Des goûts et des couleurs … !

Source: scoop.it

Chaque fois que j’adopte un nouvel appareil photo ou un nouvel objectif, je suis curieux de connaître les avis, les analyses ou les commentaires que cet équipement suscite sur la planète Internet. Cependant depuis un certain temps déjà nous avons basculé dans un monde binaire en amour, i.e. l’adoption sans condition, ou en haine, le rejet sans appel qui semblent caractériser plusieurs intervenants photo-v/blogistes. La place n’est plus à la nuance, à la retenue ou encore à l’humble critique respectueuse mais plutôt à l’éclat ou l’effet de style lapidaire.

Source: Fujifilm Canada

C’est au point où je m’interroge sur la pertinence de ces comptes-rendus dont le fondement des remarques apparait limité à tout le moins. Par exemple un vlogiste populaire chez les adeptes de produits Fujifilm a récemment déclaré que le viseur électronique du X-T20 est tout simplement inutilisable en vertu de son relief oculaire et son grossissement d’image limités. Le problème c’est que ce modèle de viseur était considéré il y a a peine deux ans comme le nec le plus ultra dans sa catégorie. Après quelques semaines d’utilisation du X-T20, je constate que ce viseur est tout à fait adéquat en ce qui me concerne.

Autre exemple pour le même manufacturier, un blogiste cette fois australien prétend que l’objectif Fujinon XF18-55mm F2.8-4R LM OIS est tout simplement un échec optique (“this lens is a total dud…”). Plus encore il proclame en avoir acquis trois exemplaires avec le même constat. J’ai utilisé deux versions de cet objectif trans-standard en 4 années d’intervalle avec une toute autre perception des images qu’il génère. Bien conçu et construit, ce XF18-55mm m’apparait très compétent et versatile.

J’en viens au point de penser que certains photographes ont perdu toute objectivité envers le matériel, tout sens autocritique pour apprendre de leurs erreurs, toute motivation pour mieux s’adapter à l’usage optimal de leur équipement photographique. Travail, expérimentation, persistence sont des exigences qui semblent les dépasser à moins qu’ils ou elles se considèrent au delà de toute technicité d’apprentissage et de maitrise du médium.

Quant je manipule un modèle récent d’appareil photo numérique, je suis souvent fasciné par l’ingéniosité de conception qui a conduit à la création d’un tel modèle. Astucieux est le mot qui me vient à l’esprit pour tous ces dispositifs performants qu’on retrouve dans les dernières créations. Je dois même me discipliner pour éviter que l’appareil prenne en charge toutes les décisions et définisse l’image obtenue selon sa seule interprétation, bref son intelligence artificielle. Car si vous le laissez faire, vos photos ne seront en définitive que des clones de ce qui fait parti de la banque de références iconographiques de l’appareil.

J’aime les modèles d’appareils photo qui ont une certaine personnalité. Ils peuvent parfois vous pousser dans vos derniers retranchements techniques pour exprimer votre créativité. C’est un peu cela qui vous fait évoluer vers la diversité et la différence des sujets photographiques. Bref facilité rime rarement avec originalité…

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Panasonic Lumix GX85: le vilain petit canard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Il a succédé au très chéri Panasonic Lumix GX7 et a préfiguré au concept du GX9, le mal-aimé remplaçant du GX8.  Le Panasonic Lumix GX85 fut pourtant une très belle évolution hybride des modèles GM5 et GX7. Plus compact ou ramassé, il personnifie l’esprit même du format MFT (M4/3) qui est d’offrir des appareils et des objectifs aux dimensions réduites dont la grande qualité étant leur “transportabilité” plus facile permettant une disponibilité accrue et une discrétion appréciée des photographes voyageurs ou baladeurs.

Doté d’un capteur M4/3 de 16 méga-pixels, le Lumix GX85 offre une intéressante qualité d’image bien exploitable pour ceux et celles qui projettent une diffusion virtuelle sur écran et imprimée de format standard (A4) de leurs oeuvres.  Bien sûr avec un soin plus particulier apporté à la prise de vue on peut extrapoler des formats d’impression plus élevés. Le choix de l’objectif peut aussi influer sur cet aspect critique de l’image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

À priori, le Panasonic Lumix GX85 conserve une facture très épuré qui rappelle les anciens appareils à télémètre couplé de l’époque du film 35mm. Son poids est surprenant compte tenu des tendances actuelles pour cette dimension d’appareils photo mais il ajoute une certaine inertie stabilisatrice lors de la prise de vue et accommode mieux la combinaison du boitier avec des objectifs plus lourds. La tenue en main est bonne en ne générant pas de fatigue particulière. Les touches et roulottes de contrôle sont distribuées vers le coté droit du boitier et permettent l’accès direct à plusieurs fonctionnalités pratiques. Bien sûr l’espace limitée rend plus probable la manipulation accidentelle et involontaire de fonctionnalités et oblige l’utilisateur(trice) à la prudence et à la revision régulière des paramètres inscrits sur les écrans de visée.

