Ready Player One Official Trailer #1

I read “Ready Player One” year’s back and it became one of my favorite books. Top 5 easy. I was worried about the movie but watching this trailer puts my worries to rest. The scenes that I recognize are exactly how I pictured them in my head while reading. Really excited for this one to come out.

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Fujifilm X100F Review

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I have been playing with my copy of the Fuji X100F since its release on Feb,23,2017. This is the first Fuji camera I’ve owned but not the first one I’ve tried. Fujifilm’s philosophy is something I appreciate and can get behind. Good well-honed products with vintage style and old-school sense. Clean and well thought out with improvements with each new version. Now all that being said these improvements will cost you a really pretty penny. Maybe even 2. I need to say this first, I like the X100F. It’s my daily driver and my go to camera for my Instagram accounts. I’m going to keep it and I would probably even upgrade to the next model whenever that comes out if the competition doesn’t do anything better. Which I doubt they will since Fuji has this part of the market locked down.

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I just want to get that all out of the way before I say I think it costs too much for most people. I consistently use 3 systems at the moment. Sony a6000, Olympus EM5MKII, and the new Fuji X100F. Between all these, I think the X100F is debatably the worst camera in many ways. I would recommend the Sony and the Olympus here over the Fuji with ease. Is the Fuji the most expensive camera here? Yes. It’s as expensive as the Olympus with a 35mm equivalent lens. Maybe even a bit more expensive and it’s easily 2 times the price of the Sony. When it comes to specs and features the Sony clearly loses but hell its half the price. Besides the a6000’s big brothers the a6300 and a6500 are both feature rich and they come in competitively priced vs the X100F. The X100F isn’t even that much more compact than the Olympus and it’s both larger and heavier than the Sony.

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So why? Why would anyone go with the Fuji X100F? For me, it’s not about the specs. I understand how light works, I know how to shoot and I know how to edit in post. If I could get away with it I could do a quality shoot on my iPhone. What I’m trying to say is on paper it can be clear what going this way and that. The thing I like about the X100F is its character. It’s spunk. It’s got a little jazz in its soul and a hint of swing in its step. I would say that’s all the stuff you can’t put a price on but Fuji clearly did. Everything on its own with the X100F doesn’t sell it for me. It’s all of it together and in my hands that does it. The X100F can party, I can hang out with the X100F any day and have a good time. A lot of the other cameras now days are just a bit standoffish. It’s all kind of skin deep, no personality. The X100F’s all personality. For work, there’s an endless list of cameras I can name which are better. For play and everything else, my X100F is at the top followed closely behind by my EM5MKII.

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So do I like the Fuji X100F? No, I love it. Do I recommend the Fuji X100F? Well…no, not to most people. You really need to know what you want and know what you’re investing in here. All that “character” can be a little much for a lot of people. There are other very comparable cameras with a good bit of character who will get the job done. If regardless of this you still insist on the Fuji X100F you are going to have a good time. If you are a traveler or street photographer you are going to have an even better time.

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I hope everyone enjoyed my review on the X100F. I know it’s not your standard review but there’s an endless amount of those all saying the same things. I thought I should just be straight with you all and not do the go to upright stern voice review. If you liked this please follow the links down below for more.

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Medium – DarksterMedia

Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 Lens Review

Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 Unedited

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Shot on the OMD E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 Unedited

I have been using the 17mm (34mm equivalent) Olympus 1.8 with my EM-5II and have been enjoying it. I said this on a few other articles about how versatile the 35mm focal length is but there is something about the 50mm focal length that is special. It is the go to focal length for most people. I would call it the most popular overall focal length of all time. As a street photographer I find myself having a hard time trying to pick between the two. After getting both I would say the 35mm gets more use from me and is what I find to be my preference for street shooting. That being said I would always have my 50mm with me at all times when shooting. I feel when you need a 50mm you really need a 50mm.

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Shot on the OMD E-M5 Mark II with the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited In Lightroom

Build:

The build isn’t the best. You cant expect features like weather sealing and full metal construction here for a lens that costs so little. (It does have a metal mount just in case you were wondering) That being said I have felt much worse which cost much more. The build of this lens isn’t very different from the Olympus 25mm 1.8, but that lens is about $200 more. Having owned that lens I would say the Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 is equal in build quality if not slitty better. It opens up 0.1 more which isn’t huge but counts for something and also comes with a lens hood like the Olympus 25mm.

