23 décembre 2019

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm F4-5.6 II (with the OM-D E-M5 II): An easy-going (outdoor) zoom lens

Is the Micro Four Third sensor remains pertinent for its compactness and for its image quality?

After all what we may like the most in photography is going out and have pleasure doing some pictures with a compact well-designed camera body and lens combination (which should be also good looking!). Are Olympus the only manufacturer does nice and refine photo equipment? No for sure but they have their own signature for a long time since the event of the famous Pen analog series.

And we are speaking about compactness first which a paramount quality for photographers on the go. Small cameras at first but also small lenses to be coherent with the concept. And the Micro Four Third sensor format is may be the only one that can guaranty that without letting down any technological (automated) advancement. If you are speaking about other sensor formats like the 24 X 36mm or APS-C, you cannot put aside the fact that their optics are often large and heavy comparatively from the equivalent MFT ones.

And how about the image quality of the Micro Four Third format? I think we have reached an MFT sensor development that can now deliver the quality level needed in most of the general photographic situations. Yes, in specific cases the larger formats (especially the medium ones) are still doing an outstanding job but we can leave them to the few pros and enthusiasms that can afford and justify their use. What is important is what you do with your pictures and what final purpose you intend with. Even for the fairly large print (like 13X19 inches or A3 format), a modern MFT format sensor will fulfill the task nicely if your picture-taking parameters are correctly set.

Source: Olympus.com
And is the Olympus OM-D- E-M5 Mark II still a pertinent camera choice for today?

And what about using a second generation (16MP sensor) like we find into the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II considering that a third itineration (Mark III w/20MP sensor) is already available on the market? Why not since the E-M5 Mark II is still a remarkable photographic camera device, very well built and designed for an everyday use under many various (and adverse) picture-taking conditions. The Olympus OM-D E-5 Mark II is also a mature product that have been updated a few times. For sure we are assisting to its last days of front selling life but with Olympus, you never know when it will be really no more available.

The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm f4-5.6 II zoom lens is a kind of extreme optic that can be used for all-around photographic purposes. It is a compact design and construction along with a maximum 150mm focal length giving a six-time magnification compare to our naked eyesight. At its widest 14mm focal length, the Olympus zoom lens can fulfill many proximate photographic tasks and can perform panoramic views. With a very modest maximum variable aperture of F4-5.6, the M.Zuiko ED zoom lens is for sure a less flexible tool when you are facing low light situations or moving subjects. In those cases, you may rely on a higher ISO setting and on an internal camera body stabilization system (if available) with a higher deep of field, we must add.

The zoom ring is fairly large and have a good tempering turning resistance. The focusing ring can be reached easily and don't turn too freely although it is "by-wire". The Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm II zoom lens is not part of the Olympus Pro line of optics but it has the splash proof feature which can be a great help when using the lens in adverse conditions (providing that the camera body have the same characteristic). A dedicated bayonet mount lens hood is furnished with the lens which is always appreciated by the owner who have already spent good money to get the optic. The 58mm filter accessory size is moderated and allows you to buy good protection filter or special effects filters if you wish to do so.

All the official specifications regarding the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm F4-5.6 II are here.

In daylight or well light contexts, the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm II is handy optic especially if you couple it with a camera model such as the Olympus OM-D or Pen series which are featuring internal sensor stabilization capability. Having a fast access to bigger telephoto setting give to the zoom lens a greater flexibility that prevent continuous permutation between different lens models and that can be hazardous in many circumstances. Even more it is a faster optic to operate when you are framing your subject. At its widest focal length of 14mm, you are reaching the upper limit of a "real" wide angle lens with 75 degrees of angle of view.

Doing close photography is possible with the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm II considering its high magnification capability although you have to respect a minimum distance between you and your subject of half a meter (1.6 ft). If you are expecting to take pictures of regular size objects like flowers, the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm II will allow you to get very interesting results and again its versatility will be appreciated. It is not a "macro" intended optic and the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 60mm F2.8 or ED 30mm F3.5 macro premium lenses should be your best choices to do such specialized and small subjects.

Having worked with the Olympus M.Zuiko ED 14-150mm II zoom lens for some table top subjects has giving me the opportunity to check the image quality output of the optic in a more optimum picture taking condition in using a low ISO and having the camera tripod mounted. And this M.Zuiko ED zoom lens is offering usual Olympus optical "standard" lens quality level ( acknowledging that the Olympus Pro lenses are still their best products in that sense). Color rendition, contrast, image definition are good and on average compare to their less focally stretched standards zoom lenses.

If you are a photographer that is bringing your camera almost everywhere in the city, on travel, in your surrounding or doing outdoor trecking, the Olympus M. Zuiko ED 14-150mm II should be a serious lens option to consider for its versatility and its image quality. It is compact, well built and ready to cope with almost any kind of subjects. A very pleasant lens mate.

20 décembre 2019

Antoine Desilets: une influence au-delà des images.

Photo Jeannine Alain
Source: Le Devoir
Il ne faut pas réduire l'influence d'Antoine Desilets à son rôle de photographe car il était éminemment un homme de paroles à l'image de cette génération de québécois qui par la chanson, par le théâtre, par le journalisme et les autres médias ont caractérisé cet effort de se débarrasser du carcan de la "petitesse canadienne-française de leur temps" et entrer de plein pied dans la globalisation humanitaire.

Certes Antoine Desilets avait ce charme des mots qu'il employait mais aussi son propos pouvait être incisif à sa manière en ce sens qu'il provoquait en vous une recherche plus profonde d'émulation et de dépassement car c'est bien d'en parler mais surtout c'est beaucoup mieux de le faire.

De son œuvre iconique, je retiens l'universalité des thèmes et des sujets et plus encore l'ironie et la justesse de son irrévérence qui, sans être maligne, nous procurait cette distanciation humoristique nécessaire à la tragédie grande ou petite de l'humanité.  De sa démarche pédagogique, il n'y a qu'à saluer sa profonde influence dans l'univers des amateurs de photographie à titre personnel ou professionnel. De son implication humanitaire, il faut aussi retenir sa grande modestie.

Admirateur et émule comme tant d'autres d'Antoine Desilets, j'ai eu l'occasion de le côtoyer pour l'élaboration et la réalisation d'une exposition rétrospective il y a plus de 25 ans. J'en garde le souvenir d'une personne humble et rayonnante pour son entourage et surtout je conserve l'image indélébile de son sourire si particulier. Oui il aimait bien vivre et aujourd'hui, il continue de le faire à travers nous.

Daniel Marchand
Ancien président
Corporation lavalloise pour le développement de l'art photographique

Pour en savoir plus sur Antoine Desilets:

Article-hommage du journal Le Devoir


18 décembre 2019

2019: the turning year in photo equipment!

