ePHOTOzine: Panasonic Leica DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm f/1.7 ASPH Hands-On

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/panasonic-leica-dg-vario-summilux-10-25mm-f-1-7-asph-hands-on-33371

“Panasonic are showing a working version of the new Leica 10-25mm f/1.7 Micro Four Thirds lens, at The Photography Show 2019, at the Birmingham NEC. We had a hands-on look at the new lens, which was first shown, in prototype form, at Photokina 2018. The lens gives the equivalent of 20mm to 50mm, and is lighter than it looks, considering the (large) size of the lens….”

panasonic_leica_dg_vario-summilux_10-25mm_f1.7_01_1024px
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens currently under development. It may prove to be a great primary lens for available light documentary moviemaking and photography on M43-mount cameras including those made by Blackmagic Design, Olympus and Panasonic. Photograph originally published at CVP.com, showing manual clutch focus mechanism in operation. Photographs by Joseph Waller of ePHOTOzine do not show a manual clutch focus mechanism however. So far it is unknown as to whether the mechanism will make it into the final version of t he lens. Double the numbers on the zoom ring for their 35mm equivalents – 20mm, 24mm, 28mm, 36mm and 50mm.

Commentary

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Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro prime lens with manual clutch focusing via retracting focus control ring. Equivalent to 90mm in the 35mm sensor format. If only ALL lenses offered manual clutch focus!

When I went looking for the best lens for documentary photography and video after I decided to invest in Panasonic’s Lumix Micro Four Thirds camera range, I read about and tried out a number of options including adapted and native prime and zoom lenses.

After narrowing the options down, it was a contest between the Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS and the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro and, after a lengthy tryout of both lenses, the Olympus zoom lens won hands-down.

The single biggest reason?

The M.Zuiko Pro lens collection’s manual clutch focus mechanism that is activated by retracting the focus-by-wire control ring towards the camera body.

“Pulling focus with focus-by-wire sucks,” as they say in the video industry.

I rapidly obtained critically sharp focus for stills with the M.Zuiko Pro 12-40mm f/2.8 zoom more times than I did with the Panasonic lens’ focusing control ring or the camera’s autofocus functionality, and that capability outweighed the Lumix 12-35mm lens’ rather attractive optical image stabilization.

I still rely on my M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens for mission-critical work after having tried out and invested in a number of Lumix prime and zoom lenses, and may well be adding more M.Zuiko Pro primes and zooms in future.

Then news leaked out of Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens being in development, full feature set then unknown as it still is, and things shifted somewhat.

leica_summilux+_lineup_21-90mm_square_1920px_80pc
Leica worked out the best prime lens focal length line-up for documentary photography and photojournalism in 35mm years ago and it remains the benchmark and role model for other lens makers to this very day. The only focal length missing from this lens collection is 40mm, which Leica made for the Leica CL rangefinder camera which was later taken over by Minolta as the Minolta CLE with 40mm standard lens as well as a 28mm and 90mm lens. Too many contemporary lens makers leave out 28mm and 75mm lenses and their equivalents for other sensor formats. Why? Both these focal lengths are amongst the most essential for documentary photography and photojournalism as well as video.

This lens is the closest so far to the ideal zoom lens I had visualized when buying into the Micro Four Thirds system.

I had imagined a lens with a range encompassing every single focal length I rely upon when shooting documentary photographs and video, with the exception of the portrait and big close-up range of 75mm through 85mm and 90mm to 105mm.

Imagine that focal length range in a similarly fast and wide maximum aperture standard-to-telephoto companion zoom lens.

Questions persisted for some time as to whether the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 would have optical image stabilization and whether it would come with manual clutch focus.

Many professional photographers and videographers have reportedly been asking Panasonic for the latter in new lenses for quite some time now, to no avail.

It is great to finally see a little more of the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 in Joseph Waller’s photographs for ePHOTOzine of a pre-production version, but there is no mention nor evidence of a manual clutch focus mechanism in the article and its photographs.

I have asked a contact who is attending The Photography Show 2019 in Birmingham to see if she can get hold of the lens and confirm whether or not it actually has the crucial focusing functionality.

Watch this space!

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Olympus lens roadmap as of February 13, 2019.

Meanwhile I am wondering what Olympus has in store with its most recently updated lens roadmap, especially in regard to the “Wide Zoom” and “Standard Zoom” items, not to forget “Bright Prime Lens” and “Telephoto Zoom Lens” which appears twice.

Imagine all those lenses with the brilliant M.Zuiko Pro manual clutch focus mechanism.

Kiss goodbye to the frustrations of pulling focus via fly-by-wire.

Postscript

My Birmingham contact is pretty sure that the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7’s aperture ring is declicked.

Now waiting for her to have hands on with the lens and confirm whether there is a manual clutch focus mechanism.

Post-postscript

Photography Blog posts pictorial confirmation that manual clutch focusing has finally come to a Panasonic lens.

