An afternoon with M.Zuiko 9-18 and M.Zuiko 40-150

My Micro Four-Thirds camera’s travel kit is now completed – first, the 17 mm kit lens, then the 14-42 mm standard zoom, and then the extremely sharp and fast Lumix 20 mm. This basic set is recently complemented with the ultra lightweight and fast focusing zoom lens – M.Zuiko 9-18 (some pictures here) and M.Zuiko 40-150. So now my travel kit is the trusty E-P1, 20mm, and the two new zoom lens. With only three lens, it covers the range of 18mm to 300 mm. Absolutely lightweight, fun to use and with very good quality as well.

Some photos made in the last weekend along the beautiful Victoria Harbour of Hong Kong.

Shanghai, Shanghai

Not the first time to visit Shanghai and certainly will not be the last. Like many famous cities around the world, Shanghai is a photographer’s paradise. This huge city’s  landscape practically changes every few months, but there are still lots of traditional buildings scatter around. If you want to see what an awakened dragon look alike, then go to Shanghai to check it out … seeing is believing.

Some recent photos of the great city – Shanghai. Photos shot by Olympus E-P1, with lens Lumix 20 mm or Olympus M.Zuiko 9-18 mm.

Mini review – Olympus Micro Four Third M.Zuiko 9-18 Zoom lens

I knew the M.Zuiko 9-18 zoom lens is small, lightweight. But not until I held it in my hand, I didn’t realize how freakingly small and lightweight it is. Once I mounted it in my Olympus PEN E-P1 and I immediately recognized that it’s the perfect lens I would use all the time … for landscape and travel photos as well as for snapshots. The focusing is fast, zooming is smooth and it is a very quiet zooms lens.

Will certainly take many more pictures in the days to come, but for now some sample snapshots.

Game Changer – E-P1

In the last few decades we have seen many ground breaking new products that were really “game changers”. That is, they changed the way we do and accomplish something; they changed our habits and many times the design of all the similar products after that game changer. Indeed, they were probably not the best products in the market when they were first introduced, but their visions (and their disruptive technologies) made all their supporters believed that the world was not the same anymore.

The Kindle 2 plus the Amazon books and the Whispernet distribute network is one good example, it essentially change the way I read books. Another example is the iPhone from Apple that basically change the way how a mobile phone (and mobile applications) shall work, look and feel. Yet other one is the Mirrorless Single Lens camera of Olympus and Panasonic (they call it the Micro Four Third system). With already five camera bodies in the past year and a handful of lens, it provides one extremely good DSLR alternative to all photography lovers.

I am a SLR user since 1980 but my current favorite camera is the Olympus E-P1. It’s small, light-weight (but yet with a very solid feeling), stylish, and feature rich. More importantly, it takes photographs as good as many heavy, bulky digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) cameras. I still possess two DSLR bodies with numerous lens and accessories but frankly I seldom use them right now, as I can take my E-P1 with me anytime but not the two DSLRs.

Other than the physical appeal, another good reason to use E-P1 is it basically bring back all the fun of photography. I still have full control of my pictures by changing the ISO, aperture, shutter speed easily, but I can also apply many visual effects to the photos via the Art Filters. For examples, the following two photos were taken via the Black & White “Grainy Film” art filters to create a very special mood of Sydney.

Is Micro Four Third the best camera system every created ? No. Is E-P1 the best camera in the world ? No. Is it the most affordable camera in the market ? No. But the camera and its system provide me all the convenience, picture quality and fun I need NOW.

Indeed, the world is not the same anymore.

Sydney Opera House

Circular Quay

Olympus E-P1 – initial impression

To me (or many amateur photographers), the holy grail of travel photography is to have good image quality in a small package. Even though I have couple of small DSLRs and compact digital cameras, it is still a very tiring trip if you need to take two bodies, a few lens, flash, batteries, monopod, digital wallet etc. with you all the time.

And after years of waiting / researching / praying, finally there is one camera can deliver all the goodies I want – stylish, small, good image quality, low noise in high ISO, and some no-brainer idiot-proof special effects. It is the Olympus E-P1. Even I like it a lot, for now, it is not the perfect camera yet. For example, there is no EVF, no flip-out LCD VF, and there are not many good lens available yet. However, I guess I can keep researching / praying …

Anyway, some photos: