The Streets of Macao

Street photography Macao
A street scene in central Macao

With an expiring Chinese visa the time had come to nip across the border to Macao for the tradition of the visa run. Macao is a land I had never before visited, but as a chap who finds a delight anywhere with old colonial architecture and traditions of a far of land still lingering in a delightful manner I was happy to head there with my OMD-EM1 and my new favourite lens, the lovely little Oly 25mm f1.8. More of that camera and lens combo soon, but for just a few snaps from a wander through streets of Macao.

colorful spiral incense in Chinese temple
These spiralled incense sticks burn in the old Chinese temples
Street photography Macao
Old meets new in the shape of modern boutique shopping on a traditional Portuguese plaza
Street photography Macao
A view of one of Macao;s many winding streets
blue sky clouds a statue on The Virgin and a church and steeple, Macao
Catholic churches abound across Macao, this one afforded quite wonderful views
Old cannon pointing at Macao's Lisboa casino
There seemed a certain irony that Portugal’s old cannons seemed to be aimed at the, erm, dramatic Lisboa casino
A view of Macao's tallest tower
modern view on Macao
Street photography, a deserted old street in Macao
Macao is awash with beautiful old streets and crumbling architectur
Street photography Macao
Am I the only one to find the vanity of the selfie quite vulgar?
Street photography Macao
Old streets, Macao
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Olympus 45mm f1.8 lens

My father-in-law. Shot in my kitchen with an OM-D E-M1 and Oly 45mm f1.8. f1.8 | 1/100 sec | ISO 800

Over the Christmas period I have had the opportunity to borrow David’s Oly 45mm f1.8. Up until now the only primes I had around this focal length were 2 old manual lenses that I got on eBay. More about these another time but whilst I love using them for the tactile nature of going manual (there’s no doubt that I feel more connected with the whole shooting process when using these), I find I do miss a lot of candid opportunities because despite some very good focus aids built into the OM-D E-M1 I simply miss focus, a lot.

Image Quality

Ok, let’s get the most important point out of the way. This lens, in my humble opinion, is stunning in terms of image quality. It is the best portrait lens I have ever used, and that includes the 70-200 MkII Canon. It is very sharp wide open (which let’s face it is where a lens like this will spend most of its time) and produces lovely out of focus backgrounds separating the subject from its surroundings beautifully.

Handling

This is a small lens which I personally like. The drawback is that it has a very unusual filter size which means you either need to get new filters or a step-down ring. That aside it looks fairly good on the camera and in auto focus mode it is lovely to use with extremely fast focusing. For manual use you have to jump into the menu and turn on manual focus as it doesn’t have the snap back ring that the pro Oly lenses sport. Personally I don’t much like using it for manual focus, it is just too small and simply doesn’t have a nice feel to it, but with such fast accurate auto focus I can’t see this ever being an issue.

Highand Cow
I came across this fellow in the Lake District recently. f1.8 | 1/640 sec | ISO 200

 

Conclusion

There is no doubt that this is a lovely lens and with Amazon currently selling it at £179 it is an absolute bargain. I have had it in my basket several times as I know that I am going to lose this one as soon as David heads back off to the other side of the world. But the bottom line is, as much as I love it, I am not sure it is for me. If I were someone who shot a lot of portraits or did a lot of street I would have this lens for sure, but as a landscape photographer it is a luxury. For now I will continue to use my old manual 50mm for those sorts of shots but who knows, in the future I may just change my mind.

Dicki

Chooie
My dog sits in this chair with his arm over the side looking like some old man all the time. It’s only this once that he has stuck his tongue out at the camera though. f1.8 | 1/125 sec | ISO 1600