Imaging Resource: Olympus 17mm f/1.2 Pro Lens Review: The best wide-angle prime for Micro Four Thirds

https://www.imaging-resource.com/news/2018/05/11/olympus-17mm-f-1.2-pro-lens-review-best-wide-angle-for-micro-four-thirds

“Having earned the top spot as our Best Wide Angle Prime of 2017 in our annual Lens of the Year awards, we’ve now finalized our lab testing of the Olympus 17mm f/1.2 Pro lens. This 35mm-eq. wide-angle prime lens is undoubtedly a professional-level optic that offers excellent performance. Image quality is spectacular, even at f/1.2, with very low distortion and low chromatic aberration….”

https://creativityinnovationsuccess.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/olympus_m-zuiko_digital_ed_17mm_f1-2_front_upright_clutch_1024px_60.jpg
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro professional-quality Micro Four Thirds prime lens with manual clutch focus rings drawn back for accurate, repeatable manual focussing at a quarter turn to go from infinity to closest focusing distance, excellent for stills photography and video production on hybrid cameras and cinema cameras.
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The Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens line-up as of late October 2017.

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro

Commentary

With the coming release of Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K aka P4K later this year, along with the already-released Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 IBIS hybrid 4K stills/video camera and the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S high-end compact 4K video camera, attention is on affordable yet high-end professional-quality lenses capable of delivering excellent results whether manually-focussed or used with those cameras’ autofocus functionality if they have it.

After trying out prime and zoom optics from several ranges of Micro Four Thirds lenses, I have chosen to invest in Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro range and will be adding more as availability and finances permit.

My documentary photography and moviemaking work demands gear that can withstand years of use and potentially challenging environments without succumbing, and the weather resistance, durability, quality and relative low weight and size put the M.Zuiko Pro lens range in the frame.

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The first five lenses from the Leica M 0.8 cinema lens set by Leica Camera sister company CW Sonderoptic, in the 21mm, 24mm, 28mm, 35mm and 50mm focal lengths, all with 77mm filter diameters, a perfect set for cinematographers or stills photographers. I am hoping that Olympus will expand its M.Zuiko Pro prime lens offerings to add a wider range of focal lengths like these in their M43 equivalents.So far Olympus has issued 35mm and 50mm equivalent focal lengths.

It is hardly surprising that the folks at Imaging Resource awarded their Best Wide Angle Prime of 2017 plaudit to the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro lens.

I have yet to have the pleasure of trying one out due to apparent local supply problems, but the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro is at the top of my M43 lens wish list along with its 45mm and 25mm stablemates as well as the 5-stop image-stablized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4 IS Pro zoom lens followed by the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 7-14mm f/2.8 Pro wideangle zoom.

I will be adding Xume fast-on, fast-off filter holders, Breakthrough Photography brass knurled step-up rings and UV protection filters, and a full set of top-quality variable and fixed ND filters to my kit in the 82mm and 105mm sizes soon.

I hope that Olympus will continue to expand its M.Zuiko Pro offerings into the 10.5mm and 14mm prime lens sizes as part of the company’s stated commitment to its professional lens range.

Both focal lengths, in 35mm sensor terms equivalent to 21mm and 28mm, are crucial to my work in documentary photography and video, and are essential to any well-rounded collection of professional-quality prime lenses.

I would also like to see a 75mm equivalent lens added to the Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lens collection – 21mm, 28mm and 75mm is one of my favourite 35mm sensor focal length triplet for documentary stills and video, or in M43 sensor terms 10.5mm, 14mm and 37.5mm.

That aside, I am very pleased that Olympus has released the 17mm f/1.2 in its second tranche of M.Zuiko Pro primes as I have been badly missing this focal length in my M43 sensor format cameras.

I had considered Olympus’ other 17mm lens, the M.Zuiko Digital 17mm f/1.8, as well as Panasonic’s near-17mm, the Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 Aspheric, but my head was decisively turned towards the M.Zuiko Pro series by my very first M43 lens purchase, the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro, one of my favourite zoom lenses to this very day.

My head was further turned towards the M.Zuiko Pro lens collection by Cosyspeed’s Thomas Ludwig’s review of the M.Zuiko Pro 25mm f/1.2 and its beautiful skin-tone rendering.

