Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and digging for history - Decisive Moments

Leica D-LUX (Typ 109) and digging for history - Decisive Moments
'But then much of what is written about 'documentary / street / reportage' photography has more to do with aspirational myth and self awarded self-importance rather than any genuine observational or artistic skills.'
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Leica T Video - Surprisingly good



Now this is a real surprise and further proof that Leica are taking the needs of current photographers seriously. I shot some video just to see what it was like. The actual quality is OK, no more than that, certainly not up to current Panasonic and Sony standards. The real surprise however was how stable it is when shooting hand held. There is no lens or body stabilisation, Leica claim it compromises images quality. However there is a menu item that turns video stabilisation on or off. ???? So what is this?

Well I suspect it's something like the software stabilisation in iMovie, which uses part of the frame to compensate for wobble. And as you can see from the YouTube clip above, it's actually really good. Now the T is certainly not going to be my first choice for video, but it's certainly a useful function to have in the camera as I said another indication that Leica have produced a camera for 2014 and have embraced video as well as touchscreen technology and have decided to do it properly. 

It is of course worth pointing out that other companies, such as Fuji and Olympus, both of whom have pretty much ignored video, or at best seemingly added it only because it's expected, are both rumoured to be offering firmware updates to address this. So we'll see what happens there. However, I have to say that this Leica T footage is better than I can get off any of my Fuji's currently and that is a real, genuine and pleasant surprise. 


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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.


Panasonic FZ1000 4K sample on YouTube



This is the 4K sample I shot on the FZ1000. Unedited and straight off the camera. I can't currently watch it in 4K on my system, it keeps stuttering. YouTube lets you choose how to play it back, so I thought it the best way to show the quality. Let me know how it looks. (Please note I didn't set up anything, just selected 4K and pressed the red button, so bear that in mind.)




Sony a6000 - video



This is much improved video quality from the a6000. I tweaked the jpg. settings and increased the saturation contrast and sharpness. The contrast slightly too much as there is some highlight loss. However this is a much 'punchier' sharper video rendering and it's actually pretty good. next step is to see if it can be replicated with my A7 and A7r or whether this is confined to the a6000.

All footage shot with the 10-18mm zoom. 

  • All original material on this blog is © Please Respect That

  • 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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Is the Panasonic GM1 a 'better' camera than the Sony A7r??
















All above - Sony A7r and 16-50mm APS-C zoom lens


                                                                                                                                                     

All below - Panasonic GM1 and 12-32mm zoom lens











This post started off with me having a look at the Sony 16-50mm kit lens for the a6000, moved on to a comparison with the Panasonic 12-32mm and ended up as yet another frustrating experience with Sony cameras.

I thought to get an idea of just how good the 16-50mm is I would try it on my A7r in APS-C crop mode. This gives round about the same size file as the a6000 (slightly smaller) and the lack of an AA filter would give some indication as to how sharp it is. Well it's OK. There's a somewhat 'plastic' look to the files. And after using my Zeiss 35mm and 55mm lenses on the a6000 yesterday it was somewhat of a disappointment. Which is, I suppose, how it should be considering the price difference. There are some 100% crops above so you can see what it's like. 

I then thought, OK not great for stills, but how about for video? I can put the A7r in APS-C crop mode and use it to shoot some footage. And here's the first frustration. For whatever reason Sony have decided to make their highest quality video options AVCHD. Now this is for viewing video footage on TV's. There is no MP4 option except for the 'stretched' 1440 x 1080. WHY? Panasonic used to have this AVCHD option only, but they've changed that now. Is this to sell Sony TV's? Who knows but it's very irritating. Now you may have noticed that there are four YouTube clips for the Sony and that's because I can't edit the 50p 28 Mbit/s in iMovie because it won't read them. So in order to show the quality of the footage I had to upload each clip separately to YouTube.

Knowing this is what I what I was going to have to do I had to lock the tripod down firmly and gently press the record button so as not to vibrate the camera to record a smooth clip. Now I would have liked to use my iPad to remote control the camera, but of course I can't because the mickey-mouse Smart (Smart!!!!) Remote control app doesn't let me shoot video. In actual fact it doesn't let me do much at all and is pretty much a waste of time as far as I'm concerned.

