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Sunday, 01 May 2016


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That property on Long Island looks like a tastefully obscene Vanilia Ice project. The meter must have been welded in the "on" position.

I feel like not including some sort of portrait in the post is a little bit of taunting. "Hey, it's amazing! No. I'm not going show you." (I really miss shooting with my 35 summicron as a side note.)

I do not need this lens ... I do not need this lens ... I do not need this lens ...

I have sworn not to buy more m4/3 lenses (I have a box full) and I never cared that much for the 85-90 focal length (I'm more a 135mm guy for portraits). But on the other hand much of my photographic life has been a quest after really sweet portrait lenses. I am sorely tempted.

And thanks to your link and Google I now know more about Russco turntables than I will ever need.

So you're saying we should buy this lens, right? ;-)


(but seriously, if I had $ to spend right now, this lens could find it's way into my bag as I only have the kit zoom for that focal length).

The Panasonic 42.5mm/1.7 is an excellent all-around lens. In addition to the bokeh, it exhibits exceptionally color, contrast, and corner-to-corner resolution. It's one of the smallest, yet best, M4/3 lenses that I've ever used, on par with the Olympus 75mm/1.8 at less than 1/2 the price.

BTW - I looked at your Long Island mansion link and noticed that it lists the property as completed in 1928, one year before the 1929 crash and Great Depression. I wonder what occurred then to the property and its owners. It looks as though it could be used as a set for The Great Gatsby or a movie about the French Revolution.

"If you're nuts in that gentle good geeky way, one way to tell is when you know way, way too much about something . . . ."

a/k/a a touch of Asperger's Syndrome:

"Pursuit of specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking possible features of AS. Individuals with AS may collect volumes of detailed information on a relatively narrow topic such as weather data or star names, without necessarily having a genuine understanding of the broader topic. For example, a child might memorize camera model numbers while caring little about photography."


Since we know that Ctein is a fan of the Olympus 45 1.8 perhaps a bokeh-battle is in order.

I clicked through the slideshow of that monstrosity you linked to and all I could think about was the upkeep costs. That and the fact that sea level rise will have it under water in 50 years. Interesting that a couple of the shots were in black and white, perhaps trying to make it look more old fashioned and less Disney.

In regard to the New York Estate:
1. Wealth inequality will not be a problem for the realtors, after they receive their commissions.
2. With global warming and the rise of the sea level, that place might be under water in a few decades. Another Atlantis.

Well you know Mike, it's shame the property only has 13 beds. So unlucky...
Donald will have a hard time unloading it! ROFLOL

As a portraitist, I'd not touch it with a ten foot long pole :)

The place in King's Point would be perfect for someone who wants to live in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

[You got it. "West Egg" and "East Egg" in "The Great Gatsby" are modeled after Great Neck (where that preposterous "house" is) and Port Washington, on Long Island. Also, I think there's a "Gatsby Road" in that area, too. --Mike]

Dear Scott,

Ummmm, no. Sharing one characteristic is not indicative of a syndrome. I can do complex maths in my head. That does not make me Rain Man. Besides, you have badly misread the sentence you quoted. It does NOT describe what Mike described.

pax / Ctein

Small format bokeh is like a kazoo orchestras playing Wagner. Or a hole-in-one on fiendishly tricky crazy golf course, with two windmills, a water trough, *and* a tunnel that reverses direction. Achievement is possible, but is necessarily pervaded by a palpable sense of strain.


I have long had the Olympus f1.8 45mm -- a lovely lens which I started using on an Olympus body and now use with Panasonic bodies. The 42.5mm focal length is not quite long enough for me. Ridiculous, but… I think back to the wonderful Zuiko f2 85mm lens I used extensively on the OM-1 back in the day -- and it always felt was just a tiny touch short; I would rop just that little bit. That's 42.5mm. The 45mm (90 ff equiv) is exactly right. LOL.

[No, actually I completely understand. I cut my teeth on an 85mm (the Zeiss Contax C/Y Sonnar) and 90mm was always just a touch too long for me. Really. It makes no sense, I know, but I'm right there with you. --Mike]

By the way, I am in total agreement with modest house sizes. My generation grew up in modest houses sizes; I am appalled by the size of houses in Australia now and the estrangement of family members from each other.

I live near the ocean in northeastern Florida. Along the beach there are numerous huge houses, between 15,000 and 35,000 sq. ft. A friend of mine is a local realtor and tells me that most of them are occupied by couples whose children have grown and left. Really sort of a sad waste of money.

13 bedrooms and 35 bathrooms? Strange, though perhaps a no. of the bathrooms are by the pool. I'll have to find out before putting in an offer.

"But there's now a lens that really is the King of Bokeh."

Tastes vary. I do not consider most of what I see in the samples to be excellent bokeh. I generally don't like hard, visible edges in OoF parts of images. I particularly dislike it when lines of tiny specular highlights are turned into lines of overlapping rings of light.

I did this simulation some time ago, to allow me to describe visually what I am talking about when I talk bokeh.

I consider the top two to be excellent and very good bokeh, the bottom two bad and awful. The samples in your link seem to me to range from OK to fairly bad.

I've been working off and on on a process by which to convert hard edged bokeh into soft edged bokeh with brighter center than edges. This is a recent example of the results of a PS Action I've been developing.
For the moment adopting your definition, at least as shown in the samples from this lens, would not this image from the Oly 45/1.8 qualify?