“What makes a good lens? This is in many ways a question that can only be answered individually. To me it is not important that it is super sharp wide open or does not vignette etc. – to me the most important point is the esthetics, the look and feel it delivers. When I look at the images of a certain lens and it “feels” good, well, than it is a good lens. And you know what? The OLY 25/1.2 is a lens of this category. I’m simply amazed especially when looking at the portraits I made in Hamburg. Amazed not by my images but by the clean, natural and three dimensional look.

The OLY 25/1.2 has a certain magic and I would describe it’s special character in the way it closes the gap between a pronounced three dimensional look and a portrait friendly (lower) level of micro contrast. A high level of micro contrast gives 3D pop for example to LEICA and ZEISS lenses, but it can be a bit harsh when shooting portraits. I don’t know how the OLYMPUS engineers made it, but they found a way to give it a lot of 3D pop while micro contrast is on a natural level.”

I have tried out the Panasonic Leica Summilux 15mm f/1.7, equivalent in 35mm sensor terms to 30mm, but I found the focal length an uneasy in-between, too wide for the subjects I prefer photographing with a 35mm equivalent lens and too long for those much better suited to a 28mm focal length equivalent.

When I began researching the Micro Four Thirds format for moviemaking and photography several years ago, its detractors harped on about how few M43 lenses existed back then.

The critics were factually wrong then and the number of M43 prime and zoom lenses has grown considerably since, but gaps still remain in the major lens makers’ offerings, especially at M43 system co-founders Olympus and Panasonic.

Olympus has hit the right notes with its M.Zuiko Pro collection but it needs to keep growing its prime lenses and long focal-length subsets, in the former case taking a leaf out of the book Leica Camera wrote some years ago with its Leica M-System lenses for stills photography and its recent cinema lens spin-off, Leica sister company CW Sonderoptic’s five-strong Leica M 0.8 series.

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Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMPCC 4K) with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens with manual clutch focus, great for manual focussing. I like the longer image-stabilized Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 IS Pro zoom for available light daily walkabout needs for video and stills.

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  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 300mm f/4 IS PRO LensB&H
  • Olympus M.Zuiko Digital MC-14 1.4x TeleconverterB&H
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8Sinn to the Rescue: Panasonic Lumix GH5 and GH5S Camera Cage Updated with Wrist Strap Eyelets, Remote Cable Access

I have been preparing for a possible article on the very first feature film to be shot on with the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5S video camera and have been researching some of the other gear the director used such as an 8Sinn  camera cage, handle, rod and Metabones support. 

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8Sinn GH5/GH5S cage version 2 with Scorpio top handle and new provision for mounting wrist strap and remote cable
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The first version of Polish accessories maker 8Sinn’s cage for the GH5/GH5S did not include two eyelets for wrist straps nor provision for attaching a remote release cable to the cage-clad camera’s remote port.

Until Panasonic officially announced the GH5, I was unaware of 8Sinn, a Polish camera accessories maker, and from what I saw of their products at their website, I was impressed.

I have yet to see or try any 8Sinn accessories in real life, though, so anything I write about their products is tempered with that fact.

The first version of the 8Sinn GH5 camera cage looked intriguing with apparently high quality design and manufacturing, but the reason I did not follow up on that initial impression was it lacked provision for easily attaching camera straps and the Panasonic DMW-RSL1 remote release.

Camera cages fall into either of two camps, body-hugging wrap-around ribbons or squarer protective enclosures with makers of the latter type including Seercam and makers of the former type including 8Sinn, MovCam, SmallRig and a host of other companies around the world.

The prime virtue of body-hugging wrap-around ribbon cage designs is that they allow the cage to be attached 24/7, for use when shooting stills or video, when handheld or tripod-mounted, triggered via shutter release button or remote remote cable.

The ability to attach camera straps helps ensure better grip and security against dropping, and so I always attach two or three Peak Design camera straps to every camera I own or borrow.

Peak Design Clutch and Cuff, and Panasonic DMW-RSL1 Remote Shutter Release

Those three Peak Design camera straps are Clutch, Cuff and Slide Lite, with Clutch and Cuff permanently attached to every camera whether caged or not, and with two Slide Lite straps in reserve when I am covering events in the time-honoured two-camera, two-lenses documentary photographer manner.

I keep two Peak Design Anchor Links attached to each camera’s camera left strap attachment eyelet for when I need to attach a Slide Lite, and have slightly different Anchor Link attachment arrangements depending on the cameras’ and cages’ specific designs.

