Tag Archives: olympus

Not a bad picture on show

Report from Camera and Photo Imaging Show 2011, Yokohama

At the risk of stating an utterly obvious and absolutely not new realization: it has become extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, to take a bad photograph with contemporary cameras. At least technically speaking, there is very little that can still go wrong nowadays. Exposure metering is accurate, focus is on target, no excessive lags where you wait for the camera, popping colors, lenses for great image quality, cameras are small enough to not burden even a child and superb looking prints. We are privileged to have all this power available to. Nonetheless, in the context of making photographs, this is meaningless. We, the people behind the camera, are still in charge of picking things from the reality that surrounds us and no camera, sensor or printing paper will help you doing that.

Enough of the philosophizing, since a lot of people will just be interested in the gear, so here you have it.

Fujifilm X100

Everything you heard about it is true. It looks great, the image quality on the display prints is frighteningly good and the EVF overlay is a marvel. The camera is an attractive package and feels good in the hands. Now, I don’t want to be critical on something I have barely seen, let alone used extensively, but I have said that at the end of the day, this camera is just a compact point and shoot with a cool finder. I still think so, even though it is a very good one, perhaps the best one we have ever seen and may see for a while. Is it a game changer? Probably not and a lot of things will depend on how this camera behaves in constant use. The lens is surely brilliant and I doubt that the image quality of the sensor will be disappointing either.

Still, in the few minutes that I handled the camera I noticed some minor niggles: one, there are many controls and buttons, perhaps too many, especially on the back. The camera is not as small like most compacts, but it isn’t large either so the room to put these things is tight. You have a very generously sized screen and on the right several buttons and dial wheel. Only continuous use would tell whether these buttons could be accidentally pressed by handling the camera, large fingers or not, especially with one hand only. Bear it in mind.

The finder — yes, it is a revelation. That EVF overlay in an optical image is absolutely brilliant. A strange thing that I noticed, and I don’t know whether this will disappear in the production version or is something you can set in the options, when you half press the shutter the whole EVF display, lines and parameters, briefly disappear for a split moment (presumably focussing and metering). Personally I would find this a little irritating, because the frame lines are essential for composition and having them disappear or flicker in some way is a distraction, for me anyway. Lastly, and I am sure this can be turned off in the option, you’re composing and shooting while looking at a beautiful optical finder image with the great overlay and, bang, then you are presented with the image you just took displayed full size by means of the electronic finder. That’s an anti-climax.

The camera is slated for release on 5 March 2011 and the price is around ¥130.000 (almost $1600) and you do know that you can get used Leica M8 camera for little more, don’t you? Want it anyway?

Fujifilm GF670W

This wide angle version of the previously released GF670 will not genuinely surprise you. It has a very solid feel and is well-balanced, so comfortable to hold. In fact, the body is identical to the GF670, except where you previously found the bellows, there is now a lens bolted on which gives it a much more rigid feel. What surprised (and actually bothered) me, is that the lens’ focussing ribs that you are supposed to grab to turn the ring are not applied all the way around the lens barrel, only in two opposite positions as if you are supposed to turn this with two fingers and your hands should travel with the rings movement. That is impossible though and the rest of the ring is smooth and does not offer any grip so your fingers may slip. The booth attendant (funnily enough, the same gent as two years ago) pointed out to me that one is supposed to grab the lens from above with two fingers, but then I saw my own hand in the finder. An odd design decision.

Ricoh GXR Leica M mount module

Yes, you will be able to buy this after all and it should be fun. But then, it won’t turn your Ricoh into a Leica M. Still, great to have it of course and now on a par with the Micro-Four-Thirds and Sony E-Mount systems that let you use Leica M mount lenses via an adapter. You can feel that Ricoh loves photography, despite being a big Japanese conglomerate (that even makes gas meter for homes, as I have seen last week).

Cosina/Voigtländer

Wait a minute, could this whole show by Canon, Nikon and all have just been arranged to accompany a photo exhibition by Tom A?

Two of Tom’s prints are on display, amongst photos by others. Well done, Tom.

Of course, all of Cosina and Zeiss’ wares are out for display but I could not detect anything new or noteworthy. A little quiet there actually and none of the attractive show hostesses ubiquitous at other booths to photograph either.

Kenko C Mount digital camera

Not sure what to make of this, but it looks like a fun niche product: a digital camera with a native C mount (small format cine lenses) so you can use a wide range of legacy lenses without adapters or other fuss. If the image quality is OK and the price is right, I think this will do well and be very enjoyable. Ironically the camera is said not to offer any movie mode.

