Editorial

Peter Flower

The publication of this edition of the Newsletter coincides with the long-awaited announcement of the entry of Nikon into the full-frame mirrorless camera market. Keen photographers have been waiting for this with great anticipation. It now remains for the other major player, Canon, to issue its response.

As for more local matters, we are fast approaching the start of the Society's programme for the coming year. The summer 'break' can hardly justify that term thanks to the number of events such as the Saturday Natters and Monday Evening series of events which are the subject of reports that follow.

Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras

Peter Flower

23 August 2018 – At last the wait is over. Numerous 'teaser' videos from Nikon and speculations on rumour sites about two new mirrorless full-frame cameras have ended. Today's announcement now confirms the exact specifications, the prices and anticipated release date. Unfortunately, prospective customers have a further wait until they can get hands-on at their local dealership. I checked this point with Park Cameras today. Although selected journalists and professional photographers have been able to handle them (in many cases pre-production models) the delivery of demonstration models is still awaited.

There are two models – the Z7 with 45.7MP FX BSI CMOS Sensor, 493 Autofocus points, 9 FPS Continuous Shooting, eXpeed 6 Processing Engine, 5-Axis In-body Image Stabilisation

and Weather & Dust-resistant Body. Prices from £3399 (body only) up to £4099 with 24-70mm f/4 lens (plus FTZ adapter)

The Z6 has a 24.5MP FX BSI CMOS Sensor, 273 Autofocus Points, 12 FPS Continuous Shooting, eXpeed 6 Processing Engine, 5-axis In-body Image Stabilisation and Weather & Dust-resistant Body. Prices from £2099 (body only) up to £2799 with 24-70mm f/4 lens (plus FTZ adapter) Note: The adapter is not needed with this lens, but saves money if bought as a kit.

At the launch date only three NIKKOR Z lenses with the new mount will be available. The Nikon announcement includes a road-map for introduction of more Z mount lenses. Following the three in 2018 there will be 6 in 2019 and a further 3 in 2020.

The FTZ adapter allows the use of the full range of existing lenses and the provision of in-body stabilisation for the first time by Nikon in a full-frame camera will be a useful aid in this respect.

Nikon Z7 with FTZ adapter and F-mount lens

Existing Nikon DSLR should be able to adapt to the use of electronic viewfinders without undue problems due to the high definition (3690k), backed up by crisp images on the 3.2” rear tilting LCD screen. This is touch-sensitive, but without full controls, such as adjustment of autofocus point.

Nikon D850 DSLR compared with Nikon Z7 camera

As will be seen from the above image the camera bodies are noticeably smaller (and also lighter) than a DSLR with equivalent specification. Nikon have focused on making it comfortable to hold - with a deep grip and textured grip.

In this report it is not intended to attempt to cover all the details of these new models. That information is readily available from the numerous web site announcements. However, it is relevant to make a few more general comments. The Nikon D850 is currently priced at £3499 at Park Cameras, which places it at the same price level as the Z7 with FTZ mount adapter. The new Nikon models enter a fiercely competitive market where Sony has already established itself as a leading full-frame camera contender. The Sony α7R III at £2899 (complete with free Rotolight worth £299 at Wex) contends with the Z7 and the α7 III at £1999 with the Z6. Even more importantly, Sony already has an extensive range of 'native' lenses available.

Saturday Natter – Denbies Vineyard – 4 August 2018

Peter Flower

This meeting was another one taking place during the seemingly endless heatwave of the past few weeks. Unlike last time we were unable to take advantage of the Garden Room, which was set up for some other event. The temperature in the main restaurant area was quite high, but some judicious work by Jill Flower in moving around a number of sun shades meant that we were shielded from the worst effects of the sun shining down through the glass roof. She also managed to relocate some of the fans to blow across the area where we were seated.

