Richie Campbell

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O Verão passou tão rapidamente na Chappa que só percebemos o seu declínio (!) quando esta vaga de frio nos fez lembrar a chegada do Inverno. Foi um Verão tão intenso que fomos obrigados a esquecer as redes sociais quase por completo, trabalhámos arduamente em diversos projectos em seis municípios, produzimos algumas centenas de (boas) fotografias a partir de milhares de ficheiros e gravámos horas e horas de footage em C4K e em 4K. Estamos a pós-produzir alguns dos projectos que abraçámos este Verão.

_8170702Indubitavelmente o ensaio sobre a Feira de São Mateus, edição 626, foi um dos mais estimulantes. Desde a montagem até à desmontagem seguimos os personagens e acontecimentos na rainha de todas as feiras.

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Ficam algumas fotografias de um dos concertos mais memoráveis deste ano – Richie Campbell – um dos mais difíceis de fotografar, sem dúvida, pelo “constante e frenético movimento de todos os músicos em palco”…

Todas as imagens produzidas com Olympus E-M1 Mark II e objectivas M. Zuiko PRO. ISO entre 1600 e 12000. ACR and Photoshop to taste.

John Gallo é Senior Consultant e Professional Trainer da Olympus

© Viseu Marca/Chappa 2018

 

Mythbusters… Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II at ISO 20000… And fine bokeh…

_4250403-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @110mm (35mm equiv. 220mm). 1/80s@f2.8 ISO 20000, handheld.

One of these days I was asked if I was using Olympus professionally, if Olympus was my gear on the field. “Yes” I replied. Unfortunately some minds are still full of misconceptions and prejudice, stuck in a Canikon world where size, weight, noise and backache were synonyms to professional photography.  The pictures published today reflect the extreme quality, sheer performance and reliability of the Olympus Micro Four Thirds system. Image quality is second to none – in extreme situations, this is what this article is about – image stabilization (IBIS) is probably the best one can have and although there is the myth (another one) that with Micro Four Thirds it is not possible to have bokeh “layers” in any given photograph, these images prove otherwise.

_4250387-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @150mm (35mm equiv. 300mm). 1/160s@f2.8 ISO 20000, handheld.

Yes, all facts and distances, aperture and focal length being the same a smaller sensor will produce images with more depth of field. But how much more? For an image produced with a short telephoto lens (85mm FF equivalent), with the subject standing 2,5m away from the lens and background at a distance of 5,9m from the lens, Full Frame cameras will have a total of 6.8 centimeters of DOF, while APS-C will have 8.9 centimeters and Micro Four Thirds will have 10.6 centimeters. Peanuts, I dare say. Comprehensively, rendering is quite different. And bokeh “layers” will be rendered differently by any of aforementioned systems. Do you know how different they will look from each other? Do you know which one is softer/more or less feathered/more or less pleasant in any given scenario? No, you do not, neither do I, because the variables are so many that one cannot anticipate a specific result.

_4250286-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @150mm (35mm equiv. 300mm). 1/320s@f2.8 ISO 8000, handheld.

Micro Four Thirds systems offer what any other system cannot offer: considerable size and weight reduction, in a system capable of performing at a true professional level. Olympus cameras are absolutely remarkable – I believe that Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II is a true benchmark, a beast regarding performance, build quality, reliability, with resources and functions to spare, infinitely configurable to taste and capable of pleasing anyone looking for a truly professional camera. Olympus Pen-F is one the most, if not the most beautiful camera available on the market today. And yes, it is also a beast.

_4250166-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @85mm (35mm equiv. 170mm). 1/160s@f2.8 ISO 3200, handheld.

M.Zuiko Digital lenses, PRO and Premium range deliver stunning performance – Olympus has a very strong reputation regarding lens quality and this new collection, developed for the Micro Four Thirds system is outstanding. Looking carefully at some of the images published here easily we get to conclusions: at full aperture, extremely high ISO, resolution (MTF) is outstanding in the center and extremely good if not extraordinary towards the edges. Some of Olympus’ lenses so sharp that you’ll be hard pressed to see any difference in sharpness across the frame between f/2.8 and f/11 (https://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-m-zuiko-digital-75mm-f-1-8-lens-review-20557#Performance)

_4250361-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @142mm (35mm equiv. 284mm). 1/250s@f2.8 ISO 8000, handheld.

