Stimulating Photographic Creativity
Rendering the subject’s essence and
expressing human sensibilities.
- What is LUMIX’s “image-making philosophy”?
Suou: We think there are two facets to image quality: numerical value and sensibility value. We call the latter “image-making.” By having an image-making philosophy, we can ensure consistency in LUMIX’s image-making quality. For example, even when the G9 in the Micro Four Thirds System standard is combined with the S1R full-frame lens, the resulting pictures offer spontaneous consistency, and we believe this is important for earning the confidence of professional photographers in our products.
- Please describe the LUMIX image-making philosophy.
Suou: In short, our image-making philosophy can be expressed by the phrase, “Capturing It All.” It means capturing life’s complex tapestry and the flow of time. For this, it is necessary to express each subject’s essence clearly. For instance, when shooting an expansive landscape with blue sky above, the captured image should express the depth of the blue sky. When taking a picture of vividly blooming flowers, the image should depict the freshness and vitality of each flower.
- I am very interested in how the image-making philosophy, “Capturing It All,” has evolved in the full-frame cameras.
Suou: The keyword we obtained in the hearings with professional photographers was “moistness” surrounding fog covered mountains that could be expressed in photos. If a camera can capture and render this beautifully, it will be able to depict the subjects of various types with greater expressive power, such as a “sense of depth” and “depth expression.”
- “Moistness”... That is an unusual term used to describe picture quality.
Suou: Indeed. The word “moistness” is very sensuous and ambiguous. To express that in photos, we had to identify and understand “moistness” in our own way. We took pictures of fog covered mountains and held discussions, and then broke down what we discussed and incorporated them into the image quality design. By repeating this process over and over, we were able to unravel what “moistness” meant and to add the essence into the image-making concept we had formed through the development of Micro Four Thirds System cameras and lenses.
- I never imagined such extensive efforts were put into development.
Suou: The goal of our image-making endeavor is not so simple and the mere use of a full-frame sensor is not enough to reach it. Conversely speaking, it is important to design and utilize the sensor and engine effectively to realize “moistness” and “sense of depth” on the basis of our image-making philosophy.
The S Series expresses things invisible to us, such as air and moisture.
- I’m sure there were many difficulties you had to overcome in order to design the image quality for the expression of “moistness.”
Okamoto: Since we had to address the expression of invisible and sensuous matters that had no physical shapes, we did not quite know where to start at the beginning of the development. It was not an easy task since it involved groping for the direction of approach, analyzing technical requirements and reflecting them in the image quality design.
- What was the breakthrough that made it possible?
-Image quality design
Okamoto: During the repeated analysis of how to express “moistness,” we discovered that processing of details and gradation was highly important. By rendering slight changes in resolution and contrast and depicting pale tones and faint details of shadows precisely, the image of trees on mountains fading into the mist could be expressed in the photo. We concluded that was what “moistness” meant.
- So, you applied that knowledge in the development of the engine.
Okamoto: LUMIX boasts high-quality image processing technology cultivated through the development of Micro Four Thirds System products, such as intelligent detail processing and three-dimensional color control. By combining a lens with superb rendering performance, a sensor boasting high resolution, high sensitivity and high dynamic range, and a high-performance image processing engine, the S Series has gained the capability to express “moistness.” I think we took another step closer to the ideal picture quality dictated by our image-making philosophy, “Capturing It All.”
Experience new and unprecedented expression functions.
- I understand that the S Series is equipped with innovative photographing functions such as a High Resolution mode and HLG Photo.
Osuka: The High Resolution mode utilizes a technology that generates a high-resolution image from eight burst shot images obtained by moving the image sensor in a subpixel pitch. The S1R can acquire overwhelmingly ultrahigh-resolution RAW images with up to 187-megapixel equivalent resolution.
- A similar technology is used in the G9, isn’t it?
Osuka: Yes, it is. In addition, the S Series is added with a new mode that can be used for landscape photography and others. Image areas containing motions, such as swaying leaves, became blurry in captured images before, but the S Series suppresses blurring in image areas where motion is detected, thus achieving more natural-looking photographs.
- I don’t think I have ever heard of a function called HLG Photo.
Osuka: HLG Photo is a function that generates HDR images based on the Hybrid Log Gamma standard.
For HLG Photo, we newly developed the gradation characteristics optimized for HLG-compatible displays. When viewed on an HLG-compatible display, photos shot with the S Series depict highlight/shadow areas with greater detail and express even “glare” and “sparkles.” What’s more, they offer a wider color gamut, thus rendering green tree leaves with richer colors.
- I was astonished at the glare expressed by the demo photos.
Osuka: Standard JPEG is 8-bit, but HLP Photo is 10-bit so the resolution is higher. Furthermore, the recording range on the high brightness side is wider and the dynamic range is closer to the human eye’s visible range. In other words, what this expression function achieves is a whole new world of photographic expression. In the development, we aimed to recreate the impression one receives when “looking at a positive film with transmitted light using a light box.” I would like customers to experience a new photographic expression that is a world apart from what prints offer.