I’m still working on finishing up my projects from last year, but I’m also trying to continue taking a few daily pictures of common everyday views of mine, especially early in the mornings. I’m not sure how this will end up but I’m considering a book of pictures like the above … made with a small sensor P&S camera.
I am partially driven by this idea of mine to show that needing to own an expensive larger sensor camera is not necessary (under most situations) if you wish to make pictures. But, you do need photo software of some type to finish them off. The above are all jpeg images (another act of rebellion against the necessity of raw images) made with a Sony HX80 camera that have been tweaked using Adobe Lightroom.
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.
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.
The above pictures were taken under different conditions from outside on a bright sunny day, to inside with good lighting, to inside with poor lighting, to outside on a gray overcast day. I developed them using Silver Efex Pro using a similar process on each.
I like some strong black and white pictures and I have thought about this style of photography since it potentially solves several problems. One, you don’t need a good camera with a fast lens and larger sensor to take pictures under poor lighting conditions. Using this style lessens the need for an expensive camera and lets the photographer use a less expensive smaller pocket camera. Second it tends to diminish the recognition of individuals when the photographer takes pictures of them and thus it shifts the message to the overall image rather than individuals.
I haven’t decided how well I like the process, but it is one that I have seen used and I wanted to try it. I can think of times when it might be useful. It might grow on me, but I first wanted to see how it looked on the screen and how it was received by others. I also did it since I like to “mix it up” with my photography to have more variety.