Lens Test – Panasonic 100-300 f4.0-5.6

Handheld at 300mm 3

Hoorah! My habit of unscientific gear tests continues! I’ve been playing around with Panasonic’s 100-300 f 4-5.6 OS lens lately or, more accurately, waiting impatiently for the weather to co-operate so I can go outside and have some fun. It … Continue reading

My New Camera

P7100 f5.6 1/4 ISO 400

P7100 f5.6 1/4 ISO 400

I have to admit, this was a difficult choice to make. Both the LX5 and the P7100 are great cameras. But which one is the right one for me?

Thinking about why I was looking to buy a ‘point and shoot’ camera in the first place helped me make my choice.

First and foremost I was looking for a walk around camera and something that I could take on vacation without feeling limited. After numerous vacations spent hauling my D300 all over the place I want to lighten the load…I want the controls of an SLR, but I want them in a small package.

After a lot of thought I picked the P7100. Here’s why:

- 28-200 zoom. I shoot long more often than I shoot wide. The lens I use most often on vacation……18-200.

- Viewfinder….I wanted to have one. In fact I only own one camera without a viewfinder. (Strangely it happens to be my other vacation camera the Pentax W90)

- Flip out screen. I like waist level finders and the flip out screen is essentially the digital version of one.

- The P7100 is a slightly bigger camera that feels more comfortable in my hands.

-Two control dials that I found more comfortable to use. You can never underestimate the value of how a camera feels when you hold it. That’s why buying a camera sight unseen is risky.

P7100 f5.6 1:4 400

P7100 f5.6 1:4 400

As you can see I’ve already picked up the camera and I’ve been playing around with it quite a bit. There’s enough stuff packed into this little guy to keep me entertained for quite a while.

BTW, the camera chose the settings for the moon shots…I used it’s night exposure mode….all I did was to limit the ISO to 400 and lower.

One last shot for the hell of it….no night mode in use here though :)

D300 ISO 1600  f 2.8 1/50

D300 ISO 1600 f 2.8 1/50

….after all it is silhouette week for the POTW52 crowd.

Nikon P7100

P7100

P7100

Next up, the 7100.

First here’s dpreview’s take:

http://www.dpreview.com/articles/4333175133/buyers-guide-enthusiast-raw-shooting-compact-cameras/4

The good:

- has a viewfinder

- has a flip out screen

- longer zoom – 28 – 200 equivalent

- two control dials for manual shooting….big dials

- larger camera – feels better in my hands – this could also be a bad thing though if you’re looking for the smallest camera you can find

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

P7100

The not so good:

-slower frame rate – 1.3fps

-slower lens f2.8

-larger camera

-4:3 LCD screen

-16:9 shots are not full resolution

Panasonic LX5

Panasonic LX5

Panasonic LX5

I’ve been trying to decided on a point and shoot camera for myself lately and I’ve been having a hell of a time with it. I finally narrowed the choices down to two….Panasonic’s LX5 and Nikon’s P7100. Both are awesome cameras but since I’m pretty sure I won’t get away with buying both, I had to choose between them.

Fortunately, I could borrow both from the store and give them a good test run. (I love my job!) So over the next few days I’ll show you what I shot and then tell you about my pick and why.

First, the LX5. Check out all the specs and dpreview’s take on the camera here:

http://www.dpreview.com/products/panasonic/compacts/panasonic_dmclx5

I took both cameras on a little photowalk on a cloudy day so the shots from both will be fairly comparable but this is still my usual unscientific comparison.

LX5 ...a shot from the 'Tree' project.

LX5

The LX5′s f2.o lens is awesome. If you are a lowlight shooter you will love this lens…

LX5 f 2.0  1/8

LX5 f 2.0 1/8

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

LX5

The Good Stuff:

- f 2.0 lens – super sharp and good for low light photos

- aspect ratio can be changed via a switch on the lens

- 16:9 screen

-16:9 shots are high resolution instead of a lower resolution crop

-Smaller size

-wider lens 24mm

-faster frame rate, 2.5 fps max 5 shots

The not so good:

-only one control dial for manual shooting….and an awkward one (to me) at that

-labels marking the controls on the back are hard to see when in bright light

-no viewfinder

-no flip out screen

-SOOC appears more magenta to me. Others have said the pictures appear colder.

Just having a little fun…

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Picked up a couple of new backdrops a while back  but didn’t get a chance to try them out until today. I even had a little helper…for a while anyway.

They’re nice quality backdrops. Huge, muslin and painted so they’re a little messy to work with in the beginning but I’m happy with them.

..let me know what you think.

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Having a little fun...

Agilux Agifold II

Agi

Agi

Made by Agilux in England starting in 1949, the Agifold II was a 6×6 format folding camera. This camera has a 90mm lens, a leaf shutter and shutter speeds ranging from B to 1/300.

