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From the West: Great Lenses, Great Cameras

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When I mention “great lenses, great cameras” I’m talking about the tremendous and continuing progress in camera and lens design and even the lower prices that make owning the new technologies possible. My son in Omaha is a devoted photographer and my source for the latest information, especially on the so-called “four thirds” and “micro four thirds” sensor size cameras and the trainloads of new lenses that will fit on most of the cameras. He even loaned a lens, a 7mm to 14mm zoom lens that I carried in the bluffs overlooking the North Platte River, showing in the far distance the famed “Ancient Bluff Ruins” along the Mormon Trail. The 7mm to 14mm is the widest wide-angle lens I’ve ever used and it takes some thought and experience to figure out how to get the best out of the very wide viewpoints.

The above images are often referred to as “near-far compositions” and the great thing about the new optics and technology is that it is very easy to keep everything sharply in focus from very close objects to the distant horizon with the very wide lenses. In the past I’ve needed to use a tripod mounted camera, the widest lens in the kit and very small f-stops like f11, f16 and even f22 — with very careful focusing through the camera’s finder — to keep everything sharp within the image’s borders. Today, using a four thirds, or even the smaller sensor “micro four thirds” cameras and lenses, the near far compositions are easily accomplished in even poor natural light. The micro four thirds camera used here has built in camera image stablizaton, or IS for those of us that can’t spell, allowing the use of even slow shutter speeds hand-held. And the smaller lenses (compared to the original “35mm” standards of a few years ago) are wonderful.

I agree with most of the photographers on the internet forums, “cameras may come and go, but good to excellent lenses are well worth keeping”.

Here is a panoramic cropping of the winter landscape at sundown, equally easy to do with the wide lenses, smaller sensor cameras and simple post processing cropping. Many of the cameras even have a panoramic default that crops the image in camera.


I may have to tell Brad I “lost” this lens.


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