Autumn Fail

I missed Autumn this year.

EM5 12-40  40 f4

EM5 12-40  40 f4

Between the changes to my work circumstances, impatience to get to Japan again for more street shooting and cultural cleansing and an ample dose of apathy, I missed Autumn. 

During a flood emergency in my basement (and record flooding locally that even made the news in the Czech Republic!), that forced me to manually bail out the 8 bathtub sized pool under the house, a little magic caught my eye in the garden. I dropped the bucket and grabbed the first fully loaded camera that came to hand.

The lens is the 12-40 that is still in the "not sure" category with me, but I think I have come to terms with its character. Pekka Podka said in his review that Olympus intended to have a lens not high in super fine detail resolution like the older 12-60, but strong in contrast and smooth rendering (not exactly sure on the precise wording there, as it looks as though his excellent site has been taken down). 

I feel the images have a slightly under exposed look to them, with too much noise and softness, but I have not yet explored its exposure accuracy and forget that I tend to shoot in poor light hand held, where f2.8 is a luxury. Every time I test it, it comes up with comparable quality to my primes**, but in the field something (maybe me?!) goes awry. I also feel the lens misses focus more than other lenses on the EM5 mk1*, but will probably be better on the newer cameras. 

It does not help that I tend to use the lens at 40 f2.8 where it is known to be weakest by a small amount, especially compared to the 45/75 lenses. When I do landscape work it is sharp edge to edge and the focus issues* go away. 

If I look at the images it takes at normal size or when printed, it does a lovely job, but if I go in and pixel peep, it looks to have less detail than the tele primes, rendering a simpler sharpness more on par with the 17mm. Like the 17mm it sharpens well and the colour/bokeh/contrast are good. 

*The EM5 mk1 has a small achilles heel with its focus. It tends to shoot past small subjects. This varies by circumstance and I feel with some lenses and it frustrates my father in law no end when he tries to photograph small spiders, as it focusses perfectly on the ground around them.

** not as sharp as the 75mm (no surprise), smoother, but less snappy than the 45, roughly equal to the 25mm (but more ca) and better in the corners than the 17mm. It is also known to be a better edge to edge 12mm than the prime.