My first ever macro shot! :)

Hi everyone,

I’ve never really been in to macro photography as my subjects and interests don’t really justify owning a dedicated macro lens but lately I’ve been thinking about trying it. So I decided to dip my toe in the water and buy an Olympus MCON-P02 macro adaptor lens attachment. This comes with a 46mm thread and a 37-46mm adaptor ring so it fits quite a few of my micro four thirds lenses including all my prime lenses (M.Zuiko 12/17/25 and 45mm, Sigma 60mm and Lumix 14mm) Β and also my Lumix 12-32mm zoom lens, seven lenses in total can’t be bad! :).

I thought I’d give it a quick test with my Sigma 60mm, hand-held f4 @ 1/125 sec., the light was terrible indoors today so I had to shoot at ISO 1000 and I’m quite pleased with the initial results. Β I really need to use my table-top tripod and cable release or timer in the future but I just wanted a quick test to try it out and it’s small and light and takes up no room at all in my camera bag.

Watch Macro 1 small.jpg

Best wishes

leigh sig 2

PS.This is the first time I’ve every been able to read the date on my watch, I don’t even bother setting it as it’s so small πŸ™‚

PPS. I did another shot, this time with the camera mounted firmly on my table-top tripod with a cable release, f11, 2 sec @ ISO 200. I might get in to this macro stuff πŸ™‚

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Well worth the wait

Hi everyone,

My E-PL5 retro makeover is now complete, regular visitors to my blog will know how much I love retro-looking stuff. The new faux-leather case and metal lens hood for the Lumix 12-32mm turned up in the post. I think that it looks pretty cool as well as improving the grip. The case came to 1/4 of the cost of Olympus’ larger grip! πŸ™‚

E-PL5 and case + Lumix and Hood small

Best wishes

leigh sig 2

The beauty of Micro Four Thirds

Try doing that with a DSLR!. The beauty of Micro Four Thirds size and weight. E-M1 and grip, M.Zuiko 12 mm f/2, 17 mm f/1.8 ,45 mm f/1.8 and Lumix 12-32 mm lenses as well as all my other every day gear, filters, spare memory cards, 4x spare batteries etc. in a small bag, total weight approx 2.5 Kg, probably a bit lessΒ 

EM1 and lenses for FB

leigh sig 2

Kind regards

 

Lighter than light

Hi folks,

Sometimes I just want to travel ultra-light so I bought a new lens for my E-PL5. I’ve been looking for a nice pancake zoom lens to suit my most used focal lengths and settled for the Panasonic Lumix 12-32mm as it covers the wide-angle end and the combination works extremely well. The Panasonic lens image stabilisation works well with the Olympus body and I think it’s better than the E-PL5’s in-body image stabilisation.

It’s so light that I don’t even know that I’ve got it with me and makes a nice change from my regular gear. As it’s a tiny pancake lens it’s not the fastest lens in the world but it’s quite acceptably sharp throughout the zoom range. It’s a really un-obtrusive camera/lens combination and I plan to take it out on a few trips this year and carry it around with me when I’m out and about.

Best wishes

PS. Because I love “retro” I bought an inexpensive case for it. I’ll probably use it as a half-case and it’ll give it a bit more grip and I have the VF-4 viewfinder attached. Olympus want a ridiculous price for their larger grip and this case was considerably cheaper with free shipping πŸ™‚ .

e-pl5_case

Lessons learned the hot and tired way.

Hi,

As many of you will know the one thing that I try and avoid at all costs with my choice of equipment is weight and bulk. This isn’t a huge problem until one has to carry it around on foot all day sometimes in extreme heat and that’s why I’m such a huge fan of Micro Four Thirds system cameras.

I had a few thoughts about my gear selection for general use and when travelling in hot countries. Last year I just took my OM-D E-M5 + grip and my M.Zuiko 12-40 mm f2.8 with me to Malta and the kit performed excellently and the weight was fairly comfortable to carry around all day in the heat but I did miss the extra reach of a longer lens on a few occasions so this year I took my OM-D E-M1 + grip (fabulous camera but significantly heavier) and the trusty 12-40 mm Β plus my M.Zuiko 14-150 mm f4-5.6 II with me to Rome but I found the combined weight was uncomfortably heavy to lug around all day, every day.