_4250450-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @40mm (35mm equiv. 80mm). 1/160s@f2.8 ISO 20000, handheld.

I use this zoom (M.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO) extensively, not only because of the covered focal length range (35mm equiv. 80-300mm) being very, very useful, but also because of outstanding optical quality.  The Olympus 40-150mm lens is not only stunningly sharp by zoom lens standards, but also sharp by prime lens standards. And this is wide open at ƒ/2.8 at practically every other focal length. Corner-to-corner sharpness is also tremendously good, with almost no change in sharpness from center softness at every focal length. The blur characteristics are very flat. For all intents and purposes, this lens is sharp, everywhere, all the time from ƒ/2.8 to around ƒ/11-ƒ/16, where we see minor diffraction softness coming into play (https://www.imaging-resource.com/lenses/olympus/40-150mm-f2.8-pro-m.zuiko-digital-ed/review/)

And this is one of the biggest, although many times forgotten, advantages of Micro Four Thirds – given the size of the sensor light gets to the the extreme corners of the CMOS almost perpendicularly, as opposed to full frame cameras (specially DSLR’s) where light reaches the corners of the sensor with much less perpendicularity, therefore resulting in much less possible resolution in the image’ borders, and in the corners/extreme corners of the photograph. The practicality of this? I can compose and frame as I want, without having in mind that bigger apertures mean less resolution as a rule of thumb, or that “cornering” my subject will affect tremendously the resolution and the quality of the final image and therefore perception viewers have when they see my work in any given media, especially when enlarged significantly for exhibition. My artistic expression is not fenced by technical shortcomings.

_4250224-2-copiarM.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO @150mm (35mm equiv. 30mm). 1/200s@f2.8 ISO 8000, handheld.

To be continued (…)

 

All images Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II, Olympus M.Zuiko Digital 40-150mm f2.8 PRO. RAW (ORF) files ACR converted and Photoshop CC 2018 to taste.

 

Review of the Profoto A1 – The Future in Mobile Flash? By Tina Eisen, Lens Rentals blog

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A couple of months ago I got my hands on the newest addition to the Profoto family, the Profoto A1. The first on-camera flash of the Swedish brand, which can be doubled up as an off-camera flash and as an air remote with built-in TTL for triggering additional A1 units, as well as the other models of the Profoto universe.

As one could imagine, this announcement came as a surprise to many, as Profoto is known for creating premium studio strobes, particularly their Pro Pack systems, which outclass (and out price) much of the competition.

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Being 99% studio photographer, I had my reservations. A speedlight? Oh, no way, speedlights make everything look so artificial! But then, Profoto is known for their superb quality of light, so I might just give it a shot in the hope to have my prejudice proven wrong.

More here:https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2017/11/review-of-the-profoto-a1-the-future-in-mobile-flash/

Weather sealed does not mean waterproof, Richard Butler (DP Review)

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It shouldn’t need saying, but weather resistant, weather sealed and environmentally sealed do not mean waterproof. A cursory glance at your warranty should make this clear: no matter how good a reputation your brand has, if it isn’t covered by the warranty, you’re in ‘at your own risk’ territory.

Roger Cicala’s latest blog post over at Lens Rentals shows the damage that can occur when a nominally weather sealed camera gets wet—both the damage and the detective work made clearer by the fact that this particular camera took a dip in salt water. Cicala follows the path of the corrosion throughout the camera and explains why an encounter with seawater may render your camera not just non-functioning, but completely irreparable.

As is so often the case with Cicala’s ‘big picture’ blog posts, don’t get too hung up on the specific model he’s dissecting. As he points out in the comments, he’s written off some of every brand from salt-water damage.

Check out some of the pictures from this particularly painful teardown at the top, and then click the big blue button below to see the full post on Lens Rentals.

