On the Panasonic GH2 – Porst 55mm F1.2 Lens (Poor Man’s Noctilux!)

Porst 55mm F1.2 Lens

This is the newest addition to my Micro Four Thirds kit; as you can see in the pic above, the Porst is a super fast lens for low light. I just wanted to share a a few thoughts on this setup as I am really enjoying it. The Porst 55mm F1.2 lens is a K-mount lens requiring a special adapter to connect it to an M/43 camera but once attached if feels natural. I’ve tested the sharpness of the lens wide-open and it’s adequately sharp at F/1.2. In fact I am surprised at how sharp it is!! However, I am new to shooting a lens this fast and it is a treat but it’s not without its challenges. The other afternoon I took the lens out for a quick photo-shoot around Cedar City to get the hang of it and discovered that it is quite difficult to nail the focus when shooting wide-open at F1.2; ┬áit’s literally paper thin! At first, I though the lens was just not sharp but when testing it on a tripod, it was much easier to nail focus with some stability.

What I like about the lens is the insane bokeh that I’ve been able to cherry pick out of thousands of images on Flickr from a variety of F1.2 lenses and I’m pretty convinced that the Porst 55mm F1.2, the Tomioka 55mm F1.2, and the Cosina 55mm F1.2 are all similar designs and render very similar bokeh and sharpness and behave very similar. The three lenses I just mentioned are all worthy of investment as well as the Yashinon Tomioka 55mm F1.2 lens.

This lens constitutes a Poor Man’s Noctilux. While I don’t think it can really beat the Leica Noctilux in sharpness wide-open, I actually prefer the bokeh from from the lenses I’ve mentioned above, especially the Porst. If I were to buy a second lens for the same speed, I would invest in a Cosina 55mm F1.2 lens. The Tomiokas are excellent choices but I their going prices for used condition on the market are way jacked-up, in fact – I’m not convinced that the Tomioka’s are worth a going price of $1,200 on eBay which is what the “buy-it-now” auction are asking for. I was able to get my Porst for about $379 which was much more reasonable and the lens was shipped clear from Cyprus in mint minus condition.

The Porst 55mm F1.2 lens is a lot of fun though and I will share more thoughts as time moves on!

Solving the Problem of Flimsy Plastic Lens Hoods!

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So I’ve always had these problems with liking cheap plastic lens hoods on digital camera lenses. So instead of getting frustrated, I went out and bought an $18 dollar can of truck bed liner and it works like a charm. What I do is leave the lens hood on full time and it feels so much better when it feels this tough! This is a simple trick and tip for you guys. I would love to hear your thoughts!? :)

Winning a Leica M9 Monochrom & $20K!

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I did a crazy thing today and spent a measely $20 dollars on an incredible black and white photo contest in the hopes of winning an $8,000 dollar Leica M9 Monochrome and $20,000 in cash. This was a good deal. Mind you, this is the first time I have ever entered a photo contest of any sort, The fact that I love Leica so much is what pushed me over the edge. If there’s a snowballs chance in hell that I win, I would put some of that money towards a Leica Noctilux-m 50mm f/.95 lens. My brother tends to disagree on how good Leica is. He says they are a bunch of hype and I should know better but Leica isn’t just a Red Dot brand for rich yuppies, it is one of the oldest and most respected companies in the history of photography. I’ve done the research, frequented enough technical forums, and have always been impressed with the quality images that come from Leica users . So I plan on getting one someday. Until then, I’m stuck shooting the poor-man’s Leicas: My trusty Olympus E-P2 and OM-D E-M5.

The dead cow photo above is what I chose to submit, not in hopes of winning, but because it represents my vision. As an artist making an honest assessment, It’s my worldview when shooting Landscape Photography that not everything in nature is pristine. I’m chuckling as I write this because it’s a statement against some of the nature photographers in general that like everything untouched and undisturbed before they can compose a picture. It’s ludicrous when in reality, nothing is unscathed even in the national parks. What’s wrong with airplane trails and power-lines being apart of the intended wilderness? Embrace them. In my humble opinion human-kind is apart of the wild and cannot be removed from it. I wonder how this dead cow would have been rendered using Leica glass? Trust me, German glass is superior!

Of course, you don’t have to believe me. Everyone swears by certain brands but some are simply more endearing that others to use. Leica is my favorite company of choice because their whole system is dedicated to the advanced art of manual focusing and the red dot is simply amazing! I won’t go so far as to claim that only real photographers shoot Leica, but I will say some of the most serious street photographers and world famous photojournalists have used Leica since the early days. It’s a serious tradition. Life is short and you may as well go the whole nine yards! So cheers to my favorite brand.