None of the Motion9, Seercam or SmallRig cages I have currently are equipped with strap eyelets so I sometimes must resort to attaching Anchor Links via the now discontinued and rather oversized predecessor to the slimmer, neater Peak Design Anchor Mount.

8Sinn cage for GH5 and GH5S, version 2, with wrist strap eyelets and remote cable access

The 8Sinn cage for GH5 and GH5S, version 2, with built-in eyelets and CNCed indent for remote release cable access is an elegant solution for attaching Peak Design Clutch and Cuff, and the Panasonic DMW-RSL1 Remote Shutter Release as well as third-party alternatives.

8Sinn cage for GH5 and GH5S, version 2, complete kit

Whether assembled into a complete cage-based rig for GH5 or GH5S, audio adapter and Metabones-adapted non-native lens, or something much smaller, version 2 of 8Sinn’s GH5/GH5S camera cage is an intriguing choice given it has now solved the two problems found in version 1 and I hope to see and try it out for myself sometime soon.

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Image Credit

Header image concept and quick hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 with Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip, a necessity for photography or moviemaking with the GH5 and GH5S, though most cages are unfortunately not designed to accommodate it.

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Three Blind Men and An Elephant Productions: MONGO Panasonic G9 AF + GH5 Hack Review

“It’s taken me so long to figure out what I’m actually seeing in Panasonic G9’s autofocus performance that now we have to address YodaYeo’s GH5 hack as well. Which I do. And a WHOLE lot more. I’m exhausted….”

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Fuji Rumors: Fujifilm X-H1: Full English Press Release and More Images with MK Lenses

https://www.fujirumors.com/fujifilm-x-h1-full-english-press-release-images-mk-lenses/

“In case you missed it, I have google translated to English the entire press release leaked in German as well as manually translated the full specs sheet (see below). You can also download the specs sheet in English here at my dropbox….”

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Fujifilm X-H1 with battery grip and Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 R LM OIS kit zoom, image released by Nokishita and republished at Fuji Rumors.

Commentary

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Fujifilm X-H1 with Fujinon MK 18-55mm T2.9 X-Mount Cinema Zoom

Fuji Rumors has outdone itself on the Fujifilm X-H1 with heavily detailed specifications lists, press releases, images and size comparisons between the X-H1 and other hybrid stills/video cameras whether mirrorless or DSLR, in advance of Fujifilm’s official X-H1 product announcement on February 15.

That announcement will no doubt also include the X-Mount versions of Fujifilm’s MK Series 18-55mm T2.9 and 50-135mm T2.9 cinema zoom lenses, previously released in E-Mount versions for Sony cinema and Sony Alpha hybrid cameras in the α7 and α9 series.

I will be publishing official product photographs, specifications, and links to articles and videos by moviemakers and photographers who have been working with pre-production versions of the Fujifilm X-H1 and X-Mount versions of the Fujinon MK Series zoom lenses after Fujifilm’s announcement on the 15th and no doubt that article will be a lengthy one.

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Samsung NX1 with Samsung Premium S 50-150mm f/2.8 ED OIS zoom lens, still the benchmark for up-to-date Super 35mm hybrid video cameras, though it missed out on a fully-articulated monitor and 10-bit 4:2:2.

With the leaks by DigiCame-Info, Fuji Rumors and Nokishita, there has been much discussion and speculation at online moviemaking fora, much of it comparing the X-H1’s video specifications to Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 and DC-GH5S Super 16/Micro Four Thirds cameras, and Samsung’s discontinued but still revolutionary Super 35/APS-C NX1.

All three cameras raised the bar for mirrorless video very high indeed.

This is the set of video-centric features I have been hoping to see appear in the X-H1:

  • 4K UHD and 4K DCI 200 Mbit
  • 4K 60p
  • 5-axis in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that works in conjunction with optical image stabilization (OIS)
  • 10-bit 4:2:2
  • Battery grip with full controls for vertical/portrait orientation
  • Decent battery sizes
  • Decent body grip
  • Decent set of of well-spaced colour-matched native X-Mount prime and zoom lenses with manual clutch focus or at least linear focus-by-wire
  • Dual memory card slots
  • Exposure zebras with ability to set percentages/IRE levels
  • External recording via HDMI 2.0+
  • Full 10-bit internal F-Log
  • Fully-articulated monitor
  • Fully-customizable picture profiles
  • In-body audio-monitoring aka headphone port
  • Unlimited recording duration
  • Viable eye and face autofocus
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Is this the camera that inspired Fujifilm’s X-H1 designers? The Contax N1 autofocus analog SLR, last in a long line of Kyocera-made Contax cameras licensing the Contax brand from Zeiss, released in 2000. Kyocera also made Yashica brand cameras.