Agi

Agi

For metering it had an extinction meter which uses a sequence of known fractions to determine proper exposure. Here’s how it works….see the little slot at the top of the camera above the word agifold? When you look through it you see a strip with numbered boxes, 1,2,3…. pick the highest number that you can make out and match it up to the scale on the top of the camera….

Agi

Agi

So for instance, if I see a two on a sunny day like today, the fastest shutter speed I will get is 100 at f4.5, the slowest would be half a second at f22. Then you transfer your settings to the lens.

By the way the dial you see in the background is for determining focus. Line up the double image in the viewfinder, check the scale and then transfer that setting to the lens as well.

So much for fast shots.

Olympus EPL1

Olympus EPL1

Olympus EPL1

I took the EPL1 out for a little hike on Monday and had a great time with Olympus’s 4/3 camera. Here’s the specs from dpreview…

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Olympus/oly_epl1.asp

The camera is small, light and compact….the perfect walk around camera, right?

Olympus EPL1

Olympus EPL1

There are even some built in Art Filters to play with…

Diorama filter

Diorama filter

On a bright day the screen is pretty much what you’d expect, which is next to useless. I found myself going to the electronic viewfinder frequently.

Olympus EPL1

Olympus EPL1

The EPL1 is getting very good reviews and is an excellent value for the money. I certainly enjoyed using it but low light performance is poor with the camera failing to lock focus on a subject. Even using manual focus it was still next to impossible to focus in low light. Now keep in mind that the store demo that I was using had not had the firmware update which is supposed to improve focusing in low light and also consider how often the type of user this camera is aimed at would want to manual focus in low light.

Now we get to the sore spot in my experience with this camera. This camera is designed for the person who wants more than just a point and shoot but doesn’t want to carry around the big camera and all the fixin’s. In that Olympus is bang on, small camera, lots of extra features, more control of your shot and a price tag that makes it attractive. My problem? I’m not a point and shooter, or even a step up from that. I found myself wanting more….which is pretty much what all the other reviewers said as well.

What more am I looking for? Well, for one, I like my zooms long which usually means a bigger lens, which defeats the purpose of a small body. Also I’m a sharpness freak and while the EPL1 produces good quality images most of the time it’s not as consistent as I would like with the kit lens. I’ve read that the pancake lens resolves that issue but like I said I like my lenses long.

My verdict? Great camera, great price. I wouldn’t hesitate to sell it to the right customer….but I’m not that customer.

Olympus EPL1

Olympus EPL1

Nikon P7000

f 5.6 1/30 200 ISO 42mm

f 5.6 1/30 200 ISO 42mm

Had a chance to take a look at Nikon’s new P7000 last week. Great new camera. Very similar to Canon’s G11 minus the flip out screen.  It’s also a little thinner. I has all the features that you would expect from this level of camera. Check out all the specs here on dpreview:

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Nikon/nikon_cpp7000.asp

My favourite part? The addition of a scroll wheel and all the direct access points.

f4 ISO 664 .41667s 14.5mm

f4 ISO 664 .41667s 14.5mm

Here’s a few quick ISO shots:

f4 800 ISO 1/6

f4 800 ISO 1/6

f4 1600 ISO .09009s

f4 1600 ISO .09009s

f4 3200 ISO .04831s

f4 3200 ISO .04831s

Seriously, 12800 ISO ?!!!

Had the opportunity to use a D3s this week….so I may be nerding a bit here. We call this ‘work related training’…..

Have I mentioned lately that I love my job?

5:08pm ISO 4000 1/2500 f8 Nikon 60mm f2.8D

5:08pm ISO 4000 1/2500 f8 Nikon 60mm f2.8D

5:12pm ISO 4000 1/2500 f5.6 Nikon 60mm f2.8D

5:12pm ISO 4000 1/2500 f5.6 Nikon 60mm f2.8D

5:59pm ISO 2000 1/8000 f2.8 Sigma 70-200 f2.9

5:59pm ISO 2000 1/8000 f2.8 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

7:36pm ISO 6400 1/1250 f5.6 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

7:36pm ISO 6400 1/1250 f5.6 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:09pm ISO 6400 1/800 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:09pm ISO 6400 1/800 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:25pm ISO 6400 1/640 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:25pm ISO 6400 1/640 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:31pm ISO 12800 1/400 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:31pm ISO 12800 1/400 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:34pm ISO 12800 1/500 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

8:34pm ISO 12800 1/500 f5 Sigma 70-200 f2.8

Day 354

The great thing about working in a camera store (well, besides all of the gear just sitting around) is that you work with a bunch of people who also love photography. This little fella was loaned to me by one of my fellow old camera collectors. It still works, in fact he shot with it not to long ago….

