Leo Laksi’s Bangkok And Back

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Posts Tagged ‘G1

Couples at DisneySea with the Panasonic G1

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If you’ve followed my blog, you know that I’ve been “playing” with a Panasonic G1 for four months.  I bought the G1 and the Leica M-mount adapter to use with my Leica lenses.  The results with the Leica lenses, at least the wide angles, have been less than stellar, what with poor resolution away from the center of the image.  And with the 2X crop factor, wide angles lenses became less than wide angle.  Check out my other postings for impressions and photos taken with the Leica M-mount lenses.

However, the Lumix 14-45mm and 45-200mm zoom lenses on the G1 have performed in good fashion.  In color images, I found the sensor (and lenses) to produce rich color images although the lenses were not the sharpest at the wider apertures.  I also found the focus lock to be quick and accurate.  When you combine that with a compact design that’s easy to carry, you have a winner.

This series of photos were taken in a span of one hour.  They were converted to black and white using Nik Silver Efex Pro and Aperture 2.

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Written by leolaksi

May 8, 2009 at 7:01 am

Billingham Hadley v. L2 (Alice) camera bags, which one for you?

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L2 on left, small Hadley on right.

L2 on left, small Hadley on right.

Ok, so in terms of appearance, the small Hadley has it hands-down over the sturdy but plain looking Billingham L2.  The Hadley has two buckles and exterior pockets and the Billingham logo to attract your attention.  Let’s face it, the Hadley is a great looking bag.

But as they say, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and  “beauty is only skin-deep”.   Beneath the plain exterior L2 is a GREAT bag for someone looking for a compact design.  Where do I start in describing the superlatives of the L2.  How about the leather reinforced bottom panels with feet?

L2 on bottom, small Hadley on top

L2 on bottom, small Hadley on top

Or a slight larger main compartment that makes the L2 roomier for your cameras and your accessories.  This difference can be seen in all the photos. From the “face” in the first photo to its bottom panel in the second to its end view below.

L2 on left, small Hadley on right

L2 on left, small Hadley on right

And the L2 is also expandable by attaching the optional AVEA pockets to the leather loops that comprise the shoulder strap anchor on each side of the bag.  The small Hadley does not have this advantage.

Inside the bag, one can notice other differences between the two. Whereas the Hadley has a removable padded insert, the L2 does not.  In addition, the Hadley has narrow spaces between the insert and the interior front and back of the bag for additional storage, while the L2 has a sizable storage area in front of the main compartment that is capable of holding additional gear to include smaller Leica “size” lenses.  The narrow space behind the main compartment is large enough for flat accessories like filters, etc.

In addition, the main compartment of the L2 is slight larger than the Hadley as the below photos show.

Contained in the bags are a Leica M8 with Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 AND a Panasonic Lumix G1 with 45-200 f/4-5.6 zoom lens.  Both bags are roomy enough for a DSLR, like the Canon 5D lens.  But an additional lens may be difficult to carry.  A smaller DSLR like the 450D may be a better choice for this bag as the smaller body will give you more room.

Small Hadley with Leica M8 and Panasonic G1

Small Hadley with Leica M8 and Panasonic G1

L2 with same Leica and Panasonic cameras

L2 with same Leica and Panasonic cameras

Note the size of the compartment in front of the main compartment of the L2 (but remember that the Hadley has two exterior pockets the L2 does not have).  Finally, the L2 has additional weatherproofing in the form of an extra layer of waterproof canvas on interior side of the top flap (and both side gussets to protect the sides of the top flap).

Bottom line?  I think the L2 is a very practical bag to shoot from.  There are no exterior or zippered pockets to contend with.  You just open the flap and get to shooting.  However, if you’re going by looks, the Hadley is the way to go.

One small problem. I can’t find the L2 listed on the Billingham website.  Maybe it’s not being made any more.  (However the L2 is available at various photographic equipment websites.)

