A Visit to Lisbon – Travel Photography with Micro Four Thirds

Last week we went to Lisbon, Portugal, for a couple of days. I decided to only bring my Micro Four Thirds (MFT, m43) gear and this is a short summary of how that worked out (I have done a similar write-up before after a trip to New York).

My camera bag consisted of Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7 (bought it just before this trip), Panasonic Leica 25 mm f/1.4, Olympus 45 mm f/1.8 and an old Nikkor 105 mm f/2.5. I brought both my Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic GF3 bodies in order to not having to swap lenses all the time.

I ended up using the Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7 the most and didn’t use the Nikkor 105 mm at all. One of the reasons the 15 mm was my most used lens was because it was brand new and I wanted to try it out but I also find the focal length great as a general walk-around lens in the city. I could probably have used the 105 mm a couple of times but I didn’t want to lug it around so I ended up leaving it in the hotel room.

Lisbon has a lot of narrow winding streets where the 15 mm works great (the equivalent of a 30 mm on 35 mm full frame body). The lens is quite wide but not wide enough to get that extreme wide angle perspective. I use it as a wide normal lens and try to take some care when framing so I don’t just end up with a lot of uninteresting stuff in the shot.

Waiting for the Tram

Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7.

I was planning to use the 15 mm for some shots of the trams but I found that I liked the perspective of the 25 mm better.

Lisbon Tram

Panasonci Leica 25 mm f/1.4.

Like I said above the 15 mm is not an extreme wide angle and when I didn’t get that extreme wide angle distortion which can make for fun photos sometimes I think the shots from the 25 mm turned out better.

The corners of the 15 mm is a bit soft wide open but stopped down to f/5.6 it’s sharp across the frame and the large depth of focus from the MFT system makes it great for quick candids and landscapes.

Taking a Rest

Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7.

Lisbon

Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7.

I see myself using mainly two apertures on this lens; f/5.6 when sharpness across the frame is important (this also leaves a lot of the content in focus) and f/1.7 at short distances to get some background blur to achieve better subject isolation.

Walking in Lisbon

Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7.

Panasonic Leica 15 mm f/1.7.

I mainly brought my 45 mm f/1.8 for landscape shots and I used it for a couple of those. I could have used a bit more reach sometimes but the Olympus 45 mm is a compact and versatile lens so I don’t want to swap it for a tele zoom.

Christo Rei

Olympus 45 mm f/1.8.

Christo Rei and 25 de Abril Bridge

Olympus 45 mm f/1.8.

Lisbon World Water Congress & Exhibition

Olympus 45 mm f/1.8.

All in all I’m very happy with my MFT lens collection. It would be fun to have a real extreme wide angle like the Panasonic 7-14 mm but I find these kind of lenses very difficult to use and I know it would not leave the camera bag very often. I already have a Canon 17-35 mm for my Canon system I use too seldom. I don’t feel too limited by only having primes, especially when being able to bring two camera bodies, and the larger maximum aperture opens up for other creative possibilities compared to the kit zooms. I thought about trying out one of the pro zooms (Panasonic 12-35 f/2.8 or Olympus 12-40 f/2.8) but they are large and heavy lenses (especially the Olympus) and kind of defeats what I’m trying to achieve with my MFT kit; better portability than my Canon system.

For my needs Micro Four Thirds is a really good system for travel photography. I have seen concerns about the image quality compared to full frame (35 mm) sensors but for me it’s good enough to leave my Canon 6D at home, especially on a trip where photography is not my main goal. The collection of small good primes is also something I really appreciate.

m43-FF Comparison part II (Olympus E-M5 vs. EOS 6D)

In a previous post I did a quick comparison of the image quality (level of details) between my Micro Four Thirds (m43) Olympus OM-D E-M5 and my “full frame” (FF) Canon EOS 6D. The 6D showed slightly more details but I figured at least parts of it could be because of the lenses I used (Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 on the Olympus and Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 on the Canon) so I wanted to do the test again with my Panasonic Leica DG 25/1,4 ASPH Summilux on the m43 system which I know is a sharp lens, at least in the center. The last couple of weeks I have read some debate about the difference between FF and m43 and I started to think about this again and remembered I actually already did something similar with the 25mm f/1.4. At the time I wanted to confirm the difference in DOF but I think the shots also gives an idea of difference in details.

So here are the shots. I have shot in RAW, used base ISO on both systems and set 2 steps smaller aperture on the 6D with Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 in order to get the same DOF. I have let the camera set the shutter speed based on it own metering and then done some small exposure adjustments in post to get the same exposure. I have also done input sharpening in Lightroom with the following parameters:
Amount: 45
Radius: 0.8
Detail: 15
Masking: 65

I have included links to the full resolution files in JPG but also added a 100% crop in order to see the difference quickly.

First shot

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 @ f/2.

Canon EOS 6D with Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 @ f/4.

Crop

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 @ f/2, 100% crop.

Crop

Canon EOS 6D with Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 @ f/4, 100% crop.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 @ f/2.

Second shot

Canon EOS 6D with Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 @ f/4.

Crop

Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 @ f/2, 100% crop.

Crop

Canon EOS 6D with Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 @ f/4, 100% crop.

My conclusion from these shots is the same as the last time. The colors differ (I prefer the Canon colors) but I guess at least parts of that could be fixed in post processing. Just looking at the level of details I still feel m43 is capable of very impressing results.

Göteborgscrossen 2014

Några (ganska många) bilder från Superklassen i Göteborgscrossen (CX-cupen) på Slottsskogsvallen i Göteborg idag. Har lagt upp de flesta bilderna här i en folder på Picasa.