Now I've tried really hard to like my Sony cameras, I really have, but I can't. While I appreciate the quality of the sensors and the still image files that are generated, I'm pretty much unimpressed by everything else. The half-hearted attempt at a lens range, the distinctly mediocre quality of many of those lenses, the fact that they put consumer type features in cameras that should be aimed at professionals and enthusiasts and the fact that the whole implementation of the e-series both NEX/Alpha and FE seems half-hearted, rushed out when not properly developed and seems to satisfy neither beginners or those of us who want to use those great sensors to do some serious work. 

There's an interview with Brian Smith, heavy-duty celeb photographer who uses the Sony A7/A7r, on MirrorLessons. In it he writes this - 'It took me two months how to figure out how to set the Control wheel to adjust flexible focus point.' And to me that's typical of Sony. They seem to make things hard that should be easy and I always get the impression that their cameras aren't designed by photographers. I've always though of Sony as a company who listen to what people want and try to provide it. A mirrorless, small 35mm / 'Full-Frame' camera being an obvious example. But then they always seem to go and spoil it by making these cameras frustrating to use. 

Another typical Sony move is the A7s. It shoots 4K video. Well actually it does and it doesn't. Because you have to buy a seriously expensive recording device to capture it. Sony's reason for this? Recording to an internal card makes the camera overheat. So why not wait until they solve that? No, this is Sony. Get it in the shops as quickly as possible. Panasonic seem to be able to record 4K video onto an SD card without the camera catching fire, so why can't Sony?

Speaking of Panasonic it's time to move on to my attention grabbing headline. Is the Panasonic GM1 a 'better' camera than the Sony A7r?? Well in terms of video yes it is. Just look at this.



The quality of the footage this tiny camera produces is spectacular. It's ridiculously sharp and I've done nothing to increase that. It just looks so much better than anything I've been able to get from my A7 or A7r no matter what lenses or codec I use. It also produces MP4 files I can edit with and I can remote control it for stills and video with my iPad. Plus it's obvious to me that the cheap and cheerful 12-32mm lens is sharper than the cheap and cheerful 16-50mm Sony lens. Plus of course I have a pretty good range of m4/3 lenses to choose from. Then there are the 'extras'. Pin point auto-focus and the EX. TELE CONV option which lets me pick out a 1920 X 1080 frame for video which turns my 12-32mm into a telephoto zoom. And of course for stills, there is the electronic shutter. 

So OK, you might agree that the Panasonic has it nailed for video, but surely the Sony is better for stills? Well yes and no. The A7r sensor is amazing. 36MP of resolution and with the right lens in front of it, simply the best I've ever used. But I've still never sold a picture that's used all those 36MP's, so just exactly how useful are they for me? And to be honest I still prefer the look of my m4/3 files to those that come out of my Sony's. And yes I know I can edit them, but that all takes time and shooting the amount of pictures that I do, the time taken per image is important to me. I do have to say however that the A7r jpgs. are superb, but then the time I save using them is somewhat eroded by the fact that since it's a 35mm sized sensor it's much more prone to dust spots and I've already got some I have to clone out. Plus there are worrying reports that some places won't clean the A7 and A7r sensors because they are somewhat fragile and prone to scratching. Someone on Google+ recently told a horrific tale about that. In any case I can get files from my GM1 that will easily print up to A3 and even beyond.

So what about noise you might ask? Well neither the A7 or A7r are particularly great at that anyway. Plus in a previous post - http://soundimageplus.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/fuji-x-better-than-m43-for-noise-at.html - I found that for the rare occasions I need to work in low light I can now get some pretty decent results from my m4/3 Panasonics.

Now for the most part all of this is about the A7r (and A7) I haven't had the a6000 long enough to make any real judgements as yet. The video implementation is still the same however, but there is that amazing AF, which I'll certainly be able to put to good use. But going back to the Sony FE's there are three reasons I keep them around and I have to concede, use them a lot and that is resolution, resolution and resolution. It's those MP's on those big sensors that keep me using the A7 and A7r. And I'm sure will mean I use them in the future. But am I alone in thinking that they should and could be so much better in operational terms? 

