LUMIX Picture-making Philosophy
©Ben Grunow (GH5)
2. Unraveling the sensibilities of creators
Engineers personally accompany the photographer to the shooting site
What does “picture-making with an philosophy” mean? How do we measure the "subjective evaluation" that comes from sensibility? The answer is to know the unique worldview expressed by the creators. We hear from many creators, and they speak in extremely sensuous and abstract terms. In order to deepen our knowledge, our engineers accompany them to the shooting site, sharpen our five senses and experience and understand the sensations felt on site.
On one occasion, we accompanied them on a shoot to a snowy mountain. Most of the photo shoot was done in the evening or at the break of dawn, while sleeping in a car in extremely cold weather of -20 degrees Celsius. For us office workers, the break of dawn was completely outside of our working hours, and it was a far cry from the comfortable, air-conditioned environment that we work in every day to develop our products.
On another occasion, we encountered a situation where the plane we were on was unable to land due to bad weather and had to be turned around. We thought that we would just give up and wait since the weather was the inevitable cause, but such an option does not seem to be available to professional creators. Once we found out that there was a train running, we would move on to the next location for the photo shoot, sparing no time for sleep. Even while the train was stopped for some time in the middle of that trip, we stepped outside to shoot the snow-covered train and the tracks. In this way, we eat and sleep together, listen to their stories and opinions, and learn about the world they are trying to express while taking pictures beside them.
In shooting the pure white landscapes, we learned about the depth of the color white, which is the foundation of picture-making. The image quality design that we were particular about to be able to express the gradation of white within white when shooting in pure white landscapes is one of the strengths of LUMIX, which is now highly evaluated by professionals.
Knowing what is going on at the shooting site is very valuable not only in terms of whether the camera works properly in the extreme cold, but also in terms of whether there is any inconvenience in operating the camera with numb hands, especially during the magic hour when shooting is a race against time, etc., and there is also much to be gained in areas other than picture-making.
Incorporating sensibilities into image quality
In order to incorporate the sensibilities grasped in the field into the image quality design, it is necessary to quantify them. We repeat the fine-tuning process by changing many parameters little by little while taking utilizing the performance of the image sensor and the image processing engine. We compare the photos taken by the creators with the photos taken by ourselves with various cameras, and for example, each element, such as gradation and detail, is repeatedly discussed among the picture-making members.
While photographs are meant to appeal to the sense of sight, we complete our work by determining whether they appeal to the five senses, such as the strength of the wind, aroma, taste, and temperature felt on the skin at the shooting site.
What is a sense of humidity?
When we entered the full-frame camera market, a photographer pointed out to us that the difference between micro four thirds and full-frame cameras is the sense of humidity. The sense of humidity was described as a hazy, fading expression, but we still didn't know what exactly it meant. Wanting to find out, we went deep into the mountains of Nara to photograph a sea of clouds, but although we woke up in the middle of the night and stuck around from dawn, no sea of clouds appeared, and we were only able to capture the photos of the drizzle which let us feel moisture instead.
Since we don't find the answer that easily every time, we approach it from many different directions. At that time, we were further given the photograph that the photographer said to feel the greatest sense of humidity and analyzed it thoroughly. As a result, we found that the sense of humidity is characterized by smoothness of tone and richness of detail information. These areas can be quantified and incorporated into the image quality design. In this way, picture-making is supported by a vast accumulation of quantified data.
The S series, LUMIX's first full-frame model, was completed after repeated attempts of this kind. In addition to the image quality design in line with our picture-making philosophy, the benefit of its large sensor size also helped to depict a vanishing sense of humidity with an extremely rich tonal expression.
How do we bring consistency to our picture-making?
After adapting the picture-making philosophy, the image quality is designed in the same direction in terms of color expression and other aspects of picture-making, whether it is the G series or the S series. When we develop a new sensor or a new engine, we compare it to a reference standard, even though there are differences in sensor formats. This was the image quality of the camera that was released to the world with the satisfaction of all the picture-making team members, after accompanying the creators on their shooting sites and unraveling their sensibilities. We continue to repeat the process of putting them side by side, comparing them, and then bringing the differences closer together.
Although it may be blatantly straightforward, this single-mindedness has led to an appreciation of LUMIX's image quality and color reproduction, and many creators have told us that "LUMIX can capture pure whites and beautiful blacks," "there is no difference in color even when multiple LUMIX cameras are combined," and "breathtaking gradations can be captured." We would appreciate it if these were perceived as the individuality of LUMIX, and if they are recognized as cameras that are concerned with image quality.
Continues to Chapter 3