Fun with Robin Wong + my impressions of the Oly 25/1.8 (pics)

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NZ Scott
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Fun with Robin Wong + my impressions of the Oly 25/1.8 (pics)
8 months ago

Hello campers,

On Saturday morning I met up with well-known blogger and m43 enthusiast Robin Wong and about a dozen other photographers for an Olympus Malaysia street-shooting event in Kuala Lumpur. Basically, this involved Robin guiding us around his favourite haunts in the Chinatown area for 2-3 hours.

I arrived well-armed with my E-P3, 12/2.0, 17/1.8 and 60/2.8 Macro - but when Robin whipped out a couple of the new 25mm f/1.8 lenses and asked if anybody wanted to give them a try, I knew that my camera bag would remain closed for the rest of the morning.

I popped the lens on the E-P3 and instantly liked the field of view - and that liking did not change over the following couple of hours. I think I like the FOV more for street than the wider angle afforded by my 17/1.8.

Robin also had the 75/1.8 and some body-cap lenses (fisheyes) on offer, but I'm not a fan of the 75 and was too enamoured with the 25/1.8 to try the little fisheyes.

Some shots, with my thoughts:

First of all, here's Robin. He was shooting for most of the day with his own E-M5 and 25/1.8.

And here is Mr. Wong with some of the other campers. Most people were shooting with OM-Ds. Myself and one or two other people had PENs.

Our first port of call was a Chinese temple. Regular readers of Mr. Wong's blog will recognise the smokey incense trails, which he often photographs.

One aspect of the 25/1.8 that I enjoyed was its close focusing distance, which is about half that of the 45/1.8 (this is the main reason that my 60/2.8 Macro gets more use than the 45/1.8).

The focal length + close focusing distance encouraged detail shots:

The next stop was an Indian temple. That's Robin in the background. The bokeh was generally pleasing, although it would have been nice if the depth of field were just a touch thinner. Most of the time I was at f/1.8, and for a short time was using a 2-stop ND filter.

A very close portrait shot. Even a "normal" point of view can provide distortion at short distances. I found the lens to be sharp wide-open in the centre - perhaps even a smidgen sharper than the 17/1.8, which is the lens I usually use for street-shooting.

The colours matched those I have come to expect from the 17/1.8 and 45/1.8. In other words, nice (and a bit warmer than what I've been getting from the Panasonic 12-35):

After leaving the temples we wandered down a couple of streets as we headed towards Jalan Petaling, the most famous street in Chinatown. This was the best shot I managed along the way, although I think I could have gotten a better shot with the 17/1.8 by really getting in close to those feet:

This is an example of a shot that would not have worked so well with the 17/1.8, because of the distance to my subjects:

This is a fairly extreme demonstration of the 25/1.8's close-focusing distance (the girl was using the other 25/1.8 that Robin handed out):

Eventually we reached Jalan Petaling and its famous street markets:

I was reluctant to give back the lens, so I fired off one last shot before handing it to Robin:

It was a very pleasant three hours with my new chums. As for the lens, I liked it very much. There isn't much to say about it that is bad, apart from one or two issues in the out-of-focus areas:

In short, I enjoyed shooting at this focal length so much I think I'm going to end up buying either this lens or the PL 25/1.4. Probably, it will be this lens - it was just so small, light and handy.

I guess I'll have to wait until the E-M1 + 25/1.8 kits come down in price a little bit - maybe next year some time.

Thanks for reading, folks.

Questions and comments welcome, of course.

S

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My Flickr stream:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottkmacleod/
My kit: E-P3, 12/2.0, 17/1.8, 45/1.8, 60/2.8 Macro, 7.5 Fisheye, 12-35 f2.8, 14-42 IIR, 40-150 ED, 75-300 II

 NZ Scott's gear list:NZ Scott's gear list
Sony QX1 Olympus PEN E-P3 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH +12 more
Olympus E-M1 Olympus PEN E-P3
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