Kuhio Beach Hula with the Olympus 14-150mm

Hula Show, Kuhio Beach - Honolulu, Hawaii

Hula Show, Kuhio Beach – Honolulu, Hawaii

For my third and final post about this year’s Kuhio Beach Hula Show, I feature some pretty pictures and a test of the versatile Olympus 14-150mm f4-5.6 lens. I unofficially call it the “travel zoom” because its compact and very usable range makes it perfect for light-weight travel. Mounted on my OM-D E-M5 Mark II, it’s a very capable setup.

I’ve shot this show many times. I go to it at least once, on every visit to Hawaii. Something about the warm tropical sunset, smooth island music and colorful dancers make it irresistible. I’ve captured the show in different ways with a variety of gear, too. Back in the day, I even used my large Canon 7D DSLR with a big 70-200mm white Canon lens.

Since then, I’ve gone wide-angle. In 2016, I created my fanciest image, with lots of dynamic range and much post-processing. But this year, I wanted versatility. The option to shoot close or wide. Hence the 14-150mm lens.

The first photo is at 150mm which is equivalent to 300mm, full frame. I was hoping the depth of field would be shallower, but at f5.6 on micro 4/3, that wasn’t meant to be. Something like the Olympus 40-150mm f2.8 lens would have worked better. But, that lens is a lot bigger, heavier, more expensive and, inconveniently, I don’t own one. The 14-150mm travel zoom is not perfect, but does a great job given its size and weight.

Hula Show, Kuhio Beach - Honolulu, Hawaii

Standing from the same spot, I created this photo with the same lens and camera but at 100mm, which is equivalent to 200mm, full frame.

Hula Show, Kuhio Beach - Honolulu, Hawaii

For comparison, here is the scene at 14mm, the widest setting, which gives a 28mm view. I was standing by the side at the very back, not to disturb anyone else. You can see why the Olympus 14-150mm f4-5.6 is such a versatile lens. Given its compact size, on a micro 4/3 camera, it’s the lens I pack for my travels. Optically, it does a good job, though of course, not as perfect as the Pro lenses.

At around $499 on Amazon, it’s the lens I recommend for travel. I own the Mark II version which sports an updated aesthetic design and even has dust and splash resistance.

Hula Show, Kuhio Beach - Honolulu, Hawaii

Finally, I wanted to end with an Art-ish touch. I’ve recently talked about the creative fun I’m having with Topaz Studio. I really like this abstract and romantic version of the hula show. It more accurately reflects my feelings of the event.


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