Friday, 29 November 2013

To find something, you must first loose it

Today I'm off on a trip to the North. Its a small trip and only little preparation was needed.

But taking my backpack to the bus stop in the cold early morning of early Finnish winter I felt again that I was travelling.

I spoke to the locals in their language (that I am slowly learning) and after I had seated myself on the bus I began to feel as I have not since I was in Korea. Feeling as I was travelling alone, but in the sence that I only needed to organise myself.

This is a nice feeling that is a mixture of enjoyment of exploration and the confidence that comes with competence and experience.

I realised that this was something I hadn't done since Anita and I began travelling together. That is not to say that I did not love travelling with her, for I did. We both loved travelling together and going on journeys together.

But it was different because there was a sence of responsibility that I always had. Responsibility to look after and protect her. Not that she couldn't look after her self! Far from it. But it wasn't just myself I needed to think about.

So my trip today is the first day I have found my old self in some ways. As if to say something to me, the sun has come out too, after a long time of dull and sleeting windy weather.

As I bob up and down on this sea of turmoil there are days that the decks clear of water and I no longer feel like I am sinking.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Onions have layers (as do brains)

Since the passing of Anita I have discovered that while I am changing to accept things that I'm also changing in other ways. Quite distinctly I've become more emotional, and occasionally irrational.

 A friend of mine remarked to me when I discussed this with her:
I believe that if something really good or really bad happens in your life, which you can't explain by using your brilliant brains, you become more emotional.
She has quite brilliant brains and has just had a daughter. So thats pretty emotional (and hormonal) stuff.

So I came think about this, and I wonder if it is something like a mental version of what happens with concussion. As the brain is a massively parallel computing device perhaps there is a subsystem reboot:

anyway, my mental reboot is taking place ... or its stuck ... can't be sure

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

why I love negatives

People may get the wrong idea that I don't like digital cameras, if that was the case I wouldn't be as supportive of and invested in and investigative of digital as I am. Its simply that they have limitations and I'm one who gets sick of "kool-aid" drinkers of hype who ignore reality.

So with that aside, I was just out yesterday with my old friend the OM-1 (and a roll of neg) testing my 28mm lens (after being surprised just how much flare my 21mm has when pointed straight at the sun).

I was wandering around the riverbank in the -4°C day with the intention of seeing how the river is freezing up slowly and testing my OM1 + 28mm f2.8 (200ISO negative) against my GF-1 (set to 200ISO) when I stumbled across this (among others) great scene.

Now, the red rectangle is in there because in my enthusiasm for examining the beauty of it, I took the digital zoomed in too tight, and the red rectangle is the digital framing ... and no I wasn't using a tripod ;-)

When I got home I scanned the film (dropped off at a 1hour developer) and looked at my digitals. The JPG's sucked but as I'd captured RAW I put the ones I liked through dcraw and got this 16bit TIFF from it.

Now its worth re-iterating that the digital is more zoomed in than the digital ... which will help the digital have greater clarity due to lower magnification. So with that said:

Film detail screengrab:

Digital screengrab:

the digital is just so luscious you could suck on it for a week. But the negative isn't so bad as to make you spit it out.

In particular I'm really impressed with the lack of 'grit' and the depth of the shadows details while still holding highlights. That's the reason I dropped the shutter speed to 30th, to get more shadow details.

Now bear in mind
  • that the film shot was handheld at 30th of a sec so higher chances of some shake
  • the digital was a bit higher at 50th of a sec (lower chances of shake and an OIS lens)
  • the film scan is of a much larger area
and I think that its fair to say that the Neg did pretty bloody well. The Nikon LS-4000 made this a peach.

So why am I mucking around with this still?

sure, the "war is over" ... digital won.  I guess noone needs to paint anymore either?

Well the reason for me to fool around with film still (apart from the fact I like some of the look I get with it) is that when I go on a 2 or 3 day excursion in -10°C (or lower) the batteries die on the digital unless I go to extreme lengths to keep them warm. So my plain old mechanical film camera just keeps keeping on.

