Archive for May, 2008


The chemical illusion.

May 31, 2008

Panasonic LX2, f7.1, 1/1300, 6,3mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

They say there is a scientific explanation for every phenomena in life. Fraternal love has a biological origin. Nothing more than a natural conditioning factor to ensure the perpetuation of the species. Now go and tell a father that his unconditional love is nothing but a part of the perfect plan of life, and that he is just an obedient pawn on the great chessboard of mother nature..

But if that is so, then love, together with hatred, compassion and all the other human passions, are nothing but  chemical illusions, only good for the pens of the poets. There is evil and good in every being. And if that is so, then crime, genocide and abuse can also be explained under the optic of the biological conditioning for the survival of the stronger individuals. I believe that in the steep ascent of the human species, we have achieved great goals, conquered a higher level of conscience and soul that should allow us to admit that some things simply escape our understanding.

Now try to express it with a mathematical formula, or explain it by watching the esence of life through a microscope, but the truth is that a little girl will allways find a warm place in the loving arms of her daddy..





May 30, 2008

Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/400, 25.2mm, iso100, Colour JPEG Processed in PS




Panasonic LX2 Filter & converter adapter

May 29, 2008

Today I received an LX2 adapter I bought in order to be able to mount filters and converters in my camera. I purchased it from HKDCPLUS´s Ebay store. You can visit their store here, and their website here. They have a ton of interesting stuff whatever camera brand you are shooting. I would highly recomend this people, good prices, great comunication, complete control over your order status and very quick service. Needless to say I have no relation to them, I am just a satisfied customer…

The panasonic LX2 is not prepared to receive filters or any other add-ons. It has no thread on the lens and Panasonic doesn´t seem to offer anything either.  Now fortunately there is an option for those that, like myself, want to achieve long exposures by attaching polarizing or neutral density filters or that want to get an ultrawide field of view  by mounting any kind of lens converter to this camera :

The adapter is metalic and has a great black finish. Really nice looking. As mentioned before the LX2 has no thread in the lens. The end of the lens barrel is slightly narrower, and this narrow end extends for a few mm. Perfect for the adapter placement:

The adapter fits tightly by simply pressing it in, and it does so without scratching the lens barrel because it has two internal rubber rings that provide the adapter a very solid grip. It doesn´t move or rotate. The adapter comes with a very nice “clip-on” lens cap that is very easy to fit and remove and that stays in place solidly.

The thread in the adapter is 52mm. This is very nice because it means that being considerably wider than the camera´s lens whatever you mount here vignetting is simply out of the equation..

I own a number of 72mm filters so I decided to mount them via a step-up ring instead of purchasing new filters. I Stacked the step-up ring, a polarizing filter and a neutral density filter. On top of all this I mounted a Cokin “P” filter holder with a neutral density graduated filter (that is a bunch of stuff in front of the lens..). Nothing, not the faintest sign of vigneting!! Obviously the lens does not touch the lenscap if extended with it mounted.

Even when the adapter definetely eliminates any trace of “pocketability” and the thing simply isn´t that compact any more, I believe the camera actually looks very nice with the adapter on. As an aside, for those that have big hands and for those finding the holding of this camera very difficult, I can assure you the adapter takes care of the problem…

I have purchased a Nikon WC-E68 wide angle converter that should arrive in the following days. Mounted in my Panny it should give me an effective F.O.V of about 19mm (35mm equiv.), bringing me into the realms of ultra-wide. The Nikon is a heavy lens, probably a bit heavier than the camera itself. Werther the adapter will be strong enough to resist the weight of the lens and stay in place is something that remains to be seen…I will be doing a write-up on the lens and the whole combo once it arrives, stay tuned!!

Now werther this little piece of metal is worth the roughly 30$ it costs is entirely up to you. What is granted is that it increases the creative power of an allready very capable piece of gear. Now if only I could get 36 hour long days so I could actually go out there and “hunt some photons…”

I´m off now, but not without throwing in some more camera porn…

Panasonic LX2 & 72mm Polarizing filter

I know this might  look a bit “orthopaedic”, a 52mm filter would surely look slicker but I decided to use the filters I allready own (wife thinks mortgage is more important..go figure!!)  😉

Panasonic LX2 & Cokin “P” filter holder and gradual ND filter

The use of gradual ND filters can save you a lot of time in front of the computer when shooting sunsets of scenes with huge dynamic range, plus you can stack several different filters and go “experimental”..