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Shot on the OMD E-M5 Mark II with the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited In Lightroom

Price:

The Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 is an excellent value for what you get. Honestly just for the price alone I would recommend it. 50mm is a focal length I find is a must. When you need 50mm its difficult to find an alternative for it. That being said you might not be in love with the focal length. Why drop a crap load of cash on something you like but isn’t a must for you? This lens validates a really nice sweet spot when it comes price and function.

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Shot on the OMD E-M5 Mark II with the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

Image Quality:

The lens is beautiful. Solid sharp images with lots of bokeh if you want it. I find it to be a little softer than my 17mm Olympus when it comes to street photography but there is a lot of movement and timing to account for in street photography. Also the Olympus 17mm is a solid $200 to $300 more. I would expect it to be a little better here and there but it isn’t by much. I would say it comes more down to preference here than anything else when I compare the two focal lengths. That being said I feel the value alone kind of validates this lens.

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Shot on the OMD E-M5 Mark II with the Panasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited In Lightroom

Overall:

If you already have a 50mm and you are happy with it than you are not missing out, but if you don’t than I would have to recommend this lens for your Micro Four Thirds system. Especially if you are a street photographer. I have linked a gallery below of my visit to the Toronto Aquarium which I went to just to test out this lens. There should also be a link to some street photography I did that same day. I hope this article helped, feel free to link this to your friends and read some of my other articles also linked bellow.

Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 Street Photogrpahy Examples

Panasonic Lumix 25mm 1.7 Color Examples

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OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

Olympus 17mm 1.8 Lens Review

35mm vs 50mm Photography Comparison

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

If you are reading this you are most likely one of a few people, the first being someone looking for their first lens. Another being some one who has either a 35mm or a 50mm and wanted to see what its like to be on the other side. Maybe you are looking for a single prime to take on vacation. Lastly and most likely you might just be one of those gross creepy street photographers like myself. Whoever you might be, I hope I can help you out a little here.

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with thePanasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

I am a former exclusive member of team 50mm. I still love the focal length and it is still probably my favourite overall focal length. That being said the 35mm focal length is damn good too. I was never really a fan till now where I forced myself to get it and use it. I herd up until this point from other street photographers and other photographers in general about how great the 35mm focal length is. How its the perfect all around focal length and how its great for traveling. If there was any one lens to do it all it should be the 35mm. I believed it, I just never got the chance. I felt the 50mm was pretty much the same thing but I was able to get more shallow depth of field with the trade off of not having as wide a shot. Truly that is what the 50mm is and it is great for that. That is part of why it is considered “Standard”. The 35mm on the other hand comes off as much more “normal”. (See what I did there? No? Don’t worry about it.) A better way I would put it is that the 35mm comes off a lot more natural. I feel it covers more ground. Gives you more options including a little bokeh.

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Olympus 17mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

So which is better? Well I say both. Im sure thats not what you want to hear so ill go into detail. The 35mm is a swiss army knife, a jack of all trades. It does it all and it does it well. The 50mm on the other hand can be a little fancy. It just makes the subject look nice. You cant go as wide sure but on the other hand you don’t have to go as close to the subject. Its just at the curve where portrait lenses start so it can double as a portrait lens too. Sure the 35mm can do most of this but you can really make some models uncomfortable with how close you need to get.

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with thePanasonic Lumix 25mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

Lets look at it this way. The 35mm is a grey suit and the 50mm is a black suit. This might be going over a lot of heads now since I’m going into fashion territory here but it is openly considered a grey or charcoal suit is much more versatile to wear than a black one. You can mix and match with a grey suit a lot easier than you can with a black one. You can wear a grey (charcoal) suit to a funeral or to a party and not look out of place. All that being said, damn does a black suit just look good. Not as versatile, no. The question is does it need to be? It just looks so good that, who cares? So which suit should you buy? For travel get yourself the 35mm grey suit. It will do everything you need it to do and it will do it well. For your first lens? Either one works here. If you plan to take more portraits and such the 50mm black suit. Maybe more into landscapes? Then go with the 35mm grey suit. If you have a 35mm grey suit and you are looking at that 50mm black suit don’t worry you are not missing out. Same goes the other way around. That being said I think all men should have a black suit and a grey suit. To my street photographers. Same deal. You can go either way and be happy but again I think all men should have a black suit and a grey suit.

