The Olympus Nifty Fifty meets Cars & Coffee

by | Sep 22, 2020

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

When I originally purchased the M.Zuiko Digital 25mm f/1.8 lens my plans were to shoot Cars & Coffee using it with my Pen F but other stuff including shooting and writing about Sigma’s full-frame mirrorless L mount lenses got in the way. Eventually I photographed some Corvettes with the M.Zuiko and it didn’t go as I had hoped.

In my continuing efforts to keep pounding that square peg into a round hole, I decided to take the 25mm f/1.8 lens and Olympus Pen F to this month’s Vehicle Vault’s Cars & Coffee event in Parker Colorado. And it went something like this…

The weather was sunny at a pleasant 58 degrees F but because of the time of the day and the show’s geographic location the light was glary and flary. Fortunately, I had Olympus’s pricey but effective LH-49B lens hood and most of the time this did its job. Olympus kindly included the normally optional hood when I purchased my refurbished lens from their on-line Outlet Store.

Compared to recent months the show’s turnout was noticeably subdued with some space for more interesting cars taken up with attendee’s daily drivers but the number of spectators was high making it difficult to get any kind of full car shot without someone walking into it. That goes back to my assertion that it’s impossible to get really great shots at any Cars & Coffee but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.

How I made this shot: I made two different but similar shots of this Cobra replica. Later when processing the RAW files I had the idea of using a cut and paste technique that I sometimes use with portraits. If you consider it “cheating” don’t try it but since it uses multiple images of the same subject that are made at the same time I don’t think so. If you want to consider it an illustration, I can live with that. In the original, as-captured RAW files, somebody walked into the frame on the right on one frame and there was a person walking across the street in the background (in different places.) Check out this post if you want to try this technique for a photograph of a person or a car. If anybody would like to see a tutorial on this technique using a car let me know and I’ll write one.

How I made this shot:  The 25mm f/1.8 lens has a 47-degree angle-of-view, which makes it challenging but not impossible to get a full-length shot of cars. Since I was unable to get a full shot of this beautifully-restored Gremlin X, I grabbed this shot of the car’s side. The lens will focus as close as 9.4-inches; not macro but not bad.

Typically at car shows. I shoot in Program mode because of its fast changing lighting situations and the fact that this particular show wraps around the Vehicle Vault museum produces two distinct different lighting conditions. Exposure was 1/1250 sec at f/8 and ISO 320, my favorite ISO setting for outdoor shows.

There were a few other cars that were interesting, at least to me. There was a red Buick TourX wagon, a car that I love and I’m sure this owner does too but since the American public hates station wagons (a big surprise to all the BMW, Mercedes and Audi wagon owners out there) this beautiful car flopped. The TourX was introduced in 2018 but was discontinued in the North American market after the 2020 model year.



How I made these shots: As a former Packard owner, I always enjoy looking at the Packards that show up at Cars and Coffee. So when was the last time you saw a sign on a car at a show that said, “Feel free to jump in.” And so I did. And this is what I saw a beautiful Wurlitzer-style dash with faux wood grain on the dash, something that some Packards sported. Exposure was 1/400 sec at f/2.8 and ISO 320.