14 septembre 2013

The perfect wide angle of view: Zuiko M.12mm F2 & M.12-50mm F3.5-6.3

We ca argue again and again on what is the perfect "wide" angle of view but many of us will agree that 12mm (24mm equivalent in 35mm film format) is one of the most appealing focal length to work with.

Zuiko M.12mm F2.0
Zuiko M.12-50mm F3.5-6.3

These two fine Olympus Zuiko Lenses are very good choice to start experimenting the 12mm focal length .

The12mm is certainly an true urban lens that allows photograph to be close from his subject. It is also a real contextual lens in term of the extra angle of view available. It may be the widest lens that you can easily apprehend the final result without doing testing during your photo shot.

With such a wide angle we are able to control the impact of your foreground and background subjects by creating a more dynamic composition. The notion of space arrangement is giving a true 3D perspective to the observer.

Because wide angle lenses are "decompressing" the final image using them is demanding a more careful attention to its composition. It also add some kind of disproportion of near subject opposed to far context. That could be use as a creative tool.

Wide angle lens are by essence very close action lenses compared to their telephoto brothers. But it doesn't prevent to do action imagery if you are able to position yourself to do so.

Although many people are recommending wide  angle lenses for architectural work the use of the M.12mm may be tricky considering the fact that this model of lens doesn't have any provision for tilt and shift correction. Yes it can be use successfully to exaggerate perspective for instance but it cannot pretend to present objectively to work of the designer.

Playing (i.e. working) with the M.12mm is very interesting because it will ask the photograph to learn to anticipate a different perspective and the results will represent a different view of our surrounding world.

11 septembre 2013

Returning to the OM-D E-M5

Never say never again because you... never know! Going back in using my OM-D E-M5 had just proven this fact of life. Experience is in many ways better than profound reflexion.

The Olympus OM-D E-M5 is a very spontaneous camera. Just working around with it and you will find a lot of photographic opportunities. And it is also a creative camera that let you try, make and sometimes succeed in photo and may be in video project.

And The E-M5 is not an intimidating medium comparing with the other D-SLRs. It has the size of the old classic 35mm reflex camera (none motorized). In brief I love the OM-D system including the beautiful lenses.

With the return of the cooler and rainier days of the next autumn it stays my best choice.

18 mai 2013

Choosing a Pen E-P3 over an OM-D E-M5

I love to work with the Olympus MFT products starting with their simple Pen series model to their most sophisticated OM-D. An interesting debate has started with the apparition of the new Pen E-P5 that will replace the previous E-P3. Many reviewers like Thom Hogan have concluded of the redundancy of having a choice between E-M5 and the new E-P5 for Olympus users.

For my own experience with the OM-D E-M5 and the E-P3 I must disagree with this assertion because there is a strong departure of the way those two models have been designed.

Olympus E-P3 / M. 40-150mm at 40mm

One vital point for photographer on the go (street, travel, casual) is the in-board fill-flash that is a must feature you need to have access everyday. Add-on flashes are not a good portable pratical solution. I hope that the next OM-D will include that basic feature.

Even with the all-weather contruction of the E-M5 the camera seems strangely more fragile than the E-P3 which is a little bit questionnable. The upper deck design seems to leave the camera controls into a none-protective position and the material uses for them doesn't look at the same level of the rest of the camera. Even if the E-P3 suppose to be a more simple camera you get a strong feeling of solidity and durability which is not so much present for the E-M5.

Olympus E-P3 / 14-42mm at 14mm

What about the viewfinder? Using the optional VF-2 on the E-P3 model will give you the same ease to compose your image compared to the E-M5. But it is an optionnal feature that allow you to pull out the VF-2 in macro or general tripod photo situations. Yes I agree that the E-M5 orientable LCD screen is an advantage at that point but the new E-P5 LCD screen is responding to that concern. Plus the fact there is a new VF-4 with large view feature (which I have already ordered…)

Olympus E-P3 / 14-42mm at 42mm

Yes in term of image quality the E-M5 beats the previous E-P3 but this point will be fixed by the new E-P5 that will be using a picture captor of the same generation allowing better result with high ISO.

What about the autofocus? I have used the two camera in many low light situations and I have discovered that these models tend to perform better with prime lenses with large maximum apertures like the 45mm F1.8 or the 75mm F1.8. Those lenses are fine for more specific photo projects but it cannot prevent the use of more flexible zoom lenses such as the 14-42mm or the 12-50mm or even a 40-150mm. In that  case (zoom options) the E-M5 focus reactivity got the edge over the E-P3.