Not to mention in the contrasty highly reflective lights of winter shots like this one below

are just not possible with digital without resorting to HDRI (and pray there is no wind). I'll leave you with this one from the same spot.

Film too ;-)

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Depression - Grief - Denial

I'm lucky ... my friends care about me. It isn't easy for them because they don't really understand.

Actually I'm really glad they don't (because of what that would really mean).

Most of us never really know stuff, we just know the words.

Its like the ice on these rocks: most of the human population lives in places where they only see ice in the fridge. They have never immersed themselves in icy waters and swum and crawled out of the waters.

Yet if questioned they would know its bad, it will hurt and be dangerous.

Such is the way humans pass knowledge. We can learn from each other and don't all have to experience near death experiences to know it may kill us.

Yet there is something missing from this knowledge. Robert Hienlein came up with the term "Grok" in his novel "Stranger In A Strange Land" (its a good book of philosophy and analysis of humanity, I recommend it).

My friends often think I'm suffering from depression after the loss of Anita. Personally I can understand why they think the symptoms are a match, but there are things they just don't understand.

Ask anyone who studies black holes, the experts will tell you that that they don't really know, but they have lots of ideas and untested theories. It is after all hard to study what you can't see.

I believe that most people only experience loss of a loved partner late in their lives. It is relatively rare that people in the midst of their life have to suffer such losses. A friend of mine who lost her husband recently remarked to me that it was not untill she lost her husband that she truly understood what her mother had gone through with the loss of her husband. Sure she loved her father, and when he had died she grieved for some time. But the relationship was (of course) different to that her mother had with her father.

Normally it is the elderly who (after a life together) loose their husband or wife. Those who are younger (like the kids) probably have not lost their husband or wife and consequentially are often confused as to why their remaining parent seems to have difficulty in "getting over it".

There is an Australian musician who I happen to like. I have found in his songs quite good descriptions of the subtle differences between Grief and Depression. Let me quote from Richard Pleasance:


Well you live up above my ceiling and you feed on the filth in my head
You come down in the cool of the evening and get comfortable in my bed

I had it out with you, must have been years ago and I thought that I'd left you behind
Butyou've come back again to haunt me and taunt me and force me to loose my mind
You keep pusing me down down down down down down down

Now I'm seeing thingsand I'm hearing things
I've let the bastard get the better of me and cast me into a well of depression

Well I know that you're not a real person but I know that you're more than real
This time I'm not going to let you screw me, so tell me how does that make you feel?

I reckon there's a good chance he's struggled with depression. On grief he seems to have have some experience too from another song

Cold Change

Brother you've cast off your anger and left this world
So quick, so quick was your exit explains this girl
And cruel, so cruel the disease that pulled you down
Relief from your absence is not to be found

And so cold the change
Deep are the waves, deep is the pain

And tears fall on pictures of you growing up
And she sighs, as she nervously spills the tea from her cup

And so cold the change
Deep are the waves, deep is the pain
So we float, out to sea, out to sea

Now she's lost, as she floats out to sea I call her name
And I pray, I pray I can bring her back safe again

And so cold the change
Deep are the waves, deep is the pain
So swim to me, darling please, darling please.

To me the differences in the sadness experienced by the characters in this song are unlike the sad and tortured experience of depression.

Anyway, I hope you never understand this.

But to my friends I say this: I'm not depressed ... I'm trying hard to learn how to be without out her when I don't want to be without her.

Another photograph (like the one above) from todays walk with my old friend my OM-1 loaded with colour negative film

Sunday, 24 November 2013

clarity in digital (a retrospective with new data)

Well this is here because I became interested in the Sigma 30mm f2.8 lens. Before buying it I thought I'd do a little reading about it. So ... that's why this post started.

*Bigger is Better *More is Less *Less is More

Seems like an Orwellian double-think paradox.

For nearly 15 yrars I've been banging on about digitial cameras and film cameras. Being an IT specialist there is a great appeal to digital for me, but with 30 years of using film there was much experience and a high bar for digital to attain.

