The PZ 14-42 Pancake Zoom Lens is a fairly recent addition to my Micro 4/3 lens lineup and I have to say, the more I use this little lens, the more I love it. Owning anything which might be described as a “kit lens” usually comes with a series of compromises, such as a slow maximum aperture, less than stellar build quality, and often below par optical performance. I think it’s also true to say that at the less expensive end of the lens market there is probably going to be some copy variance as well. However my copy of the PZ 14-42 is superb, very sharp and more than capable of producing colourful contrasty and detailed images. The build quality is very good indeed and the lens itself is tiny – transforming my Olympus OMD into something resembling a compact camera. This makes for a wonderful setup for general travel photography and street photography, the whole thing will fit into a large coat pocket or sit comfortably across the body all day without you really being aware of it. Despite the lens being a relatively slow f5.6 at the long end, the OMD is so good in low light that this will not usually limit you, though obviously if you find yourself in very dim conditions a fast prime lens will be best.
Yesterday was forecast as an usually sunny day here in the UK and so it’s no surprise that the London streets were packed with sightseers. Given the weather it made perfect sense for me to jump on the train and get up to the East End of London to visit my printers in Hackney. I only provide the very best products to my clients and I am obsessive about quality and finish. I can confidently say that my printers, framers, and album manufacturers are the best craftsmen in the industry. Here at LDP we can go as bespoke and high end as you like (but not low-end, obviously). And so I found myself alighting from the tube at Aldwich (deep in Jack the Ripper country) and taking a colourful and interesting walk along Brick Lane and upwards into Hackney. The East End is unique, it is totally different in culture to other parts of London. London like many cities is not a particularly friendly place, but the east end is an exception and remains both interesting and inviting. Which is just as well for people like me, who still get lost on every street corner, no matter how often we’ve been there. Approaching a local is always a pleasure and I met several people who went out of their way to make sure I found both of my destinations. Once I’d arrived at the print studios I immersed myself in reviewing substrate types, laminates, and new framing and presentation options. The craftsman I use spend days producing the finished products that I sell and customers must understand that such products, and good photography, cannot be cheap simply because a huge amount of time and overhead (and of course skill and talent) is involved at every step of the process.
After discussions with my printer and framer I headed back down Commercial Street. Spitalfields Market has certainly changed, and is now lined with top designer stores and stylish bars and restaurants. After a short tube journey I alighted at Mansion House and walked across to St Paul’s Cathedral and then across the Thames on the Millennium footbridge. Once in Tate Modern I was able to relax over a spot of lunch and then enjoy half an hour or so walking around the various exhibitions. The Tate is a great place, there’s nothing intimidating about it despite its size, you can linger as long as you want and the staff are always friendly and helpful. Given that I am a Fellow of the British Institute of Professional Photography you would think that I would have a well honed understanding of what constitutes “art”. But of course art is subjective to a great extent and I’m constantly re-evaluating what is meant by the word, and what it means to different people.