L’écran tactile du Lumix GX85 est un outil efficace et très réactif. Cependant pour un utilisateur comme moi qui s’appuie beaucoup sur l’appareil photo quand j’utilise le viseur électronique l’option tactile de positionnement de la zone unique de mise au point entraine souvent l’effort de re-positionnement pendant la prise de vue. Pour éviter cela il faut désactiver tout le panneau tactile…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Le Panasonic Lumix GX85 donne accès à toutes les fonctionnalités standard et avec ses deux roulottes avant et arrière rend l’ajustement manuel des paramètres traditionnels de prise de vue, l’ouverture et la vitesse d’obturation, très aisé. Les affichages du viseur et de l’écran sont très complets et peuvent être configurés. Le bouton-poussoir de mémorisation d’exposition et de mise au point est facile d’utilisation et bien situé tout comme celui de la mise en route du flash incorporé de l’appareil. Il y a donc peu à redire sur les différentes commandes du boitier sinon leur petites dimensions et l’absence de déclic de confirmation peut-être attribuable à la vocation vidéo optionnelle. Sur ce dernier aspect je m’en voudrais de vous donner un avis de profane car c’est une particularité que je ne traite jamais dans ces modestes essais.

Le Panasonic Lumix GX85 était souvent offert en vente avec l’objectif très diminutif Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS qui constitue une combinaison particulièrement intéressante pour la photo spontanée, urbaine ou de voyage. L’absence de bague de mise au point sur ce 12-32mm est cependant son pire handicap. Tous les objectifs Lumix G de focale fixe s’harmonisent très bien avec le GX85 et la qualité d’image reste excellente.  Pour un, l’objectif Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 est un petit joyau optique pour les adeptes du portrait ou de la photographie avec une profondeur de champs réduite.  Si vous utilisez un plus longue focale tel les objectifs zoom téléobjectifs vous constaterez une manipulation moins aisée du Lumix GX85, l’appui du combo boitier-objectif se déplaçant vers l’avant et votre main gauche devenant un élément important de stabilisation.

Au chapitre de l’option de stabilisation offerte par le Panasonic Lumix GX85, ce modèle tire bien son épingle du jeu tant avec les objectifs sans stabilisation incorporée que ceux ayant déjà cette caractéristique à l’interne. Bien sûr il faut rester attentif à bien tenir l’appareil ou encore s’appuyer le plus fermement qu’il est possible de le faire et ne pas considérer l’assistance à la stabilisation comme une panacée universelle infaillible.

Le Lumix GX85 est doté d’un micro-flash interne bien dissimulé pratique pour un éclairage d’appoint disponible à la volée. De plus vous pouvez ajouter un flash externe d’alimentation indépendante si vous souhaitez utiliser ce mode d’éclairage de façon plus intense et avec une plus grande flexibilité.

Le Lumix GX85 étant totalement électronique demande une alimentation électrique constante qui varie selon les options de visualisations, d’éclairage, de stabilisation et d’exposition utilisés. Le boitier est donc potentiellement assez énergivore et son autonomie est plutôt en deçà de a moyenne. Une pile-accu supplémentaire déjà chargée reste une précaution élémentaire à apporter sur le terrain particulièrement dans l’optique d’une longue sortie, d’un usage intensif ou d’un périple. Toutefois la pile-accu peut être rechargé directement via le port USB de l’appareil le cas échéant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Je ne veux pas faire l’apologie habituelle des photoblogistes au sujet du Lumix GX85 car ce modèle arrive de toute façon en fin de carrière remplacé sans le dire par le boitier Lumix GX9. Mais je m’inquiète beaucoup plus de la tendance actuelle à l’enflure généralisée des appareils et objectifs ayant un capteur M4/3. C’est plutôt navrant de constater qu’au nom de la récupération de cette clientèle rétrogradante des D-SLR, il fasse se prostituer au concept des caméras protubérantes et des objectifs intimidateurs. Nous verrons si la logique aura raison éventuellement des élucubrations des forums toxiques de la photo sur l’Internet.

Le Panasonic Lumix GX85 est peut-être le vilain petit canard de certains mais il assure la continuité d’un concept compact appliqué au format de capteur MFT tout en maintenant un niveau de qualité d’image tout à fait satisfaisant pour la photographie créative, spontanée et baladeuse.

Doing film photography with the Olympus OM-2n / En argentique avec l’Olympus OM-2n

A personal tribute for the 100th anniversary of Olympus / Un hommage personnel pour le 100ième anniversaire d’Olympus

(Le texte français est présenté à la suite de la version anglaise)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once upon a time there is a fondamental uncertainty of doing photography because you never have been guaranty to get good picture results at the end. It was part of a technology that was involving in fact many different sciences such as optical physic and specific chemistry. Over that you can add the influences of external factor like temperature, humidity and time of conservation. So doing film photography was a kind of gambling even if you know most of the rules involved. Repetitive results were hard to reach and require deep experience of the medium and strong discipline of application.

