L’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 45mm F1.8: la modestie du talent




Une des plus belles optiques avec laquelle j’ai pu travailler professionnellement durant mes années argentiques était l’objectif Leica Summicron 90mm F2.8. Compact avec un angle juste assez discriminant ce chef d’oeuvre d’outil photographique était vraiment un charme créatif pour son utilisateur. Je n’ai retrouvé cette magie visuelle que beaucoup plus tard en adoptant l’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 45mm F1.8 pour le format numérique MFT (M4/3).

L’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 45mm F1.8 est un petit téléobjectif discriminant doté d’un angle de champs visuel de 27 degrés. Petit en dimension et très léger grâce à sa construction en composite, il s’agit pourtant d’une optique de définition supérieure offrant des résultats détaillés sans aberration apparente. Sa nouvelle grande soeur ayant une ouverture maximale de F1.2 lui fait maintenant ombrage mais pour les adeptes de la street photography le 45mm F1.8 reste sans rival et d’une discrétion exemplaire. C’est l’antithèse de la photographe intimidante.

Un des aspects les plus intéressants de l’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 45mm F1.8 est sa grande vivacité peu importe le modèle de boitier M4/3 auquel il est couplé. La mise au point automatique reste efficace même dans des conditions d’éclairage plus difficiles. On regrette simplement qu’il soit pas doté de l’option de mise au point manuelle sur la bague de focalisation du point comme son grand frère (45mm F1.2). Mais c’est peut-être le compromis à faire pour son tarif réduit et sa conception plus ancienne. Vous pouvez choisir la fonction de mise au point automatique avec l’option manuelle de votre appareil si vous désirez accéder facilement à cette fonctionnalité particulière.

L’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 45mm F1.8 est une des principales raisons qui a provoqué mon adhésion au format M4/3. À l’époque j’expérimentais ce nouveau format de capteur avec un modèle Olympus EP-3 et son objectif-zoom de base 14-42mm mais c’est le 45mm F1.8 qui a révélé le véritable potentiel de cette catégorie de capteur numérique. Les résultats obtenus en terme d’imagerie était tout simplement d’une classe à part d’ou cette similitude avec le Leica Summicron 90mm f2.8 de l’ère argentique.

Mais jusqu’à quel point peut-on considérer ce 45mm F1.8 comme un objectif de tous les jours et comme la “normale” du photographe à l’imagerie discriminatoire. Car il s’agit bien de cela c’est à dire d’utiliser l’Olympus 45mm F1.8 comme l’outil optique sélecteur par excellence idéal sur le terrain bien que son angle de champs réduit le rend moins malléable en recherche contextuel et oblige son utilisateur à compresser son sujet sur des éléments restreints. Mais il s’agit bien là d’un choix ou d’une démarche purement artistique ou esthétique. Et cela participe à la signature de l’auteur tout comme tout autre objectif de votre choix.


Action, portrait, architecture et bien d’autres sujets sont à la portée de l’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 45mm F1.8. Il n’y a qu’à prendre son appareil et déclencher. On revient toujours à l’Olympus 45mm F1.8 malgré toutes les infidélités j’en suis le premier témoin!

 

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 Macro: Doing more than macro in M4/3 format.

It may be the most curious looking lens of the entire Olympus optical line up for M4/3 format camera. Strange may be also another epitheth to describe it. Its physical aspect with its non-obvious function dials are giving to the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 Macro lens a more confidential reputation based for a good part to its specialized first task intended i.e. macrophotography.

Close focusing photography has been always of a great interest for me as for many of us. Subjects in that field are infinite with various points of view. On a purely documentary side doing macro photography was at first on the scientific priority but very early on following the first spreading of the new medium we have seen beautiful artistic black and white and later on colourful macrophotographic pictures. We may qualify them as the prelude of abstract photography.

 

Although many fine lenses designed for more general purpose can produce very fine close focusing pictures camera and lens manufacturers had soon beging to offer specific macro lenses calculated mostly to cope the flat field exigence of reproduction purpose. That trend has been observed throughout the technical evolution of the photographic equipment. Today macro lenses are current part of many photo arsenal of photographers around the world.

Into the M4/3 format lenses you can rely on different models part of the Olympus and Panasonic line-up. All of them are exceptional contenders of their own. Normal focal ones such as the 30mm length are more suited to be versatile as macro and everyday lenses. Long focal counterparts such as 45mm and 60mm may represent a more powerful alternative for doing very small and near object or better tool for studio and reproduction works.