Om du hittar någon på dig själv får du använda den icke-kommersiellt på bloggar, Facebook, Instagram och liknande om jag (Magnus Källström) anges som fotograf med en länk hit (https://mkallstrom.wordpress.com/).

Göteborgscrossen 2014

Göteborgscrossen 2014

Göteborgscrossen 2014

New camera bag for my m43 gear (mini review of Billingham Hadley Small)

I have started to use my micro 4/3 (m43) gear a bit more again. Given all the other junk I have to bring when I go on a walk with our daughter the photo gear needs to be easy to bring, otherwise I just leave it at home and end up taking photos with my iPhone.

I already have a Think Tank Retrospective 10 which I’m very happy with but even if it’s lighter when packed with the m43 gear the bag itself is still quite heavy and there is a lot of space I don’t use. I considered just buying a Retrospective 5 which should suit my m43 gear better but it would be very similar to what I already have and it’s always nice to buy a new bag so I decided on a Billingham Hadley Small instead. It seemed about the right size and looked cool (different than the Retrospective).

Billingham Hadley Small in Sage/Tan (FibreNyte fabric)

Size and fit
I wanted a bag which would fit the m43 gear I normally bring when walking around town (I usually don’t bring all of this though):
– Camera bodies: Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic GF3
– Lenses: Panasonic 14mm f/2.5, Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4, Olympus 45mm f/1.8, Nikkor 105mm f/2.5
– Some good to have junk; Spare memory cards, blower and cloths for cleaning, the OM-D flash, etc.

My m43 gear with some room to spare.

I have two Nikkor lenses (50mm and 105mm) but I don’t use them that often and can leave some of the other lenses at home if I want to bring them both. The Panasonic GF3 I normally just use for mountain biking and skiing but I included it anyway to see how much the bag fitted.

The Hadley Small easily fits all of this with some room to spare.

Nikkor 105mm f/2.5, Olympus OM-D E-M5 with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 mounted and Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 with lens hood mounted.

Flap closed over Panasonic Leica 25mm f/1.4 and Panasonic 14 f/2.5 put on top.

A Panasonic GF3 body with the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 mounted fits in the front pocket.

I found it easy to figure out a configuration of the padded insert which worked for my gear.

Weight and carry comfort
With all this the bag weighs about 2550 g. My normal Canon gear (Canon 6D with 17-40 and two primes) in the Restrospective weighs about 4500 g. Compared to my old Retrospective the shoulder strap is thinner and no shoulder pad is included with the bag but it still feels comfortable to carry with this content. I guess the thin shoulder strap and missing shoulder pad is also part of the reason why the bag is so much lighter than the Retrospective 10 (700 g vs. 1400 according to manufacturer specs). I usually have the shoulder strap across my chest and like to have my bag quite low on my hip and this works great with the Hadley Small.

Compared to Retrospective 10
Hadley Small and Retrospective 10 are not really the same kind of bag but since they are the two bags I own I still wanted to include some comparison shots of them. I don’t know if it shows in the photos below but the Hadley Small is significantly smaller than the Retrospective 10. Even if it’s not advertised by Think Tank I can cram my Canon 6D with the battery pack mounted in the bag since it expands a bit with gear in it and there’s no problem to have gear sticking up a bit over the top of the interior. The base of the Retrospective is quite big though even with no gear in it. The Hadley Small doesn’t expand at all and therefore it will be much thinner even when fully loaded.

Compared to Think Tank Retrospective 10.

Compared to Think Tank Retrospective 10.

Summary
In summary I’m very happy with the purchase and I think the Hadley Small is a perfect fit for a micro 4/3 walk around setup consisting of one or two bodies and a couple of primes. I intend to use this bag and gear for an upcoming vacation trip to Lisbon in Portugal and it will be interesting to see how it works out.

If you want a bag for transport to location with more equipment (larger lenses, flashes and tripod) you should probably consider a larger bag but for those cases I have the Retrospective 10 and a F-Stop Loka backpack. If you only use one lens mounted two the camera you might want to have a look at the even smaller Hadley Digital.

A few shots from Stockholm with E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm f/2

Took a walk in the lovely autumn weather today and brought my Olympus E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm to try out that focal length again on the m43 system. I find the focal length a bit difficult on m43 in the city, to me it’s mostly for portraits and landscape. It’s fun to use manual lenses on the OM-D but it takes some time to nail the focus so it’s not really suitable for anything moving.

Gallery

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm f/2.

Paved

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm f/2.

Interacting

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm f/2.

Från Liljeholmsbron

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm f/2.

Från Liljeholmsbron

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Nikkor 50mm f/2.

New try to increase the frequency of posts

Not much has happened here in the last couple of months. I haven’t taken that many photos but I will try to change that and post a little more frequently. Will also go back to using my MFT gear a bit more, it really is so much easier to bring along and the results are almost as good as with the Canon 6D.

One shot from yesterday.

On a Walk

Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic Leica DG 25/1.4.

Lidacrossen 2014

Long time since the last update. Here are some shots from a local CX competition at Lida Friluftsgård outside Stockholm.

Uppdatering: Jag har ganska många bilder från lördagen, hör av dig om jag ska kolla om du har fastnat på någon.

Uppdatering 2: Har lagt upp de flesta bilderna här i en folder på Picasa. De får användas på bloggar, facebook och liknande om jag anges som fotograf med en länk hit.

Christian Persson

Christian Persson

Calle Friberg

Calle Friberg

Lidacrossen

Lidacrossen

Lidacrossen

Lidacrossen

Lidacrossen

Lidacrossen

Mikael Flockhart

Mikael Flockhart

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