So I’ve re-thought out my kit and decided that for future travelling I’ll take my E-M5 and 12-40 mm plus my M.Zuiko 40-150 mm lens which is significantly lighter. I don’t really take that many photos at longer focal lengths so the 40-150 mm is probably a better and lighter choice and it is no slower than the 14-150 mm.

Whilst I was re-thinking my gear I thought that I really should use my M.Zuiko prime lenses a lot more than I have been doing of late as they are very fast, light and sharp. The 12-40 mm is a great travel lens as it remove the necessity of changing lenses sometimes in Β difficult situations but it does make one a bit lazy and it’s not as fast and lightweight as my primes. With this in mind I’ve decided that my standard every day kit should pretty much consist of my EM-1 and M.Zuiko 12 mm, 17 mm, 25 mm and 45 mm lenses plus the 14-150 zoom for the occasions when I need something with a bit more reach and or the advantages of a zoom lens and as a backup to my prime lenses as it covers their combined range.

I also took a small lightweight travel tripod and my ND and polarising filters with me to Malta and Rome and didn’t use them once. My style of photography doesn’t really require the use of a tripod and I find it to be a cumbersome hinderance and one more thing to lug around and get in the way. Β I so rarely use filters nowadays that 99% of the time they just reside in my camera bag but, as they’re light and don’t take up much room or add any appreciable weight, they can stay there for the rare occasion when I might use them.

Kind regards

leigh sig 2

 

 

Psssst!, want to easily tell which of your spare camera batteries is charged.

Hi,

Following my recent accessories postΒ Β in which I mentioned my purchase of these handy little plastic battery storage/transportation cases:

box

It got me thinking that it would be nice if there was an easy way to identify which of the batteries was charged and which need charging as they all look identical so I set out to see if I could find an easy solution and found these handy little self adhesive “things” or to give them their full name “orangeRX Battery Charge Marker – Essential Lipos indicators! – 5 Pack” (catchy name) πŸ™‚ to stick on the cases. Β£3.95 for a pack of 5 on ebay with free delivery. πŸ™‚

battery charge indicators

Best wishes,

leigh sig 2

Camera accessories, you don’t have to pay a fortune

hood

First off a lens hood for my M.Zuiko 12-40mm lens purchased from Amazon at Β£11.47 with free delivery. This lens actually comes with one for a change but the Olympus one costs a stagering Β£39.99 to replace!. The one I bought as shown above has the added advantage of having a small window that detaches to fascilitate turning a polariser filter. Over a period of time I have bought these after-market lens hoods for all of my lenses and the monetary saving has been considerable especially as nearly all my lenses are sold without an included lens hood.

Then there’s the lens cap for the same lens. I got a 62mm center-pinch one on e-bay for Β£0.99 with free delivery whereas the Olympus one costs an eye-watering Β£17.99!. Can you believe it?, it’s just a lens cap with a name on it!. In fact I always replace lens caps and camera straps with ones without the manufacture’s name emblazoned on them as a matter of course. Not because there’s anything radically wrong with them, although I have to say that I find the neoprene cushioned camera straps that I have are thinner and more comfortable to wear, but rather that I don’t like being an unpaid walking advert. The center-pinch caps are also much easier to remove and fit with a lens hood attached compared to the side-pinch types.

cap

Now for two more handy little items at bargain prices.

wrenches

A set of filter wrenches to fit 46-62mm filters. Not an essential item I grant you until you get two filters stuck together and they don’t take up any room or add any significant weight to my camera bag and at Β£3.22 inc. free delivery I could afford to splash out!

Then there’s these handy little battery storage boxes for my Olympus BLN-1 camera batteries, useful to keep them dry and protecting them from the risk of shorting in my camera bag or pocket. Β£1.99 each from e-bay with, yes, you’ve guessed it, free delivery πŸ™‚Β  I also like to make sure that particularly when travelling by air with my gear there’s absolutely zero chance of battery contacts shorting out. Whilst on the subject of batteries I strongly object to paying Β£50 each for original batteries when there are much more reasonably priced after-market alternatives out there. I’d rather have five bateries that, from my experience, have just about the same performance for my Β£50. Additional: See this post for my self-adhesive battery charge indicator addition to these cases.