This time there was not so much camera equipment brought along, but a good deal of interest was aroused by the tiny Minox Digital Classic Camera 5.1 that Jill showed the other members. (Fuller details are available in the following article) This was a camera that caught her attention on a recent visit to the London Camera Exchange store in Guildford and which she subsequently purchased. This is a 1/3rd size replica of a Leica film camera, with dummy controls (like film winder, speed setting and frame counter) giving the appearance of a camera of that era, but in fact being a digital model. As can be seen from the following images the camera is fitted with an optical viewfinder and a live view rear screen. The lens provides a simple three-position focusing feature.

 Minox Digital Classic Camera 5.1

Don Morley, as an avid enthusiast for Leica cameras, was particularly interested in this working replica, and is shown discussing this with Mike Weekes.

Photograph by Peter Flower - Mike Weekes handling the Minox camera with Don Morley looking on

It is interesting to compare the minuscule size of this camera with that of a full-frame DSLR. Fortunately Ian Hunt was on hand with his Nikon D610 enabling me to capture a shot which showed this contrast.

Photograph by Peter Flower - Minox DCC 5.1 and Nikon D610

The camera lacks the sophisticated developments that feature in modern cameras but it is capable of providing quite good quality images, as shown in the following group shot taken by Jill.

Photograph by Jill Flower

Jan Adcock was seeking more advice on the operation of her Panasonic TZ80. I have a later model, the TZ90, so was able to give some help. The TZ90 has the advantage of a fold-out rear screen, although the cameras are otherwise very similar. We agreed that the image quality from the far end of the 30x zoom (equivalent to 720mm) could be a little soft, but whether this is due solely to the lens or limitations of the image stabilisation system is debatable. (A subsequent test that I did with a stable camera support – not a tripod – gave quite a reasonable image quality)

Photographs by Peter Flower – Aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth in Portsmouth.

The full-length shot was taken at 61mm (equiv), the second at the extent of the zoom at 720mm (equiv). The final image is the last one enlarged by 100%. Not perfect, but the writing can be read clearly.

We also discussed another potential limitation with small-sensor cameras regarding inability to achieve satisfactory differential focus. However, the following photograph, taken at a different time and with a Samsung Galaxy camera (but same-sized sensor) showed that careful choice of distance and zoom power could overcome this problem.

Photograph by Peter Flower – showing focus differential from compact camera

Reverting to discussions with Don Morley that were reported in Newsletter 108, Don has collected yet further evidence of unauthorised sales of many of his historic sports images. The sheer cheek of these 'pirates' was evidenced by some of their images for sale that had been marked with a 'DO NOT COPY' notice! He said that, reluctantly, he had decided that attempts to sue these people would be fruitless. Examples of these sales items on ebay are shown in the collage below.

Images captured from ebay advertisements on the internet (323184487791 and 372230112614) showing copies based on Don's original images of Barry Sheene. The 'autograph' is meaningless, being a machine-produced facsimile.

In a further example of the unauthorised, and unpaid, use of his images Don sent me this further message -

'I had another instance, nothing to do with ebay this week. I was sent a latest monthly magazine issue by the publisher. It has lots of my pictures in it including the cover and I will get paid for them. However, also inside is a full page advert for a new book about Mike Hailwood showing its cover, and guess what? It is one of my pictures as I suspect will be many of the other illustrations inside. There was a email address so I got straight onto the publisher who says they have made alterations to a picture the author gave them and no they are not prepared to pay. I will have to do something about that one probably via the small claims court, and I have told them to take my (uncredited) picture off the cover and not to sell any copies of the book meanwhile.'

Members who know Don well will be aware of the extensive collection of cameras that he owned, of many different makes and with some dating well back to the days of his professional career. I was surprised by his disposal of many of these. I asked Don for details and received subsequent information in an email from him -

'As to what I have kept. I have still got my old Canon 550D, plus a 750D and a couple of ancient zooms which I used when we did that photo shoot at Banstead football club. The 400D and lens has been sent as a gift to my son Peter who lives in Germany. He is not into photography but I am hoping he and/or our grandsons might use it. Leica-wise I have quite a few old screw thread film cameras as well as a M3 and a very rare version M5, plus a film Leica CL outfit, though I have no intention of ever using any of them again. However I might just bring out my old Press Speed Graphic camera and use it again one day, just for the hell of it!

