Cameras and technology - Help or Hindrance? - Wi-Fi, Apps and the Cloud.

Cameras and technology - Help or Hindrance? - Wi-Fi, Apps and the Cloud.
'Camera manufacturers make a great deal these days about the tech. add-ons that their cameras come bundled with. They are very keen to let us know that the camera we are considering is wi-fi enabled and comes with an Android / Mac OIS app. that lets us control the camera remotely and download / upload / sync our pictures. Connectivity is all.
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The implications of a good wi-fi app for the Olympus OM-D E-M5

The implications of a good wi-fi app for the Olympus OM-D E-M5
'I used to be very negative about wi-fi and it's possibilities, almost entirely because of the complicated and unreliable nature of it's implementation. In fact in many cases it's inclusion was a headline generator only, because otherwise it's a complete waste of time. Not so with this Olympus App. It works, it's useful and it hasn't had me wanting to throw the whole lot into the stream that runs through my garden. That's a surprise, but obviously a pleasant one and I wasn't expecting that. So if you have this camera and haven't checked the app. out yet, give it a try. You may well find something of real use there. I certainly have.'
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Olympus Image Share App and OM-D E-M5 II - IT WORKS!!! - HDR, forget it!

Olympus Image Share App and OM-D E-M5 II - IT WORKS!!! - HDR, forget it!
'It's always the same, you get all this publicity about cameras and then the reviews. Everybody makes a big point about how it's got wi-fi and it does this and that, but then nobody really goes into how it works and whether it's any good or not. So since I actually took the trouble to try it out I can let you know that it works and yes it's actually quite good. Now often that's where some 'reviewers' just leave it, so here goes with a little more in-depth analysis. '
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Panasonic image app - power zoom control on iPad. GX7 and 45-175mm lens



Another thing you can do with the Panasonic image app is control the power zoom of the 14-42mm and 45-175mm lenses via an iPad, as in the above video sample, shot with a 45-175mm on my GX7. You can of course further expand this by turning on the EX TELE CONV option which takes a 1920 x 1080 section from the frame and records that, thus giving a greatly expanded telephoto option with no noticeable loss of quality.

The more I explore the possibilities of what Panasonic can offer in terms of video, the more obvious it becomes that this is the hybrid stills / video system I've been looking for. It's now become odds on that I will be getting a GH4. 

In addition to all this video work I've been doing, I've been continuing my ongoing investigations into producing the best raw file stills conversions I can with m4/3 files. I've now managed to improve this to such an extent that I can now get an ultra 'clean' image at ISO 400 which I couldn't before and I've also been able to increase the extent to which I can upsize the files and still retain an acceptable level of sharpness. 

I have to say I'm also very impressed with the way that Panasonic in particular are 'pushing' the m4/3 format into an all-round system capable of handling pretty much anything. With the GH4 I gather that high speed sports / action etc. photography is now very much possible and that really only now leaves the high ISO performance problem as something to be solved. I suspect that this is going to have to be done via software, but I wouldn't put it past Panasonic to find some solution to this.

m4/3 is a system that I often think I've going to leave behind, but there's always something that brings me back. Recently this has been the remote capabilities via iPad that are opening up all sorts of possibilities for me and I'm genuinely excited by the options I now have at my disposal. I keep moving to other formats thinking that they might be 'the one' but m4/3 is the most innovative and fastest moving digital camera format out there and it strikes me it has grasped the future of digital photography and video with both hands. The GM1, much against my expectations, is proving to be an incredibly useful camera for me, with capabilities way beyond what might be expected of it and the GH4 looks like it's going to be a seriously powerful imaging tool for both the photographer and movie maker. 

Olympus are still working in a more 'traditional' way in terms of designs and feature and their cameras are seemingly intended primarily for those with little interest in video. Panasonic however are going full tilt at the 'hybridographer' market and since I seem to be moving in that direction it's not a surprise that I'm attracted by their products.

The rumour is that Panasonic are making the lenses for the Leica T system, which shows the respect that a company like Leica holds them in. And I've always been very impressed with what Panasonic can achieve in this field. They are a somewhat unusual company in that they make everything, cameras, sensors, electronics and lenses. I can only think of Canon who do something similar. And I have to say that I think that Panasonic do all of these things very well indeed. When I initially bought into m4/3 I started using the 4 Panasonic 4/3 lenses, designed and made in conjunction with Leica. And they were great lenses. Everybody goes on about the Olympus 4/3 range and though it's more extensive, those four Panasonics are gems. And now of course we have lenses like the 42.5mm f/1.2 which is becoming harder to resist by the day.

However, for the moment I've contented myself with ordering a S/H 14-42mm power zoom to use as a pair for video with the 45-175mm. Should give me a nice versatile combination for outdoor video and of course, it almost goes without saying, a small and light one as well.

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.

Using the Panasonic image app and iPad on location - part 2 - GX7, GM1 and 17mm, 45mm and 12-32mm lenses.



