Art line prime lens lineup for full-frame cameras with L-Mount
A joy to get a sneak peek at three of the newly announced Sigma L-Mount Art lenses and also the hotly awaited mount adapter. The samples were in large non working prototypes, but they gave a really good idea of weight, finish and handling.
My already huge fondness of the Lumix S1 and S1R took another leap upwards after initially hearing of the launch lineup, but having seen the quality of these lenses, I’m confident the future of the L Mount, with the L Mount Alliance (Leica, Lumix and Sigma), is going to be very bright indeed (as well as being pin sharp, with great tonal rendition!).
Very much looking forward to the Photography Show this year, which is on from March 16th to the 19th at the NEC in Birmingham.
I’m thrilled to be celebrating my 30th year as a photographer at the show, by sharing some images and thoughts, at my talk about my career, generously, supported by Lumix.
“30 years of photography; photojournalism and beyond”, Behind The Lens Theatre, 19 Mar 2019, 13:00-13:40. Edmond Terakopian shares images and stories from his 30-year career as a photographer, covering photojournalism, commercial photography and his passion for observing daily life with his street photography.
I’m also looking forward to sharing some photographs and thoughts on the Panasonic Lumix G9, which has helped me win several awards over the year, and show my work shot on the newly launched, full-frame, phenomenal S1 and S1R. I’ve had the pleasure to work with the S Series since the beginning of the year, so was one of the first wave of professional photographers from around the world to receive a prototype S1 to work with. To say I’ve been left very impressed would be an understatement!
The talks are on:
Sunday the 17th of March at 15:30. “Three Months With The Lumix S1 and S1R”
Monday the 18th of March at 10:30. “Awards and Beyond with the Lumix G9”
They will take place on the Panasonic Lumix stand, D41. I’m happy to say that a few of my images shot on the G9 and S1 will be on the stand as large prints, so I hope you will have the chance to see what these fabulous cameras are capable of.
I shall also be with the Lumix team at the Pro Lounge on:
Saturday, March 16th, from 13:00 – 14:00.
So if you’d like to see the Lumix S Series, have a chat or see my work shot on the S1 and S1R, do pop by.
As always, it gives me immense pleasure to be with the fabulous team from Snapperstuff. We’re the only stand at the show which is manned primarily by professional photographers. Come by and see the superb range of bags and accessories from Think Tank Photo and Mindshift. Meet my friends and I at stands F101 and G101, throughout the show.
If you haven’t yet booked your ticket, here is a discount code which expires on March 13th, 2019. For 20% off, use code: SPKTPS19 (not valid with any other offers).
Very happy to share that one of my images has won second place, a “Merit Of Excellence”, in the Professional Category of the Silhouette section, in the 12th International Color Awards. The image was kindly chosen by judges from 7241 entries, from 79 countries.
Many congratulations on all the other winners and nominees and my thanks to the judges for their hard work.
It was shot on my Panasonic Lumix G9 with a Leica DG 50-200mm f2.8-4.0 lens (giving an equivalent of 100-400mm). The raw image was processed using Lightroom and finished in Alienskin Exposure X4 on my Mac Pro, using calibrated Eizo CG monitors for colour accuracy.
Three and a half weeks with the full frame mirrorless Lumix S1 Camera
Story telling. That’s what my reason is for picking up a camera. As a photojournalist, a street photographer, a portrait photographer, a commercial photographer, my need for a camera is to capture the essence, subtlety and feel of my subject, tell their story at that moment.
The Lumix S1 has been with me for over three weeks and I found myself not shooting with anything else. The birth of a new system for Panasonic Lumix, and the start of a fresh new camera system. Yet the camera feels completely accomplished. My prototype camera, with pre-production early firmware, behaved impeccably, never letting me down. It didn’t matter the subject matter, the level of light , the speed, the cold; it just worked.
To sum up, in a nutshell, the S1 is extremely impressive. The quality is just stunning, in every aspect; image quality, camera handling, system design and build quality.
