Archive for the ‘16:9’ Category



July 26, 2008


Have had a couple issues on hold for a few days, they are coming all togheter today in a multipost..


Defective Hoya R72 Infrared filter

The Ricoh compacts are legendary for it´s IR capabilities. I once had a IR converted 20D. It was fun, but I thought that having a camera for IR shooting exclusiveley was not worth it so I sold it. Have missed IR a lot. Now with the arrival of my GX100 it´s the perfect moment to get back to some IR shooting. The R72 is probably the most popular IR filter, because it allows not only B&W IR but also allows to produce great “False Colour” images. So I went and bought an Hoya R72 IR filter from a reputable dealer on Ebay on the states to a great price. The IR filter arrived last week and since then I have been trying it out with very weird results. I have not been pleased with it at all. I blamed my lack of IR skills and went to read some tutorials and tryed it out some more, but still no success. Suddenly, after watching some of the pictures I noticed that one portion of the filter was producing a blur. If you rotate the filter the blur rotates with it. Funny that the surface of the filter is flawless, not a single sign of damage.

You can see the blur caused in the area surounded by the red elipse. Not being able to see any damage signs I decided to have a look against a strong light source and..there it was!! The filter has an internal scratch that is clearly underneath the coating:

I have contacted the dealer and after providing some pictures they were very surprised becaused aparently after many years representing HOYA filters they have never seen anything similar. To be honest neither have I..They inmediately took care of the issue and kindly asked for me to return the filter so they can proceed to inspection and replacement. They have taken care of the return shipping costs, something not very common I believe. So my IR photography is on hold untill I receive my replacement filter..Oh well!


Panasonic LX2 VS. Ricoh GX100

This is probably useless as both replacement models (GX200 and LX3) have been announced, but I wanted to see a few things with my own eyes..So I went and shot a scene with both cameras to see the real world differences. You can click on the images to view (and download if you wish and could be of any interest to you) a bigger version.

Panasonic LX2, f5.6, 0.625Sec, 6.3mm, ISO 100


Ricoh GX100, f5.4, 0.625Sec, 6mm, ISO 80

Ricoh GX100, f5.4, 0.625Sec, 6mm, ISO 80

 Considering the differences inherent to this two cameras(the panasonic is a 16:9 native sensor camera with a 28mm lens and the Ricoh is a 4:3 native sensor one with a 24mm lens.) this is what I decided to do: Shot both cameras at 3:2 aspect ratio. the LX2 at it´s widest zoom setting and the Ricoh at 28mm. This is going to give the most similar output, in pixel size and FOV. I shot both cameras in their lowest ISO setting, 100 for the Panny and 80 for the Ricoh. All other setting are standard in both models. Both lenses stopped down to 5.4/5.6, which should be close to their sweet spot. Both cameras shot with self-timer, sitting on the table and with image stabilisation turned off. Both in auto focus. This is not a high ISO comparative study, I thought it would be of more interest to see both cameras at their native ISO and in JPEG in order to see the different noise strategies both machines have. Two things are evident this far:

  1. The Ricoh has a much more effective auto white balance that as I mentioned in a previous entry “nails” it every time even in mixed/difficult conditions. I am really liking the Ricoh colours. The Pany´s Auto WB can be all around the place, but it gets much better if you use the specific white balance output. Obviously all this is irrelevant for a RAW shooter..
  2. The Ricoh has a slightly wider FOV (with the 28mm setting in 3:2) , but nothing really relevant .

I thought this high contrast image could be a good candidate, plus it´s all I was willing to shoot last night..Next you will find 100% crops from both cameras in two different areas of the image.

Panasonic LX2, crop1

Panasonic LX2, crop1


Ricoh GX100, crop1

Ricoh GX100, crop1



LX2, crop2

Panasonic LX2, crop2


Ricoh GX100, crop2

Ricoh GX100, crop2

Just in case you believe an ISO100 image of the GX100 could be of interest or a more fair comparisson, here I enclose a ISO 100 crop of the most relevant portion of the image, the shadowed area where noise and the processor´s job are going to be more critical.