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 Macro represent a very interesting lens with close focusing ability at first and unprecedented characteristics such as its longer focal length and its all-weather construction. With an angle of view of 20 degrees it surpass many short telephoto for portrait work. Even with a maximum aperture of F2.8 it can be use for action photography in normal daylight condition. Of course close focusing can be its primary advantage combined by the fact that its longer focal length prevent most of its potential obstruction of light on the close subject.

Maybe the most spectacular part of the Olympus 60mm Macro is its oddly aspect if you compare it with others lens designs. But in the past many macro lenses had and still have that kind of visual aspect. I have to concede that it is not the most discrete optic I have ever used.

As for most telephoto macro lenses the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 Macro is a very creative tool and versatile because of its close focusing ability. If you accept the fix focal length factor you will find many ways to produce very original pictures that emphasize your main subject. As usual telephoto lenses can be also very competent for doing landscape or urbanscape photography with their dramatizing compression of many subjects in one frame.

The Olympus M.Zuiko 60mm F2.8 Macro lens is a small optic which is part a the traditional M4/3 format line of prime lenses. With a focal length of 60mm it is magnification factor of 2.4X compare to a standard lens (25mm) with an angle of view of 20 degrees which is qualified the optic for portrait or for small telephoto work. At 185g it is also a very light package easy to bring with you as an extra lens but you have to pay more attention to your stability in use since it is not possible to count on its own weight inertia (like bigger telephoto counterparts), In that case the camera stabilisation option is a welcome feature.

Manual focusing can be performed nicely through its large and very smooth focusing ring. Using the 60mm with the OM-D E-M5 II and its EVF (Electronic ViewFinder) is easy and the image is clear and accurate in most photographic situations. Focusing speed is surprisely responsive for this type of (macro) optic and it qualify the 60mm Macro lens for all other subjects associated with the use of a medium telephoto.  And yes the use of the limiter dial can save you time (and picture opportunities!) if it is applied in the good working context. The reproduction ratio scale is an amusing gadget also.

Typical third-party screw-in (46mm) metal lens hood
for telephoto. (Always check for trace of vignetting)

There is always that annoying discussion about the utility of using a lens hood with the 60mm since Olympus does not provide one with the lens (which is also very annoying…) My answer is simple: if you can afford to buy and bring one dont prevent yourself to do so. I have found the Olympus official lens hood to be a clever design (like the one that came right from the box for the Olympus M.Zuiko 40-150mm F.2.8 Pro model !) but you may consider some third party options less pricy and less bulk
y available through the Web. Essentially lens hoods are preventing some lens internal reflections (flare) especially when you are pointing in direction of punctual light sources.

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 Macro is a very fine lens as it is intended to be. We are reaching pro level image results. Picture are crisp and rightly detailed. Colours are accurate and follow the Olympus expected bias without any adaptation compare to the other lenses of the Olympus line up. Out of focus areas are pleasant even considering the moderate maximum aperture of the lens.
The macro ability of this 60mm is flawless and enhanced by the longer focal length that reduce the risk of interfering with the subject light.

In bref it is fair to consider the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 Macro lens as an all-around medium telephoto optic with very handy macro possibilities but also nice other abilities such as for spontaneous photography, portrait or even action subject.

 

The mid-range deep of field is on your side!

To Be or Not To Be (as for to have or not to have…)


Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm @ 42mm, 1/125sec F5.6 ISO200 Monochrome

There is the ones who are searching for the minimal deep-of-field and there is the others that are looking for a maximum deep-of-field. Portraits, sports, fashion are part of the first category and landscape, architectural, illustration are dedicated in the second type of photography. And to get such results within the traditional optical limitations i.e. maximum aperture in one case and less light diffraction in the other way you have to rely on specific cameras or/and lenses that may be expansive and far less versatile.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm @ 32mm, 1/125sec F5.6 ISO200

Since I am not very fond of big and costly photo equipment my answer to that challenge is simply the following. Why not exploring more abordable photo material and discover how to get image results that will fulfil those special tasks regarding the amount of deep-of-field (DOF) that will satisfy yours needs. Is it possible by using very basic optics such as so-call “kit” lenses? In my modest examples I have tried to outreach the usual standard imposed to these products.And dont forget in this digital world of wonders that most of the time “what you see is what you get” usually apply!

