In light of my Olympus Pen talk and photowalk for the Jessops Summer Photo Festival in London on 1 Aug (it’s free,
email here to get a place plus £50 voucher!), I thought I would do a little overview of my photography kit…
Since a happy accident turned me onto the Olympus Stylus 1 last year, I got going with the Olympus Pen system this spring and it’s been an absolute revelation for me photography-wise. Having started out with a second-hand Canon DSLR (the relatively light and out-of-date 400d) a few years before I started my blog, I was soon hankering after a smaller camera that could still get the same results as a DSLR. Having tried the Canon G10 and Leica X1, I realised I was limited by the fixed lens – I was getting more and more into shallow depth of field and had splashed out on a 50mm 1.4 lens for my DSLR.
I’m just a few months in with the silver & black Olympus Pen EP5 (with VF-4 electronic viewfinder) and a matter of weeks with the little sister E-PL6 in white but the improvement in my photography has been marked. The flexibility of the interchangeable lenses means I can experiment with a selection of lenses to get the results I am after. Just a quick aside, the E-PL6 is the next model up from after the E-PL5 (in white here) and, released this month, slightly more expensive with a few extra features.
As you can see, I have a few lenses in my basket including a fun little fisheye, but I’m going to focus on the three I use 99% of the time. I use the fantastic Olympus 17mm 1.8 if I’m out and about in the city or travelling to get shots that are wide enough to give a real sense of the place you’re in. I find this lens is pretty close to translating what you see with your eye onto your camera. The other lens I really love is the Panasonic 25mm 1.4 (they also make lenses for the micro four thirds system which means they slot straight on) and its wide aperture gives the most beautiful bokeh which is something I’m quite obsessed with. This lens is bigger and heavier than the 17mm, but I use it when I want some beautiful details shots or portraits.
And finally, my complete indulgence, is an old Olympus lens I bought on eBay. This is an OM 50mm 1.2, also called a “legacy lens” by some. Pretty big and heavy plus you have to use it with an adaptor (I bought a cheapie off eBay) and, of course, you have to focus manually; I quite enjoy the process but it’s really tough if you’re trying to get shots of kids or things that move! But I’ve got some of my favourite, most dreamy shots with this lens (check my bokeh blog for examples). I use this on both the E-P5 and E-PL6 depending on, well, all sorts of things… But the EP-5 has the advantage of focus peaking which helps you by outlining what’s in focus.
This is the E-P5 on the left with the Panasonic 25mm attached and the E-PL6 with the 17mm attached. To be honest, I often take these both out with me and even with the OM lens as well, so I have all my needs covered. Yes, I am still searching for the perfect camera bag for my two cameras and three lenses…
For the lightest, smallest package, I would take the E-PL6 with the 17mm lens. This is dinky enough to pop in practically any handbag…
And this is the E-PL6 with the nifty little Olympus 45mm 1.8 attached, which can get some pretty lovely bokeh shots if you get nice and close to the subject and lots of distance behind. This is good for when I want an automatic portrait sized lens to use.
And this is my favourite two camera combination – the E-P5 with the OM lens attached and E-PL6 with the Panasonic attached… Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed this kit geek out, and if you’d like to know more and hear me natter on about the Pen and photography, do come along to the Jessops event just by Liverpool Street station– after a 15-minute talk from me, you’ll get to have a go with some of the Pens and I’m hoping to get us out around Spitalfields Market and Brick Lane for a little photo-walk – plus you’ll receive a £50 voucher to take home which will get you cashback if you spend £300 on photography equipment at Jessops. Do let me know if you come!
Photography kit list
In-My-Dreams Lens Wishlist