But it was fun, creative and rewarding for the most persistent and talented photographers. Moreover the still film cameras used at that time were very distinctive between the manufacturers and their different models. Each combination of photograph-equipment-technique observed during that era was offering its original signature. Today the limitless of the digital age have erased most of the bias of the film era.

I don’t like to go back on something most of the time since I have discoverer in many cases it conduct you to reproduce flatly the past without no new true personal advancement. So bring back the film era to my agenda was asking me a different reflexion. Instead of redo the past simply I have decided to address this challenge like a complete new venture like a new photographic technique. For sure I cannot simply ignore all my past amateur and professionnel experiences working with traditional film. But I concentrate myself to the picture taking aspect of doing film photography. All negative once developed were  scanned and then digitally post-treated. In fact I didn’t want to reintroduce myself to darkroom work since I can easily reproduce many of the traditional manipulations through an actual image post-treatment software with a much lower cost, less time involved and a far more ecologic way of doing.

Choosing a still camera was another challenge. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money with some classical cameras of my past like the Leica M4P or M6 or the Nikon F3 HP. So I have selected an Olympus OM-2N equipped with a standard Zuiko 50mm F1.8 lens which represent a very compact 35mm model for that time doted with a good internal exposure meter. The OM-2N give you the choice to work fully manual à la OM-1 or in a semi-automatic aperture priority mode. Focus should be done manually in every circonstances so prefocus or using hyperfocal aperture setting can be a good help.

Using a film camera will ask you a strong sense of anticipation in many ways. Selecting and positioning the subject, analyzing the light, adjusting the exposure parameters like shutter speed and aperture and knowing their respective effect like the deep of field or the panning of the action without not forgetting the choice of the film (Type, ISO, Processing) and further choices have to be done in film photography. With time some decision reflexes can help you to mastermind these technical tasks with more ease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slow down the pace
This is may be the best advice that you can follow in traditional film photography. Since most of the operations are done manually, it is easy to get foul by a missing or wrong technical choice without knowing it until the the film processing (when it is too late!). With film you are becoming a technical decision maker on photographic aspects that are automatically treated with digital cameras. That safety doesn’t exist anymore. A bit like a painter who select its canevas, its brushes, its colors, etc.

Analyse your subject
Its position (posture), its relative distance from you and its perspective, its color or its gray tonal distribution and contrast, its deep (using the deep of field phenomena), its context and attitude if necessary. The subject is the purpose of your creative expression through photography. So it needs to be properly explored and experimented. And be persistent to redo your subject as long it is possible to refine your photographic research.

Evaluate your results
You have to progress since film photography is asking you a stronger learning curve to be mastermind. The only sure way to do this is by evaluating your picture results and be critical. Is the final image correspond to your expectation? That can be hard sometime to comprehend and move ahead again with a proper attitude. Technical errors will be on your own responds. So you have to understand and manage them.

Do some prints
The final act of film photography is producing a print of your final image. That is the classical essence of the medium since its very fondation. Doing prints and especially larger one can be the most rewarding fact about doing film photography. Don’t prevent yourself to print in anyway your pictures … and showing it. At the end and on a much longer run photographic prints may be the last living témoignage of the subject because most of the digital forms of archives tend be obsolete in a fast rate. Over the past two centuries photographic print proof to be more reliable than any other image representation.

Film photography will never be a substitute of the modern digital photography that supplement it in a world of instant and multilateral communication. But film photography stay a art creative technique that deserve to be preserved and cultivated.

All film pictures presented here were taken on Ilford XP2 Super 400 film (C41 Process) with an Olympus OM-2n camera & a Zuiko 50mm F1.8 lens. The Olympus OM-2n i
s a fairly primitive camera by today photographic standards and has been technicaly surpassed in every senses by even basic ILC models. Its approximated exposure metering system reveals some basic propension to falsely interpret a more critical lightning situation. Manual focusing is accurate although it requires a good eye appreciation through the excellent optical reflex viewfinder but with a limited eye relief. Film advance is classical performed with a smooth wind lever and motorization is only offer as an option. Front shutter speed ring is a particularity of the Olympus OM system and can be at first a bit misleading. The grip (without optional winder) is simply non existant compare to the modern design. If you are familiar with digital photography you may need to train yourself to work with this type of camera before really get use to have satisfactory results.

Here are some advantages to use the Olympus OM-2n film camera. First the OM-2n is doted of a very good and luminous optical viewfinder that it is a real pleasure to do focusing with and to appreciate your deep of field. Secondly it is very easy possibility to select your exposure fully manually or to choose the automatic option. That way you don’t omit to check your selected parameters (aperture and shutter speed). The film advance is very smooth to operate and the lever can be positioned beside your thumb for fast operating. Indications inside the viewfinder are minimalist giving you a plus/minus signs for exposure control in manual mode and s shutter speed scale with a pointing needle in the aperture priority mode. A flash confirmation light is also part of the info available.