So to my continued use from now on. Not the Canon's, though I will keep them, but my digital Leica CL outfit and my full frame fixed prime lens Leica Q. I have given my very much loved and rated Leica X-Vario compact to Jo, though it might get borrowed again yet by me. I still have my folding Agfa Isolette 120 film camera which I bought in 1957 and have had hundreds of National Newspaper publications from, and I kept a Olympus OM1 and a OM2 plus a few lenses.'

In his earlier, bearded, days Don used and promoted Olympus OM cameras, as can be seen from the following images of advertisements at that time.

Minox Digital Classic Camera 5.1

The key features of this camera are its 5.1megapixel CMOS sensor 1/2.3 inch 4:3 ratio 6.16mm x 4.62mm, 9mm f/2.0 lens equivalent to 42mm, 2inch LCD Screen and optional optical viewfinder, 320x240 video at 30 fps (but without sound), 3-distance focus settings at 0.5m, 1m and infinity, a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, 128 MB of internal flash memory plus a SDHC slot that is expandable up 16GB. In respect of size and weight it is a minuscule 110g 74x44x47mm (W,H,D) It was announced in 2010. ISO is set at ISO100 by the camera regardless of lighting conditions. White balance options are: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Lamp, Tungsten, Night. The Minox is somewhat unique as a replica of an old classic camera, and at its original price of £139 was reasonable value for money, compared to a real digital Leica at a cost much closer to £5000.

Minox DCC camera – showing compact size, dummy controls and another version that mimics the Leica M3 complete with red dot.

Interestingly, Minox GmbH is also based in Wetzlar, the home of Leica, and was at one time closely associated with it. It appears that at one time Leica held shares in Minox but is now independent.

Not many people know that

Peter Flower

To photographers and many people Minox is best known for its 'spy' cameras, and there is the supposition that they were always German-made. However, the history began in Tallinn, Estonia, where Walter Zapp and Richard Jurgens founded a company in 1932 to build cameras. Having experimented with medium format cameras their attention then turned to design of a sub-miniature camera. A prototype was constructed by VEF of Riga, Latvia, in 1936 and then went into production in 1938.

Minox Riga camera

War then intervened, Latvia being first occupied by the Soviets in 1940 and then by the Germans in 1941. Minox GmbH Wetzlar was founded in 1945. A series of the sub-miniature models, giving 8x11mm exposures on 9.5mm film, proved increasingly popular during the 50s to 70s. However, the 80s were more difficult and by 1989 Minox was bankrupt. It was subsequently revived with the return of Walter Zapp and taken over by Leica in 1996, who subsequently retained a shareholding after a management buy-out in 2001. Over the years a variety of models was produced, with advances such as exposure metering and synchronised flash. An example is shown below.

 

 Minox C camera, produced between about 1969 and 1979.

Fujifilm to increase lens production

Techman

On 20 July 2018 this news appeared on the internet - “FUJIFILM Corporation (President: Kenji Sukeno) has announced that it will substantially reinforce its production capacity for interchangeable lenses in response to a growing demand for mirrorless digital cameras. Additional production facilities will be set up at the Taiwa Factory of FUJIFILM Optics Co., Ltd. (“FFOP”), a subsidiary for producing cameras and lenses in Japan. The new facilities will go operational in stages starting in September 2018. This expansion will boost the production capacity by approx. 70% in 2020, when all of the new facilities go fully operational.

Fujifilm entered into the mirrorless digital camera market in 2012 and continued to expand the lineup of the X Series of highly manoeuvrable APS-C mirrorless digital cameras. In March 2017, the company introduced the FUJIFILM GFX 50S ( “GFX 50S”), a medium-format mirrorless digital camera featuring a large sensor 1.7 times the area of a 35mm full-size sensor. Its superior image quality based on Fujifilm unique colour reproduction technology, elegant design and outstanding operability have given the camera a strong reputation from professional photographers and photo enthusiasts. Tapping into the optical technologies nurtured through the production of FUJINON lenses, widely used in the broadcasting and cinematography industries, Fujifilm has worked on developing interchangeable lenses with excellent descriptive performance. The current lineup of interchangeable lenses includes 36 models, with sales expanding at the rate of over 20% per annum.