2019 will be the year marked as the definite separation between the "mass market" industrial philosophy and the return of the traditional "niche" photo enthusiasm market. That turning point was already inevitable since the Photo equipment industry cannot really compete with the smartphone electronic manufacturers. 

What is interesting and we are now knowing is that a technical fusion between traditional photo equipment and the newest smartphone products are not and cannot easily mergeable to get commercial success. For many years photo equipment reviewers were appealing for a such thing but consumer experiences had proven that many attempts to do so were almost always some kind of failure.

So traditional photo users’ market is still demanding for a ... traditional photo equipment at least in its design and presentation. All the efforts to divert from the classic ergonomics seem to not attract the photo equipment consumers. All major photo equipment manufacturers have quietly agreed to adopt a more orthodox approach for their camera line up. Today most camera models might be confused to analog (film) camera devices offered thirty years ago.

The none-event of the 2019 year might be the cancellation of the renew Photokina first planned in spring 2019. The Photokina organization have tried to recreate a photo industry gathering based of the past fast changing rate of the digital photo equipment of the last ten or fifteen years but without acknowledging this era was already finish. Now the big photo equipment shows are doomed to short presentations that are not able to compete with the strength of the Internet power of attraction. Can Photokina will be capable to reinvent itself without the contribution of the Nikon, Leica, Olympus or Fujifilm of this world? It appears to be a very difficult task.

The photo manufacturers are entering into a turmoil of indecision regarding the photo equipment evolution. Manufacturers like Nikon or Canon are skeptical to invest further into new technologies such as mirrorless cameras without knowing what the photo equipment market state in would be the next few years. In fact, they apprehend the worst with a constant disaffection of the traditional photo field. The last photo equipment consumer statistics are not looking conclusive. We are facing a mature market in “reflexion” and that is tempting to return to their obvious past (recent) choices as we are seeing from some prominent photo web reviewers. 

iPhoto Manon Paquette

At the end, the great era of the frenetic digital photo equipment consuming (at a fast rate of changing) have now went to its finality. Many are now welcoming to the return of more reasonable approach of choosing and buying their photo arsenal. In a more responsible eco world, that can be the real good news of this 2019 year!

23 novembre 2019

SPPA: le syndrome post-photographique aigu!

Que l'on le soigne ou qu'on l'ignore, le SPPA (syndrome post-photographique aigu) est bien la plus insidieuse maladie qu'une ou un photographe peut souffrir dans sa vie. Le syndrome fait souvent suite à une série de traumatismes patents du monde de la photographie. Il se caractérise par un manque soudain et général d'intérêt pour le médium d'expression visuelle auquel tout notre parcours exploratoire et créatif avait été assujetti.

Mais quels sont ces "traumas" avec lesquels le SPPA fondent son éclosion? Bien sûr, il y en a plusieurs vous diront les spécialistes qui ont intérêt à allonger leur période d'analyse ($$$!). Nous pourrions les subdiviser ainsi: les facteurs matériels, les facteurs culturels, les facteurs sociaux et les facteurs personnels.

Les facteurs matériels sont les plus évidents à soigner car ils sont facilement identifiables comme la course sans fin pour le produit le plus récent ou le plus sophistiqué. Il y a aussi le désir d'essayer qui se renouvelle continuellement. Sans oublier la joie éphémère de tout posséder jamais vraiment rassasier son appétit de collectionneur invétéré. Enfin l'insécurité de ne pas posséder le bon équipement. Nous sommes dans un univers de consumérisme où le fait d'acquérir des biens et services est en quelque sorte aussi prononcé que celui d'exister, un paradoxe pour un environnement de plus en plus restreint démographiquement et avec des ressources de plus en plus limitées. C'est pourquoi il faut se sortir de ce cercle infernal en élargissant sa vision matérielle vers une expérience plus métaphysique de la vie.

Les facteurs culturels sont plus difficiles à cerner en ce sens qu'ils sont souvent reliés à notre éducation, à nos préjugés, à notre expérience et à nos connaissances en général. Ces facteurs deviennent souvent une contrainte qui limite notre horizon de créativité en imposant des frontières à ne pas franchir dans le choix, l'organisation et le traitement de nos sujets photographiques.

Les facteurs sociaux sont ceux qui nous imposent des contraintes fallacieuses sous des prétextes techniques impertinents en posant un jugement gratuit sur notre production photographique. Ils sont souvent le fait de personnes qui, dans les faits, se prétendre critiques d'un art qu'il ne maitrise pas eux-même. Ils sont aussi l'expression destructive d'individus incapables de reconnaitre l'originalité d'une oeuvre et dont l'objectif inavoué de nivellement par le bas rejoint leur propre impuissance et capacité à produire. En un mot il faut les IGNORER dans leur profonde insignifiance.

Les facteurs personnels sont souvent les plus difficiles à surmonter. La créativité est une fleur très fragile et souvent le manque de confiance en soi mine tous nos efforts à foncer et persister dans la réalisation de notre expression artistique. Il faut persister et surtout ne pas castrer notre motivation sur l'autel du manque d'assurance et du doute destructif. Pour chaque photo qu'on réalise, une porte s'ouvre et nous permet de s'introduire dans un nouvel univers visuel personnel où nos émotions peuvent s'exprimer.

Le SPPA ne doit pas empêcher notre épanouissement personnel. Identifier les obstacles, c'est bien, mais les abattre c'est essentiel. La photographie doit devenir une extension de notre pensée, de nos émotions, de l'interprétation de notre environnement humain et physique et de notre vision universelle.

21 novembre 2019

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.5 II Power OIS: the affordable bird-watcher super zoom lens!

Is the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens the ultimate super telephoto for less than $900CAN? A look into the latest Panasonic MFT lens line-up seems to confirm this assertion. But what about the qualities of this specialized telephoto zoom lens? Its very modest aperture (considering the MFT format), the absence of any tripod lens collar mount accessory, its lightweight construction are all parts of the criticisms that can be addressed for its design and its manufacturing. But despite those objections, the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS should be seen as an accessible opportunity to reach these higher magnifications.

Because the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens will give strong magnifications (4 to 12X compare to your own vision), we can really classify it as a true long-range telephoto. But you may ask you if the image quality results will be or not sustain these big numbers. That is the essential question.

At my first encounter with the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II, I was surprised by its compact size considering its long telephoto focal length range. Combined with a mid-sized MFT ILC camera body such as the G9 or G95, the zoom lens is perfectly handholding usable. Adding the furnished bayonet-mount dedicated lens hood will increase the total lens physical length and when selecting its longest focal setting (300mm), the lens will extend almost twice its original physical length. The two focus and zoom rings are smooth to operate and are easy to identify. The Stabilizer On/Off switch is clearly located on the left side. The 67mm accessory filter ring diameter is a bit large but it reflects the focal length magnitude of the zoom lens. No provision has been designed for an additional tripod ring collar which it can be annoying for long use at the same position during picture taking like for animal or action photography***.

