Manual Focus with Wi-Fi - Panasonic GM1 Nikon Series E 100mm - iPad tethered

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The Nikon Series E 100mm f/2.8 lens I have isn't the sharpest I own. In fact it's got stuff growing inside it! However under the right circumstances and at the right apertures it produces nice results. Even nicer when mounted on a tripod and focused manually using the iPad screen with focus peaking and triggered remotely. This is better than using either the live view screen or the EVF as the image is larger and clearer. The above outfit is so light that I carry it around in one hand with the iPad in my other and can position it, frame the shot and take the picture or shoot the video very easily. So not only is this useful technology, it's useful light technology. 

I've uploaded the images to the blog slightly larger than usual so you see that they are actually quite crisp. I used f/11 mostly which of course means slow shutter speeds at ISO 125 which these are shot at. However using my 3-legged image stabilisation aid, my tripod, the GM1's electronic shutter and triggering that shutter from my iPad any source of camera shake, movement and vibration is completely eliminated. 

Somebody mentioned in a Google+ comment that this is a bit like using a view camera with a large glass screen. And in a lot of ways, even with all the technology involved it is. I must admit I'm becoming quite addicted to seeing the image so large and clear on my iPad screen. It allows me to see both the point of focus and the depth of field I'm getting at the selected aperture better than either screen or EVF. Plus the fact that I'm physically detached from the camera and able to make adjustments is an added bonus. The camera doesn't move so again the whole process is advantageous to producing sharp images.

Shooting video there are advantages also. The footage above is exactly what came off the camera. Completely unedited. I haven't even trimmed the clips at the beginning or the end because there is no vibration caused when pressing the video button. Some of this is shot wide open on the Nikon and as you can see it's slightly soft. I could come up with some BS about how it's 'dreamy' and has a certain quality I like blah blah..... But it's just soft. However the last two clips are shot with the lens stopped down and they are sharper. Plus with a bit of editing and some added contrast to compensate for the flat light, the lens would be capable of some decent results.

Now all of this very small camera, tripod, wi-fi, iPad stuff is completely unexpected. I can't say I was planning this and only tried it out for the first time a couple of days ago. I also can't say I was expecting much, but I've been very pleased with how it has turned out. Apart from anything else it's helping me produce stills and video that requires a lot less editing than my hand-held stuff. The large iPad image makes it very clear whether an image is decently composed, focused correctly and with the appropriate depth of field setting. The Panasonic image app is also so good and so clear and easy to use that it's a further help to the process.  

I certainly would have never thought that this small camera could be so versatile and produce such pleasing results. As I wrote yesterday I've decided to keep it for a while at least and have just ordered some more batteries for it. 

So I have in essence a portable tethered system. One that I can carry around when walking short distances and be able to get superb results from stills and video. And I have the choice of the GM1 or GX7 cameras to do this with. I only have three AF lenses for the cameras currently - Olympus 17mm f/1.8, 45mm f/1.8 and Panasonic 12-32mm and these are all small and light as well. Now I'm in no hurry to rush out and buy more lenses because I'm getting some great results from those. 

Finally all of this does bring home to me that the quality of the images we can produce depends much of the time not on the actual cameras and lenses we use but the way that we use them. Also the way that we prepare to use them as well. Tripods make lenses look sharper than any IS system, as does selecting the apertures that give the optimum results for any given lens. I doubt anyone would believe the outfit I'm shooting these images on and certainly from their quality clients and the people who buy my pictures would never guess what the camera / lens combination looked like, nor I imagine how much it cost.

It isn't of course an outfit that is able to handle all aspects of photographic work. Obviously this is completey useless for sports and most kinds of high pressure, react quickly situations. But for situations where I as a photographer have a degree of control then this tablet control can be a really significant help. Tablets, iPad's etc. are smaller and less 'static' than computers, including laptops and larger, better quality and easier to operate than phones. Ideal for the location photographer really. There is also the situation that I can review the images on my iPad screen with them still on the card in the camera. Obviously a much better way of seeing if the images are 'right' than using the screen or having to transfer them to a computer. The only drawback I can see is using it in bright sunlight how long the charge in my iPad will last. I can replace the batteries in my camera but I need to charge up my iPad. I'll have to look into some options so that I can charge it up in the car.

I'm really hoping for some sun today so I can go out and test how it works in 'the real world' and in conditions that I shoot most of my pictures. I'll post the results when I'm able to do that.

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Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 

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N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.

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