Fujifilm is substantially reinforcing the production capacity of FFOP's Taiwa Factory in response to a growing demand for mirrorless digital cameras and to achieve further sales expansion of interchangeable lenses for the X Series and GFX Series. Among new facilities to be installed are a large-scale clean-room featuring the cutting-edge cleanroom analyzer, and other latest facilities that use AI to improve accuracy in optical adjustments. This will enable the production of interchangeable lenses at high quality and efficiency, resulting in advanced productivity in manufacturing ultra wide-angle lenses and large-diameter lenses, which require a high level of image resolving performance. Through this investment, the Taiwa Factory's production capacity will be raised by approx. 70% from the current level by 2020, when all of the new facilities go fully operational.

After the upgrade, the Taiwa Factory will combine the state-of-the-art facilities and production technology of skilled workers to manufacture not only the GF lenses, which draw out the advanced resolving performance of the GFX 50S, but also other interchangeable lenses which require highest manufacturing skill. They include an ultra wide-angle zoom lens announced today with a maximum aperture of F2.8 and focal length range equivalent to 12-24mm, addition to the line-up of XF interchangeable lenses for the X Series, as well as a large-diameter telephoto lens, being developed for anticipated demand during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with a maximum aperture of F2.0 and focal length equivalent to 305mm. Interchangeable lenses with “Made in Japan” quality, manufactured at the Taiwa Factory, will be distributed worldwide.

Fujifilm will continue to tap into its optical, precision processing and assembling technologies that have been nurtured in the cutting-edge imaging field over many years, to further expand the lineup of mirrorless digital cameras and interchangeable lenses, thereby broadening the photographic appeal of the X Series and GFX Series.”

Canon PowerShot SX740 HS camera

Techman

Canon SX740 HS camera

Canon's new PowerShot SX740 HS is an ultra-compact long-zoom camera that replaces the SX730. It features a 24-960mm equivalent F3.3-6.9 lens, 20 megapixel 1/2.3" BSI-CMOS sensor and flip-up LCD. It gains Canon's latest processor (Digic 8), together with UHD 4K video capture and 7.4 fps burst shooting with continuous AF. The camera also features Wi-Fi with NFC and Bluetooth, with the latter providing the ability to automatically transfer images to both mobile and desktop devices.

The PowerShot SX740 HS will be available in August, in silver or black, at a list price of £379.

Looking Back

Peter Flower

I recently visited the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum, near Chichester in West Sussex. The aerodrome was operational from 1918 until 1970. In addition to the displays of RAF aircraft there were numerous exhibits of equipment dating from the early days of military flying until recent times. One section which caught my attention contained a comprehensive display of aerial cameras that were used for ground surveillance during the war years as well as some which were synchronised to guns to record 'hits'. From the early days the importance of aerial observation of enemy dispositions was an important factor in warfare. However, it was quickly realised that aerial photographs that could be studied in detail were even more useful. Early methods used photography from balloons, kites or aircraft, but their relatively low altitude made them vulnerable to ground fire. The exhibit that particularly caught my attention was the one in the following photograph.

Photograph by Peter Flower – Model of pigeon with Doppel-Sport Panoramic Camera

This was a representation of the 1912 Doppel-Sport Panoramic Camera invented by Dr. Julius Neubronner of Kronberg, Germany, that was carried by a pigeon. A delayed action shutter on the swing lens camera was set before the pigeon was released and gave a 3cm x 8cm exposure.

This image immediately brought to mind an earlier article containing similar images that I had written in Newsletter 92 of 22 March 2017.

Michel B 995 camera - Image courtesy of Novacon Display at CP+ - Image courtesy of DP Review

That article referred to the development of a pigeon camera developed by the Swiss clockmaker Christian Adrian Michel (1912–1980). In 1933 he began work on adapting Neubronner's panoramic camera to 16 mm film, and improving it with a mechanism to control the delay before the first exposure and to transport the film between exposures. In addition to the fact that a pigeon would be less vulnerable to ground fire there was the advantage of fairly consistent flight speed and a direct line between the release point and its homing point. In this way the ground covered and the setting of exposure timing could be predicted to provide the imagery needed.

