L’Olympus M.Zuiko 17mm F1.8 Premium: l’autre objectif normal

Bien sûr tous et chacun connaissent le consensus habituel qui définie la longueur focale “normale de tout format d’image par sa diagonale de son plan-surface d’enregistrement. Le plus connu est célèbre et se retrouve dans l’ancien format-film 35mm (24 X 36mm) avec les objectifs de 50mm bien que le résultat de son véritable calcul se situerait plutôt autour de 43mm. Cette même règle s’appliquant aux autres formats cette dite longueur focale “normale” peut varier beaucoup.

De fait avec un angle de champs d’environ 45 degrés ou un peu plus, les objectifs “normaux” sont souvent perçus comme un peu trop discriminants et c’est pourquoi se sont développé une autre catégorie d’objectifs souvent qualifiés de semi-grand-angle avec un arc visuel de plus ou moins 65 degrés. Leur effet d’éloignement des sujets par rapport à notre vision personnelle n’est pas très prononcé et  règle générale les distorsions engendrées par leur compression d’image restent modestes sinon imperceptible.

Au cours de la petite histoire de la photographie moderne plusieurs auteurs, reporters ou voyagistes ont privilégié cette autre distance focale normale comme avec les objectifs de 35mm dans le format 24 X 36mm parfois même s’aventurant avec des longueurs focales de 40mm surtout présent chez les appareils compacts mono-objectifs non-interchangeables. Plus près de nous plusieurs adeptes du 35mm film se rappellerons entre autres des Leica Summicron 35mm F2.0 ou des Nikon Nikkor AI(S) 35mm F2.8 comme des optiques de base très versatiles.

Aujourd’hui avec le développement prononcé et universel des objectifs-zoom les autres objectifs de longueur focale unique ou fixe ont pris un peu d’ombrage mais on assiste depuis une décennie à leur retour en force chez certains manufacturiers et plus particulièrement chez les systèmes compacts d’appellation “sans-miroir”. C’est ainsi que chez Olympus, format de capteur MFT,on a développé toute une série d’objectifs nommés Premium et maintenant de la série “Pro” qui correspondent bien aux longueurs focales prisés par les amateurs de focales fixes. Parmi ceux-ci il y a ce 17mm F1.8 accompagné maintenant par son grand frère plus récent dit professionnel le 17mm F1.2.

L’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 17mm F1.8 peut être le compagnon idéal d’un appareil compact comme les modèles OM-D E-M5 Mark II ou encore le Pen-F. Son champs visuel de 65 degrés correspond à un rendu visuel comparable à la zone de netteté de l’oeil humain même si notre champs visuel total est bien entendu beaucoup plus étendue. Ce 17mm F1.8 est compact et relativement léger. Sa mise au point peut être automatique ou manuelle à la volée puisque que la bague d’ajustement du point focal possède deux positions commodes et directement accessibles. Sa construction très métallisée est sérieuse mais l’objectif n’est pas qualifié officiellement par le fabricant de résistant aux intempéries.

L’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 17mm F1.8 fait partie de cette catégorie d’optiques que j’aime nommer contextuel, i.e. en prise direct et à proximité du sujet. On retrouve dans cette famille d’autres longueurs focales comme les 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm ou encore les 42,5mm et 45mm, tous adaptés au format MFT, M4/3. Mais le 17mm a cet atout supplémentaire d’être véritablement un objectif “vadrouille” qui peut ramasser ou traiter à peu près n’importe lequel sujet spontanément. Et ce n’est pas un objectif intimidant, donc il est à l’aise en toute situation. C’est aussi l’objectif du reporter et du voyageur mais également du documentaliste puisqu’il respecte bien les proportions du sujet avec comme seule exception les gros-plans ou sujets rapprochés.

Parce que L’Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 17mm F1.8 n’est pas un objectif-zoom il exigera de la part du chorégraphe-photographe-auteur une plus grande disponibilité de mouvement en vue d’obtenir l’assurance d’un cadrage ou d’une composition adéquate pour son utilisateur et d’optimiser la qualité du résultat anticipé. Il en est ainsi de la plupart des objectifs à focales fixes bien entendu. Cependant ces objectifs de longueurs focales invariables sont des outils qui procurent une qualité d’image supérieure à bien des points de vue que les objectifs-zoom. Ils sont moins exigeants et plus linéaires pour les logiciels correctifs embarqués dans les appareils photos actuels. La correction moins grande induit ici une plus grande finesse de définition de l’image ce qui contribue à un post-traitement beaucoup moins destructeur même dans la situation d’un recadrage prononcé.

 

Peut-être découvrirez-vous que cet Olympus M.Zuiko Premium 17mm F1.8 est la seule optique que vous avez vraiment besoin ou encore la plus utilisée ou utilisable. Dans tous les cas ce 17mm saura bien remplir son mandat et deviendra un compagnon ou une compagne bien apprécié(e) n’en doutez pas!

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Green light for the Panasonic Lumix G85 (G80)

The Panasonic Lumix G85: the genius with modesty!

 

 

Selecting a Panasonic product will be the natural alternative in M4/3 format. Over the previous years I had the chance to own some of their most recent models such as the GX7, GM5 and GX85 that I have found equally competent products into their respective speciality field. And many reviewers have been impressed by the D-SLR like mirrorless Lumix G7. The Panasonic approach in designing cameras and lenses remind a lot the Leica way. Pure lines, basic controls, low profile presentation have been appreciated among spontaneous photographers for travel, street or casual portrait shooting.  Furthermore many Panasonic Lumix products are lightweight. It is true to add that the initial physical touch of their products seems to feel less robust than some similar competitor models but after the initial impression this perception tend to be forgotten in profit of the confort and the ergonomic of the Lumix products.

