Category Archives: Panasonic

Selected Photographer for the URBAN Photo Awards 2022

Very happy to share that seven of my photographs have been chosen by the judges of the Urban Photo Awards, which forms an integral part of the Trieste Photo Days festival Trieste Photo Days festival in Italy.

People Category. The Lady In Red. A protestor dances on the roof of the fake wedding bus used to block the road as the police arrive on scene. Extinction Rebellion protestors block off the southern end of London Bridge. London, UK. August 31, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Thrilled to make the list of ‘selected photographer’ for the competition, having theses images chosen from the 10,000 entries entered by 2800 photographers worldwide. Four of my images have been selected in the People category and three in the Spaces category. Only three others didn’t make the list, so very happy with that ratio!

Spaces Category. 1532 Meets 2018. The Scalpel building, opened in 2018, is seen behind St Andrew Undershaft church, constructed in 1532. City Of London. UK. June 14, 2022. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

These seven images are now through to the next stages of judging, to find the winners of the URBAN Photo Awards 2022, which marks the 13th year of the awards. If you like the work, do keep some fingers crossed please!

People Category. The XR Bride. The penultimate protestor to be taken off the open top ‘wedding bus’ was dressed as a bride and had her hand glued to the glass on the bus’s front door. She was arrested and put in the back of a Police van’s secure prisoner cell. Extinction Rebellion protestors block off the southern end of London Bridge. London, UK. August 31, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

All the selected photographs were made using Panasonic Lumix cameras, ranging from the Lumix G9, to the Lumix S1 and S1R, using a variety of Leica DG and Lumix S Pro lenses. As always, the raw files were edited and processed in LightRoom Classic on an Apple Mac Pro.

People Category. Coal Miner Ian Turner. Life around the mine. Miner Ian Turner, at the end of his shift. Aberpergwm Mine is the only remaining operational coal mine in the UK and the only source of high-grade anthracite in Western Europe. Aberpergwm Mine, Glynneath, Neath, Wales, UK. July 30, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
People Category. The Shift Manager. Shift Manager Miner Colin Evans, who has been a miner for 40 years, prepares the paperwork for the shift. Aberpergwm Mine is the only remaining operational coal mine in the UK and is the only source of high-grade anthracite in Western Europe. This anthracite is used in water filtration, rechargeable batteries and production of stainless steel, to name a few of its uses. Aberpergwm Mine, Glynneath, Neath, Wales, UK. July 30, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Spaces Category. The Forth Bridge (cantilever railway bridge) stretches across the Firth of Forth. The bridge was the most prominent steel structure when it became operational in 1890 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bridge carries over 50,000 passenger trains and over 6,000 freight trains with a gross weight in the region of ten million tonnes. The 8,094ft-long railway bridge acts as a significant thoroughfare connecting the north-east and south-east of Scotland, primarily connecting the city of Edinburgh and council area Fife and further to Dundee and Aberdeen. A view showing North Queensferry. Queensferry, Edinburgh, Scotland. July 08, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian
Spaces Category. The Power Of Green. Canary Wharf, London’s financial centre is seen behind a tree. June 14, 2022. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Three Wins At The 15th International Color Awards

Absolutely thrilled to receive the good news from Los Angeles that three of my pictures have been judged into the winner’s circle with honourable mentions and that two other images have been nominated, in the 15th International Color Awards, from close to 6800 entered images.

Many thanks to all the judges (The Armory Show, New York; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Art Channel, London; V&A Museum, London; Koller Auctions, Zurich; Preus Museum, Norway; Publicis Groupe, Warsaw; Fila, New York; Chung | Namont Gallery, San Francisco; Kolle Rebbe, Hamburg; Tilton Gallery, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee; Cornette de Saint Cyr Auctions, Brussels; Podbielski Contemporary, Milan and RedKite NFT, London) and many congratulations to the other winners.

As some would have seen, I’ve started to branch out into creative still life photography, specialising in fountain pen and stationery. It was a thrill to see one of these pictures receive an honourable mention.

