Dang, evening light is gorgeous! I didn’t have a camera, though. Darn! At least I had an excuse (I was mowing someone’s lawn). But anyway, like the title says, photography is kinda like video games, if it’s your hobby that is. Like in video games, it’s just for fun, so if it isn’t, stop for a while.
I don’t really agree with the ‘one camera, one lens’ philosophy for photographic ‘discipline’. Like I said up there ^, it’s for fun, so don’t force yourself into doing something you don’t want to do. If you want to, go ahead! But I’d rather use the right tool for the job. Creativity loves constraints, but don’t take it too far. I usually take only two lenses, the 60mm f2.8 and the kit lens, but might only take one lens. I think my opinion is: use one or two lenses at a time, but have the right lenses for what you want to do.
In conclusion, if photography is a hobby and not you job, ‘have it your way’. Do it to please yourself. If you are happy with the pictures you’re making, keep doing it that way.
This is my review of the Panasonic G5 m4/3 camera. Its not in-depth or exact, just a short user-experience review. With that said, here goes nothing:
The G5 is my first real camera, so I don’t have much to compare it to, but anyway, the iq from this camera is usually more than enough for my needs, good detail and dynamic range very clean to ISO 1600, from there it gets a bit noisy, 3200 is the limit for me. Autofocus is snappy in good light, but, with my Olympus 60mm especially (not being known for extremely fast focusing, it slows down a bit in lower light. The G5 feels nice, not to heavy, it doesn’t, IMO, have ‘soul’, but I don’t have a problem with that. Once I got the buttons set how I wanted them shooting with it is fluid, this camera doesn’t get in the way, it lets you shoot how you want to, instead of forcing you to adjust your shooting style. The full-articulating screen is nice, especially on a tripod, and I love the touch pad feature. The two dials are nice, a wheel/button on the back and a rocker on the top near the shutter button. I wish that you could set the rear wheel to alternate between (in aperture priority) aperture and ISO, instead of exposure compensation, which is taken care of by the rocker. The viewfinder is very good, better than Olympus’ VF-2, in my opinion, sharp and big, though it is a bit too contrasty.
Overall a very good camera, and a great entry into m4/3 right now at Panasonic’s fire sale prices.
(Edit): after pixel peeping a bit, I can see noise in the shadows even at ISO 160 (base), but it isn’t too much, and can be easily done away with all the way up to 1600, with the newest version of ACR.
The eternal gear argument, zooms vs primes. Zooms for convenience/versatility, primes for size, cost, or that last bit of quality (but certainly not all three at the same time!). It is a question of ‘how much’: how much weight are you willing to carry, how much money are you willing to spend, how much image quality are you willing to give up. It’s about finding your own compromise, somewhere in between a large format film system, and a p&s/iPhone. For me, micro 4/3’s is about perfect: small and light enough, more than good enough sensor quality, great lenses. Others may require, say, medium format digital, while others may be satisfied with only an old point and shoot. By the way, don’t think I’m too much of a gearhead, I will post a rather long photoessay after I get my workflow up and running again (my computer broke). Please post your opinions on primes vs zooms. (And if you want a look at how a photography blog should be, IMO, take a look at http://blog.mingthein.com/ .)
Ok, please comment this time:
How many of you, the readers of this post, consider yourselves photographers? If you do, please post what equipment you use, what genres you shoot, and what you think are your three best images. I use a Panasonic G5 m4/3 camera, a 14-42mm v1 Panasonic kit lens, and an Olympus 60mm f2.8 macro lens. I also have, but don’t use, a Panasonic 45-150mm f4-5.6 zoom that I am trying to sell, and an old Minolta MD 50mm f1.4. I shoot macro/nature, abstracts, and scenery/landscapes, mostly with the 60mm macro, even the landscapes.
Here are what I think to be my three best images:
At the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, an exhibit the had when I went there was by Sato Tokihiro. (First, take a minute and google him.) In my opinion, most of the pictures would have looked better without the added light dots. But then they would not have been that unique, and probably wouldn’t have been in the museum. Which leads to a question: is it better to be famous solely because your photos (or anything really, I’m just using photos) are unique, or to take great, but not extremely unique, photos, and be relatively unknown? (Please post your opinion in the comments.)
I think a large part of appeal of macro photography is that the nearest subject is more than likely less than 2 feet away. There are literally billions of opportunities! That is one reason that my macro lens (an Olympus 60mm f2.8 because I use micro 4/3 and the Panasonic/Leica 45mm f2.8 is too expensive and slow to focus) is my most used lens (also because it’s one of the sharpest lenses in the m4/3 (or any) system)(sorry for bragging). Also, you could take a thousand pictures of some macro subject, or most anything in nature (trees* for example), and non of them would be the same, unless of course you did on purpose.
There are some turn-offs though. For example, macro lenses are usually pretty expensive, and you have to use either a tripod (although I think tripods help with composition, as they force you to slow down) or a flash in anything but the brightest light (and those can get expensive, too), because at very close distances the depth of field is very shallow unless you stop down to at least f8 (on full-frame, equivalent to f5.6 on aps-c, or f4 on m4/3, one of the advantages of the format if you shoot macro). Some of the expense of macro lenses can be off-set by using extension tubes or diopters with lenses you already have (diopters, being filters, are your only option beyond the macro mode on p&s cameras), but they both have their disadvantages: diopters, being filters, at least slightly degrade the image quality, and extension tubes, while they don’t have any extra optics in them, cause light loss because they increase the distance between the lens and tha camera. Macro lenses may be expensive, but they are usually one of the best lenses in their system, and are the best option for macro photography if you can stomach the price (though some entry level macro lenses can be pretty cheap, as lenses go).
In conclusion: although it can be expensive, macro photography is very fun (for me) and is probably the most interesting field of photography, as a lot of times, macro photos are of things we can’t see very detailed with our naked eyes.
*here is a link to a photoessay on trees by an extraordinary photographer: http://blog.mingthein.com/2014/04/20/photoessay-trees-revisited/