Shutter speed and aperture (on lens) control rings are located surrounding the taking lens. You have to get the habit to check these parameters visually prior to look into the viewfinder. After a certain time you may memorize the value associated to the position of those control rings. In a whole the Olympus OM-2n is a very simple camera to operate once you have assimilated the fondamental of its use.

Working for several years with electronic products I am amaze to find a photo device like the Olympus OM-2n that is still able to fulfill the bill and delivers very decent results surely at the level of many more modern digital products. Sure the technical limitations are obvious in particular in regard with the exposure latitude and the very narrow capacity of color adaptation if any (Sorry but no automatic white balance). But using a black and white film such as the Ilford XP2 will help to exploit many interesting possibilities.

En argentique avec l’Olympus OM-2n

Parler du film traditionnel (et argentique) relève maintenant d’un faux débat qui tente d’établir une comparaison dépassée des vertus réciproques du support argentique versus le numérique. Car ce débat est inexistant puisque dans la vie de tous les jours le numérique a supplanté largement l’argentique par ses avantages inhérents au monde actuel de la communication multilatérale et instantanée. La photographie numérique est maintenant une norme universelle médiatique qui rappelle l’évolution rapide de notre technologie d’expression et de diffusion.

Alors qu’en est-il de cette vague à caractère nostalgique qui prône un retour à la photo argentique? Deux éléments surtout: un souvenir tenace évoquant une époque révolue qui a culminé il y a maintenant plus de trois ou quatre décennies déjà mais aussi une curiosité légitime de découverte de ce médium d’expression si à contresens de la photographie numérique actuelle. Par une sorte de déni de l’automatisation et de l’intelligence artificielle d’interprétation technique, la maitrise de l’argentique est une forme de ré-appropriation de la sélectivité créatrice de l’image fixée.

Cependant il ne s’agit pas d’un exercice facile particulièrement sur le plan technique. Son apprentissage peut être difficile surtout si l’on recherche une latitude similaire  celle de la technique numérique. Car l’argentique impose de limites frustrantes en particulier pour ses nouveaux adeptes. Elles peuvent s’apparenter à celles imposées par d’autres média artistique comme la peinture ou la sculpture. Enfin il y a une certaine forme de credo concernant la maitrise de l’argentique qui renvoie à des recettes de certains anciens photographes reconnus et qui regroupent des cercles d’adeptes qui peuvent restreindre la pratique plus créatrice de l’argentique.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notre point de départ reste le support argentique d’enregistrement de l’image initiale. Ce support assimilé fréquemment au film (acétate) possède des caractéristiques uniques et non modifiables de sensibilité et de palette de couleur ou de tons (noir et blanc). Il est donc invariable ou quasi-inflexible. Sa manipulation implique des préventions d’exposition accidentelle à la lumière ou à d’autres types de rayonnements, aux températures et aux niveaux d’humidité extrêmes. Enfin si l’on exclut le cas du film inversible pour diapositive, le résultat final du traitement du film propose un négatif de l’image fixée. Il y a donc un processus d’inversion nécessaire à la permutation de ce négatif en version positive similaire à celle de notre vision habituelle.

Tout ceci indique bien les caractéristiques inhérentes du support argentique et son relative manque de latitude surtout en comparaison avec les capteurs numériques modernes. Mais toutes ces contraintes contribuent fortement à créer une signature typique du photographe qui l’emploie. Car aux choix initiaux du sujet, de sa position, de sa profondeur, de son expression s’ajoutent la sélection du point de focalisation, du temps de pose et de l’ouverture du diaphragme de l’objectif qui sont autant d’éléments discriminants de l’image finale fixée sur pellicule. L’improvisation et le hasard occupent une part moins grande dans leur contribution du résultat enregistré.

Aujourd’hui la photographie argentique prend toute sa place à titre de technique particulière de création et d’expression artistique. Ce n’est donc pas un retour vers un passé révolu mais la continuité d’un art visuel bicentenaire.

(Source: Ilford Photo)

Toutes les photos argentiques présentées dans ce texte ont été réalisées sur film Ilford XP2 Super 400 (Développement C41) avec un appareil Olympus OM-2n et l’objectif Zuiko 50mm F1.8. Étant un utilisateur régulier d’appareils photo numériques à objectifs interchangeables de la marque Olympus comme les OM-D de différentes versions il est facile de réaliser tout le chemin parcourue entre la série OM argentique d’il y a trois ou quatre décennies et la production numérique actuelle. Les différences sont énormes et déterminantes pour l’efficacité et le facteur réussite entre ces deux types d’appareils. L’Olympus OM-2n reste un appareil photo assez primitif dans son mode d’opération malgré la présence de certaines innovations pour l’époque comme la lecture de l’exposition OTF en mode priorité ouverture et la lecture TTL en mode flash électronique. Sa visée optique réflexe est très lumineuse mais le manque de relief oculaire est un peu handicapant pour l’appréciation complète de l’image captée.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Au début des années 1970 l’apparition de l’Olympus OM-1, d’abord appelé M-1, a causé une commotion en proposant un véritable appareil photo 35mm à visée réflexe et objectif interchangeable plus compact et plus léger doté d’un viseur plus lumineux. À peine deux ans plus tard l’OM-2 fait son entrée en proposant un mode automatique (priorité ouverture) et un système flash TTL dans un même volume réduit. Les concurrents ne pourront réagir qu’avec un certain retard à cette nouvelle tendance à la diminution des boitiers. À l’époque le tarif nord-américain d’un modèle Olympus OM-2n dépassait les $500CAN qu’on peut traduire en dollars de 2018 à $2375. Il s’agissait donc d’un équipement de très haut de gamme. Aujourd’hui on peut se procurer le même appareil en bonne condition pour environ $150CAN y incluant l’objectif F.Zuiko 50mm F1.8

