Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Guadeloupe: a visit to the French Antilles Island with the Panasonic Lumix GX85

iPhone picture by Manon P.
Guadeloupe is the designation of a two parts island localized into the French Antilles. A dream island for many French vacationers and retired people with an ideal warm climate. For its own population it can be a different story considering in particular the lack of economical opportunities for the local and especially the youngsters.

You can travel for weeks and months to be able to discover the very diversified facettes of the Grande-Terre and Basse-Terre territories which compose the Guadeloupe. Here is some photo extracts that I have done recently with the help of the Panasonic Lumix GX85 and the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm & Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f4-5.6 Mega O.I.S. lenses.

The colours of the French Antilles are very attractive but you can also produce beautiful black & white compositions. Architectures subjects, people, flowers, animals, etc are all subjects of discovery and artistic experimentations.

A Church at Saint-François, Grande-Terre

Marché nocturne (Night Market) at Saint-François, Grande-Terre

Marché nocturne (Night Market) at Saint-François, Grande-Terre

Jardin botanique (Botanic garden) at Deshaies, Basse-Terre

Jardin botanique (Botanic garden) at Deshaies, Basse-Terre

Jardin botanique (Botanic garden) at Deshaies, Basse-Terre

Jardin botanique (Botanic garden) at Deshaies, Basse-Terre

Deshaies, Basse-Tesse

Pointe-des-châteaux, Grande-Terre

Pointe-des-châteaux, Grande-Terre

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Walking Twins: Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm & 35-100mm Mega O.I.S.

Panasonic Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. &
Panasonic Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S.

A pocket pair for everyday everywhere travellers!

Behind the fact that the traditional camera users tend to be older it is a universal phenomena that most of the people regardless of their respective ages want to be more mobile. In doing so we are looking for devices or equipment with less inconvenient in size and weight. You just have to look at the sport and outdoor accessories evolution since two or three decades to be convinced.

Compaticity in photo equipment is an historical quest since the beginning of this new medium. Some photo experts or enthusiasms have and still denigrate the ability of using smaller devices and obtain quality photo results. This debate was particularly fierce during the golden age of 35mm film. Today we know for sure the futility of these assertions.

Digital photography is another step to the direction of creating compact, simpler and performing cameras and the introduction of the micro 4/3 image captor format has contributed to establish the credibility of it. Today M4/3 camera system is world widely used and appreciated. For sure in the vast photographic universe there is always place for larger format as it has been proved by the reintroduction of "medium" captor format by Hasselblad and Fujifilm preceded by the Ricoh-Pentax offer without forgetting the digital backs designed by Phase One.

Olympus and Panasonic have been the commercial pioneers of the M4/3 format cameras. They have designed very compact devices with different interpretations and priority intended uses. Moreover they develop accordingly an optical offer that suit the compactness primary idea of the new format. Today we will look at a typical lens combination available from the Panasonic line-up.

Smart and Compact

A small reminder in the recent time-line of the different Lumix models recalls us the Panasonic first introducing of the GM1 and GM5 successor model declinations. They were very small M4/3 cameras and Panasonic had rightly associated these ones with their newest Lumix G Vario 12-32mm f3.5-5.6 Mega O.I.S. diminutive in size standard zoom lens. (see my GM5 report). Soon after Panasonic added the Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S. tele-zoom lens as a complement of the first one. The whole package is simply the correct expression of many of us consider the real purpose of the compact M4/3 format system introduction.

The Panasonic pair lenses are contracting lenses for easy equipment carrying. The Lumix G Vario 12-32mm Mega O.I.S. will be considered by many photographers as their primary lens since it deliver a very useful wide angle of view of 84 degrees similar to the 24mm lens into 24X36mm film format. That wide angle of view is rightly appreciated by many as a very fine and creative contextual lens for street travel, interior or social photography.  On the other end of the zoom 32mm focal length you will obtain a narrowed 37 degrees angle of view which is practical but won't have the same versatility compared to others bigger trans-standard zoom lenses such as the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm option. You may consider the 12-32mm more as a wide to normal focal lenght utility lens. No lens hood has been included by Panasonic for the 12-32mm although you may find one from independent manufacturer such as JJC. The filter size diameter is 37mm and could be considered for adding some kind of optical protection  or special effect filter. My only complaint is that Panasonic didn't "standardized" its filter size between the 12-32mm and the 35-100mm F4.0-5.6. I would also love that Panasonic have been added the automatic camera shut-off option when you are contracting the lens to its storing position. Lastly no manual focusing ring of the lens. That "flaw" can be partially compensated by using the pre-focusing  option  on the camera and than reframe your picture thereafter.

Using the Lumix G Vario 12-32mm lens more extendedly over the years prove to be a very handy optical device for doing photography "on the spot". Image results are pleasing and could be shared or presented without complex. Even if the 12-32mm have a small maximum aperture you can rely on its ability to do good interior pictures, thanks to its internal optical stabilization combined with the camera in-body counterpart if available. This is a good urban traveler option. The very compact design assimilated with more amateur camera models and in doing so give you a more discrete presence regarding the people surrounding you. If you add a ranger finder style camera the intimidated factor will decrease a lot. For sure quality won't be at the same level compared to to the higher and bigger lens models offered but for most of the digital presentation channel the difference should not be noticed. As usual I never pretend to analyse lenses or cameras on a purely technical point of view knowing that there already exist a lot of more competent people that do so over the Web universe.