By no means the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens can be qualified as a close focusing optic. The minimum focusing distance is limited to 1,5 meters so, you certainly won’t disturb your subject by your own proximity! On the sunny side the high magnification of the zoom lens will allow you to isolate the subject in a very effective way. Speaking of those magnifications, the necessity of the internal optical stabilization functionality became obvious for the photographer as for selecting a higher shutter speed if the light level allows it. The apparent lack of definition from pictures taken by many long telephotos is often the result of a blurry effect induced by the photographer movement (shake). Special care should be taken in consideration by the photographer all the times when handling lens model that more than 2X magnification

Picture quality output
That is the second pleasant surprise that I have encounter in using the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens. The image result output was clearly comparable with its sibling trans-standard zoom partner (Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS) perhaps with a bit of being more contrast but it offers the same consistency along its different focal lengths. The color and monochrome renditions were similar too. I was a little concern about that since the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens is manufactured at a different place (in fact "Made in Japan»!) but the manufacturer lens standards seem to have been respected.

Big telephoto (zoom) lenses imply narrowed deep of field, a phenomenon that many photographers are please to profit. But because the Lumix 100-300mm maximum aperture is quite small (F4-5.6), that characteristic is less present for the farthest distance subjects. The Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens is not really a "portrait" optic but it can be used that way providing that your main subject will not be located too close to you.

Some reviewers will limit the good use of the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens to specific and sunny light conditions because of their higher requirements for the shutter speed and a low ISO and I won’t dispute the necessity of applying these criteria to many various situations. But it can be counteracted by using other picture taking techniques such as pan-follow-up your subject in action situations. It appears today that some photographers have forgotten to adapt themselves to more critical light conditions and were asking for a photo equipment that is answering theirs needs in a static point of view. That is generating more "standardized" results with less creativity (that is often incidental of a specific situation).

Is the Lumix G Vario 100-300mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens the ultimate bird (on-hand) optic? If not, it is may be not far from it considering its relatively low buying price. Right from the start I have pleasure to use it on the spot and the first result were very encouraging. For action applications, its smaller maximum aperture can be in fact an advantage by getting a little more critical deep-of-field. Setting your camera different parameters like shutter speed and ISO sensibility should be paramount to get a certain picture result consistency (yes, that could be applied to many other photographic subjects 😉).

*** If you intend to use extendedly a long telephoto (zoom) lens with a tripod or a monopod, it may be better to get an optic that have already a tripod lens collar optionality that will allow you a better weight distribution (without stressing the camera lens mount), and will give you a more usable panning pivot and an easy switching between the horizontal view (panoramic) to the vertical one (portrait).

14 novembre 2019

Life in 16mm (w/Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR lens)

Seeing life with a more wide angle of view is not rare thing but for many it may be a photographic higher challenge compare to the more selective view of a telephoto lens. Yes there is already a lot of landscape (nature or urban) aficionados around the who are producing striking pictures so why limit the use o a wide angle lens to that specialized purpose?

I have been a long time adept to wide angle lens that offer an angle of view of 84 degree or even a larger one. The 84 degree image perspective can be translate in different formats by the 12mm focal length into MFT (Micro Four Third) or by a 16mm in APS-C or by a 24mm lens in 24 X 36mm sensor size. All those optics are usually original (not streched) design with their own technical specifications. There are less available and usually more expensive compare to other lenses that have a more narrowed angle of view.

In APS-C sensor format (17 X 24mm approx.), Fujifilm line-up is well represented by a couple of 16mm models and even an interesting 14mm lens. The latest Fujinon XF16mm F2.8 R WR has captivated my attention by its compactness and its weather resistant characteristic. As for many Fujinon WR F2 lens models (23mm, 35mm, 50mm),  the 16mmF2.8 is a natively less intimidated optic because of its small size. Combine with a compact APS-C camera, you can do spontanious photography and you can easely brought the camera-lens combination all day around.

The "spacious" lens
Telephoto lenses are renown for their compression effect between the foreground and the background surrounding the main subject. Wide-angle lenses have just the opposite effect by "decompressing" the subject and allowing a virtual increase of the perceived space between all the elements composing the picture that will be register. So it is not really what or how you actually seing the image with your naked eyes but in term of angle of view it represent more your total pictural perception of the scene.

This is particularly true when you are tempting to embrase "larger than life" subject such as landscapes, urban-scapes or interior-scapes. It is true also for larger subject taken in short distances such as groups of objects or of people. Because of this larger view emphasis, we have to be careful of the impact of all the elements included in the final picture. Working with a wide angle lens require a very special attention of our image composition. It is like doing a painting fresque each time if your subject is rich in several details. Or if the subject is more plain, we have to pay attention of the graphical arrangement that will be choosen.

The Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a prime lens that have got its own signature. It is not a previsible optic that doesn't need to be really mastered before using it successfully. Many photographers outside their landscape needs will avoid using wider lenses. It is a pity because the wide lenses have the virtue of their compactness and the ability of using it much closer to the main subject. But a wide angle lens will be less forgiving if you dont care about your level position for example because tilting the lens is provoking a rapid shift of the horizontal and vertical direction lines. To help us, the Fujifilm X-mount camera models (as for many others maker digital camera models) have incorporated an optional electronic level that will appears into our viewfinder or our viewing back screen.

DoF Critical Element
The amount of deep of field optical effect is a constant subject of debates over the "photo" web. Some are praying to get the optimal good quality DoF in order to realize "scape" photography. Others just want to narrow it for the portrait purpose and be sure to "artistically" blur the foreground and the background (mainly). So what is happening when you are using the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR lens. As many wide angle optics you have the sensation of an extended deep of field which in fact it is not really the case. For a specific focus (distance) point and aperture selected, the DoF will work the same way for the distance range whatsoever the lens focal length you have primarily chosen.

So knowing those facts, the wide angle lenses seem to give you more DoF may be because of the illusion of seing smaller many elements composing your picture especially in the background area.

Physical attributes of the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR
By definition the Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR is a short lens. Short in term of focal lenght but also physically short in size and lightweight. The aperture ring is located the standard Fuji X-mount way with click 1/3 stop and an "A" (for automatic diaphragm ajustement) which is located at the end of the f/stop scale  but without any security lock button. The thin focusing ring is at the front but still manageable. A plastic dedicated lens hood is furnished with the lens which is always appreciated. Overall built finition follow the higher Fujifilm standards and the lens is proclaimed weather resistant.

Close-up with a 16mm?
Will we prevent ourselves to do close-subject photography with a wide angle optic? Many may pretend this is the case considering the particular perspective view rendering of this type of lenses. In a sens it is a pity to not experimenting the very particular way of seing that offers the use of a wide angle lens. I wont say that the Fujinon Xf 16mm F2.8 R WR lens is a very intuitive optic to operate in the very short distance from your subject but the results can be surprisedly intriguing and artistic. For example the apparent extended deep of field (DoF) will allow you to include in focus surrounding (graphics) elements that can enhance your main subject.