Une check list bien commode:
Ton film est-il bien amorcé dans la bobine de réception de l’appareil? (Y a-t-il un film dans l’appareil incidemment?!)
Ton indice ISO (ASA/DIN) est-il bien réglé?
Quelle est ta vitesse d’obturation?… et ton ouverture sur l’objectif? … et surtout ta mesure d’exposition confirme-t-elle la pertinence de ces choix?
Ta mise au point est-elle bien choisie pour ton sujet? … et ta profondeur de champs, est-elle suffisante ou trop grande?
Ton appareil est-il tenu de façon stable à la main ou sur trépied? Ou bien ton mouvement de suivi du sujet est-il suffisamment fluide?
Ton déclenchement s’effectue-t-il en douceur?
Enfin n’oublies pas d’avancer ton film à la pose suivante après ta prise de vue!!!

En guise de conclusion
Certains lecteurs pourront se demander si l’Olympus OM-2n aurait pu être mon choix professionnel sachant que j’utilisais les appareils Nikon F2/3/4 ou les Leica M4P/6 à cette époque du film argentique. Rétrospectivement peut-être car même aujourd’hui je reste impressionné par la qualité du design et de construction des boitiers et des objectifs Olympus OM, l’étendu du système OM et la finesse des résultats obtenues. Malheureusement la norme professionnelle de cette époque pour la gamme Nikon prévenait une plus grande disponibilité du système Olympus.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II: The Caméléon Camera!

(Lastly edited May 8, 2017) (First parution November 15, 2016)

Back in 2012, Olympus has announced and preview its first OM-D  a sort of digital emulation of the classical SLR film camera series originally named OM. Apart the general aspect and dimension of the E-M5 model presented it was a complete new design very different from the other digital M4/3 Olympus line, the PEN series. Since the beginning of digital cameras as the new photographic mass media Olympus has been innovative and very productive of different concepts and model series. The Camedia and E-X series can be rightfully reckoned as one of the most serious effort to produce very effective photographic digital tools.

 

The first OM-D E-M5 declination has been a true success story among photographers and reviewers that simply salute Olympus with a very strong endorsement of the product. Furthermore the E-M5 has been also one of the first M4/3 format model really used on a professional base around the world although it was remaining more an exception and a curiosity. Olympus eventually have responded by offering a new OM-D E-M1 for a more specific pro use.

In 2015 Olympus issued the second version of the E-M5 tagged Mark II with is an upgraded product in many ways (with the exception of its menu interface presentation…!).

Rotative LCD Screen (versus Tilt-able original version): A video reminiscence imported to OM-D
The LCD screen of the EM5 Mark II is a beauty to use ether as a live “full” scale viewfinder or as a reviewing tool. As a live viewfinder (LVF) it is a better choice for evaluate exposure and color rendition of the picture. If the situation allow you to do so the LVF will be a very productive option. I am not a big fan of LVF at the beginning but more and more especially with the “mobile” device event the photographer … and the subjects are getting used to it and felt more comfortable now than by holding the camera the traditional way.

Electronic Viewfinder (EVF): Shut down (or rotate back) that LCD screen!
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is doted of a very fine Electronic ViewFinder (EVF). Fine details can be easily observed and all the infos are present (but without the automatic vertical rotation feature for the infos). Manual focusing can be done accurately through the EVF with the loupe option and dont prevent yourself to do it.
In strong lightning context the EVF may seem to be more contrasty than for low light subject. This caracteristic has been addressed from the early EVF and tend to be corrected gradually but there is still place for improvement. As for the delay between the image seen on EVF vs real-time situation. For action photography I will suggest you to stay and rely on EVF in preventing misinterpretation of the “pic” of the image or subject action.
The presence of the LVF (LCD screen viewfinder) couple with the automatic switch over option between EVF and LVF can be annoying for people who mainly EVF users. By entirely rotating back the LCD screen you will facilite the exclusive EVF use with a better battery life (at the expensive of the fast access to the LCD screen I must add…).