Keep reading here: https://www.dpreview.com/news/4176919219/this-is-what-happens-when-a-weather-sealed-camera-takes-a-dip-in-salt-water

 

 

The real price – Fujifilm GFX 50S

Plenty has been said about the price of the new medium-format camera from Fujifilm. More often than not comments are something like “fabulous piece of kit, uncanny image rendition and quality, unbelievable sharpness and detail, the minus being the price”. I’m not a medium format user, although I used to be back in the days of heavy studio work ten or twelve years ago, therefore I’m pretty much unbiased regarding this subject… I’m not buying one, period – I do not need one.

Nevertheless, I’m a bit fed up with these comments on Fuji’s price; they seem to come from people completely, utterly unaware of market prices for all competitors the new Fujifilm GFX 50s will face in a month. Have a look here and let me know if price is an advantage or a disadvantage for the Fujifilm brand new camera. Facts are facts and if price is an absolute characteristic of a given product, then Fujifilm’s price is the lowest, therefore a plus.

But in commerce or marketing price is determined by what a buyer is willing to pay, a seller is willing to accept, and the competition is allowing to be charged. With product, promotion, and place of marketing mix, it is one of the business variables over which organizations can exercise some degree of control.

In essence, price can be defined like a value that will purchase a finite quantity, weight, or other measure of a good or service – so, with the same amount of a finite value what other equivalent good will you buy? None, no other camera with similar characteristics and performance costs the same, not even close.

Price is one of the best features of the Fujifilm GFX 50s.

Stop the nonsense, open you eyes and get real.

The ultimate Fujifilm X Series Lenses comparison

Fujinon XF 16-55mm f2.8 R LM WR versus four Fujinon primes: 16mm f1.4, 23mm f1.4, 35mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2

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We all know the commitment Fujifilm has to provide the best lenses one can have. We also know, as a rule of thumb, that zooms are for versatility and primes for optical quality and image rendering, but how significant is the difference? What are we losing when the option is to use a zoom lens instead of prime lenses? And, when it comes to the most relevant focal lengths what would we do if we could try and test the trans-standard option against prime glass? Based on lab and field tests I will try to provide some answers.

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I’ve been using Fujifilm X Series since 2012, exclusively since 2014. I have had and used pretty much everything they’ve launched, from the X-Pro1 to the X-Pro2 and I’m quite familiar with the system; I use Fujifilm for everything I do and yes, I do make a living behind a camera – http://www.johngallo.co.uk

Fuji is now offering three trans-standard zooms: the entry-level XC 16-55mm , the XF 18-55mm and the premium Red Badge XF 16-55mm f2.8. The line-up is completed by the XF 18-135 f3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, although this lens is a bit beyond what a trans-standard zoom in essence is. All of them have pros and cons, like everything in life. Although I’m a user of both XF lenses, the 18-55mm and the 16-55mm, this article will focus on the Red Badge zoom when compared with the more expensive primes covering the same focal range in the Fujinon lineup, the 16mm, the 23mm, the 35mm all f1.4 and the 56mm f1.2 (regular version, no apodization filter).

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On the one hand we all know that versatility is the best attribute of a zoom lens – on the other hand we also know that nothing will get closer to prime lenses regarding optical quality.
On the money side of things a fraction of the required investment to buy four primes brings home a nice and neat zoom, covering the exact same focal range. Weight? Practicableness? Another easy win for the trans-standard zoom.

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But when it comes to maximum aperture and the ability to really work depth of field as a relevant characteristic of your photography and/or to use available light to get the image you need in difficult conditions there is nothing like prime lenses. Sharpness? There is little a zoom can do here… It is what they say, isn’t it?

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The Imatest stuff

There is no but when it comes to absolute figures: relevant lab data will enlight us, right? The average maximum aperture of the primes is f1.35, let’s round it up to f1.4. The gap is two stops, so whatever you find yourself doing the zoom will force you to use a higher ISO setting to keep shutter speed. Say, at ISO 1600 and 1/60 @ f1.4 in any of the primes you will have to use ISO 6400 @ f2.8 with the zoom, which will result in added noise. Or 1/15 shutter speed to keep ISO at 1600. This particular zoom doesn’t have optical stabilisation therefore slower shutter speeds may be a problem and blur is likely to occur.