The Fujinon XF 16mm F2.8 R WR lens can be rightly seen as a competent urban optic but that said it must not prevent ourselves to use it in many other photographic exterior and interior situations. Its compactness will allow you to bring it with discretion and efficiency. More you will experiment the 16mm, more you will appreciate its original perspective by creating none less persifle pictures. At this price point and considering its construction and optical quality, you should fully enjoy it yourself.

07 novembre 2019

About compactness*** in photo equipment

With the venue of different new camera models from the manufacturers, I am encouraged by a renew effort to design and produce more compact models (with interchangeable lenses) such as the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III & EP-L9, the Panasonic Lumix GX-9 (Micro Four Third - MFT) and the Fujifilm X-A7 (APS-C), not to mention the Canon M200 (APS-C) or the recent Sony A models (APS-C). So, there is still hope for us who appreciate to work with smaller cameras and lenses in order to be less intrusive for our subjects and ... less tired at the end of the day!

We are now facing a much mature market that is excluding all the use-to-be very simple and small camera models rightly replaced with a lot efficiency by the "photo-multi-use-smartphone". The technical fundamentals of the photo camera seem to reach a kind of plateau and now the advancements are more in the fine sophistication of the things.

I don’t want to provoke a debate about the pertinence to have a specific viewfinder on a camera device and I concede that now many users are fully able to produce very good pictures with the help of the back-camera screen. So, there is no point there. But the good news is about the definition and the dynamic of the newest image sensors available which are the most important elements required for good to excellent picture quality.

Almost every modern digital compact (Interchangeable Lens System) camera models are including all the features to operate them from fully automated to a complete manual configuring set-up. Control dials and buttons as for the interface presentation may differ from one manufacturer to another but all basic functionalities are available plus many other additional special features that are offered by each specific system.

Stabilization optionality is now another almost obligatory basic feature asked by the potential users. More and more the newest models are incorporating the functionality inside the camera body providing the IBIS (In camera Body Image sensor Stabilization) variation. Many basic zoom or prime lenses are also giving an optical stabilization optionality, OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). Most of the newest camera model with IBIS will also work in conjunction with the OIS lenses. All these stabilization systems are trying to reduce the blurry effect generated by the photographer movements (shake).

In term of physical size of the compact ILS camera models, we have reached a certain standard. In fact, many people do prefer a little more larger camera body for ergonomic purposes mainly. Furthermore, they fully appreciate a larger back screen and a more usable viewfinder if available. Hand prehension and related space for fingers are other factors in favor to get a more traditional camera body dimension.

Compactness of the camera lenses is the other aspect to consider. The big lenses with very large maximum aperture praised by some professional photographers and more by certain advanced amateurs are not small optical units and combined with a compact camera body, these optics have a strong tendency to unbalance to say the least the whole set. Some manufacturers are doing a better job in offering an array of practical compact lenses (prime or zoom) that have a more flexible maximum aperture like F1.7, F1.8, F2, F2.4, F2.8.

If you are the kind of photographers who likes to strongly postprocessing your pictures or if you expect to print big enlargements, you may choose to get a larger image sensor size to maximize your final picture output quality. But for most of us, the MFT and APS-C sensor formats can fulfill the bill very nicely. Going in larger image sensor formats will cancel most of the compactness benefits and flexibility.

Compactness is still a big criterion for many photographers when it comes to select an equipment that will be use on a regular base. The photo equipment market is acknowledging this fact by proposing different camera and lens models that respond to that specific preoccupation. The future of compact photography is as always interesting and encouraging.

*** Compactness is a very subjective notion. On the extreme side, it will represent the smallest size possible to produce an operational camera device. But there are some physiological limits to be able to properly use a camera model with confort and confidence. Those limits are very personal. In my book, a camera viewfinder or a camera back viewing screen should be large enough to be able to judge roughly the accuracy of your photo composition and the sharpness of your subject. Control dials and buttons should be reachable and ajustable easily with a minimum of involuntary activation. But at the same time, the camera body-lens combination should be small and light enough to be brought all-day long in your hand or around your neck without fatigue. So it is still a question of compromise between handling and compact design.

03 novembre 2019

Panasonic Lumix GX9 (GX7 Mark III): the summation of recurrent ideas / la synthèse de la continuité

(La version française est présentée à la suite du texte anglais)

The summation of recurrent ideas

Handholding a camera can be a very deceptive experience and can give you that you think you have finally found one of the best photo device you ever have tried. Certainly it was my own impression regarding the late Panasonic Lumix GX8 which was a bigger package compared to the previous Lumix GX7 but was doted with a more secure grip and a new and more definite image sensor (20MP vs 16MP). So memories on the Lumix GX8 were pleasant especially if you compare with the Lumix GX85 (GX7 Mark II) smaller version and its reduced dimension and its less interesting image captor (again 16MP).

Many previous users of Lumix GX8 and even GX7 (Mark I) were badly surprised Panasonic have chosen to recycle the GX85 design concept to their newest GX9. Many early reviewers (if not almost all) were badly astonished by this choice from the manufacturer. So the Lumix GX9 (named elsewhere GX7 Mark III) has disappear from the reviewers radar on a fast pace. In my book on the search for compactness it  is a pity to simply ignore that new model Lumix GX9. If you consider the very nature of the M4/3 sensor format the Lumix GX9 rightly respond to that mandate in size and weight.

The Panasonic Lumix GX9 is a compact ILC in MFT sensor format as we were trilled to discover in the early years of that format. The conceptual idea to produce a very small photo device along with the appropriated lenses was without contest a very critical success although not so good commercially. But in some ways it has survived mainly with higher end models like the Lumix GX7 and GX8 or the Olympus Pen-F.  The Lumix GX9 is not obviously a SLR type camera with a centered viewfinder since it mimiques the "rangefinder" style with an off-center electronic viewfinder (EVF).  The swivel EVF option to the upper position allows the photographer to experiment a kind of chest level position that will give a more equilibrated point of view in helping to preserve the lateral and vertical straight lines. In some ways it refers to the older waist level viewfinders of the film era.

The Lumix GX9 is a compact camera but it has in own surprising weight that give more stability induced by the inertie phenomena. That can annoying for those who are looking for a very light pocket photo device which is not the case with the GX9. Furthermore in associating the Lumix GX9 with the Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS lens (a good optic in many ways) the combined package is relatively large in dimensions and partly destroy the compactness idea. For very discrete street or urban photography many will prefer to use a smaller lens such as the Lumix G 20mm F1.7 or the 25mm F1.7 or even the G Vario 12-32mm Mega OIS.

