Tagged: Panasonic Lumix LF1
Nice place to eat breakfast if you want to reminisce about the old days. Most who eat here are either bald or have gray hair and don’t worry about coronary heart disease. J
For those who are interested, I used my pocket Lumix LF1 to make these pictures. I even took advantage of its zoom lens. There isn’t a better smaller camera that has its features and capabilities. I’m keeping it to supplement my Fuji X-T1 … at least until smart phone cameras catch up with it.
LF1 Thoughts … It’s Pocketable
As I reduce the number of my cameras, I keep evaluating the pros and cons of the remaining ones as I slowly reduce the number and decide whether I need another camera other than the Fuji X-T1. Yesterday I sold all of my Canon gear (70D and five lenses) as well as my Leica X2 camera. This morning I started thinking harder about my Lumix LF1.
The advantages of the LF1 are that it fits in any pocket, takes pretty good macro images, and has great depth of field. When I walked Misty this morning I had it in a hip pocket of my jeans. The disadvantage can be the image quality, but that depends on how the camera is used and how much light is available.
I took the above pictures while walking this morning as the sun was starting to clear the trees on the horizon. The light was just adequate for the camera. My preference is to use the camera for small details like with the small feather, but it even works for distant photographs like this morning’s moon.
Based on the above images and my ability to carry the camera in a small pocket, I am thinking harder about keeping the LF1. Since I am trying to get down to one or two cameras, I now have to decide whether to keep the LF1 or the Nikon J5 which is larger, has a larger sensor, and theoretically should have better image quality. As it looks now, I am thinking that the LF1 will make a better compliment to the Fuji X-T1 and prime lenses, but the final decision will depend upon how and when I decide to use a second camera.
Small Sensor Advantages
There are three advantages for me keeping and using my small sensor Lumix LF1 camera. Number one, it is small and fits in a pocket … a small pocket, and is very easy to carry. Second, it has lots of depth of field … more of the scene, from front to back, is in focus. Third, it has a pretty good macro focus capability for taking pictures of flowers, etc. up close.
I have worked on developing a preset for processing my pictures. I used it in the last two posts and the other evening I remembered that I hadn’t yet tried the preset (development style for use with LR6 on raw images) with my little Lumix LF1. The images above are a set of test images that I made to try it on. I treated these images exactly the way the pictures in the last two posts were treated and sized for my blog. I was amazed in how well the images turned out considering that the camera has such a small sensor. Just so you realize, the lamp and the flower pictures were taken at the maximum equivalent zoom of 200mm.
Someone needs to remind me to use this camera more often. I have had times, when my back or hands were really bothering me and I had trouble carrying and using a heavier camera, that I thought if necessary, I could manage to make images just with the LF1. It is an excellent little 12 MP camera that can take jpeg or raw images, fits in my shirt pocket, has an equivalent focal range of 28 – 200mm, and focuses at real close distances (1.2 inches).
My favorite camera hasn’t always been my latest acquisition. I have found that one way of determining what my favorite camera was, is to notice which cameras I keep going back to. Which one gets picked up, put aside while I’m trying a new one, and then gets picked up again. Thinking about them are my happy memories … well at least for the purposes of this post.
It turns out that my favorite cameras have been the light-weight, small, pocket-able cameras. My type of photography usually relied upon seeing the chance image and then taking the picture quickly before I moved on. I found that this was often done with a pocket camera like the one I used to grab the above image … the Lumix LF1. It is a small camera with the best image quality that I have ever gotten from such a small sensor. I highly recommend it if you want to shoot in raw and then process your own images on your computer. I have never looked at its’ jpeg images.
My problems with the very small cameras are their limited image quality in low light and their small control buttons, or lack of controls. I keep hoping that someday I will find a better compromise, but someone has to design and make one. It would need to be larger than the LF1 and have more dial controls and a larger sensor, but then it wouldn’t be small.
My main problem now is that I haven’t been going to new places or seeing new things to photograph. This situation has negated the need for me to have a small camera in my pocket. I need to be more proactive and take a better camera out with specific ideas in mind. I need to move past relying upon chance encounters.