Here are the five chosen images. All photographs were made using Lumix cameras, using Leica DG, Olympus and Voigtlander lenses. The images were shot in raw, processed on an Apple Mac Pro with Eizo CG monitors and processed using Adobe LightRoom Classic and finished in Exposure Software’s X7.

Honorable Mention in Portrait | Coal Miner

Miner Ian Turner, at the end of his shift. Aberpergwm Mine is the only remaining operational coal mine in the UK. It’s the only source of high-grade anthracite in Western Europe. Aberpergwm Mine, Glynneath, Neath, Wales, UK. July 30, 2021. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian. Lumix G9 with Leica DG 50-200mm.

Honorable Mention in Photojournalism | Memorial Wall For Covid Victims

The wall of hearts grows as a memorial to loved ones taken by coronavirus. Each heart representing every one of the UK’s close to 150,000 victims (to date). The memorial is the idea of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, which has called for an inquiry into the Government’s handling of the pandemic. The National COVID Memorial Wall. North Wing, Lambeth Palace Rd, South Bank, London SE1 3FT. April 11, 2021. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian. Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens.

Honorable Mention in Still Life | Liquid Teal

“The Teal Breaker”. One of an 88 custom pen set. A concept by Bernardo “Mr Teal” Gomes, with the fountain pen made by John Garnham, nib tuned by Noah Maasarani (the Pen Doctor UK) and engraved by Ben Walsh, for the Fountain Pens UK group on Facebook. London, UK. November 28, 2021. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian. Lumix G9 and Olympus 60mm f2.8 Macro.

Nominee in People | Coal Mine Shift Manager

Life around the mine. Shift Manager Miner Colin Evans, who has been a miner for 40 years, prepares the safety paperwork for the shift. Aberpergwm Mine is the only remaining operational coal mine in the UK and the only source of high-grade anthracite in Western Europe. Aberpergwm Mine, Glynneath, Neath, Wales, UK. July 30, 2021. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian. Lumix G9 and Leica DG 10-25mm Vario_Summilux.

Nominee in Photojournalism | Covid 19 Memorial Wall

The wall of hearts grows as a memorial to loved ones taken by coronavirus. Each heart representing every one of the UK’s close to 150,000 victims (to date). The memorial is the idea of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, which has called for an inquiry into the Government’s handling of the pandemic. The National COVID Memorial Wall. North Wing, Lambeth Palace Rd, South Bank, London SE1 3FT. April 11, 2021. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian. Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens.

The Gatherers Of Light

Voigtlander Nokton and Super Nokton; Long Term Real World Review

A look at a pair of the latest additions to a most unique line-up of lenses, designed for m43 cameras. Read through to find a 15% discount on the full range of Voigtlander m43 Nokton and Super Nokton lenses.

Voigtlander 29mm f0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens

Voigtlander 29mm f0.8 Super Nokton (f0.8 equivalent 58mm field of view) on camera and Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton (f0.95, with an equivalent 120mm field of view). Pictured on my Lumix G9 camera. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

This astonishing f0.8 aperture’d lens, with an equivalent 58mm field of view on 35mm full-frame format, is in a class of its own. Ground Aspherical elements and a 12 aperture blade design mean that its rendering is simply as spectacular as its light gathering. It focuses down to a very impressive 0.37m and measures 88.9mm x 72.3mm, coming in at 703g.

Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton Lens

Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton (f0.95, with an equivalent 120mm field of view) with my Lumix G9 camera. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

A 120mm equivalent at f0.95 makes for a very special portrait lens. Its close focus of 0.34m though, brings it into close-up photography territory, making for a very versatile lens. Measuring in at 82.5 x 87.7mm and weighing 860g, this is the chunkier of the newest two Noktons. 

The pair make for an extremely impressive set and the addition of a Voigtlander 10.5mm f0.95 MFT Nokton or Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 MFT Nokton lens will make for a perfect three lens outfit, for photographers or film makers, with a uniform rendering, colour, feel and of course, unique light gathering ability.