Final thought.  I find both of these bags easy to carry.  They are lightweight and comfortable.  I do not find my Hadley Pro or my 555 to be “easy to wear” bags.  The Pro’s insert stiffens the bag to the point I don’t find it to be very comfortable.  The 555 because of the sheer weight of the bag.  For me, there are better choices in that size of bag.  But for looks and detailing,  they are good-looking bags.

Written by leolaksi

March 20, 2009 at 6:54 am

Panasonic Lumix G1 with Leica Summicron 90mm f/2 lens

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Panasonic Lumix G1 with Leica Summicron 90mm f/2 lens

Panasonic Lumix G1 with Leica Summicron 90mm f/2 lens

The Summicron 9omm f/2 is one of the finest lenses that Leica makes.  On a film M-series camera it’s a longish portrait lens. On the digital M8 with its 1.3 crop factor its still a longish portrait lens.  On the G1 with its 2x crop factor, it’s a full blown medium telephoto lens with the ability to focus down to less than one meter.  And a fast f/2 lens.

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The lens has great bokeh and pretty good contrast, making it ideal to isolate the subject from the background.  On the G1, this lens is a very good performer, creating images that would rival those created by the M8.  Of course its the lens that makes the major contribution.

Poor off-center resolution as seen in some images created by particular wide-angle lenses is non-existent.  It had been speculated at some of the Leica-centric forums that this resolution issue was caused by the particular angle of light refraction through Leica M-mount lenses and that this would be less of an issue with longer focal length lenses.

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The 90mm is still a handful on the G1 as its effectively an 180mm lens without the advantage of image stabilization.  Keeping your shutter speed at or above  1/250 sec to insure a decent handheld image.

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Written by leolaksi

March 9, 2009 at 6:26 am

Panasonic Lumix G1 with Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens

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Last month while I was in Osaka I was able to buy the Rayqual Leica M to Micro4/3 adaptor.  This adaptor allows one to mount Leica M-mount lens on the Panasonic Lumix G1.  Today I spent some time with this camera and two lenses, the Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens and the Voightlander Heliar 15mm f/4.5 lens.

Today I will report on my impressions of the Voightlander on the G1.  First of call, the 15mm is one of my favorite lenses as it’s wide depth of field allows me to cover all distances with having to adjust the focus.  For example, when I set the aperture are f/4.5, all objects from less than a meter to infinity are in focus.  Granted not a razor sharp focus but in focus.  With the Leica M8, the combination works.

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The question you have to ask yourself is:  Does it also work with the G1?  My answer is a qualified “yes”.  First of all, with the sensor’s 2x crop factor the effective focal length of the lens is 30mm.  Fair enough as the lens is still wide enough to suit my purposes.

When using this lens on my M8, I set the aperture at f/4.5 o5 f/5.6 and forget about it.  No need to focus, nothing.  Set the camera to Aperture Priority and just point and shoot.  It works on almost all occasions (although sometimes there is minimal barrel distortion).   And the image is quite good.  Almost the entire frame is in focus.

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With the G1, I did exactly the same thing.  I set the aperture at f/4.5 and fired away.  Every photo in this posting was taken in this manner.  My premise was that the G1 should be just as easy as the M8 when using the Voightlander lens.  First of all, the G1 was a pleasure to use in this manner.  Small, unobtrusive, quick to eye level, and with the ability to shot from waist high when using the live-view LCD.  Quite a nice package.  The only criticism I have of the controls  is the placement of the exposure compensation wheel at the top of the smallish grip.  It was too easy to turn the wheel and change the setting.

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Once I got home, I used Capture One to download the images and Aperture 2 to process them.  One thing I immediately noticed is that the resolution is not as good as the M8 away from the center of the image.  The center of the image is quite good, however on the edges, the image has broken down.  I believe that this is obvious in all the photos.  This result is a far cry from the decent overall image quality when coupling the G1 with the Lumix 14-45mm kit lens.

