Leica C-Lux First Impressions

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

If you’ve followed me for a while you’ll probably know I’m a sucker for compact cameras. Many of you probably found me because of a compact camera of some sort. In fact, for my general street photography I have always preferred compact cameras. I haven’t used many lately, but the above generally holds true.

Iksan, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

So let me get the disclaimers out of the way before I continue:

  1. I work for the Leica Akademie here in Korea as organizer and head teacher.
  2. I am well aware there is a cheaper Panasonic version of this camera. In my humble opinion (work bias aside) I think the extra warranty, resale value (the Leica versions hold their value much better whether you think this is justified or not) and subjectively better looks are well worth the price difference.

Okay, now that that is out of the way let us continue with my Leica C-Lux 2019 first impressions.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think it is cute the handsome camera. I very much like the blue tones and leatherette grip. I also generally love a silver lens on a black body. Of course, the lens isn’t silver but the multifunction ring is. I quite dig it.

The camera itself has a bit of a weird lens for my normal tastes. It’s a 24-360 that is only f3.3 at the widest. I find the former a positive. First, as this will be a travel / video camera for me I appreciate the range more than I might on a dedicated street camera. Second, the f3.3 doesn’t make much of a difference to me as I wouldn’t buy a compact camera for “bokeh.” That said, bokeh can be had because of the zoom range if you don’t mind using your feet a bit.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

As a street camera, it performs great. Even with the crazy zoom range there is little to no distortion or what happens to be there is well controlled with the software. I love the fact that Panasonic and Leica always include the ability to zoom their lenses in steps. I find 24 a little wide these days so I have the camera set to turn on at 28mm. It is very fast to turn on and shoot.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

There are some convenience features I quite like as well. The camera uses a low powered bluetooth mode to send photos to my smartphone as I walk around shooting. This it makes quite easy to sit down and edit in a coffee shop when I need a break. All the photos here were edited in Snapseed. They might be a bit much for you, I just try to keep all my photos looking somewhat similar these days. This is as close as I can get to my film photos.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.
Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I included the normal version of the photo above for your reference. I like this photo. I asked the woman to look more into the light and then we got talking. She grew up very close to where I live now.

Another feature I love about the C-Lux is its ability to charge via USB. I can charge it on the go with my laptop or a battery bank. I really, really wish it were USB-C but I guess we are a ways off of that on cameras yet. Maybe next year.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I didn’t find myself using the zoom very much during the first day of shooting. I did take a portrait of my wife with it later at night that I am saving for the full review. Much like the need for a viewfinder I find the need for a prime lens when shooting street photography to be a bunch of hipster nonsense. The only actual reason I see for this is size. With a camera like this it matters very little.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

One thing I won’t really talk about a lot until the main review is the flash. It is a bounce type flash that is similar to that on the RX100 series. Because of the zoom range the flash on the C-Lux is quite strong for its size. This is important if you want that Daido Moriyama high constrast blow out the highlights kinda look. I didn’t do much testing of this yet aside from a couple of shots around my house. Expect more in the review.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

I think the reason I like compact cameras so much is they so perfectly match the “moment” of capture to me. The photos I take with a compact camera almost always seem to be closer to my mind’s eye. I don’t think this is exclusive to any particular compact camera just those cameras in general.

So, surely I am not saying you go and buy this camera. I will say it ticks all the boxes I want in a modern compact camera. It has a 1 inch sensor, viewfinder, strong flash, nice looks, touch screen(also in the menus) self contained lens cap, bluetooth, and usb charging. The video is a big bonus since I have started to do a lot more of that.

Anyway, that is all for my first impression of the Leica C-Lux. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments.

Upcoming reviews include the C-lux, the Leica MP (film), the Wotancraft Trooper, and the Pixel 3.

Much love from Korea,

Josh.

Seoul, South Korea. Leica C-lux.

2018: Top 10 Photos (6-10)

Busan, South Korea.

10

So, here goes. My top ten photos of 2018. Well, in fact this post will just go through 6-10 in reverse order.

