Saturday, 27 September 2014

Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8: Expensive, but fantastic

The long f/2.8 zoom is a standard part in a pro photographer's lineup. Back in the time of the film SLRs, these lenses were typically around 70-200mm f/2.8. With the 2x crop factor of the Micro Four Thirds format, the corresponding focal length range becomes 35-100mm, and Panasonic have conformed to the tradition here.

Here is the Lumix X 35-100mm f/2.8 (left) seen together with the Pentax version of the same lens type, the Pentax DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 (right):

As you can see, the Lumix lens is much smaller, due to the larger crop factor of the Four Thirds sensor, compared with the APS-C sensor size the Pentax lens is designed for. The Lumix lens is also remarkably light for a lens of this type.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Six years of Micro Four Thirds

On September 12th, 2008, the Panasonic Lumix G1 was announced, the very first Micro Four Thirds camera. It was a true revolution in photography: A compact system camera with very photography oriented ergonomy and functions: A good EVF, tiltable LCD, a rugged body with an easy to grip surface. The autofocus was surprisingly fast, even if AF-C was not very useful. It had one strange omission, there was no video mode.

Even though it was paired with what is widely seen as a fantastic kit zoom lens, the camera was pretty much ignored.

It was not until Olympus launched the E-P1, with a retro styled, metal clad body, that the interest in M4/3 took off. Even if the E-P1 was inferior to the Lumix G1 in terms of usability and functions, in my opinion, and it was paired with an inferior lens.

Here are some highlights from the last six years:

Monday, 15 September 2014

Product news

These are exciting times, with a lot of product announcements in relation to the Fotokina trade show. Here is a short summary:

Lumix G 35-100mm f/4-5.6

This lens is designed to match the Lumix GM1 and GM5 camera, both in terms of styling and size.

It is expected to cost US$400. But it will probably be primarily sold in twin lens kits with the new GM5 camera.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Worse image quality with electronic shutter?

Recently, an interesting Panasonic sensor data sheet came up. It is believed to describe the sensor sitting in, e.g., the Lumix GX7 and GM1.

The data sheet says that there are two options for electronic shutter readout: 12 bits in 1/15s and 10 bits in 1/22.5s. It has been demonstrated that the Lumix GX7 has a readout speed of 1/15s, and I have measured the speed of the electronic shutter in the GM1 to around 1/25s.

Do recent Panasonic cameras use the faster 10 bit readout, and is it affecting the image quality when using the electronic shutter mode?

To test this, I have taken the same picture using the Lumix GH3, Lumix GH4 and Lumix GM1, all using both the mechanical and electronic shutter modes. The photos were underexposed by two stops, to make the rendering of the shadows more challenging.