Saturday, 31 August 2013

Mirrorless camera systems

Back in 2008, Panasonic launched the first consumer mirrorless system camera with the Panasonic G1. Since this time, a lot of competitors have introduced their systems. I take a look at the competition, to summarize what they are all about.

Sony NEX, E-mount


Headline comments: Small cameras, large lenses.

Crop factor: 1.5x

The first Sony NEX cameras introduced were truly strange: No built in flash, a minimum of buttons, no touch screen interface, a non standard flash connector. The cameras were slim, but also had a fairly poor grip and ergonomics. Later, a camera like the Sony NEX-6 appeared to take the system in a more traditional direction, with a proper flash shoe, better grip, built in flash, and even a built in EVF on the side, to give it a range finder appearance. The Sony NEX-6 looks and feels more like a normal camera.



Sony NEX-6

Friday, 23 August 2013

Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6 review

When I first bought into Micro Four Thirds, it was with the GH1 and the kit zoom lens, the Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8. In the beginning, I was thrilled with the superzoom lens, my first, and it was also a lot better than the previous Pentax lenses that I used. However, after some time, I was quite disappointed with it, since it is not very sharp in the short and long ends, and it is very large and heavy. So it mostly sat unused.

It was not surprising for me, then, that Panasonic announced a new, revised version of the lens called Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6. Then new lens comes at a smaller size, it is lighter, and has a faster aperture range. It even has a lower list price than the old version. So, I was very curious to see how they compare.

They are shown below, with the new version to the left:



Sunday, 18 August 2013

Focus pulling with the GH3 touch screen

Focus pulling is a cinematic technique often seen in movies and TV series. Quite simply, this is to change the focus distance during recording. This is often seen during dialogue, for example, where the focus could change between the persons speaking to highlight the reactions.

When done by a professional film crew, the focus pulling is done by manually turning the focus ring. Manual focus is possible with Micro Four Thirds cameras as well, of course, but there are a couple of reasons why it might be hard to do this during video recording:

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Lumix X PZ 14-42mm vs NEX PZ 16-50mm

Panasonic and Sony have released two surprisingly similar lenses: The Lumix X PZ 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 and Sony E 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ. Both are shown below:



Note that in the picture, I have modified their appearance slightly by adding "lens hoods". On the Lumix lens, to the left, I added a 37mm stand off ring to the front lens thread.

On the Sony lens, to the right, I screwed a 40.5mm to 52mm step up ring into the front lens hood. For the Sony lens, I also need a new 52mm front lens cap.

While I don't think these small rings do a significant job as lens shades, I think they keep the front lens element better protected against objects touching it accidentally, and that gives me more peace of mind.

LensLumix X PZ 14-42mmNEX 16-50mm PZ
AnnouncedAug 26, 2011Sep 12, 2012
Image stabilizationYes, opticalYes, optical
Lens elements/groups9/89/8
Weight95g116g
Diameter61mm65mm
Length27mm30mm
Filter thread37mm40.5mm

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

New 14-140mm: Smaller, faster, sharper

Since writing this first impressions article, I have made a more thorough review. Most likely, this is what you want to read.

When I first bought into Micro Four Thirds, it was with the GH1 and the kit zoom lens, the Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8. At first, I was thrilled with the superzoom lens, my first, and it was also a lot better than the previous Pentax lenses that I used. However, after some time, I was quite disappointed with it, since it is not very sharp in the short and long ends, and it is very large and heavy. So it mostly sat unused.

It was not surprising for me, then, that Panasonic announced a new, revised version of the lens called Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6. Then new lens comes at a smaller size, it is lighter, and has a faster aperture range. It even has a lower list price than the old version. So, I was very curious to see how they compare.

They are shown below, with the new version to the right:



LensLumix G HD 14-140mm f/4-5.8Lumix G HD 14-140mm f/3.5-5.6
AnnouncedMar 3, 2009Apr 24, 2013
Weight460g265g
Diameter70mm67mm
Length84mm75mm
Filter thread62mm58mm
Minimum focus0.5m0.3m
Maximum magnification0.2 x0.25 x
Lens elements/groups17/1314/12
Product codeH-VS014140H-FS014140

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Product news

Here is a summary or recent interesting product news, and my comments to them.

Panasonic GX7


Of course, the big news right now is the Panasonic Lumix GX7, which was announced on August 1st.



To better understand what the fuss is all about, let's look a the key features of the GX7, compared with other premium mirrorless cameras:

CameraCrop factorTilt LCDEVFIBISPDAFFlashCompactFocus peakingPrice
Lumix GX72xYesYesYesNoYesYesYes$900
Olympus E-M52xYesYesYesNoNoMediumNo$900
Olympus E-M12xYesYesYesYesNoMediumYes$1400
Olympus E-P52xYesOptionalYesNoYesYesYes$950
Lumix GH32xYesYesNoNoYesNoNo$1100
Lumix G62xYesYesNoNoYesMediumYes$750
Sony NEX-61.5xYesYesNoYesYesYesYes$650
Sony A71xYesYesNoYesYesNoYes$1700
Sony A7R1xYesYesNoNoYesNoYes$2300
Fujifilm X-Pro11.5xNoYesNoYesNoNoYes$1200
Fujifilm X-E11.5xNoYesNoNoYesYesYes$800
Fujifilm X-E21.5xNoYesNoYesYesYesYes$1000
Canon EOS M1.6xNoNoNoNoNoYesNo$300
Nikon 1 V22.7xNoYesNoYesYesYesNo$800

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Distorted images

With the development of photographic equipment over the last decades, we have been able to capture more accurate representations of the reality than ever before, and at a higher resolution and lower cost. Some are obsessed with the sharpness of lenses, and closely read MTF tests to find the best. And there is a trend now that sensors have a weaker anti-aliasing (AA) filter, or even gets rid of it completely, to reveal even more details.

Still, there are some who go in the opposite direction, and use the camera not to accurately depict the reality, but to deliberately distort the reality in various ways. One example is the "Instagram" trend, in which filters are often applied to images to distort the colours, add dark corners, add film grain noise, and so on.

In this article, I look at some methods for creating images that are not natural looking.