Above is number 10. Admittedly this year was slim pickings for street photography. I quite literally didn’t do much of it. In February I participated in the 24 hour project in Busan. That was probably the only time I really concentrated on taking street photos in any seriousness. I took the above in Busan, but not during that event. My wife and I went back later for a housing convention. These people were having their eyes massaged. Honestly, this type of photo I’ve seen hundreds of times. I don’t really want to like it but I kind of do. Their blank expressions perfectly mimicked my own boredom at that moment. Picking tiles, not my thing.

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

9

This is a photo of one of my bros and mentors, Junku Nishimura, and my wife Seonju. They have become quite close. He treats me like a little brother so I guess they spend lots of their time discussing my ineptness at being a real man, ha. He is easily my favourite photographer. I think it is easy to see the influence. He came to Korea in May for our wedding even though it was the busiest time of his year. I think their pose was great. Like some noir movie. Also in one of my favourite places in Iksan, a place we just call Palm Tree because of the outside neon palm tree shaped light. It’s gone now.

8

I’m not sure many people will agree with this one. It is just a photo of a tree. I remember that day well. It had snowed all night and was a proper snow storm in the afternoon as well. I took photos of this tree often as I left my house as a kind of warm up (guess I’m still an athlete at heart). I moved from this place shortly after this. I am happy I have this photo. It is an important memory.

Iksan, South Korea. August, 2018.

7

Well, you’ll start to see a theme from here on out. This is my wife. I make no excuses for this. I love taking photos of my wife. You may be surprised it is a colour photo. This is one of those moments I was so happy I had a digital camera instead of a film one. The sunset behind her was so great. The light from an oncoming car light her face. One of those moments I could never recreate.

Iksan, South Korea.

6

Ironically this is from the same roll as the mushroom cloud tree above. Three photos from that roll were among my favourite ten of the year. This photo is a good example of why I think I need to shoot film the majority of the time. The was the sixth photo of six I took of the same scene. The first five were rubbish. This one, ended up being one of my favourites of the year. Interesting that. If I’d been shooting digital I’d have just left after the first looked trash. With film, I had the hope that any one of them would be good. It is kind of the opposite of what most people would think. I guess that is just the strange way my brain works. One thing I’ve come to realize however is that considering all the cameras I change one thing always stays similar. Of my best photos the best digital photos are usually from small cameras. Exactly the opposite with film. Go figure.

That was 6-10 of my favourite photos this year. You can probably guess some of the rest if you’ve followed me long enough. Have a go in the comments 😉

Also, I wanted to thank everyone for the overwhelming support with me picking the blog back up again.

Much love.

Josh

Five Goals For 2019

Iksan, South Korea. May 2018.

So, it is 2019. How time flies. I can’t believe last year went by so quickly. Was shocking to me. Was really one of the best years in my life. That is, at least personally. It almost felt like a vacation of a year. 2019 is here and I need to buckle down and get productive. Here are my five goals for 2019:

They rarely leave me alone.. 😉

Number One: Blog More

This one is kind of a must. The beginning of all this photography stuff from me came from my blog. I’ve become more lazy when it comes to my blog. I posted five or six times all of last year. That isn’t enough. I need to be better.

I plan to blog at least once a week, rain or shine. Some of the posts may very well be boring. I am still going to write them though. It is something I need to do for me.

I purchased a domain for the first time in my life today: jtinseoul.com.

#feelsgoodman

Iksan, South Korea. Sometime in 2018.

Number Two: Take More Photos

This one may seem obvious. I took around 500 photos last year. That is down from the 800 the year before. Down again from the 1100 in 2016. I need to be better at this too. I think this goes hand in hand with my blog posts being down. I write my blog posts based on my photos and not the other way round.

I have started walking in the mornings with my camera. This isn’t something I’d done in a really long time. I very rarely just take photos. I always needed to have a purpose. Another purpose. I consider my other purpose to be getting in better shape.

Iksan, 2017. Leica M3.

Number Three: Get in Better Shape

Well, how about that for a segway. I have gained 15kgs since 2016. Not good. Basically the happier I am the lazier I am. Also not good. Last year was a happy year. That means lots of beer, good food, and very little exercise. Time to change that. I plan on doing those morning walks every day. It may not seem like much but it is a hell of a lot more than I’ve been doing for about 18 months. Hopefully I can keep this up. I promised my wife I would lose weight this year. I have to keep my promise. She literally dances like a ballerina while she cleans (see above picture) so I have a tough critic to please.