box

And last but not least I bought five neoprene lens cases from e-bay at Β£1.33 each, yes, you did read that right, Β£1.33 each!, with free delivery, heaven only knows what Olympus charge for their cases.

cases

Well not quite last πŸ™‚ . Using a fraction of my savings on the above items I had a reckless rush of blood to my head and decided to really push the boat out and treat myself to –

filter pouch

AΒ  nifty neoprene dual compartment filter pouch thingy to hold my 25-77mm filters. Yes I know it was rash but at Β£4.33 from Amazon with gratis postage cost (note I didn’t say free delivery again , oh darn it I just did!)Β  I simply couldn’t resist it. πŸ™‚ . It’s also got a very handy hook clip on it. A word or two of advice, shop around on ebay and Amazon, you can generally find the same things on both sites but the prices can vary significantly. If you are happy waiting for postage from overseas eg. China on ebay then there are some good bargains to be found.

I’m not saying that items such as lens hoods, lens caps and pouches are of the exact same quality or design as the camera manufacture’s own items but, in my opinion, the savings are well worth it and from my experience none of the above items are shoddy, poorly made or designed. It’s not just the cost of buying it’s also the cost of replacing if lost or damaged. I for one would not be happy to loose or drop and damage Β£40’s worth of lens hood or Β£20’s worth of lens cap and I strongly suspect that you wouldn’t either.

So I bought one lens hood, one lens cap, one set of filter wrenches, five battery cases, five lens pouches and a filter pouch for less than the cost of the camera manufacture’s lens hood, makes you think doesn’t it. Oh, and, in case I didn’t mention it, all these came with free delivery. πŸ™‚

Kind regards

leigh sig 2

Additional: If you’re looking for straps for your camera and/or camera bag I really like the straps by OP/TEC USA. I have two of their E-Z comfort straps on my cameras and an 0901312 S.O.S. Curve Strap on my camera bag. These straps are very comfortable and have a neoprene cushioned pad design which allows for a little stretch and moulds to one’s neck or shoulders and really helps to spread the load. I suffer from my neck and shoulder pain and these have helped a lot.Β  I think that they’re also well built and pretty reasonably priced. Not the sexiest of accessories but, for me one of the most important ones and thoroughly worth it. All I want in a strap is that it is lightweight, strong and, above all, comfortable and these tick all the boxes for me.

optec1

optec2

The 0901312 strap as shown above with them fitted has detacheable clips which can be removed allowing the webbing to directly loop through D rings if preferred. I cannot overstate the value to me of this strap. The cushioned pad is large and quite wide and goes right over one’s shoulder. The camera straps are good when you have the camera around your neck but the camera bag strap ergonomics are more important as the bag is the thing that, in my case, has to be carried everywhere all day long with the combined weight of my gear and, like the camera strap the neoprene really does give good cushioning and spreads the load.

PS. I should just add that I have no association with the manufacturers of these items nor have I any axe to grind with Olympus, in fact I’m a huge fan of their gear. Other leading brands of camera manufacturer have just the same high pricing for their accessories.

JJC Camera Accessories from JWEMALL

Hi folks,

For some time now I’ve been purchasing my camera accessories such as lens hoods from a company that sell on e-bay called JWEMALL located in China. They sell the range of Chinese-made JJC photograpic accessories. I’ve found the quality and pricing very good as is their service and customer support which also includes free-delivery .

Over a period of time I’ve ordered lens hoods for all my lenses as well as a radio remote control unit and they all perform just as well as the camera manufacturer-branded items. I had one item, ironically a metal lens hood for my M.Zuiko 12mm which got damaged in the postage and they sent a replacement item promptly without any fuss.

JJC is an innovative company, I bought their lens hood for my M.Zuiko 12-40mm even though it came with one (for a change) because it incorporates a removeable “window” which allows easy rotataion of a circular polarising filter. Another reason I like their gear is that I wouldn’t want to have to replace an “original” lense hood if it got lost or damaged at the rediculousΒ  prices that camera manufacturers charge for their items. I also object to having to pay extortionate prices for items such as hoods, lens cases etc which in the old days came supplied with a lens! so these JJC items provide a very reasonably priced alternative.

So if you’re looking for such items and you haven’t come across this company check them out.

Kind regards

Leigh