Discoveries Of The Super Fast F No.

I’ve been using fast aperture lenses for most of my career (almost 33 years at the time of writing). I was the first amongst my colleagues, on my first two newspapers in the 1980s and early 90s, who had an f1.2 lens, in the form of a Canon 55mm f1.2L FD lens. This was soon to be joined by the phenomenal Canon 85mm f1.2L FD lens. In those days of film, the most common film a photojournalist had was 400 ISO, so those fast apertures allowed us to work in hugely varying light conditions.

For me, fast lenses have always been about their light gathering ability and not ‘bokeh’.

I later went on to get AF versions of these lenses in my Canon EOS days. Many years later, when the Leica M9 came along, I saw what the recently released Leica Noctilux ASPH could do. So, after some saving, an insurance cheque from when a security guard dropped a bag full of camera gear and broke most of it and selling off of less used equipment, I managed to get a Leica 50mm f0.95 Noctilux ASPH. An aperture I’d never ever dreamed of and one which opened many possibilities.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Angelika Ghazaryan, a descendant of Genocide Survivors, at the 106th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of April 24th, 1915. Members of the British Armenian community gather at the remembrance service for the 1.5 Million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Empire. US President Joe Biden has become the first US president to issue a statement formally describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a genocide by the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) on the day that Armenian communities around the world marked the killing of 1.5 million Armenians. St Yeghiche Armenian Church, London, UK. April 25, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

My philosophical approach to lens choice has always remained the same; standard lenses, later joined by zoom lenses as the quality increased, married to at least one super fast aperture lens. This approach makes for an extremely versatile outfit.

Years later, I started shooting what began as a personal project on opera, which soon turned into a major 10 month project with an exhibition (seen by over 400,000 people) and a book, supported by Olympus. I was an Olympus Visionary at the time and was shooting with OM-D E-M1 and E-M5 MkII cameras. When working backstage, I quickly realised that the f1.7 M.Zuiko lenses weren’t fast enough. My Leica M9 and 50mm Noctilux weren’t usable either, as I simply couldn’t see enough in the dark to allow me to manually focus the optical rangefinder. The Olympus mirrorless with its EVF was allowing me to see in the dark, almost like a soldier’s night vision, but the available lenses just weren’t usable as the light levels were so low. I started looking for a speedy solution.

I recalled Voigtlander has a 25mm f0.95 Nokton and when I looked deeper into this, realised that the range had been expanded. A quick phone call to Hardy at Robert White Photographic, was followed by me ordering a Voigtlander 17.5mm (35mm equivalent) and 25mm (50mm equivalent). These two f0.95 lenses allowed me to create work impossible to shoot otherwise. Having these f0.95 apertures was truly a revelation. To give an idea of the lighting conditions, I’d often be shooting at 5000 ISO, 1/20th of a second at f0.95. The marriage of fast aperture and built in body stabiliser allowed me to work unhindered by the less than favourable conditions. The slightly deeper depth of field on m43, also aided me to get my subjects sharply in focus. Some of these pictures were printed at over A0 in size, approaching around 1.5m in length for the exhibition.

Olympus OM-D E-M5 MkII and Voigtlander 17.5mm f0.95 MFT Nokton Lens. Ida Ränzlöv, singing the part of Arminda, Anchise’s niece, waits backstage for her cue. Mozart’s La finta giardiniera. Dress rehearsal. Royal College of Music Opera School, Prince Consort Road, London. November 25, 2016. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Later on, on a different production, I decided to add the Voigtlander 10.5mm f0.95 Nokton (21mm equivalent) to my setup. These three Noktons have stayed with me since I first got them in 2015, through to my transition to Lumix.