Maybe they should be the stars…

Number Four: Actually Start my YouTube Channel

This one I have been promising for years. I have tried several times to get it going but have never had the gumption nor the equipment to do it properly. Truth be told I was never really sure how to start. I was never really sure what content you guys may want. I will gladly take advice on this! I filmed a video last week about a laptop I got from Samsung. An unboxing, of sorts. Not sure how well it turned out yet. I’m scared to sit down and edit it, haha. I will do so this week. It won’t be the first video I post, however. I plan on shooting a channel introduction this week as well. I even hired someone to help me shoot it. No turning back now!

On the way to Busan.

Number Five: Transitional Year

During this year one thing I really want to do is transition into an artist. Sounds cliche. Sounds stupid even. I’ve never given this lifestyle a real chance. I have never really taken this whole thing very seriously. I know it isn’t easy. I know it is in fact, really hard. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try. I feel I owe it to myself to try. So, I will do so! I have already started the remodeling process of a darkroom and studio in my house. I have always dreamed about having an analogue studio in my house and I am going to make it happen. I am most excited about this of all the things I’ve mentioned so far.

This is perhaps the biggest of these goals. Again, I’m open to advice! In fact, I really enjoyed reading the advice from some of you after my post last weekend. It all helps.

Up Next: My favourite 10 Photos of 2018. Stay tuned 😉 One of the photos in this post is on the list.. can you guess which? haha.

New Beginnings

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, South Korea. February 2019.

Well, it has been nearly four months since I posted something here. Every time I post I promise I will get better and posting and every time I promise that I end up getting worse. I’d like to say that it is solely because I am busy. I am busy, yet, it is mostly out of laziness. When I have free time to do something like this I generally spend it with my family or relaxing. I didn’t even do a “Fuck you, 2018” post. It had become a kind of tradition.

Leica M6. Ilford, HP5.
Iksan, 2018.

The fact of the matter is this:

2018 was one of the best years of my life. It was a whirlwind of positivity. I basically rebuilt a house in the winter and spring. I got married in May. I started a new job with Leica in the summer. We added some new members to our family. 2018 wasn’t the kind of year I wanted to end.

Ilford HP5.
Iksan, May, 2018.

That said, there are lots of things I want to do in 2019. Things I want to accomplish.

New beginnings of a different sort.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

As I walked around a little today with my camera I thought about these things. Thought about what I’d like to do in 2019. One thing I want to do is do a project based on my now home city, Iksan. Many people tie me to Seoul (my fault I guess considering the blog title) but the fact of the matter is I actually live in Iksan. Iksan is a small city about 2 hours south of Seoul.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

I live here in a house with my wife and our two cats. Yes, a proper house. Not very common in Korea for people to live in houses. Our neighborhood is full of seniors. That’s okay, we like having a small yard and our own space. It is especially special considering how much work we put into the house.

Leica M10-P.
Iksan, January 2018.

Our kittens seem to like it. I was never a cat person. In fact, I was one of those dog people that said cats were emotionless and selfish. A friend then said this to me:

“If you don’t like cats it is probably because you haven’t met the right cat.”

I completely agree with this now. Our cats are almost like dogs. They play fetch. Play dead. Always greet me at the door when I come home and spend most of their time following me around. Weirdest of all they cry to be picked up. Our vet said it is quite unique. Well, our little sisters have certainly brightened up our home. They even have their own Instagram 😉

Leica M10-P.

Iksan, January 2018.

So, aside from the yet untitled Iksan project and photos of my kittens, I also plan on becoming more active on Social Media this year. I have re-made my schedule in such a way where I will have lots of “cafe” time to get on the ball. I say “cafe” time because I find they are the only place where I am able to get any of this stuff done.

So, here is where it is my turn to ask for some advice. What type of things would you like to see on my blog? Long form posts about life in general? Reviews? Daily thoughts? Let me know in the comments. I am happy and willing to hear your thoughts.

Leica M10-P
Iksan, January 2018.