Olympus E-P3 / 14-42mm at 30mm

The OM-D E-M5 is clearly the central part of a camera system and many professionals are considering it now as a value option for a far more compact equipment on the go.  It differs from the Pen E-P3 (eventually E-P5) which is less flexible in term of grip and power option & other add-on and the E-P3 is not an all-weather camera and need more precaution when used in adverse conditions. But even the ancien rangefinger film cameras have to be protected during their own era.

Olympus E-P3 / 14-42mm at 42mm

After a good personnal experience with the OM-D E-M5 during two recent travels I finally decided to retreive with my E-P3 with the new VF-4 viewfinder and I will eventualy upgrade to E-P5 in a mid-future. At the end the choice of photo equipment is purely personal…


10 mars 2013

Short B&W essay with the Olympus OM-D E-M5

Black and white photography has been the classical way of doing light imaging right from the start of this new pictorial "art". And I have followed the same path since my modest debut with a Kodak Brownie 620 film camera.

The best definition of the mastering this art has been described, analyzed and practiced by Ansel Adams as he have extendedly explain in his book trilogy: the Camera, the Film and the Print.

I will not pretend approaching Ansel Adams artistic ability but I think that if you are doing good black and white pictures it can improve deeply your entire photographic skill even in color.

Here are some recent works with the Olympus OM-D E-M5. All pictures files are originally done in black and white.

Snowfall over the bridge

Minette face in B&W

Cross lightning over the balcony

Black and white photo painting of the river in winter


The Nikon 1 V1: The new "Tintin" camera

Nikon 1 V1: A "Tintin" reminiscence.

In my younger age I was fascinated by the Tintin universe. As a french speaking native person, the Hergé hero was a king of modern model for all the young guys of this era who were eager to discover the world and live new adventures outside their own limited town. At that time we cannot tell that the entire Tintin saga has been written during a very large period of time and furthermore new albums were still coming (We were at the beginning of the sixties).

During one striking episode located in the Tibet, Tintin was using what seem to be a Leica rangefinder equipped with an add-on bulb flash. In fact it was probably a Voss Diax rangefinder model produced around 1952-56.

That combination later inspire Leica to produce a special compact Minilux model edition with engraving and accessories. I have the honor to use one of those during a German trip to the Solms factory in 1997 and this small 35mm camera was working perfectly well.

When I have first seen the new Nikon 1 V1 it has remind me suddenly those recent and less recent souvenirs. So I could not resist to buy the Nikon 1 model with the flash and lenses additional accessories. I love the way the Nikon 1 V1 looks with the flash mounted and for my personal experience it has taken very nice pictures.

Here are some examples presented here without any pretentions.


03 mars 2013

Panasonic Lumix LX5: The 2011 Barcelona Experiment

We are always looking for the best small quality camera to bring with you on traveling. This is particularly true when you are visiting crowed urban area like Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. Even M4/3 format camera seem to be a bit too much big size to fit in your everyday every-use small shoulder bag.
In September 2011 I have finally chosen to go with the Panasonic Lumix LX5 equipped with the optional electronic viewfinder LVF-1. It prove to be a very competent compact camera even considering the obvious exposure limitations and the lost in term of quality of the picture files. The maximum aperture of the Leica zoom lens was very handy in low light situations as for the widest focal setting equivalent to 24mm in classic 35mm film format.

The camera by itself is in fact very compact and controls look fragile at first but they work perfectly throughout my different visits. The LVF viewfinder is a must considering the difficulty to use the LCD screen with strong backlightning but its viewing image overall quality is in the low side to say the less.

Here are some of the results obtained with this LX5 / LVF1 combination. Barcelona is a fantastic place to visit and to stay for a longer time if you want. There are a great variety of activities to do and places to go.

Urban architecture of Barcelona is one of the biggest cultural attraction of the Catalan city.



Barcelona is tightly associated with the work of Gaudi who has mastered many architectural patrimonial building with a very distinctive style such as the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

Here are some examples of Gaudi realizations:

The ability of using the widest focal setting of the Lumix LX5 give me the chance to present very unique Gaudi interior perspectives. 

Confined interior spaces have always been a good challenge for photographer but results can be very rewarding...




I hope you have appreciated this short visit of one of the nicest city in Europe.