To see some of my work using these Noktons, either visit my Instagram @terakopian or look at the backstage, low light work in my reportage on the opera, Albert Herring on my SmugMug website: https://terakopian.smugmug.com/Albert-Herring-Opera 

To help illustrate the light gathering aspect, imagine this as a shooting scenario: You’re shooting a portrait in a dimply lit church, trying to craft a beautiful image using the available daylight, gently flowing through the windows. At a very reasonable 400 ISO, you choose to shoot at 1/125th shutter speed, to ensure no movement from you or the subject. With a Nokton, you’re at f0.95, which allows these settings. If you were to shoot with your pro spec zoom lens at f2.8, you would have to ramp the ISO up to a less acceptable 3200 ISO. For me, this ability to shoot with available light is far more of a priority, than bokeh hunting, which of course the Voigtlander Nokton and Super Nokton will give you, by the bucket load. The ability to isolate the subject, is there, in a very unique and aesthetically pleasing way. 

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. A portrait of opera singer Aris Nadirian. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The Fast F No. Flip Side

These are all specialist lenses and when wide open, they’re not clinically pin sharp when shooting a lens chart, specifically as you start to edge further out from the centre, the sharpness drops somewhat. Even a Leica Noctilux ASPH costing over £8000 struggles with this. Physics is physics and any lens that reaches the dizzying apertures of zero point something, has to make a compromise or two. I only raise this as I’ve occasionally read criticism of all these mega aperture lenses, where the social media poster clearly doesn’t understand that these are specific tools for ultra low light work. Of course, when you stop down to the f5.6 through to f9.0 window, the lenses will sharpen up dramatically, including towards the edges, rendering ‘perfect’ clinical results. For me though, an image with soul wins over a clinically sharp picture of a boring, static object. Photography is about emotion and thought, and these lenses give us the tools to create such work, in conditions often out of bounds.

Voigtlander 29mm f0.8 SUPER NOKTON (f0.8 equivalent 58mm field of view) on camera and Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton (f0.95, with an equivalent 120mm field of view). Pictured with my Lumix G9 camera. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

These aren’t general purpose lenses, they are however masters in low light and creative photography. They allow you to work in conditions that are dreamt of and rarely realised with regular prime lenses or zooms. Just to put your mind at ease when I write they’re not clinically pin sharp, I’m more than happy to put my reputation on the line and produce not only my own personal work with these nocturnal creatures, but shoot commissioned assignments too. They are that good. Just not as good when shooting charts on a wall, pixel peeping the chart and comparing them to standard lenses, which don’t have the f zero point something magic.

It’s about keeping in mind that these are specialist tools, which means that I use my Noktons for specific work, that’s where they shine. For fast street photography during the day, I’d definitely choose an AF lens. However, for the same genre at night, when trying to work in the most challenging of situations, then these lenses are the perfect choice and will produce magic. For observed moments in a pub, at a wedding, by the canals in Venice, or a portrait of a loved one, choosing either of these lenses will produce pictures that you will treasure. The close focus also adds the ability of still life closeups, of anything from flowers to objects. Shoot these wide open to create something extremely unique, or stop them down for a more traditional look.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Barbed wire and fencing nearby London Underground rail tracks. Ealing, London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

This magic takes a little bit of work though and you need to raise your skill level. Once you do though, imagery that wasn’t recordable, begins to write to your memory card. Put in the time it takes to master manual focusing, learning how the focus ring behaves, develop a little muscle memory, use focus peaking and punching in to magnify the focus point to check critical focus, and these lenses will make you smile. You start to produce results from environments you simply wouldn’t have previously been able to really work in. One other tip is to focus wide open, which allows you to be absolutely critical when focusing (it also gives focus peaking a razor’s edge of area to highlight, adding to accuracy) and then if needed, stop down to shoot. Naturally the subject dictates how to approach it, so with faster shooting scenarios, one can focus stopped down as well.

My bag of three Noktons is now a bag of four Noktons and one stellar, Super Nokton. These five lenses are a crucial tool of how I work. I’d definitely recommend you check them out. 