Which Camera, Depends on What I Do
Which cameras I keep and use depends upon what type of pictures I plan to make and how I use them. As much as possible, I would like to downsize relative to weight and number of cameras, but I don’t want to go too far down relative to image quality. The question is, how far is too far. As an example I was out walking Misty early on a cloudy day and had the Lumix LF1 in my pocket which I used for the above image. It was at an effective 200 mm and then cropped severely and resized up to this full size. I then worked with the raw image to create this painterly effect using Light Room.
The LF1 might work for images like above, but it doesn’t work to get good, quick pictures of events around here. I also don’t use it on the streets. It is certainly small, easy to carry, and discreet, but it isn’t easy to change settings and shoot quickly. It takes too long to zoom the lens. For most events and on the street and for better quality landscapes I hope to use the Canon SL1 with both the 24 and the 40 mm prime pancake lenses. I won’t know for sure until the weather improves and I take a lot more pictures with it.
I still have my Olympus E-PL5 with many micro 4/3 lenses which I think work OK for travel since they pack small and are light for international travel. Since I am not doing that kind of travel anymore I am not sure how I will use them or even if I will keep them. I did use it a lot for my most resent indoor project here at Homewood, but that was before I got the Canon SL1.
I also still have my Pentax K-3 along with three lenses. At the moment it is the most unused of the lot. I might keep it and use it with a smaller but still weather resistant lens for photography in bad weather. Since I find it too heavy to use but for short periods with long focal length lenses, I might just give up that type of photography. As an alternative, I might try a long zoom on the Canon SL1. I don’t think it is a good camera for such use due to its size but it might work better than I think. It also depends upon how good I get at using the controls on the Canon SL1 to get the effects I desire. I might also just use a micro 4/3 camera with a long lens for long-range photography.
One of the least costly ways for me to downsize is to limit what I photograph and use the cameras and lenses I have. If I stop photographing with long zoom lenses, and outdoors in rain or snow, I could possibly shrink down to just three cameras, or maybe even less. At the moment I am considering using only my Lumix LF1, my Ricoh GR, and my Canon SL1 (with both pancake lenses). But I still entertain thoughts about limiting what I photograph to what I can make with one camera and one lens.
All of my trials are to determine what I want to photograph with what type of camera and focal length lens, and then, if necessary, buy a higher quality camera-lens combination and sell the rest.
Simple but Colorful Dilemma
Since I haven’t been taking many pictures lately, I have been using my time to try to decide what I’d like to do when it warms up next spring. I am thinking about what I would like to photograph and what camera I would prefer to use. I thought that one element of this process should be to look back through some of my older pictures and pick out what I liked and so I did. The above are one set of results. I liked their simplicity and color and that they all had black in them.
I deliberately didn’t look at what camera I used or any other details about the pictures until I was done. Looking back later I noted that a different camera was used for all four of the above, but that they were all taken with a long focal length lens. Probably the only thing significant about the different cameras is that I have used many different ones; but another possible factor is that it indicates that the particular camera didn’t matter.
The long focal length is more troubling for me. I have liked long focal lengths since they enabled me to extract details from around me while blurring out the backgrounds. The troubling aspect is that I have had more problems with heavy camera-lens combinations. As a result of that, I have been carrying around and shooting primarily my Ricoh GR with a fixed effective 28 mm lens.
The problem that I need to resolve is that I prefer small light-weight cameras with prime lenses like the GR or a Leica X2 or the Fujifilm X100T while at the same time I preferred images made with long focal length lenses. This presents a real dilemma for me. Should I use a camera I like to hold and carry and seek out new compositions that I might like, or choose a camera with a long lens and shoot images like above? If I use a long lens, I might need to use a light-weight camera lens combination with a smaller sensor and lower image quality to keep the weight lower.
Small Camera … Rich Results
I am coming to the conclusion that some smaller sensor cameras are being over-looked and under-used. I have been on the look-out for another small pocket camera rather than using and working with my small Panasonic LF1. It is one of those small cameras that were jointly designed and developed by Panasonic and Leica.