RE: YouTube Channel

Okay, I have promised this forever and always failed. Basically I am not particularly good at editing video. Well, actually that is kind of a lie. It is more like I am too lazy for the tedious process of doing so. Lately though, I was introduced to an app called Lumafusion for the iPad that has changed my thought process about this. There are still some problems, however. My iPad is 128GB model and I think that will make it difficult to shoot as much as I’d need to for a proper full length video. That said, my “video” camera is a now aged Olympus EM-1 (don’t ask why it just happens to be the only thing I have that does a decent job of it) and it only does 1080p so perhaps it will be fine.

Anyone in Korea wanna be a camera person ? I pay great (booze and coffee). My wife has been trying to do so but I think she wants to retire her position. She hates the cold.

Well, Aside from that I don’t have a whole lot to talk about. I hope to have more in the days to come.

More than anything I want to thank everyone for sticking with me. I know I am quite bi-polar as someone to follow. I make no apologies, but I do feel grateful.

January 2019.

Iksan, South Korea.

September 15th Artist Talk – Leica Store Gangnam

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Korea, 2017.

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while. Some new stuff to announce!

As of this week I started as the Leica Akademie Ambassador in Korea. What does this mean? It means workshops, lectures, exhibitions and more! I’m really excited by what is to come.

First! This Saturday, September 15th at 1:00 at the Leica Store Gangnam I will be having an artist talk introducing myself and my work. It costs just 10,000 won and drinks will be served! So if you’re in an around Seoul please stop by and say hi!

There are limited spots available, so please sign up at the website below. If you have any questions please let me know!

http://leica-store.co.kr/main/akademie/akademie_view.php?idx=79

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Korea, 2018. 

Who wouldn’t want to come out and see this face?

haha.

See you soon 😉

 

Workshop: Jtinseoul in Seoul

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Seoul, South Korea. 

Hello everyone! I’m happy to announce a workshop I will be hosting in Seoul at the end of July.

Here is all the info:

Workshop: Jtinseoul in Seoul

07.29.2018

Overview

This workshop is meant to be an informal, fun, and informative. During the workshop, students will spend time with myself, JT, in the streets of Seoul. We will take photos, edit photos, discuss projects, and most importantly, have fun!

Goals

  1. Students will experience be given a small and fun tasks to complete on the street. These will be fun and easy but informative. Students will take photos together with the instructor and receive instruction as necessary during this time.
  2. Students will join the teacher to discuss their photos, their goals, and concerns they currently have.
  3. Workshop will not focus much on the technical aspects of photography. It is meant more to help the students feel more comfortable taking photos on both the street and in their personal life. Of course, any technical questions will be answered by myself if needed.

Schedule (Tentative)

– We will start with a short meeting in the morning (10:00AM) to discuss the goals for the day.

– Everyone will share a small sample of their work with the group as well as give a short introduction of themselves.

– We will shoot for 3-4 hours and then sit down in an informal atmosphere to talk about, process, and talk about the day’s photos.

– I will give a short presentation on the processing and editing I do to my photos and share some tips and tricks that relate to the day’s shooting. We will wrap up around 17:00.

– Students are welcome to join myself for dinner afterwards.

Equipment needed

Digital Camera

Students will be asked to use a digital camera during the day’s shooting. I know some of us enjoy shooting film, however, shooting with a digital camera during the day means we can discuss the photos taking during the day during the second part of the workshop.

Note: Any digital camera is fine for this situation. You can use anything from a Leica to a DSLR to a smartphone. All of the things discussed in the workshop will apply to any type of camera.
A Computer, Tablet, or Smartphone

Students will be asked to bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone to use during the “processing” part of the workshop. These will basically be used to edit and share your work with the other participants of the workshop.

 

Price

In order to find out pricing information please email me at the email address below. This price includes one signed print of any photo of the students choice (225mm x 160mm approx.).

 

Attendance and Payment

To confirm attendance please reply to this email. Payment options will be sent following confirmation of attendance. The workshop will be capped at 6-8 students to be determined by a first come, first serve basis.

 

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email  me jtinseoul@gmail.com.

The workshop will be held on July 29th, Sunday. The workshop will be capped at 6-8 students. If demand permits a second workshop will be scheduled for July 28th, Saturday.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Best regards,

JT

번데기 (Silk Worm Pupae)

2018-06-18-0016-Edit
번데기 Double Exposure. Seoul / Iksan, South Korea. Voigtlander Bessa-R, 35mm Color Skopar. HP5 at 3200.