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Sunset reflections during a COVID 19 Lockdown permitted exercise walk. Ealing, London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Tonal Range

My years of shooting with my three Voigtlander Noktons showed me that these lenses have tremendous tonal range; from highlight detail, with a lovely information rich gradation, all the way to the deepest shadow areas. This provides a raw file with all the details you need, ready to be processed to produce a vibrant colour or the lushest of monochrome images. I’m thrilled to share that these new additions exhibit the same rich, full tonal range. Stop them down a little and they become pin sharp too, perfect for detail rich landscapes or urban cityscapes. 

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Daily life on the South Bank, opposite the Houses of Parliament, London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Image Processing

When it comes to image processing, m43 cameras have their lens correction info built into their raw profiles. With any non-m43 or non electronic lens, this information is missing. I’m thrilled to say that Adobe’s LightRoom has all this information in the lens correction module. So, just choose Voigtlander and then find the profile for the lens you’ve shot with. In my LightRoom, I’ve actually set up Custom User Presets for each lens, so one click, populates all the settings I need, including some raw processing tweaks.

On the subject of image processing, all the images posted here and in the related Flickr album (see below), were shot in raw and processed in LightRoom. The finishing touches to the colour photographs and the black and white treatment on the monochrome images, were done in Exposure Software’s X6 and X7.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Daily life on the South Bank, opposite the Houses of Parliament, London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Construction

Anyone who has used a professional grade manual focus lens from the ‘good old days’ will immediately feel at home. Both of these lenses are phenomenally made. Engineered to perfection; perhaps, over engineered even. To help illustrate this, my three previous Nokton lenses are seven years old at the time of writing; seven years of professional use has left the performing exactly as they did initially and looking practically brand new. These are well made, professional grade lenses. As the DNA is the same with the two newer lenses, I have no doubt that a decade or two on, these lenses will be just as good as they are now.

Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton (f0.95, with an equivalent 120mm field of view) with my Lumix G9 camera. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The focusing rings are smooth, the aperture rings sure footed. For film makers or those working on film sets as photographers, the aperture ring can be de-clicked at the twist of a ring, resulting in silent operation.

On the video front, the full range of m43 Noktons and the Super Nokton, provides an amazing set of lenses. High end film makers prefer manual focus anyway. The feel, accuracy and look of these lenses, married to a quality ND filter, will produce a wonderful look and feel.

I used to shoot Canon FD (mainly L lenses) and then Nikon AS and AIS lenses in the 90s and both of these Voigtlanders remind me of using those quality lenses with their silky smooth and sure footed handling.

Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton (f0.95, with an equivalent 120mm field of view). London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

These solid and metal bodied lenses are heavier than most of their plastic bodied brethren though, so one needs more careful matching to camera body. They balance perfectly and handle beautifully on my Lumix G9 cameras, with or without (which is how I usually have mine) the vertical grip. I wouldn’t really use them on my smaller and grip-less Lumix GX9. I’d definitely recommend the higher end bodies with grips or the middle range bodies with their optional grips. This will make for a more comfortable setup. In my days when shooting with Olympus and my set of three Noktons, the E-M1 balanced perfectly, but the E-M5 MkII definitely needed the grip added for comfortable working, as the built-in grip was just too small. Of course if working with a tripod, or a cage for video work, the handling won’t be an issue. It’s worth keeping in mind that the extra engineering and metal construction makes for much more control on fine tuning the focus, which is crucial when working wide open. 

Other f0.95 Options

At the time of writing, other options for proper f0.95 lenses are from Leica with their Noctilux range and Nikon with their Noct. These options will set the photographer back in the £8000 to £10,000 range. There are a few other options available, but these are gimmick lenses in my opinion and good to play with perhaps, but not to shoot seriously with, in situations when one has to use dependable gear. I definitely wouldn’t use the other options on professional assignments, where as I haven’t hesitated to use my Voigtlander Noktons.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton Lens. Joe Biden has become the first US president to issue a statement formally describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a genocide by the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) on the day that Armenian communities around the world marked the killing of 1.5 million Armenians. (London, UK) 106th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of April 24th. Members of the British Armenian community gather at the remembrance service for the 1.5 Million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Empire. St Yeghiche Armenian Church, London, UK. April 25, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

