Olympus 12-200mm – the new travel zoom

I’ve had the 12-200mm for five days now and shot about 600 shots on my EM5II. I like the ergonomics (handling, size, weight).

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-200mm F3.5-6.3

The zoom ring has a little bit of resistance and requires a bit more force to get the last bit of the zoom lens out. Zoom and focus rings feel like metal – very nice feel.

I have been on a learning curve re this lens’s sharpness. Let’s review this.

Is it Sharp?

Having being spoilt by the primes and the excellent 12-40 f2.8 and 40-150 f2.8 zooms, I know the 12-200 isn’t going to match those – and it doesn’t. Wide open at 12mm I reckon it does – super sharp. For the rest of the focal range, you need to stop down, but not too much of course because of diffraction stealing sharpness. My current results are as follows

12mm - f3.5, advice: wide open ok - do not go over f8
26mm - f4.7, advice: stop down to 6 - do not go over f9
50mm - f5.7, advice: stop down to 7 - do not go over f9
100mm - f6.2, advice: stop down to 8 - do not go over f10
150mm - f6.3, advice: stop down to 8 - do not go over f10
200mm - f6.3, advice: stop down to 9 or 10 - do not go over f13

The above is only a rough guide re maximum central sharpness, and its rules can probably be bent slightly. Happy to compare with other numbers people might have – its also a bit hard to remember!

Unless wide open at 12mm, this lens rarely gives me that micro-contrasty 3D feeling of satisfaction that I get with the other Olympus lenses. Yes, yes, I know – that is to be expected for this insane zoom range form factor. I probably would have been happier with the 12-100mm f4 which I don’t own – as I am a bit of proud pixel peeper. Still the results are very good as long as I remember to stop down. If I forget, I can get soft photos. Below is a brick wall shot that I stopped down correctly for – thus its decently sharp.

a brick wall :-)

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New Short Film Released “LED”

I’m happy to announce that my film-making friend Mark Warren has released a short film called “LED”.

I was fortunate to be invited to take some behind the scenes photos during the shoot – which I took with my Fuji x100. They are visible here.

Footscray Film Shoot-29

There were plenty of challenges in the low light conditions, but what helped was that I could take advantage of the lighting being set up for the shoot itself!

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Fuji x100 wide angle adapter vs new Sony rx100

I’ve been recently musing over whether to buy the wide angle adapter?WCl-X100 for my Fuji x100 thereby bringing the focal length down from 35mm to 28mm.

Wide angle adapter WCl-X100 for the Fuji x100

Its apparently a nice piece of glass which doesn’t alter the quality of the photos (yey) nor does it compromise the max aperture of f2.0 (yey). ?It costs $350 -?see a review here.

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Photography Quotations Website

I recently found a great site filled with quotes from famous photographers. ?Its called?photoquotes.com?and even has an index so you can look up your favourite photographer by surname.

The photoquotes.com website is full of quotes from photographers.

For example I looked up?Henri Cartier-Bresson [1908 ? 2004] A French photographer – considered to be the father of modern photojournalism. ?Here is an example of one of his quotes: Continue reading

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The best case for the Fuji x100

The Fuji x100 camera is meant to be carried around everywhere – and for that you need to use the straps supplied, or get yourself a case. ?The official leather case is nice, but I prefer something more discreet that I can carry on my belt under my jacket.

After looking at all the cases in all the photo shops in Melbourne I couldn’t find anything that met my criteria. ?The case had to:

  • be as small as possible
  • easily attach to any belt – without having to thread the belt through anything etc.
  • have zips – I really wanted something secure so that the camera wouldn’t fall out as I bent over etc.

I finally found the perfect case at a high end photographic shop in the suburbs – its a ThinkTank modular pouch:

I carry my x100 around in this

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My Fuji x100 taken with my iPhone

I was sitting in a cafe a few days ago and took this photo of my Fuji x100 using my iPhone 3GS. Post processed in the?phototoaster iPhone app – I don’t remember the preset I used, but it turned out quite well I thought. ?The corner of the newspaper shows it was the Collingwood vs Geelong football grand final that day!


I’ve actually been using phototoaster a lot recently, I like the range of vintage, lomo and other presets it has. ?Plus you can save your own presets, which saves time. ?Its like having the new Nik Color Efex 4 visual presets feature in your iPhone!

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Fuji x100 focussing is OK

Why do some people try to bring down the x100 in ridiculous ways?
Looking through some of the posts on say?dpreview fuji x100 forum?you’d get the impression that the Fuji x100 was fatally flawed in some way. ?One of the common points raised is focussing being both inaccurate and slow.
Hmmm – I use it every day and rarely encounter any focussing issues, I just take tons of pictures.
Sure, contrast based (as opposed to phase based) focusing with a cameras with such a large APS-C sensor takes a while to get used to and you sometimes need to point the focus box on a contrasty area with hopefully a bit of vertical in there – not a big deal.
Most of my shots are in perfect focus. ?Check this shot out:

Ever tried contrast focussing in ‘live view’ mode on a Nikon D300 or D90 (both of which have the same sized, APS-C sensors in them) – its very slow – sometimes a couple of seconds before the Nikons finds focus. ?So shouldn’t the Fuji get some credit here for being better? ?Focussing on the x100 usually takes a quarter to half of a second at the most, usually less. ?This is a very usable speed for the type of photography I do.
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Melbourne Alley Photography

Melbourne, Australia has quite a few old world alleys and laneways. ?Old world in this part of the world may only be a couple of hundred years old, but hey – still charming.

hip melbourne alleyI

I met a fellow x100 photographer that day – he was using a flash during daylight hours. ?We chatted for a while but didn’t exchange contact details. ?Next time I’ll make sure I exchange flickr website urls or something – we Melbourne x100 street photographers should know about each other!

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