End of an old Bugbear?

After a long while focussing (no pun intended) on street and portraiture photography, I have returned to, or intend to return to landscape photography as well. The streetwise Pen F and action oriented 40-150 Pro were purchased against their own marketing assumptions for this purpose as I have had the 12-40 for a while, but lacked an unbroken range from wide angle (24mm equiv) to medium telephoto (300mm equiv) and a kit with consistent quality across the frame and through the range.

One of the weaknesses of my previous SLR kits was in the use of long lenses for slow to medium slow shutter speed exposures (5 sec to 1/125th). Vibrations that are hardly noticeable, even to touch, are severe and unforgiving when everything is stretched to the limit. Longer exposures have some settling down time and shorter ones can even be hand held, but these shutter speeds are the "sweet spot" of frustration. Heavy tripods with mirror lockup and cable releases applied, tripod collars used when required and a few other tricks such as "weighted" tripods and supporting metal rulers under the lens all failed to arrest quality robbing vibrations. 

The Pen F sports two things that I hoped would eliminate the problem. It has an electronic shutter that creates no vibration or sound and can be fired using a variety of methods from a gentle touch on the back screen to mobile phone wifi release via an app.  Using the first method, my work routine became (very quickly), mount the camera, compose, polarise to cut out reflections, then gently touch the frame where the image was best focussed, firing the camera after a short delay. No noise, no mechanical hints or distractions, just pure image taking, fast and efficient. The quiet gentleness of this system is ironically most similar to using an old leaf shutter or my ancient 1970's Canon F1 SLR with its cloth shutter and mirror lock, so we have come full circle (lets not talk about the clunky T90's).

Today was the perfect day to test the kit out, being still and wet with a high over cast cloud cover. So with polarisers attached and my meagre remaining tripod option in hand off I went. There is always some expectation of failure when a theory is tried out in practice* but my confidence was bolstered with a strong determination to succeed.

*Mathematical theory does not often survive scientific experimentation. 


These 4 were taken with the 40-150 at iso 100 using shutter speeds in the 1/15th of a second range. All the images in this post were taken within 100 meters of each other in the Cataract Gorge, Launceston. The compressed upload does not go close to showing the full detail....exciting!


A couple of wide angle shots from the same places. I toned down the fluorescent greens in post (tones accepted on a Velvia slide, assumed to be fake in digital!).