I have owned, tested and examined many photographic systems. The reason "why" was always to understand the tools and know what their limits were so I could make the best choices for my needs (which includes my budget).

The image to the left was taken using my 35mm outfit on Kodak slide film many years ago. My interests in digital lay in, convenience, speed of access, lowered costs. Since my first digital camera (in 2000) things have improved in iterations, going from .7Megapixels to my current camera being 12Megapixels.

When I bought my Panasonic G1 (12Megapixels) I owned Canon EOS digital gear (as well as film gear) and was getting tired of lugging the EOS digitals around (10D and 20D). I really appreciated many of the features of the G1 (excellent EVF and all that this brings to the table, tilt and swivel much bigger rear screen, much lighter). After some extensive testing I sold the EOS gear and have only kept the 35mm film cameras because they are just not worth anything to sell and as it happens have been useful photographing a wedding.

That was back in March 2009 and after spending time in the analysis I reached a few conclusions.
  • bigger format was better for wide and normal
  • bigger format was better for contrast and clarity
  • smaller format made better use of telephoto lenses
While looking for clarity and resolution in my images I used tools like Norman Korens lens testing ideas and charts. These enabled me to see effective resolutions on both my Film and Digital camera systems.

Systems is the key word here ... but I'll get to that in a moment.

Looking at the data it supported what I was seeing in my images and that was that my G1 was a better system for clarity and resolution than my EOS system was. When applied to my 6x9 roll film and 4x5 sheet film systems I could 'see' the numbers showing me that they not only resolved more (despite lenses having lower lp/mm) but also had better contrast and texture.

When it comes to capture "Bigger is Better"

Back when I first had my 20D I was disappointed with the images from it (while all the while people were going ape over it) because they just weren't clear enough with EF-S lenses and my EF lenses just didn't look and feel the same on it. My 24 was no longer a wide and my 50 no longer a normal.

Somehow these lenses simply looked better on full frame.

Owning the G1 seemed to be unilaterally better than the 20D (EVF for critical focus, shorter flange distance opened up wide choices of cheap creative alternative lenses, actual resolution was higher, slightly smaller sensor gave a more convenient x2 rather than x1.6 factor...) and somehow also made it clearer to me that Full Frame had something that neither APS nor 4/3 did (plenty of posts on that here).

Quantitative data

Fast forward to last night and I was looking up data from a lens testing site about a Sigma lens I'm interested in. I learned that since I was doing much of my testing (2009) a group has developed a very convenient lens testing metric - the Perceptual Megapixel (announced in 2012).

This is very useful metric, perhaps the most useful metric I've ever seen with relation to digital imaging. For it brings together the entire system (as did the Norman Koren method) yet gives a single number which can be applied in parts of the analysis of lens on almost any camera. Why is it useful? Well previously the only 'metric' on lenses was stuff like LP/MM measurements (quite subjective) and MTF curves (for full on experts), as the guys over at DXO say:
Can you define MTF? Do you know if an MTF20% of 50 lp/mm is better or worse than an MTF 50% of 30 lp/mm? And when reviewing an MTF chart, can you distinguish which curve is best? The short answer is probably no.

Since I bought my G1 (and swapped it later for a GH1 to get video and then added a GF1 last year) I have seen nothing compelling to encourage me to "upgrade" my micro4/3 cameras to any newer model. Seeing this data now gives me some metric to fall back on to support what I was seeing (but it seemed that few if any others were seeing NB:
cameras were getting more megapixels but the images just seemed to have the same levels of detail.
To wit lets look at a few lenses from the dxo site. As I was interested in the Sigma 30mm f2.8 I found that review first (and from there the P-Mpixel):

So the Sigma has 8 Perceptual Megapixels, the 'illustrious' (and slightly expensive @US$529) Panasonic Leica 25mm f1.4 gives you only 10Mp (from my 12MP camera) and the oft dribbled about on forums Oly 45mm (@US$400) gives you 9Mp. Hmmm ....