Well I think that is evidence enough that Panasonic’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 will have manual clutch focusing mechanism and thus accurate and repeatable focus pulling for video.

It will also have the ability to quickly and accurately set hyperfocal distance, a necessity when zone focusing for high-speed forms of documentary or photographing in the street, as well as landscape photography.

Hyperfocal distance can be calculated using online forms or mobile apps, and a number of options can be found online here.

Fully manual focus lenses such as the Leica M-Series rangefinder camera lenses illustrated up this page provide beautifully-etched scales allowing quick calculation of hyperfocal distance, a functionality I often yearn for when photographing in public with digital cameras and lenses.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens and Lumix DC-G9 camera. Photographed by Joshua Waller for ePHOTOzine.

Whet now remains is for a late pre-production Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens to find its way into the hands of professional cinematographers and photographers for extensive testing and reporting on its mechanical and optical quality.

This lens has the potential to replace a range of prime lenses in one’s daily gear kit, in my case the 35mm sensor equivalents of 21mm, 28mm, 35mm, 40mm and 50mm.

Neither Olympus nor Panasonic supply all those focal lengths as prime lenses, though I hope that situation will change in the near future.

The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric will not be a cheap lens given Panasonic’s ambitions in producing it, but whatever its price on release, it would be wise to compare it to what those five focal lengths might cost as f/1.7 prime lenses.

There are other potential benefits.

Of all the brands of aluminium and brass step-up rings I have tried, those made by Breakthrough Photography have proven to be the best and are unique in their top quality machining and easy-handling traction frame.

The Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric’s filter diameter is 77mm, and I would recommend attaching a Breakthrough Photography 77mm to 82mm knurled brass step-up ring to it for attaching 82mm diameter fixed and variable neutral density filters when shooting video.

Whether the Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 Aspheric zoom lens is heavy or not, its size would benefit from attaching a vertical battery grip to your camera if it is a Panasonic.

I like most cameras to be equipped with vertical battery grips for added power when shooting video and ease of handholding in portrait photography.

The countdown to NAB 2019 is well advanced and it will be interesting to see if Panasonic shows off mockups of the coming Lumix DC-GH6 hybrid M43 camera.

I am hoping that Panasonic will combine the best of the Lumix DC-GH5 and GH5S in the GH6 while taking into account the challenges presented by the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, Fujifilm’s X-T3 and X-H1 while bearing in mind the coming X-H2, as well as the 35mm sensor-equipped mirrorless cameras now released by Canon, Nikon, Leica and, indeed, Panasonic itself.

zhiyun-tech_weebill_lab_01_1024px
Zhiyun-Tech Weebill Lab gimbal stabilizer.

While the Super 35 format has its many attractions, the smaller and lighter cameras and lenses of Super 16 moviemaking still allow you to go places where the larger 35mm cameras and lenses can draw undue attention.

The photographs of the 10-25mm f/1.7 lens published by ePHOTOzine and Photography Blog appear to have been shot on mobile phones and optical exaggerations make it hard to accurately judge the lens’ size in relation to the camera or the hands holding them.

Nonetheless, I have no problem with the idea of carrying this one lens about almost permanently attached to any Panasonic M43 camera whether with battery grip or not, or a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera Camera 4K for that matter, though I would be tempted to consider the Zhiyun-Tech Weebill Lab or Crane 3 Lab as appropriate if stabilization is a necessity when shooting with the BMPCC 4K.

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Blackmagic Design: Blackmagic Design Adds Blackmagic RAW to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/release/20190305-02

Blackmagic Design Adds Blackmagic RAW to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K

New Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update adds Blackmagic RAW to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K!

Fremont, California, USA – March 5, 2019 – Blackmagic Design today announced Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update which adds support for Blackmagic RAW to the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K.

Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update is available as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website.

Blackmagic RAW, a revolutionary next generation codec that combines the quality and benefits of RAW with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic RAW is a more intelligent format that gives customers stunning images, incredible performance, cross platform support and a free developer SDK.

With Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update, customers using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K now have the ability record images using Blackmagic RAW for the first time. This allows them to capture the highest possible quality images in smaller files, giving them much longer recording times with the media they already own. For example, customers can record over 2 hours of full cinematic quality Blackmagic RAW footage in 4K on a single 256GB SD UHS-II card. With Blackmagic RAW 12:1 you can even record 4K DCI images to an SD card, giving you stunning cinematic quality images on incredibly small, inexpensive cards. In addition, Blackmagic RAW gives customers an even faster, more fluid and higher quality editing and color correction workflow in DaVinci Resolve than ever before.

Once the camera has been updated, customers can choose between 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 constant bit-rate recording or between constant quality Q0 and Q5 recording. This lets them prioritize image quality or file size. The constant bit-rate encoding options give customers incredible images at predictable and consistent file sizes. Constant quality Q0 and Q5 use variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates, preserving the maximum amount of detail and quality possible. Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science is used for superior imaging that results in extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors. Blackmagic RAW images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range.

