The road to addiction
I realise that my unbridled enthusiasm for Micro Four Thirds has been indirectly responsible for the ruining of many other wallets, to the extent that if I had been on commission I would have received enough cash from Panasonic and Olympus to buy… well, I suppose another bloody lens.
The latest potential victim is a friend who made the mistake of buying a Canon lower end DSLR with a Tamron lens and now discovers it doesn’t do much more than his old compact cameras in terms of image quality. He is pondering the new Nikon D600 full frame camera, with a suitable lens attached, and very nice that would be too. But he was wondering whether for much less money and bulk, he could join MFT and still get good enough IQ. Only he can decide the answer, my only contribution has been to throw a selection of reviews and image samples in his direction to help him in his decision.
He wants to start with a zoom lens with a range roughly equivalent to a 24-70mm on full frame. He could spend $1,000 plus on the new Panasonic X 12-35mm, but a much cheaper and smaller option would be the Panasonic 14-45mm.
Just as an aside, isn’t my hand lovely?
I then suggested it would be good to have a low light prime available for those special moments, and the classic Panasonic 20mm F1.7 pancake would be just the ticket.
For not a lot of cash, especially at current GX1 prices, a powerful and portable solution.
And, with the substitution of the GF1 for the GX1, it’s exactly what I started out with nearly three years ago. So what went wrong? How did I move from this simple setup to the cabinet full of lenses that now graces my home? Let’s chart my rocky road to addiction.
December 2009 – Spike buys a GF1 kit which includes the 20mm and 14-45mm. This is to be an alternative to his 1D and suitcase full of Canon lenses; for use on casual days. For the next six months Spike enjoys the heady rush that comes from using this amazing little setup.
June 2010 – Spike realises he is not using his 1D any more, apart from sports shooting, and resolves to sell all his Canon lenses, apart from one. Cash inflow ensues; champagne for everyone!
With money burning a hole in his pocket and at risk at being co-opted for the purpose of handbags, Spike decides something a little longer would be nice (she who must be obeyed agrees, until she discovers he is talking about lenses). So, in June 2010 he buys the Panasonic 45-200mm, doesn’t like it, sells it and gets the Panasonic 100-300mm.
Then in August 2010 he decides he would like something a little wider (she who must be obeyed agrees, until she discovers he is talking about lenses). The Olympus 9-18mm is purchased and does OK until March of this year when the better and wider Panasonic 7-14mm replaces it.
Finished? Of course not. October 2011 sees the availability of the wonderful little Olympus 45mm at a reasonable price. It would be a crime not to own one; so that joins the collection; at which point the 14-45mm is consigned to the cupboard unless specially required.
Early this year and the Summilux 25mm F1.4 replaces the 20mm pancake in the bag. It’s much bigger and more expensive; but the images are so beautiful and F1.4 is nice to have.
Final indulgence has been the Olympus 75mm F1.8, purchased in June of this year and never regretted for one moment; what an amazing lens.
So what goes in Spike’s bag for an outing when he wants to be sure of being able to cover almost anything? This lot:
Every one a winner; I just need to take better photos to do them justice.
For occasions when I know I will need more reach, then there is the 100-300mm For macro there is the Yashica 55mm, and then there is an assortment of other oddities which are pulled out when I want to try something different.
I do have a rule, which I rarely break, and that is whatever I take has to fit in my very small camera bag.
It’s a Think Tank Retrospective 5 and is the result of research that has resulted in almost as many camera bags as my wife has handbags (of course, I exaggerate). It’s light, tough, flexible, packed with clever features, and specifically designed not to look like a camera bag. Best of all, it will accommodate my camera and the four preferred lenses, but with no room for any more.
The current camera and four lens setup weighs just under 1.5 kg, twice the weight and a lot more volume than the original 14-45mm and 20mm kit. Do I need it? No. If you forced me to tour Europe with just the 14-45mm and 20mm, would I feel unhappy? No, unless you made me go to France.
All these alternative lenses are just an indulgence. But hey, you only live once, no pockets in a shroud etc etc. But… that Olympus 45mm is sooo sweet. And that 75mmm, well, just look at the shots it produces. And the Summilux, it’s designed by Leica for goodness sake, and if you close one eye I could swear you can see “the Leica look”. And the 7-14mm, crispy wide angle goodness; you just need it sometimes.
Bugger it, I need and love them all.
My name is Spike and I’m a lensaholic. There should be a help group for people like me.
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