Ricoh GX100, crop2 @ ISO100

Ricoh GX100, crop2 @ ISO100

There seems to be, at least to my eyes, a slight difference in noise between the ISO 80 & 100 files of the GX100. I encourage you to see and download bigger versions of each file. I believe this images pretty much tell the story about noise, noise reduction and smearing..I believe commenting about sharpness is dificult. Both lenses are plenty sharp and capable of resolving great detail, though the Leica lens seems a tad sharper (and seems to suffer from a bit more CA). This conclution is not scientific though..I am starting to have a clear idea of how the output of each machine is but I would like you to reach your own conclutions, and It would be of most interest to have them shared here..


Two GX100 images from today


Sometimes it´s difficult to believe..

Ricoh GX100, f2.5, 1/5Sec, 5,1mm, ISO400, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Ricoh GX100, f2.5, 1/5, 5,1mm, ISO400, B&W JPEG Processed in PS


Highkey “Micromachines”

Ricoh GX100, f2.5, 1/760, 5,1mm, ISO400, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

Ricoh GX100, f2.5, 1/760, 5,1mm, ISO400, B&W JPEG Processed in PS


LX3, (personal) first thoughts.

July 22, 2008

It´s finally here, and it caused, yesterday, quite a shake with it´s anouncement. I believe Panasonic has managed to present one of the most interesting cameras in quite a while, they seem to have understood the exact place this RAW shooting “serious compacts” have in the market.

It is interesting that multimillionaire leading companies such as Canon, that produce some of the best photographic tools in the world, manage to fail, generation after generation of their products, to provide exactly what their customers demand, relying in marketing bullshit and just for the sake of profit. Crippling products by not enabling functions that are just a matter of software implementation, in order to create clear market segments and force the sales has been the  strategy of companies like Canon and Sony. Remember the fiasco when they decided to produce a G7 with no RAW capability? Talk about dumb decisions..Those of us who shoot with DSLR´s have been asking for quite a while now for little changes that would make our shooting experience a much more pleasant and succesfull one. For example, ISO changing. Come on, ISO is one of the most important parameters in today´s digital shooting, it can´t be burried in a menu in a PRO or SEMI/PRO camera. For ages we have been asking for a mirror-lockup button to avoid us going deep into the menus, but still they managed to produce a high-end camera like the 5D with a “direct print button”!!!  Who the X”@%$ wants a bloody direct print button in a Pro body??



But then it is refreshing to find little commited companies like Ricoh, that actually seem to care about what a photographer needs when operating a camera, and that time after time seem to surprise gladly including features that people had actually been asking for and that do make their little gems very capable cameras indeed.

Well, Panasonic seems to have joined the little group of manufacturers who actually managed, somehow, to “connect” with their potential buyers. Congratulations! A couple months ago I started in this blog a post tittled “LX3 Wishlist”. Many of you kindly contributed and wrote down your wishes for the new machine. Those wishes seemed to be more or less the same in every other blog or forum that discussed the posibility of an LX3. I allways thought that it would be very easy (and cheap) for big manufacturers to have a little team devoted to surf the web and actually read forums and blogs, because I believe it would be the most effective way of knowing the feeling and demands of photographers. Probably cheaper than complex market studies done by expensive companies with difficult, long and snobish names that believe they know what the people want in the street level…It looks like Panasonic did their homework (or they hired a market study company that actually has their feet in the groud..) because you will find that nearly every point in the wishlist was addressed..

RAW shooting serious compacts are not simply easy holiday snapping machines, they are often the first or second choice for people that take their photography very seriously. In that direction I believe the first great success of the LX3 is that it has become not a camera, but a whole outfit with a number or interesting accesories that conform a nice kit. Have a look at this picture:


I was a Leica rangefinder shooter for a while. This Panasonic kit resembles my Leica outfit in a way that no other compact has ever. I remember reading yesterday in another forum how similar someone found it to his Voightlander-Bessa kit. It does look very cool and “retro”.