Pentax

Some fantastic prints on the wall at Pentax. A few years ago I remember feeling slightly underwhelmed with large prints from the 645D, but perhaps it is that printing technology has caught up with bringing out all the information that the images contain. The large panels, some so large that they are made up by a mosaic of four or more. Impressive.

Pentax have established themselves as the individualisable camera manufacturer, there does not seem an end to their ability to make non-standard versions of their cameras. A true logistical and manufacturing feat.

And yes, there will be a K-5 Silver Limited!

Shibakawa LED flash

Shibakawa are a OEM/ODM manufacturer of in- and off-camera flash units for most of the Japanese camera makers. What they are trying to do now is develop an LED light/strobe unit. Only a prototype was presented. What’s interesting is that you can daisy-chain small module units, for example to wrap around a lens or hood with velcro and then build your own ring flash — or a strip light if needed. Any shape is possible. At the moment the modules are still a little “large”, the rep says (not to me), but they should get smaller. A limitation is the low power, only a guide number of four so it is targeted at still life and macro setups where this should not be an issue or low power is even desirable. Also there is no wireless transmitter facility, but again this is not a problem in small setups. What’s very interesting is that you can address any single LED in the array and regulate its output depending on the situation, so you can have less light on one side closer to the subject (an issue in macro where you are very close to the subject, creating lighting imbalances) or create deliberate accents. The LEDs can emit strobe and also continuous light, so you can have a modelling light and use it for video too.

An interesting development to watch. It may come to market either under their own brand or via another maker’s name.

Hey, and I receive my first freebie, a pen, from a very friendly English speaking gentleman. Thank you and good luck to the project!

Canon, On-demand photo books

When I wrote my previous report two years ago, I lamented the lack of choice in domestic (Japanese) options to print on demand photo books and other things like calendars. Well, things have changed and we went from few choices to no choices at all. At least nothing was on display today, not even wedding albums, and this may not be the target audience here. Perhaps it is also that nobody is daring to take on the mighty Blurb, Lulu, MyPublisher etc. who have cornered the market. To compete with them you’d have to do what Japan isn’t generally too good at: create a user-friendly web site which is usable by anyone in the world (read: not cluttered in design and not only in Japanese language). Of course Canon would be the perfect candidate, as they have a powerful printing technology division. That’s not just your office photocopiers, but high-end image processing and on-demand printing lines that should be more than able to do what HP does for the others. However, what we get is a little of something: small-ish, single sized on-demand books for photos and text for 20 to 204 pages, accessible via Canon’s consumer portal Image Gateway, which also offers other post-capture services like image sharing. Of course that’s only in Japanese language, but to their credit not too bad an interface the last time I used it. I know Canon is very keen on expanding printing and trying out many ideas. The book looks decent enough quality, even the images, but it is not really a photo book in size and appearance. It would be ideal to print a diary-like affair, or even one’s blog with photos thrown in. In my opinion it is really more a text format book in terms of size and paper.

Best of the rest

Free lens cleaning at Tamron (thanks)


Large lenses at Sigma put any bazooka or other grenade launcher to shame. Try using those in front of the White House and get a free ride in a military or police vehicle!


Casio think that HDR should be elevated to HDR Art and devotes a large section of their booth to displaying, shall we say, unattractive prints created with the in-camera mode HDR Art.

That’s all folks, thanks for reading and until next time! And in case anyone sees Hans, please send him over to the camera bag section!

Hand-made leather camera case for Olympus E-PL1 and Leica X1

We are pleased to announce an addition of a Olympus E-PL1 and and Leica X1 versions to our popular range of hand-made leather camera cases.

It is good to see that the trend towards high performance and presentably stylish camera continues as more and more people seem to appreciate this type of camera.

A quality camera case will make these high-tech, yet elegant looking cameras even more presentable and also protect them from external knocks while at the same time be smooth in the hands when using it. A detachable back cover protecting the LCD display is available as an option.

These camera cases handmade by an artisan, one by one, in the old center of Tokyo. Their quality and feel are extraordinary; “Perfume of REAL leather, high quality finish and stitching” writes one satisfied customer.

A unique feature of this case is that the strap attaches to the case, not to the camera as with most other cases. This case effectively cradles your valuable camera safely and gently, safeguarding your investment.

MS Optical Micro Four-Thirds (M4/3) T mount/C mount lens connector S (Slim)

Cosmicar 12.5mm/1.4 Television lens adapted for Micro 4/3

We are pleased to announce the addition of Micro Four-Thirds (M4/3) T mount/C mount lens connector S in addition to last year’s Micro Four-Thirds (M4/3) T mount/C mount lens connector L, both made by MS Optical.

Using C mount lenses on Micro Four-Thirds digital camera bodies has become widespread and an enjoyable exploration of lens history. Adapters like these are widely available but MS Optical’s connector kit is somewhat unique – a smartly designed device, not just a piece of metal.