In addition, Blackmagic RAW features extensive metadata support, highly optimized GPU and CPU accelerated processing on the desktop and more.

Traditional RAW codecs have large file sizes and are processor intensive, making them hard to work with. Video file formats are faster, but suffer quality problems due to the use of 4:2:2 video filters that reduce color resolution. Blackmagic RAW solves these problems, giving customers the same quality, bit depth, dynamic range and controls as RAW, but with much better performance and smaller file sizes than most popular video codecs. Once files are brought into DaVinci Resolve, additional GPU and CPU acceleration make decoding of frames incredibly fast, so customers get extremely smooth performance for editing and grading.

When the Blackmagic RAW settings are changed in DaVinci Resolve, a .sidecar file can be generated or updated if one already exists. When opened in other software applications that support Blackmagic RAW, the .sidecar file, which contains the Blackmagic RAW settings made in DaVinci Resolve, will be automatically used to display the image. If the .sidecar file is removed then the file will be displayed using the embedded metadata instead. This innovative new workflow gives customers a non-destructive way to change Blackmagic RAW settings while working between different applications.

Blackmagic RAW is much more than a simple RAW container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor, are encoded and saved into the Blackmagic RAW file, giving customers much better image quality, even at higher compression settings, as well as total control over features such as ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and more.

In addition, Blackmagic RAW uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Color Science for superior imaging that results in reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colors that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more. Images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of color data and dynamic range.

Blackmagic RAW also makes it easy for any software developer to access all this technology. The free developer SDK lets any third party software application add Blackmagic RAW support on Mac, Windows and Linux. The Blackmagic RAW developer SDK automatically handles the embedded sensor profile metadata, along with Blackmagic Design color science, for predictable and accurate image rendering that yields consistent color throughout the entire pipeline.

Blackmagic RAW features two types of file compression. Customers can choose either constant quality or constant bitrate encoding options, depending on the kind of work they are doing. This lets them prioritize image quality or file size. Constant quality uses variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates to preserve detail and maintain the highest possible quality. Blackmagic RAW Q0 has minimum quantization and yields the highest quality, while Blackmagic RAW Q5 uses moderate quantization for more efficient encoding and a smaller file size. Blackmagic RAW 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 use constant bitrate encoding to give customers the best possible images with predictable and consistent file sizes. The ratios are based on the unprocessed file size of a single frame from the camera’s sensor, making it easy to understand the relative amount of compression being used.

The pristine camera native quality of Blackmagic RAW Q0 and 3:1 are perfect for effects heavy feature film and commercial work. Blackmagic RAW Q5 and 5:1 are extremely high quality making them great for episodic television and independent films. Blackmagic RAW 8:1 and 12:1 offer high quality and speed, making it suitable for productions that wouldn’t normally consider shooting RAW. Now, more customers than ever will be able to use high quality Blackmagic RAW images in an incredibly efficient way that was impossible before.

Featuring a fully scalable design and completely modern CPU and GPU acceleration, Blackmagic RAW is optimized for AVX, AVX2 and SSE4.1 enabled processors, multi-threaded, works across multiple CPU cores and is GPU accelerated with support for Apple Metal, CUDA and OpenCL. Frame decoding and image processing is extremely fast, making it super smooth for editing, color correction and visual effects in DaVinci Resolve. Another benefit of media being stored as single files, and not image sequences, is it makes media management easier and file copying much faster.

The free Blackmagic RAW Developer SDK is available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This SDK takes care of all the work for developers, so adding support for Blackmagic RAW to third party software applications is easy and fast. Developers get access to GPU and CPU accelerated algorithms for decoding files, along with unique information about the camera’s image sensor so their applications can accurately decode and display the files. The SDK features highly descriptive and flexible metadata options designed to support today’s modern workflows. Metadata is embedded directly in the .braw file or it can be stored in a .sidecar file. Metadata is important because it contains the Blackmagic RAW settings along with information for the slate, iris, focus, focal length, white balance and a lot more. The metadata in .sidecar files can be used on top of the embedded metadata without overwriting it. Blackmagic RAW also supports frame based metadata so customers can access values, such as focus distance, that often change on a frame by frame basis.

“Blackmagic RAW has been incredibly successful since we introduced it last fall on URSA Mini Pro,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The new Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update is exciting because it makes this incredible new technology available to Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K customers absolutely free! They get the visually lossless image quality of RAW with the speed of traditional video workflows!”

Availability

Blackmagic Camera 6.2 update is available today as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/support

Press Photography

Product photos of Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, and all other Blackmagic Design products, are available at http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to http://www.blackmagicdesign.com

blackmagic_pocket_cinema_camera_4k_bmpcc4k_06_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Design’s Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

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Ivan Joshua Loh: Happy 8th Birthday X100.

https://ivanjoshualoh.com/2019/03/05/happy-8th-birthday-x100/

“My earliest memories of X100 was at a shopping mall. I was walking pass an electronic store and on display was a gorgeous camera. I actually stop and spend a little moment admiring how good looking it was. It was a Fujifilm camera. Wow. I have never own the original X100. I have used a X100s and owned a X100T and now a X100F.

