Rob Spray Tag
It isn’t big and grand but because it’s a cunningly designed little prime it can give a star turn which zooms can’t match. Compared to a kit lens it costs a little more money, but in comparison with lenses that can match it optically it is cheap.
In the last couple of years we have seen the (very welcome) return of creative compacts with decent lenses. After the pixel wars ended photographers proved their good taste by snapping up enthusiast compacts with bright glass. It’s obvious that letting more light in is a good thing and the TG-1 rewrites the class rules by adopting this mantra.
Advances in camera design count for nothing if you can’t take them to your chosen location, never more true than when that location is underwater. Olympus’ staunch support for divers leaves it standing high and dry as the only camera maker supporting anything more than its compacts underwater.
Like all the Pen lenses the 40-150mm is tiny, light and perfect for travelling. Optical performance is great for such a tiddler and belies the crash diet it has been on to achieve its travel weight.
I was half expecting the 150mm to be a slightly more grown up version of Sigma’s 105mm macro that I tried last year. This, however, is a very different beast; modern, slick and smooth.
The first thing I noticed was how light the Kata Bumblebee DL-210 is – just over 1kg (2lbs for those who still measure everything in bags of sugar).That does leave it feeling a little less robust, but Kata are a company founded by two ex-members of Israel’s elite special forces so the emphasis is on hi-tech materials.
That bottom line for this new player is that here is a full size tripod that can cope with a pro weight camera but packs right down so you can take it out without being exhausted – of course I’m only reflecting my own modest fitness not the super human stamina of all WEX’s customers…
So is it the perfect travel lens? It certainly crams in all you’d normally need – with some icing on top as it has more than excellent reach – 300mm equivalent used to be ‘long’ so the 405mm the Tamron offers is a very useful bonus.
The E-PL2 gets underwater armour in the cobby, polycarbonate shape of the PT-EP03. I went for a nominal dunk before I could head off for my spring diving but a quick pool plunge can only tell you so much, real findings only emerge once the sea is playing ball.
The new housing for the XZ-1 may be the the junior system but expectations are sky high. It has a tough task ahead, to re-establish a line of serious underwater compacts that took a sabbatical in 2006. As a worthy successor it has the just right credentials; great lens, lots of control and designed-in dive friendly features.