I’m out of film. So I decided to shoot this roll again.

Beondegi is a pupa. A silkworm pupa, in fact. It is a popular street or drinking food in Korea.

Beondegi is often sold in a cans. It’s served when people drink.

She likes it. She told me it is like the Korean Vienna Sausage.

Only healthier.

Seoul / Iksan, South Korea. June 2018.

________________

Feel free to leave questions or comments below. They are always welcome.

 

Olympus OM-D EM-1 / Pen-F Review

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

I’ve got some good news and some bad news about this ‘review.’

The bad news first.

I’d been waiting to do this review because I didn’t have any photos. Literally, I didn’t have any time since I promised this review to even take photos. Not even a spare hour to walk around. Feck.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 12-50mm 3.5-6.3.

My days most often look like above. Having recently bought a house here in Korea I haven’t really had much time for anything else. A fixer-upper would be being kind. That said, I’m loving the process of re-building. I will remember the blood, sweat, and tears that went into making it a house.

My house.

You might say, why not photography the process? There is one main reason for this:

  1. This is Korea and people here work.

What do I mean? Well, if I am walking around taking photos while other people work then I look lazy. I should be working just as hard as the people around me. If my wife is working harder than me I can’t help but feel guilty. Also, I’ve never done anything like this before and I think that the process of “doing” is more important than the “documenting” of the process.

I’ve taken some photos of the stages, but very little. I guess I’ve come to realize this experience is better experienced,

As it were.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

So, the good news! I have taken some photos during that time. I think I’ve taken enough to illustrate my thoughts on both the cameras in question. So, in the next 2000 or so words I’ll tell you about my experience with both the Olympus Pen-F and OM-D EM-1. I’ll tell you why I eventually got rid of one and kept the other. I’ll also talk a little about the system as a whole.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux V2.

So, can you guess which of them I kept? In all honesty, it wasn’t a difficult decision in the end. Not even slightly.

Let’s start with the Pen-F.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

Let me say this first, I think the Pen-F is one of the prettiest digital cameras I’ve ever seen. I’ve used a lot of pretty cameras -Leica Ms, Leica Q, almost all the Fujis – but I still think the Pen-F is as pretty as any of them. It’s a beautiful thing to look at.

In use, I found the Pen-F to be fast and competent. That “dial” on the front to change from colour filters to black and white filters never bothered me and I even found myself using it now and then. I did find the Pen in general a bit uncomfortable to hold for long periods of time without the optional (and expensive) grip which I eventually borrowed. When I was using the Pen for a job about halfway through my hand started to cramp a little. The grip seemed to solve this, however.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8

The photos from the Pen looked great to me, but I have always been a huge fan of Micro Four Thirds cameras in general. I find this sensor size to be the absolute best compromise between depth of field and image quality. When shooting on the street, I love smaller sensors. The deeper depth of field makes things easier and allows for more context. Of course, when shooting full frame (or film) I just stop down and get a similar thing. That said, light becomes a bit of a problem in that case. It’s strange but, I think being able to get the light of f/4 with the same depth of field as f8 on film is a real plus to me. I’ll cover “bokeh” later if that is a reason you’ve decided this sensor might not be for you.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

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Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

The M43s sensor also seems to process better than any other sensor I’ve used. The photos take almost no work in comparison to files from a Ricoh, Sony, Fuji, or even Leica. They seem to look good almost straight out of camera a lot more often than anything from those other brands. I know, you’ll be thinking I’ve sang the praises of those other brands often enough. Fair, enough. All I can say is every time I use a M43s camera I am always surprised by how little the photos need. All my presets seem to be way “too much” for the photos. I like this a lot as I can do a lot more a lot more quickly. As you can see from the above photo, the original and the one processed to match my normal look aren’t far off each other. You’d find a much greater difference from something like a Ricoh for example.

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Puke. Olympus Pen-F, 17mm f1.8.

 

So, the big question regarding image quality that I most often get about M43s is something like this:

“Is it still possible to get bokeh like I can with a full frame camera?” 