The ones that didn´t make it.

May 28, 2008

It´s one month now since this blog saw the light. I thank you all for the warm welcome and all the coments. I thought I would slip in some of the photographs that didn´t make it to the blog during this month. May them speak for themselves..


Panasonic LX2, f5.6, 1/320, 6,3mm, iso200, Colour JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/2000, 6,3mm, iso100, Colour JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f8, 5Seconds, 12,5mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/8, 6,3mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/800, 23,2mm, iso100, Colour JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f2.8, 1/30, 6,3mm, iso800, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/2000, 6,3mm, iso100, Colour JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f4.9, 1/800, 23.2mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS 

Panasonic LX2, f2.8, 1/60, 6,3mm, iso400, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f5.6, 1/640, 18mm, iso200, B&W JPEG Processed in PS





Step into the light

May 27, 2008
Panasonic LX2, f3.6, 1/20, 6,3mm, iso800, B&W JPEG Processed in PS




One month and five days, a 2 cent veredict…

May 26, 2008

Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/2000, 6,3mm, iso100, Colour JPEG Processed in PS

It has been a month and five days since my Panasonic DMC-LX2 (why on earth do camera makers use this bloody names..??) arrived. Today I decided to make a (WARNING: LONG..) post focused on the camera and MY findings after the time we have spent toghether for whoever may be interested. I believe today´s image will help pointing many of the coments I am about to make. Though the certainty that a LX3 is around the corner may turn this into a bad moment to consider buying the LX2, it might as well be an excelent moment to get a very good deal on a second hand one, I did and couldn´t be happier. I believe there is a lot to like about this camera (and very little not to like), but before I get into it just a little disclaimer..

  • I am not a pro photographer by any means, nor a techno geek. Take my findings with skepticism, I´m just a bugger with a camera and a blog…
  • I am not a RAW shooter. I have fiddled with some RAW files of this camera in Lightroom, Aperture, PS and Silkypix. Every piece of software seems to have it´s advantages and disadvantages, and though I manage to get “SLIGHLY” better images from the RAW files (MY RAW skills may be lacking), the quality advantage doesn´t compensate for the time invested: I prefer to spend time behind my camera than in front of my computer..I´m prety pleased with the JPEG´s once you get the right settings and have a good workflow.
  • I have not printed a single file since I got the camera. My printer broke before the arrival and I haven´t taken the time to fix it or get a new one, so all my findings are based on screen inspection..I do plan on getting some lab prints one of this days.
  • English is not my mother tongue, it takes some effort to write in a foreign language, so I hope you will excuse any grammar or spelling mistakes you may find in this blog/essay.
  • If any of this points make my “review” unacceptable, well, the good news is that you can stop reading now!!

Where to start? Well, exposure modes. I wouldn´t consider buying a camera that made the exposure decisions for me. Todays image was done reaching the camera´s limits: f8 and 1/2000. A fully auto camera would have probably done an acceptable job, but being the paranoid kind of guy I am I rather make my own decisions..The camera has full manual mode as well as aperture and shutter priority. The interface is logicall, comfortable and pretty fast. So far the camera has not slowed me down too much when in need of changing my settings. One of the most important settings when shooting, exposure compensation, is not burried in the menu and can be changed very quickly with the joystick while shooting. I am afraid another very important setting, iso, is buried in the menu, though not too far. All in all, a very nice design that doesn´t get too much in the way of shooting.

I believe the most important part of a camera is it´s lens. No matter how good the sensor is, if the lens is crap you´re done. And honestly, todays sensor technology is mature enough (considering the obvious drawbacks of a small sensor camera) to be a serious limiting factor. You can start flaming me now…The little cute Leica lens in front of my camera can be described in three words: FAN TAS TIC. I used to own a Leica M7 and one of Leica´s most venerable (and controversial) lenses: The 35 Summicron Asphericall. I loved that lens(it was probably a bit TOO sharp though..) and the way it drawed. I have to say I am liking the little Leica lens on my LX2 nearly as much. Second flame coming… Maybe not as sharp as the 35 Cron, but VERY sharp. So much that sometimes when photoshopping my images my corneas bleed..But I believe there is much more to a lens than mere sharpness. Some have described the way a lens draws as it´s “signature”. I like this lense´s signature very much. It renders the images in a very pleasing way to my eyes.