Although war pigeons were deployed extensively during World War II, it is unclear to what extent, if any, birds were involved in aerial reconnaissance. The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) later developed a battery-powered camera designed for espionage pigeon photography, but details of its use remain classified.

Looking Forward

Chris Worsley

I hope that you've had a cracking summer with all the sunshine and heat and that you've got some stunning photos to share with the rest of the club.

Our 2018-19 season kicks off on 3 September with an inspirational evening from our own Nick Rogers presenting on his Alaskan adventures. Yes, snow, ice, cold, wild animals - all jaw-dropping stuff. Do come and invite any interested friends and family.

Our second evening of the season on September 10 will be more of a catch up. As you know we have changed the rules of the competition this year and so we will be explaining the changes and answering questions. We'll also be updating you on some new ideas and outline the year's programme. After the break, some of our members will be sharing what they've got up to over the summer, photographically-speaking.

Monday Meeting – 6 August 2018 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

This was the first of the extra summer evening events organised by Stephen. We met at the café in Reigate Priory Park. In addition to a significant number of members we were joined by three prospective new ones. Stephen suggested that we should concentrate on a limited number of specific subjects, including action photography. The presence of a large group of youngsters with BMX bikes, scooters and skate boards doing acrobatics on the skate park provided opportunities to capture plenty of action. Don Morley could be seen taking shots from a low position to frame them against the sky. I was with Jan Adcock, using my Panasonic TZ90 to guide her with settings on her similar TZ80 model. We switched to continuous drive to assist with capture of the critical moment of the mid-flight action.

After this action session a number of us wandered down to the lake. This is not the Florida Everglades so I was surprised to see a croc in the lake. It has to be admitted that this was in fact a child's Croc (pink) shoe floating amongst the swans and ducks. Other members photographed the flowers and general scenery in the park, taking advantage of the warm evening light. As we prepared to leave we were able to observe spectacular rays of the sunset. The photographs are a random collage of those posted on the web.

© Photographs by Don Morley (1 & 4), Peter Flower (2 & 3)

© Photographs by Jill Flower (1, 4 & 6), Peter Flower (2), Malcolm Bewes (3), Andy S (5)

Monday Meeting – 13 August 2018 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

The meeting point for this event was in the car park adjacent to the Junction 8 café at the top of Reigate Hill. Unfortunately this was already closed. It would have been nice to enjoy a tea or coffee looking out over the sunlit scenery to the south. The rain experienced earlier in the day had passed. This, combined with the pleasantly warm temperature, allowed us to enjoy a pleasant walk in a circuit that went towards Gatton Park.

As with the previous week's event this was well-attended. Fortunately, Stephen had arranged to do the walk in the opposite one to that published online by the National Trust. This meant that we started the walk with the steep descent that almost parallels Wray Lane, thus avoiding the weary plod up this hill at the end of the walk if is done in the opposite direction. A short way down this path we enjoyed our first view down the valley in the direction of Gatton. Near some residences there was then a turn back along a broader track that again led to more open views of Gatton Park. This was landscaped between 1762 and 1766 by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown, a leading landscape architect. The warm low sun enhanced the tree-framed vistas to a series of ponds winding their way down the valley, including the Hop Garden Pond, Engine Pond and Serpentine to the large Main Lake.

On the rise to the left could be seen the school buildings and residences of the Royal Alexandra and Albert School within the Gatton Trust area of parkland. Gatton Park comprises 250 acres of manor and parkland. The last private owner was Jeremiah Coleman, most famous for Coleman's Mustard. In the other direction, to the left of the path, was the Millennium Stone Circle, placed in the park by the Jerusalem Trust to commemorate the turn of the Millennium. Each stone represents a 200 year time period and is inscribed with quotes and poems of its respective era. Unlike its more famous counterpart, Stonehenge, it is freely accessible, so we were able to wander around and take photographs at close quarters. We then took the gently sloping path back up to the car park, enjoying views down to a meadow with a herd of cows framed by the sunlit hedgerow.