So, looking at a few more of the 'top micro4/3 lenses you simply have to have' we see:

9, 9 and 6P-Mpix. Seeing that rating on the 12mm f2 makes me even more comfortable that my bang for buck (based on what I saw in images) x0.79 adapter was good enough.

I get sick of the dribble I hear about how good the original Olympus 17mm f2.8 was (and how it was sooo much better than the zoom, and don't even start me on the 'stellar' 20mm) seing this low rating only confirms what I saw with my eyes. Well to my eyes it wasn't great and now there is data to back this up.

So looking at the performances its not ball tearing stuff is it. I mean none of these lenses will warrant a move up to 16Megapixels in your camera ... you'll just get more mush. In fact it shows that none of these "super zooms" even give you much more value than the original kit 14-45 zoom that came with my G1. It puts some metrics behind the arguments made by people that the Olympus micro4/3 anything zoom on the OM-D anything will compete with Full Frame ... it just can't and this new understandable data metric seems to support what you see when you look carefully at the DPreview comparison images.

So Less is More (more money back in my pocket).

In comparison to Full Frame some quite humble lenses (and my EF24 f2.8 is always bagged by people from the Kingdom of Wang) as well as one EF-S zoom

So no matter how many MP your camera has (and the 7D has an 18Megapixel APS sensor) if you use that lens you'll get effectively no better than 7Mpix (or about what I get on my micro 4/3) while if I used the older original 5D I'd get the full 13Mpix that the sensor had with either my EF24 f2.8 or my EF50 f1.8.

Worth noting is that the EF24 f2.8 when tested on an APS camera gave no more than 7P-Mpix (due to higher magnification demands of the smaller sensor)

This has helped explain to me what I was seeing when 35mm images taken with my EF50mm f1.8 were sharper and clearer than what I ever got with any of my smaller sensor digital cameras.So as well as better shallow normal I also actually get higher definition too.

The older EF24 f2.8 is not available new anymore, but as a used lens in excellent condition you'll find them for less than US$300, which is much better bang for buck than the Olympus 12mm f2.0 at US$800 and will give you higher resolution to boot!!

These numbers make it clear that if I actually want higher resolution and better contrast I'll need full frame (cos APS and micro4/3 just don't have the numbers). This re-enforces that with the lenses being as they are there is no point in having a compact camera more than of 12Megapixels.

So again Bigger is Better, and Less is More.

Does this mean I am disappointed with my micro4/3 move?
No, because it still gives me a light weight camera to mount many and varied lenses on.

My initial choices for moving from my 20D to the G1 was to have a high quality lightweight camera system that was flexible. My GH1 and GF1 are still exactly that. I now know that do get better performance from my micro4/3 system than I did from my APS system as well as better options for low price and creative lens options.

To me pictures have never been about Megapixels and you'll find in my writings for many years that I've often felt that a good and sharp 6Mpix was enough for most needs. So now with this DXO metric I'll say that a 6P-Mpix is good enough :-)

I'll leave you with an image which is an old favorite of mine, it was taken with the EF24mm f2.8 on film. Its certainly got way less than 8P-Mpix in it, but due to the nature of the way things works prints nicely up to 70cm. Please click on it for a larger view

but I like it not because its sharp but because it has feeling. Its an nice photo of my friend and excited dogs down on the beach on a nice day. Knowing how digital blows out in the highlights, I know that I'd have never been able to get this image with a digital, so I'm glad I had only this antiquated equipment.


So I'm really glad that there is now a metric to help me to make appraisials faster. I know that my micro4/3 has limits and I'm willing to live with them. Understanding the limits makes it clearer to me why I won't benefit in the upgrade. In fact something I have not touched on here is I will benefit by not upgrading because more megapixels in the files just means more storage. More storage costs, longer backup times, bigger SD cards .. and all for nothing that can really be seen in the images.

