Visitors at Hillside Farms on the morning of 02 June 2012.

Spent some time this past weekend back down at Hillside Farms. My mom was in town and, after seeing all the photos I’ve made of the animals and greenhouses, she wanted to see it for herself. So we took backroads down the valley and introduced her to the farm critters. I made more images. Of course.

This was another day of field testing for me and my newest lens, the Canon FD 35-105mm f/3.5. Like the Takumar macro lens I mentioned a few days ago, this is another adapted fully-manual lens for the E-M5. And it rocks!

Image credit: FDReview.com

I was a little apprehensive as I waited for this lens to arrive, wondering if I’d made a mistake buying it. Handling a fully-manual prime lens on the E-M5 is no special challenge, but I didn’t know about handling a manual zoom. It sounds silly, perhaps, but adding in that one final element (zoom) complicates the entire process by another level – or at least that’s the experience I had when trying to use MF lenses on the Canon 7D.

Ducks at Hillside Farms on the morning of 02 June 2012.

The E-M5 is an entirely new camera system, something I have to keep reminding myself. And unlike the Canon, handling a MF zoom lens wasn’t impossible; it wasn’t even that much more difficult. There’s a definite learning curve to this whole MF lens thing and your eye has to learn what to look for in the EVF. But thankfully that doesn’t seem to take long and by the end of the day I was shooting sharp images without any problem.

In fact, after we left Hillside, we stopped by the Arts on Fire Festival at the Scranton Iron Furnaces, where I shot another batch of images during an iron pouring demonstration. Which, if you haven’t ever seen one, is very cool! The images from the festival are posted on my professional site – you can check them out here: [link]

Young tomato at Hillside Farms on the morning of 02 June 2012.

The final thought for today is that I am just loving the MF lenses on the E-M5, and especially the new FD, which fills the equivalent 70-200mm slot. Its a range I used a lot with the Canons and I’ve really missed having a fast(er) lens to cover it these past few weeks. The FD handles the job really well and I’m convinced that, with additional practice, my MF skills will only get faster and more accurate.

There’s something immensely satisfying about manually selecting an aperture, zooming, composing, and focusing a shot. It’s slower, and it certainly isn’t always efficient, but it is fun. And I keep reminding myself that photographers made images that way for decades before the advent of auto-focus lenses. I’m not saying that I’m going to drop everything and become an MF photographer. But at last for now, I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I’m going to keep working with it, as at least another talent in my bag of abilities.

Mallards at Hillside Farms on the morning of 02 June 2012.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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