Archive for the ‘2008’ Category

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Multipost

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

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Ricoh GX100 arrival, couple of snap-shots..

July 11, 2008

The Ricoh GX100 arrived yesterday after some struggle with the spanish customs, but it´s finally here. Haven´t had much time to play with it, but after only 24 hours toghether I allready have strong feelings..

 

RicohGX100, f2.5, 1/9, 5,1mm, iso200, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

RicohGX100, f2.5, 1/9, 5,1mm, iso200, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

 The GX100 is a bit bigger than the LX2, and ergonomically it is a charm. It is fairly better to handle and fits (my) hand like a glove. The overall construction and finish of the camera is of very high quality and the control layout is as clever as it could be..Much had I read about this camera, but as good as I knew the controls were, one thing is reading about them and another thing is to actually use tha camera..

 

RicohGX100, f3.6, 1/540, 5,1mm, iso80, B&W JPEG unprocessed

RicohGX100, f3,6, 1/540, 5,1mm, iso80, B&W JPEG Unprocessed

 The camera has a number of highly customizable buttons and controls that make shooting with it real joy. There is one button in particular, the “function” button, that you can personalize and assign any custom option you want. I inmediately assigned exposure lock to it. The GX100 has a feature that I really like and find really usefull for street shooting in difficult light conditions:spot-metering. Using the spot meter in aperture priority toghether with the exposure lock button makes this camera as easy and fast to use as it could be..This is actually the way I have allways used my DSLR´s..Fun!!

 

RicohGX100, f5.7, 1/1410, 5.1mm, iso80, B&W JPEG, Unprocessed

RicohGX100, f5.7, 1/1410, 5,1mm, iso80, B&W JPEG Unprocessed

Having 24mm on the wide end is something to wellcome but it will take a bit to get used to the 4:3 aspect ratio, I´m spoiled by 16:9 😉

 

RicohGX100

RicohGX100, f4.6, 1/760, 5,1mm, iso80, B&W JPEG Unprocessed

 Just a couple of quick snaps-shots frm the GX100 today, nearly all unprocessed..hope this puts me back in track and I can start being a bit more constant!!

 

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Human versus Natura

June 14, 2008

Panasonic LX2, f4.5, 1/1300, 6,3mm, iso100, B&W JPEG, Cropped to 1:1 & Processed in PS

“..Humans want peace, brotherhood and welfare, that is not the case with nature; nature wants discord, confrontation and blood…”

  Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Unfortunately it has been impossible to keep up this week..Meetings, running and the unexpected have kept me running like mad all week, while the very little nature that still surround us has been still, silently watching my moves, shaking her laves with incomprehension..

Though I nearly never crop my images, today I felt the urge to do so with this one. It´s the first time ever , if I recall correctly, I have produced a square image, a format that I find difficult and that has remained untameable..

Wish you all good light while I try to climb in a beam of it (to continue rushing..)

Best, Erik.

 

 

 

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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…?

 

 

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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!!

 

 

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Mercy & Let there be light..

June 4, 2008
MERCY

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

 

LET THERE BE LIGHT..

Panasonic LX2, f6.3, 1/500, 10mm, iso100, B&W JPEG Processed in PS

 

 

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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!!