But what is the resolution of the prime lenses and of the Red Badge zoom at full aperture? The relevance of the question is enormous: when using these four primes at full aperture you will be losing roughly 15 to 25% resolution (sharpness, MTF) when compared to the zoom resolution at full aperture (centre of the frame). This is a lot. It is a trade-off: as the aperture increases the resolution diminishes. Your option, either faster shutter speeds and less noise with primes or increased sharpness using the zoom lens according to the MTF chart. Nevertheless, motion blur contributes to a general perception of less sharpness as well as increased noise does. Difficult? Sometimes life sucks. By the way, do not forget the reciprocal rule and be aware that the smaller the sensor the more conservative you have to be when applying the rule. A monopod or a tripod may help… depending on the subject you’re portraying.

Vignetting

The primes are “merged” into just one lens for the sake of simplification; the resulting figure is the average of all four lenses combined, against average values of the zoom lens across the available focal range.

16-55mm average across all focal lenghts at full aperture (f2.8): 0.53EV

Primes average, all combined at f2.8: 0.39EV

At f4.0, zoom 0.35EV, primes 0.32EV

The trans-standard lens seems to put up a very good fight here, specially due to the fact that at f2.8 it is at full aperture, unlike the primes.

Distortion

Same criteria as above.

16-55mm trans-standard average across al focal lengths: 2,71% barrel

Four primes average: -0.6% pincushion

Needless to emphasize the advantage of the XF primes here…

Chromatic aberrations

Yes, you got it, same criteria.

16-55mm trans-standard: 0.91 pixel

Four primes: 0.31 pixel

Again, primes are much better taming chromatic aberrations. Make no mistake here.

Resolution

The chart below needs little if any explanation; it is absolutely clear and unmistakable. The higher the number, the better. Zoom lens data always before the prime counterpart data; highlighted in green the best at the given focal length/aperture/centre, border or extreme of the frame.

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The above array of numbers also establishes a hierarchy within the prime lenses, regarding resolution and resolution only. The champion here is the Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4, followed by the 56mm f1.2mm; then in third place we find the 16mm f1.4 and finally the 35mm f1.4 – Fuji, when are you going to replace this lovely but dated piece of glass by a much more substantial 33mm f1.0 with LM and WR? In doing so you would also be making a statement, a very good one by the way… Looking forward to it…

To conclude this boring data stuff I have to say that at 16mm the trans-standard zoom has 5.6% barrel distortion with the other extreme (55mm) having 2.4% pincushion distortion. Both values are too high to ignore, specially when one takes into account the weight, size and price of this Red Badge lens. The 24-70mm f2.8 USM L II from Canon (full frame) has 2.8% and 1.3% respectively, nearly just half… Nikon’s equivalent Nikkor lens has 3% barrel distortion at 24mm and just 0.5% pincushion at 70mm.

Canon EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 USM IS for Canon APS-C cameras has 2% barrel and 1.15% pincushion distortion at the wide and tele ends of the zoom, respectively and this is not an L-Series lens. Nikkor equivalent for their range of APS-C cameras (G Series though) has 2.18% barrel distortion at 17mm and 0.87% pincushion at 55mm.

Regarding resolution the Fujinon is better than any of the two APS-C lenses from Canon or Nikon which is absolutely expectable: it is a much more recent piece of kit, therefore distortion should have been on par, not under engineered.

Fujifilm’s other option, the XF18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS, has 4.6% barrel distortion at 18mm – not brilliant either although better, but only 0.78% pincushion at 55mm. Overall, the 18-55 has less resolution in the centre of the frame but is surely much better in the border and extremes of the frame. Sure, Fujifilm’s firmware corrects in camera these issues, but the final result is always worse than what it could have been if lens design was better regarding distortion. After all, auto-correction is a lossy procedure and the price we’re paying for this Red Badge stuff raises higher expectations… Fujifilm released firmware version 1.12 for the Red Badge zoom lens improving chromatic aberration correction.

Out on the streets

OK, enough of this lab wording and let’s go out to the field, press the shutter button and notice the differences between these lenses.

All photographs have been taken with an X-Pro2 body, carbon fibre tripod and remote trigger.