The external optical viewfinder is a smart move in the right direction, but aparently they will only comercialise one, a 24mm. Interesting but not enough. I am personaly more of a 35-50 shooter. True that other manufacturers build  finders for the rest of the focal lengths, but if Panasonic has not implemented a step-zoom option the use of other external finders will be more than impossible.

Now that half case is the sexiest thing..The filter and converter adapter is a godsend. It will allow expanding the kit and it´s photographic capabilities in a very wellcome way. As much as I like the adapter I currently use for my LX2, it only stays in place by preassure, and even when it has never failed/fallen I hope the Lumix adapter will be a threaded one for maximum security and reliability. ND filters, yes, cool, but unfortunately the longest shutter speed is still 60 seconds..

The wide converter is wellcome, but not to rain in Panasonic´s parade, using the Nikon WC-E68 wide converter I currently use with my LX2 will allow a FOV of about 16mm, and is also 46mm threaded (like Panasonic´s). Quality may be another issue..Werther the Nikon converter will vignette in the new LX3 remains to be seen..



The lens, is obviously one of the greates strengths of this camera. Interestig that the focal length has been reduced in the tele end. A 2.5x zoom will obviously allow a much higher quality lens, plus making a fast lens so small requires some compromises. I just wish they had made it a 24-70. On the other hand, I could see a tele-converter coming from Panasonic in the near future..Fast (very) at both wide and tele ends  makes it a very capable low-light shooter. If the sensor´s high ISO capabilities are up to it..Good that Panasonic decided to keep it to 10Mp. Brave and clever decision. Another strike for Panasonic.

But stating that this camera´s resolution has remained the same may be arguable. Let me elaborate..In the first place Panasonic has opted for a very curios option: The camera´s sensor doesn´t seem to have a native aspect ratio. This are the pixel sizes at the different formats:

                                               16:9  =    3.968 x 2.232                 
                                                 3:2  =    3.776 x 2.520                
                                                 4:3  =    3.648 x 2.736

None of the formats makes use of the whole sensor! So the camera is no more a 16:9 native aspect camera. Actually the resolution has dropped for this format to about 8Mp. But the pixel count has actually increased in the 4:3 and 3:2 aspects to around 9.5-10 Mp. In the LX2 this two formats were actual crops of the sensor, (8.5Mp for 3:2 and 7.5Mp for 4:3) so if you shoot in one of this formats you will actually end up with a higher resolution. Even when the sensor is actually slightly bigger and they claim to have developed bigger photosites I believe the difference is not so dramatic and it will all come , noise-wise, to the improvements Panasonic has managed to make in the lasts years in the sensor area. The major part of the effort will have to come from the Venus IV engine, so let´s wait and see how if fares..

A side effect of all this seems to be that the screen is no more a 16:9 one, but a 3:2. Pitty, I liked my “panoramic” screen. But with 3 inches and 460.000 dots, if I ever get this camera my prediction is that it will take me about 45 seconds to get over it.. 😉

All in all there is so little, nothing actually, not to like about this camera. The design is in my opinion beautiful, very classy, specially in it´s black version  (I personally don´t care for the silver one..). I just can´t wait for the first “real” reviews..

Gosh, could anybody read that far??  😦

Best, Erik.




First Love

June 11, 2008

Panasonic LX2, f2.8, 1/320, 6,3mm, iso100, B&W JPEG, Processed in PS

Who has never written his or her name besides another in stone or carved a heart in wood in the deep belief that it would be forever…?




Knocking on heaven´s door..

June 9, 2008

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

Back to my LX2… Shot handheld in quite low light,(plus I was trying to focus with the lens as close as possible to the fence), so much that I couldn´t get the camera to focus (it´s the first time I encountered this problem), so I manual focused this one. The panny has a nice way of enabling you to manual focus: Toghether with the focus scale (in meters or feet and that is also a very clever DOF indicator), you get an enlargement of the screen for critical focus, but there are two types of MF assist:


  • The center area of the picture is enlarged, so you can focus considering the overall composition of the picture:


Use the joystick up/down positions for focusing, (see DOF indicator in the bar)

  • The whole picture is enlarged, so you can fully zoom on just a portion of the image to ensure critical focus.