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OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

Olympus 17mm 1.8 Lens Review

Olympus 17mm 1.8 Lens Review

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 35mm f2.8 Canon FD Lens using High Res Shot UnEdited

I got this lens quite last minute before my trip to Cuba. Actually I got it about an hour before leaving to the airport. Before this I had the olympus 25mm 1.8 lens that I got with my OM-D E-M5 Mark II a few days earlier. I love the 50mm focal length but I just didn’t like the build and the continuous wire focus ring on the 25mm. I also felt it overall lacked in build for its price. The image quality was great and the auto focus was on point, but I like to have the option for solid manual focus and I want a solid build. So last minute I went and returned the 25mm for the 17mm and I’m very happy for it.

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 17mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

The 35mm (actually 34mm with this lens but close enough) focal length you get with the 17mm Olympus is quite something. I was a bit skeptical before this about it since I’m overall on team 50mm. Since using the 35mm I have to say I find myself playing on both teams now. It gives crips solid shots at about 4.0 and up and you can also get some beautiful bokeh in if you stop it down a bit. You should see some samples here and linked bellow is my Instagram where you should be able to see more. The focus ring is great too, if you pull back on it, it will lock into place and switch to manual focus. Its not actually manual focus, its still focus by wire. It just simulates old school manual focus and it does it extremely well. You wont have the same speed you would with pulling the focus ring around like you would with say a vintage lens but its pretty close and its as good as it will ever get for focus by wire.

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Shot on the iPhone 6s Plus

The overall build is prefect. Small, solid metal/quality plastic construction all around. It felt heavier than the larger 25mm I had before, if not more dense. I was never worried about breaking it in use and when I would bump it into things it seemed to bump back just as hard. Ill be honest I hate using neck straps and rarely do but it was simply too hot in Cuba for me to carry my backpack around which means my Peak Design Capture Clip couldn’t be used. If you read/herd my review on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II you would understand I didn’t overall like the grip even though I’m use to it now. So I had to use a strap and let me tell you did my camera and lens take a beating. I would get up from a tables and the lens and camera go smashing nose first into the edge of the table. They would both shrugging it off like it was nothing. I expect this kind of solidarity coming from the OM-D E-M5 Mark II which was build for it but not the lens. Simply put I was impressed at how well it can take a beating.

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 17mm f1.8

In conclusion I would say it was worth every penny. When I got it I thought I would return it if I didn’t like it. (Same with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II) In the end I couldn’t let either of them go. The only thing that would make this lens perfect in my eyes is if it had weather sealing. Cant have it all I guess. If you are looking at this lens I highly recommend it and if you are thinking about this vs his brother the 25mm, I still highly recommend this over that. Now thats not a 35mm vs 50mm thing thats this particular 17mm vs that particular 25mm thing. If you want to see my comparison and thoughts on the 35mm focal length vs the 50mm focal length check the links bellow. I cant say more good things about this lens from a general use standpoint and a street photographer standpoint.

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OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

OM-D E-M5 Mark II Review

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Shot on the Sony A6000 edited in Lightroom

I have been using the OM-D E-M5 Mark II extensively for about 2 weeks now. I got it just before going on my trip to Cuba expecting to test it out on the trip. In short I am very happy with this camera but its not perfect. So lets start there with the cons.

Cons:

The Grip

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Shot on the iPhone 6s Plus

I didn’t like the grip right form the start. My hand is larger than most and it was just too uncomfortable for me. I never felt confident holding it like I do with other cameras like my Sony A6000. Due to the size and weight of it I found it to dig into my ring finger most the time, kind of between the side of my nail and the next closest knuckle. I was always worried about dropping it randomly so to make up for that I would hold it more often in my left hand while cupping it from under with the lens. I also found myself mistakenly clicking the button located on the front of the camera. Im not sure what it would be assigned to on a stock camera since one of the first things I did when I got it was go in and change all the buttons to my liking. I had to key bind it to nothing for a while since I couldn’t find a use for it, it would mess with my shots when I click it by mistake or hand it over to a friend. Whenever I would hand it to a friend I can see them also click it by mistake every time. Now all this being said after about 3 days of handling and use I got use to it. My hands have naturally adapted to the weight and grip of the camera. I don’t notice it anymore. I feel I am nitpicking a bit with this flaw. To be honest I like the camera quite a bit and most of these flaws may come off as nitpicks.