So I'm going to buy the Sigma and I reckon that it'll be a nice addition to my GF1's compactness (cos that 14-45 zoom is a bit bulky). This will give me a nice lightweight travel and snapshot camera
GF1 (380g) + 14mm (55g) + GWC1 x0.79 wide adapter (70g) + Sigma 30mm (135g).
It'll weigh 250g less than just a 7D or a 5D body and give me effectively a 21mm f2.5, a 28mm f2.5 and a 60mm f2.8 Sure it wont have the Megapixel count but who can see that? The camera only has one eye, but those who only read data and chase the megapixel madness are just as blind as King Wang

A wonderful quote on the DXO site:
The Perceptual MPix measure confirms certain rules of thumb such as a 12 MPix full-format camera is sharper than an 18 MPix APS
Just say More Megapixels and the followers of King Wang chant:
Long live the King!
King Wang King Wang King Wang King Wang

but to me Megapixel madness is
King Wang King Wang King Wang King Wang King Wang King

Friday, 22 November 2013

looking into the (high contrast and bright) light

Recently I got the GWC1 adapter for my Panasonic 14mm f2.5 lens. I've written about that over here and here. One of the reasons for getting it was because I've been after something which equaled my OM21mm f3.5 lens (on film) in the micro 4/3 digital realm. So having satisfied myself that it was good enough for me, I then sold my other wide options (the Olympus 9-18mm zoom) and moved on.

The release of the Sony A7 camera has been very interesting for me, and has had me wondering again about if I should go to full frame. I like many things about full frame, but what I don't like is that cameras like the EOS 5D (and most of the new series lenses) are bloated creatures. I would quite likely not be carrying them, and thus (it not being with me) the best camera I had would be something else like my GF/GH camera (or probably my phone). I find it disappointing that full frame digital was only in such obese bodies while my OM series film cameras had been quite compact devices.

I decided to put a roll of 35mm neg into my OM1 and whack the 21mm onto the front and go for a walk with both cameras and see, as it happens I took these shots over the period of a week.

Firstly I was looking for any differences in "Shallow DoF" that could be obtained with a wide lens, because I don't always want everything to be in focus. So I took these two shots. Ohh, and all digitals were shot RAW and many and varied methods were employed to not have blowouts ... more on that in a moment.

GF1 + 14mm + wide

OM1 + 21mm

The perspective difference between 4/3 (4:3) and 35mm (3:2) makes them look a little more different, but essentially the horizontal view is similar between the two systems (and therefore I can crop the 4:3 into 3:2 no dramas) and the DoF is really similar. However I did notice that (when taking and then processing the shots) that the digital blew out in the highlights. Really that just shits me, and this isn't even harsh light compared to stuff I work with in Australia.

So I wandered around down to the river and took these shots:


This is the proverbial "chalk and cheese" and cuts to the heart of why I hate digital ... blown colours in real world situations. Sometimes this just isn't recoverable. The 35mm negative held the cloud details and the irregularity of where blown channels are (red often blows before green or blue) makes the clouds look horrible to me.

Perhaps with a lot of time on my hands (and I already tried using Adobe ACR, dcraw and Photomatix) I could perhaps work this into something nicer. But you know, you just can't recover data that's lost, you can only work it into something acceptable buy effectively "painting".

So this got me thinking (seeing those blinkies and knowing about this issue) that I'd give my OM vs GF a torture test. I waited for a clear day and took a shot looking right into the sun.



So, first impressions were:
  • holy shit my OM21mm had massive flare (and a lens hood isn't going to help here)
  • holy shit the blowouts on the digital are massive ... its pathetic
 Ok, so I dropped the exposure on the GF by two stops and tried again (shot on manual BTW) in an attempt to give it more room, and got this:

The blowout is less, but geezuz its still hot. Lets take a closer look...



Which actually has details and didn't blow the channels of Neg (but must be hitting hard I have to say) ... just amazing. Tweaking the contrast and you can actually see the graduation to the disc of the sun!

