Aug 082014
 

A Film Friday Thank You

By Michael McFaul

Hi Steve!

You honored me with a post on your Film Friday a few weeks back and for that, I thank you. Now allow this write up to serve as a 2nd thank you…a thank you for lighting the fire within me that is photography. It’s something I didn’t know I had. I’m sure a lot of you are probably groaning and rolling your eyes as you read those previous two sentences. :) Cliche, I know. But let me explain.

Back in late 2011, my wife and I had booked our long overdue and months delayed honeymoon to the land of a thousand smiles, Thailand. After a big move to Chicago from FL, then a return trip back to FL for our wedding, and finally getting our finances in order…we booked our flight for Ko Lanta Yai, Thailand. Prior to this trip, we had gone to Sleeping Bears Dunes in Michigan and at the time we had a simple P&S by Fuji. However, have you ever been to Sleeping Bear Dunes? It’s beautiful! Fan-freakin-tasticly beautiful! The vistas are simply summed up in two words, jaw dropping. I. Kid. You. Not. And yet the little camera that is Fuji simply couldn’t capture Sleeping Bear the way I saw it. Don’t get me wrong, I have great memories of our trip and it was a great time for my wife and I. But when I conveyed my excitement to others and gushed about its beauty, the pictures I would eventually show them didn’t match my enthusiasm and words. It left me wanting more from a camera.

A Google search online led me to stevehuffphoto.com and damn you, Steve… :) I find it rather impressive that I haven’t dropped more funds on cameras and built up more of collection than I already have. I will say this, my wife is not the least bit happy that I discovered your site. Kidding. ;) But kidding aside, the many reviews old and new, guest posts, your love for M4/3rds among others, led to the purchase of the Panasonic GX1 and their classic 20mm f1.7.

I apologize, but do allow me a moment to get sidetracked…if it were not for Aaron Rodgers’ statistically out-of-this-world 2011 season, my fantasy football team would not be winners of our $1k+ league pool. Aaron, if you’re by chance reading this, thank you. You gifted me a pretty sweet camera and lens combo.

Back on track. Actually, enough writing…here are a few of my favorites snaps from Thailand. Although there may be more writing to come after this set of photos. All of these photos were taken in JPEG and edited slightly or for some, too heavily via Snapseed.

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Thanks to you, I have wonderfully beautiful images of our time in Thailand. It was an adventure that involved delayed flights, missed connecting flights, an impromptu stay in Phuket via an online booking from a Thai airport, an unplanned ferry ride to the Phi Phi Islands (DiCaprio, The Beach!) then a connecting ferry to Ko Lanta (which actually worked out better and would recommend for everyone:), and a truly fantastic stay at our resort…all documented via the Panny/Panny combo. Yet if you’re up for sticking around, there’s more.

The more would be our daughter, Eleanor. Documenting these past 18 months with her as a part of our life has been pure joy. Joy. Joy. Joy. And I am forever grateful to have my m4/3rd to capture the many moments that we have with her. Thank you, Steve.

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All these photos led to a previously done wedding gig via the OMD EM5 (which will be a post for another day…I promise), a family portrait session in the coming weeks and a job with an interior designer for her completed projects to be used for her site. I love it. I don’t see these projects as work and I hope that it doesn’t ever feel that way.

Your amazing site has opened a door to me…led to the discovery of my creative side in photography…and I’m excited as to what the future holds for me.

Here’s a link to my super green and new blog www.mikemcfoto.com … please bear with it as I’m trying to find my style/structure (I feel like my style is constantly evolving) for the site and decide if it’s going to be strictly film, a combination of film/digital and a posting of works I’ve done. But do feel free to visit. :)

Cheers!

