Over the past year I have been in the process of researching camera gear and equipping myself with higher quality lenses. I am moving to Stuttgart in less than a month to pursue my Masters so I am happy to have pieced together a great kit before embarking to Europe. Here is what I shoot and edit with and what I think of each piece of gear:
Computer: Macbook Air 13″, 2014
It’s light, easy to use. I haven’t had issues with it since owning it (other than that it disconnects randomly from the internet a few times a week, but that’s pretty minor). I know I should probably upgrade editing software but I rely mostly on iPhoto and the free instagram editor for my instagram photos. I downloaded a Lightroom trial a few months ago but it felt joyless and time consuming to use so I have decided not to buy it. I don’t shoot in RAW though so I can mostly get away with light edits from iPhoto. The laptop sleeve is from Society 6 .
Camera Body: Olympus Em5 Mark ii
Great, quick, lightweight micro 4/3 camera. The jpegs come out great SOOC. The dials are well constructed. It’s weather-sealed when paired with the proper lenses. I’d only upgrade cameras if Olympus comes out with an Em5 Mark iii or if Fujifilm ever implemented 5 axis stabilization (although a new Fujifilm is a bit out of my price range).
Favorite lens: Olympus 25mm F/1.8
I. Love. This. Lens. I love it. It makes everything look dreamy. It’s a safe focal length for if you were to leave the house with just one prime lens. I keep telling myself I need to use my Olympus pro zoom more, because of the versatility, but my heart always leans towards the creamy, lightweight Olympus 25mm.
Olympus 12mm F/2
This lens autofocuses so fast. It’s great for sunsets. I used it a lot the last time I was in D.C. to take architectural snapshots. It’s the lens I keep in my camera bag for when I realize that I’ve reached the limits of what my 25mm lens can do in terms of autofocus or capturing a wider scene. Though it can’t create the bokeh that a normal focal length lens can, it will still deliver that dream like quality that compels one to buy a prime lens in the first place. It’s also my lightest lens which is a plus.
I’ve just recently sold off my 12mm lens. As nice as it is, if I were shooting at 12mm I’m much more likely to use my zoom lens which offers almost as shallow depth of field. I may use the money to buy a 17mm prime. I may just try out the minimalist two lens approach. Either way it’s a relief to get the money back from something I just wasn’t using very much anymore.
Olympus 12-40 F/2.8 (WR)
It’s the most versatile lens I own. The autofocus is stellar even when the lights go off. I also rarely use it these days which causes me guilt. If I were traveling more, especially to a rainier destination like the Pacific Northwest or Denmark it would probably stay on my camera all the time. In fact I invested into weather-sealing in the first place because I was sad that I took so few pictures during my study abroad in Denmark since it was always raining or really foggy outside. I suppose this lens is the swiss army knife of my camera bag. It can do everything I need it to, but it’s a little overkill for sunny days and city streets.
My backup camera for when my Olympus isn’t with me. I used this camera a lot during the eclipse because I needed the wide focal length. I had only brought a 25mm prime with me. The iPhone camera is very underrated I think. (Phone case also from Society 6.)
Bonus gear: Moleskine Pocket Notebook
This past year I have been in the habit of keeping a notebook around to jot down to-do lists and wish lists. I just got this cute little Moleskine last week at Marshall’s for 4 dollars which is a steal for this brand of notebook. They retail for around 14 at this size. I have a page in the back of this notebook where I write down dream lenses for my camera. The list reads as follows:
- Olympus 17mm F/1.8
- Panasonic 15mm F/1.7
- Leica 9-18 F/2.8-4
- Leica 12-60 F/2.8-4
- Olympus 25mm F/1.2
Hope you’ve found this post informative or at the very least entertaining.