The Panasonic Lumix G85 is a D-SLR like mirrorless camera with practical virtues like a very secure handling (grip) along with control dials and fonction buttons that are easily reachable. Adding the optional power grip (DMW-BGG1) will simply give a longer battery life autonomy and a superior hand prehension when using larger lenses of external flashes.

Some aspects of the Lumix G85 have to be consider as inherent characteristics in parallel of the price point value of the model. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) for instance which very precise and handy for manual focusing is still more contrasty than the actual picture registered so appreciation can be falsely done. The LCD screen is a lot more accurate in that matter. The refresh rate frequency of the EVF is  on average and seems to slow down a bit in low light condition.

The Lumix G85 interface is reasonnabely intuitive et front forward as for the Quick Menu option. Controls dials and buttons are well located meanly on the right side of the camera and are configurable. The side door memory card access is also a nice touch. The LCD touch screen facilite the access to interesting fonctionnalities. Pivoting LCD screen is another practical option for videographers, macro photographers and photographers who like to simply protect and shut down the screen. As usual the custom camera configuration (C1, C2) allow you to program complex combinations and keep it for future frequent uses. Wifi interactions are also present with the Lumix G85 when you are using the appropriate Panasonic application for mobiles and tablets.


Small but fully appreciated attentions from Panasonic and the Lumix G85 are certainly the side door access to the memory card and the extra battery pack furnished free of charge with the vertical grip BGG-1 as for the lens hood which is also part of the whole package.

In-board flash option is another advantage if you want an easy fill-in light directly available. The Lumix can also manage an external flash in order to get a more powerful and versatile unit.

About the kit lens (Lumix G Vario12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS)
And dont prevent yourself to choose the Panasonic Lumix G85 kit that include the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm lens Power O.I.S. For the difference of selling price it is a steal. Although the Lumix 12-60mm is not particularly a fast lens it is a very versatile optic to carry all around. Its focal length equivalence in 35mm film format is 24-120mm which represent a very handy choice of angles of view and the G Vario 12-60mm can easily replace at least 2 or 3 prime lenses such as the 12mm, 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and 42.5mm but we must add with the expense of a much smaller maximum aperture. The imagery results from the 12-60mm will surprise you considering the dollars you have spent to get it.





Premium picture output on the spot!
Yes I am particularly pleased by the standard output issued from the Panasonic Lumix G85 both in colour and Black & White. And I must admit that I u
se almost exclusively Jpeg files over the RAW entertained option. It is a matter of personal choice to get fast and exploitable results to edit and share.
Exposure metering by the Panasonic Lumix G85 will give you a clear picture rendering but as usual I prefer to underexpose as far as minus 1 EV to get more profound colours and better details into the highlight areas. In doing so especially with JPEG files you will get a more useful chance to correct your exposure when you are editing your pictures. It follows the old slide film rule of metering your highlight and then correct your lowlight areas.

After working with the new Olympus E-M1 II for a few weeks I did received my new Panasonic Lumix G85 and right from the start everything was falling in place. I can get pleasant and prévisibles colour rendering and most important B&W pictures were again very impressive and comparable to Fujifilm rendering which I consider as one of the highest level standard in mirrorless camera offer.

Furthermore the Panasonic Lumix G85 is a bit less heavier body and that factor adds a lot to its duration confort especially if you carry most of the time the camera with one hand (to be ready to photograph on the spot…)

Another secret is the better interaction of the automatic white balance option of the Lumix G85 especially with mixed sources of domestic interior lightning and in particular with the new LED. In those cases the Olympus E-M1 II was really struggling to get a natural and balanced result. Automatic exposure accuracy of the Lumix G85 is asking less use of the manual exposure correction dial maybe because of its more general metering pattern nature.

Automatic focusing of the Lumix G85 is snappy and repetitive. The only exception will occur when you are facing low contrast subject with low light condition and even under those circonstances the Lumix G85 manage to do its focus eventually most of time. The continuous autofocus option may also struggle when you have a subject that tend to produce space erratic movements and as a result the system may shift from a subject to another. (In my sense you cannot call this “hunting the subject”) As usual manual pre-focusing techniques may a good alternative option for action photography.

A strong advantage of the Panasonic Lumix G85 is certainly its all-weather resistant construction that allows you to work in many adverse conditions without compromises and fear. It can sustain rain, freeze, snow but you have to remind you to combine its body with a lens that have the same ability like the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 OIS. Working with a AW camera such as the Lumix G85 is giving you the ability to bring the camera whatever is the environmental condition and in doing so it opens a lot a photographic possibilities neglected by others.

 

Green Light for the Panasonic Lumix G85

 


High ISO 3200 is very exploitable but you will loose some fine subject details…


At the end the Panasonic Lumix G85 is by far a more paisible instrument for the casual and expert photographer. It is a simpler package that give you fast and pleasant output with less fussy reconfiguration of the medium. It encourage you to bring the camera and experiment on the field by taking pictures. Photography has to be fun and rewarding and the Lumix G15 is perfectly adapted for that task. Dont prevent yourself to enjoy it.

Haro on the Panasonic Lumix G85 (G80)

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.

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 ?