Capturing memories wide angle style

I’m Axel, a 35 year-old amateur photographer and professional chef. I live in a small city in the south of the Netherlands, called Tilburg.

In my spare time, I am a bit of a hermit, mostly listening to music or enjoying cinema and editing my photos. It goes without saying I also have a passion for food and cooking.

My enthusiasm for travelling is absolutely based on good food, cultural interests, languages and people. And, of course, capturing memories of all of this for myself. So when I do choose to venture out, the thing I most like to do is shoot. With my Olympus, of course!

My personal interest in photography really began when I bought my first compact bridge camera, a Sony DSC-H9. I was 21 and on a nine-month-long backpacking trip through Australia and New Zealand. But to be honest, even though they captured memories, those first pictures were terrible, technically.

It was only after visiting the exotic cultures of Asia that I truly started becoming aware of what I was doing, or rather, what I wanted to do. In my twenties, I visited Asia many times, and in 2013 I decided to stay for two years, basing myself in Thailand and travelling for extended periods to other countries, including Cambodia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Japan, and Indonesia.

I only bought my first Olympus – the E-M10 Mark II – in 2017, after my longer Asian trips. The salesperson convinced me to buy an Olympus instead of the Sony RX10, which I had had my eye on. Changing lenses seemed like a big deal to me at the time, and I didn’t want heavy gear.

But the flexibility and enormous zoom range of the MFT lenses won me over, and I felt comfortable instantly. I got the 14-150mm and did numerous short trips over the next few years: to Georgia, Portugal and Japan. It was great… until I wanted more!

I started upgrading, having decided I wanted Pro gear: I bought the E-M1 Mark II and the 12-100mm F4 PRO lens. I also did photography training at a renowned photography school. When COVID came, I got even more serious, as I finally had time to learn, explore and challenge myself.

I developed my editing skills, honed my style and became more skilled with what I was doing. I also started planning and organising trips while specifically keeping in mind timings, so I could catch the best light for my images.

The other positive thing about the lockdown for me was that I was finally able to conquer my own little corner of the world. I have a gorgeous forest behind my home, and I set out every couple of days to disrupt the lockdown routine.

I believe photography allows one to see little details that others miss: the breath of cold winter air; the mist weaving among the trees of a white birch forest, the haze of a golden sun shining through the canopy; or the silly expression of a dog or person. Fleeting moments, easily captured with this MFT camera of mine.

There are several reasons I have stuck with MFT and mainly Olympus lenses: the weight, size and price-quality ratio are amazing; it feels really good in my hands, and the shot-taking ease is incredible. Having fun while shooting is very important for me!

So this usability and comfort far outweigh the benefits of full-frame. Having said this, I still want the best of the best available in the MFT world, which is precisely why I finally decided to upgrade my 9-18mm to the 8-25mm F4 PRO.

At first, I wasn’t interested in this lens. I didn’t like that it was F4 and complained to other Olympus users that OMDS should have made it F2.8. Despite that, I had to admit the focal length would be perfect for me. So versatile! I surprised myself by spontaneously testing the 8-25mm PRO one day in my own city.

I didn’t know how lucky I was, as it was sold out at most locations. But after testing it for one hour and reviewing the pictures at home, I realised I wanted it… Especially after I checked the sharpness and realised it might be even sharper than the 12-100mm F4 PRO, which I have always regarded highly because of its sharpness (and general awesomeness!)

To be honest, I still cannot believe how incredibly sharp this 8-25mm PRO is! And it is not only sharp, but it also has the smoothest and most beautiful rendering of any lens I own. No purple fringing whatsoever. I was looking for the best of the best, after all.

I mainly try to use the 8mm focal length in nature and architecture photography. During my Poland trip earlier this year, I took nature images at this focal length, including waterfalls from a low angle or grand vistas with mountains behind.

The 8mm focal length is also quite useful in photogenic buildings such as palaces, castles and museums. After taking the 8mm shots, I then remembered I still had three other key focal lengths to choose from: 12mm, 17mm and 25mm. Basically, I have four lenses all in one package.

I have even done some street photography with this little beast, with amazing results. But my first choice for street photography will remain the 12-100mm PRO. It’s my go-to lens and will probably remain such, because the focal range is simply impossible to compare with any other lens out there, for any system.

Interestingly enough, though, I found that almost 40% of my images from Poland were taken with the 8-25mm PRO. This is a huge difference from previous trips when I essentially only used my 12-100mm!

Since I mainly focus on street/people and nature/travel photography, I need all zoom ranges. My kit currently includes a Panasonic 100-300mm F4-5.6, and the Olympus 12-100mm F4 PRO, 30mm F3.5 Macro, 45mm F1.8 and the 8-25mm F4 PRO.

My old E-M10 Mark II and 9-18mm are still on a shelf in my living room, as sentimental reminders of where I began with Olympus. I am planning to upgrade the 100-300mm to a future, yet-to-be-announced Olympus lens. I am also planning to get the 75 F1.8 for bokeh purposes.

The only negative thing I can say about the 8-25mm PRO is that it may possibly be too big/heavy for some photographers when coupled with the E-M5 or E-M10 series. As I said earlier, F2.8 would have been nice too, but physically that might simply be not possible.

I think anyone who enjoys landscape and/or interior/architecture photography, or anyone who regularly travels, should seriously consider this versatile 8-25mm PRO wide-angle zoom lens! Imagine you are at the Taj Mahal and you want to capture it in all its splendour.

The 12-100mm will not be able to do it for you; it’s just not wide enough to take it all in. With the 8-25mm you can capture the whole building, and if you want to zoom in on one of the towers, you can do that too.

This range is also what sets this lens apart from the Olympus 7-14mm F2.8 PRO and other Panasonic-Leica wide-angles. I believe that there is no more diverse wide-angle lens than this 8-25mm F4 PRO on the market right now.

On a personal note, I am planning to visit many more countries with this amazing new piece of equipment in my kit while continuing to discover the world with the perfect travel camera!

"I’m Axel, a 35 year-old amateur photographer and professional chef. I live in a small city in the south of the Netherlands, called Tilburg. In my spare time, I am a bit of a hermit, mostly listening to music or enjoying cinema and editing my photos. It goes without saying I also have a passion for food and cooking. My enthusiasm for travelling is absolutely based on good food, cultural interests, languages and people. And, of course, capturing memories of all of this for myself. So when I do choose to venture out, the thing I most like to do is shoot. With my Olympus, of course! "

9 Comments

  1. Hello!

    Nice pictures;
    Did you realize a great difference between 9-18 and 8-25 sharpness?

    Thanks!

    1. Hello, yes for sure I think the 8-25 is a beast! Having said that it is sharpest at 8-12mm . At 25mm f4 it isn’t that sharp and you gotta stop down but even then you won’t reach the level of sharpness from 8mm

  2. Clarity -100%
    Saturation +25%
    use 2-3 lightroom filters (like the rest of instagram and facebook ”artists”) and there you have it….Art….
    is sad to see the same look and the same presets, without investing time to realy learn the skills of photography.

          1. Thanks. Take care and keep taking photos, is the only way to get better.

  3. Lovely work, such beautifully processed images. I totally agree about that 8-25 F/4 lens. Well done on an excellent article

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