The Menus

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Shot on the iPhone 6s Plus

Don’t let me get started on these menus, simply put…they suck. I don’t know who signed off on this but I have made better wireframe layouts for menus in my sleep. I feel the best way they could have went about it is increase separation. Which is how I feel most companies handle their menus. If an item cant be placed into a category, simply give it its own dedicated one. What Olympus here seems to be trying to do is lower the amount of clutter but combining things here and there. It looks like there is less clutter but what ends up happening is features you would need fast access to are then hidden away within other menus. One excuse that can be given is this camera has crazy amounts of customization and in the process of that the menus can be “complicated”. I know “complicated” and this is just “messy”. I doubt this will happen but maybe Olympus will come out with a software fix for this.

Micro Four Thirds and 16MP

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Shot on the iPhone 6s Plus

This is one of the things I was worried about when getting this camera. This is my first M4/3 camera having only used the Panasonic GH4 before this at an event just to try out. I felt it was excellent for video but I didn’t know what to really expect for photography. With my A6000 which is a APS-C sized sensor at 1.5 crop I would find myself with a lack of light at times. Ending up having to fiddle with the settings and make compromises to my shot to make it work. I also saw 16MP to possibly be a problem due to not allowing me to print larger or crop further. My worry about the lack of light was not that big a deal. It handled really well in dimly lit situations as good if not better than my A6000. If you don’t pixel peep at the individual grains it would give you very solid images in low light. The 16MP on the other hand has been a bit to work around. I feel I am more carful with my shots when taking them to make up for the megapixel size so I don’t have to crop into the shot later. Its not a deal break or huge for me. The way I shoot allows me a lot of wiggle room for things like this but it would be a much bigger problem for others. If you expect to do large prints or be cropping in post a lot I would have to say Micro Four Thirds is not for you. (Only exception being is if you are a product photographer and you plan to take advantage of “High Res Shot”. If its not moving it will look brilliant with a 4K shot in the end.)

Little Bits of Annoyance

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 17mm f1.8 lightly edited in Lightroom

I wont state all my little annoyances here but there is one that stands out to me and I’m going to talk about here at the end of the Cons mainly because it is maybe the smallest problem the camera has but it is my biggest personal annoyance. Now I do understand that this con might mean nothing to you but coming from a design and media background it makes me wonder if they even bothered testing the camera out properly before release it. Now my little problem with this camera is Focus Peaking turning off when I switch to manual through the lens or when using a vintage lens. Yes you are probably asking yourself, “Do people really still manually focus in photography?”…Yes they do. Magnification and Focus Peaking work as manual focus aids to allow you to manually focus on your subject more accurately and faster. It may not be as fast as todays auto focus but I still find it to overall more reliable. Even though I find auto focus to be getting better and better every year.

All that out of the way, Why? Why does this feature that exist as a manual focus aid get turned off automatically when switching to manual though the lens or when using vintage lenses. It works fine when I flip my AF to MF switch but it just loses it mind when any combination of this is done. My A6000 doesn’t do that. This is what makes me think no one tested this out in development enough. This would have been one of the first things I tried if I was working on this camera. It is one of the first things I tried when I got it. I may be coming off as being really pissed about this and its kind of true. I feel the Devil is in the details and its such a simple detail that should not have been overlooked. Now there is a work around for this and its not to bad. You can set one of the Function Buttons on the camera as a Focus Peaking on/off button. So when the camera decides to turn it off on its own you just click that button to turn it on again. The button I personally use and recommend is the small round button located on the front of the camera when your ring finger or middle finger meets the grip. The same button I talked about above when we went over the grip. I like this spot a lot since its easy to get to and miss clicking it wont change any setting thats would effect the end result. Its simply a toggle for focus peaking. If its on and you need it, great. If its off and you need it just click the button once.

Pros:

The Build

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Shot on the iPhone 6s Plus

Now this is debatable, but after a bit of thinking this over I think this may be the best built camera I have ever used, and I have used many different cameras from Canon, Nikon and Sony. Im talking about all of the A7 line and the top Canons and Nikons. I like the build of this more. Lets just say this, If I were to drop my Sony A6000 on my foot I would be worried about my A6000 maybe breaking. If I dropped my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II on my foot, call an ambulance because I most likely need medical care. The military should have a look at this camera, because this is how you should build tanks. The weather sealing, the machining and the quality of parts is as good as it gets for a pro grade camera.