The above was shot by my nephew and myself as a test location shoot for the photographic tours / workshop world wide franchise we are part of that will be launching soon. 

As before, the advantages and benefits of the Wi-Fi remote control system were counterbalanced somewhat by the difficulties of seeing the iPad screen clearly in sunlight. 

For this, I shot mainly stills, my Nephew mainly video. One of the 'advantages' of what this offers can be seen in the top image of the ladies on the bench. I really wanted to take their picture, but didn't want to be intrusive. So I positioned the GM1 + 45mm f/1.8 lens on it's tripod and faced in the opposite direction using the iPad to monitor what was going on. I then took a series of stills and some video when I thought there were some interesting interactions going on. Sneaky? Well I guess I have to admit to that, but I thought the picture was worth it. The four women who were obviously long time friends sitting in front of the children's playground behind them was a nice composition reflecting on age and friendship and I very much wanted it to be an observational yet warm and well-intentioned image showing a positive side to ageing. I hope I succeeded.

All the video was shot on the GM1 which continues to impress. As far as I'm concerned it really is a scaled down GH3 in a smaller form. The video and stills quality is excellent and we were looking at how good the smallest video size was, as we may well be offering instant uploading of both stills and video to social media for the workshops we are planning. While not up to HD standards, it's certainly way better than anything smartphones can offer. And as you can see my nephew was able to get some very smooth focus shifting.

One thing we've learnt is that it is important to position the camera using it's virtual 'spirit level' even though it is difficult to do this when seeing the image properly on the viewscreen or iPad is so difficult. It's possible to use my Carry Speed screen loupe as a hood for the cameras live view screen and I've ordered one of these http://www.hoodivision.com/#!products-ipad-sun-shade/c4jv
which looks light and hopefully will work for the tablet. It's not expensive and hopefully will make working with the iPad outdoors 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.

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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Using the Panasonic image app and iPad on location - part 1 - GX7 and 45mm and 12-32mm lenses.





I've now had two opportunities to use the Panasonic image app + iPad 'on location'. Yesterday was with my GX7, 12-32mm and Olympus 45mm lenses. As you can see on the stills front this was very much a 'I've got a tripod and I'm going to use it' shoot. So lot's of pictures with deep depth of field. However, nothing wrong with that. The video is pretty much 'raw' footage straight out of the camera with no editing. 

Quality wise both stills and video footage are top class. Absolutely no complaints there. The Wi-Fi link also worked perfectly. I ended up walking a longer distance than I intended because I really wanted to give the combination a good workout. Consequently I was pretty tired at the end of my trip, carrying the tripod, no matter how light was pretty wearing. I used to do it all the time shooting film, but I'm seriously out of practice. Plus my back muscles are certainly not what they were. So quality wise, it was very successful. The iPad was also fine for power consumption. I kept it running for a couple of hours non-stop and there was 62% left at the end.

The problem is what I suspected it would be. Seeing the iPad clearly in sunlight. Most times I had to turn my back to the sun to provide some shadow so I could see it. In the video above there is a shot of a blue boat entering a lock. I was facing away from what I was shooting during all of that so that I could see what was going on. It is a problem. I was constantly looking for shade. I even wore a cap to offer some way of getting the sun off the screen, which often just looked like a huge mirror. I really can't understand why these screens have to be this way. Is it beyond the ability of these companies to design a screen that works outdoors?

The whole setup is so useful that even with this it was still incredibly useful. It could, however, be so much better if the screen on the iPad wasn't so reflective.

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  








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

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE




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.

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  





Panasonic GM1 - Wi-Fi and iPad control for stills

For all my posts on the Panasonic GM1 - CLICK HERE




I've never seen a lot of point in Wi-Fi connections to send pictures from cameras to mobile phones. It may be a source of amusement to some, but not to me. However, being able to control a camera remotely from an iPad, now you're talking.

I tried this once before with my A7 but it didn't work. Apparently there was some problem with the software. The GM1 proved somewhat easier. It's easy to set up and this great video which I used tells you how to do it much better than I could.



I'd like to take this opportunity to thank David Thorpe for putting this online and the logical way he explains it. Excellent.

And for many shooting situations this is genuinely useful. I gather from reading various articles that not every other camera is quite as simple and straightforward as the GM1 and those of you with more experience of this than me will know how this works on other cameras. 

The iPad app. is free from the app. store and quick and easy to install. Selecting Wi-Fi on the camera generates a password which I typed in on the iPad and I was connected. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how quick and easy it was. 

As you can see from the above pictures I set up my still life with the various items positioned in such a way so that I could tap the screen and make the camera focus on them and take the shot using a very specific focus point. In the images below I've indicated with a white circle what I focused on.


The Panasonic app. seems very well put together. I can change the aperture, ISO, Picture style and White Balance and of course can focus and take the picture without ever having to touch the camera. So all in all it's very useful and I think I've just found a reason to keep the GM1.


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