  • A better lens would fix my film camera shots lens flare, but nothing will fix the digital.
  • just how far do you have to under expose to not blast out the digital (and at what expense of the shadows) 
  • the clouds around the sky in the digital are artifically red due to channel blowouts
The astute (looking at the 100% images) will also notice on this that the 35mm shot enlarges bigger because the 35mm film scan is 5590 x 3780 pixels while the GF1 is 4000 x 3000 pixels. That's a bit more than 25% more pixels to play with!  So you could either print large or scale down and clean up the film grain to have the print looking nearly as smooth as the digital.

So where does this leave me?

Well while my intention was to see how my lenses may "look and feel" on the Sony A7 this exersize has left me wondering if there is any point in moving systems from micro4/3 over to the Sony full frame system, simply because no matter how many more pixels (and I've got enough IMO already) or how much the larger format is going to look better I'm still going to be stuck with the dynamic range issues of digital.

So compared with keeping 35mm neg and micro4/3 (NB going to the Sony A7) I would
  • rationalize bodies and lenses (being able to use the 35mm lenses on both systems)
  • but still need to carry a 35mm film body for high contrast work
and still need to spend a bundle on the A7 (and more or less be only getting a small advantage?).

The wide lens on the 4/3  did give me sufficiently shallow DoF for my purposes and quite enough resolution too. So as long as I don't get blowouts (and I have enough experience to predict that) and since the GF/GH camera is about as compact as the Sony (and really how much more compact can it get?) perhaps I don't get much extra bang for my thousand bucks??
That would be body only and selling my micro4/3 gear to offset the price, so I'd still not have any AF lenses then) at lest with a EOS camera I'd have a couple of EF prime lenses too.

So maybe I won't get the Sony just yet ...

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Tulip bulbs and Bitcoins

Financial boom bust cycles are interesting stuff (for those not entrapped in them), there is always speculation over what the next one will be and when it will pop. They seem to have a lot in common with Ponzi schemes, but of course everyone denies that till its 'hindsight'.

I was browsing over at zerohedge and came across this article which discusses the value of Bitcoin going over the US$500 mark.

The article discusses the merits of this new 'financial instrument' and how its going to be going up financially speaking. They mention some interesting points including that the Chinese can now buy real estate with Bitcoin (see this reference).

Naturally there is all manner of weird-arsed comparisons between Bitcoin and gold (the metal) and justifications on how Bitcoin is undervalued compared to gold. Bitcoin proponents suggest that its a solid reliable private currency, and its got a great future.

Well what has all this got to do with Tulips?

Well Tulips have come to represent a major financial "bubble". Some time in the 1630's tulip prices went off the scale, it is reported on Wikipedia is this "By 1635, a sale of 40 bulbs for 100,000 florins was recorded. By way of comparison a skilled laborer might earn 150 florins a year".The crash for tulips came when sellers found that buyers weren't paying their desired prices (and it has been suggested that a change in the laws regarding tulip futures contracts had some effect).

It could be argued that Bitcoin is taking off as the international and electronic private currency. But unlike many other private currencies, bitcoin is not underwritten with anything. In a historical study of "unregulated banking systems in nine different countries during the nineteenth century: Australia, Canada, Colombia, China, France, Ireland, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United States" things went well for private currencies. But a significant point in that historical examination of private currencies (see this reference) was that:
A competitive market compels unregulated banks to fix the value of their deposit and note liabilities in terms of the economy’s basic money, by offering redeemability at par (full face value) in basic money. In the past, the basic money was gold or silver coins.
So it seems that people could trust these private currencies because they were backed by the financial institution and redeemable.My understanding is that bitcoin is not underwritten by anything or redeemable for anything except good and or services and trades on the free market. Its value is very much set by the market view of its worth.

Bitcoin is viewed as safe and the technology of it prevents fraud. Sounds good...

So my comparison between Bitcoin and Tulips starts with this post that BitCoin is Broken by a pair of IT academics who have identifed flaws in the security of Bitcoin. They outline a method where:
a minority group of miners can obtain revenues in excess of their fair share, and grow in number until they reach a majority. When this point is reached, the Bitcoin value-proposition collapses: the currency comes under the control of a single entity; it is no longer decentralized; the controlling entity can determine who participates in mining and which transactions are committed, and can even roll back transactions at will.
Nice... of course mining bitcoins takes some serious computing investment (much as does commercial large scale mining in the ground), which is commonly in the realm of BIG governments (you know, like the Chinese or the USA or say a conglomerate of EU nations).