How can we definite mid-range deep-of-field (Mid-DOF)? Anything between two extreme: almost no deep-of-field or about infinite deep-of-field like in landscape photography. So Mid-DOF can be assimilated as an intermediate area between the closest and the longest(or infinite) distances. Most lenses for compact camera format (M4/3, APS-C and 24 X 36mm called wrongly “full-frame”) if not all have the ability to do mid-range deep-of-field by using their smaller aperture settings such as F4.0, 5.6, 8,0 or 11.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm @ 100mm, 1/800sec F7.1 ISO 200 Monochrome

The safety gap
If you are facing many various picture taking conditions it is good to rely on a certain deep-of-field margin. This “safety gap” ensure you that critical focusing is at least obtained for the principal subject  especially considering its volume aspect for example on a face, on objects with incrustations, etc. Sometimes you won’t be able or you will simply forget to double check the full clarity of your subject. This is why a mid-range deep-of-field will play as an insurance for your final image results.

Optical quality pick of the lens
Rarely you will get the optimum quality of your image by using the maximum aperture available on the lens. Furthermore we know already that the diffraction phenomena for an optics will appear by using its minimum aperture. So the best output will be registered in selecting the medium aperture such as F4.0, F5.6 or F8.0 on many lens model or even at F2.8 with lenses doted of a larger maximum aperture (F1.7, F1.8, F2.0).

Compactness
Lens models that are designed with a more moderate or modest maximum aperture are reckoned to be more compact and lighter package a big advantage if you have to carry them extendely. Their smaller size mean also more discretion or less intimidating aspect. All these consideration of better mobility and less carrying fatigue will be fully appreciated for your street or traveling photo projects or any other situation that required an additional effort from your part.

Good pricing on your part
Many moderate maximum aperture lens models are far less expensive compare to their “Pro” counterparts. Often they are available on special selling package with the camera at a ridiculous add-on price tag. I can recommend you without any doubts the Olympus M.Zuiko 14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II R & 12-50mm F3.5-6.3 EZ or the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm & 12-60mm both F3.5-5.6 OIS or the Fujifilm Fujinon XF 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 & 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 both OIS which are all excellent optical tools.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm @ 32mm, 1/320sec F5.6 ISO200

What you loose? Essentially a larger maximum aperture for a minimal DOF, a higher quality design and construction and often a better sealing protection for using the lenses in adverse conditions. But you will double or triple your price tag to get them. And you will have to bring them with you…

A picture should tell a story and that story can be very limited when you are selecting a very narrow deep of field or on the contrary the story can be very long (translate boring) if you choose an infinite deep of field. Something in between could be the best thing to do… The choice is yours but a mid-range deep of field choice is certainly on your side. And the beauty of
this is already available on the most affordable (kit) zoom lenses.

Black’nd Mine: An Adventure in Gray Tone.

Tone my expression in a gray world and I will be in the black of mine. Storyboard of my life is the témoignage of the despair of emotion. Click the instant desire of eternity and the full inspiration of the romantic soul.

Where are you my love, my muse, my perfect picture of the physical human art. Light is triking the edge of my insanity. And I hope some understand my deviance. That’s only photoetry.

You must say something, you must show something so we want to see.

 

 

 

 

 

Film "Odd"-ity

Going back to film is trendy but not particularly practical or futurist!
(Second Personal Splash of 2017!)

Antique Editing Table

Yes we have seen recently a new trendy attitude toward digital photographers proclaiming the return of the traditional film picture support as a growing alternative tool for the future of the medium. As an ex-emerging photo youngster from the film era I am fascinated by the “discovery” of those who want to experiment the ancient ways of creating picture expressions. And I fully respect them for creating their original photo projects on that technical base.

Exploring any expression medium can be a very exciting experience whatever if it is an ancient formulation or a contemporary technique. So we cannot discuss the real pertinence to use it or not. It is up to anybody to choose the medium and use it as he wish. No discussion there for sure especially considering the artistic point of view of it. Visual representation is an universal art with many avenues and meaning.

Good Old Artefacts of the Film Era

Photography is part of our modern surrounding by proposing the temporal extension and interpretation of the instant reality. The technical of doing photography have expanded for more than two hundred years.

Now you have to consider the digital revolution that have transformed the production and the diffusion the photographic medium. It is cheap, accessible, easily editable and  more easily shareable.
All these advantages contribute to push photography into new frontiers never imaginable even 25 years ago. Like it or not it transgress every attempt to control its flux to specific audiences. It like music. It is everywhere, every time for everybody with less and less limitations.