Enhanced Dials
One of the most noticeable difference between the original E-M5 and the new E-M5 Mark II version are the dimension and the nature of the direct control dial that are now bigger and offer better adherence. Adding the optional grip will give you the same arrangement for front handling but in vertical holding you will recover the “old” dial design which is a disappointment in my sens even if the original controls stay efficient in every way.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a small ILC compact camera and because of that all fonction buttons and dial are accordingly cramped for this type of device. You may accidentally change setting and falsely working with a non voluntary configuration. So the best way to counteract these effects is to verify time to time all the basic information showed on the viewfinder EVF or LVF.

New “more” grip ( More proimenent front hand grip for secure and confortable handling and appreciable vertical shooting ability)
The Olympus HLD-8 grip &battery holder combination is an upgrade version of the previous HLD-6 model offered for the original E-M5. Dimensions and control dial of the grip by itself (HLD-8G) have been revised ans a earphone plug for monitoring the recorded sound has been added. Using the HLD-8 with or without the additional battery had a lot of confort to the handling of the E-M5 Mark II.

In using the complete grip kit you can alternate a two batteries turn around (with one battery always full load in camera) without removing the unit .

Vertical shooting is more secure and easier. Weight and di
mension distribution between camera and lenses are better served when you are working with bigger lenses such as the “Pro” series. If you anticipate doing action or outdoor photography the extra battery autonomy will be an appreciated advantage. And it stays a relatively compact package compare to the similar D-SLR combos. Finally having an additional power unit with the extra battery can be a precious help for intensive shooting sessions.

Lot of Personnalisation … if you remember their functionalities…!
Since the event of the first OM-D (E-M5 original version), Olympus has always offer to the user  extended possibilities of camera personnalisation. Again with the E-M5 Mark II there is a lot of different setting available though the various dials and push (function) buttons present on the camera. For sure you will have to memorize all these personal setting but that can be a real advantage to fine-tune a product configured for “your” specific needs. It add speed and convenience for those who are willing to invest on learning the system.

Mini Flash (less bits and parts, marginally better height, orientable bounce and side-tilt options)
Many photo enthusiasm over the years are knowing already that Olympus has been a pioneer of TTL flash metering since the seventies especially with the original OM-2 24X36mm film camera model. Commun sense dictate the manufacturer to offer a very sophisticated dedicated flash system starting with the mini unit FL-LM3 which is part of the accessories included in the box and that can act as a master unit for controlling multi-flash (from Olympus) arrangement.
The diminutive FL-LM3 unit can be consider as a good fill-in flash option for on the spot situations. Thanks to Olympus to have simplify the attachement of the flash to a single flash  hot shoe port (no more multi-fonction bottom port) since I am not a big fan of potentially losing parts to protect these ports. The addition of the bounce and side-tilt head orientation option is another good value but you have to kept in mind the limited power of the unit. As a master remote flash indirect lightning is a welcome feature.
Olympus pro photographers on assignation like wedding, journalism even sport are considering  the flash option as a obligatory feature to compensate deficient or uneven lightning over the subject. Olympus has just release (October 2016) a new FL-900R powerful unit addressing that demand.

Vintage Flash unit arrangement using PC sync cord and camera sync port.

PC Sync Port (“The” studio vintage feature!)
A PC outlet has been added to the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. It is a past feature seen in most ancient film and traditional SLR and other camera models. For studio or flash work the use of a PC (trigger) sync outlet is inducing that you accept to use flash devices and camera/lens combination over their manual setting without relying on the automated TTL functionalities present into the E-M5 Mark II. In my sens it stays a curiosity more than a practical advantage. Yes you can still do flash photography by using a flash meter for balancing your light units but more and more professionals will prefer to rely on interface setting devices or by using the in-board camera fonctionalities.

Extensive but complex menu settings are an Olympus trademark.

Olympus Interface Presentation or “Learn your lessons!”
What can I add to the many “pro” reviewers that have already point out so many times for almost every new Olympus models that their interface presentation is hard to comprehend and assimilated. The E-M5 Mark II is not a different beast and will ask you to get use to the many aspects of the extended menu options. A quick menu option available by pressing the OK button is may be the best way to access to the fondamental parameters of the camera.

Lens combinations: Prime’s vs Pro Zoom Optic Battle: Small & Discrete Size vs Focal Versatility
By nature there is always the question of the lens choice when you decide to work with ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera). In general the Olympus prime (fixed focal length ) lenses will give the best optical quality result. Furthermore the fixed focal lens are faster (larger maximum aperture) less bigger and heavier than the zoom lenses. For better results when you are selecting zoom lenses Olympus offer you their “Pro” line but with the expense of a more modest maximum aperture, larger dimensions, more weight and for…more $$$! These Pro lenses will appeal to photographers that are working on assignations, in rapid action photographic situations including intensive studio shooting and specific outdoor subjects. If you like to contextual photography you may prefer the prime lenses selection.