How many of these boxes, as it were, will the DSLR-style Fujifilm X-H1 tick and how much will any non-inclusion of essential features mitigate against the X-H1 in being a viable, up-to-date video camera for the sorts of productions that warrant Super 35 image quality?

Or, will that good old Australian saying, “close enough is good enough”, be applicable enough in the case of the Fujifilm X-H1?

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Leeming LUT One for Panasonic Cameras to get Version 503 before Mid-Year with Even Better Colour and Tone than Ever – UPDATE

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films is like a dog with a bone that he just will not let go insofar as improving and updating Leeming LUT One, “the world’s first unified, corrective Look Up Table (LUT) system for supported cameras, designed to maximise dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec709 starting point for further creative colour grading.”

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films in V-Log L footage made with Panasonic Lumix GH5 then processed with Leeming LUT One for Panasonic cameras, version 503 beta.

Mr Leeming has just shared an early version 503 beta for Panasonic V-Log L with me and, after applying it to some V-Log L footage of my own, it is clear that he has worked out how obtain even better, even more realistic colour and tonal rendering than before.

The more accurate and true-to-life the starting point obtained by applying Leeming LUT One before adding creative aka looks LUTs and other colour grading controls in your non-linear editing suite or colour grading software of choice, the richer and more satisfying the final result.

While this first version 503 beta is only for Panasonic V-Log L footage, Leeming LUT One version 503 for Panasonic cameras will be released for Cinelike D, HLG and V-Log L.

If version 503 has you as excited as I am, please do not put off purchasing it until later this year as version 502 is already streets ahead of any other camera LUT that I have tried out so far and purchasers of 502 now will receive 503 when it is finalized.

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L 503 beta, footage by Paul Leeming

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L 502 compared to 503 beta

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 502
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2

Leeming LUT One 503 beta as a base for creative LUTs

Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2 plus LookLabs Digital Film Stock Fuji 64D
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2 plus LookLabs Digital Film Stock Fuji Reala 500D
Leeming LUT One for Panasonic V-Log L version 503 beta plus Leeming LUT Quickie Basic Brighter v2 plus LookLabs Digital Film Stock Kodak 5245

Sneak Peek, Leeming LUT One 601 for Panasonic, Cinelike D

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Leeming LUT One 601 for Panasonic Cinelike D, from 8-bit 4:2:0 4K UHD video shot on Lumix GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 lens, LUT plus other minimal grading applied.

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Image Credit

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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News Shooter: Sky News Washington cameraman Duncan Sharp on shooting with the GH5

http://www.newsshooter.com/2018/01/26/sky-news-washington-cameraman-duncan-sharp-shooting-gh5/

“Sky News Washington cameraman Duncan Sharp has been shooting one-hour documentaries and “Special Reports” almost entirely on the Panasonic GH5….

… Duncan’s body of work is certainly impressive and it just shows you what is capable with a small, compact camera kit. As I always say, it’s not about the kit, it’s how you use it. In the hands of a highly skilled operator such as Duncan, the GH5 can be used to great effect.”

 

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Panasonic DC-GH5 with Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 8-18mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric zoom lens

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Lucas Pfaff: JTZ DP30 Cage and Shoulder-Kit | Filmmaker System REVIEW

“The JTZ DP30 Filmmaker System offers a great set of classic rig-parts in a high-end fashion. JTZ is the high-end brand from Fotga!…”

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The JTZ DP30 camera cage and shoulder- mount kit for mirrorless cameras like Panasonic’s Lumix GH5S, GH5 and GH4.

Commentary

Every so often I wonder whether I should look further into the idea of shoulder-mounting mirrorless hybrid video cameras in order to approach the way I once used the Super 8 and Super 16 movie cameras on which I learned cinematography.

Then I take a serious look into the prices and the carrying weight of contemporary shoulder mount systems and set that idea aside for another day.