This is why the digital revolution of photography is so important. Yes I respect without discrimination every form of art expression and techniques used to do so. But you cannot really pretend that there is a return of evolution to the film era, an era that I have been issued both personal and professionally I must add.

Primitive Color Calibration by Eye Appreciation

Digital is becomed a superior technical way of doing photography at lesser price in term of ressources and processing time. The traditional film have strong limitations that can be properly use as selective options if you intend to do so. But it is still a difficult ways of doing photography and it will ask you a strong effort to apprehend the technique. The learning curve of traditional film photography is intense and often discouraging.

You have to be honest and admit that digital photography is now part of the future evolution of the medium.

Rolls of Pain and Pleasure!

Montréal Like It Like It Not: A Black & White Desire

Montréal is my born city even if I became a suburb boomer like many of us. Montreal is the essence of our cultural french identity the other places are simply anecdotical for us. When I walk in the streets of Montreal I am always strike by infinite nature of changes over the places, the people and the time. Montreal is a survivor in this very competitive world of North America.

You can see the buildings, the beautiful girls and boys as the ancients, the surroundings, the noise and  the music, it is the the dis-harmony of life. It is Montréal!

Are you with me ?

The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 (Japan GX7 Mark II): TheTraveller Successor

 

The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 or GX7 Mark II (Japan):
A very classical rangefinder style digital modern camera

My first introduction to M4/3 image captor format was with the Olympus Pen EP-3, The camera and lenses dimensions were just perfect in my sense for an everyday compact camera. The only irritating omission was the absence of a traditional viewfinder and using the add-on EVF accessory simply destroy the homogeneity of the basic idea. Later the coming days of the OM-D series solved partly the problem by integrating a workable EVF and by offering in-body stabilization.

Panasonic have developped over the years a complete series of rangefinder style cameras such as more recently the GX7, GM5 and GX8 models all cameras doted with a good EVF and in-body stabilization. It reunited other successful features such as standard 16MP image sensor or the moe recent 20MP sensor for the GX8, touchscreen and tilt-able or fully orientable (GX8) LCD screen. The GX7 was a near perfect size model and the GM5 was a real traveler camera.

Many still photographers prefer the tilt-able screen
option over the fully orientable side-screen alternative
designed more for videographers
.

Now Panasonic have decided to refresh the GX7 by presenting the new GX7 Mark II (in Japan market) relabelled GX85 or GX80 into the other world markets. The “Mark II” designation clearly indicate the filiation with the previous and original GX7 version.

Many factors are differenciating the original GX7 from its successor, the Lumix GX85 / GX80 / GX7 Mark II. I will review some of them that I have found more determinant.

Less grip compared to the original
GX7 but more than the GM5

The Grip Factor
The Panasonic Lumix GX85 / GX80 have not the same grip volume as the original GX7. It results in a smaller prehension confort. Since the camera is more on the moderate heavy side for its overall dimensions it will ask you a more careful attention in bringing, holding and manipulating the model.  But compare to the previous and diminutive Lumix GM5,  the Lumix GX85 / GX 80 offer a more secure way to work with its body. It  is always possible that in the near future an add-on accessory grip will be proposed for some of of us  who are asking for a better grip.

The Switch Factor
The On/Off switch is is located on the upper right side of the body of the camera but reaching it with your thumb may ask you a strong contorsion exercice. All the other operating dials and fonction buttons are classically presented. No more direct dial for the the automatic and manual focusing setting is present on the Lumix GX85 / GX80 model. That absence can be compensated by using the autofocus with manuel correction option.

Reactivity and Focus Factors
In general the Panasonic Lumix GX85 / GX80 is a very reactive camera fast enough to capture spontaneous pictures of acting subjects. If you have chosen to work with larger aperture prime lenses such as F1.7 or more the auto focus adjustment seems to be faster and on target most of the time. Screen touch focus selector can be another option easy to reach when you are more selective with less usual subject target (that option can be also desactivated on demand).

The Monochrome Factor
Some of my previous viewers know already my love affair with black and white photography and the Panasonic GX85 / GX80 will perfectly respond to that task by offering two monochrome photography options: MONO and MONO L. Ether versions give you a tonal palette from black to gray to white which is rich and detailed. Black and white photography rendering with digital still camera is now a mature feature. Professional results are obtained right from the start preventing that way more destructive post-treatment manipulations.