The Lumix G Vario 35-100mm f4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S. can be assimilated as the compagnon lens of the 12-32mm if you are looking for that focal length range. The Lumix 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 is a compact optic that can be slip in a coat pocket or in a hand bag without adding volume or exceeding weight. This 2 inches long lens will give you an angle of view variation between 34 and 12 degrees. It comes with a lens hood and you can add a 46mm size filter if you wish (As already mentioned this 46mm diameter is different from the 37mm size of the Lumix 12-32mm). The stabilization lens and cameras options are very essential tools to be activated when you are using the Lumix 35-100mm f4.0-5.6 lens mainly because of its modest maximum aperture and its long focal length.

While I have been a strong adept of small focal fixed telephoto lenses such as the Lumix 42.5mm f1.7 OIS and the Olympus M.Zuiko 45mm F1.8 lenses I consider the Lumix G Vario 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 variante as a very good substitute product. For sure it lacks the shallow deep of field characterized of the larger maximum aperture of the two prime but that flaw can be partly compensated by the longer final 100mm focal length of the zoom lens. Because of its inherent compactness the Lumix 35-100mm fF4.0-5.6 is again a very non-intruse lens that facilite the casual picture session. In my view there is no quality issue regarding the image output of this lens. And again stabilization option is a key factor for reaching beautiful picture results. Because of its particular medium telephoto focal length the Lumix 35-100mm f4.0-5.6 can be a real composition tool with a good isolation and compression of the main subject.

As I have already mentioned in the past I consider the mirrorless camera category as the real modern successor of the basic idea of a compact camera device with the interchangeable lens option. A kind of Leica legacy of our today world. For sure direct Web connectivity has to be addressed by the different M4/3 format camera manufacturers in the near future to respond to our actuel need of personal communication. But at least the basic of the photographic technique parts are fulfilled already.

Yes the Panasonic twins Vario G 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 and 35-100mm F4.0-5.6 Mega O.I.S. are representing a very attractive and competent combination for compact photography.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

Black'nd Mine: An Adventure in Gray Tone.

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

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

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

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Film "Odd"-ity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rolls of Pain and Pleasure!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Fail start on the Oly E-M1 Mark II, Green light for the Pan Lumix G85 (G80)

It was suppose to be the M4/3 format camera of a lifetime for myself, the fabulous Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. It last a bit more than a glimpse of the eye but not much very longer I must say. Oh yes it is a fantastic "pro" model contender without any doubt assorted with a very solid construction, a superb ergonomic design (the best from Olympus for its hand prehension), a very versatile interface and a significant captor upgrade. So it got all the ingredients of success (even a skyrocket selective selling price!) and it will probably shows it in the next few years.

But from the start the E-M1 II had never really connect with me to my disappear I must add. Thinks like that happens time to time since my early days in photography. It can be observed either with notative or traditional product. But it influences directly my motivation... and my output !

Let simply say that the Olympus E-M1 II is a big and weighty camera by my own standards in M4/3 format. It is also a complex device to handle properly and it will ask you a extended training investment except if you intend to use it on an intense basis. Even the fine "Pro" line of Olympus lenses will add a lot to that impression at a point that is recalling me the previous film SLR days. In one word it contradict in part the essence of the founding of the M4/3 format.

Full Reset on the Panasonic Lumix G85 (G80)

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 the Olympus counterparts 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.

About the kit lens (12-60mm)
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. And the imagery results will surprise you considering the dollars you have spent to get it.

The Big Splash (Olympus fans please turn off...)

And now the the big splash over the Olympus E-M1 Mark II. Yes I was particularly pleased by the standard output issued from the E-M1 II both in colour and Black & White. And I must admit that I use 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.

After working with the 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.

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 that 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. And automatic focusing of the Lumix G85 is snappy and repetitive. For sure the G85 is not a fast action camera such as the Olympus E-M1 II which primarily intend to be used for that task.

Not using the full potential (and investment!) of the Olympus E-M1 II started to bother me gradually. Sure I love to have a very pro oriented product with a considerable array of possibilities. But the complexity of it along with the amount of time and learning to consecrate to properly use the E-M1 II create a progressive aversion to natural pick of the camera and taking picture. The E-M1 II is primarily a professional tool for intensive active photography and it is designed for responding to these imperative criteras of journalism  in every circonstances.

Green Light for the Panasonic Lumix G85

A 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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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 ?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

New 2017 Year with Daniel M

 New Year Resolutions ... ! 

A fresh new year is coming and is almost already here, 2017. So it is time to forecast some blog projects for the months to come. But the big news is that I will be "free agent" starting April 1st, 2017. That life project has been planned since two years and at last it will be concretized in 2017. At this point of my modest evolution it may be the best thing that happens to me.

Now for more photo equipment oriented subjects, since I have just received the new "Pro" Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, a very personal review of the camera will be issued within the first months of 2017. An article on the lenses with fixed focal lenght is also on the way. Another subject that will be title "On Assignation" will be a kind of personal view as an ex-pro photographier regarding the preparation and the production of a specific photo project.

On the photo artistic side many subjects will be part of my attention. Since we are confronting the constant rapid changes of our surrounding, I want to explore the artefacts of the recent human remains of our society. Are we really documented of our recent evolution or just have burned it. Abstractions is another challenge to picture especially if you can extract it from the concrete reality of the object or the subject

Photography has never take such an important place in our everyday life and its constant presence is a strong témoignage of its current vitality. Yes the new photo taking-diffusing media are part of our personal surrounding and play a vital role of our life. It stay a modern form of expression in many ways including as an art by itself. Lets hope only that we are not only "consuming" photography but also take time to "contemplate" its various expressions.