Friday, November 27, 2015

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Over paying for novelties or sub-paying for results


Mirrorless photo-video equipment can be a hard and tricky category of products to purchase. Compare to their D-SLR competition there are expensive, distinctive but not always intuitive to operate and their starting evolution was fast and decisive.

Overtime you can spend a lot of money for far less better results than we are thinking at first. That has happened to me during my first days as a new user of the M4/3 format and this can be applied equally with many of the other mirrorless categories.


Fujifilm X-E2 is a very attractive model that can be
 upgraded and perform almost as the newest  XT-1/10
Will I be better served to put big money on the latest novelties? We can answer easily by yes knowing the rapid evolution of the medium but is it worth to wait six months to one year to get the same technological advancement at a fraction of the initial introducing selling price.


Panasonic GX7 / 20mm F1.7 at $639US !

Working the last years of my modest photo production with Fujifilm, Olympus and Panasonic cameras and lenses I have developed a different approach in consuming equipment. I love to see the different manufacturers upgrading theirs products but I prefer to transfer the RD cost of those novelties to the aficionados of the newest models on the market.


Olympus EP-3 / 14-42mm: A very fine deal at $399US two years ago!


Managing cost evolution.
These following simple examples has given me both saving and results at lower cost and a better assurance of reliability:
I have chosen to buy Olympus EP-3 and later on OM-D E-M5 at the end their selling cycle at half price of their initial tag. Those cameras give me a lot of pleasing results and I was able to resale them with a minimum money lost.
I did the same move in buying the Panasonic Lumix GX7 for less than half of the introducing selling price by using a combination of Manufacturer Instant Rebate and bulk packaging with the very good Lumix G 20mm F1.7 (II) lens. And the GX7 and the 20mm lens are delivering excellent results for my purpose. Fuji film X-E2 is another fine example of a top model that can sold for a very reasonable selling price and knowing that a lot of past Fujifilm models like the X-E2 have the possibility to be substantially upgraded had to the value of the camera.

For sure the Fujifilm X-Pro2 or X-E2S, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II and the Panasonic GX8 are without question more up to date products with design and functionality advantages but I didn’t wanted to spend that level of money. At the end it depends on you if you want to get right now the newest offers. But with time the big forward technological advancements will be substituted by smaller refinements that will impact far less the final photographic image results.


Olympus OM-D E-M5/14-42mm at $499US !

And the less money putted on cameras can be converted to more interesting possibility of traveling, visiting or even buying other photo accessories if you please. After all it's your money...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

On the street with the Panasonic Lumix GX7



The Panasonic Lumix GX7 digital camera was marketed more than two years ago and has been already replaced by the newest model GX8. But the GX7 is still used by many photographers as an everyday camera. It is a very handy camera designed first for still photography despite its own video ability.

Table Top Wall Stripes
Digital compact camera offers handling advantages in term of small dimensions and low weight. But because of the multiple function buttons seen on many very diminutive models like the Lumix GM1 or GM5 we have reached a point that the compactness is inducing a lot of involuntary finger touch manipulations. The Panasonic Lumix GX7 can be classified as a mid-size compact camera with interchange lens option. It is not a subcompact (GM5 class) but combined with many Lumix G lenses it stays a small package.

With user experiences you can memorize most of the main function buttons and operating reels. As usual I have found there is too many options available to really mastermind their utility on picture taking situations with fast rate shooting. By keeping it simple you will better optimize your photographic results.


The display fonction button can be too easily involuntary activated and the rear adjusting dial edge is located too far to get a confortable reach from you thumb. Those two design flaws can be annoying in particular when you are using more manual setting.




The viewing system that offers a LCD screen and an electronic viewfinder (EVF) is very distinctive of camera design inspired by the ancient rangefinder cameras. It is a compact camera but not as a subcompact or a miniature like the Panasonic Lumix GM5. In that sense the handling of the GX7 is more secure partly because of the larger dimension of the body of the camera. Face strong front day lighting the EVF will generate a more contrast picture that doesn’t really help to evaluate the fine details of your composition. In those cases you have to guess first and check the result over the LCD screen.

Fifteen before six: Very good B&W gray tonal graduation even in using high ISO setting
The images preserved from the fine quality JPEG file option are generally very exploitable for web uses and mid-sized printout. As usual a basic RAW file will give the full opportunity to more deeply post-treat the taken image. The default contrast rendering is on the high side and you may have to use some of the softer rendering picture taking options to counteract this effect. The color rendering is mainly natural but artificial lightning can generate some misinterpretation of the white balance auto setting function.

Native JPEG Outdoor color rendering is very accurate

Onboard flash
To have an onboard flash option is liberation. The flash of the Lumix GX7 is easily reachable by a mechanical switch on the backside of the camera. As a fill flash it work very nicely but it can be advisable to power down a bit the flash output especially with nearby subjects. As a commander flash it is a perfect tool. And Panasonic designers preserve the possibility to add a more powerful unit via the hot shoe.


The EVF viewfinder as waist (sternum !) level finder
Many reviewers were sceptical about the use of the partly moveable viewfinder of the Panasonic Lumix GX7. Looking down to a camera viewfinder is not a real novelty. You can go back to the ancient twin lens reflex or to the very first reflex mirror cameras to find the same way of viewing your picture. A complete generation of amateur and professional photographs can easily remember the glorious days of the various Hasselblades and Rolleiflexes. The “waist level “ view option allows the photographer to better control the linear rendering of the lens by facilitating the positioning of the camera which respect parallel lines better than tilting up or down your point of view. It is remarkable that so many photo experts have missed that point.


Spontaneous close-up photography is easy by using larger aperture prime lenses such as the Panasonic Lumix G 20mm f1.7
As I have pointed out with many other camera models of the same features like EVF, it is very recommendable to bring extra batteries to prevent abrupt photo session finales.

Overall the Panasonic Lumix GX7 camera has been and still is a very competent picture-taking companion. It generate very interesting image results, the overall handling is on the good side, the Panasonic lens offering is correctly extended (and can be completed with the Olympus M4/3 counterpart lenses), the camera-lens combination is discrete, the operating system cost is reasonable and you can manage to overcome the few design flaws of the camera. 


BNC Tower over De la Commune, Old-Montreal






Friday, November 6, 2015

Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 O.I.S.: The Selective Lens


It is a common say in the photo channel to qualify the Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 OIS lens as a “portrait” lens. Mainly because of its narrowed angle of view and its relatively large maximum aperture, the Lumix G 42.5mm (as for the Olympus Zuiko 45mm F1.8 counterpart) is mainly assimilated to that specific subject.



In fact it’s a selective lens because it proposed a cropped vision of the photo context and also because of its maximum aperture it proposed a narrowed depth of field. But combined with the Optical Image Stabilisation (O.I.S.) the Panasonic Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 is opening you an array of photographic opportunities exceeding by far the limited use of portrait.



For example its close focusing ability can be use for near photography and for smaller subjects. Discriminating the foreground from the background can be also a very creative option that exceeds the normal human vision.



Well built with a large manual focusing ring the Panasonic Lumix G 42,5mm f1.7 lens is easy to handheld with a good compactly virtue. The furnished lens hood complete a good package and offer an extra protection of the front glass element of the lens.



You should appreciate the Lumix G 42.5mm as a strong discriminating lens for street and casual photography or any kind of discriminating photography essay.