Snapshooters and facebookaholics don't want or need 36MP. The A7r is a camera for people who are VERY serious about the quality of their images and there is no denying that it delivers on that score. At least if you keep the ISO settings within limits it does. And whether or not the size of the images I create with it help me sell pictures or not, it is undeniably a pleasure to view the files. But I can't shake the feeling that when I'm out with the A7r (and the A7) it's harder work than it needs be and I certainly enjoy myself less than when I'm out shooting with my m4/3 or Fuji X cameras. The A7r for all it's resolution virtues isn't a camera that puts a smile on my face and I'm more liable to be cursing it when I'm using it than thinking how great it is. 

The GM1 on the other hand has been one of the great surprises of my camera buying addiction. I always assumed that I would have sold it by now (I only bought it so as to get the 12-32mm lens cheaper) but it's still here and I still enjoy using it. It's actually my number one camera for video as I think the footage looks marginally sharper than my GX7. In any case it's a lot better for video than I can get from my Sony's and easier to work with. 

Now this is obviously all personal taste and personal requirements. I can appreciate and understand that are probably those for whom the A7r is the perfect camera, or close to it. I can imagine those who shoot tripod mounted landscape photographs in wilderness areas really appreciate the incredible quality in such a small light package. But I shoot in a variety of situations and I often find the layout and menus of the A7r a handicap rather than a help and if I want to work unobtrusively and quietly then the GM1 is worth it's weight in gold in those situations.

So is the Is the Panasonic GM1 a 'better' camera than the Sony A7r?? Well for me in terms of video the answer is a resounding yes. For stills? Well no, but in many situations I find myself in, it's more useful and in all situations it's a lot easier and more enjoyable to work with.

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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The 'hybridographer' - My Panasonic GX7 m4/3 stills / video location outfit.










This is my extremely small, extremely light, extremely versatile and extremely high quality portable hybrid stills / video outfit for location shooting. That portability is very important for me, since for the most part I'm working alone and have to carry this around. 

Panasonic GX7 body. Panasonic 12-32mm, 14-42mm and 45-175mm X zooms, Olympus 17mm and 45mm f/1.8 primes, Carry Speed viewfinder loupe, four spare batteries and a fast 32GB SD card. Plus of course one of my three tripods and if I want to take it, my iPad.

This gives me three zooms, two with power zoom capability, focal lengths from 12-175mm in m4/3 terms (24-350mm 35mm film camera approximation) and two fast primes. I chose the GX7 over the lighter and smaller GM1 because of this.


I can access the battery / card compartment without removing the camera from the tripod or detaching the loupe. A handy advantage from the GX7's design and as anyone who has done this will realise a time saving feature. 

The loupe stays attached, firstly because I can just release the camera from the tripod if I want to do some hand holding and secondly because it works as a sunshade letting me see the cameras screen clearly outdoors. This is important so I can use the cameras virtual spirit level.


Regular readers will know that I've been doing a lot a testing to see what works best for me and this outfit wins hands down. It's the lightest, the easiest to work with and produces the best quality video footage. The Panasonic image app is by far the best I've used for controlling the camera via my iPad and the combinations take pretty good stills as well, especially with the camera mounted on a tripod. 

Now what a client would make of this if I turned up for a pro assignment, who knows. However, I've done those with a GH1, GH2 and even a GF1 so there probably isn't a problem. No mic. or headphone sockets on the camera, but if sound was important to me then I'd take a separate recorder anyway.

So below is a sample of the footage quality this outfit can produce.



As you can see it's very good indeed. Shot as MP4 files, 1920 x 1080 at 50p and edited in iMovie which knocked it down to 25pfs. None of the lenses is particularly expensive and none have particularly high 'bragging rights' in the m4/3 range. However, all of them produce excellent quality footage and the zooms are particularly useful. I do of course have the option of using the EX TELE CONV setting to extend the range of the lenses.