I am finding that for most situations that as long as I capture the images in raw format that I can get very usable pictures from it, and it is so small that it fits in my shirt pocket. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing more pictures from this camera on my blog.
I took the above images in my dark garage. It was raining outside and not much light was coming through the garage door windows, but I noticed that what light there was created some interesting patterns and colors and I wanted to see how well the LF1 captured them. I am not saying that my other cameras couldn’t do better but I am saying that they don’t fit in a shirt pocket and that you probably wouldn’t notice the image differences as shown in this format.
Small Cameras & Bad Backs
I am thinking about small pocket cameras again. I have the Panasonic LF1 which is pretty good for its size. The following pictures were taken with it. The question: do I need something better?
Before I go on, I need to explain the above pictures and why I am considering something else. I went to see my back doctor about some new problems. I took the first two pictures while I was in the waiting room and the last two when I was in the examining room. I am sure that many around me recognize the office.
If you have followed my blog for a long time you know I had surgery in Nov 2010 which did wonders for my disposition and my ability to walk, but I’m now having problems again. Those of you who have had back surgery know that this is a fact of life after lumbar fusions. And it is one reason photographers tend to try and find lighter cameras later in life.
I sold my Pentax DSLR camera and lenses after my surgery since I found them too heavy to carry. As I improved and found that I missed my DSLR, I got another one with the intent to carry it less often and not as far. I have been doing that, but now that I am faced with more problems I know that in the future I might be using it less and less. With that thought in mind I have my micro 4/3 system and prime lenses to fall back on and I might get another small system so that I am prepared for any eventuality. On top of that, I want to have a small pocket system to always have with me; but I haven’t found one that I like in between the size of my micro 4/3 setup and my Panasonic LF1. Based on the images that I can make with my LF1, I will hold onto it, and continue to use it.
There is no doubt that I want something better than the LF1 that is almost as small and light-weight. The real question is, do I need something else and if so, what? In the coming months I would like to see my wants and needs converge, but before that can happen, I need a clearer idea of what, where, and when I will be using a camera to make what kind of images.
Photography using a Pocket Camera
Sometimes it is worth having a small camera in your pocket, and I have been wondering whether I should look for a better small camera. At the moment I have been using a Panasonic LF1 which has been excellent for its size. It only has a 1/1.7” size sensor so it is limited, but makes up for it with an excellent zoom lens and the ability to shoot in raw format.
But, the above images pushed it to its limits. The sunlight breaking through a cloud was difficult to get because of the light extremes. I had to dial the exposure back to keep from burning the highlights too much and then I still had to work on the image with LightRoom. It worked OK, but it isn’t the fastest camera to use. The zoom is slow and the exposure adjustment is done with the small dial on the back. It works fine when you have time, but I would like something easier and quicker to adjust. The other picture was taken in the restaurant which was on the dark side. I took this image at ISO 1600 and then had to use a lot of noise reduction using LightRoom.
The LF1 is better than a camera-phone but the phones are catching up quickly. Some of my thoughts recently have been to just keep using my LF1 and wait until the phone cameras improve some more. If I go somewhere and don’t wish to take my larger heavy Pentax K-3 and lenses, I can take my Olympus E-PL5 and a prime lens or two to keep the size & weight down … but it still needs a large jacket pocket or a small bag for carrying. It would be nice to have a camera-lens combination smaller than my E-PL5 that is easier to quickly take out of a pocket and take a few pictures in raw format with quick exposure and zoom adjustments … with better image quality than the LF1 or a camera-phone. I’m still looking, but my K-3 continues to spoil me. I love the controls and ease of making fast changes with the ability to get great images.
The new Canon G7 X looks promising. It has a 1” 20 MP sensor, 24 – 100 mm equivalent zoom, tilting touchscreen LCD, takes raw format pictures, is about the same size as my LF1, etc. But, a larger sensor would be even better. The major disadvantage of a larger sensor, like APS-C size, is that the lenses are a lot larger and heavier. The only way around them is to go with a built-in, fixed, prime lens like on the Leica X2. The X2 is a lot faster to turn on, make adjustments, etc. and is only slightly larger and 13% heavier than the G7 X but a lot more expensive. The similar Fujifilm X100T is larger and 45% heavier than the Canon G7 X, is similar in quality to, or better than the Leica X2, and is less expensive than the X2.
