I get a lot of questions about my techniques and equipment, and try my best to respond when I have time. Generally these dialogues stay hidden in emails, Facebook messages and Twitter DMs. Yesterday as I was responding to a question my friend John sent me about my choice of lenses for my Olympus Micro 4/3 system (my light and fast kit for long human-powered missions), I figured that there might be more people who would be interested in the discussion. Therefore, I introduce the Q&A concept on my blog, where I share questions and answers about my approach to photography. Without further ado, here’s the skinny on my lens selections for my Olympus E-M1 Micro 4/3 system.
Q: Hey Scott, How’s it going? Hope all is well. Hey I wanted to ask you something about the Olympus gear you have. I am looking at getting my wife one of the the Olympus mirrorless cameras (well maybe myself too and sell my D600) and wanted to ask want lenses you have, use or have used for yours and any opinions on them. I am looking at a few of them and have read all the reviews and what not but nice to get some input from someone who uses them. The ones I am looking at the the 9-18, the 12-50, the 12-40 2.8 and the 14-150. Thoughts? Others I should consider? Thanks. John
A: Hi John, Here’s my Olympus Lens kit:Olympus 9-18 – Super small and lightweight, a little bit of a pain to extend the lens to shoot, not the sharpest, but not bad. It’s fast enough, small enough and useful enough that I bring it everywhere I bring my Olympus camera.Olympus 12-40 2.8 – Badass. Tough, sharp, fast, weather sealed. The best zoom lens they have by far. This lens stays attached to the camera and is my go-to.Panasonic 35-100 2.8 – Very sharp and quick to focus, but for some reason, the camera motor drives slower with the Panasonic lens. I’ll replace this with the Olympus 40-150 2.8 lens when it’s released early next year. I almost always carry this lens with the kit.Olympus 14-150 – This used to be my go-to lens before they released the 12-40. It’s an incredible tool if you want to keep one lens on your camera 90% of the time, which has a huge speed benefit. It’s not as sharp as the 12-40, nor as fast to focus, but for what it is, the utility is amazing. It mostly stays in my gear locker, but when I need to go super light, I bring it out.Olympus 75-300 – With the 2x crop factor you get on a Micro 4/3 camera, this lens is the 35mm equivalent of a 150-600 and is smaller than my Nikon 24-70. Again, not the fastest or the sharpest lens in the world, but a 600mm lens that you can toss in a jacket pocket is a beautiful thing. Mostly reserved for special outings because even though it’s small for a 600, it’s big for a micro 4/3 kit.I’ve published photos in commercial and art environments with all of these lenses, so you needn’t be excessively concerned about issues with sharpness, etc.For the best bang for the buck, you may well be very happy with the 9-18 and 14-150. I was for years.
If you’d like to keep the conversation going or are looking for more info on this equipment, drop a note in the comments below. Also, let me know if you’d like me to keep sharing this type of content.
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