Until I came across Lucas Pfaff’s series of videos on the JTZ DP30 system.

JTZ, Lucas Pfaff tells us, is the higher-end brand of Fotga, the Chinese camera accessories makers whose DP500 follow focus device is used by documentary moviemaker Sol March of Suggestion of Motion.

Neither Fotga nor JTZ appear to have their own websites or retail through B&H Photo Video, so the only recourse is to buy from Amazon or ebay.

Meanwhile I will be looking for videos and other reviews of the JTZ DP300 in action on location to see how it bears up in the field.

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Lucas Pfaff: Return of the display loupe? VARY-i cage for GH5s Review

“Nifty, well fitting cage for the Panasonic GH4, GH5 and the new GH5s! A remarkable little set!…”

VARY-i Cage Combination for Panasonic Lumix GH4, GH5 and GH5S with multi angle LCD viewfinder loupe and two VARY-Grips.

Commentary

When I first got back into photography and video with the then revolutionary Canon EOS 5D Mark II, thanks to the advice of my partner who worked in Canon’s R&D division at the time, I looked at several LCD magnifying loupe options online and in Sydney’s inner city professional camera store, now sadly defunct.

None of the solutions available then completely solved the problem of needing to view the camera’s LCD in order to effectively focus and shoot video, and so I set aside the idea of handheld video for a while until a chance encounter with a Panasonic GH3 in a duty-free store, which led to purchasing the GH4 when it became available.

Despite not investing in one at the time, I always thought there might be more potential in the loupe concept if done right and that they could be more affordable than the incredibly expensive third-party electronic viewfinders and graticals that have appeared to take their place.

Lucas Pfaff’s video look at the VARY-i loupe plus case combination for Panasonic’s Lumix GH4, GH5 and GH5S make it look like a very attractive solution for handheld video with the GH5’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS) or the GH4 and GH5S with Panasonic lenses with optical image stabilization (OIS).

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Paul Leeming’s Leeming LUT One for the Panasonic GH5 Now at Version 502 for HLG, V-Log L and Cinelike D – UPDATED

Australian cinematographer/director Paul Leeming has issued the version 502 update to his unified corrective LUT (Look Up Table) system Leeming LUT One for the Panasonic Lumix GH5 and its three major video picture profiles, HLG, V-Log L and Cinelike D. 

Australian director/cinematographer Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One fame with his Panasonic Lumix GH4 rigged for shooting feature films.

The Leeming LUT One system was developed in order to help cinematographers obtain the best image quality from their cameras by providing custom settings and LUTs to maximize dynamic range while minimizing noise and other artefacts such as banding and YUV chroma smearing.

Mr Leeming advises cinematographers to adhere to the expose-to-the-right aka ETTR principle, which he demonstrates in his website.

Still frame of Paul Leeming, shot on Panasonic Lumix GH5 in HLG HDR mode then processed in Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve Studio 14 using Leeming LUT One for Panasonic HLG version 501.

He has produced Leeming LUT One custom settings and LUTs for cameras including those made by Canon, DJI, GoPro, JVC, Panasonic, Sony with potential support for cameras made by FujifilmDigital Bolex and Samsung should there be sufficient demand.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 HLG Footage and Leeming LUT One for HLG, Before and After

Still frames from GH5 4K 10-bit 4:2:2 HLG footage exposed using ETTR, the ‘Leeming LUT One – Panasonic HLG v502.cube’ applied followed by ‘Leeming LUT Quickie – Basic Balanced v2.cube’ from ‘Leeming LUT Quickies 1 version 2’.

Mr Leeming will be updating his free ‘Leeming LUT Quickies’ collection soon to reflect the improvements made to the most recent version of Leeming LUT One for Panasonic cameras.

Our recent weather has been heavily hit by the effects of extreme climate change and global warming, and we have experienced few pristine Sydney summer days with their classic cobalt skies for some time now.

With many skies almost becoming high ultra-violet light boxes, the excellent highlight roll-off of the HLG profile in the GH5 is becoming even more important, and Leeming LUT One for HLG does a great job of maintaining the original look and feel of a scene while preserving realistic colour and especially skin colour.

Initial grading as in these still frames provides a good starting point that can be further enhanced with some of the many creative aka looks LUTs or analog film simulation being made available by a range of LUTs makers.

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Image Credits

Header image concept and hack by Carmel D. Morris.

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