The ergonomics are spot on. The camera just fits and within minutes I was already taking pictures. The button layout, joystick positioning, the placing of the AF button on the back (something crucial for my way of working) is spot on. One superb new feature for this Lumix is the lock button at the back, which can lock the rear buttons. Anyone who runs around with their cameras knows how easy it is to inadvertently find they have set the camera to monochrome HDR mode with bracketing on long exposure! The menu system is also a joy to use; its very well thought out, laid out and the design behind it means there is very little need for referring to the manual.
The build quality and finishing on the camera and lens are sublime. This is definitely a premium, high end camera. One made for serious, daily use, in all sorts of environments. Most professional photographers refer to their cameras as tools; they are the beginning of the journey as it’s only the photograph that matters. These tools are expected to work in all sorts of conditions and never fail; ever. I have a feeling the philosophy behind the design and build of the S Series is going to fit that bill fully. The camera and lenses just inspire confidence in every respect.
I was initially a bit worried at having one camera battery during my testing; I made sure to always pack two USB battery power banks (one wonderful aspect of the top end Lumix cameras is USB charging, which is not only a great convenience when home, but is an indispensible feature for when in the field). It turns out, even with the camera set to sleep after 10 minutes and leaving the camera on constantly, I was managing to still have around 50% battery after close to 1000 photos. All this, in relatively cold conditions.
For most of my initial test period of three weeks, I only had the Lumix S Series 24-105mm f4.0 lens. I’m definitely a fan of faster aperture prime lenses, as I tend to shoot in very low and difficult light. With the lens and body stabilization, married to astonishing high ISO performance meant that I was never really left wanting a faster lens. I didn’t miss any shots. Having said that, I had heard many great things about the S Series 50mm f1.4, so couldn’t wait to make some photographs using that.
One thing that can’t be denied is that the S 50mm definitely has presence. It’s a big and heavy lens. Initially, I was disappointed with the size and weight. I had wished for a smaller lens. Within 15 minutes of having it on the S1, I had shot a couple of test shots under some arches of a member of the Japanese team from Panasonic; the quality was stunning. The sharpness, tonal rendition, shadow and highlight detail, soft falloff of the background. This lens completely impressed. It has character and perfection at the same time. After seeing the results, the size no longer became an issue and the lens almost never came off my camera during three days of shooting with it at Panasonic’s launch event for the S Series in Barcelona, Spain. As a nice icing on the cake, the 50mm is also certified by Leica.
The S 24-105mm also definitely impressed me. I have to admit to being a bit of a lens snob; I’m used to shooting with Leica, Leica DG, Zeiss and in earlier years, Angeniuex lenses. I was absolutely bowled over. Not only is this lens sharp, it’s perfectly contrasty and has a phenomenal tonal range. It dealt with shooting in low light or having bright lights without issue. Build quality and feel of the controls match the craftsmanship of the camera.
One thing that has surprised me completely is the level of subtlety I’ve been able to photograph with the S1 and the new S Series lenses. Darker scenes with very subtle gradation and tonal differentiation have been rendered perfectly. The shadow detail and highlight detail have been amazing, even when the same image has had both extremes. It’s also worth pointing out the auto white balance (AWB) worked extremely well, in all but the very mixed and extreme extreme artificial light. I’ve managed to get this level of subtle micro detail and tonal differentiation using a raw converter which is new to me; whilst Silkypix worked and it was a joy to be able to shoot and process raw files on a preproduction prototype camera, I can’t wait for when my preferred imaging software, Adobe’s Lightroom, supports the raw file from the S1. Using software I know intimately is sure to bring a bigger smile to my face when I’m processing images shot on the S1 and extracting even more detail, character and subtlety.
Alongside my eagerness, with almost childlike enthusiasm, to shoot with the S Series 50mm f1.4, I’m was also super impatient to shoot with the larger megapixel cousin, the S1R. In every aspect, the cameras look and behave identically. It’s the sensor and some settings which differ (mainly the highest ISOs and certain video functionality). I only had the S1R for a few hours during the launch event, so my impressions are based on a brief encounter, which left me breathless at the results this camera produces. The size and detail of the images are simply mind blowing, producing a 47.3mp image, which in high resolution mode produces a mid blowing 187mp image. This is truly top end medium format territory, in a smaller and much more dynamic package.