Same not the same 16MP Image Captor
Every manufacturer has its distinctive image “signature” that will translate with an overall specific color reddition, contrast, accentuation and exposure distribution identity. Yes you can alter in many ways the original bias of the camera that will invalid the first setting but it remains sometimes a very tedious exercice for non initiate peop
le like many actual camera users. The Olympus color palette is very distinctive with slight blue tonal (or cold color temperature) color imagery representation.

Zig Zag Over Dome (Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II)

Olympus B&W own interpretation
It is now a standard feature over the mirrorless camera offer to get easy access to a monochrome B&W option along with the different color palette interpretations. For those who have first learned photography by using B&W material or simply by consulting the classic B&W works of earlier photographers it always a pleasure to be able to produce monochrome imagery right from the camera and because of the EVF feature you can get the final result right from the start on screen. Another interesting direct functionality is the possibility to adjust the High and Shadow Light curves on the spot although it has certain limitations compare to post processing treatment. With strong lightning I will usually cut down the exposure by 1 to 2 EV factor (stop) to privilege the highlight detail over the shadow area. For sure it is up to each photographer to find its own setting bias.

Apple Eye taken with Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II / M.Zuiko 12-40mm F2.8

About cropping
Dont prevent yourself to do extensive cropping of your original picture if the camera image sensor can maintain an acceptable photographic quality. And dont forget that it is the nature of the human sight (i.e. eye view) to select portion area of the total pano view to be able to register a partial composition of the entire picture. You can assume that the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II will deliver you pleasant result even with a pronounced crop.

OM-D E-M5 Mark II compact outfit configuration recall
 the original OM series of the film era

A discrete and versatile camera
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a discrete compact ILC camera with its small size and smoothness of operation. Its All-Weather construction allow you to use it with more confidence in many various situations with moderely adverse conditions but dont forget to select a lens model that have the same feature. Furthermore it is common knowledge that some professional photographers are choosing the mirrorless cameras for different manners such as the overall size of the system, or the lens selection, the interface, the video possibilities, etc. The “Pro” involvement of these manufacturers like Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm and Sony is just proving the serious of them.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is a very modular camera with grip and power options.

The shutter release of the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is exceptionally smooth. It is always a great pleasure to do photography with such discretion and elegance. The environnemental sealing of the camera body is another serious advantage for all condition utility of the OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I also salute the modularity of the model with or without the HLD grip combo option which is transforming the E-M5 II into a small “E-M1” of its own. Flash system is well deserved with the in-house TTL system and none-wired external flash units control via the FL-LM3 mounted unit.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II is not cheap as for many Olympus products. If you are intend to keep the camera model for a short period of time you will lose a significant amount of money but on a long run (3 years +) it wort the expense. Otherwise you can wait to end-of-life deal like it has been observed in the case of the original version of the E-M5. For a professional use, you may also consider the new OM-D E-M1 Mark II option but keep in mind that it will required a significant larger budget.

If you intend to do street photography the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II alone coupled with one small prime lens will give you a very “petite” camera. In action photography the camera will behave on the average level asking from you a good preparation and a sense of anticipation. In that field (Action) it is more a pro-active than a reactive camera like the big D-SLRs.

Out-In Light (OM-D E-M5 Mark II / M. 45mm F/1.8)

About the Future of M4/3
At first you have to consider that the primary 4/3 digital format has been set in 2006 as new standard endorsed by various major photographic compagnies such as Kodak, Fujifilm , Leica among others. Two years later the original format has been evolve into the new Micro 4/3 especially designed for more compact mirrorless camera. In the battle to survive into the classical photo market the M4/3 format has been mainly supported by the combine effort of Olympus and Panasonic production. For Panasonic their strong video knowledge has been successfully  incorporated into their flagship GH4/5 models that have been adopted by many. Olympus really intend to design cameras firstly for their still photography capabilities. Both Olympus and Panasonic have developed a very fine line of interchangeable lenses in a smaller package compared to the Canon and Nikon bigger production for example. In this small mirrorless world with Fujifilm (and Canon) APS-C format and Sony so-called “full” format (ancient 24X36mm mini film size) the long term future viability of these alternatives stays on balance.

For sure the user loyalty may be part of the answer but more than that the dedication of the camera manufacturers can make the final outcome. And Olympus even considering their recent internal difficulties never really downplay their contribution. As a fan, a user and an appreciator of their line of products (both cameras and lenses) I hope they will successfully maintain their dedication for the M4/3 format for a long time.

Final Note: Since the venue of the E-M5 Mark II Olympus had also upgraded their E-M1 (Mark II) & E-M10 (Mark II) models and extended their lens offer by adding short, long and Pro lens models.

 

iPhoto Manon Paquette

 

Doing photography with personnal or professional assignation

Photo Manon Paquette

Doing photography on purpose whatever it is is to be “on assignation” meaning there is a task (subject), there is a medium (photo), there is a follow up (by diffusing and sharing your pictures). So be on assignation is not a so call professional or strictly journalistic affair. It can involve everybody under some specific circonstances. This is why every types of photographic devices are pertinent to use on assignation assuming the fact they are available and fully operational. For sure the final purpose of your pictures may dictate some technical considerations in doing the choice of your equipment.