-Michael

Feb 172012
 

(a not so) quick crazy Comparison: Nikon V1 vs Panasonic GX1 

Hello to all! Hope everyone is having a great week wherever you are and whatever you are doing. While anxiously awaiting for the new cameras to start shipping (Olympus OM-D, Fuji X-Pro 1) and my NEX-7 to arrive I decided to bring out the Nikon V1 and do a super quick comparison to the Panasonic GX1, just a daylight shot to see how each camera renders color and sharpness. I recently had a GX1 sent to me again with the 14-42 X Power Zoom lens and figured I would do some side by side testing with the smaller sensor underdog Nikon V1. I have to say that the X power zoom lens is quite nice in fit and feel. Looks great on the GX1. BUT, for some reason I prefer the standard lenses as zooming in with this lens feels like I am using a camcorder. It is great for video but for photos give me a standard zoom ring any day. Still, the lens is nice as it is small and compact, and that is always a good thing when it comes to a take around camera but at $949 it is a little on the pricey side for this camera with no EVF and a slow zoom lens.

So..just one quick grab from each…click on them for larger

1st the Nikon V1 and 10mm (27 equiv)  2.8 at f/3.5 

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and the GX1 with the zoom at 14 (28 equiv) f/3.5

Seems the Nikon is sharper but it also has more grain when viewed at 100%, which is not a bad thing for this kind of camera as I feel it is that little bit of grain and sharpness that gives it the look it gives, which many like and many hate. I like it as it is different to the smooth and softer GX1/Micro 4/3 sensor. But many say the output of the V1 looks like a small sensor P&S, and in some ways it does. That is due to the smaller sensor being used. Still, in use I prefer the V1 for everything it does well and for most of us who just share images online of print small, it is plenty good enough. Either camera is.

The few shots down below were shot as I was going through my weekly auto car wash – some are with the V1 and others with the GX1. Just shows that for 90% of our uses, any camera will work. Even one with a smaller than M4/3 size sensor. The things I look for these days in my “take everywhere” body is a combo of image quality, usability, speed, focus speed and accuracy, feel and build. These days there are many cameras that give this to you and many that do not. For me, the V1 is perfect for a 2nd body, take anywhere body, or do it all body as long as you do not want shallow depth of field. That is just about it’s only weakness when compared to a Micro 4/3 body (well, the lack of lenses as well).

With the new bodies coming though, it seems like it will be a royal rumble…every camera for itself – The Fuji X-Pro 1 (Coming March 20th) will deliver outstanding colors and IQ with amazing low light but still slower than average AF (my guess). The OM-D E-M5 will be the best M4/3 yet (again, just my guess) and have just about everything you can ask for but a full frame sensor. I think that the Fuji will be better in lower light and deliver those Fuji colors many of us love so much but it is also more expensive and larger. The Sony NEX-7 is still going string and starting to ship next week finally (I think). I should have mine soon and when I do I will be taking a 2nd look at it now that I can process the RAW files. Remember, my review was comprised of JPEG only images!

We also can not forget about Leica…where are they and what are they up to? I wonder if they are eyeballing the competition or just having a cocky attitude about it. What about the new Sigma DP series that has been revamped and promises to be the best quality compact? Will be interesting over the next few months…but this right here and right now is the calm before the storm. We are all waiting for the reviews and samples from these new cameras to surface and I am ready to rock and roll.

For now, can you tell which page was shot with the V1 and which was taken with the GX1? EXIF is there so it’s not a contest but could be fun to guess.

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and a series from the V1 using THIS cheap light kit that I have in my living room – of course I added filters using Alien Skin Exposure to give it a creepy moody look

Oh, the site may look a tad different today. I am expirementing with the colors – I added some black in as I felt it looked a little bolder but still unsure about it. I may try a few things this weekend so if you come here and it looks a bit different, that is just me messing around with it. Have a great weekend and shoot all you can! I will be heading to a tattoo convention with the M9P, 75 Summilux and SLR Magic 50 T0.95  so hopefully I will be able to do my review on the 75 soon and add to my 50 review as well!