Unique in the full frame market, is the union of Panasonic Lumix and Leica, two camera manufacturers, collaborating around the L Mount, along with Sigma (which I would assume will bring some of their superb ART lenses in the L Mount). This is great news for the Lumix S Series as well as the existing Leica SL community. Panasonic Lumix’s three lenses (24-105mm f4.0, 50mm f1.4 and 70-200mm f4.0) joining an already available portfolio of Leica SL lenses. By 2020, Panasonic Lumix is due to release a further seven lenses.
It’s a truly remarkable to be so enthused about a new camera system after 30 years of professional photography. My excitement for this system reminds me of when I picked up my first SLR, 34 years ago. Roll on March 2019, when these will be available in the shops!
I’m thrilled to share that two of my images from 2018 have been shortlisted in the British Photography Awards 2019. The images are finalists in the Street Photography and Portrait categories.
Twice The Fun. A child runs around whilst bathed in rays of sunlight in the turbine hall. Tate Modern, during a heat wave bank holiday. Bankside, London, UK. May 06, 2018. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Windrush Passenger. Alford Gardner, one of the few surviving Windrush passengers, from the 1948 SS Empire Windrush, which left Jamaica bound for Britain. Portrait photographed by the River Thames, South Bank, London, UK. May 25, 2018. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
I’d like to thank the judges for putting together the shortlisted images and also congratulate the other shortlisted photographers for some truly spectacular images.
For those interested in the equipment used, both images were shot using a Panasonic Lumix G9. The running child was shot using a Leica DG 50-200mm f2.8-4.0 lens and the portrait was shot using a Leica DG 25mm Summilux. Both images were shot in raw and processed in Adobe Lightroom, with the final black and white treatment being completed using Alienskin Exposure X3.
Photographer Edmond Terakopian with the newly announced Leica CL. Leica CL Press Launch. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Robin Sinha
I used to really like my Leica X1; superb quality, large sensor compact camera, with a fixed Leica lens, capable of professional results in a small body. It was with me at all times and I used it on assignments as well as my personal work. Alas, it needed to have a proper electronic viewfinder and equally as importantly, interchangeable lenses. The radically conceptual and interesting Leica TL and TL2 addressed the interchangeable lens issue, but to my dismay didn’t have a built in viewfinder. Although I do sometimes shoot using the rear screen, I’m definitely a viewfinder user and a slide on viewfinder (be it optical or digital) whilst useful, isn’t the answer. They’re inelegant, get in the way, add bulk, come off and can easily be lost.
The new Leica CL, with the Leica Summicron-TL 23mm f/2 ASPH lens. Leica CL Press Launch. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
The new Leica CL, with the Leica Summicron-TL 23mm f/2 ASPH lens. Leica CL Press Launch. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
The rumour mills started showing leaked images of the Leica CL. An interchangeable lens, compact mirrorless camera with a built in viewfinder. Of course, one can never trust these rumours, but when I received an invitation by the lovely folks at Leica UK for a press launch, I realised this may just be for real. I’m delighted to say, it is a reality.
It’s a truly beautiful and elegant design, sharing a look very reminiscent of it’s great grandfather, the Leica III. Even without the red dot, it is instantly recognisable as a Leica and carries this heritage forward. The design, craftsmanship and build quality are really top notch. This is definitely a “real Leica”. It feels right in the hand.
A portrait of Arteh Odjidja at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
The mark of a well thought out design, one crafted by engineers who are passionate photographers and not just very clever folk, is that when you pick it up, you can just start to use it. Without looking at a manual or much fuss at all, I took to its beautifully designed and elegant switchgear; ergonomics which have been thought through just make the camera a very natural and comfortable extension of the photographer. The twin dials with push down control clicks and a small screen between them means that modes and settings can quickly be navigated not only without fuss, but very naturally. My only gripe here is that in manual mode, it would be nice to be able to change the dials’ functions so that shutter speed and aperture can be swapped around if needed. Hopefully a firmware upgrade can take care of that.
