From Steve: Today I want to thank Barnaby Robson for these gorgeous images which goes to show what a camera like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 can do when in good hands. Thanks Barnaby!
A journey in gear
For me, it all started in 2010 with a GF1 + 20mm and 7-14mm lenses.
I loved the small size and relative to a P&S, the image quality, ability to control depth of field, and the focus speed. But the low light performance still wasn’t good enough.
In 2012, the Olympus 45mm, E-M5 and Leica 25mm followed (inspired by stevehuffphoto.com). And they were wonderful. I was a happy photographer: learning, getting technical, becoming more aware more capable and… taking better pictures.
But I was getting full frame IQ lust.
And then… I picked up the Olympus 75mm on my way through Bangkok on route to Yangon. Before purchasing I was worried about:
• The size and weight
• How often I would use the full frame 150mm equivalent focal length
Firstly it feels right at home on the E-M5, and is very similar in proportions to the Panasonic 7-14mm. Compared to all my other lenses the construction is something else, the cool metal feels and looks wonderful in the hand, with the right heft, the focus ring just glides, the lens text is inscribed in the metal… it just feels wonderful. I’ve never had so many complements about a camera-lens combination.
And as to whether I would use the lens, it’s absolutely my favourite by a mile. I had all my other lenses with me in Burma, but the 75mm remained strapped to the E-M5 as I made my way around the streets of Yangon, across the plains of Bagan, over Inle lake and up Mandalay Hill. The focus is ultra fast and true, including handheld in low light with the lens wide open, the IQ is visibly better than through my other m4/3 lenses and it allows you to achieve genuine shallow depth of field. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking.
A real journey (in pictures)
Exif: 1/400 sec at f2.5, ISO 200
Notes: One of my first shots in Yangon. Taxi E-7959 stopped at the lights. As I lifted my lens, he looked across. Was so pleased with the accuracy of the focus on this one.
Exif: 1/400 sec at f2.8, ISO 200.
Post processing: Cropped then edited with an Alien Skin Exposure 4 preset (can’t recall which) to bring out the vibrancy.
Notes: Love the vibrancy, clarity and depth of field from the 75mm in this shot.
Exif: 1/80 sec at f1.8, ISO 3200.
Post processing: Cropped, but otherwise straight from camera,
Notes: Taken on the other side of four-lane Mahabandoola Road (busiest road in Yangon). I could see the opp for a great photo (looks like a scene from a 1970s movie to me), but kept on getting interrupted by traffic passing across the field of view. Finally there was a gap in the traffic and the camera/lens hit the nail on the head first time. Shot handheld.
Exif: 1 1/320 sec at f 2.5, ISO 200.
Post processing: Edited with the Alien Skin Exposure 4, Fuji Provia 100f preset.
Exif: 1/800 sec at f3.5, ISO 200.
Post processing: I spent more time then I care to remember bringing out the colours to the desired taste in Lightroom.
Notes: The Bagan sunsets were absolutely stunning. Easily the highlight of the trip.
Exif: 1/60 sec at f 1.8, ISO 3200.
Post processing: Edited in Alien Skin Exposure 4 to bring out the blue-black haze (the dark areas were brown in the raw file). Finished off with a vignette.
Notes: Shot handheld (as were all these photos). This is probably my favourite shot from the trip. Again, this wouldn’t have been possible on m4/3 pre E-M5.
Exif: 1/640 sec at f 8.0. ISO 200.
Post processing: Edited heavily in lightroom to bring out the colours, vibrancy and tones, from a rather flat raw file. It’s brilliant how malleable the E-M5 raw images are.
Notes: Inle Lake fishermen are renowned for practicing this distinctive rowing style, which involves standing at the stern on one leg and wrapping the other leg around the oar. Shot handheld from a moving boat. The light was excessively bright. The 75mm has a lot of glass and suffers from lens flare – I would recommend buying the very expensive but beautifully constructed Olympus hood.
Exif: 1/400 sec at f 6.3. ISO 200.
Post processing: Edited in Lightroom – played with the vibrancy, temp and tint to bring out the blues & greens to my taste.
Notes: The guy on the left is wearing a ‘Fuck the Police’ T-shirt. Given Myanmar is still a hardcore military state, I think this is so cool.
Exif: 1/100 at f 4.0. ISO 200.
Post processing: Edited in Lightroom – used split toning to bring out the yellow – green colour scheme.
Notes: U Bein bridge was absolutely mystical. I was worried there would be loads of tourists, but there were blissfully few.
Exif: 1/500 sec at f3.2
Post processing: Edited in Lightroom – using colour settings and graduated filters to bring out the mist and greens.
It should come as no surprise that I am in love with this beautiful lens. Something about it has gotten me to take more photos in the last four months than I have in the last two years combined. In fact, this lens is one of the impetuses for a current travel lust that I haven’t felt for many a year — I want an exotic subject on which to use it. The lens is looking for a muse…
If you want to see more from the 75mm (and me) check out: http://www.flickr.com/photos/barnabyrobson