Nostalgia isn't what it used to be (Or is it?)

All pictures taken in Stratford-upon-Avon. Where else could it be?

Whether or not using my Olympus OM-D with two MF Voigtlander Nikon fit SLR lenses is some kind of way of reconnecting with my photographic infancy or just a way of indulging my retro fetish, I certainly had a great time using them yesterday. While I may not want to use this combination all the time, I'm certainly having a lot of fun with that outfit currently.

Yesterday I gave the "focus peaking" simulation I outlined here a good try out. In practice for a whole shoot it does work very well. I was unfortunately unable to use the whole method as it was so cold that I had to wear (my specially made for using mobile phones in the cold - but ultimately not that useful) gloves and I just couldn't locate the (very small) fn1 button on the OM-D accurately enough. In the end I just turned the dial to the "art filter" setting permanently. This meant that through the viewfinder it looked like somebody had spiked me with acid, but I was able to quickly and accurately focus the lenses. Incidentally does anyone else think the hijacking of the word "art" for these filter effects is an insult? I can't think of anything less "artistic" than these ghastly abominations. However as soon as I returned I trashed them immediately since I had the raw files to work with.

This method of focus peaking is also useful for determining just how much of the image I want in focus, or how much I can get in focus at any given aperture. It does that job pretty well, and every time I use it I wonder why all cameras don't have it. But then I guess the numbers of people who actually use their cameras with manual focus lenses is pretty small. It might be a topic of conversation amongst the enthusiast community, but I doubt that there is a very large % of OM-D users to whom its important. However I'm pretty happy with it and even if Olympus never add "proper" focus peaking to the camera, I would be happy to use this method.

I've been having a discussion about my use of lenses such as these rather than "native" m4/3 lenses over at Google+ and I should, I think, restate some of what I've been writing there.

I'm absolutely not trying to say that these old-school lenses are much other than an indulgence on my part. I get a lot out of using them, but ultimately its all about what works for me, and what gives me pleasure when I take pictures. Its always been of vital importance to me to enjoy ALL of the picture making process. If I can't have fun doing it, and it becomes a chore then I might as well go off and do something that makes me more money. 

Yes I perceive certain advantages using lenses like this, but I will conceed that these are small. However that is generally enough for me. I am sure that we are all aware by now that super expensive optics only yield small improvements over run of the mill ones, but its nice that they exist to give that "something extra" no matter how marginal it might be. I particularly like the colour rendition of the Voigtlanders and the slightly increased contrast that good quality primes often produce. As ever these differences are not huge, but just like certain guitars have a "sweeter" tone for those whose ears have been tuned by years of playing, certain lenses have a difficult to define "look" to those of us who have been looking at pictures for more years than they care to remember. 

And of course its my money, my choice and I can pretty much "indulge" myself as much as I want.

So, a very enjoyable afternoon all round. Nice light, nice camera / lens combination, nice pictures. The fact that I earn my living by doing what I enjoy is a constant source of wonder to me, and thinking back to those early days, I would have been amazed to have some foreknowledge of what I'm doing now, and doubt whether I would have believed it. I heard some quote the other day, which I can't quite remember, but which is along the lines of "If you can make a living  from doing something you love then you'll never have a job again"

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.

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