No, I have not forgotten that I am talking about a small sensor “point and shoot”, and yes, I know what a clean iso800 image from a Canon 5D and a Canon L prime looks like, thanks. I still love my Panny.

I believe one of a lenses worse flaws is flare (yes, I consider flare a flaw, and even when some may like the creative possibilities flare gives, I simply HATE it). I have tried it hard, but there seems to be no way of getting propper flare from this lens..If you have a look at todays image you will see a white spot to the right, in the backlit tree. That is as much flare as I have managed to get with this camera. As an interesting note, you only get this faint traces of flare when the strong light source is on one side of the image, shooting straight into the sun seems to produce zero flare. Nice!!

While we are at it, one of the most cool features in the majority of today´s point and shoots is the macro mode. The Panny does a good job, and is pin sharp in this mode, though unfortunately it won´t  focus closer than 5cm. This is a quick grab of my wife´s Ipod Nano from yesterday:

For those of you who don´t know how big an Ipod Nano is (I know, I know. everybody bloody knows how big a Nano is..), well an Ipod nano is…Nano!! I´m afraid this is as close as I can get to a subject with the LX2. Surely it would be cool to have the 1cm macro ability offered in other models..

Another two very important features, that seem to be very related, are focus speed and shutter lag. Let´s get real, no point and shoot is going to excel in the focus department (though the LX2 is not really bad). I have been experimenting with “decisive moment” sort of pictures in the last days and there is a workaround to the lag issue: manual focusing. The huge depth of field achieved by this lenses allows the use manual focus and hyperfocal in a reliable and very fast way. Plus the LX2 has a very usefull way of letting you know how much of your image is in focus: You get a metered scale (in meters or feet) and a yellow bar that tells you where your focused area starts and ends. Using this method reduces the shutter lag to nearly imperceptible. With a bit of practice you will be soon getting the images in the right moment. As an aside, I seem to be getting the sharpest images this way, sharper than auto-focus. The lense´s sweet spot seems to be around f4.5 or f5. Using this setting toghether with iso400 allows enough depth of field and speed to get “grab” images in nearly every reasonable light condition, with an amazing sharpness and speed. We´ll talk about noise next..

Probably one of the most discussed issues of this camera has been it´s sensor and it´s noise. Panasonic has been critizised for the in-camera noise reduction that seems to be fairly aggressive. I suggest anybody doing JPEG´s with this camera turns noise reduction to it´s lowest setting, it can degrade the image details visibly. This seems to be one of the main differences with this camera´s Leica “step-brother”, the D-LUX3, the firmware and image processor seem to do a different job, and apparently the Leica has a less aggressive noise reduction, resulting in images with less of the well known “smearing”. Unfortunately, noise reduction can´t be turned completely off in the Panasonic, though using the lowest setting seems like a good compromise.  The images of a small sensor camera noiseless aren´t..and the LX2 is no exception. But if the high iso images are usable or not is pretty much up to everyones expectations (and to the photographed subject as well..more on this later.) I am finding iso 400 black and white images completely aceptable. Very nice actually, as I am liking the texture the noise gives to the images. Colour high iso images are, why deny it, ugly. iso 400 and 800 colour images are not to my liking. For colour photography I wouldn´t go over iso 200..But as said before, it also very much depends on the kind of subject and light you are shooting in: well lit images of not too dark subjects result in amazingly good iso 400 and quite nice iso 800 (allways in black and white). Bad light and dark subjects and shadows can be tricky and beging to get very noisy by iso800. Iso 1600 is, well, iso 1600. Needless to say more. Can be used if in need, but better avoid it. Anyhow, I have allways liked grain, and the noise in the black and white files is very interesting as well..

Now, even when I never view images this way and I don´t give a damn about 100% crops, for those that feel the urge to see such a test, and as a reward for having read this far, here is such a crop from today´s image (this image has been shot at f8, though I ignore to what extent there might be some sharpness loss due to diffraction, f4.5 or f5 shots seem to be quite sharper):

Original iso100 image:

100% Crop:

Sorry? Oh, you say you want a 100% crop from the sky…? Here you go:

100% Crop from the top (sky and trees):

Oh! So you would need to see a iso400 crop now, eh? O.K. no problems..