The X100 series is always special to me. I love the design of it. Kudos to the designer; whom I have the privilege to meet on two occasion. Thank you Masazumi Imai; you have design a timeless looking camera that is loved by photographers all over the world….”

_1060674_aurorahdr2018_1024px_60%
Fujifilm Finepix X100 with lens hood and hand grip, still in use after all these years and still producing great photographs.

Commentary

The X100 was the first camera that showed me I was going to love digital photography, after too many dodgy and disappointing premium compacts, bridge cameras and DSLRs.

I ordered one immediately and have loved it from the day it eventually arrived.

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DPReview: EXCLUSIVE: Hands-on with upcoming Fujifilm XF and GF lenses [Including Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens] – UPDATED

https://www.dpreview.com/articles/9472614833/exclusive-hands-on-with-upcoming-fujifilm-xf-and-gf-lenses

“…We’re in Dubai, where Fujifilm is showing off pre-production and prototype samples of three upcoming lenses – the GF 50mm F3.5 – a compact, lightweight standard lens for medium format – the XF 16mm F2.8, and the XF 16-80mm F4 – both of which [were] designed for the company’s range of APS-C format X-series cameras.

Click through for an exclusive first look at all three, including detailed specifications….”

Staffers at the Amazon-owned photography hardware review site DPReview got their hands on three upcoming lenses for Fujifilm’s G and X series cameras at Gulf Photo Plus aka GPP’s GPP Photo Week 2019 in Dubai. Here is the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens.

Commentary

As time is inching towards the release sometime in the first half of 2019 of Fujifilm’s Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 “travel” zoom lens it is terrific to get some idea of its size and features and other it may provide a solution for own needs as a documentary photographer and videographer.

I am self-funded, only able to carry a small amount of hardware on each project, and must work within ongoing limitations – thanks for nothing, Australian banksters, for blowing our refinancing out of the water after you were found out for your crimes by the Royal Commission into banking.

I must be able to get the most out of the hardware I carry and it must be able to help me create good enough movies and videos without the benefit of cases full of equipment, assistants and crews, and the big budgets that I never had anyway when working as a magazine editorial and corporate photographer during the analog era.

Gaps in their offerings

As two relatively new camera and lens systems, Fujifilm’s APS-C sensor format X system and medium format G system  still have gaps in their offerings, especially for documentary types like me who prefer to rely on fast prime lenses with all the manual controls that can be had.

Not to say that I do not appreciate zoom lenses now that their optical, mechanical and image quality are so good nowadays.

I also use and love Panasonic’s Micro Four Thirds cameras and Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro lenses, with my most-used lens being the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens and, had it been released at the time I bought my first Panasonic camera, I may well have chosen the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-100mm f/4.0 OIS Pro zoom lens instead.

Slower zoom lenses are fine so long as you supplement them with moderately wide and moderately long fast aperture prime lenses for available darkness documentary work and portraiture, and Olympus offers three of  them in its M.Zuiko Pro range at the moment, with more to come I hope.

Going fast to begin with

At the time I bought my first interchangeable lens Fujifilm camera, the company did not offer a standard zoom lens like those above made by Olympus or their Panasonic equivalents, so I invested in a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, well answering my fast aperture moderate long and wide needs.

Another longstanding need has been for a professional quality 18mm prime lens equivalent to 28mm in the 35mm sensor format and 14mm in the Macro Four Thirds sensor format.

With little sign of Fujifilm offering such a lens any time soon, I have had to consider other possibilities including adapting an EF-mount Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art zoom lens to X-mount, but this solution is best suited to DSLR-style cameras like the X-T3 rather than the rangefinder-style X-Pro2 that is much more effective for hardcore immersive documentary photography.

Interest piqued

My interest in the coming  Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS zoom was piqued when I borrowed a Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 kit zoom lens for my first tryout of the X-T3.

I loved its 18mm widest focal length, rarely used the lens at 23mm and 55mm as I was also carrying my X-Pro2 equipped with either of those two lenses, and would have loved access to longer focal lengths than 56mm for those times I could not get close enough.

DPReview’s hands-on with the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom provides a reasonably reliable impression of the lens in its shipping form and confirms it has a marked, clicking aperture ring and weather resistance, though no manual clutch focus or, probably, no clickless option.

The X-T3’s firmware offers the ability to switch focus-by-wire from non-linear to linear so I will be giving that feature a tryout during my current X-T3 loan period over the coming days.

Two out of three

Two out of three ain’t bad for the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom.