But at the end the importance to have a photo result to share is paramount and more pertinent than every other technical aspects. On assignation, “Get a picture first” must guide you in your preparation and execution of your task. And keep in mind that a camera is simply a tool helping you to produce your imagery.

The challenge to produce suitable pictures that answer a specific need can be exhilarating for certain people or simply frightening for others. Yes the pressure is there but it is important to lower as much as possible the “bad” pressure and keep the motivation involved in the production of your project.

Working with photojournalists during several years I had the chance to observe, develop and apply a personal approach regarding on assignation mandates. During the film era it was almost impossible to verify on place your production output except in using small low resolution instants photographs done with Polaroid tests. Now digital photography allows us to do post-check on the spot and to correct  or repeat your results almost instantly. On the other side the time between picture taking session and transmitting them has been reduced considerably and post-production opportunities are less available to photographers. Many automated photo correction softwares are now designed to respond to that new demand but often with the prejudice of preventing more original creativity.

Here are some mottos that I have develop over the years when I am planning a photo project:

Be prepared (materially) meaning be in shape, wear the right clothing and equipment including your back up material;

Be introduced by having the contact, the good credential and by assuming the right follow up with people involved;

Be documented, knowing your subject and its last development may be capital for your approach;

Be smart and stay aware of the context of your subject;

Be result oriented by acknowledging your needs or the needs of your mandate;

Be persistent and make sure to plan some back-up production;

Be aware especially about any security manner about the context you are working;

Be versatile to any in place adaptation or change of your planning;

Be systematic and make sure you follow most if not all your requirement;

Be sensitive about your subject since it can oriente your creativity to new directions.


And be prepared to invest yourself again and again
because you will have the opportunity to learn, try and achieve new ways to fulfil an assignation. Even after these past years to have a certain amount of different assignations I am still ressenting the excitation (and by extension the insecurity) of doing a new assignation or photo project.

At the end what is left of your picture is simply its own impact to the viewer and
this is the most relevant aspect of it.

Lastly every photograph can develop its own style or signature from its own experiences. It is only a matter of believing on his or her ability to do so. Creativity is not an “elite” prerogative of the few but a basic characteristic of all the humanity and others living things.

We do photography on purpose (even for ourself) and doing photo projects may be one of the best way to illustrate that simple fact.

Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS II: The Urban Traveller

Fugace Selfie on the run at 16mm setting

Many of us are looking for the magic lens that will be “the one and only” optic to bring with them. That elude device should be compact, light, first class quality, practical, sturdy and doted with a fairly large maximum aperture. For sure this concept does not exist in this modern era. So contemporary designers are trying to imagine many compensating technologies to cope with traditional constraints. Optical Stabilization (or image captor stabilisation), Higher ISO sensibility availability,
Extended variable vocals range (zoom) , In-board camera image post-processing, etc are part of the actual answers offered by manufacturers.

And more and more these technological advancements are responding to many of those very demanding exigences.Many of the so-call kit lenses are now very fine products that deliver high quality picture results without  big compromises.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm F3.5-5.6 OIS II lens is a good illustration of that trend. Its focal range is particularly interesting for urban or traveling photographers.

 

Flare with strong front lightning: The Fujinon XC 16-50mm maintains its creativity.
A good pick-up street lens

With a widest angle of more than 80 degrees the
XC 16-50mm is a useful lens for contextual photography allowing the user  to work with very close subjects and preserving its environmental context. Interior and urban projects can be apprehended with ease. Some photographers will propose it as a good landscape or even architectural tool. Since proportions of the objects can be sometime strongly altered at its widest setting I will stay caution with that kind of general advice.

Another area of interesting purpose of the Fujinon XC 16-50mm lens is more related with spontaneous photography like street photography or off-camera shooting (without looking at the viewfinder or view screen). In that case after-cropping can be done at the expense of loosing some image definition.

Photography is also a visual expression that requires impact at first and spontaneous photography is mainly about that. At every moment a quick swing of the focal ring of the lens can transform it as a small telephoto on the ready with a little more of one aperture stop lost (so beware about your shutter speed).

 

Minette; Ray of Light

The finesse of the Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II lens can be observed with this B&W picture of our beloved Minette if you examine the details of its fur.  This prove the ability of the lens of doing good close-up subjects with extended detail separations.


The Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II lens is not part of the XF Fujifilm X-mount series. It translates by a lighter construction, the absence of an aperture ring and visibly by the use of more plastic components. On a very intensive use the lens may show a faster  rate of wear but this point has yet to be proven. Ruggedness may be another weaker point and I won’t recommend it for careless users who like to bang expensive photo equipment. So it is not a  real photojournalist lens in the traditional way of working but the Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II can be a very handy and fine tool for photographers who will treat it with respect.

The Fujinon XC 16-50mm OIS II is the kit lens for urban traveller.