There has been some discussions on the web that the G1 image is better with longer focal length M-mount lens but does suffer poor resolution on the edges when using a wide angle lens.  That opinion is supported by Sean Reid’s review of the G1 coupled with a Leica Summicron 28mm f/2 lens.   He also noted that the G1 with this lens also matches the M8’s resolution on center.

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Bottom line is that the image’s resolution in the center of the photo is good although the resolution does fall off away from the center.  I don’t find this characteristic objectionable although this quality does narrow your ability to “create’ the photo as you want.

Tomorrow I will post about my coupling of the G1 with the Noctilux lens.

Written by leolaksi

March 2, 2009 at 6:44 am

Panasonic Lumix G1 with Leica Noctilux 50mm f/1 lens

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thonglorwitchchopsticknopurple

Ok, I realize it’s a little ridiculous to test the Noctilux, the legendary lens with the f/1 lens (now f/.95), on the G1.  Thought I would give it a shot, using the widest aperture and creating an image with minimal depth of field.  First of all, the Noctilux on the M8 is difficult lens to focus at f/1, mainly because of it’s narrow depth of field.  Your ability to manual focus the lens is based on this depth of field, the accuracy of the Noctilux’ focus and the your M8.  It can be difficult.

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First of all, I found the G1 easier to focus the Noctilux than the M8.  Focusing the G1 can be accomplished by simply using the focusing ring on the lens.  The LVF (live view finder) is easy to use and one can discern accurate focus with little difficulty.  In dark conditions, it’s a little harder although not impossible.  As an aid, you can also use the magnified focus feature to fine tune your focus.  This is accomplished by pushing the left rocker button of the five button main control on the rear of the body and then pushing the center button.  This is less difficult to do once you become accustomed to it.

Focused on near handle

Focused on near handle

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Overall, I thought the quality of the photographs was quite good.  I was prepared to discount the quality of the images since, after all, I could buy nine G1s with the kit lens for the price of one M8.2.  I examined the “bokeh” with an eye on the quality of the bokeh.  I did a couple of comparison shots of the same scene with the G1 and the M8.2 and could find no significant difference in the bokeh.

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All photo were shot at ISO 100, set for manual focus and aperture priority.  The Noctilux was set at f/1.

Next I will pair the G1 with the Carl Zeiss Biogon 21mm f/2.8 and the 28mm f/2.8 lenses.

Written by leolaksi

March 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

Panasonic Lumix DMC G1

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Photo taken with M8, Summicron 50mm f/2 lens

Photo taken with Leica M8, Summicron 50mm f/2 lens

I’ve had the G1 for a little over a week and I am impressed with this camera.  There are some things that I don’t like about the camera but will note this later.

This is not a comprehensive review of the camera.  If you looking for that, check out DPReview for their recent full-blown review.

The first thing you notice about the camera is it’s size.  It’s absolutely tiny for a camera of this type, that is, a camera comparing at the lowest rung of the DSLR tribe.  It’s not that much smaller than a Canon 1000D however when you attach the 14-45mm zoom lens to the camera, it is one size smaller.  And if you attach the 45-200mm zoom, well, it’s a very compact combination.

G1 in all it's glory (above photo crop of this photo)

G1 in all it's glory (above photo crop of this photo)

Right now there are only two available lenses for this camera in its micro 4/3 mount, the kit 14-45mm f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens and the 45-200mm f/4-5.6 zoom.  As the sensor is cropped 2x, these lenses have a 35mm focal length of 28-90mm and 90-400mm.  That’s enough reach for anyone.  With the optional Panasonic adaptor, you can mount the standard 4/3 lenses on the micro 4/3 body.

Panasonic is currently developing additional lenses in the micro 4/3 family.

