I took some photos again at this year’s Classic Yacht Regatta in Newport, RI, USA. It had been a few years. Amazing how different the sky and ocean can be year to year. And it’s always a treat to be out on the water, especially with the estimable Onne van der Wal.
This was my first major shoot since moving over to the micro 4/3 [M43] sensor format. I carried my usual two-body outfit on a double-rig shoulder sling, one with a long zoom lens and the other with a wide angle. In fact, the new outfit very closely mimicked my old full-frame Canon system, but at half the weight. The long lens was a 50-200mm [100-400mm-e] mounted on a Lumix G9, and the other an 8-16mm [16-32mm-e] on a GX85 body. Both lenses are of the Leica DG Vario-Elmarit f2.8-4 variety. Moving around on a small boat during a regatta requires that you be light and nimble. This kit fit the bill.
I found both cameras very light and easy to handle. One niggle was that with the long lens things seemed to ‘jam up’ a bit writing files when shooting bursts. Not sure what that was about, and it could have the been the lens, body, or card at fault…all are brand new. I’ll have to keep an eye on that, but haven’t witnessed it since. Another observation was a much shorter battery life than I was used to with the Canons, especially with the GX85. But I had anticipated this and had an extended battery grip for the G9 and two spares for each body, so no issue.
All images were taken at base ISO which with these cameras is 200. Odd to me, but no bother. Most shots were at maximum aperture or close to it. I had a polarizer fitted to each lens, so no issue with too much light. I shoot RAW, and the color you see here is a combination of Adobe Lightroom’s conversion with some auto-tone and auto-white balance, and adjustments to taste. To be honest, this was very early on in my tenure with the Lumix cameras and I’ve tweeked the workflow a bit since then.
And that’s the take-way. RAW images straight from the Canon cameras and processed in LR were 99% wonderful. Not so with this kit. There seem to be some interesting interpretations happening. But I mean that…they are interesting, and I find myself interacting with individual files more than before. This would be a shortcoming for a busy wedding photographer trying to make a thousand or more files look congruous. Not so for me, a semi-retired duffer.
These shortcomings and any others are more than offset by the light and easy handling of the cameras, and the fact that I’m not shooting on any sort of deadline. All images were sharp and in focus beyond any expectation, and I love the way the Vario-Elmarits see the light. Very smooth and evocative. A wonderful drop off of focus and evenness of tonality. Just very satisfying, and even occasionally spectacularly flavorful.
Onne expressed some interest in my kit, exclaiming particularly at the f2.8 max aperture of the zooms. Don’t think he’ll replace his affiliation with Canon anytime soon, but who knows 🙂
Actually, I’m seeing a bit of press concerning the possibility of Olympus abandoning M43, or worse cameras altogether…and similar stories about Panasonic moving exclusively to full frame. Ouch. I consider the M43 to be the perfect format between the cellphone and medium format, but that’s just me.
I’ve never held an X1D, so what do I know? And my 500C/M’s are long gone. What I do know is that I love being able to take my time and just enjoy the day. What fun!
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