LUMIX G9II Gallery and Impressions by Creators
LUMIX G9II Gallery and Impressions by Creators
With this camera, the photographer never needs to compromise
Takehiko Nakafuji has created photography all over the world, mainly in monochrome. As a snapshot photographer, Nakafuji has attained legendary status. His photographs with their own style and unique ambience are greatly admired by people everywhere. So, what is Nakafuji looking for when he goes out to shoot photographs?
“I shoot a lot on the street, so I naturally want a small and light camera. Obviously, my street snapshots include photos of people that I’ve just met, and I want to get them to relax as soon as possible. If I use a really big camera, it’s too conspicuous and it puts people on guard. So, a small camera is better. Another thing is that I shoot mostly in monochrome, so a camera with a full menu of monochrome features is easier to use. Most cameras are mirrorless these days, so when shooting you just set the electronic viewfinder to monochrome. Producing images is really easy, and that makes it easy to creates images that express what you envision.”
A camera that makes it easy to produce superb monochrome images
When it comes to cameras, Nakafuji is very particular. So, how was the LUMIX G9PRO II?
“I took this camera with me to Chicago to shoot pictures, and I really liked its Photo Style settings. Previous models have the L.Monochrome Photo Style setting, which provides exceptional monochrome simulation, but for this camera they have added a setting called LEICA Monochrome. It produces monochrome photos with even stronger contrast than L. Monochrome, and for me that’s really appealing. LEICA Monochrome captures the subtle black and white contrast characteristic of monochrome and yet produces a really strong tone.
While other camera brands have models specifically for monochrome photography, the LUMIX G9PROII can produce monochrome pictures comparable to these other cameras. It’s that good. And most appealing of all is you only need the camera to fine-tune your settings. Monochrome photography tends to easily bring out a photographer’s personality. And with this camera you can carefully adjust all your preferences with the Photo Style settings. For instance, you can adjust granularity, contrast, and all kinds of other parameters, and for that reason I recommend it for people who want to work mainly in monochrome.
By the way, when I shot in color using the Standard setting of Photo Style, I was favorably impressed by how precisely the camera reproduced colors as I saw them. Color faithfully reproduced is key. From there you can either go for the Photo Style setting that suits you best or whatever Photo Style setting you want to master. So, there’s also the pleasure of customizing it into your own special camera.”
Peace-of-mind shooting with an easy-to-operate autofocus
Nakafuji loves the new LEICA Monochrome Photo Style setting. It’s a great match for creating the film-like image quality that is so popular these days, especially among people in their twenties. By really mastering the camera’s features, photographers can take the quality of their photos up several notches. Nakafuji also likes the camera’s easy-to-operate autofocus.
“The autofocus quickly brings objects into focus, so using it is really hassle-free. The autofocus brings objects into focus faster than previous models. I also shot at night and in dark interiors, and I was surprised by how good the focal ratio is in low light. Higher power output reduces missed shots, resulting in photos with a lot more variety. This is crucial when doing snapshot photography. Although it’s not that prominent a feature, I found the Joystick easy to handle. You can freely move it to bring the autofocus point into perfect sync with the scene you want. What’s more, it’s positioned in the control panel to make it easy to operate.”
So far, Nakafuji has let us know that the camera has the basic features needed for snapshot photography. So, what about the lenses?
“I shot using a LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH. as the main lens, and it is an outstanding lens (laughs). First, the maximum aperture value of f1.7 is quite bright, so you can use it for snapshots, portrait, and other kinds of photography. Since the 35-mm equivalent focal length of this lens is 20–50 mm, it has a focal distance ideal for snapshot photography. Bokeh, which is sharp anyway because of the lens’ maximum aperture, is natural and lush. Photos shot with a point light source are well-defined and beautiful. But at the same time, the lens has excellent flare resistance. It really is the perfect zoom lens. The only thing I’m a little concerned about is its size, but given what it gives back in performance, I think the size is well within the range of acceptable. I also used the LEICA DG SUMMILUX 9mm / F1.7 ASPH. a bit, and it comes in a light and compact lens body that’s small enough to slip into your pocket. I like it because you can shoot the kind of dynamic images that only an ultra-wide-angle lens can produce. The LUMIX G Series’ generous selection of lenses lets you enjoy picking out the lenses that work best in the domain in which you want to photograph. Besides that, many of the lenses are relatively affordable, so putting together a selection is fairly easy.”
For a photographer like Nakafuji who shoots mainly in monochrome, the LUMIX G9 PRO II has everything he needs. Now it’s waiting for you to pick it up and try your hand at shooting some stylish monochrome snapshots.
Text: Atsushi Ogai, Photos: Takehiko Nakafuji, Lens used for photography: LEICA DG VARIO-SUMMILUX 10-25mm / F1.7 ASPH.
Takehiko Nakafuji was born in Tokyo. After dropping out of the Department of Literature at Waseda University, he graduated from the Department of Photography of Tokyo Visual Arts. He has produced many works of photography, with an emphasis on snapshot images in urban settings. Whether in Japan or overseas, his pieces possess an immediacy and intimacy that truly captures the pulse of life in the scenes he photographs. In addition to photography, Nakafuji operates the Tokyo gallery Gallery Niépce, and he has also held numerous exhibitions and workshops.