As I am not a fan of the neither fish-nor-fowl 16mm focal length, equivalent to 24mm in the 35mm sensor format, the Fujinon XF 16mm f/2.8 R WR “Fujicron” lens is not on my wishlist which is topped by the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R annual clutch focus prime lens to tackle the ultra wide end of things and has a 58mm filter diameter, meaning I can easily add a knurled brass Breakthrough Photography step-up ring for my neutral density filters when shooting video.

Although I would prefer to have a set of wide-aperture manual-clutch-focus primes for all my documentary moviemaking and photography, the Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom would provide a range of my most-needed focal lengths – 18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 56mm and 70mm.

In 35mm sensor format terms, that is 28mm, 35mm, 40mm, 85mm and 105mm, and a limit of 120mm at the long end will account for those rare times my feet are unable to do the zooming.

Postscript

Fuji Rumors has republished images and information about the northern hemisphere fall aka autumn 2019 (southern hemisphere spring 2019) release of the XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR including these from Japanese website capa.getnavi.

Many thanks to Fuji Rumors for the slide translation:

Fujinon XF 10-24mm R OIS, Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount, Fujinon XF 14mm R and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D for architecture and documentary

I have a longterm project coming up where I need to document the construction of a house from greenfield to completion, and I need to expand my stills photography kit for that and a number of other upcoming stills and video projects.

Right now I have no idea what my budget will be, given the economy-wrecking predations of the Australian banks and real estate agencies over the past couple of years, but there are at least two options.

Minimalist:

  • Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R with Fujifilm VF-X21 external optical viewfinder for my X-Pro2.

Maximalist:

  • Fujifilm X-T3
  • Fujifilm MHG-XT3 Metal Hand Grip
  • Fujifilm VG-XT3 Vertical Battery Grip
  • Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS
  • Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR
  • Breakthrough Photography 72-82mm knurled brass step-up ring x 2
  • Breakthrough Photography lens cap, 82mm x 2
  • Breakthrough Photography X4 UV filter x 2
  • Fixed or variable neutral density filters, 82mm diameter

There are other lenses available that receive good reviews and are suitable for architectural photography though they are too ultra-wide for documentary photography, the Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS X-Mount at 18mm equivalence and Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D at 13.5mm equivalence in the 35mm sensor format.

If only one lens it is to be, then the minimalist option makes sense as I rather like the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R’s 21mm equivalence for figures in landscapes, emotive close-up documentary shots, and architectural and cityscape work.

This lens will need Fujifilm’s VF-X21 viewfinder sitting on top of my X-Pro2 as a 14mm field of view falls outside the X-Pro2’s 18-56mm optical viewfinder bright frames and the X-Pro2’s EVF is not what I would like it to be.

Will the X-Pro3 improve upon that and other weak points?

If there is budget enough, then of course I would prefer the maximalist option camera and lens plus upgrading my ageing post-production facility.

The X-T3 plus grips and two zoom lenses, with the addition of my three current 23mm, 27mm and 56mm Fujinon prime lenses, makes a good Super 35mm video set-up combined with Fujifilm’s X-Trans 120-rollfilm quality stills.

The Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS is an ageing lens design, however, and lacks weather resistance and appears to be at its best optically speaking from f/8.0 rather than closer to f/4.0.

I want to see Fujifilm bring it up to current standards with a Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom that will make a great match with the coming Fujinon XF 16-80mm f/4.0 R OIS WR zoom lens, giving the equivalent of 15mm through to 120mm in the 35mm sensor format.

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  • Samyang 12mm f/2.0 NCS CS Lens for Fujifilm X-MountB&H
  • Venus Optics Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D Lens for Fujifilm XB&H

4/3 Rumors: Images of the new [Panasonic] 10-25mm f/1.7 displayed at the CP+ show

https://www.43rumors.com/images-of-the-new-10-25mm-f-1-7-displayed-at-the-cp-show/

“Panasonic is displaying the new 10-25mm f/1.7 at the CP+ show. But thewy [sic] did not disclose any detail yet about pricing and shipment start….”

panasonic_leica_10-25mm_f1.7_zoom_00314329_1920px_80pc
Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 wide angle zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds cameras.

Commentary

If Panasonic gets everything right with this lens it will be in high demand by available light/available darkness documentary photographers and videographers relying on Micro Four Thirds hybrid video/stills cameras like Panasonic’s Lumix DC-G9, Lumix DC-GH5, Lumix DC-GX9 and more, as well as videographers using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K aka BMPCC 4K.

I have written elsewhere on this website about this lens and others in the same ballpark, but if this lens is to have everything I want then it needs:

  • Choice of clickless and clicking aperture stops
  • Manual clutch focus
  • Optical image stabilization aka OIS

As the Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 is still in development, any images released at the moment must be considered to be of pre-production or dummy models and we can only speculate about the lens’ actual specifications.

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 zoom lens for Micro Four Thirds

Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 pre-release version showing the lens may have manual clutch focus via drawing back the focusing ring. Will it also have optical image stabilization aka OIS? Image found on the cvp.com website at PANASONIC LEICA 10-25MM F1.7 – MFT.