This had been a most pleasant walk, with ample opportunities to photograph a variety of grasses, plants and scenery. The warm evening sunlight was ideal for photography. We parted company at the car park, with some members heading for a committee meeting that followed. What a pleasant way to end the day!

© Photographs by Peter Flower (1 & 4), Mark Thomas (2), John Fisher (3)

© Photographs by Chris Worsley (1), John Fisher (2), Jill Flower (3), Peter Flower (4)

Monday Meeting – 20 August 2018 – Organised by Stephen Hewes

Peter Flower

The venue for this evening's event was the Deepdene Trail in Dorking. The brochure for this Trail which takes visitors into an extensive country estate mentions 'A Lost Landscape To Explore, A Beautiful Ruin To Admire and A Once Buried Treasure Brought To Light'. Situated as it is just a 15 minute walk from Dorking town centre it is a site which was unknown to most of us, and even to two of the members who said that they resided with a short distance from it. Entry is from the A24 main road running south from the Cockerel roundabout, and just beyond the Kuoni offices. There is not an official car park, although some of us were able squeeze into the entrance gateway.

There was another good turnout of members who set off through an initial woodland trail to explore and photograph the few remaining highlights of what had at one time featured in a grand country mansion and exotic gardens. The first sight of interest was down to the partere (currently under renovation) with an impressive stone statue, Coady the Lion. Descending to this level there were ample opportunities to photograph this impressive 'beast' from various angles, as well as the nearby Embattled Tower. From there we proceeded along the fairly level grassed area towards the grotto and then up a lengthy flight of flint steps to viewpoints on the top of the hill. The circuit was completed with a walk downhill through the wooded tracks to the area where our cars were parked. Some members had parked near the Dorking Halls so arrangements were made to transport them back in spare seats of the available vehicles. At the end of the evening ten of us went to the Pizza Express restaurant in the town centre. This had been a very enjoyable evening and a fitting end to this brief set of Monday evening outings. Our thanks go out to Stephen for his efforts in organising this series of events.

© Photographs by Mark Thomas, Jill Flower & Peter Flower

Note: Apologies to members whose photographs are not shown. Due to time constraints I found it difficult to locate images posted on Flickr.

Huawei P20 Pro smartphone

Peter Flower

For this event Pete Welch had brought along his newly-acquired phone. I subsequently asked Pete for his thoughts on initial experiences with this, and some images that he had taken on that evening. I gave some details of this smartphone in an earlier article (Newsletter 104) where image quality was compared with that of two other leading contenders. But, just to remind readers of the most significant features of the Huawei I mention these again -

The phone is co-engineered with Leica which provides the three-lens camera system. This works together with AI (Artificial Intelligence) to ensure you always get the perfect photos every time. The 3 lens/sensors are - 40MP Light Fusion sensor for remarkable light and definition, 20MP black and white lens for unrivalled depth, and 5X Hybrid Zoom for detail from a distance. The combination of lenses with different focal lengths and sensors for colour and monochrome enable the clever software algorithms to provide high quality images. These give the ability to provide such features as differential focus (giving background blur) and limited telephoto with small loss of definition that normally goes with digital zoom on other cameras. Some benefit also comes from the 1/1.7-inch image sensor, larger than that fitted in most smartphones.

Pete Welch provided the following photographs and comments -

Here is an example using the 'photo mode' this uses the 10 MP lens, which allows for zoom etc.

© Pete Welch

These were all taken using the 40 MP camera in pro mode saved as raw files (each is 80 mb !!!) I imported them to my pc via an app that comes with the phone, and from there into lightroom. I then deleted them from the phone because they are so large. The pictures have been edited in lightroom. They're not brilliant, but that's not the camera's fault.

© Pete Welch

Here's one using the aperture mode (emulates really since nothing moves I don't think) and another showing hand-held night mode (actually a 3 or 4 image HDR stacked in real time - each use takes 4 seconds and seems to take into account camera shake, though obviously you'd try and hold it steady.