But, I decided the best compromise based on size, weight, image quality, and cost is using my Olympus E-PL5 with a prime lens as a jacket pocket, or small bag camera. I have the Panasonic 14 mm f/2.5 pancake lens but is a little on the wide and slow side. It has an effective 28 mm focal length and is great for many uses but I decided to get the Panasonic 20 mm f/1.7 lens (effective 40 mm) to supplement it. My only decisions left are to decide whether to carry it on a neck strap under a jacket or to use a wrist strap and carry it in a jacket pocket this fall and winter, and when to take it rather than my K-3 or my LF1.
Should I Go Back?
No, I’m not proposing redecorating the bus. I’m just using this image of reflections to illustrate this post about some conflicts I have and some changes I am considering. The above is a picture of the Homewood bus which was on my monitor with the morning light showing my reflection on the monitor. I took a picture of my monitor.
I basically use my blog to show whatever kind of photos I make and to write about anything I want. The end result is a blog that is of mixed content. It is more of a journal of whatever I see as I go through life. One day it might only be clouds or sunrise or sunset, and another day it might be about a local tour that I took with others here at Homewood, or pictures of an event here.
In addition I sometimes write about my views. Mostly I try to limit my views and opinions to photography but I sometimes slip into other opinions. Many of my viewers are from outside the United States. I don’t take pictures or write things of specific interest to them but I try to keep them in mind when I write anything.
The variance in types of pictures creates problems relative to what cameras or lenses I use or might have with me at any particular time. There are certain cameras and lenses that do better for taking pictures inside some poorly lit buildings. There are also cameras that I like for other reasons but they don’t do as well for Homewood pictures. This dilemma has caused me to compromise relative to which cameras and lenses I own. I have sometimes drifted one way or the other in trying out different cameras and that meant that I often changed my gear and purchased something else. When I did that, I sometimes wrote about what worked or didn’t work for me.
I also prefer to make B&W or other types of pictures which aren’t the type that some prefer. Some like to see themselves active in tours, etc. and like to see “nice color” documentary type pictures of events here that are suitable for our local publications. Those aren’t my favorite styles of pictures so I try to mix in others that I prefer.
One problem is that I’m getting tired of photographing the same area around where I live. I have tried to photograph with different focal lengths and from different directions and during different seasons of the year, but I have about exhausted my opportunities. One thing I am doing is trying to photograph some longer term projects but that doesn’t create frequent daily images for display. All of this means that my blogging is slowing down. I use to take many pictures each day. Now sometimes I may only take pictures a few days a week.
All of the above is just to explain the differences. What you see is what you get and it might vary or stray more in one direction or the other depending on what I photograph. I know that this isn’t a good style for a blog and that it doesn’t generate fateful followers or viewers of everything on my blog; but that isn’t the purpose of this blog. My purpose is to take pictures of whatever, and enjoy myself in getting and making and writing about them. I put them into my blog to share them … some for some, and others for others.
But, I am currently facing a dilemma … continue this type of blog and photography as they have drifted or make some course changes. My pictures of the “Sadie” play in the previous post have brought another dimension of my dilemma to the front … the quality as well as style of my pictures. Should I continue to post pictures of this quality and type, or should I buy some better gear, or should I refrain from taking and/or publishing these types of pictures?
I had to resort to using my worst lens to get the Sadie pictures due to the distance involved. I don’t think I will use that 40 – 150 mm lens indoors again. This means that I will have to use just my prime lenses if I continue using the Olympus E-PL5 camera indoors and either get up closer or not take the pictures. I think I will use my 14, 17, and 45 mm micro 4/3 prime lenses with an emphasis on the 17 mm which is an effective 35 mm lens on the Olympus micro 4/3 system.
Another change, or alternative, that I am exploring is going back to a better low light weather resistant camera with a larger sensor for my photography even though it will be larger and heavier. I’ll be writing about what I try and how it works for me. Since I had problems in the past with heavy cameras, if I go back to such cameras, I may have to make other adjustments.