First, let me say that I think bokeh is the most overrated cop-out of a photographic effect there is. It is for lazy people that don’t want to compose an image with “thought.” When I’m feeling really lazy I use it to get rid of distractions in the background of a photo. Otherwise, I just don’t get it. Anyway, I digress.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 50mm Leica Summilux V2 at 1.4.

The answer is simple. Yes, it is easy to get bokeh from a M43s sensor. In fact, I find it almost laughable when people talk about it. It’s laziness that creates this argument. Let me explain (apologies in advance for my terrible understanding of this – bare with me):

So, my Leica Summilux 50mm lens looks at 1.4 like 2.8 might on a full frame camera. That is to say, the depth of field is doubled? Doubly deep? Trust me when I say technical aspects of cameras are not my thing. How most people explain this to me the “bokeh” will be – ahem – half what it might be on a full frame camera. But then, the Summilux becomes a 100mm 2.8 (effectively in terms of depth of field) on M43s. A 100mm lens has more “bokeh” than a 50mm lens by double (assuming everything else is the same) as far as I understand it so what is the difference? Aren’t they the same then…? At least, to me, I can’t really tell the difference aside from compression.

Well, I guess lazy people will say they have to walk back twice as far to frame something. Sounds like laziness pure and simple. Sure, some situations won’t allow it but then that’s where that thing between your ears is supposed to come into play. Creative constraints have allowed me to make some of my favourite photographs.

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Newfoundland, Canada.

Take the above photo for example. I had left my Leica M5 and Summilux in the car. I had brought an ND filter in the thoughts to make a pretty bokeh-ed out portrait. Left with nothing but my compact camera, I had to think and compose the photo in such a way where the “distractions” worked in my favour. I had to elevate to frame her head against the road. That turned out to be one of my favourite photos of the year. The context that was captured here would never have been possible with my initial plan. Creative constraints “created” this photo.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

Anyway.

Recently, I took some photos of my film director friend Dong-bin in Seoul with the Pen-F and the 50mm Summilux attached. Even in the tight streets of Seoul I never felt “trapped” by the lens being 100mm on this system. In fact, it gave me an appreciation for a focal length I would never normally use. I’ve always sworn by wide lenses. I’ve evolved a bit though and now I kind of subscribe to the mindset that I should be able to get a photo with whatever focal length I have.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

Anyway, in my humble opinion there is plenty of “bokeh” for those who like it available in this system. Of course, this is a pretty pricey Leica lens but there are cheaper options and literally any 50mm 1.4 lens can be adapted to these cameras and some of them are like $30.

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Olympus Pen-F, 50mm Leica Summilux at 1.4.

It shouldn’t be an issue.

Really.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

The other thing people often ask about when it comes to M43s is about the aspect ratio being natively 4:3. Well, this is a bit of a weird one for me. I find myself preferring 4:3 (for work) because it provides more context to me in a shot. I’m not sure why this is, but I find when I’m working on a job I prefer the look of 4:3 and seem to “see” that way a little better. In any case, purists who swear by 3:2 because it is the “same” as film are kinda off anyway. My negatives are never 3:2. Slightly wider from my M3, for example.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Another weird thing is I found that shooting the Pen-F in 4:3 felt weird whereas it seems to make sense to my brain with the OM-D. WEIRD, I know. I can’t really explain this aside from the fact that the form factor of the cameras might have something to do with my craziness.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Either way, I generally crop most images if I am posting them on Instagram to around 3:2 for continuity. This kind of thing doesn’t bother me very much anymore. Just, whatever works you know?

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Anyway, I’ve gone WAY off topic. Back to the cameras. Have you been able to guess which I decided to keep yet?

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I call him Frank. Olympus OM-D EM-1 with Optional grip and 12-50 3.5-6.3.

Well, a lot of factors went into me deciding to keep the OM-D over the Pen-F. The Pen-F is obviously so much prettier. I loved to look at it. That being said, I already have a camera that is more beautiful to look at than even the Pen.

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Leica and a Beer.

I’m fairly certain if I wanted to go out with a camera that looks good I’d still take this. So, that was the first thing that made the Pen-F redundant to me.