At the time of writing, the Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton comes in at £1,599.00 (inc VAT) and the Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton at £1,049.00 (inc VAT). Whilst not cheap, nor is their construction, or the results they produce. Given how well they perform, how well they’re made and well my older Nokton lenses have lasted, these are valued appropriately I’d say. These lenses are worth every penny and the Super Nokton is unparalleled in it’s f0.8 aperture.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Joe Biden has become the first US president to issue a statement formally describing the 1915 massacre of Armenians as a genocide by the Ottoman Empire (modern day Turkey) on the day that Armenian communities around the world marked the killing of 1.5 million Armenians. (London, UK) 106th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of April 24th. Members of the British Armenian community gather at the remembrance service for the 1.5 Million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Empire. St Yeghiche Armenian Church, London, UK. April 25, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

When planning a camera outfit or planning lens purchases, investing in the best lenses you can get, is the wisest move. Sticking a cheaper lens in front of the best sensor, will give an much inferior result to putting a great lens in front of a good sensor. The other aspect, is that lenses far outlast camera bodies. So invest wisely and you won’t need to change the lens anywhere near as often as you would a body. 

Both of these optics produce phenomenal results, with a look and feel that gives the images a signature and a ‘pop’. For me, a huge part of the attraction for Lumix and Olympus m43 is the Nokton range, as it adds tremendous versatility that no other lens mount on the market has; super fast apertured lenses covering ultra wide angle, to medium telephoto (equivalent of 21mm to 120mm). With the addition of these two optics, the range is now not only complete, but with the Super Nokton, out of this world good. I can’t recommend them highly enough. As I have done, get in touch with Robert White Photographic and check them out. You won’t be disappointed. 

Final Thoughts

Whilst both m43 brands produce exceptional lenses, especially in their Leica DG and M.Zuiko PRO ranges, including faster f1.2 and f1.4 options, there just isn’t the option to go faster. In a sea of images shot with f2.8 zooms, with some stretching for the Lumix, Olympus or Sigma faster lenses, nothing is going to give the look of these Voigtlander lenses. The 60mm Nokton and 29mm Super Nokton, render in a unique way, not only letting you create in lower light, but to make an image which is unique. An image which pops. Bringing almost a three dimensionality to the scene. If you can look at a scene, raise your camera and make a unique photograph, I say, why not?! Creativity is about creating, not mimicking the masses with run of the mill facsimiles.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. The wall of hearts grows as a memorial to loved ones taken by coronavirus. Each heart representing every one of the UK’s close to 150,000 victims (to date). The memorial is the idea of the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice campaign group, which has called for an inquiry into the Government’s handling of the pandemic. The National COVID Memorial Wall. North Wing, Lambeth Palace Rd, South Bank, London SE1 3FT. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Aperture Is Aperture

These astonishing lenses are f0.8 for the Super Nokton and f0.95 for the Nokton.

Let’s clear up a misconception though; that of apertures being somehow different in Micro Four Thirds, as its a cropped sensor. I keep seeing misinformation online in forums and groups, so think it crucial to clear this up!

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton Lens. A portrait of Elvis. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Imagine that you have a 70-200mm f2.8 lens. Its a constant aperture lens, so f2.8 all the way through. So, at 70mm, f2.8 is the same as f2.8 at the 200mm end. Both, given identical lighting conditions, will provide the exact same exposure. So, f2.8 is f2.8.

However, the depth of field on the same lens will differ tremendously from the 70mm to the 200mm end. 70mm will give a wider depth of field, with more being in focus, compared to a shallower depth of field at the 200mm end.

