An old tradition, but recently a bit forgotten. Two years ago it started with the top 13 of 2013, now it is time to start compiling the top 15 of 2015. This kind of list is always a problem, as the photographs that I take can be on my shortlist for quite a number of reasons, ranging from ‘I really like this photograph’ to ‘my new nephew smiles so cute in this photograph’. I think, however, that this photograph can be on the list!
Although I have owned the Fujinon XF 18-135 mm f/3.5-5.6 ‘superzoom’ for almost a year now, in my mind it never really found its place in my camerabag. While I have used it frequently for my watersports photography, I usually left it at home when I went out for fun or for other – non water related – assignments.
Recently however, it has begun to grow on me a bit. In the past I have stated often that I would rather take my three small primes on holiday than the one big heavy (relatively speaking, that is) superzoom. And the three small primes (18, 35 and 60 mm) were a perfect combination during our trip to Sicily last year. This year, however, our annual holiday was to Curacao, a much more humid climate than Italy. As a result, I somewhat dreaded changing lenses and the 18-135 mm stayed on my XT-1 for most of the time to protect the sensor that is otherwise exposed during lens changes. In addition, the weather sealing of the 18-135 was extra protection.
How did this turn out? Well, to be honest, quite well! While the images of this lens are not as sharp or clean as those obtained from my primes, for most subjects (non-moving, landscapes, portraits, etc.) the image quality was quite acceptable. Having gotten used to the large apertures of the primes (the 60 mm is ‘slow’ at f/2.4), where the 18-135 has to make do with f/3.5-5.6, I had to get used to cranking up the ISO to get the shutter speeds that I desired. On the other hand, the more than excellent image stabilization made sure much longer shutter speeds could be used than would be the case with the primes.
In the evening, when light faded, I still had to grab my primes to get some decent shots, but on the whole, almost 80% of my shots were done with the 18-135 mm. Using this lens reduced the amount of camera gear I had to carry during the day (after two day’s I didn’t even take my primes with me out in the field any more), reducing the weight of, and space in, my camera bag. It also meant less time wasted changing lenses, which certainly came in handy during our exhaustive climb to the top of the Christoffelmountain.
Two other things to mention that I noticed are the excellent macro capabilities and the sometimes rather ugly bokeh of the lens. During our trips on Curacao we often stumbled upon dozens of lizards (and sometimes larger specimens like the Iguana). These sometimes posed for us and we could get quite close. At 135 mm the closest focus distance was less than a meter, which I would consider quite good for general photography. On the other hand, the bokeh obtained (greatest at 135 mm f/5.6) was (not unexpectedly) much less pleasing than I was used to with the primes. It is not a reason not to use this lens, but something to consider when using it.
Will it be on my camera more than before?
Maybe. While the image quality may be good enough for holiday ‘snapshots’, for more serious photography that doesn’t require the weather sealing I’d still use the primes. It’s also quite a heavy beast, and much larger than for instance the 23 mm f/1.4 that is usually attached to my XT-1. It is a bit of a workhorse compared to the refined primes. For another holiday like this one, I might take only the 18-135 and the 23 mm f/1.4 and leave the rest at home (but then again, I might lug it all with me again).
Some photographs from last week:
Omdat de voorspelde regen uitbleef ben ik nog even de natuur in gedoken om wat bloemen te fotograferen die ik tijdens het hardlopen had gezien. Uiteindelijk mondde dat uit in een bijenjacht die ik verloren heb. Ik ben er achter gekomen dat bijen nooit lang op een bloem blijven zitten, en dat die tijd te kort is voor mijn lens om scherp te stellen.
Binnenkort nog een keer herhalen, met meer tijd moet het lukken een bij goed vast te leggen! Gelukkig lukten de wespjes wel..
Zoals ze dat zo mooi kunnen zeggen in Game of Thrones: Winter is coming!
Volgens de weerman gaat het vanaf vandaag weer warmer worden, maar gelukkig hebben we in januari toch nog 2 dagen gehad waarin het ietsje kouder was en waarin er in ieder geval wat wit spul op de grond heeft gelegen. Wat een verschil met vorig jaar. Toen lag er sneeuw met Sinterklaas en was het na half januari een maand lang wit op de straten..
Ondanks de kou heb ik toch mijn rondjes gelopen, en tegelijk wat foto’s gemaakt.
Geen tijd voor een heel verhaal, maar wel wat foto’s die ik deze ochtend genomen heb tijdens het hardlopen (geen goed idee, mijn verkoudheid vind het echter wel erg fijn, en nestelt zich nog wat beter). Ik maak er doorgaans geen gewoonte van om mijn camera mee te nemen tijdens hardlopen, maar deze keer beloonde het zich wel!