Last on the Card – December 2022

Just two. A couple went up on THE CHANGING SEASONS – DECEMBER 2022, but these I saved just for this post 😀

A bright early sunrise right at the Winter Solstice. It was almost 6 am — the days are at their shortest. This was taken using the Olympus OMD EM-1 M2 using a 100 – 300 mm Panasonic (Leica) lens. A wider lens would have produced a better pictures, but it was early and I was half asleep — AND I wasn’t wearing my glasses.
The Duke on the December 28, 2022

These were test shots for a new lens, the Sigma 56mm prime lens on the Olympus Pen F. Sigma doesn’t make many lenses for 4/3 mirrorless cameras — a total of 5. Two are “art” lenses that require manual focusing. Art lenses are not for people my age whose eyes are not what they used to be.

I have all three of the other Sigma lenses that fit my camera. One is the 30mm f2.8 macro lens. It’s sharp and does a good job, though it doesn’t get as close as my 60mm Olympus macro, though it also isn’t as temperamental as the Oly macro. I use both lenses. I think the Sigma lens seems sharper in low light than the Olympus.

I also own the standard 30mm f1.4 Sigma lens. It’s incredibly sharp and lets you shoot cleanly in very low light. It’s my alternate “normal” lens. I bought the 56mm f1.4 Sigma lens because I could. It’s a good portrait and general-use lens. Not as artistic as the Olympus 45mm portrait lens. It won’t give the beautiful bokeh you get with the Oly, but it’s a stop faster. These shots of the Duke were tests the day the lens arrived. It’s always hard to get both sides of Duke’s face since he’s got a dark and light side. This is not usually a problem with human subjects unless you know an odd group of people.

Both of the f1.4 lenses are great lenses in medium to low light, but are a bit too fast in very bright light. This is why changing lenses is useful. If you have the right lenses, you can get exactly what you want. It’s also good to know what you are planning to do while you are taking picture. No one I know is willing to carry all their lenses all the time. Pack your camera bag with what you think you will actually need and know that inevitably, you’ll want something you didn’t bring.

Sigma lenses are available for the Sony mirrorless and a couple of other brands. They are all reasonably priced at under $300 each. I don’t know if they are going to stay at those low prices, but if you like prime lenses (as opposed to telephotos), these are a great buy for high quality lenses.

Categories: #LastPhoto, #Photography, Anecdote, Cameras, Optics

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10 replies

  1. I was interested to read about your lens choices and the plus points of each. It’s years since I bothered with the rigmarole of carrying and changing lenses however – I find my trusty Panasonic Lumix with its zoom Leica lens does pretty much everything I want it to, and the few things it can’t do I can manage to live without 🙂


    • I was using a Lumix zoom and the ZS300 which had a Leica 25-300mm lens that was f2.8 at EVERY distance. I upgraded to what was supposed to be a better version — and I hated it. These days, though, I prefer the higher pixel count Olympus cameras. It turns out there is a significant difference between 180 and 350 ppi.

      I rarely change lenses more than once when I’m out in the field. I might (but not always) take one extra lens. The point of getting compact cameras wasn’t to haul even more stuff. As often as not, I use my Pen F with the 12-200 zoom. The only time I bring an extra lens is if I’m shooting at sunset and the light is changing OR I’m doing portraits. The rest of my lenses rarely leave home.

      Lenses tend to accumulate, but it turns out we don’t need lots of lenses. Maybe one very fast one for low light, a good “all day telephoto.” Maybe a 300mm if we are birders and/or a macro and a portrait lens. I never CARRY all the lenses unless I’m sure I’ll need them. My goal is to haul LESS weight, not more!

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  2. Since most of my photos are of wildlife as seen from my kayak, I don’t use those more “standard” lenses often. When I do, it is almost always the Oly 12-40 mm f2.8 that I picked up with my E-M1 mk 2 (great camera, no?). All of my Scotland photos were that lens. I do have the Oly 45 mm f1.8, but almost never use it and often forget I have it! Hmm, maybe I should experiment more… And perhaps I should look into the Sigma 30mm f1.4. Truthfully, I now have a “hole” from 45mm to 100mm and should either get a 75 mm or a good zoom (Pro if I can afford it) that fills that range (I just picked up an Oly 100-400 as my tele-zoom)


    • The old 45mm Oly lens has a gorgeous bokeh. I used to use it a lot, but I’ve gotten spoiled by telephotos, so even when the primes would do a better job, I’m lazy about changing lenses.

      The E-M1 mk 2 IS a great camera. I use it most of the time for bird pictures because it’s so fast. It is usually attached to my 100-300mm Panasonic lens. I like to keep cameras ready to go. Changing lenses when a bird shows up rarely works out well for the photographer. I want that 100-400 lens too, but I will need to replace the Oly OMD E-M5 MII that I gave my granddaughter. I kept the older model which is showing its age. I’ve had it since it was new — 12 years ago? And it has been in constant use since. I think it might be the first camera I’ve ever worn out!

      The 56mm Sigma is my substitute for the Oly 75mm. I’m surprisingly happy with it. It’s sharp and at f1.4, it almost shoots in full dark. It’s a more useful length.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think my EM-5 is 10 years old, but I didn’t get it when it was first available, I think the m2 had just come out so the prices were slightly lower.
        I played with the Oly 45 today after I wrote the comment. It looks so funny on the E-1 m2! It is small and blue. I haven’t looked at the photos on the computer yet, but they look great on the camera.
        After the huge buy of the 100-400, which I love, I may wait a while before picking up another lends. but, then again… Never say never.


        • I’m trying to figure out what I want to replace the old EM-5. It doesn’t actually need to be an OMD. When I’m shooting mostly macros, I don’t need all the bells and whistles — just a good clean shot. The PL-10 has pretty much everything I want except a viewfinder — and for macros, it’s really not a necessity. So I’m going to keep hunting around. I could actually get an E1-M3, but I wanted a lighter camera. But I might decide to buy my friend Ben’s camera because I don’t think he’s shot more than a couple of hundred pictures on it and has SO many cameras…

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          • I once picked up a PL-5 as a second body and didn’t use it… If I wanted a light body, I would think of the latest version of the EM-5. Thinking of that, I actually had mine (original EM-5) a little closer to 11 years than 10 – it is 2023, isn’t it? I HAVE had my E-1 m2 for 5 1/2 years now. I would love a m3, but will wait for a few more years as I can still do most of what I want with the m2 (Oh, some of those fancy new in-camera software tricks, though!!)


  3. The Duke is so cute. Great photos of him. A sunrise worth getting out of bed for Marilyn. Thanks for joining in 🙂 🙂


    • To be fair, I got out of bed due to thirst. I went into the kitch for something to drink — and there was that sunrise blazing away. It was a very cold morning and I was dressed in a cotton nightgown lacking shoes and glasses, so given that I was pretty sure the light was going to be gone in a few minutes, I picked up the first camera I could and took pictures. I wish I could claim I’d planned this, but it was purely serendipity.

      Liked by 1 person


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