So, it’s in fact depth of field and the rendition of the image in defocused areas, or bokeh, which differs between sensor sizes. So, an f2.8 aperture on a given lens, will render bokeh, or set depth of field differently between m43, APS-C, full frame or medium format etc. The larger the sensor, the shallower the depth of field and the softer the bokeh. As mentioned though, the light gathering ability of that f2.8 aperture remains the same. So, for the physics of light, these f0.8 and f0.95 apertures, have the same astonishing light gathering ability as a full frame camera and lens would….well, if there was an f0.8 option available.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 60mm f0.95 MFT Nokton Lens. Geese on the South Bank, opposite the Houses of Parliament, London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

One last point on the subject of bokeh; many novices will rush to buy the most exotic aperture lens they can afford, wrongly thinking it will improve their photography because its a “bokeh monster” or that it will magically just render bokeh, without the photographer needing to master any basic elements of photographic technique or understanding of photography.

One can achieve beautiful subject isolation and soft background, with a lens set at F5.6 or f8.0, or get everything relatively sharp in the frame with little or no isolation using an f1.4 aperture. Camera to subject distance needs to be close and subject to background, much farther. Keep this in mind. It’s not just setting an aperture, but understanding subject and background distances, for a given aperture, for a given social length.

Given this understanding, then yes, a magical aperture of f0.95 or f0.8 will not only let you work in super low light, but allow you to achieve astonishing subject isolation, with that 3D look and super soft, beautiful bokeh. Given the lens is a good lens; aperture alone won’t produce creamy backgrounds. So dear reader, do get these dream lenses, but also learn about photographic technique and practice too, so you can get the most out of your lenses and even more importantly, get much more joy and satisfaction out of your photography. 

One Last Thought On Bokeh

It’s really disconcerting how may photography enthusiasts are bokeh hunters. There’s a sizeable enough group of people who express more interest in out of focus backgrounds, than they do for the in focus aspect within the photograph; the actual subject. No great photograph in history has ever been about the out of focus background. Whilst these lenses will allow this, crucially, they allow creating photographs and video, in lighting conditions which would make it impossible. They produce a beautiful and unique signature when doing so and can make your subject pop. That is where they shine in my opinion. 

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. Members of the British Armenian community gather at the remembrance service for the 1.5 Million Armenians massacred by the Ottoman Empire. 106th Commemoration of the Armenian Genocide of April 24th. St Yeghiche Armenian Church, London, UK. April 25, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

READERS’ DISCOUNT CODE

The fabulous folks at Robert White Photographic and Flaghead Photographic Limited have very generously provided a 15% discount code. The code is multi-use, so you won’t be limited when getting a second or third lens, should you decide super low light photography or subject isolation like never before available on m43 is for you.

The code Terakopian will get you a 15% discount off, from any of the six Voigtlander Micro Four Thirds lenses. Visit Robert White Photographic if you’d like to use this discount. Having shot professionally with five of these lenses for years, I really cannot recommend them highly enough. They open up new avenues of possibility with your camera.

Link To My FLICKR Album

To view the photographs featured and some others, without downsizing or compression, please visit this Flickr Album which accompanies this review.

Lumix G9 and Voigtlander 29mm F0.8 MFT Super Nokton Lens. A Pilot Custom Urushi fountain pen. London, UK. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shortlisted In CUPOTY

Close-up Photographer of the Year 03

Well, here’s a first for me! Being recognised for some macro work!


Delighted to share that one of my pictures has made the shortlist for Close-up Photographer of the Year, in the Manmade category of CUPOTY 03.
The image is a macro shot of the intricate nib design on my Montegrappa Merry Skull copper fountain pen.


Italian Flair; the intricate nib design on my Montegrappa Merry Skull Copper Fountain Pen. London, UK. May 08, 2021. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The photograph was made using a Lumix G9 and a Leica R 60mm Macro lens and extension tube. Apologies for my lateness with this post, as the announcement was in October this year!

Second Place-A portrait that tells a story contest

Absolutely delighted to come second place in the WANDRD and Kodak Professional, “A portrait that tells a story” international photography contest.