As usual Panasonic have designed a very classic interface presentation with almost all the function buttons and dials located on the right upper deck and rear side of the camera leaving main control on the right hand, your left palm hand serving as a stand under the taking lens and giving you a natural option to control your focusing ring and zoom cal range if available. Direct autofocus lever selector is a very handy feature as for the AE/AF locking button. Separate exposure correction dial is also a very appreciated option but the reel is located a bit far on the right upper edge of the camera body to an easy thumb control. Multi-fonction front and rear dials make easy selection of basic parameters such s shutter speed and aperture depending which exposure program you have chosen. The Panasonic Lumix GX9 offers you an infinity of configuration variations that allow a very deep personalization of the camera.

The viewfinder will give a good preview (but seems to be a bit too constraty) and the back screen definition is fine and will give you a nice appreciation of the scene and a good preview of the final image result. I didn't feel handicapped compare to a classic optical viewfinder. No lag impression are generated by panning the subject. It is true to say that EVF have come a long way their first technical interpretation a few years ago. They are now reliable tools for the photographer.

In  the camera body the small electronic flash is a fine addition to perform fill-in flash on the spot. Mixing available daylight and flash burst can be done with confidence once you master the different options of memorizing the ambiant and flash light exposures. As usual for that GX series you can add an external compact flash light in order to get greater output and have an independant battery flash power.

Taking pictures with the Panasonic Lumix GX9 is an easy task. The camera can stay on hand and be ready on the spot if necessary. You just have to remind you that the Lumix GX9 is not weather protected. In comparaison with the previous Lumix GX8 it is surely a deception. So you have to think  about securing the camera under fairly adverses picture taking conditions.  Is this point could be addressed in the next GX one digit itineration of the model? It has to be seen in the future.

The best definition that can suit the Panasonic Lumix GX9 is its summation of recurrent ideas that we have already seen on the previous GX Lumixes. Cost considerations forced Panasonic to drop beloved features like the weather sealing and may be a larger body size for a better handling. But this model is available at a price level similar today of the previous GX7 which was a very successful model in the recent past. For a reason of my now I have not found that the Lumix GX9 is such a strong departure from the GX85 but you have to consider its improved image sensor (20MP vs 16MP) but other than that the two models are similar in many ways.

Finally I have noticed that since a few months there is a kind of Panasonic Lumix GX9 renaissance partly du of the very early negative reviews which is funny and demonstrate the lack of distanciation of the more instant reviewers. Like they said: "Moderation have always better taste"

La synthèse de la continuité

Le Panasonic Lumix GX9 est un incompris pour certains photoblogistes qui anticipaient lors de sa présentation la reproduction d'un nouveau modèle Lumix "à la GX8" sur-vitaminé! En fait l'ancien Lumix GX8 était plutôt une sorte d'anomalie dans l'univers jusque là connu de la série GX par la plus grande dimension de son boitier  particulièrement si on le comparait à son prédécesseur, le GX7. Ce qui fut confirmé par Panasonic même dans la dénomination nippone du modèle GX85 / GX80 répondant au nom de GX7 Mark II sur le marché japonais. Et le Panasonic GX9 retrouve maintenant un format de boitier plus compact et discret.

On peut parler de véritable synthèse des différentes caractéristiques propres aux modèles GX antérieurs et récents à partir du GX7. Certes l'abandon de la caractéristique unique de la protection accrue contre les intempéries du GX8 (mais qui était absente de tous les autres anciens GX il faut le préciser) est peut-être l'élément le plus choquant de cette "évolution". Mais une fois avalée cette pilule un peu amère, le Panasonic Lumix GX9 reste un appareil tout à fait adéquat et moderne. Son apparence modeste, une signature récurrence des designs de Panasonic pour la série Lumix, est un atout sérieux pour le ou la photographe urbain(e), le ou la voyagiste ou encore les adeptes de la photographie spontanée de tout genre.

Le capteur MFT de 20 méga-pixels est maintenant un produit éprouvé sous plusieurs déclinaisons tant chez Panasonic qu'Olympus. La qualité d'image reconnue de ce capteur lui confère un rendement supérieur et son traitement post-prises de vues est très bien maitrisée. La colorimétrie embarquée est plaisante et tout à fait para-métrable au goût des utilisateurs s'ils le souhaitent. Les options monochromes noir & blanc sont riches et facilement accessibles de l'interface car comme à l'accoutumée, les boutons et rondelles de contrôle des différentes fonctionnalités du Lumix GX9 peuvent être reconfigurés au choix de son ou sa propriétaire. Il n'y a aucun doute à être en mesure de produire des fichiers d'images tout à fait utilisables et suffisamment détaillées pour le tirage d'art sur du papier d'impression spécialisé.

La tenue en main est celle d'un compact avec viseur décentré (à la rangefinder) qui est la résultante d'un compromis entre le petit format du boitier et l'accessibilité aux fonctionnalités du boitier. À ce propos il est inutile d'entamer un débat d'où il ressort que le choix logique du photographe d'action ou sportif serait plutôt un Lumix à viseur centré à la (D)SLR comme les G85 / G80, G9 ou GH5! C'est donc dans l'ordre des choses que la préhension du Lumix GX9 apparaisse minimaliste pour les tenants du design de type SLR. Il y a toujours un apprentissage à considérer dans la manipulation un boitier compact et le Lumix GX9 n'échappe pas à cette règle (Rappelons toutefois que le GX8 était une exception à cette règle compte tenu des dimensions accrues du boitier). L'étude de la poignée optionnelle DMW-HGR2 est intéressante mais rend l'accès au compartiment de la carte mémoire et de la pile plus difficile et son remodelage plus pratique serait bienvenue.

Le viseur électronique (EVF) du Panasonic Lumix GX9 reprend essentiellement les caractéristiques techniques de celui utilisé dans le modèle Lumix GX85 / GX80 avec cependant l'option du pivotement vers le haut comme chez les précédents Lumix GX7 et GX8. Cet option d'orientation peut simuler adéquatement les anciens viseurs-poitrines offerts pour certains modèles d'appareils reflex argentiques professionnels.  Ce viseur électronique génère une bonne qualité d'image avec un biais typique un peu contrasté pour un sujet au soleil à contre-jour. Son relief d'oeil est bien pour un usage à l'oeil nu mais peut paraitre étriqué pour un porteur de lunettes correctrices. L'écran-arrière ACL est également orientable vers le haut et le bas ce qui lui confère un avantage indéniable en reprographie, photo-macrographie et proxi-photographie. Les différentes touches et rondelles d'opération sont aisément accessibles mais compte tenu de leur proximité, le risque de mise en route involontaire est plus élevé que pour un appareil de plus grandes dimensions. L'interface est classiquement celui élaboré par Panasonic pour ses appareils photo numériques.