Feb 112012
 

 

TGIF! It’s Friday night and I am home in my quiet house relaxing with my old dog Scrubby. He is snoozing away on the floor next to my chair and the house is dark. I just watched TV for the past hours so I figured I would sit down and look over some snaps I shot today with the M9P, which is a camera I seem to never tire of. I may shelf it for a month or two but I always come back to it and am always enamored by its beauty, form and output. Yep, I love my M9 even after almost three years since its debut.

So what did I do today? I did not go out for photos. In fact, it was a boring old day for me here in sunny AZ. The weather was great at almost 80 degrees and sunny but I simply had nothing to do, and nothing to shoot! My fiancé is in Chicago, my best friend was working, my son was with his Mother and there was basically nothing to do after my work on the site was done today.

So after updating the site this morning I wandered around my backyard, and snapped away with my beautiful Chrome M9-P (see my updated gear page). In the image above you can see the HUGE SLR Magic lens attached and I have been shooting with this lens every chance I get..just waiting for something to go wrong..I mean, this is NOT a Leica lens. It is a lens from SLR Magic! It CAN’T be good, right? Well, that is what many think anyway.

The fact is that this is a GREAT lens. If it didn’t have the barrel distortion it would be every bit as good as the Leica Noctilux ASPH f/0.95 in it’s IQ. Still, the distortion is easily fixed but it never gets PERFECT like the Nocti. At $7k cheaper though, it is to be expected and besides, who shoots architecture with a lens like this anyway?

The fact remains though that this is a lens I never thought I would see anyone else make. It IS the FASTEST 35mm lens in production today even though it is not available until September, and  that in itself is quite the feat. Andrew from SLR Magic said the day after I posted the pricing info and his shops street address in Hong Kong he had a few visitors the next morning who saw the lens on this site. They all wanted to buy one then and there and one guy wanted TWO. Andrew found one thing interesting. All of these guys already had the Noctilux ASPH! Pretty interesting!

With their low production volume I seriously think they will sell every one they can make, even at the $4288 price tag. Also some have e-mailed me asking this question and no, I am not getting paid money to talk about this lens or write about it. SLR Magic is not even a site sponsor anymore though I keep up their little ad box on the right because I believe in what they are doing, and after meeting Andrew, I know they are passionate and really care about what they are doing. These words are just my real experience with this lens, and if there are any negative things that pop up you can be sure I will write about them. With that said, here are a few more shots from the lens with the M9P. Just snaps, nothing serious. They do show the character of the lens though.

One from the SLR Magic at T/2 – converted to B&W with some PP – click for larger. Sharpness is NOT an issue with this lens at any aperture I have tested it with. 

Another at T/2 – This is usually a bokeh torture test!

How about T/5.6 (I wish this lens was rated in F stops instead of T stops)  - click it for 100% crop!

The image below is interesting because the room was actually fairly dark. There was no window light, it was indoors and shot wide open. I was curious to see how sharp it would be, and this was 1/60th of a second. You can not get this look with a Voigtlander 1.1, or even a Lux ASPH 1.4 as the Bokeh would be totally different as would the rendering. This is the equivalent of f/0.92 and it comes into play when you have no light. :)

Soon I will be doing some side by side comparisons with this lens and others, so stay tuned for that. BUT they will be added to the review HERE. 

Other things coming up..

This weekend: Crazy Comparison: Nikon V1 vs Panasonic GX1

Really not so crazy I guess but I am curious myself so I may post this one over the weekend. Full size files, crops, color, noise…JUST for FUN and because I have both cameras here. I have the X zoom for the GX1 on loan along with the camera so should be interesting. Zoom against Zoom :)

I will also be getting my own NEX-7 in the next week or two (I hope) so I’ll be shooting more with that, and trying out the SLR Magic lens with it as well. Photo and Video.

I also have more guest articles and user reports on the way, so check back daily! BTW, I checked my stats today and this website has had over 21,000,000 views in less than 2 1/2 years and 2 million of those was in January alone! WOW!! THANKS TO ALL OF YOU WHO VISIT HERE EVERY DAY!!! I truly appreciate each and every one of you!

