[OM] So this is what it means.... PanaLeica redux version 1

Subject: [OM] So this is what it means.... PanaLeica redux version 1
From: Ken Norton <ken@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2010 10:55:22 -0500
I just had an opportunity, ever so brief, to glance at a few of the
portraits done last night. I used the PanaLeica 14-50 on the L1 with
off-camera flash. Please don't get me wrong, the DZ 14-54 is an excellent
lens--but this takes it to an entirely new level. The 25/1.4 lens is also
just a smashingly great lens. I'm just floored by how good both of those
lenses are. The results are comparable between both the L1 and E-1, with the
E-1's AA filter being the weak factor in everything. It is obvious to me, in
looking at the images that the 14-54's resolution far exceeds the ability of
the sensor to capture. The edge-detail is simply incredible.

This isn't lab testing, this is real-world, stressful, you have 85 people
waiting for you shooting.

The 25/1.4 ended up being a mixed bag. For some reason which I'm not quite
sure why, it didn't seem to balance as well as the 14-50 or even the OMZ
lenses which resulted in motion bluring. Other than the increased aperture
it provided, I actually didn't like shooting it as much as I did with the
14-50. The 25/1.4 has a one to two stop "usable" aperture benefit over the
14-50, but the 14-50 has the stabilization. I say "usable" not because the
lens isn't sharp wide-open, but that focus errors make it less usable. I
have more blurry pictures from the 25/1.4 than the 14-50.  But the 25/1.4
did allow me to go down to ISO 400 for some shots, which had other benefits.

The DZ 14-54 Mk1 is sold. It's been a great ride and I'll miss it when I
shoot in the next rainshower, but the 14-50 has a new permanent home. I was
leary about it until I really had an opportunity to push it to the limit in
high-level usage on both the L1 and E-1.

In a combined eight hours of shooting, I shot approximately 2000 pictures
with three cameras:  L1, E-1 and OM-3Ti. Lenses used:  PanaLeica 14-50,
25/1.4 and the following OMZ lenses: 24/2.8, 50/1.4, 100/2.8, 200/4, 300/4.5
and 35-80. The 100/2.8 was used extensively as was the 50/1.4.

The 50/1.4 is problematic wide-open with severe veiling haze caused by
rear-element to mirror-chamber interaction, (not an issue at all with
full-frame film), but the artistic opportunities afforded by the lens made
for some fantastic shots. The lens performs very well at F2.8 with F2.0
being fine on the E-1 and selectively ok on the L1. As always, the 100/2.8
produces jaw-dropping georgous images and my intial observations (real world
usage, not tested on test fixtures or anal-retentive flower shots*) is that
the 100/2.8 is possibly better on the L1 than the E-1.

The L1 and E-1 turned out to be extemely complementary of each other. I had
the E-1 slung over my right shoulder in the reverse position (lens pointing
backwards) which allowed me to easily grab the camera and bring it to the
eye without any repositioning of the grip. The 14-50 balances extremely well
on the E-1 and the center-of-gravity appears to be further back than it does
with the 14-54. A very comfortable setup indeed! The L1 proved to be
everything I had hoped it would be and in heavy usage I have no issues with
it except for one thing. If you make any setting changes, the camera will
reset those changes if you power-cycle it. Oh, one other thing--the
viewfinder display goes away during the exposure like the E-1 does, but it
doesn't come back until you do a full release of the shutter-release. Going
from full-press to half-press keeps the display off. On more than one
occasion I almost blinded myself when the monitor would kick on for whatever
reason (sleep mode, etc) with the eye up to the viewfinder.

Back to the 25/1.4 lens. On my short-list, but I think I can live without
it. I'll know more this evening, but from what I could sense/see/experience,
the 50/1.4 on the OM-3Ti is a better combination and using it is just
consumption-cost to me whereas buying the 25/1.4 would tie up a lot of money
that I really need to spend on other things first.

AG Schnozz

* There is nothing worse than a constipated plant.
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