    Les inspirateurs
Lumix GX85 / GX80 / GX7 Mark II
Il est évident qu'à plusieurs points de vue le Lumix GX85 / GX80 a servi d'inspiration et de moule créatif pour le Lumix GX9. Cette parenté n'est pas pour autant réductrice si on considère que le GX85 / GX80 constituait comme un retour à l'esprit original sous-jacent du Lumix GX7 par ses dimensions et son flash intégré. Sur le terrain ces deux qualités sont spécialement appréciées par l'utilisateur discret, spontané et flexible.
Lumix GX7 original
Avec l'usage on peut apprécier également la présence d'un sélecteur de type de mise au point bien accessible, de la roulette des coefficients de correction d'exposition, du bouton d'activation de mémorisation d'exposition et de l'option du menu rapide (Quick Menu) entre
autres touches-fonctions. Le flash intégré permet de déboucher les ombres pour des sujets peu distancés. Il peut servir aussi d'unité de commande dans une combinaison de multi-flashes sans-fil.

Comme à l'accoutumée je ne traiterai pas des fonctionnalisés propres à un usage vidéo.

Avec le format plus réduit du Panasonic Lumix GX9 le choix d'une optique appropriée tant par son utilité propre que par sa capacité à se marier physiquement au boitier revêt une importance incontournable. Le manufacturier propose d'emblée l'objectif-zoom trans-standard Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 Power OIS, un choix judicieux de par sa versatilité, son faible poids (210g) et son tarif coupé. Évidemment toute autre optique au choix du photographe reste sa prérogative. Le Lumix GX9 s'harmonise très bien d'un objectif à focale fixe et les résultats obtenus avec cette combinaison sont souvent supérieurs à la moyenne et à ceux offerts par les objectifs-zoom sauf exception. Avec ses dimensions compactes, Panasonic pourrait nous proposer une combinaison appareil-objectif qui combinerait le Lumix GX9 avec le diminutif Lumix G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega OIS à l'exemple de son prédécesseur le Lumix GX85. Pourquoi le 12-60mm a-t-il été préféré? Peut-être en vertu de son design optique plus récent, de sa stabilisation plus efficace (Power OIS versus Mega OIS) et de sa plus grande amplitude de distances focales. Il se peut que l'exigence du capteur de 20MP soit un peu trop élevé pour l'ancien 12-32mm. À titre de comparaison personnelle j'ai brièvement équipé le Lumix GX9 de l'objectif G Vario 12-32mm F3.5-5.6 Mega Vario sans observer une chute spectaculaire de la qualité des images obtenues par rapport au 12-60mm. Peut-être ma copie du 12-32mm était exceptionnellement fabriquée!

Je m'en voudrais de ne pas vous suggérer quelques accessoires d'appoint comme une pile-accu supplémentaire (ou plus) indispensable pour l'usage prolongé de ce type d'appareil, un flash externe qui évite de taxer indument l'alimentation de l'appareil si vous avez une propension à utiliser fréquemment cet éclairage d'appoint et peut-être une poignée optionnelle si vous utilisez des objectifs de plus grandes dimensions et de poids plus élevé.

Comme la plupart des appareils photo numérique à viseur décentré, le Panasonic Lumix GX9 est beaucoup moins intimidant que ses collègues à viseur centré de type (D)SLR. Cette caractéristique rend beaucoup plus aisé la cohabitation du sujet avec le photographe. Même en cette ère d'égo-portraits en toute occasion, le contact entre l'auteur et son sujet reste complexe et exige toujours d'une relation de confiance minimale. Le Lumix GX9 répond bien à cette exigence de discrétion et de compétence demandée. Si vous l'associez avec un objectif "toute éventualité" comme les Lumix G 20mm ou 25mm F1.7 ou encore comme le petit téléobjectif Lumix G 42.5mm F1.7 Mega OIS, vous serez en mesure de réaliser de superbes images et de maintenir la spontanéité de votre sujet principal.

Le Panasonic Lumix GX9 n'est peut-être un appareil de poche mais c'est assurément un compact qui répond bien à la définition originale de faible encombrement du format MFT. En tout comme en particulier il s'avère un appareil photo numérique traditionnel compétent, versatile et complet. Plus encore c'est certainement un compagnon idéal mais discret pour la photographie au quotidien qui encourage l'impulsion créatrice de son utilisateur.

Tous mes remerciements à Panasonic Canada et à Yannick pour leur support et le prêt de ce nouveau modèle Lumix GX9.

P.s. Pas de panique!

On ne peut pas s'empêcher de spéculer des intentions d'autrui et de ce que nous réserve l'avenir. Ainsi il y a cette rumeur de l'abandon de produire des appareils MFT à objectifs interchangeables dont le tarif serait d'entrée et de moyenne gamme par Panasonic pour sa série Lumix. Bien sûr une telle perspective n'est pas souhaitable et le maintien de modèles plus abordables comme dans les séries GX et G nous garantie l'apport renouvelé de nouveaux adeptes du format. Mais il existe cette réalité d'un marché pour l'appareil photo numérique traditionnel en plein resserrement qui contribue à une psychose de l'extinction de l'espèce par la disparition des marques et fabricants certes toujours possible mais pas seulement lié à ce seul facteur. L'industrie de l'équipement photographique comme toute autre du domaine technologique a connu et connaitra toujours des évolutions et des mutations profondes de temps en temps, c'est écrit dans le ciel de notre monde matérialiste. Mais aujourd'hui ne diffère pas fondamentalement d'hier et qui put vraiment "prédire" l'avenir! - DM

02 novembre 2019

The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH: Versatility at your service! / L'objectif de poche

Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH.
(La version française est présentée à la suite du texte anglais)

The Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH: Versatility at your service!

We use to call it the "normal" lens in other (film or analog) ages. With an angle of view of 47 degree the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH is a small affordable gem that every photographer should have in his/her pocket or camera bag whatsoever it is. And mainly because it is a versatile focal fix lens that you can rely in almost every picture taking circonstances although it is not a perfect optic.

In Micro-Four-Third image sensor format (MFT), the 25mm focal length represent the lens that reproduce the subject at the same size we perceive it with our naked eye. And in saying that, it is easy to proclaim that this standard lens is a very predictive one. Moreover it offers a fairly large maximum aperture that can be very handy to use if you are facing dim light situations or you need an higher shutter speed or you want to get a better control over the deep of field of the scene. So in many ways, the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH is a good practical optical choice.

But not everything is perfect into the marvelous world of the 25mm lens. Many are critical of its too narrow angle of view for contextual shooting and others, on the contrary, complain about its inability of reaching the main subject or its inherent distortion for a close (face) portrait. Working with a fix focal length like the 25mm will ask a more intense effort of mobility on the part of the photographer. During my analog years of photography, the "normal" lens was perceive as the ultimate solution for difficult lowlight tasks or close action subjects and we had to be located near the subject accordingly. Today close subject picturing seems to be less frequent or even totally avoid, loosing in doing so many essential informative contact with the subject.

