - a trip away, a model to work with; and sometimes it might be up-skilling with what you have, with a local workshop or post production skills. Look at great photos, get inspired, and go from there.

    I'm not sure if this is helpful, sorry! I'm not trying to criticise, but I think gear is a trap we can all fall into forgetting the main goal: take better photos.
    • Like Like x 2
  9. ionian

    ionian Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 20, 2016
    Kent, UK
    While I've been writing that I can see you've clarified that it's not just gear you are looking at, so here's what I suggest: get over to 500px, to tribe archipelago, to other sites where great photos are easy to find, and see what inspires you. Then you will see the path forwards.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. Mountain

    Mountain Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 2, 2013
    I love that lens, and totally agree. I think you could use a "fun" lens, and there is something about a fisheye that is just fun. My last have couple of lens purchases have been some very old Kodak Cine Lenses (63mm and 102mm), that seem to have a little bit of a cult following on this site, mostly for their semi-macro ability and swirly bokeh. I categorize them as fun, also. I don't care for the results for distant subjects, but close up nature stuff really seems to make them shine. Both these options (7.5 FE and Kodak Cine lenses) make me slow down, and get interesting shots of "boring" subjects.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  11. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    Sell the P100-300 and 14-150 and get a 12-100. That lens is special if you don't mind the size. Though you might want a partial grip to use it all the time. You could pretty much keep that lens, your 14mm pancake (for compact kit) and a favorite prime and be set for most needs. The 12-100 has yet to disappoint me in the little time I've had it. Great IQ, Contrast, resolution, Bokeh, punch, weatherproof, do all, portrait, close focus...etc.

    For what EM1's are listing for used you could also get that + 50-200 +MMF for long reach if you need the specialty. If size/weight is non issue.

    If you need ultra wide the 9-18mm is nice, but only you know what you need.
  12. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I browse Flickr regularly. I have also been using instagram the last few months. (follow me) I tend to be drawn towards B&W, abstract and landscapes. The suggestion of learning now PP techniques is something I should really look into. I need to learn more in that area, especially for landscapes. As it is now, I get lucky when a landscape shot turns out as well as I would like.
  13. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I think I would really like the results of the 12-100. But it couldn't replace the reach of the 100-300. It is also pretty pricey. Down the road, I may look into replacing my 14-150 with a used copy.

    Last winter/spring I had the opportunity of using a Oly 12-40 for an extended time. It did give great results, but I found it unbalanced on my E-M10. That led me to the Sigma 30. I may just be more of a prime shooter, at least until I hit telephoto FLs.
  14. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    it was not intended to offend you ... did you read the blog post?

    I thought that was of some value to your ruminations. Myself I don't seek anyone to "tell me what to do" rather I seek something to feed into my process which adds value. I tried to do that (than just suggest some specific bit of equipment).
  15. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I agree with what is said in the blog post. I would also go a bit further: From my own experience, the process of using adapted lenses slows down the image capturing process. This allows for more deliberate choices and for greater creativity. That is why I always carry some adapted lens with me. They may not be as absolute perfect as a modern AF/AE lens, but they help me think more and be more creative.

    Which brings me to another point. Photography is my creative outlet. While I do use it for documentation, I get the greatest satisfaction from it when stretching my creativity. I like to think that I do some things that others do not. This may or may not be true. This is also why I started this thread - to maybe inspire some new avenues to pursue.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    I think what you might be missing (or I might have missed) is one of the greatest accesories for the E-M10: the ECG-1 grip. It makes the camera with the 12-40mm a breeze to handle, and it's a real asset with the 100-300mm as well (I own the MkII version of that lens, including the third-party tripod collar - another great piece of kit). Honestly, I no longer use the E-M10 without the grip, it's far too comfortable to miss. I mainly shoot the 12-40mm, the Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and the Sigma 60mm f/2.8 (you have the Olympus 60mm - an even more desirable lens) with the gripped combo and find all of them much more joyful to use this way.

    btw. I also own the Samyang 7.5mm f/3.5 - and as has been stated various times, it's great fun to shoot with (and it gives prime results as well). But nowadays, there's also the Laowa 7.5mm f/2 rectilinear lens - another very compelling performer in the super-wide category. But in my view, both lenses are pretty much speciality items - you have to be into that kind of shooting to really appreciate either of them. I do adore the results from the Samyang, but truth be told, I hardly ever use it (I took it with me on my last journey and didn't even use it once). Even on FF, 21mm (10.5mm on :mu43:) is the widest I ever use with any kind of confidence ...

  17. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    I think its true of all of us that we do things others don't. Perhaps my blog post and initial reply didn't give you any direction (I mean, how could I , I hardly know you) but the suggestions to reflect should and may.

    A friend (twice) has challenged me to a 365 photo a day thing on Facebook ... doing that did something for me. Perhaps you?
  18. TNcasual

    TNcasual Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Dec 2, 2014
    Knoxville, TN
    I need to apologize. The thread title originally said "Where to go from here? A discussion on gear." That was my initial idea. However, as I formed my thoughts, I realized a discussion on gear was not what I had in mind. Rather it was a more general discussion on any aspect of photography that could be used to further the pursuit. Just new ideas, or restating of old ones to bring them new light.

    I just want help to grow and/or help others to grow.
  19. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 10, 2010
    Kiillarney, OzTrailEYa
    I come from film, from contemplating each image. I start with an idea and then the execution of that idea leads me to further it.

    I frequently go out with my m43 camera just to make one image or explore an idea.

    So for me creativity comes from my mind. The gear just facilitates that.

    True its a cyclical process, with learning the looks we get with [insert gear or processes] we can envision more.

    I don't look for inspiration in others work, for me personally that feels like a process of replicating what they do or did.

    I found you can't force creativity, but I can say being out and doing it does help. Taking a million images on a walkabout just clouds and pollutes for me.

    Being in a new place (like one I seldom visit) helps me sometimes. Like when I go to Finland from Australia

    What helps you?
  20. Gerard

    Gerard Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 12, 2015
    Vleuten, Utrecht
    Time to think outside the box (pun intended): do some exercises in drawing. It forces you to look real hard.
    Learning to look or put in other words learning to see will help your photography. It does for me.
    It teaches me to look at colours as colours, to forms as forms. It helps with composition, and it tells me to be loose, just follow the right side of the brain.
    The gearstuff, with all its focal lengths, its fringing, its sharpness, its wide open and its hyperfocal is all in the wrong side of the brain. It is all true, but in the end of the day.........

    Just a thought, maybe it helps :) 
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
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