I have a feeling things will get nuts around here in April when all of these new cameras start shipping and even more news leaks out. Gonna be a crazy year for us all!

Jan 032012
 

Happy New Year! Updates and cool stuff…SLR Magic, Gizmon, LA Workshop updates and more!

Hello to all! It’s Tuesday Jan 3rd and I just arrived home from a 4 day trip to COLD Chicago to spend New Years Eve with my girlfriend. I am now back in Phoenix to the warm sunny weather and my daily routine of waking up to work on the site. The photo above was shot at the Phoenix airport baggage claim last night at 1 in the morning with the Panasonic GX1 and Olympus 17mm 2.8. I was there for 45 minutes waiting for my luggage and then when it did not show up on the belt I decided to take a look for it elsewhere. I ended up finding it 300 feet down and the US Air employee told me “Oh yea, that one came in an hour ago on a different flight”. Fun! Came home, got some sleep and here I am now scheduling a few things for the site this week.

At 1:30 AM the airport is pretty empty. The 17 and GX1…

During the last few days I was without a computer and all of the updates and posts were scheduled so if you e-mailed me and did not get a response this is why. I am now back to work and ready to make 2012 a GREAT year. I took the Panasonic GX1 with me to Chicago along with the 25 1.4 Summilux lens, which is a fantastic lens BUT different than the 20mm 1.7 which I also adore.

I am finding that the more I use the 25 1.4 the more I appreciate the qualities of the lens which have a richer feel than the images I get from the 20, which tend to put out flatter images than the 25. This is probably due to the 25 being a bit longer and a bit faster. It’s also quite a bit larger but if I were to recommend one of the two lenses, it would be the 25 1.4 for it’s richer color and overall character. I must admit though…I enjoyed using this lens on the Olympus E-p3 more so than the GX1. Why? Well, for some reason the E-P3 nailed focus more with the lens and I had about 36% misses with the GX1 and maybe 8% with the E-P3. Why? I have no idea. Also, after shooting both cameras over the weekend I found the E-P3 to focus SLIGHTLY faster than the GX1. Both are super fast for Micro 4/3 though and most would not even notice a difference. 

My lovely Girlfriend Debby just before we went out for New Years Eve, smiling as always! Shot with the E-P3 and 25 1.4 at 1.4. Grain added with Alien Skin Exposure. 

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I hope you guys enjoyed the three GX1/E-P3 comparisons as well as the David Babsky GX1 piece. I am still gathering my thoughts on the GX1 and have purposely been shooting it alongside the E-P3 to see which one I truly enjoy more since I proclaimed the E-P3 the best M4/3 (for photos) a while back. I am hoping to have my review of the GX1 and 25 1.4 SOON. I can say that I have been enjoying the GX1 with the Olympus 17 2.8 (black version). On the camera the lens seems like a perfect fit and size. Looks like it was meant for the camera and the quality is there as well.

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So look for the GX1 review soon right here!

Gizmon nICA iPhone 4 Case

Check this out! I know it has been posted on other sites already but this looks pretty interesting if not impractical. This huge case takes your iPhone 4 and turns it into a retro (Leica) looking camera with strap and all. The only problem with this is that what if you get a phone call while you are out pimping your new case? Seems a bit overkill but it does look cool. You can get attachment lenses such as a macro and fisheye. A case, a lens and strap will set you back around $140 or so. You can read more about it at the official site HERE.

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Los Angeles Workshop update and SLR Magic f0.95 For Leica M

Some of you if not all of you have heard about the all new, designed from the ground up SLR Magic 50 f0.95 for Leica M mount. This is a lens that SLR Magic has been working on for a LONG time and I have been fortunate enough to have been in contact with them over the past several months regarding this new lens and all of the  revisions it has gone through. One thing I do know is that SLR Magic is really working hard and spending tons of money t0 perfect this lens and the construction is solid and HEAVY. It is also larger than the Leica f/0.95 as of right now. I was supposed to get one in December to test out (but not publish) but they are still working on perfecting it.