Original iso400 file:

100% Crop:

I saw this coming: you want a iso800 crop now, don´t you? Then you can have two:

Original iso800 file:


Original iso800 file:

100% Crop:

Please note that all this images were shot handheld in less than desirable light conditions and that the iso800 samples were shot with image stabilisation turned off due to my mistake, so any sharpness issues may be due to shutter speed and handholdability, this images are posted for iso viewing. Now I suggest you go and shoot a roll of Tri-X of HP5, scan the negs, fiddle with them in PS and then…draw your own conclutions!!

Regarding image stabilisation, even when it is not miracolous and I am not posting any samples or test, suffice to say that it DOES work, image stabilisation does make a difference and is very helpfull when shooting handheld in low-light situations.

So what else could be said about this little cute & sexy camera in a non-scientific essay? Is this camera perfect? NOPE. But close (to me..). What would make the reincarnation of this camera the perfect companion in my opinion? Few things:

  1. Lower iso capability (iso 80 or even 50) toghether with 2 or three minutes long shutter speed.
  2. A flash hotshoe for external viewfinder and an external flash unit.
  3. Noise reduction “completely OFF” mode.
  4. 1cm close macro focus.
  5. Not a single megapixel more cramped into this tiny sensor (though I am afraid Panasonic will punish us with one of it´s new 12Mp sensors..
  6. OK, not a deal breaker but, could we have 1:1 aspect ratio in RAW, please..

Believe it or not, that would make the thing as close to perfect as I believe a P&S can be..And yes, I have realised that every single one of those features is present in the Ricoh GX100..But you would loose the long end of the zoom and the very cool 16:9 aspect ratio which is highly addictive and makes framing more natural to my eyes than the 3:2 from my DSLR which I really never liked..For what it´s worth, I haven´t done a single shot since I bought the camera that wasn´t in 16:9..

Did you get the feeling that I like this camera very much? GOOD..There is really not a lot more that can be said in a biassed and un-scientific essay. If you have read this far now you know that you´re a tough guy/gal and that you could handle hard stuff such a month in Guantanamo and a 50 year long marriage (and both in the same life..). I feel honoured that you have made it this far and feel like cutting the crap right now..This Blog is un-censored, the comments block below is open to anybody, so you can start flaming me to your pleassure…

Thanks, and have a beautifull day!!

Erik (the rambling bugger).



Pocahontas & the fountain..

May 24, 2008

Panasonic LX2, f2.8, 1/640, 6,3mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Panasonic LX2, f4.5, 1/20, 18mm, iso200, Colour JPEG Converted in PS

The great thing of not doing this for a living and carrying the tiny camera with you at all times is that you focus on the little things that you find every day that call your attention, recreating your own little private universe…Back to horizontality!!




Playing with the light..

May 23, 2008

For those of you who dared calling my “photographic crap” weird things such as “inspirational”….Here I come!!

PanasonicLX2, f4.9, 1/20, 25,2mm, iso400, B&W JPEG, Processed in PS

PanasonicLX2, f4.5, 1/25, 11,6mm, iso400, B&W JPEG, Processed in PS

PanasonicLX2, f4.5, 1/6, 18mm, iso200, Colour JPEG, Processed in PS

I had a vertical day..





The unavoidable..

May 22, 2008

Tried to avoid it by all means, but it happened: A merciless flu that had been keeping my company for a while finally confined me to my ungratefull bed. It has kept me away from photos, work or anything else for a good while but…I´m back!! And I´m afraid I will be torturing you faithfull visitors with some more of my photographic crap!!!! 

Ah, regarding loyal visitors: roughly three weeks since I started this blog and allready 2000 visits!!!  THANKS, THANKS, THANKS!!!

Good light to you all..Erik.



“Team siesta”

May 17, 2008
Panasonic LX2, f8, 1/1000, 6,3mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Spain is a country known for strong topics: Bullfighting, fiesta, good weather and siesta among the most popular ones..Even when the country has been strongly “Europeized” in the last decades it still carries the label “Spain is different…”. Well, keep just to keep the topics strong and healthy, here, “Team siesta” in the beach..

And as I am going to be away from a computer untill monday just an extra picture for today..


Panasonic LX2, f3.2, 1/80, 6,3mm, iso200, B&W JPEG, Processed in PS