The Sensor Factor (16MP vs GX8’s 20MP)
Panasonic have chosen to maintain the commun standard 16MP sensor for the GX7 Mark II. Quality  output of the picture using this sensor has been already demonstrated several times over the past. A marginal improvement can be obse
rved by the fact of the absence of an anti-aliasing filter initially used to prevent  the moiré effect. These changes may offer you better image cropping factor ability without noticeable quality decrease.

Severe cropping is possible without altering the overall quality of the picture.
None retouched original picture

 

 

The Viewfinder Factor (Tilt GX-7 EVF vs Fixed GX85/GX80 EVF)
The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 s doted with an in-board EVF without the previous option of upper tit-ability present in the original GX7. That option has been offered with the newest rangefinder style Panasonic flagship model the GX8 which is in fact a larger camera with all-weather sealing and maybe more capability to resist from intense using. Apart from the tilt-able option, the previous (GX7) and the newest (GX85/GX80) EVFs are behaving in the same matter giving a good but more contrasty representation of the actual image. The big advantage of using EVF is its direct relation with the final result registered by the image captor. It is an almost perfect tool to preview black & white results. Moreover the EVF allow you to do instant review of your last picture taken without losing contact with your subject.

The Design Factor (Angular vs rounded GX7)
The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 is marginaly a more boxy camera compare to the first version of the GX7. It represent a certain drawback in term of ergonomic design of the model. Body style is more classical which is a popular present trend among many camera manufacturers. On a daily using basic sharp angular design camera are less confortable to work with to say the least but it is partially compensated by the more discrete presence of the device in face of the subject.

The Stabilization Factor (GX85/GX80 more in-board Axis)
Modern cameras need to be stabilized for many reasons. They are smaller and lighter packages and we are facing most of the time faster subjects or contexts that need to be adequately  stopped or freezes. The Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 offers the two stabilization options with in-board stabilization sensor and the possibility to combine lens stabilization (if offered by the lens model used) and sensor stab. Most of the time the stabilization factor will increase the definition of your picture output in a decisive way. Dont prevent yourself to use it extendely.

The Lens Factor (Panasonic G lens system + Zuiko M. options)
One of the decisive factor of selecting to work with M4/3 ILC format cameras resid in the the very interesting choice of lenses available on the market. These lenses can be versatile, fast or specialized and their overall dimension stay compact and lightweight. For sure my preference goes for the prime (focal fixed) lenses with moderate larger aperture such as the Panasonic Lumix G 20 F1.7 or G 42.5mm F1.7 OIS models. There are perfect matches to bring you good to outstanding results from the camera. For a one-lens traveler combination  you can consider the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 OIS that is offered at a ridiculous selling price when you decide to buy the GX85/12-32mm package. There are many others lenses that can fit your specific need and the Olympus Zuiko M lenses can be also another option.

Other factors
The in-board flash of the Lumix GX85/GX80 can be a good help for using the fill-in flash technique and you have the possibility to put an external unit if you are a heavy flash user.

As usual for ILC mirrorless cameras an extra battery is clearly a must recommendation. For charging them an external charger seems to me a very practical add-on. I hope in some way that an add-on grip will be in someway available in the near future.

In short the Panasonic Lumix GX85/GX80 (GX7 Mark II) represents a very interesting successor of the previous GX7 and GM5 models. 

 

 

 

The Fujifilm X-T10: Are you serious?!!!


(This is the second version of a previous text that has been accidently delete to my great despair…)
 

 