© Pete Welch

Comment: The original image of The Running Horses shows excellent quality for a hand-held night shot.

CMOS sensors in short supply

Techman

The trend for multiple cameras and sensors on smartphones is on the increase, with even mid-range models often featuring dual setups now, sometimes at front and back. As a result big suppliers like Sony and Omnivision are increasing their prices for image sensors. Smaller smartphone manufacturers who don't get the same priority access to the big suppliers as major manufacturers are diverting orders to smaller sensor makers, such as Pixart and Silicon Optronics (SOI) to keep component cost under control. The trend mainly affects the smaller sensors used in smartphone cameras so the impact on the market for the larger units used in DLSRs and most mirrorless system cameras should be minimal.

Olympus & Panasonic Micro Four Thirds system -10 years old

Techman

In August 2008 Olympus and Panasonic announced a new, mirrorless format and lens mount. The Micro Four Thirds system uses the same sensor size (18 x 13.5 mm) as the previous Four Thirds system cameras but allowed slimmer cameras by removing the mirror box and optical viewfinder. The new format had half the flange back distance (distance from mount to the sensor reduced from 40mm to 20mm), a smaller diameter lens mount (6 mm smaller) and additional contact points for lens-to-body communication (now 11 points). Removing the mirror mechanism allowed this shorter flange back distance, meaning lenses for the new mount could be considerably smaller than current Four Thirds designs. Framing the image could be achieved via the Live View on the rear LCD monitor or the electronic viewfinder. Existing Four Thirds lenses could be used on Micro Four Thirds cameras using an adapter. Product announcements were not made at the time but were anticipated shortly.

The first Panasonic model of this new range, the DMC-G1 was announced on 12 September 2008. Olympus released its first camera, the Pen E-P1 in July 2009. As can be seen from the following images the Panasonic body design mirrored that of existing DSLR cameras whereas the Olympus, without an electronic viewfinder, was much more compact.

Panasonic DMC-G1 and Olympus Pen E-P1

Sony Full-frame cameras

Techman

On 15 August 2018 Sony Electronics, Inc. announced that it had overtaken and held the No. 1 overall position in the United States full-frame interchangeable lens camera market in the first half of 2018, in both dollars and units. In fact, four out of every 10 full-frame cameras sold during this time period have come from the Sony brand. Much of this recent success has been driven by sales of the acclaimed α7R III and α7 III models, as well as the rapid adoption of the α9 camera amongst professional sports photographers and photojournalists.

EISA awards for 201819

Techman

There was further encouraging news for Sony in these awards, just announced. (It should be remembered that these EISA awards only apply to products launched in the year up to the end of May 2018)

Sony did particularly well, coming away with five of the eighteen prizes. The Camera of the Year award went to the Sony α7 III, while the α7R III took Professional Mirrorless Camera of the Year and the Cyber-shot RX10 IV bridge camera came away with the award for the best superzoom model. Three of the lens awards went to models designed for the Sony system, with the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GN OSS and FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM being joined by Tamron’s 28-75mm F2.8 Di III RXD in the mirrorless sector.

The prize for the best mirrorless camera went to the Fujifilm X-H1 and the Canon EOS M50 was the recipient of a new award for Best Buy Camera. Nikon’s D850 deservedly won Professional DSLR of the Year and the Canon EOS 6D Mark II took the DSLR title. Best Photo Video Camera went to the Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5s, the Photo Innovation prize went to the Canon Speedlite 470EX-AI and the 40MP sensor of the Huawei P20 Pro was one of the factors that won it the Best Smartphone award.

Full details are available at - https://www.eisa.eu/awards/photography/

Leica M10-P camera

Techman

Leica has introduced the M10-P, a higher-priced version of the M10 that removes the famous red dot and adds a quieter shutter in order to make the camera 'the stealthiest M ever'. Though ironically, if stealth is its aim, Leica has also added its trademark script to the top plate, which is hard to miss.

A more significant addition is a touchscreen LCD: the first to grace an M-series camera. This lets you position the area to magnify in live view or double-tap to jump straight to an enlarged view. You can also swipe and pinch-to-zoom in playback mode. There's also a new spirit level on the LCD and in the viewfinder.