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OlympusEuropePhoto: #olympusLIVE | PART 1 | Olympus OM-D E-M1X Press Release Conference Hamburg 24.01.2019

“Brought to you live from Hamburg: The newest Olympus camera in professional photography! Watch here the playlist of the full show of the OM-D E-M1X release event. This clip summarizes the official Press Release Conference on January 23rd, 2019, with guests from Olympus Tokyo….”

olympus_om-d_e-m1x_square_1024px_01
Olympus OM-S E-M1X Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro lens.

Commentary

For me, the Micro Four Thirds sensor format occupies the place that 35mm inhabited during the analog era and so it is well-suited to the photographic genres that were dominated by 35mm cameras such as sports, wildlife, photojournalism, some subgenres of documentary and specific approaches to fashion photography.

Other sensor formats occupy places once owned by larger analog formats, for example Fujifilm’s X-Trans APS-C has taken the place of some 120 roll film formats while Fujifilm’s G-Series Bayer sensor-equipped medium format cameras have taken the place of 4″x5″ sheet film and the company’s coming GFX 100 will likely match if not surpass the image quality of 8″x10″ sheet film cameras.

Similar analogies apply to other sensor formats such as 35mm where 20+ megapixels sensors amply match if not surpass the quality once obtained by medium format roll film and circa 50 megapixels sensors are inching on the door of sheet film’s house.

Complaints that MFT camera sensors may not be as sensitive as those of larger formats are silly given the mobility, weather resistance and smaller lenses with stellar performance the smaller format affords.

If you need larger sensor cameras, invest in them and let MFT be what it excels at just as one should allow cameras of other sensor formats and body types to be what they were designed to be.

Pretending otherwise is silly.

I am rather fond of the Micro Four Thirds format as it gave me access to the pro-quality video capabilities I could not afford at the time and its cameras proved to be rather good for documentary stills photography and photojournalism too.

If I were working for newspapers and magazines as I used to, MFT cameras and lenses would constitute my core daily working kit, supplemented by equipment in other sensor formats as projects demanded.

The Olympus OM-D E-M1X would be in contention as would the excellent Olympus M.Zuiko Pro lenses.

The Micro Four Thirds sensor format is perfectly adequate for those genres and applications.

Olympus OM-D E-M1X with lenses and accessories

The Olympus Lens Roadmap, February 2019

olympus_lens_roadmap_2019-02-13_1920px
Olympus lens roadmap as of February, 2019.

Olympus has been doing a great job of fleshing out its professional-quality M.Zuiko Pro lens collection but gaps remain in its prime and zoom lens offerings and rumours of new lenses, particularly new fast prime lenses, have appeared over the last couple of years without results.

I am rather fond of the M.Zuiko Pro lens series, with my most-used being the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom, and I have been hoping that Olympus will add more prime lenses.

I chose the 12-40mm f/2.8 over what might have been the more logical choice given I use Panasonic cameras, Panasonic’s Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens, for several reasons:

  • Manual clutch focus – essential in my opinion for achieving fast, accurate, repeatable focus especially when shooting documentary video.
  • Longer focal length range – 24mm to 80mm in 35mm sensor equivalents, extending the long end into the realm of ideal focal lengths for portraiture.
  • Excellent optical performance – all throughout the lens’ focal length range.
  • Excellent mechanical and optical design and manufacturing. 
olympus_m-zuiko_primes_square_17_25_45_1024px_02_60
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 Pro, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 25mm f/1.2 Pro and Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 45mm f/1.2 Pro professional prime lenses with manual clutch focusing, brilliant for shooting video or stills where accurate focus is absolutely critical.

Olympus’ release of its first three fast M.Zuiko Pro prime lenses was very pleasing, but I have long been hoping for the addition of 10.5mm and 14mm prime lenses, equivalent in 35mm terms to 21mm and 28mm, both of which are essentials for documentary photography and video.

While 10.5mm is available wit in the M.Zuiko Pro 7-14mm f/2.8 zoom, that lens requires the use of large, unwieldy and costly adapters for attaching neutral density filters when shooting video.

A 10.5mm M.Zuiko Pro prime lens is a much better choice and it does not need to be as fast as its M.Zuiko Pro siblings with their f/1.2 maximum aperture.

The same applies to an M.Zuiko Pro 14mm prime lens.

Both lenses would be perfectly fine with maximum apertures of from, say, f/1.8 through to f/2.8, though faster is always appreciated in available darkness.

One of Olympus’ new items in its February 2019 lens roadmap, “Bright Prime Lenses”, is encouraging and it appears to be placed somewhere between 10mm and 60mm.

I would love to see wide aperture prime lenses added in popular focal lengths such as the following, in their M43 and 35mm sensor equivalents:

  • 10.5mm – 21mm
  • 14mm – 28mm
  • 37.5mm – 75mm
  • 52.5mm – 105mm

Two other new items in the lens roadmap have me intrigued, “Wide Zoom Lens” and “Standard Zoom Lens”.