Now I'm really pleased with this and it suits what I do just fine. I have no need for 'exotic' and ultra-fast lenses and I have a system that is superb for both tripod work and hand-holding, the GX7 having IBIS for the Olympus lenses as well as the OIS in the zooms. It is of course amazing that something this small can produce such good results. I might still buy a GH4 but I can't see that I'm really going to need much more than this, unless some seriously well-paid work somehow appears. 

Video is more difficult, requires more planning and takes more time than shooting stills, but this outfit makes it as painless I can make it. (or probably just less painful!) As a working photographer I need to be able to offer video as an option and while I have little demand for that at the moment it's as well to be prepared. 

The video posts will certainly lessen from now on (Means I'll certainly get a lot more page hits!!) as this is the culmination of a lot of testing and if I do shoot more video then it will be more purposeful and not just test shots in the garden. 

Finally, I made a comment a few posts ago that my GX7 was probably a more 'professional' camera than either my Sony A7 or A7r. And I stand by that. 


Now the A7 outfit pictured above sure looks impressive, but the GX7 outfit beats it in almost every way for video. And it's not that far away in terms of low ISO stills either. And you can imagine what that Sony outfit would be like to carry, particularly when you add some more lenses to the load. Panasonic have managed to combine the advantages of small light bodies with internal electronics that perform way above what uniformed observers (i.e. the general public) would imagine would be the case looking at the comparative sizes. And while that doesn't do a lot for photographic 'posing' it sure makes getting the job done a lot easier. 

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

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. 
 
Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  

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.





Panasonic GM1 - Bits and pieces.

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE

Slow Motion cat with 12-32mm lens. As you can see
walking forward in the frame looks better than
walking across it.



Iridient Developer produces really sharp GM1 files from raw.


The GM1 also produces decent jpgs. I would consider using.


No EVF? No problem!! Carry Speed VF-4 LCD Loupe

Also doubles as a sun shade.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

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. 

 
Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  




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.

LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA    For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
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Panasonic GM1 - 12-32mm - really rather good

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE

All images and video - 
Panasonic GM1 and 12-32mm zoom lens
 Video hand held throughout - OIS in the lens
Image Stabilisation added in iMovie

I really had no idea that I would like the Panasonic GM1 and 12-32mm zoom lens so much. It really isn't 'my kind of camera.' However, it produces superb quality for both stills and video and it's fast, responsive and a pleasure to use. Added to the fact that I can remotely control it with my iPad, it's a really versatile camera that produces top class still images and video footage. From it's size and form factor few non-photographers would ever imagine it could be so, but it's easily good enough to cover a range of professional jobs, from travel location photography to studio assignments. And most of that can be achieved using auto-everything.

How much difference is there between this and a GH3 or an E-M1? Well not that much I would suggest and in some cases it's actually better (Olympus video). Have a look at the 'showboating' horse in the video and how well it handles that. Really quite amazing. It has of course thrown up all sorts of questions as to how I'm going to structure my future gear. Can a camera this small really handle what I want to do? Well I think it just might. And there is no way I would have anticipated that. 

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

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. 


  
Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  



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.

LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA    For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
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soundimageplus blog readers pictures group on flickr
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Panasonic GM1 video

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE


Panasonic GM1 Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens



Well it's definitely m4/3 week here. Top of the page is a sample video shot with the GM1 + Olympus 45mm f/1.8. And very good it is too. I've ignored the panning and stabilisation issues and as you can see mounted the camera on a (my smallest!) tripod and just shot some footage at 1080 and 25fps. As you can see it's really very good indeed, right up there with the best Panasonic can offer that isn't 4K. 

This camera, a couple of lenses and a decent tripod would make an excellent light video outfit. And the size quality equation is very good.

Incidentally, I said yesterday that the GM1 had the best quality in a camera that size. It has been mentioned that the Sony RX100's are around the same size. However I stand by what I said. The RX100's may have all sorts of virtues but for me outstanding still image quality isn't one of them. I've never liked the stills rendition much despite those 20MP and the GM1 is to me superior in the files it produces. Just thought I'd mention that.

I will be selling my GM1 once I get my cashback, but there is no denying it's an impressive little thing. Definitely 'punches above it's weight'.


All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

 



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. 





Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  





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.




LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA   
For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 

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The Hybridographer - Stills / Video gear - Part 3 - Some conclusions



Of all the video footage I've been shooting lately and I've been shooting a lot, the above example, from my A7 and 28-70mm zoom, is the best so far in terms of an overall finished product. The GX7 produces better looking video and my Fuji X-T1 is by far the easiest and simplest to use, but what I've put together with my Sony A7 (and A7r) ticks most boxes for me currently. 


The Fuji has some colour 'issues' and surprisingly the dynamic range doesn't seem that great for video.

The GX7 has some problems for me when I'm moving the camera about.

And really I don't want to try anything else. There are the RX10 and RX100 options from Sony. But I don't really like what those cameras produce in terms of stills. There is the Nikon 1 V3, but I certainly didn't particularly like what my V1 produced for video (surprisingly) and again, much as I like the 1" sensor in all sorts of ways it's just not good enough for me in terms of stills quality. I really loved using the V1 I had and the lenses, but could never really convince myself that the stills quality was giving me the best opportunity to sell pictures. There are of course the GH4 and the A7s, but I'd be paying a premium for 4K, which I can't really see fitting in with what I want at this present time, though that may change in the future if it really takes off. 

So all in all, it seems that my Sony A7 and A7r are giving me most of what I need from a 'hybrid' camera. It's a bit of a pain switching from stills to video and back again, but the A7 performs surprisingly well in full auto mode, so that may not be that much of an issue. 

I will of course be doing more work on all of this and I'm sure the more I use these cameras regularly for video in particular, the more I'll be able to optimise my results from all these cameras.

What this has brought home to me is how this aspect of photography is still dealt with very badly. At one end there is the Phillip Bloom / EOSHD end, which is very much from a pro video and movie maker perspective and at the other a pretty perfunctory look from most review sites. Most treat video as an afterthought and it seems that they reluctantly shoot off a couple of clips, make some instant judgement and leave it at that. Which leaves those of us that see video as very much a part of what we'll doing from now on, but who aren't going to be needing broadcast quality or all the 'bells and whistles' of movie grade videography pretty much in no mans land. Now I'm far from an expert with regard to the moving image and in many ways it's still unchartered waters for me, but I am prepared to devote some time to it and try to improve my skills and my knowledge. My articles on video and how it integrates into what I do are very much written from the perspective of someone who is still learning what is possible (and perhaps more importantly what isn't possible) and I'm fully prepared to concede that I may make mistakes.

However, working on the basis that I'm learning from those mistakes, I'm slowly getting better results and learning what gear produces the most successful outcomes for me. For the most part I work alone on this, with occasional help from my nephew. What I'm looking to achieve is a step on from when we were shooting wedding and event videos with several cameras locked in position on tripods and lots of post-production editing. I'm trying to get to a stage where I can achieve most of what I want in camera and 'on site'. Now whether I'm ever going to fulfill 100% of those ambitions, I can't say and I do realise my requirements may be somewhat different from what others want. But I haven't given up on the notion of producing video footage from a photographers perspective and using those strengths and that experience. Hopefully this 'voyage of discovery' is useful for others and I'd certainly be happy to enter into any kind of dialogue with others who are attempting to come to terms with video as I am.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

 

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. 



Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  



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.


LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA   
For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
follow on tumblr   
soundimageplus blog readers pictures group on flickr
soundimageplus on YouTube  
soundimageplus on Vimeo  


The Hybridographer - Stills / Video gear - Part 2 - Panasonic GX7






Panasonic GX7 12-32mm zoom lens - hand held

In terms of the quality and sharpness of the video footage, the GX7 comes out top of all the cameras I currently own. Like the Panasonic GH3 I had, it looks really impressive. Plus I have to say that I'm REALLY impressed with the little 12-32mm zoom. While everyone goes on about the GM1 and it's size, for me it's that 'pancake' zoom that gets my attention. It's sharp, has less distortion than you might think via it's lens profile and for a 'kit' lens performs beautifully. The stills I shot with it yesterday were really very good indeed.