The GOOD news? THIS lens will make its physical debut at my Los Angeles workshop on Jan 27, 28 and 29th of THIS MONTH. Andrew from SLR Magic is flying in with at least two of these, maybe three. All in attendance with Leica cameras can attach one to their M and  give it a whirl. This lens will not be cheap when it goes up for sale later in this year but it will be MUCH cheaper than the Leica version. How will it compare? We will all have to wait and see but I see a “crazy comparison” coming up between these two low light heavyweights. Think you will be surprised? You just might. :)

If this is something you want to see, leave a comment. 

BTW, there are TWO seats left for the LA workshop and then we will have a full house. They are going quick so if you have been thinking of attending, see the workshop page HERE. So far we will have Leica shooters, Micro 4/3 shooters, DSLR shooters, and X100 shooters.

Enjoy and again, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

Jan 022012
 

The Panasonic GX1: All the camera you will ever need? By David Babsky

From Steve: This is NOT my review of the GX1. This is a user report from David Babsky. Figured you may enjoy it while I work on my review though by the time it is done we may end up with the same conclusion!

Panasonic’s GF series started out great as mirror-less compact interchangeable-lens pocketable “micro-four-thirds” cameras – with the GF1 – and then went a bit twee with the GF2 and the almost button-less GF3 ..they went all touch-screen and tiny, and ‘one-step-up-from-a-point-&-shoot’ instead of developing into a useful ‘system’ camera. (The GF3, for example, has no provision for a clip on electronic finder, nor an external-flash hotshoe.)

But the GX1 has now got Panasonic back on track.

The GX1 is a micro-four-thirds camera, like the other Panasonic ‘G’ series cameras (SLRs and ‘mirror-less-compacts’) and like the Olympus PENs. The GX1 is a bit smaller than the original GF1, and a bit larger than its successor GF2, with a bigger grip than either of them, making it easy to hold without accidentally thumbing the touch-screen and thus unintentionally changing settings – as often happens with the GF2 and even smaller GF3!

The GF1, GF2 and GF3 were (are) 12mpxl cameras, with a display screen on the back and an optional clip-on (low-res) electronic finder for the 1 and 2 – but not for the GF3. The GF2 was the GF1 shrunk by 18%, making it less easy to hold ..and the added touch-screen capabilities meant that the ball of your thumb (accidentally touching the screen) might engage Manual Focus instead of Auto Focus, or move the focus point or make any number of other accidental changes.

 

The GX1, like the GFs, is a descendent of Panasonic’s (and Leica’s and Olympus’) original ‘Four-Thirds’ cameras, which had – just like a film or digital SLR – a flipping mirror between the lens and the sensor: the mirror diverted the lens’ view into the optical viewfinder until the moment you squeeze the ‘shoot’ button, and then the mirror flips out of the way to let light straight through to the sensor. These cameras had – and do have – a sensor one quarter the size of a full-frame 36x24mm sensor (the size used in the Leica M9, Canon 5DMkII, etc) and slightly smaller than an APS-sized sensor. So the ‘crop factor’, or magnification factor, of a Four-Thirds camera is 2x ..meaning that a 25mm lens on a Four-Thirds camera behaves just like a 50mm lens does on a ‘full-frame’ sensor. Compared that with the (roughly) 1.5x factor when using an APS camera, on which a 25mm lens behaves like(approximately) a 40mm lens on a full-frame camera.

Removing that flipping mirror let Four-Thirds manufacturers reduce the distance between the back of the lens and the sensor, thus making the resulting ‘MICRO-4/3′ cameras much smaller, but keeping the same size sensor. With the mirror gone, the optical reflex finder was gone too, so Olympus and Panny provide electronic “live view” on the rear display, just like other pocket compact cameras, with an optional add-on electronic viewfinder (EVF) – bought separately – for easier viewing in bright sunlight (like a teeny camcorder finder) or when you don’t want to hold the camera at arm’s length.