I would like to see Olympus take on Panasonic over the latter’s Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 fast zoom lens that was announced with scant details back in late 2018.

This lens may well be the one I had been looking for when I first bought into Micro Four Thirds, containing most of the focal lengths I need on a daily basis for documentary stills and video, and something similar coming from Olympus for its M.Zuiko Pro lens collection can only be a good thing.

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Two of Panasonic’s First Three Lenses for Lumix S1 and S1R 35mm Sensor Cameras Have Manual Clutch Focus. Yay!

I have been asking Panasonic, either directly or through friendly staff members, to ensure that new lenses for its Micro Four Thirds system cameras have manual clutch focus built in for years now, always without positive result. Until now, sort of… 

panasonic_lumix_s1_s1r_three_lenses_1024px
Panasonic Lumix S 70-200mm f/4.0 OIS telephoto zoom, Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 fast prime lens and Panasonic Lumix 24-105mm f/4.0 Macro OIS standard zoom lens. The first two lenses have manual clutch focus.

The very first M43 lens I bought for my first M43 camera was the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom lens, and besides its many excellent optical and mechanical qualities, the biggest reason I chose it over Panasonic’s own Panasonic Lumix G X Vario 12-35mm f/2.8 II Aspheric Power OIS standard zoom was its manual clutch focus mechanism.

Coming from decades of relying on non-autofocus, non-autoexposure cameras equipped with manual-only prime lenses, I was not ready to fully commit my photography and cinematography practises to focus-by-wire prime and zoom lenses without hard stops at both ends of the focussing scale.

There have been many times in recent years when the only way of achieving fast and deadly accurate focus has been manually, with my 12-40mm M.Zuiko Pro lens most often on my Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 rangefinder-style camera, in conditions where my focus-by-wire and autofocus-only lenses have let me down.

With the 12-40mm, all one needs do is snap the focussing ring towards myself, rotate it a little until the required part of the image pops into sharp focus, then shoot.

Manual clutch focussing mechanisms offer a surety of fast, repeatable, accurate focusing that autofocusing does not and, and when I was considering investing in Fujifilm’s X-System cameras and lenses, I was pleased to discover that it offers three manual clutch focus lenses.

I wish that every Fujifilm Fujinon XF and GF lens had manual clutch focus just as I wish the same for all of Panasonic’s Leica and Lumix M43 lenses.

That lack of manual clutch focus in the latter lens system heavily tipped the balance for me towards Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses and I hope to be investing in more of them soon.

I had thought that Panasonic was impervious to the idea of manual clutch focus for any of its lenses, until perusing photographs of the first three Panasonic S-Series lenses and discovered that, lo and behold, two of the three have manual clutch focussing mechanisms.

Thank you, Panasonic!

I hope that many more S-Series lenses will follow this fine example.

Panasonic Lumix S 70-200mm f/4.0 OIS and Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 lenses, both with manual clutch focus

Aperture ring on the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 lens

A second welcome feature of one out of Panasonic’s three new S-Series lenses is the aperture ring on the Panasonic Lumix S Pro 50mm f/1.4 lens.

My ideal lens form factor for documentary stills and video in all sensor formats would include manual clutch focus to supplement the choice of linear or non-linear focus-by-wire, and an aperture ring with the choice of clickless or clicking stops.

Perfect!

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L-rumors.com: (L5) Major Panasonic S1-S1R announcement will happen around January 30

https://www.l-rumors.com/l5-major-panasonic-s1-s1r-announcement-will-happen-around-january-30/

We are now 99% certain that Panasonic will have a major S1-S1R related announcement on the days around January 30. This means we will likely get the full specs information and preorder pricing.

Stay tuned for more info to come!…

panasonic_lumix_s_series_01_1024px_80pc
Panasonic Lumix S1R 35mm mirrorless digital camera.

Panasonic S1 and S1R

Scenes from photokina 2018 and CES 2019, photographs courtesy of Panasonic.

Commentary

I bought into Panasonic’s excellent DSLR-style and rangefinder-style Micro Four Thirds sensor camera and lens system for documentary stills photography and video when Fujifilm dropped the ball with its first try at an interchangeable lens APS-C mirrorless rangefinder-style camera, the X-Pro1.

The problems making that camera sadly unusable for me were remedied with the later X-Pro2 and also the DSLR-style X-T1 and X-T2, with the recently-released X-T3 delivering almost everything one might desire in a DSLR-style stills/video hybrid camera with the exception of raw video recording via external monitors/recorders such as the Atomos Ninja V, in-body image stabilization, and a fully-articulated LCD monitor for maximum viewing usability whether shooting movies or photographs.

I was so impressed  by my experience of a loaner Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4 that I ordered one immediately for documentary work and added a Lumix DMC-GX8 as a second video camera that almost immediately became my number one photography camera.

Both cameras constituted my documentary stills kit with the addition of the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro standard zoom lens with manual clutch focus, the lens that changed my mind about zoom lenses.

