Category Archives: viewpoint

Panasonic Lumix S1; Hands On Preview


Three and a half weeks with the full frame mirrorless Lumix S1 Camera

Red rose of love. Daily life, Barcelona, Spain. January 27, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian *NB Test shot with a prototype Lumix S1* **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final) Processed from in camera jpeg**

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.

Portrait of violinist Asia JimŽnez Ant—n de Vez. London, UK. January 18, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian *Test shot with a prototype of a Panasonic Lumix S1. Copyright Photo* **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final)**

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. 

Edmond Terakopian at the Lumix S1 Launch Event, shooting in a chocolate factory using a Lumix S1R with S Series 50mm f1.4 lens. Barcelona, Spain. January 29, 2019. Photo: Yoshie Nishikawa **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final) Processed from in camera jpeg**

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.

Lumix S1 Launch Event. Barcelona, Spain. January 30, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian. *Shot on a prototype, pre-production firmware Lumix S1R* **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final) Processed from in camera jpeg**

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. 

Panasonic Lumix S1 full frame mirrorless camera with Lumix S Series 24-105mm standard zoom lens (L-Mount). (NB- Lumix S1 camera is a prototype). London, UK. January 09, 2019. Photo: ©Edmond Terakopian

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.

Daily life, Barcelona, Spain. January 28, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian *NB Test shot with a prototype Lumix S1* **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final) Processed from in camera jpeg**

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.

Lumix S1 Launch Event, Barcelona, Spain. January 29, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian *NB Test shot with a prototype Lumix S1* **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final) Processed from in camera jpeg**

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.

Lumix S1 Launch Event. Barcelona, Spain. January 30, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian. *Shot on a prototype, pre-production firmware Lumix S1R* **Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final) Processed from in camera jpeg**

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. 

Lumix S1 Launch Event. Barcelona, Spain. January 31, 2019. Photo: Edmond Terakopian *NB-Image taken with a Lumix S1 preproduction sample (Image quality not final). Images processed from in camera fine setting jpeg*

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!

Alongside the S Series, Lumix Pro service has also been rolled out to support professional photographers: https://lumixpro.panasonic.com/

To see an album of test images, please visit my Flickr album Panasonic Lumix S1 and S1R

I also have an album of product shots and comparisons: Lumix S1 Camera Comparison Shots

Once final production cameras are available, I will be writing a full review. In the meantime, do keep an eye on my Instagram where I will be sharing more images.

Leica CL – Hands On

Hands On Preview Of The New Leica CL

Leica CL Launch-20171121-003

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 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.

Leica CL Test Shoot-20180104-147

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.

Leica CL Test Shoot-20180104-067

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.

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……

 

My Leica CL Flickr Album

Some atmospheric photographs of the Leica CL from Leica Camera.

Further Reading about the Leica CL:

Sarah M Lee puts the new Leica CL through its paces; TENDER ARE THE NIGHTHAWKS

Testing The Leica CL, by Jono Slack

Leica CL Review by Andy Westlake

 

Discrimination In Journalism

Seeking Diversity In The Media Industry

Press Card Mosaic

It’s a very sad truth that sexism and racism is rife in the media. As a British photojournalist born in Iran and off Armenian descendants, I have lived in the UK since the age of eight. It’s very much my home and I’m extremely proud to be British and to contribute to society through my work, both professionally and in various volunteer basis, as well as numerous charitable contributions.

Through various publications, competitions and awards over the years, I have proven my ability as a photojournalist, yet sadly have never managed to make it past being a casual freelance photographer (meaning being commissioned daily) for the newspapers and agencies. I have several talented colleagues who are of various ethnic backgrounds who have the same struggles. The same discrimination is shown towards white, English female colleagues when contracts and big projects are filled. It is indeed rare to see someone of ethnicity or female photographers in good contract positions, the recipient of the top commissions or in possession of staff jobs (even when these were more abundant).

It truly is a shame that one’s ability and skill is often overseen, in place of one’s ethnicity or sex. After all, the reader or viewer sees the work, not the author. Its quite bizarre that over the last year, I decided to grow a long beard. Instead of this being seen as a trendy or hipster type thing, because of my slight tanned complexion, I could see a lot of people were judging me as some sort of religious extremist. Since shaving it off a couple of months ago, the reaction of the same people when seeing me is the polar opposite. Its quite sad really. Ignorance is most often not bliss.

Picture editors, editors, publishers and media owners need to look at the quality of work and ability of the photojournalist, not their ethnicity, sex, cultural background or religion. I’m definitely not one to condone positive discrimination either; quotas shouldn’t be filled based purely on one’s ethnicity or sex. I just think that the best person for the job should always get the job regardless of the colour of their skin or their sex.

The NY Times has this excellent article, which is well worth a read: Seeking Action — Not Just Talk — About Diversity in Photojournalism. Even more importantly, at the end of the article is a link to a survey for working photojournalists. Please put aside five minutes and fill in this Reclaim survey. Hopefully it’ll benefit the industry and our readers too.