Not only is it made to usual MADE IN JAPAN precision, also unlike other cheaper adapters available it consists of two finely machined parts: an outer ring with a T-Mount (M42, 0.75) screw mount hole, and a smaller removable step-down ring to C-Mount.

The two-part design of this adapter is helpful in cases where, for some reason, a lens cannot be screwed into the adapter as-is or where the aperture or depth of field scales may end up in the place where you cannot see them. The screws can be loosened and the assembly turned to a position you like.

The new S version is a very slim adapter without a surrounding rim to accommodate lenses with larger diameter. However do take care not to overload this adapter. Click on the image to see side-by-side large. Price for each adapter is ¥10,900 plus shipping.

Please pay particular attention to the instructions and warnings accompanying this device as improper use may damage your lens or camera. As in the case of the Cosmicar above, we are happy to accept your C mount lens and have it fitted to the adapter professionally by Mr Miyazaki. Please contact us for details.

Important note: Note that no matter what adapter you use, the image circle of the large majority of C-mount lenses (including the Cosmicar shown here) isn’t large enough to cover the full micro Four-Thirds frame. Instead, there’ll be more or less vignetting.

Neither Japan Exposures nor MS Optical can give you advice on which lens to use. Please research this carefully on the web and note too that manufacturers often put out very different lenses with the same brand name, focal length and aperture; these may have different image circles.) (Thanks Peter)

Hand-made leather camera case for Panasonic Lumix GF-1

We are pleased to announce an addition of a Panasonic Lumix GF-1 version to our popular range of hand-made leather camera cases. The Lumix GF-1 is Panasonic’s answer to the Olympus E-P1. Unlike the Digital Pen this Lumix has a much more utilitarian feel, making it the perfect everyday camera. A quality camera case will make this plain and elegant looking camera even more presentable and also protect this valuable camera from external knocks while at the same time be smooth in the hands when using it. A detachable back cover protecting the LCD display is available as an option.

These camera cases handmade by an artisan, one by one, in the old center of Tokyo. Their quality and feel are extraordinary; “Perfume of REAL leather, high quality finish and stitching” writes one satisfied customer.

A unique feature of this case is that the strap attaches to the case, not to the camera as with most other cases. This case effectively cradles your GF-1 safely and gently, safeguarding your investment.

Please note we also carry the official Lumix GF-1 cases made by Panasonic here.

Hand-made leather camera case for Olympus E-P1

Hand-made leather camera case for Olympus E-P1

We are pleased to announce an addition of a Olympus E-P1 version to our popular range of hand-made leather camera cases. The Olympus E-P1 Digital Pen is one of the most stylish digital cameras we have seen in years. A quality camera case will make it even more presentable and also protect this valuable camera from external knocks while at the same time be smooth in the hands when using it. A detachable back cover protecting the LCD display is available as an option.

These camera cases handmade by an artisan, one by one, in the old center of Tokyo. Their quality and feel are extraordinary; “Perfume of REAL leather, high quality finish and stitching” writes one satisfied customer.

A unique feature of this case is that the strap attached to the case, not to the camera as with most other cases. This case effectively cradles your E-P1 safely and gently. It deserves it.

Yes, there are cheaper cases out there, but not at this level of quality. Even Olympus’ own mass-manufactured case and strap will cost almost what this high-quality hand-made case does.

Rayqual M4/3 adapters on the Olympus E-P1

Rayqual Micro-Four-Thirds adapter on Olympus E-P1

A customer in Malaysia, who is obviously privileged enough to be given a private view of a final pre-production model of the forthcoming Olympus E-P1, sends us the above photo. In it you see a Carl Zeiss ZM Planar 50/2 mounted on the E-P1 by means of a Rayqual Leica M-M4/3 adapter for Leica M lenses.

He comments further:

The focusing is great because of the 3″ screen, plus you have the zoom function like the G1. In certain ways it is better than the G1…. the face detection works very well even with this manual lens. Without an EVF it is a bit odd and needs getting used to but it is a very solid camera though. Just imagine… an 100mm f2 ( 50mm x 2) image stabilized lens… this is mind blowing… the Rayqual really feels like a piece of precision engineering.

Looks like this will be an exciting year for M4/3.

Micro 4/3 lens adapter choice to increase

Premium lens adapter manufacturer Rayqual just informed us of the following upcoming releases of new adapters for the Micro Four-Thirds (M4/3) mount:

Nikon F and Contax/Yashica to M4/3 lens adapters will become available in July June and Pentax K, Olympus OM and Leica R versions will follow suit in August.

Prices will be in line with the Leica M and Canon FD to M4/3 adapters (¥18.700).