With a weight of 125g, the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH is a "sub-compact" lens, almost a "pancake" one, a size category that the manufacturers are neglecting in the last few years especially into the MFT format. Panasonic is furnishing a nice bayonet mount lens hood that prevent flare resulting of near front direct light sources. Its price selling point is negligible factor. The 25mm lens can be also a nice "photographic school type" optic tool that can be use very discretely.

Versatility is maybe the best way to describe and resume the Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH.

Une belle sélectivité du sujet à courte distance.
Le Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH. est une aubaine à tout point de vue. Son tarif très doux le rend accessible pour tout usager qui veut explorer le monde des objectifs à focales fixes. Son ouverture maximale de F1.7 est dans la bonne moyenne pour permettre un certain contrôle de la zone de netteté du sujet via le phénomène de profondeur de champs. Il est léger, discret et sa bague de mise au point élargie est pratique. Son pare-soleil dédié est inclus lors de l'achat, une saine habitude commerciale de la part de Panasonic. Avec un diamètre pour les filtres-accessoires de 46mm l'encombrement de cette optique de tous les jours demeure minimaliste.

C'est vrai qu'il fut un temps où l'objectif dit "normal" se retrouvait de facto couplé sur la plupart des appareils photographiques. Seule sa distance focale pouvait varier en s'harmonisant au format du film (argentique). Son angle de champs visuel correspondant en gros à notre zone de netteté quand nous observons une scène à l'oeil.

D'entrée de jeu je dois avouer que je ne suis certainement pas un grand fan des objectifs dits "normaux". Imposés par la tradition et par des motifs économiques j'ai toujours connu un certain nombre de frustrations reliées surtout à leur angle de champs visuel. Cependant je dois admettre que ces objectifs sont aussi des outils optiques très versatiles malgré leur distance focale fixée. Et en fait on peut affirmer que tous les objectifs normaux sont probablement la meilleure façon d'aborder le photographie traditionnelle. Ils font école et exigent du photographe un effort créatif dans sa prise de vues.

À qui s'adresse ce petit "normal" de la gamme des Panasonic Lumix G? À priori certainement aux aimants de la photo traditionnelle. Car en excluant les aides courantes des objectifs trans-standards comme la variable de la longueur focale ou encore la stabilisation optique intégrée, le Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH. propose au photographe l'apprentissage et la maitrise plus poussé des grands paramètres de la composition, de l'exposition (du capteur) et de la mise au point plus sélective (profondeur de champs). De plus sa discretion lié à son faible volume rend la combinaison appareil-objectif moins intimidante pour le sujet principale de l'image en particulier si l'on choisit un modèle à viseur décentré, style rangefinder. Par ailleurs ce 25mm F1.7 jouit d'une flexibilité étendue sur le choix des sujets, des compositions, des styles de photographie pour peu que son utilisateur fait preuve  d'une mobilité minimale.

Une des caractéristiques que j'ai vraiment apprécié à propos du Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH. est sa grande facilité de mise au point en toutes circonstances mais plus encore en faible éclairage et pour un sujet à très courte distance. La réactivité accrue induite sur l'appareil photo utilisé est remarquable et est peut-être la conséquence de la combinaison d'une focale fixe et d'une plus grande ouverture maximale de l'objectif par rapport aux habituels zooms trans-standards et téléobjectifs.

La qualité des images résultantes du Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH. se retrouve dans la bonne moyenne pour un objectif de format MFT. L'ouverture maximale de F1.7 n'est sûrement pas un handicap et pour être employée librement pour un meilleure contrôle de la zone de netteté du sujet principal de l'image. Panasonic offre le modèle Leica DG Summilux 25mm F1.4 ASPH qui a l'avantage marginal d'une plus grande ouverture maximale dans une dimension-poids similaire mais avec un tarif multiplié par trois! Une intéressante comparaison entre ces deux objectifs est disponible sur ce site Internet.

Le Panasonic Lumix G 25mm F1.7 ASPH. est une objectif très discret tant esthétiquement que mécaniquement. Il s'harmonise bien avec l'esprit des autres produits MFT de Panasonic qui privilégie la sobriété dans l'efficacité. Compte tenu de son tarif réduit et de sa polyvalence il peut être une addition facile et appréciée dans un ensemble photographique.

01 novembre 2019

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS: the portable reach optic./ Le zoom téléobjectif compact

(La version française est présentée à la suite du texte en anglais)

The Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS: the portable reach optic.

When I am thinking about the Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS zoom lens, it kept remember me the classic Nikkor 105mm F2.5 AIS short tele photo lens maybe because of the Lumix small size (52mm filter accessory diameter) and also because of its focal length range that is ideal for many portrait type subjects.

Sure the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II has a fairly small maximum aperture that can be an handicap for a shallow deep-of-field exigence but using it at tits longer focal length available should solved partly the problem. My always question in these situations: Do I need to completely blurry my back/foreground to have an interesting composition? Lets say sometimes, yes but in other circonstances you may prefer to maintain a certain contextually in your picture. So lets put the shallow deep-of-field controversy aside to better concentrate on the other aspects of this Lumix G Vario telephoto zoom lens.

Giving the magnification of the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm II OIS, the presence of the internal optical image stabilization (Power OIS) is an almost indispensable feature for doing handheld picture taking. And having dual image stabilization (in camera body (IBIS) + lens (OIS)) is even better and translate to better image results with less photographer involuntary shaky induced blur. The presence of an OIS On/Off switch on the side of the lens is also a nice feature if you intend to use the Lumix G Vario  45-200mm II OIS on a tripod.

"Made in Japan" is a rare sighting in that price range of lenses. And it will nourish the commun rumors about where this lens has been really produced. In saying so, we must add that the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS is very nicely constructed in solid polycarbonate material. The zoom (focal length) and the focusing control rings are smooth and offer sufficient resistance to prevent inadvertently movements. The front filter accessory ring diameter is only 52mm making access to a large and inexpensive variety of accessories. The big lens hood is included with the lens, an always appreciated manufacturer habit. Finally the lens is weather resistant (WR) which a very strong feature for photographers that are working in the outside adverse conditions of this world.

If you privilege telephoto subject versatility, the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm II OIS may be the perfect zoom lens to carry along and use it handholding. Its very modest maximum aperture is rightly compensated by its smaller size and its low weight. Combined with a compact camera body model, the handy optic stay discrete (without the hood!) especially considering its strong magnification range variation.

The Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 II Power OIS tripod mounted. You may have noticed the use of an
Arca -Swiss type plateau that cover not only the bottom of the camera body but also a slight part of the
telephoto zoom lens rear bottom giving some additional stabilisation without stressing over the camera.
As a rule of thumb for using an high magnification optic, you need to select a higher shutter speed to decrease the blurriness generated by holding the camera or simply from the vibration on a stand point of view (tripod, monopod, bean bag, etc). At 200mm you will face an eight time magnification which is high compare to a standard lens (25mm for the MFT image sensor format). At this point a shutter speed of 1/500 sec or better may be recommended even when the dual image stabilization system is enable. And we are not speaking about a moving subject. In that specific case you may have to counteract the relative subject movement by following it (panning).

You can improve your image quality by closing the aperture (F-stop) of your lens until you reach the  diffraction limit of it. In the case of the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm II Power OIS, the sweet spot appears to be around F 5.6-8 and may be F11. To do that you will have to select a slower shutter speed or an higher ISO and be aware about blurriness (Shutter Speed) or image quality decrease (high ISO). Sunny daylight will allow plenty of room to do it but in lowlight conditions the exercice will be much more difficult to get a right and satisfactory compromise.

Photo rejects are often and traditionally higher when you are using a telephoto lens. Sure a faster lens with a maximum aperture of F2.8 or better will help you but with the expense of a bigger size and weight optic that have also noticeably an higher price point. For an occasional or seasonally use, it may seems excessive to your budget. An easy solution is to preset a custom mode on your camera body (if available) for the exclusive use of a telephoto lens.

Telephotos are difficult lenses to master with instant continuous success. There are not snappy optics to use but for many of us, we are tempted to use them that way and ... it's human nature!  So the final results can be deceptive at a point we have the tendency to unqualified many good lens on the base of our own disability to use them properly. It is a pity and the result of this attitude is that many photographers have a tendency to not use them anymore.

In short, the Lumix G Vario 45-200mm II Power OIS zoom lens may be the best compromise for photographers who are looking for a good "reach" telephoto lens into a very small package (as for the selling price too!). The lens is well built and is performing very decently. Don't prevent yourself to adopt one.

Le Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4.0-5.6 II Power OIS est peut-être le meilleur alter ego en mode téléobjectif de l'optique trans-standard Lumix G Vario 12-60mm F3.5-5.6 OIS. Polyvalent, compact, résistant aux intempéries, la deuxième version de ce zoom peut répondre aux exigences normales propres à la photographie discriminante du sujet versus son environnement. Malgré une très modeste ouverture maximale son grossissement accru de 8X par rapport à la vision humaine peut permettre une plus faible profondeur de champs qui isole le sujet principal.

Ce Panasonic 45-200mm est souvent perçu comme un enfant pauvre optiquement parlant surtout si l'on le compare avec ses grands frères de série dite professionnelle. Bien sûr sa modeste ouverture maximale variable est un sérieux handicap pour la photo d'action et plus encore en faible lumière ambiante. Mais est-ce pour autant mission impossible pour ce diminutif de la série Panasonic Lumix G? Le défi est intéressant mais pour autant pas si inaccessible qu'il n'y parait si on s'applique à bien contrôler ses paramètres de prise de vues et qu'on appréhende bien son sujet. Avec un tel objectif la chance de réaliser sans préparation une photo spontanée parfaite reste souvent aléatoire quoique toujours possible. Il y a donc un mérite à réussir dans cette perspective.

Un des avantages d'utiliser un longue focale demeure sa grande capacité d'isoler le sujet et d'écraser la perspective offerte dans le viseur du photographe. L'oeil humain fait inconsciemment cet exercice quand il veut privilégier son attention sur un détail extrait de son champs visuel total. Avec une focale  variable comme le 45-200mm le choix plus pointu du cadrage devient un atout indéniable à exploiter une fois que l'utilisateur a trouvé sa position optimale compte tenu du contexte de prise de vues. Il n'en tient qu'à l'opérateur de bien exploiter les possibilités d'une telle optique.

Avec son système embarqué de stabilisation optique le Lumix G Vario 45-200mm II compense en partie sa faiblesse d'une ouverture maximale limitée. Il faut quand porter une attention particulière sur le maintien de l'objectif dans un contexte de faible luminosité et en utilisant un temps de pose plus long. Reste le choix de réaliser volontairement une image qui illustre bien le flou généré par le mouvement du sujet ou par le déplacement dans son environnement par panning. En photo d'action les choix sont vastes si l'on laisse filer son imagination pour recréer des interprétations originales d'une situation. La rectitude de la photo stéréotype du sujet manque souvent d'impact et devient qu'une image générique et répétitive. À vous d'expérimenter et c'est que l'usage du Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F3.5-5.6 II vous propose.

La prise en main du Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F3.5-5.6 II Power OIS est confortable et les bagues de sélection de la longueur focale et de la mise au point sont facilement identifiable. La course de la bague d'ajustement du point focal (focus) m'apparait trop longue et un peu décalée pour la photographie d'action et l'on doit plutôt s'appuyer sur les différentes options disponibles à la mise au point automatique pour mieux performer dans ce domaine. Si le mouvement est suffisamment fluide, la plupart des appareils MFT de moyenne et grande gamme pourront suffire à la tâche. Évidemment l'absence de collet rotatif pour une prise trépied/monopod optionnel peut décevoir les photographes d'action ou de sport. En outre la grande distance minimale de mise au point peut être gênante en photo de proximité élevée tout en restant suffisante pour le portrait cependant. Avec un zoom téléobjectif de cette nature il est préférable de le coupler avec un appareil numérique dont le viseur est centré (type SLR) pour assurer un meilleur suivi du sujet entre autres mais cela n'exclut pas de le combiner avec un modèle à viseur décentré (type rangefinder) au choix de l'utilisateur. L'objectif est fourni avec son pare-soleil dédié réversible pour le rangement et on peut y monter des filtres-accessoires de 52mm, une option économique. Un interrupteur d'activation ou non du stabilisateur de l'objectif est présent et utile pour un usage sur trépied.

Dans les quelques exemples accompagnateurs cet article, j'ai voulu montrer la versatilité du Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F3.5-5.6 II Power OIS face à différentes situations de prises de vues. En utilisant un ISO plus élevé vous parviendrez à produire des résultats satisfaisants répondant aux exigences de la publication virtuelle ou électronique. Je fus même surpris de pouvoir pousser ce 45-200mm dans ses derniers retranchements et plus exactement vers la plus grande distance focale de 200mm sans éprouver de perte sensible de qualité d'image. Évidemment une analyse "à la loupe" pourrait peut-être donner une impression différente mais je préfère juger une image sur son impact, son histoire implicite et sa pérennité.

Comment conclure sinon que ce Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F3.5-5.6 II Power OIS a su me séduire malgré toutes les préventions qu'il semblait susciter dans cet univers Internet auprès des reviewers professionnels. Il est efficace et trouve son utilité dans sa grande latitude focale pour un zoom téléobjectif. Ses relatives compacité et pesanteur pour de telles distances focales le rend pratique à transporter avec soi.