I soon added a second Olympus zoom, then a Panasonic prime followed by a Panasonic zoom lens.

I am holding off on more Micro Four Thirds lenses while waiting to see how developments with Olympus’ coming E-M1X pro-quality photography and video camera, Olympus M.Zuiko Pro prime and zoom lenses, Panasonic’s Lumix S Series and the amazing Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Summilux 10-25mm f/1.7 wide-to-normal zoom lens work out this year.

Rumors have it that Olympus’ M.Zuiko Pro lenses are designed in collaboration with Sigma, and whether true or not, Sigma’s membership of the L-Mount group alongside old allies Leica and Panasonic is exciting.

As a longtime though sadly no longer Leica camera and lens user, I would love to be able to afford their current cameras and lenses but Sigma’s Art line prime and zoom lenses’ specifications, image quality results, prices and most of all range of focal lengths impresses as does the company’s cine lens collection.

As I discovered with Fujifilm’s XF APS-C lenses and Panasonic’s M43 Lumix G and Leica DG lens lines, the seldom-spoken downside to new sensor and camera ranges is that it takes years and buckets of manufacturer cash for them to eventually acquire full collections of lenses to suit all their users’ needs.

It is estimated that Canon, for example, took 40 years to achieve that goal with lenses for its 35mm sensor DSLR camera line.

Will Sigma’s presence in the L-Mount consortium and its promised large L-Mount lens collection be persuasive enough to turn 35mm sensor camera users’ heads away from their Canons and Nikons?

The recently announced High Resolution stills and HLG video modes of the Lumix S-Series cameras are impressive but there is more to know about its other features and those of Panasonic’s other cameras in the series.

As a documentary and portrait photographer, I tend to prefer the more portrait and magazine-friendly 4:3 or 3:4 aspect ratios of Micro Four Thirds cameras over the often too-narrow 3:2 or 3:2 of 35mm sensors, and find that fully-articulated LCD monitors are far more useful than any fixed, two-way or three-way tilt screen solutions.

On the other hand, sensor megapixel counts of around 50 or more help produce portraits that possess an uncanny sense of being there especially when printed beautifully and large.

I am looking forward to Panasonic’s January 30 announcements and product shots.

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Personal View: Destiny of [Panasonic] m43 mount cameras, how soon production will stop

http://www.personal-view.com/talks/discussion/comment/254611#Comment_254611

PV: Many members of the ‘Personal View’ community are shooting with the Micro Four Thirds (MFT) system digital cameras including many of the Panasonic MFT system products. Therefore when during the Leica and then Panasonic press conferences prior to the opening of Photokina 2018 we have learned about new L-mount alliance, many of our community members become concern that MFT system is in danger because of these new series of L-mount cameras. Can you give us some insight on the destiny of the Panasonic MFT products?…

… PV: Will the new L-mount system affect the Panasonic development of new MFT products, for example will some of the proposed MFT lenses be delayed? Another concern is that the MFT could be refocused primarily towards the basic entry-level of cameras, eliminating the semi-professional MFT category of products. Will the MFT cameras have the same attention from the best Panasonic engineers and designers, or it will suffer from lack of resources?…

PV: How do you see the future development of the MFT cameras? For example, one of my favorite MFT camera series is a rangefinder-style GX line, such as GX8. I have noticed that in latest GX-series release, the Lumix GX9 camera is more GX7-alike than GX8, similar to GX7 in size and less advanced in some of its features than GX8, such as weather-sealing, OLED viewfinder, fully articulated display, or availability of external microphone port. Can we expect another series of the compact rangefinder style MFT camera with more advanced features, or all future MFT cameras with advanced features will be solely designed in GH5-style of camera bodies?…”

Commentary

There is much more to the conversation between Personal View’s Igor Drozdovsky and Panasonic’s Adviser for Technical PR Mr Michiharu Uematsu, the Imaging Section’s Ms Emi Fujiwara and Engineer Mr Taku Kariyazaki than the questions above of whether Panasonic will be dropping development of the professional cameras in the GX series and whether the company will also cease development of its Micro Four Thirds cameras and lenses in favour of the 35mm sensor cameras and lenses of the recently announced S Series.

I recommend reading the interview in full for those of us with the same questions as asked by Mr Drozdovsky, and I hope that answers about the future of pro-quality rangefinder-style GX cameras will soon be provided by Panasonic.

I seriously hope that Panasonic will not be trying to tell us that pro-quality DSLR-style cameras must now somehow replace pro-quality tilting EVF rangefinder-style cameras just as I hope the company will not try to convince us that 3-way tilting monitors must now always replace fully articulated monitors.

Since when is a reduction in capability somehow an advance in capability, other than in the imaginations of marketing department managers?

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    Panasonic DC-GH5S with DMW-BGGH5 battery grip and Panasonic Leica DG Vario-Elmarit 12-60mm f/2.8-4.0 Aspheric Power OIS zoom lens.

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