A portrait of Robin Sinha at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
When other camera manufacturers look at the simplicity and elegance of design with a perfect layout of buttons, dials and screens, they’ll hopefully realise that shoving extraneous buttons all over their camera’s isn’t really necessary and is in fact counterproductive to photography. The same can be said of the menu system, which essentially includes a favourite’s page and is very elegantly done. No PhDs needed to operate this menu system!
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the specifications online, but the main points are:
24.2mp APS-C CMOS sensor with a 14 stop dynamic range
ISO range of 100 to 50000
10 frames a second on continuous drive (with three speed settings for continuous) with a 33 frame buffer (jpeg and raw DNG)
Flash sync speed of 1/180th
EVF has 2.3mp with an eye relief of 20 mm (superb for spectacle wearers)
The autofocus system is contrast based and has 49 points
The files lend themselves beautifully to the monochrome treatment; the lenses and sensor being matched nicely to get a smooth and wide tonal range also produce a phenomenal dynamic range. All the key ingredients for beautiful black and white photography are present.
Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Leica Elmarit-TL 18mm f/2.8 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian. Raw photograph processed in Adobe Lightroom and black and white treatment applied in Alienskin Exposure X3.
A portrait of Robin Sinha at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian. Raw photograph processed in Adobe Lightroom and black and white treatment applied in Alienskin Exposure X3.
A portrait of Arteh Odjidja at the Leica CL Press Launch. Test shot using the Summilux-TL 35 f/1.4 ASPH. The Den, 45 St Martin’s Lane, London. November 21, 2017. Photo: Edmond Terakopian. Raw photograph processed in Adobe Lightroom and black and white treatment applied in Alienskin Exposure X3.
I had the camera for around 20 minutes, so of course this post isn’t an exhaustive test. Some colleagues whose opinion I value have had more time with the camera, and I will post some links at the end of this article. However, one thing I can usually tell in the first few minutes of picking up a new camera is if it’s going to work for me. The Leica CL gave me the feeling that it definitely will. It’s right in the hand, focuses quickly and accurately, has a decent amount of AF points spread across the frame, has a fast drive when needed, intelligent menu system and of course, has Leica lenses. The main reason for me choosing Leica, by far, is the Leica lens. I made this decision back in early 90s when I bought my first Leica (an M4-2) after having tried an M3 for a few weeks back in 1989. Another wonderful thing about the CL is that with an adapter, Leica M lenses can be fitted and used (with a x1.5 crop factor).
I do wish it had a few things though. I would have really liked to see a joystick on the back for moving the AF point around quickly with he camera to the eye. I feel any serious camera needs to have a joystick. A built in stabiliser would have also been most welcome. Although the video specs are good, I didn’t even bother to shoot video as there are no microphone or headphone sockets, so perhaps having these would have been a nice touch, making the camera more usable, but I assume it would have added bulk.
As with any conversation involving Leica, the price always comes up. I’ve already had several conversations about pricing with friends and colleagues on my social media. Leica have always been more costly. No compromise lens design and low quantity manufacturing has always meant that price wise they will never be on par with the gigantic Japanese manufacturers. However, if the look and feel you get from your images is important to your work, then a Leica will help bring out that much more from that moment when you decide to press the shutter release.
The full frame bigger brother, the Leica SL, was of course Leica’s first mirrorless, interchangeable lensed, built in EVF camera. Some very impressive specs, beautiful image quality and absolutely stellar lenses, alas never convinced me to get one. Simply because the lenses were huge. Smaller lenses are rumoured to be on their way though, so perhaps I may reevaluate my stance in the future. Until that moment, for me, the CL is Leica doing mirrorless correctly. It ticks so many boxes and feels absolutely right in the hand and in use. Dear Santa……