 

7s

7s

 

The Minolta Hi-Matic 7s circa 1966. This was a rangefinder camera with the CLC (contrast light metering) system from the SR-T 101. CLC metering assumes that the upper part of the viewfinder is the sky and the lower part is the subject.

Day 337

So, on Sunday when everyone else was unpacking their unfortunately named, uhmm…iPads, I was doing a little unpacking of my own. A little something my Dad passed down to me…..

 

Agi

Agi

 

Made by Agilux in England starting in 1949, the Agifold II was a 6×6 format folding camera. This camera has a 90mm lens, a leaf shutter and shutter speeds ranging from B to 1/300.

Agifold II
Agifold II

For metering it had an extinction meter which uses a sequence of known fractions to determine proper exposure. Here’s how it works….see the little slot at the top of the camera above the word agifold? When you look through it you see a strip with numbered boxes, 1,2,3…. pick the highest number that you can make out and match it up to the scale on the top of the camera….

Agifold II
Agifold II

So for instance, if I see a four on a cloudy day like today, the fastest shutter speed I will get is 100 at f4.5, the slowest would be half a second at f22. Then you transfer your settings to the lens.

By the way the dial you see in the background is for determining focus. Line up the double image in the viewfinder, check the scale and then transfer that setting to the lens as well.

So much for fast settings.

Does this one still work? Unfortunately, no. The shutter is stuck and the case is definitely not light tight, so, unlike the icarette I won’t be able to take this one out for a spin.

Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II

Score! Every now and then working retail pays off…

The lens that everyone is looking for showed up in our store today. Needless to say the majority of the staff had to take it outside for a quick spin, here’s mine… oh, yeah…all handheld and on the 7d.

Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II
Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II
Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II
Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II
Can You See Me?
Can You See Me?
How About Now?
How About Now?
Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II
Canon 70-200 f2.8L IS II

Nikon 80-400VR f4.5-5.6D

The 80-400VR has been around for ages and yes, the focus is slow. The lens uses a screw drive type af system that is slower and pre-dates AF-S. This makes catching action more difficult or sometimes maybe even impossible. That being said, the lens is still very sharp.

Nikon 80-400  on a monopod

Nikon 80-400 on a monopod

The big advantage with the 80-400 is that without the collar it weighs in at just over 2.5 pounds. Add VR to that and you have a big lens that is not difficult to hand-hold. Try carrying a tripod through rough terrain or even using a monopod when you’re going after birds (or squirrels)  and you’ll soon see the value of being able to hand hold a big lens.

Nikon 80-400 handheld

Nikon 80-400 handheld

Nikon 80-400 handheld

Nikon 80-400 handheld

Nikon 80-400 handheld

Nikon 80-400 handheld

I'm not sure what he's doing but it sure looks like it feels good....

I'm not sure what he's doing but it sure looks like it feels good....

I’m still checking out other big lenses but for me the portability makes this one worth a second look.

Day 299

 


My Miranda

My Miranda

 

Made from 1971 to 1977 the Auto Sensorex EE was a solidly built camera which was aimed at the advanced amateur and semi – pro market.

Miranda Auto Sensorex EE
Miranda Auto Sensorex EE

The ‘EE’ stands for ‘electric-eye’, a new concept which allowed for through the lens metering. This allowed for both spot and average metering.

A unique feature of this camera was the removable prism which allowed for waist level shooting.

Miranda Auto Sensorex EE
Miranda Auto Sensorex EE

Because of the design of the TTL system, metering was available even when the prism was removed.

Miranda Auto Sensorex EE
Miranda Auto Sensorex EE

Sigma 4.5mm EX DC Circular Fisheye

This is the first fisheye lens that Sigma designed for crop sensors. It produces a circular, 180 degree image horizontally, vertically and diagonally. It’s a fun lens to play with for portraits and images like these…

However, fisheye lenses are used mainly in astrophotography, hemispherical photography and also by photographers and videographers in action shots to show context.

Fisheyes have no filter thread, instead filters are inserted in the rear of the lens.

Impossible Bend

Impossible Bend

Sigma 4.5mm f2.8

Sigma 4.5mm f2.8

Late Night and the Fisheye

Late Night and the Fisheye

Nikon 45mm PC-E Micro

Tilt Shift

Tilt Shift

Had a chance to check out Nikon’s 45 mm PC-E lens this past weekend.

Plane of Focus

Plane of Focus

Tilt shift lenses are used in architectural photography to correct for converging lines created when shooting up at a building.They are also useful in macro photography and to create an effect called miniaturization.

The tilt moves the plane of focus so it is not perpendicular to the lens axis. The shift moves the image circle relative to the sensor in order to correct converging lines.

Effectively you can take a thin line of focus and move it around the frame…

Tilt Shift

Tilt Shift

Tilt Shift

Tilt Shift

Check out these examples as well…

http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/11/16/beautiful-examples-of-tilt-shift-photography/