In both cases, the selected focus area can be shifted in any direction so you can choose which point of the overall image you wish to place your focus in:

Use the 4 way controller to move the focus area to any wished point in the image


Needless to say that the MF assist can be completely turned off to make composition easier. All in all, a very nice and straightforward way of using manual focus, in my opinion. The DOF bar is really cool, and considering the enormeous depth of field this camera produces, it really speeds things up when shooting in the street. A real joy!!




Jogging in the base..

June 3, 2008

    Panasonic LX2 & Nikon WC-E68 wideangle converter (0.65x), f6.3, 1/1300, 6,3mm, iso100.            RAW Developed in LightRoom & Processed in PS

I was reqested to visit a ship in the naval base today in order to prepare a virtual tour of it for an upcoming exhibition on naval history in the musuem of science and technology. I arrived early and had a bit of spear time, and guess who was there with me..? Yes, you´re right, the famous Nikon WC-E68 wideangle converter!!

The marines were still jogging around the base so I tried to include them in the composition to try and do a (very) loose enviromental portrait including the huge bronze propeller in the foreground. The equivalent field of view is about 19mm. For those that are interested in knowing about the Nikon converter and particularly about it´s pairing with the LX2, I need a bit more time to get used to it. Wide angle photography is not free of it´s complexities. I find it challenging to  compose images with wild perspectives. Everything seems sooo far away if you are not carefull..But as a preview I can definetely say that vignetting is simply inexistent. Nada, nothing, zip, rien, niente..Fantastic!! And the other great concern I had, considering the impressive chunk of glass this is was flare. At first sight it seems very resistant (though as you can see in today´s image it´s not absent, but hey, this is an ultrawide!!). It´s still to soon to draw conclusions but I am quite happy with the first samples. Regarding image quality I still can´t comment. More in the upcoming review..

Now as another novelty, you might have noticed I shot this image in RAW. I am forcing myself to do so and comparing the results with the JPEG´s of the camera. Considerations:

  • The first result of RAW shooting is that this image nearly ended up being a colour one…   🙂 
  • I still end up in Photoshop doing plenty of the usual stuff..
  • As usual I ended up with a very satisfaying image from the JPEG file , but the amount of highlight data in the RAW file allows for further recovery. Really a visible advantage for RAW.
  • First real drawback to RAW shooting: the amount of post-processing time invested for the final image increases by about 70-80%…This may be due to my lack of experience with LightRoom, which is by the way a lovely (and complex) editing tool.
  • Second drawback to RAW shooting: The LX2 RAW file is an impressive 20Mb!!! roughly ten times bigger than the JPEG. Definetely not something that encourages RAW shooting..

Today´s image is probably not the best candidate for RAW shooting, as it´s definetely not about tonality or textures and has a very high contrast. I have a feeling that RAW will be advantegous in certain circumstances but I don´t think I will end up being a RAW only kind of guy.Time will tell..

          Have a nice day!!




Image revisited

June 2, 2008

The Nikon WC-E68 is here now!! It is actually mounted in my lovely LX2 and it looks beautiful. And I admit it, I´m teasing you, and it feels great..:-) More on the converter soon..

Now on a different subject, I very seldom re-visit my own images. once I have processed it, it´s done. I am allways afraid of overdoing my images, and the truth is that when you spend too much time with an image you start loosing track..

When I originally posted “Saint Cristopher´s Castle” in this Blog, our fellow Wouter Brandsma pointed that a bit more work could give the image some better “drama”. It actually looks a bit dull to me now. Those who have been reading this blog surely know by now that I swear bt JPEG´s, but curiously, this is one of the very few images I have a RAW original file of..So as a result of some sunday experimentation with LightRoom I decided to post a revisited version of it..

Original file: B&W JPEG, processed in PS. Latest version: RAW developed in LR and processed in PS.





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”..



Step into the light

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