So is this a new Ponzi Scheme? After all Bitcoin is only worth what the market thinks its worth. If the market felt that a Government was in such a control position the market may just flee the system.

I reckon that there is money to be made in buying and selling Bitcoin (just as there is with FX trading) if you have the stomach for it, but ... don't get caught out with the digital equivalent of the Zimbabwe Dollar.

cos in my view, when the music stops you will want to have already sold you seat to someone else. Who knows how far Bitcoin will go up ... I'm no financial adviser, but here is some music to listen to while planning your Bitcoin investment

Friday, 8 November 2013

long live the king

First a story
Once upon a time ... there was a king, I think the king was named Wu (or something like that it was a long time ago now) and this king was king because while he had only one eye, all else in the land were blind.
you know the gig, in the land of the blind the One Eyed man is king ...

He had a son (as Kings often do), who he named Wang. Sadly Wang was born blind, just as was everyone else in the Kingdom (but only Wu knew). Wang grew up envious of the power of his father and noting that all others were blind arranged in a Machiavellian way to have his father removed from this world (after all, who would see?) so that he, Wang could be King.

While his father led with his peculiar one eye'd vision Wang led by convincing the others that (like his father) he could see and know. Since all the others were blind, they could not see Wang was actually blind too, so they happily followed him.

Much like the people from London are Londoners the people from the Kingdom of Wang can also be thought of as Wangers. To this day Wang the King (in some languages this is abbreviated to Wanking) remains the King of domains of the blind such as the Internet.

Panasonic I suspect know their market well, and having myself participated in the discussions of camera gear for some years I know that many posters are from the Kingdom of Wang; I think Panasonic know this too.

I was interested to read that they had released a new version of their classic (but over priced) 20mm. I quickly toddled over to a major online reseller to see the prices. A screen grab is below and shows that the new lens is had for the bargain price of  just $79 more ... (not less as you may expect)

So, were there any changes to the lens?
Did it now have OIS included? - nope,
was there a changed optical design? nope

According to the Panasonic site the main difference is:
High Class design increases the joy of ownership and further enhances LUMIX G cameras.
The joy of having it in your hand ... no kidding ... see for yourself from this screen grab from the Panasonic site on the new lens

Oh Kay ... so do they throw in a years supply of KY and some tissues?

The old lens page is almost identical, but of course without the appeal to the Wangers:

I can hear somone calling
Ok ... enough with the sarcasm ... they must have improved it.

Well sorry, but it seems not ... nothing added at all, in fact it seems that according to DXO things are actually slightly worse in optical performance than earlier. Also, production seems to have moved from Japan to China to keep production costs down ... I mean to ensure higher joy of ownership.

Great ... so all this new lens has in its favor after the upgrade is an appeal to how it feels in your hand.  Mmmm ... look and feel ... Its a got to be a compelling buy to wangers now.

The majority are always right in the kingdom of Wang. (although I suspect these sheep are not blind)

Being well and truly sick of the Wangers telling me how well priced the original lens was citing such compelling reasons as
*other 20mm lenses are more expensive
* its so cool looking
* its so fast

I tire of pointing out that:
20mm is not wide on 4/3, its comparable to a 50mm on full frame.
A 50mm AutoFocus lens of similar fstop from Canon or Nikon will cost you about $100 and be a harder lens to make because it covers a greater area.

Like Duh ... that's why MF and LF lenses are so expensive, because they have to cover a greater area.

Now, before you argue, if you are unable to grasp this point, go look at reviews of Panasonics fine LX 7 camera which has a beautiful zoom lens and the entire camera costs with a lens about what this new 20mm lens costs.

I guess that its not hard to tell that I'm disappointed with the direction of m4/3. I just wish some one else out there could see.

So the king is dead ... long live King Wang
All hail the king ... where is he again?