If I only ever wanted to use the GX7 in video mode locked on a tripod then I would say it's probably the best I have. But there are some strange effects when I move the camera. If anyone has any idea if and how this can be fixed, then I'd be glad of any advice. There is a 'flickering' when I pan the camera that can be quite noticeable, even on a tripod. I've tried everything I can think of to eliminate it, but it tends to spoil what could be a very useful 'hybrid' performance. Not sure what that is and I don't remember it so bad on my GH3. 

Now to a certain extent all my cameras do it, but on the GX7 it's more noticeable. There is also a lot of OIS 'wobble' which is exaggerated by using the stabilisation in iMovie. To a large extent this is caused by how I want to use the camera and I am aware that I'm asking a lot to get smooth panning and camera movements when I'm hand holding for video. But my Sony's and Fuji X-T1 handle it much better than the GX7. If I hold the camera still (or as still as I can under the circumstances) then it's fine and the GX7's video footage is really top class, however there are times when I want to move the camera and as I've indicated before in many of the locations I want to shoot in I can't use a tripod.

So in spite of the excellent stills quality from the GX7 and the overall impressive look of the video footage, this panning effect is putting the GX at the bottom of my hybrid usability list. As I indicated if this is something that can be cured and if there is some way that I can eliminate it then I'd be happy to give it another go.

I have to say though, as a light, small unobtrusive camera / lens combination for stills the GX7 / 12-32mm combination is difficult to beat in good light at low ISO's. I know that the GM1 is just going to be too small for me and with no viewfinder of any kind, nor the possibility of adding one I can't see it lasting that long. The GX7 is much more to my taste and is a really impressive stills camera. I was hoping that I would have had an Olympus 45mm f/1.8 for it by now, but the one I ordered from Amazon has disappeared into thin air somewhere in the delivery process. I've had my money refunded but haven't been able to order another one until today, because of the Easter holidays. I can see either a 12-32mm and 45mm or 17mm and 45mm combination being an attractive option for stills and the occasional bit of video footage. (assuming I don't move the camera about much) And this is how I see the GX7 fitting into my camera options.

The GH4? Well it is tempting, not so much for 4K, though the possibility of video 'grabs' off that footage would be a nice option, but for many of it's other features. However, though I may well consider one, particularly if video becomes a more important aspect of my work, I'm inclined to stick with the GX7 at the moment. Though, as you will be aware, making predictions about what I'll buy and sell is notoriously unreliable!!


All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

 

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. 



Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  



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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The Hybridographer - Stills / Video gear - Part 1 - Sony A7



Hybrid. Some people hate the idea of video on stills cameras, some people love it and there are some like me who are predominantly stills photographers but who like / need to shoot some video from time to time both personally and professionally. I'm in the middle of looking at all my cameras to see which is the best hybrid for me.

Above are results from the Sony A7. 

Very accomplished at both stills and movies. I'm particularly impressed by my ability to zoom, using the 28-70mm lens. Very smooth. Lens stabilisation is good. Video quality is good and the camera takes video seriously. Changing things is somewhat fiddly and it does take some time to set the camera up however. I don't like that I have to change the mode dial to shoot stills if I'm shooting video, but if I have it set on one of the stills programmes and just press the red button then it shoots pretty good auto everything video. 

"In the field' it's nice to handle and using either my Carry Speed viewfinder loupe or just using the EVF it works well. My need is for good hand held operation, since a lot of the places I want to shoot video either don't allow it or don't 'appreciate' it. So that's vital for me. 

So the A7 is top class for both stills and video and gives me a lot of what I want. It is also very similar to the A7r, so I will be treating both cameras as the same. 

Impressive.


All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  

 

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. 



Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  



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.


LINKS AND SOCIAL MEDIA   
For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
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Fuji X-T1 - 16-50mm zoom lens - Video



Shot on a Fuji X-T1 with 16-50mm OIS zoom lens. 

Before I talk about it, I must take issue with the 'mauling'  Dpreview have given X-T1 video.

'Manual exposure control is also rather limited; you can set the aperture before you start, and change exposure compensation while you're recording, but you have no control over the shutter speed or ISO.'

There is no video option to select. To start recording you just press the red button. However before doing this you can set everything up as you want. Manual Focus, manual exposure etc. So I don't see what their problem is.