The Fujifilm X-T10 is the diminutive and compact version of the Fuji X-series X-T1 camera that can be regarded as the flagship of this category. It represent a smaller, simpler, lighter package equipped with the same 16MP APS-C image captor of the other Fuji APS-C models with the exception of the newest Fujifilm X-Pro2.
The EVF  (Electronic ViewFinder) of the X-T10 is located on the axis of the taking lens like the bigger X-T1 compared to the off-axis viewfinder of the Fujifilm X-E1/2(S) or the X-Pro 1/2 that got also the OVF (Optical ViewFinder) option and  is assimilated as a hybrid camera. On-axis viewfinder has the advantage to give you a slightly more adequate position to anticipate your final taking angle of view in comparison with your own sight.  For their part the rangefinder style cameras tend to be more discreet devices in relation with their subject(s). I have worked over the years with success with ether on and off-axis type of viewfinder.
Today EVF viewfinder surpass OVF:
It may appear controversial but the point is that EVF viewfinder should be  today the first option of serious photographer. EVF allows us an instant view of the imagery result. It helps to do your composition, to fine tuning your focus, exposure or other special effect controls. It secures your results and increases a lot your efficiency. The days of film blind photography are gone and today new technology has liberated us in many ways of wrong guessing. As an ex-corporate and sport professional photographer I would have liked to work with digital cameras equipped with the most recent EVF.
Because it is a compact version the Fujifilm X-T10 is a narrower camera and like I use to comment for compact cameras it induce some sort of design compromise namely less space for the handling of the camera and for positioning the function command dials and buttons. To counteract that fact you can add an optional grip if this solution seem to improve your own handling of the camera.
A clean design that recall classic SLR film camera
Interesting points:
Speaking about the viewing option, working with the EVF give a nice representation of your final picture result even when you are wearing glasses like me. For myself I prefer to shut down the automatic brightness adjustment and manually set it. The automatic horizontal/vertical swift of the viewfinder indications is a nice touch too. The LCD back screen tilt able is also very handy to use as a waist level viewfinder or for tripod or tabletop work. Lastly on the EVF subject I must mention the very interest EVF switch-off option that will help to save your battery duration as for the nice automatic switch-on LCD screen option when you are reviewing your taken pictures (As I have firstly discover with the Fujifilm X-30 model).
The access to a distinctive shutter speed and exposure compensation dials are a very fine photographic features as for the aperture ring present on the XF version of the Fujinon line of lenses. Separate Automatic Exposure and Focusing Locking direct buttons are another fine touch for the user. The Quick menu is also a faster way to reach critical exposure adjustment without extendedly searching in the full menu.
Since the Fujifilm X-T10 is a simpler camera, it lacks some of the direct function buttons present with the others more advanced Fuji APS-C. This is partially compensated by clever use of the two front and rear command dials of the camera. I recommend you to consult a tutorial on how to handle the model such as the YouTube Fuji Guys.
To Be Improve Features:
There is no perfect camera in this world or should I say every model got its own personality. I definitively dislike the location of the Review and Trash buttons on the left side of the body. If you are a kind of one-right hand main user for holding and operating the camera, these particular buttons locations prove to be annoying and is asking you a less efficient procedure for reviewing your last result
s. The lack of signalisation for the functions buttons located around the Menu/OK button will also ask you to assimilate their respective value.
On-Board Flash.
The Fujifilm X-T10 is equipped with an in-board tiny flash that represent a nice fill-in flash option that can be used as an accent light. I must add that finding in the deepest of the menu the power flash output fine-tuning represent a challenge. Fuji designers have rightly maintain the flash hot shoe that allow us the addition of an external flash with more output, more flexibility and better height.
The Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II: a typical urban lens.
The Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS II Lens combine offer is a departure from the usual one of the XF 18-55mm lens with the other X-Series ILC cameras with viewfinder. The interest point of this XC 16-50 is mainly its 16mm focal length setting that gives a real wide angle of view compared with the 23mm, 27mm and 18-55mm lenses options. At 16mm the larger angle of view facilitate the creation of more contextual picture with close foreground subjects. For street photography this lens can be very creative. On the other end (50mm) of the XC zoom lens the telephoto option stay modest with a smaller maximum aperture  of F5.6 that prevent more shallow deep of field for portrait. In that case you may select one of the prime focal fix Fujifilm XF lenses with maximum aperture of F2.0 or F2.4 at least .
The Fujifilm Film Rendering Master Ability:
Every time I have returned using Fujifilm cameras after trying other maker models I always noticed how the Fujifilm image rendering is an always-pleasing experience. Because I am working mainly in JPEG format file I appreciate a camera maker that give us directly usable results at a professional level.
When I have started with digital camera I was amazed by the inability of many camera makers to produce repetitive image results. Posts processing of the time have been developed with a graphic technical bias that prevent photographer to correctly translate the traditional notions of imagery. Yes that language gap between photographers and software producers has been narrowed with time but more than that the camera makers like Fujifilm are now offering products adapted to photographs and with in-board post-processing very competent at the start.
There is something special with Fujifilm products because photographic technicians specialized in image rendering design them. And it shows I can testify. In fact Fujifilm is the digital successor of the Leica tradition of quality imagery.
Black and White is alive and well:
If you like B&W (Black and White) photography, you will be delighted with all the Fuji X-Series products. Their B&W rendering are simply rich and wonderful. If you process afterword your Fuji color picture in B&W you will get similar results without problems. But the ability to directly see your B&W rendering into your EVF/LCD screen is awesome. I think that products like Fujifilm X-series is recreating B&W popularity among photographs and the great public.
On the Fujifilm X-T10 you have the possibility to fine tune your B&W rendering by using the filter option that will increase contrast in discriminating certain colors/grey tones.