Bokeh looks very much like the last of the samples to me.

Another example, perhaps even closer to what I like, again from the Oly 45/1.8.

The Oly is the same price as the Panny, and very much liked by many more people than just me.

It seems to me that what this new Panny really offers of value is not any optical superiority, but the OIS. I'm a fan of the GM1 and 5, but the above portraits were taken with Oly Pen bodies, for the IBIS.

I think the reviewer is right, that GM5 and 42.5/1.7 lens are a great combo, but primarily for the addition of IS. My GM5 and Oly 45/1.8 would be essentially the same, but for the lack of IS.

Don't throw bokehs at me, ........, etc.

Behold, I bring forth the greatest bokeh creator ever conceived, the Reflex-Nikkor 500mm f/8 new-model. I've used this lens for flowers, landscapes, auto racing, and portraiture.

I dunno, I think it's pretty tough to beat the Canon 70-200/2.8 shot wide open at 200mm for bokeh.


A quick trawl through Flickr confirms you have a reasonable case, with foreground rendering, which catches out many lenses, looking fairly decent too.
The bokeh is perhaps a little too unobtrusive (it would be most unfair to call it characterless) for my taste.

The thing that irks me most is a guy who travels to a foteign land, the further the better, and then takes an environmental portrait with a Canon 1.2/85 or 1.2/50 or indeed 0.95 Leica, wide open of course because he had this expensive lens so he had to use it. And the resulting portrait could just as well been taken in a studio in his home town. Nothing can be seen of the environment. Just grey blur. Waste of money x2.

By the way, cause this is bothering me (a tiny bit but still). You can't always move in or out, especially in portrait. You have to get the distance just right. Too close or too far and the face gets distorted in all kinds of wrong ways. Not to mention you lose the connection with the subject if you're too far, portrait gets cold and detached, or get the "private space, dude" warning if you get too close. Our brain is very adept at picking those subtleties.
Needless to say, when it comes to shallow dof, I'm definitely all the way with stupid ;)

But... they are on useless too tiny cameras that are mere jokes for considered portraiture. Or life-like photography where focus tracking is important.... But one of these would be great for pictures of Tabby on the windowsill, sleeping children, gravestones, frozen-stiff torsos, fields of flowers without focal points, "architectural details" and all the usual Flicker flap.

[You can use it on any Micro 4/3 camera, including the OM-D E-M1 and the excellent full-sized GX8 I'm using now. --Mike]

One definition of a nut might be the owner of m4/3 who hasn't been willing to spend the small price for this small gem. I find it and its companion 20 mm f1.7 make for a terrific traveling set. Just my opinion.

An european photographer already made the comparison between Zuiko 90 mm and Panasonic 42.5 (both of these, pana 1.7 et PanaLeica 1.2) http://www.mirrorlessons.com/2015/06/25/panasonic-lumix-42-5mm-f1-7-review-and-comparison-panasonic-42-5mm-f1-7-vs-olympus-45mm-f1-8-vs-nocticron-42-5mm-f1-2/

Nice to see this humble little lens get some recognition! I'm another one of the crazy ones, having sold my Olympus 45/1.8 to pick up this Panasonic. My copy of the Oly was sharper, but the Pana has more flavorful bokeh and better build quality.

It's interesting how the Oly teles (45/1.8, 60 macro, 75/1.8) have bokeh that renders OOF point almost perfectly circular throughout the frame, whereas all the Pana teles (42/1.7, 42/1.2, 45 macro) have that touch of swirl at the edges, which looks to me like "real" bokeh, not computer-simulated stuff.

My two-lens MFT kit these days is an Oly 17/1.8 and the Pan 42/1.7. I almost never need anything else.

So. Who called the agent? ;-)

Ohhh..."boke." When I first learned that word in my university Japanese class nearly 30 years ago, the meaning was still the most common meaning and that was "confused" or sorta "fuzzy-headed" or "touched in the head." I never really paid much attention to its use in photography until the digital age. I knew of it, but frankly my dear, I didn't give much of a damn and didn't really know I should have.

Then as digital became more common I began to hear boke used more in English than in Japanese. A few years ago, Japanese photographer friend of mine asked me why the word had become so commonly used in the US. I blamed---sorry, I mean credited---Mike Johnston with that dastardly deed. ;)

Now I see photos of nothing but boke, or with the subject being boke which I would have never thought possible or desirable a few years ago. Folks argue over which lens has the best boke as often as they do over which is the most "tack" sharp. Some still argue over the pronunciation of the word which is very strange since we "mispronounce" Nikon and don't care at all. Folks argue that m43 or smaller sensor cameras can't produce good boke or that it is somehow more difficult. (Huh?) I can find really bad boke by just about any standard praised as wonderful just because the out of focus part is out of focus. It is like some sort of bizarro land one enters when discussion is boke.

So I sorta figure that meaning of boke has of late returned to its first listed and still most commonly used meaning in Japanese.

[You're spelling it wrong. --Mike]

The best bokeh is the one that you don’t notice.

Like a carpet. If everybody praises your lovely new floor covering there is a great chance that you have a bad bargain. The best quality that a carpet can have that it is invisible.

Mike, are you sure the word bokeh comes from a Japanese one? I thought it is the English version of the French bouquet, which means bunch of flowers. Maybe there was a word trip, from French to Japanese to English.

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