I have taken a set of four pictures with the trans-standard lens at four different focal lengths: 16, 23, 35 and 55mm, at f2.8, f4, f5.6 and f8 respectively. Then I did the same using the matching set of primes. The following photograph is only for illustration purposes (Fujinon XF35mm f1.4 R@f8). A set of 32 high-resolution pictures is available for download here – 6000 x 4000 dpi, ISO 200, Tiff files, straight ACR RAW conversion, no filters applied. Note, they are all (in camera) corrected RAW’s.

35-8-example

If you want to get to know how each one of these lenses performs at different apertures in the real world feel free to download the files, open them and fiddle with it. This is the real thing. Files are named in a simple way: focal length, aperture.

I did spend a lot of time carefully comparing them and I have to say that lab figures are correct for the majority of the images/comparison at hand. Indeed, the trans-standard zoom is far from brilliant in the border and extreme of the frame, being easily surpassed by the prime lenses. Have a look yourself – this may be an issue for some users and completely negligible to others – it really depends on what type of photography you do, your personal style, how often you use lenses at their maximum aperture and how important resolution is when trade-off is versatility. At 16 and 23mm the Red Badge zoom performs extremely well in the centre, at 35mm performance is very good in centre as well. At 55mm performance is not that good, although acceptable. Border and extreme of the frame are the Achilles heel of this Red Badge lens. When compared to the XF 18-55mm at 55mm the cheaper trans-standard is globally better resolution wise than the “pro” lens. I dare say, based on my experience as a professional photographer relying on Fuji X Series gear to make a living, that the logical, balanced option is to buy the XF 18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS (not weather sealed) instead of the higher-priced, heavier 16-55mm Red Badge trans-standard (weather sealed).

fujifilm_18-55ois

If all the other features of prime lenses are pivotal for you, then do not hesitate, buy the set of prime lens on show, they will outperform any trans-standard zoom lenses one can dream about, except for versatility and weight – weight that you’ll add to your bag and remove from your bank account. The full set of primes tested here amount to more than £2600.00 (UK, January 2017) which is a lot of money by any standards. Furthermore, if rain, dust and freezing conditions are your playground, only the 16mm f1.4 is weather sealed: all the other primes tested here aren’t.

In short, pros of the XF 16-55mm f2.8 Red Badge trans-standard zoom:

  • Very good to excellent resolution in the center of the frame
  • Weather sealed
  • Outstanding build quality
  • Constant aperture throughout the entire zoom range
  • Easy and smooth to operate; everything has a firm, pleasant look and touch
  • Controlled vignetting, even wide open
  • Versatility, it can cover an extreme wide range of subjects, in almost every environment and situation

Cons:

  • Price, given the optical performance in the border and extremes of frame
  • Weight and size, given the optical performance in the border and extremes of frame
  • Optical performance at the borders and extreme of the frame, specially from 35mm onwards and from f4 onwards
  • Distortion at 16mm and 55mm – unacceptable at this level of pricing; this is Fujinon’s reference trans-standard zoom for the X series cameras

If you can live without weather sealing you’d be better off buying the Fujinon XF18-55mm f2.8-4 R LM OIS trans-standard; with the addition of image stabilization, better resolution in the borders and extreme of the frame, lighter, smaller and around 30% cheaper it is a no brainer: a very solid performer with the right size and balance for the X series cameras.

For the real thing when it comes to speed, image quality, extremely controlled distortion, CA’s and vignetting, think about at least these three primes: 16mm, 23mm and 56mm. They are the ultimate photographic tool for those that do not need versatility and are not willing to compromise on image quality, bookeh and depth of field as a composition tool. Remember though, only the 16mm is weather sealed…

The 35mm is getting out of date – slower focus, noisy, no WR – optical performance should be better, specially if you think of this lens as THE lens to have in any system, given the focal length (roughly 50mm full frame equivalent). Fuji?

John Gallo, January 2017

 

Links:

Set of 32 high-resolution Tiff test images (1,40GB download)

John Gallo’s website

John Gallo’s bio

Chappa

Fujifilm Europe

Fujifilm Portugal

Imatest

Fuji Rumors