'It's painfully obvious that the X-T1 isn't doing very well here - resolution is low, and false color very prevalent indeed.'

Again it seems they see things that us mere mortals don't see. True the bit rate seems low, however, as you will see from my footage at the top of the page the footage is  seriously sharp. Crisper than anything I've got from any other video enabled stills camera.

'Movie recording can be started at any time by simply pressing the top-plate 'red button'. This nestles in between the exposure compensation dial and the power switch, meaning you're unlikely to start recording by accident. But this sheltered location, combined with the button's short travel, does have an impact when you stop recording; a lot of our hand-held movies signed off with obvious downwards camera movement from pressing the button at the end.'

Every camera does this. The video button on the A7 is on the side, is very inconvenient and causes much more vibration. It is also almost impossible to start it with the camera held up to your eye with a loupe attached. The Fuji is much better in this respect. Plus if they were getting downward movement at the end of their movies, firstly they need to improve their skills because I don't get that and secondly does it matter? Just edit it out. An invalid criticism.

'Manual exposure control is limited; you can set the aperture before you start, but once the camera has started recording it will ignore any further adjustment of the aperture ring. It will also dynamically adjust the exposure to deal with changes in the scene's brightness, and you can't override this behavior by pressing AE-L before you start.'

The second part of this simply isn't true. If as I said above you set the whole thing up manually before you press the red button the camera DOES NOT adjust the exposure. It remains locked on what is set.

There are also lots of other inaccuracies and false impressions in their 'review'. In fact the X-T1 does work very well in manual mode, which is what anybody serious about shooting video would use anyway. Plus their hand held sample is questionable. I've heard nothing like what they get even in a very high wind. Plus the 'shimmering' they get is because they have the picture quality set too contrasty and / or with sharpness added. Select neutral and the footage is really smooth.

This is like a lot of reviews of video which criticise cameras if they don't perform like cheap camcorders with micro sensors that AF easily because everything is all in focus most of the time anyway. They also seem to assume that people actually want focus hunting, which you will always get. The best way to shoot good looking footage is to lock the focus and exposure for each take and to do that manually.

All in all another poor review from Dpreview. (Rather too many of those lately) Plus if you don't believe what I write, look at the video I shot above and examine it all you want. I think its excellent quality and I stand by that. Plus the following uses X100s footage, so you can see what Fuji is capable of in terms of video.


Just a couple of other things. When video mode is selected on the A7 you can't take stills. With the X-T1 you can. Because there is no movie mode to select. And when you use focus peaking on the A7 and press record the peaking highlight colours are still visible. I can't work out how to turn them off unless I go into the menu and deselect peaking altogether. With the Fuji once the camera starts recording the peaking highlights disappear. 

I like the Fuji footage and using the X-T1 to shoot it is actually easier and simpler than the Sony A7 I was using before. I wrote this in a previous post 'Even though I think the Fuji 'X-T1 and X100s are underrated when it comes to video and the Dpreview review of the X-T1 is another example of that, there is no doubt that the Sony A7 is a much better camera for shooting footage.' But now I'm not so sure. There may be all sorts of technical reasons why one codec is supposedly 'better' than another, but everything I've shot on the X-T1 just looks so good. Sharper and punchier than the Sony A7 and A7r and I also prefer the look of it to anything I've shot on m4/3.

Finally something interesting on this. Since I'm preparing all of this for a reason, i.e. A business in which I'll be shooting footage for clients who pay for it. I've been showing various samples to people who know little or nothing about the technicalities of cameras, photography and video. People who think Codec is probably a Czech midfielder. And in every case (EVERY case) they all prefer the Fuji footage and think it's the best quality. Now I'm not going to argue with that.

Dpreview wrote this 'So if video capability is really important to you, the X-T1 is probably not the best camera to buy.' I think this is simply wrong. I believe that I've shown that you can get good quality results from Fuji video using the X-T1 and that those results aren't particularly difficult to get either. Yet again, it's a question of believe what you see and not what you read. And of course the best way to make any assessment is to try something out for yourself if you can.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  


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. 



Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  

 
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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Spring afternoon - Stately home - Sony A7 - 28-70mm zoom - Part 2 - video



The above footage was shot with a Sony A7, 28-70mm zoom lens. 100% hand held using lens IS. Picture setting was neutral. Full manual control over exposure and focusing. Edited in iMovie using that programmes added stabilisation feature.

I can't claim to enjoy shooting video anywhere near as much as stills. In fact it's something that I actually consider to be work. Shooting stills has never seemed like that to me and every time that I'm out on a shooting trip I just consider myself very fortunate to be earning a living doing something I enjoy so much. Video is a different matter however.

The above is typical of what I shoot. A picturesque tourist location on a sunny day and hand held. Now I don't know what it's like in the rest of the world, but in the UK tripods are not particularly welcome in many locations and in the case of this one not even allowed. So I've had to learn how to get stable footage without one. Which is why whenever I look at a cameras video capabilities, the most important thing is how the lens (or body) stabilisation works. I obviously also can't set anything up. I have to react to the situation around me and take account of the fact that there are other people around and one person with a video camera clamped to his eye is just another tourist as far as everybody else is concerned. So I've developed a kind of camcorder type street videography to cope with that.

The A7 / 28-70mm combination is however very useful in meeting my demands. The lens IS, in combination with iMovies stabilisation gives pretty steady footage. And there is no doubt that I push it somewhat. The majority of what I shoot would under ideal circumstances be shot with the camera on a tripod. But as I said that often isn't possible. 

Below is an example shot last year with a Panasonic GH3 and 14-140mm lens.



I have to say I prefer the GH3 footage to that I've shot so far with the A7. And even though it has it's deficiencies I like the look of what I shoot on my Fuji X-T1. However the A7 gets the job done. The A7s would be nice, but then it's overkill for me. The video at the top of the page took hours to upload to YouTube on my non fibre optic internet connection and I dread to think how long a similar video shot in 4K would take, if my computer could even edit it. Plus as you will be aware I shoot eveything in good light so that cameras high ISO performance would be wasted on me. 

Like all photographers I've had to adapt to shooting video and like many professional photographers I've had to adapt to it becoming part of my income stream. After stopping shooting weddings and events a few years ago I've mostly been doing it for my own amusement, with the occasional commissioned job that for various privacy reasons I have been unable to post, but with my upcoming new business venture it's something that I will be doing a lot more. And you may have noticed a lot more attention paid to it recently with lots of testing going on. 

I have to admit video is something I doubt I'll ever have a natural affinity with. Movie buff that I am, I've never had the desire to get involved with the process of making them in any shape or form. For example with the video at the top of the page I walked around the grounds of the stately home shooting the footage I wanted and decided to not shoot stills as I had the camera set up for video and it involved changing the settings too much. So I then did the whole walk again with the camera dismantled from video mode and I remember thinking to myself 'Now for some fun!' 

Finally, if it's of interest, this is a pretty typical location for me and since the video is edited in the sequence in which I shot it, you'll get an idea of what I do to earn my living on most days. And while I realise this is in the 'It's a rotten job but somebody's got to do it' catergory, I think it's important to point out that my job isn't one long holiday or collection of day trips and that sometimes I have to work for a living. However I will happily concede that as 'work' goes it's hardly coal mining, policing the streets or working in a factory and I still consider that I have the best job in the world. And if I have to move outside my comfort zone now and then, I'm hardly in a position to complain.

All original material on this blog is © Soundimageplus.  Please Respect That  


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. 



Plus the Soundimageplus blog is 100% independent. No-one sends me gear to review and I have no relationship with any manufacturer or retail outlet. I buy all the gear I use and write about. The advertisements that appear on this site are generated by Google and I have no control over the content, which differs from country to country. I do make a small income from them, which covers expenses and some small recompense for the time I take to write this, but no more than that. If you like what you read and would like to help me to continue to keep buying stuff to write about then clicking on a few adds will earn me a few fractions of a penny. It will cost you nothing and you don't have to buy anything to contribute a (very!) small amount to my coffers.  

 
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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For commenting, discussion, posting your pictures, links and articles - join the Soundimageplus Blog Readers Group on Google+ 
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