As with the M10, the M10-P has a 24 megaixel Full-frame CMOS sensor with an ISO range of 100-50,000, a 3" LCD, Wi-Fi and – of course – the M's timeless styling. Neither camera has I/O ports: not even USB.

The M10-P is available in black or silver and black for a price (body only) of £6500.

Panasonic LX100 II camera

Techman

The Panasonic Lumix LX100 II is a 17 megapixel enthusiast zoom compact with a 24-75mm equivalent F1.7-2.8 lens. It uses up to 85% of the area of a Four Thirds-sized sensor to give a choice of aspect ratios without narrowing the field of view.

Like the Mark I, the LX100 II features extensive external control points but it now also gains a touchscreen to speed up processes such as AF point positioning and interacting with the customizable function menu.

Key features:

Up to 17MP (from 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor)

24-75mm equivalent F1.7-2.8 zoom

4:3, 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1 aspect ratios using selector switch on lens

4K video at up to 30p

2.76M-dot equiv. electronic viewfinder

1.24M-dot rear touchscreen

Wi-Fi with always-connected Bluetooth

Along with the higher-resolution sensor, the LX100 II gains a host of clever features the company has developed since the launch of the original model. But, perhaps more importantly, it also gains the improved colour rendering Panasonic introduced with the GH5, which should mean more attractive JPEG output.

The LX100 II is expected to be available in October.

Kodak Films return

Techman

At CES 2017 Kodak Alaris announced plans to reintroduce its Ektachrome film, which was discontinued in 2012. The film is not available for purchase yet but Kodak released sample images shot on the new Ektachrome in June and has now started shipping test film to select photographers.

Kodak Alaris has also announced that its 35mm Kodak Professional Pro Image 100 film is now available in Europe. Until now there was no official means of acquiring this film in the European market. Released in 1997 this film has been widely available in Asia as well as a handful of South American countries, but not through official Kodak retailers in Europe.

Two exhibitions to view

Jill Flower

I went to see the Shape Of Light at the Tate Modern (until October) followed by Dorothea Lange at the Barbican (until 3rd September). These exhibitions are both photographic in nature but could not be more different.

Photographs by Peter Flower

The Shape Of Light is an exhibition designed to show the use of photography as an abstract art form with many experimental approaches to the technology including cyanotypes and photograms. There is also the inclusion of some well known paintings and collage which shows where the inspiration for some of the work originated. I found the exhibition delightful and came away buzzing with ideas which I may or may not put into practice! It is not for everyone though and if you are not a serial experimenter, like me, and like your photographs to resemble the real world this may not appeal. A number of the pictures were familiar to me but the great thing about this exhibition is the way they are presented in context of each other and the art work. Abstract tends to be a love hate type of thing and some things will resonate with the viewer and some will not. Presenting the images in context helps the viewer to understand the images and sort out what they like and do not like.

https://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/shape-light

 

Acknowledgement to Dorothea Lange – Migrant Mother, Cars on the road

Dorothea Lange at the Barbican is a completely different type of photographic exhibition. There is a bonus exhibition by Vanessa Winship which you get entry to on the same ticket.

Dorothea Lange was a brilliant photographer, taking pictures in the 1930's, 40's and 50's. Having started as a portrait photographer with a high class studio on the west coast of America she progressed to working in social documentary dealing with the plight of migrant workers in dust bowl America during the depression and Japanese internment during World War 2. Dorothea's pictures are always beautifully constructed and convey the story in a simple and compelling way. Those depicted always retain their dignity in the photographs and I think this is the reason they were so effective in getting the message out and changing attitudes. There are so many photographs in this exhibition it is difficult not to be overwhelmed. They are, however, high quality silver prints .

Vanessa Winship is also a documentary photographer from a later era. Her work is good but after visiting the Lange exhibition the contrast in style and the digital black and white as opposed to the silver prints falls a little flat for me, but it is interesting to compare the two exhibitions.

https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2018/event/dorothea-lange-vanessa-winship

 

And finally . . . . . . . . . .

Image from internet source

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