Secondly, I needed to consider what I needed for work. I am not a full time photographer but I do have some more serious projects I am working on. For those, I needed a camera that was better to “use” – not just better to look at. The OM-D, for example, is so, so much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time. The large grip just makes it so nice in use. Also, it generally just feels much faster. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but the OM-D feels more like a tool to me. Things are all where they should be. Settings just are where I need them. When I mount my 50mm Summilux the placement of the function buttons just makes the OM-D a much easier camera to focus and shoot. The viewfinder is also nicer to my eye (at least, bigger). I find the image quality to be about the same. Also, the battery seemed to last longer and the fact that the optional grip carries an extra battery (if I need) makes it a lot more of a “pro” experience. In Korea this is important as people expect a photographer to have a big camera. It’s funny, I used to show up to shoots with a 5D or an A7 and huge lens but take all the photos with an RX100 or X100. The other camera was just for show.

Also..

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Can you spot the OM-D?

I used to prefer pretty motorcycles. These days, I ride this scooter around because it is reliable and literally just works. No one would argue it being pretty, surely. The OM-D is kind of like that. I never feel the need to baby it. While the Pen-F is built very nicely it feels nowhere near as nice in the hand as the OM-D. It feels like there is no way it would take the abuse that the OM-D would. The OM-D is also weather and dust sealed which is a great plus considering the dust and things I’ve been dealing with lately. I picked up the cheap 12-50mm lens which is also weather-sealed and together they make a nice tight package.

Another reason I decided on the OM-D is video. While it lacks the pop out screen of the Pen-F it has a mic-input which I find a lot more important. I’ve been putting together some vlog posts (planning to launch first with new house completion) and I just generally found the OM-D to work a lot easier to use for video. It isn’t the best camera around for video, obviously, but is more than enough for what I need.

All those things aside, the OM-D was just the one I reached for all the time. I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about it. I can toss it around without care or worry. This part especially fits into my lifestyle these days.

Oh, and I forgot this part:

The OM-D costs about one third the price of the Pen-F used here in Korea. That alone means I’d pick it every single time. Building a house has made me frugal so this is probably one of the most important factors in all of this. I could buy the 12-50, grip, extra battery, 17mm, and OM-D EM-1 body for about the price of the Pen-F body and grip. Doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

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My niece. Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

Also, for family trips and what not the OM-D can be handed to anyone to use and I never worry about it. I wouldn’t in a million years just hand my M3 over to a kid to play with. At least not while sober.

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Olympus OM-D EM-1, 17mm f1.8.

The one thing I forgot to mention that many people asked me was about the electronic shutter on both cameras. Well, to be honest I am not the type to shoot in silence. I quite like to be seen or heard. I did try it a little but as you can see from above it is quite difficult if the lights are the cycling variety. Unless, of course, you like that sort of thing. In my opinion the shutter on both cameras is quite quiet so this shouldn’t really be a deciding factor. I just thought I would add it since some people asked. I found the problem to be very similar on both cameras.

So, this wasn’t much of a review. I apologize.

I don’t have the time I once did. I do hope I can balance things a little more effectively once the house is finished. I also will be undergoing some changes in my job soon which should give me more time for this sort of thing. I have a couple of reviews I want to get done.

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Sony RX100V.

I recently picked up the Sony RX100V for example, for my mom and spent some time with it before sending it off. A really nice little camera, and the fact it is the one I purchased for my mother should say quite a bit about how highly I think of it. That will be the next mini-review I plan on doing.

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Sony RX100III.

I took Eric Kim’s longtime profile photo with an older version of that camera. Also used two phones for lighting, but that is another story. A rip-off of the Irving Penn portrait of Truman Capote. So stay tuned for that post. Should be done before 2028. Maybe.

Considering how bad this review was, I wanna open up the comments to questions about the cameras. I figure if you have anything you want to know that I didn’t talk about I am more than happy to answer! I think this type of back and forth might be better than what I actually wrote… :/

Finally, thank you so much to everyone that ordered my zine, Neverland: Korea Volume I. I was blown away by the support. So much so, I’ve already started putting together Volume II (suggestions?). It will be slightly shorter and slightly cheaper and probably will be available sometime this summer.

Volume I is still available here:

MAGCLOUD.

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Neverland: Korea Volume I.

Thanks again!