Christmas Wishes

christmas-wishes-terakopian-2016-blog

2016 has certainly been a rough year. The worsening refugee crisis, mass killings in Syria, extremists of all sorts (both in the Middle East and the West), political upheavals like Brexit and Trump, the rise of racism and far right ideologies, the loss of many great and gifted people, have made 2016 one of the most terrible years in my living memory.

I hope that on those things which we have control, we learn lessons and vow to make 2017 much better. On those things we have no control, let’s be hopeful that it will be a better year.

I’ve personally had a very mixed year. Very saddened by world events both far and close. Very annoyed by politicians who blatantly set out to lie and fool the population of their respective countries. I’ve met some very interesting new people; talented, genuine and with depth and substance and been let down by a couple of people whom I felt had these qualities.

I’ve been fortunate with my work being recognised by various institutions, publications and competitions around the world and had the honour of the Daily Mirror naming me as the author of one of the world’s most iconic photographs. I’ve had the absolute joy of being back at the Royal College of Music to continue my project with an extremely talented group of people; it’s an atmosphere which makes me buzz with creative energy. It’s been wonderful continuing many bespoke one on one workshops throughout the year, both for established clients and new clients. I’ve also had the absolute joy of being a tutor on Philip Bloom and Nino Leitner’s Film Makers Masterclass, where I had the joy to meet some amazing people and produce some great work.

Words of thanks to all who follow the blog, my Instagram, Flickr and FaceBook. Your kind comments always raise a smile and bring an energy when it’s needed. Thank you.

I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year. Keep well!

BBC Interview On Iconic Photography

Live Interview On BBC World News

IMG_1843

Thrilled to have permission from the BBC to share this clip of myself and journalism student Wilton Jackson from the University of Baton Rouge being interviewed on a segment about iconic photography.

The segment was based around the superb photograph from the Baton Rouge protest (July 10th, 2016) by Reuters photographer Jonathan Bachman.

This clip is being used with full permission of the BBC (Global Planning Editor, BBC News, London). This was a live broadcast on July 21st, 2016.

IMG_1842

The Photography Show 2016

Hope To See You In Birmingham!

Very happy to say I’ll be at the Photography Show again this year. For the duration of the show I’ll be with my friends and colleagues on the Snapper Stuff stand (B101 and B102) talking about Think Tank Photo bags (for whom I’ve been on the design board) and FLM‘s range of supports and helping out with any questions you may have.

Presentation

From last year’s show: “Essentials In Documentary Film Making” talk by Edmond Terakopian at the Filmmaker Theatre on behalf of Snapper Stuff. The Photography Show, NEC, Birmingham. March 23, 2015. Photo: Freia Turland

On Sunday, March 20th, 2pm-2.40pm, I’ll be giving an Olympus Visionary talk on my Opera By The River project at the Behind The Lens Theatre. I’ll share with you my thoughts and experiences on shooting this 11 month project at the prestigious Royal College of Music and naturally showing my favourite images from the reportage. I’ll also share which Olympus cameras and lenses I used along with some other equipment which were invaluable. Hope to see you there!

Albert Herring; an Opera by Benjamin Britten

(L-R) Lady Billows, played by Janis Kelly and Miss Wordsworth, played by Sofia Larsson, make their way across backstage to the rear of the set. The final performance of Albert Herring by Benjamin Britten. Royal College of Music, Bitten Theatre, Prince Consort Road, London. July 08, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

There will also be a unique opportunity to purchase a copy of the book that goes with this project. Please see THIS post for details. I’ll be happy to sign your copy for you!

On Monday, March 21st, 2pm-3pm, I’ll be a panelist on a discussion in the Piazza Suite 3; “Are staged or manipulated pictures ever acceptable? The panel discusses just how far you can go…”. This discussion brought to you by Professional Photography magazine is sure to be interesting, so hope to see you there too.

Lastly, do make sure you pop by and see my friends at the Eizo stand. They’ll be showing my photographs and video work to showcase just how great my favourite monitors are. Colour and density accuracy and built in automated hardware calibration! Definitely worth asking a demo.

RODELink Review

My Review Of The RØDELink Filmmaker Kit

The new Rodelink wireless setup. May 19, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The new Rodelink wireless setup. May 19, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Easy. That’s the surprise when you first setup the new RODELink. So easy to setup and start shooting with. One button pairing, digital wireless and a distance of up to 100 meters.

The RodeLink Film Maker Kit on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. May 16, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

The RodeLink Film Maker Kit on my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. May 16, 2015. Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Rode’s first wireless system works a treat; fast to get going with and great audio too. The Filmmaker Kit comes with a transmitter receiver, the excellent Rode Lavalier mic and also a minijack cable for attaching the receiver to your camera or audio recorder.