Olympus quickly went to a hi-definition megapixel EVF, while Panny lagged behind with only a 460k screen and a 202kilo-pixel finder.

 

 

Sensor size:

Sony’s NEX, Samsung’s NX, Fujifilm’s X100, Leica’s X1 and other larger-sensor APS-sized cameras offer a bigger sensor than the micro4/3 cameras, thus potentially clearer low-light results and more detail, and with optionally shallower depth-of-field, but with generally bulkier lenses to match the larger sensor. Sony’s latest NEX 7 has an EVF built-in, instead of it being a fragile, optional clip-on. (The APS-size Fuji X100, with its built-in hi-def viewfinder, and the Leica X1, don’t, however, accept interchangeable lenses.)

These and other manufacturers’ offerings, both APS-sized and m4/3, provide very compact interchangeable-lens ‘system’ cameras, once known as ‘EVIL’ (Electronic Viewfinder Interchangeable Lens) but now generally known as ‘CSC’ (Compact System Cameras), which don’t have the bulk or the bulge of internal-top-mounted-viewfinder SLRs.

(Sensor sizes courtesy of Wikipedia.com)

Panasonic has raised the GX1′s resolution from the 12 megapixels of their GF models to 16 megapixels – matching the Sony NEXs and Panny’s G3 SLR, being only 2mp short of the Leica M9 full-frame sensor (..though the M9 has only manual-focus lenses, no zooms, no HDR, slow picture review, max 2500 ISO, no electronic finder, no “live view”, and – unlike most other digital cameras – can’t shoot video ..but the M9 has, remember, a FULL-FRAME sensor, capturing far better detail than the smaller m4/3 sensor, and offering shallower depth-of-field to make whatever’s in focus stand out from its background).

Adding pixels seems, at first, like a great bonus, but now do the math(s): the original GF-series sensor shot 4,000 x 3,000 pixels, giving a total of 12,000,000 pixels. The GX1 shoots 4,592 x 3,448 = 15,833,216 pixels. So it’s gained about 600 pixels across the width of the shot, and 450 pixels up the height. Not a great deal. But what it HAS gained is increased light sensitivity: max ISO of the GF1/GF2/GF3 models were 3200/6400/6400 ..the GX1 has doubled that to 12,800. But – as with all digital cameras – these ISO numbers should be taken with a pinch of salt; the highest USABLE number (without too much digital noise, and jpeg artefacts) is generally one notch down from the maximum.

The following images are all full size – click for full size

Lumix 14-140 HD zoom at 48mm (96mm equivalent on full-frame) hand-held at 160, 3200, 6400 and 12,800 ISO. Everything’s fairly good up to 6400, then banding and severe noise come in at 12,800, at least in dark areas. The 160 ISO shot was 1/10th sec, showing great in-lens stabilisation with the 14-140mm lens which – without stabilisation – would have needed at least 1/100th sec shutter speed.

ISO 160

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ISO 3200

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ISO 6400

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ISO 12,800

Increased specs:

The GX1 incorporates the features of the original GF1 with the addition of:

1 More pixels: 16mp instead of 12mp (max 4592×3448 [4:3] 4576×3056 [3:2])

2 Full HD video at 1920x1080i, up from 720p, with stereo sound (but no external audio input jack)

3 Higher resolution EVF: 1.4mp, up from 202kp. (but this is an added accessory)

4 Same 3″ 460k rear screen, but touch-capable focusing and shooting (as on GF2 and GF3) plus two extra touch-screen ‘virtual’ customisable buttons

5 Higher max ISO 12800 (though serious noise after 6400) up from 3200 on GF1

6 Incredibly fast – and accurate – autofocus, even in dim light, without any focus ‘hunting’

7 Newer RAW format – with same .RW2 suffix as GF series

16mp out-of-camera jpeg on a dull afternoon at ISO 1600 gives great detail, and just moderate noise.