High Res Shot

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 17mm f1.8

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 17mm f1.8 cropped

The OM-D E-M5 Mark II has all the features you expect from mirrorless cameras, focus peaking, magnification, HDR, swivel touch screen, great amounts of customization, and wifi to name a few, but it also has great new features like High Res Shot. It allows you to take a 4K picture the only catch being be subject cant move at all. So things like people are out of the question. Like I said above, product photographers will have a great time with this. The few times I tested it out, I was very surprised by the result. It can also maybe be used for some landscape shots such as waterfalls. Since any kind of movement will blur the image you can get some really cool 4K shallow shots with this feature. I personally have not tried this but in theory it should work. Having written all this and then taking the pictures you see above I realized there is a lot of potential in using Hight Res Shot for macro photography. Just look at how much you can crop and how close you can get in the second picture.

In Body Stabilization

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the Canon FD 135mm f3.5 handheld from my room, edited in Lightroom

I’m not much of a video shooter anymore but the advantages that IBS brings to photography is is excellent as well. I like to use vintage lenses. I own the Canon FD 35mm, 50mm, and 135mm. On the OM-D E-M5 Mark II Micro Four Thirds  sensor these focal lengths are all doubled to 70mm, 100mm, and 270mm. These lenses are extremely adorable and shoot amazing images and video. The problem with them is being vintage they have no image stabilization and no auto focus. Now auto focus isn’t a problem with features like magnification and focus peaking but image stabilization cant be helped. When you are trying to pull focus and also shoot a stable shot there can be a lot of motion fuzz or blur in the final images. This coming from maybe slightly missing focus and the lack of stabilization. Now with the IBS in the OM-D E-M5 Mark II there are no problems at all. Sharp clear, bokehlicious images and video all around.

Micro Four Thirds

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 25mm f1.8 edited on Lightroom

M4/3 might have its limitations when it comes to light and megapixels but it also has its advantages. As stated above all mm based on full frame standards are doubled. For instance the 50mm becoming a 100mm. Same goes for a lens at say 300mm, it would be an effective 600mm on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II M4/3 body. This allows you to get ridiculous range while still maintaining a smaller form factor. I have used full frame cameras with some long telephoto zooms and comparing the size and weight of some of those zooms to the M4/3 counter part is laughable. The size of some of these full frame lenses really seem to be over compensating for something.

Image Quality

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Shot on the OM-D E-M5 Mark II with the 17mm f1.8 edited in Lightroom

I don’t know what Olympus is doing to get these images to look as good as they do. Maybe unicorn horns or angel tears but the images and colors that come out of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II are simply beautiful. I don’t shoot in jpg, I did when I started photography but I got off it quick after seeing what can be done with RAW shooting. That being said this is a camera I would actually consider shooting in jpg here and there. I probably still won’t because again, even though it gives out excellent images it will still look better after processing in RAW, but damn did I come close a few times to hitting jpg. The colors and sharpness are something special from this camera. Now part of it has a lot to do with the lens I used which in this case the Olympus 17mm 1.8. I picked this lens over the Olympus 25mm 1.8. If you want to know why, keep an eye out for my next post “35mm vs 50mm”. Speaking on only on the (35mm) Olympus 17mm 1.8 I have to say its an excellent lens.

This lens teamed up with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II just might be the perfect all around team. The 35mm focal length handles everything really well. For a travel combo I cant think of anything better when it comes to primes. Only thing better for an all round use combo/travel combo would be some sort of zoom with the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. Personally I really cant stand zooms for many reasons I wont state here. If you are not sure why I don’t like zooms, you are most likely new to photography, just prefer zooms over primes, (Really?) or shoot very different subject matter.(Wildlife for instance) Whatever kind of shooter you might be there is a lens combo that will work well for you and the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. For me personally its some combination of a 35mm 50mm and 100mm prime. Ill make a separate review on the 17mm 1.8 lens itself or talk about it on my podcast. Either way check the bottom of this post for links to related subjects.

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Olympus 17mm 1.8 Lens Review

Sigma ART 18-35mm f/1.8 Review