A Hobbyist Photographer's Wish List by Juro Malazo

A Hobbyist Photographer’s Wish List, Item #1: My Dream Kit

It’s become quite customary for most people to wish for things during the Christmas season. Some dream of driving off in a new car, some want to get their hands on the latest smartphone, and some others, like me, have wish for gear…photography gear, that is.

I’ve also got a wish list of sorts, arranged from the most affordable to the most expensive. I’ll be posting the items on the list over the next few days, with item #1 to be revealed on Christmas day.
The most recent post I did on this 10 part series was several days ago, having failed to write up and schedule posts for items number 1 to 4 (Item number 1 was supposed to be revealed last week on the 25th).

Before the year draws to a close, I’d like to finish this series. Today, Items 4, 3, 2 and 1 will all be revealed…one at a time. ^_^

Previously, I posted Item #2, the Datacolor Spyder4PRO.

Now we finally look at Item #1, my dream kit, a micro four-thirds system. This is the most expensive on the list, and all prices are from bhphotovideo.com.

First up is the Olympus OM-D-EM1.

OM-D E-M1 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera [image source: bhphotovideo.com]
It is currently the flagship model of Olympus, and as such, is the most capable, most feature-packed camera in its lineup.

It’s got a tried and tested 16MP sensor. It has what’s considered the best electronic viewfinder in the M43 world. Shutter speed tops out at 1/8000th of a second. It has both contrast-detection and phase-detection for auto-focus. It has the revolutionary 5-axis in-body image stabilization. It is dust-, splash-, and freeze-proof. It is highly customizable, making it possible to control the camera intuitively.

I have some experience of shooting with DSLRs for hours, and that’s usually with the kit lens (18-55mm) attached. It definitely was a burden to carry around and shoot with as the hours pass. I’m sure that would be even more of a burden if a bigger lens was attached.

My interest in and desire to pursue street photography also influences my choice of a dream kit. I’ve become so used to shooting with my LX5 that I’d probably make a conscious effort were I to carry and shoot with a DSLR now. This is why I chose a Micro Four-Thirds camera (at least as a dream camera).

The EM-1 is not as bulky as a DSLR, which is good thing for someone who’s been shooting with a compact Panasonic Lumix LX5. It is weather-sealed, which would allow me to experience something I’ve been wanting to do: shoot in the rain. It also performs at such a high standard that size is not the only thing going for it, and it’s been compared to some high-end DSLRs as well.

This is sold at $1,399, which is around 62,100 Philippine Pesos.

Second is the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens.

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO Lens [image source: bhphotovideo.com]
This is the first PRO lens that Olympus has offered, and I think it was released along with the OM-D EM-1.

Mounted on a M43 camera, it has an equivalent focal length of 24-80mm with a constant F2.8 aperture throughout the whole range. This coverage is similar to my LX5 which has a 24-90mm equivalent lens, but with an aperture of F2.0 at 24mm and F3.3 at 90mm.

Like the EM-1, it’s been well-received. Tests and reviews have also yielded positive results. Some have even compared it with the equivalent lenses of other brands and said that this Olympus lens was a bargain for the what it can deliver. This is definitely a PRO lens.

I’ve found the 24-90mm range of my LX5 to be sufficient for my needs, so this lens at 24-80mm would be a nice zoom lens to have in my dream kit. It’s got F2.8 throughout the range, it focuses fast, it has great image quality and even features a dust- freeze- and drip-proof construction.

This is sold at a costly $999, which is around P44,400.

Third is the Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 Lens.

Olympus M. Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.8 Lens [image source: bhphotovideo.com]

With an equivalent focal length of 90mm, this is considered a short telephoto lens. Many use this as their portrait lens, enjoying the reach and the bokeh.

The F1.8 aperture would make two things possible: to really separate the subject from the background and to shoot even in low light. I want to shoot portraits, and this lens would be a nice addition to a [dream] M43 system.

This is sold at $399, which is around P18,000.

Fourth is the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 60mm f/2.8 Macro Lens [image source: bhphotovideo.com]

This lens has an equivalent focal length of 120mm and is a macro lens. It has a max aperture of F2.8, allowing for a shallow depth of field and even features dust- and splash-proof construction.

I occasionally find myself wanting to shoot macro, so having a lens that would help me achieve that is included in my dream kit.

This is sold at $499, which is around P22,000.

Fifth and last but not least is the Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH. Lens.

Panasonic LUMIX G 20mm f/1.7 II ASPH. Lens [image source: bhphotovideo.com]

This Panasonic-Leica lens is a pancake-style lens. It has an equivalent focal length of 40mm and has a maximum aperture of F1.7.

Street photographers using M43 systems love this lens. It’s extremely compact, which allows the camera to look even smaller. This in turn would make one more discrete and less threatening to the subjects out on the streets.

I’ve set my LX5 to zoom at fixed focal lengths, and these are the common prime lengths: 24, 28, 35, 50, 70, and 90. When I’m out shooting on the streets, I almost always use 35mm, which I think feel gives me enough flexibility. I could take street scenes with it by taking a step back and candid, in-your-face portraits up close.

Although there is a closer alternative to the 35mm I usually use, this 20mm pancake lens seems more suited for street shooting, which is what I’d use it for anyway (if I actually had it). It’s right smack between the 35 and the classic 50, it’s small, and with the F1.7 max aperture, I could take blur out a subject’s background if I need to.

This is sold at $398, which is around P18,000.

So there you have it: Item #1 on my wish list, my dream kit:

  1. An Olympus OM-D EM-1 for the camera at $1,399;
  2. An Olympus 12-40mm F2.8 PRO lens for a general zoom at $999;
  3. An Olympus 45mm F1.8 lens for portrait work at $399;
  4. An Olympus 60mm F2.8 lens for macro work at $499; and
  5. A Panasonic Lumix 20mm F1.7 II lens for street shooting at $398.

All in all, this kit would set me back $3,694 or around P164,000 at current prices.
Whew. That’s a large sum of money.
This is a dream kit after all, so money isn’t really a concern…for now. 🙂

What camera and lens combo do you dream of owning?


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