Panasonic GH2 - Part 6 Jpgs, 50mm f2 macro, 50mm F2 Planar

OLYMPUS 50mm f2 Macro
GH2 Olympus 50mm f2 macro


As I work my way through the lenses I use for m4/3 my appreciation for the results that the GH2 produces grows. The above is a montage of the point of focus from various (messy and badly lit!!) shots taken on a tripod using my Olympus 50mm f2 macro lens. "the nearest we've yet found to a technically perfect lens" Dpreview. This is going to sound repetitive, but yet again the camera produced very sharp images. This time I shot jpgs, and the images here are straight from the camera. At ISO 160 these are very good. I'd have to do a comparison but I think that these jps look better than those from my GH1, GF1 etc.


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Because of the long exposures needed, between 4 and 10 secs at f8 or f10 there's some long exposure noise reduction kicking in. There was still some slight colour noise that had to be removed, but the images were very good with regard to overall appearance. 


Another interesting thing seems to be happening, with regard to dynamic range. I felt that the camera was underexposing some of the shots and I increased the exposure. Looking at them on the screen I did see some burnt out highlights. It seems the GH2 may be trying to produce an exposure from its metering that avoids this. This is an approach that Nikon, amongst others, took to avoid dynamic range problems. This led to some shots looking underexposed on many of their cameras. The idea of protecting the highlights at all costs is not new. If indeed the GH2 has better shadow detail, then this would make sense, as another way for the camera to produce the most usable dynamic range possible. I will investigate further.


Finally, its nice to be able to report that the superb 4/3 lens range that Olympus produce, at last have a decent sized sensor to work with. 4/3 is a dying format. I'm sure the E-5 is a decent camera and Olympus may (or may not) decide to continue with the format, but I think there is no doubt that 4/3 (as opposed to m4/3) is on its last legs. This will leave the 4/3 lens range high and dry. Whether Olympus continue to make them (or indeed are still making them) is open to question. Whatever the case, there is no doubt that they are amongst the best (if not the best) digital lenses ever made. (I must stop putting things in brackets!)


I know that I'm going to be scouting around my favourite second hand dealers to see what turns up. I'd love a 14-35 f2 for example, even taking into account the weight, but finding one at a decent price is difficult. Many people forget you can use these on m4/3, and most work very well. The 50mm macro is just amazing on the GH2. Slow focusing it may be, but the image quality is breathtaking. 


ZEISS 50mm f2 Planar
Panasonic GH2 Zeiss 50mm f2 planar


My sharpest M-mount lens. I've often said that I personally don't think its worth it to go out and buy expensive m-mount lenses for m4/3. I've never been sure that the difference is that noticeable over the best of the native Panasonic and Olympus lenses. While by no means saying to anyone, go out and buy m-mount lenses, the GH2 does seem to show up the differences between lenses more than I've been aware of on other m4/3 cameras. I tested the 14-42mm kit lens first, and the more lenses I test, the worse it looks. 


The Zeiss f2 Planar has a different look to the Olympus lens. Its a typical M-mount look. Its very sharp but with a smoother graduation between colour. You probably think I'm doing a "kings new clothes" thing here, and its a subtle difference but I do see it. I've put the two montages on flickr quite big, so have a look and decide for yourself if you think I'm talking complete rubbish. 


It does again produce very sharp results (Yawn!!) and makes very impressive images. I will be trying some of my Voigtlanders in the near future to see how they perform.


WHATS LEFT?
The 20mm f1.7 and the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 plus some video. Ben and I were going to go out and try the 14-140mm yesterday but chickened out and stayed in the warm! Hopefully  that will get done soon. Since the 14-140mm is the other kit lens for the GH2 it should be looked at.


I was sold on the GH2 on day one and I think its a superb and potentially game-changing camera. Everything else is a bonus. This new Pansonic sensor makes ordinary lenses look good and good lenses look great. Great lenses like the two discussed here today look absolutely astounding. 


It's been mentioned that I have a certain enthusiasm for m4/3, and that is indeed true. But that enthusiasm is based on the fact that it really does the job. If I don't sell pictures, I don't eat and I don't pay my mortgage, so I wouldn't make the decision to dispense with my Nikon and Canon systems if I didn't think the alternatives I have can do the job. I'm satisfied that they can and as far as the GH2 is concerned it "does the job" very well indeed.


David