Taken with 45-200 zoom, 158mm at f/4.8

Taken with 45-200 zoom, 158mm at f/4.8

Third party manufacturers are rushing out to fabricate other adaptors for the G1.  Right now there are several who are offering an adaptor to attach Leica M-mount lens to the G1.  And soon there will be an adaptor to attach Canon FD lenses to the G1.  Of course using Leica or Canon glass should render some beautiful images with good resolution.  But remember that there is no AF coupling between these camera systems so you have to manually focus the lenses.  In addition, image stabilization will also be lacking so any camera shake, especially under less than perfect lighting, may cause the image to be blurred.    But fret not, with a little practice, you should be able to manual focus.  And don’t worry about image stabilization.  You can survive without it.

In fact, you don’t have to buy any other lenses other than the two currently available.  They are both capable of good resolution with the standard 14-45mm just a little bit sharper.  But I don’t think the 45-200mm is a slacker in most situations.  But of course, it’s up to you.

Shot with 45-200mm zoom lens, 45mm at f/4

Taken with 45-200mm zoom lens, 45mm at f/4

Another plus is the auto-focus.  It is very accurate and quick to lock on the intended subject.  I had no problems even under less than ideal lighting in getting the proper focus.  I also played with the manual focus and this worked very well.  As you turn the focus ring, the EVF shows a magnified view of the subject so that is it very easy to perfectly focus the camera.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5, no post-processing

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5, no post-processing

The above photo is uncropped and has had no post-processing with software.  And the color is very accurate.  Note the shadows.  The sensor is very good at picking up the details in the darker areas of the scene.

Taken with 45-200mm, 97mm f/4.45

Taken with 45-200mm, 97mm at f/4.45

Again the above photo is a full-frame shot with good shadow detail with accurate color.  This photo is also without post-processing.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at 5/4

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at 5/4

This shot, with the boat partially in the shadow, can be difficult for some sensors to collect details in the shadow areas.  Again good detail.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 200mm at f/5

Excellent color rendition of the dragon.  No post-processing.

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at f/4

Taken with 45-200mm lens, 51mm at f/4

If there are any downsides to the G1, it’s the compactness of the camera.  Although the size makes this camera a breeze to carry, at times, you find yourself hitting switches (and changing settings) by accident.  Usually this occurs with the switches that changes from single to multiple shots, timer etc. and the tiny switch that controls the lens aperture when shooting in “A”.  This switch is built in the the top of the “grip” and it’s very easy to change your setting without realizing it.

The other weakness is that the m4/3 has very few lenses available.  Panasonic is expected to offer several other lenses in the not too distant future .   And there is always the various adaptors that allow you to use other system lenses.

If you buy into the Canon DSLR line you have access to a full range of lenses.  If you want to carry a 1000D with a 70-200mm f/2.8 L lens,  it’s up to you and your wallet.  With the G1, you don’t have that option.

However, don’t let that limitation keep you from considering this camera.  It does many things very well and I’m convinced that this camera is a keeper.

Even though I have two systems built around the Leica M8 and the Canon 5D, I will use this camera regularly.  It’s compactness and ease in use combined with good results will prompt me to carry this camera at times.

Check it out!

Written by leolaksi

January 27, 2009 at 7:20 am

Panasonic Lumix DMC G1 – round two

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post processing - slight increase in saturation

post processing - slight increase in saturation

I’ve had the G1 for about a week and it’s proven to be an excellent camera.  The color rendition is the best I’ve seen in a camera of this price.  So much so that even the jpeg file requires very little post processing.  The DPReview review of the camera says it all.  Currently there are only two micro 4/3 lenses.  More are coming and you can use the 4/3 lens with an adaptor as well as other lenses with other adaptors including the Leica M-mount lenses.

I shot these photographs last weekend with the Lumix 45-200mm f/4-5.6 zoom lens with the lens at or near wide open around 200mm.  I also used spot meter setting and a single AF focal point.  Although this lens will never give a Canon L zoom any competition, it is very respectable.   Image is a little soft but not bad.  Really.  And the lens is tiny.

The above photo was  adjusted for a slight increase in saturation using Aperture 2.  The photos below were not adjusted.  No increase in saturation, no adjustment of colors, no change in brightness,  sharpening etc.

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Written by leolaksi

January 22, 2009 at 6:59 am