Miner Ian Turner, at the end of his shift. Aberpergwm Mine is the only remaining operational coal mine in the UK and is the only source of high-grade anthracite in Western Europe. The produce from the mine is used in water filtration, stainless steel production and rechargeable batteries, to name some of its uses. Aberpergwm Mine, Glynneath, Neath, Wales, UK. July 30, 2021. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

The portrait was shot on a Panasonic Lumix G9 and Leica DG 50-200mm. The raw file was processed in Adobe Lightroom Classic and finished in Exposure Software’s X7.

Rather enjoying some of the prizes, including the very neat WANDRD PRVKE LITE backpack and the rolls of Kodak Portra, which will be put to good use! Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

Black and White Photography Awarded

Three Honourable Mentions at the 16th Annual Black & White Spider Awards

Very happy to share that several of my monochrome images have had awards success at the BW Spider Awards. During the online Gala Ceremony, attended by by over 11,000, I was thrilled to receive three honourable mentions and also discover that five other images had also been nominated. 

Honourable Mentions

PhotojournalismA Vigil By Smartphone Lights. Fundraising and Candlelight Vigil. Following miltary action by Azerbaijan with the backing of Turkey from the 27th of September, against the Republic of Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) and Armenia, a war has ensued in the region. Armenian communities in the diaspora gather to raise funds with the defence effort and humanatarian crisis in Artsakh and Armenia. Members of the Armenian community in the UK gather for a candle lit vigil (using smartphone lights as a result of health and safety rules) and fund raising event for the Armenia Fund (Himnadram) with the support of the Armenian Apostolic Church in London. St. Yeghiche Armenian Church, South Kensington, London, UK. October 10, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian.

Shot on a Lumix S1 and a Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN Art lens.

AmericanaClassic Corvettes. The Classic Car Drive In Weekend (a new style of socially distanced, COVID-compliant classic car show for buyers, collectors and petrol-heads as well as movie-goers). Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, Bicester, Oxfordshire, UK. September 18, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Lumix S1R and Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN Art lens.

PeopleA chorister is dressed in traditional Armenian choir outfit, with a more modern face visor as protection following guidelines. Churches Allowed To Open After Easing Of UK COVID 19 Lockdown. The Apostolic Orthodox Armenian Church is one of the most ancient Christian institutions. The Kingdom of Armenia was the first state to adopt Christianity as its official religion. Having live streamed services during the pandemic lockdown, St Yeghiche Church opened its doors for public worship on Sunday 5th July 2020. Kensington, London, UK. July 05, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Lumix S1 and S Pro 70-200mm f2.8. 

Nominations

ArchitectureConcord Road, Industrial Estate, Park Royal, London, UK. December 15, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Lumix LX100M2.

PeopleBrighton beach, as on of the hottest days of the year comes to an end. As the COVID 19 lockdown has been relaxed, thousands of beachgoers flocked to Brighton as temperatures hit 30C (lower than the maximum temperature in South East England, which topped 36C). Authorities in Brighton have taken action to reduce the crowds at their beaches, on one of the hottest days of the year, with fears that social distancing will not be possible. Brighton, UK. August 07, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Lumix G9 and Leica DG 50-200mm.

PortraitProfessional Dancer Faye Stoeser. The Millennium Bridge, Bankside, London, UK. September 15, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Leica SL2 and Sigma 85mm f1.4 DG DN Art.

PortraitA portrait of Jim Connor (former picture editor, The Herald, Glasgow) enjoying a pint of Guiness at The Long Hall pub in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. January 17, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Sigma fp and Leica 35mm APO Summicron SL.

PortraitYoshie At Quant. A portrait of fine art photographer Yoshie Nishikawa at the Mary Quant exhibition. Victoria and Albert Museum. London, UK. February 07, 2020. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Shot on a Sigma fp and Leica 35mm APO Summicron SL.

All the images were shot in raw and processed on an Apple Mac Pro (2013 model) in Adobe’s Lightroom. The monochrome work was then finished in Exposure Software’s X6. To maintain absolute and precise control during processing, calibrated Eizo CG monitors were used.

Interestingly, several of the images here were shot for a feature I was writing for Amateur Photographer magazine, titled The L Mount Alliance: “A Safe Investment”.