NZ Scott

NZ Scott

Lives in New Zealand (Aotearoa) Tauranga, New Zealand (Aotearoa)
Works as a Hiker, journalist, educator, photographer
Joined on Jul 29, 2011
About me:

Formerly a news reporter for three daily newspapers in New Zealand and later a communications and language specialist based in South Korea and Malaysia. After a 10 year working holiday, during which I backpacked through 75 countries on six continents, I through-hiked the 3000km Te Araroa trail in my home country, New Zealand.

Currently an account manager for a public relations firm in Tauranga.

NZ Scott's current gear

Olympus PEN E-P3
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G85 (Lumix DMC-G80)
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM5
An all-round brilliant street-shooting camera, especially when kitted out with a VF-4 viewfinder and MCG-2 grip, the only problem with the ageing E-P3 is the fact that it has the older 12mp sensor. Still, I prefer this camera to the E-P5, which does not have a removable grip. The E-P3 is a snappy performer and never shows any lag through the viewfinder or on the back screen, although it would be nice if the startup time were quicker. All native lenses focus lightning-fast on its little metal body. Despite the introduction of newer and supposedly much better Olympus cameras (E-P5, E-M5, E-M10, E-M1), I have not found one that I prefer enough to lure me into upgrading. The E-P3 just seems to hit a sweet-spot in terms of speed, weight and handling.
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 14-42mm 1:3.5-5.6 II R
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 17mm 1:1.8
I actually owned the first version of this lens, although it does not seem to be in dpreview's database. In its time, this was highly regarded for a kit lens, although my newer Olympus lenses (even the 14-42 IIR) blow it out of the water for sharpness. The Nikkor also vignettes pretty badly. Still, I got some nice photos out of this lens when mounted on a Nikon D40, which for a combined $400 proved to be a very good entry-level combo.
An okay kit lens that is pretty sharp at the shorter focal lengths. However, it has a retracting design that I find to be quite annoying, as it adds another step to getting the camera ready for shooting. This lens has seen very little action since I started buying primes.
Early reviews slated this lens for being less sharp than the Panasonic 20/1.7. However, it was probably fairer to say that this lens is sharp while the Panasonic is ESPECIALLY sharp. So why choose this over the Panny? The main reason is that the little 17/1.8 has blazing autofocus. Lenses in the 12mm-25mm range on m43 cameras are natural street-shooters, and to get the most out of them they really need to be snappy. The 17mm is quick - and then some. It is surprisingly light-weight, creates pleasing bokeh and renders colours nicely (slightly warmer than my main zoom, the Panasonic 12-35). It handles CA quite well and flare very well. The much-touted focusing clutch has too much play and gives the impression of being gimmicky. Still, if you're after a classic 35mm-equivalent prime, then this should be your first choice.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 25mm F1.8
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12mm 1:2
An excellent short telephoto at a bargain (by m43 standards) price. It's very sharp and contrasty with pleasing bokeh, and it seems to consistently produce nice images. It's an almost perfect portrait lens for the smaller m43 cameras. Negatives? I do wish that it would focus a bit closer, as I often find myself restricted by the half-metre minimum shooting distance. Perhaps for this reason, I find myself using the M. Zuiko 60mm f2.8 Macro more often.
A very good little wide-angle prime lens, this featherweight metal wonder spends more time on my E-P3 than any other lens. It's quite sharp and controls optical aberrations well, although it does exhibit a bit of CA now and then. One strength is its outstanding resistance to flare. The main problem with this puppy is its price-to-performance ratio, as it typically sells for around USD $700-equivalent. For that price I think that it should perform a little better optically and should be weather-sealed. I've also found the highly-touted clutch focus ring to be gimmicky, as the few markings on the lens barrel are too close together. Still, it is a handy landscape lens when stopped down a bit and the f2.0 aperture is nice when street-shooting in dim markets and alleyways.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm 1:4-5.6
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm 1:2.8 Macro
Olympus M.Zuiko ED 75-300mm 1:4.8-6.7 II
Smaller and much lighter than a can of Coke, the good-value M. Zuiko 40-150 is quick to focus and pretty damn sharp out to 100mm. Images are noticeably softer at 150mm, but still useable. Think of it as a slower version of the Panny 35-100, with a 50mm "bonus" on the end for emergencies. This lens is often available for the equivalent of USD $200, and sometimes for as little as $100. At those prices, you can't go wrong.
Easily the best of my Micro Four Thirds lenses in terms of optical performance (except, perhaps, for the Samyang fisheye), this superbly sharp and contrasty macro lens doubles as an excellent medium-telephoto for portraits and landscapes. It's priced about right and is weather-sealed to boot. The only negatives are its slightly unwieldy length (on a PEN) and its tendency to hunt in low light (athough this rarely seems to be a problem when shooting bugs). Highly, highly recommended.
A surprisingly sharp lens from 75mm to about 220mm and acceptable beyond that. The maximum aperture isn't great, but in the right conditions (i.e. outdoors, sunny) the lens can give excellent results. The "pros" are the relatively cheap price, very good control of optical aberrations such as CA, and low weight relative to 600mm-equivalent lenses on other systems. The negatives are average sharpness towards the long end and those dim apertures. You really need good shooting technique to get the best out of this lens, but it can produce rewarding results. Check out the safari photos (particularly the lion shots) in my gallery and flickr account for some examples of what this puppy can do.
Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 ASPH Mega OIS
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 7-14mm F4 ASPH
Panasonic Lumix G Vario HD 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS
Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm F2.8 ASPH Power OIS
Samyang 7.5mm F3.5 UMC Fisheye MFT
I've only owned this lens for a short time and have paired it with an Olympus E-P3. On that camera, the lens exhibits an unacceptable amount of purple fringing in high-contrast situations. However, in other respects it is very good. The image stabiliser is noticeably more effective than Olympus's 2-way IBIS, it's a snappy focuser, and it's sharp. I opted for this lens over the M. Zuiko 12-40 because it's a bit smaller and lighter. I'm glad I did, because anything bigger than this would be a too heavy for a walkaround lens on my E-P3. I have enough confidence in this lens to take it with me on vacation to Vietnam later this month while leaving my other eight lenses at home. The Panny's f2.8 aperture means that I can do without my primes.
A great fisheye - cheap and sharp. The only problem with it is that it doesn't autofocus. A lot of people say that this is a non-issue with a fish because they have such deep depth of field, but I have been disappointed to find some subjects clearly out of focus when using hyperfocal shooting methods. Still, the lens is very sharp and exhibits remarkably few optical aberrations.
Other gear:
  • Sigma 28-200 (SA Mount)
  • Sigma SA-300N Film SLR

NZ Scott's previous gear

Canon PowerShot SD300 (Digital IXUS 40 / IXY Digital 50)
Nikon D40
Other gear:
  • Panasonic DMC-F3
  • Pentax 35mm pocket camera