To conclude I would say that the Fujifilm X-T10 is the best entry option to the Fuji X-Series ILC camera without any image quality compromise.
Have you finish? Let’s take a nap!

On the street with the Panasonic Lumix GX7

 

The Panasonic Lumix GX7 digital camera was marketed more than two years ago and has been already replaced by the newest model GX8. But the GX7 is still used by many photographers as an everyday camera. It is a very handy camera designed first for still photography despite its own video ability.
Table Top Wall Stripes

Digital compact camera offers handling advantages in term of small dimensions and low weight. But because of the multiple function buttons seen on many very diminutive models like the Lumix GM1 or GM5 we have reached a point that the compactness is inducing a lot of involuntary finger touch manipulations. The Panasonic Lumix GX7 can be classified as a mid-size compact camera with interchange lens option. It is not a subcompact (GM5 class) but combined with many Lumix G lenses it stays a small package.

With user experiences you can memorize most of the main function buttons and operating reels. As usual I have found there is too many options available to really mastermind their utility on picture taking situations with fast rate shooting. By keeping it simple you will better optimize your photographic results.



The display fonction button can be too easily involuntary activated and the rear adjusting dial edge is located too far to get a confortable reach from you thumb. Those two design flaws can be annoying in particular when you are using more manual setting.



The viewing system that offers a LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) is very distinctive of camera design inspired by the ancient rangefinder cameras. It is a compact camera but not as a subcompact or a miniature like the Panasonic Lumix GM5. In that sense the handling of the GX7 is more secure partly because of the larger dimension of the body of the camera. Face strong front day lighting the EVF will generate a more contrast picture that doesn’t really help to evaluate the fine details of your composition. In those cases you have to guess first and check the result over the LCD screen.

Fifteen before six: Very good B&W gray tonal graduation even in using high ISO setting

The images preserved from the fine quality JPEG file option are generally very exploitable for web uses and mid-sized printout. As usual a basic RAW file will give the full opportunity to more deeply post-treat the taken image. The default contrast rendering is on the high side and you may have to use some of the softer rendering picture taking options to counteract this effect. The color rendering is mainly natural but artificial lightning can generate some misinterpretation of the white balance auto setting function.

 

Native JPEG Outdoor color rendering is very accurate

 

Onboard flash
To have an onboard flash option is liberation. The flash of the Lumix GX7 is easily reachable by a mechanical switch on the backside of the camera. As a fill flash it work very nicely but it can be advisable to power down a bit the flash output especially with nearby subjects. As a commander flash it is a perfect tool. And Panasonic designers preserve the possibility to add a more powerful unit via the hot shoe.

The EVF viewfinder as waist (sternum !) level finder

Many reviewers were sceptical about the use of the partly moveable viewfinder of the Panasonic Lumix GX7. Looking down to a camera viewfinder is not a real novelty. You can go back to the ancient twin lens reflex or to the very first reflex mirror cameras to find the same way of viewing your picture. A complete generation of amateur and professional photographs can easily remember the glorious days of the various Hasselblades and Rolleiflexes. The “waist level “ view option allows the photographer to better control the linear rendering of the lens by facilitating the positioning of the camera which respect parallel lines better than tilting up or down your point of view. It is remarkable that so many photo experts have missed that point.

Spontaneous close-up photography is easy by using larger aperture prime lenses such as the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7

As I have pointed out with many other camera models of the same features like EVF, it is very recommendable to bring extra batteries to prevent abrupt photo session finales.

Overall the Panasonic Lumix GX7 camera has been and still is a very competent picture-taking companion. It generate very interesting image results, the overall handling is on the good side, the Panasonic lens offering is correctly extended (and can be completed with the Olympus M4/3 counterpart lenses), the camera-lens combination is discrete, the operating system cost is reasonable and you can manage to overcome the few design flaws of the camera. 

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