I recently traded a recently-acquired lens back to B&H for the Olympus BCL-15 bodycap lens – a lens that I’ve always been interested in, given my old school aspirations. Anyway, things had been hectic and I finally got a chance to run it through some outings recently. It’s a wonderful lens, and to me, it’s what having a small m4/3 camera is all about.
I already know that I don’t do very well with zooms and truth be told, I don’t really do all that well with primes either. The thing is, with a camera, there’s just SO MUCH variability with capturing an image that I tend to focus on the technical aspects rather than what really matters. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, IS on or off…sure, having a prime lens makes things easier to manage and easier to focus on the subject, but what I really wanted was to get away from all of the photography minutia and get back to basics.
The pictures I take aren’t really all that aesthetically pleasing to most people, but for those who can see what I’m focusing on and what I’m trying to capture…well, hopefully I’ve caught their attention.
I love how *imperfect* the lens is. It vignettes like you won’t believe and at a fixed aperture of F/8 (DOF control – what’s that?), it’s only good when the light is out, but it’s these limitations that also make the lens so rewarding to use – especially when it captures something like flare or shadows. With absolutely no auto-focus, I have to resort to hyperfocal distance, close focus, or infinity. That’s it. I think I’ll end up just leaving it on the hyperfocal setting most of the time.
When I use this lens, I’m shooting strictly with the Grainy B&W Art Filter. The art filter and the BCL-15 were made for each other. I already liked the grittiness and the rawness of the grainy B&W art filter, but the BCL-15 further enhances it. It makes my master-planned suburban community look almost sinister and dirty. After looking at the pictures I took of the bike path and the plaza close to my house…I feel like I have to wash my hands. That’s a lot to say for the City of Irvine, voted the safest city in America…eight years in a row.
The BCL-15 suits my needs, but it’s definitely not for everyone. It’s *fun* to use. It makes me want to find creative ways to take pictures and see how they’ll come out…