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In going ‘back to the GF1′-style, Panny’s put back a Mode dial on the top plate (P A S M, Custom1, Custom2, Scene and Palette [Hi-key, Lo-key, Sepia, Toy-lens, etc]), moved the Playback button back to where it was on the GF1, and added configurable buttons, but kept the GF2/GF3 touch screen (for focus region, touch’n’shoot) and also added an ‘artificial horizon’ for ensuring level shots, both vertically and horizontally. The chunkier On/Off switch, around the Mode dial, is workable with a thumb, or winter gloves, instead of needing a fingernail.

There’s also a quiet motorised short zoom (14-42mm) available – others to come – enabling smooth zooming while shooting, but this is mainly for video ..instead of having to (jerkily) twist a zoom ring while recording movies.

Ease of use? Similar to the GF1 (meaning “not as fiddly as the (primarily touch-screen) GF2″). Features and capabilities? Like the GF2, but enhanced and increased, and with far easier handling.

 

Electronic viewfinder:

The new ‘LVF2′ slip-on finder for the GX1, compared with the older ‘LVF1′ for the GF1 and GF2, gives:

[a] bigger, brighter, ‘closer’ image – 1.4x magnification, compared with previous 1.04x (less like looking through a tunnel) almost like the superbly big and bright optical finder of an old Olympus OM1/2

[b] much higher resolution EVF – 1.44mp, up from 202kp – to see fine detail in focus (almost like the Fuji X100 finder)

[c] finder’s focus adjustment UNDERNEATH the tiltable EVF (so it doesn’t get accidentally nudged)

[d] activation button on the back, not the side (just as I’d got used to the position of the LVF1 side-button!) similar to the Olympus add-on EVF

[e] locks in place on the accessory shoe, so doesn’t accidentally slide off.

Sadly, the finders are not interchangeable, so the new, better, finder does not work on the older GF1 and GF2 nor on Olympus cameras (nor does the older Panny finder fit on the new GX1).

Looking through the old LVF1 finder on the GF2

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Looking through the new LVF2 finder on the GX1. The superior resolution of the LVF2 is mainly because of improvements to the EVF, not just the (slightly) higher pixel count of the GX1.

 

Handling:

The bigger, better grip for the right hand is really useful. The GX1 takes the huge range of m4/3 lenses available (including, via an extra adapter, the older, larger Panasonic/Leica lenses for the Panny L1/Leica Digilux 3 and early Olympus Four-Thirds cameras, although autofocus is much slower with these. Why use them? The big old Panny/Leica lenses offered 14-45mm f2.8 and 14-150mm f3.5 ..wider apertures than current m4/3 zooms.)

The Panny/Leica 25mm Summicron f1.4 Aspheric for m4/3 (NOT the same lens, or formula, as the Leica 50mm 1.4 Asph, but a reasonable approximation) works a treat with the higher-resolution and higher-sensitivity sensor of the GX1. Ditto the 20mm f1.7. I haven’t tried Olympus m4/3 lenses on the GX1, but they, too, should be great. The Voigtländer 25mm f0.95 also works admirably on the GX1, but – not having any in-lens stabilisation – may be more useful in dim light on an Olympus PEN m4/3, all models having stabilisation built into the camera.

In the garden, Panny/Leica Summilux 25mm at f1.6, Panny 20mm at f1.7, Voigtländer 25mm at f4, Voigtländer 25mm at f0.95 (..all unadjusted out of camera jpegs at ISO 400, except the Summilux, which has had its shadows lightened slightly).

Panasonic/Leica 25 1.4 at 1.6 

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Panasonic 20 at f/1.7

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Voigtlander 25 at f/4

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Voigtlander 25 at 0.95

The new, quicker autofocus of the GX1 is extremely fast: one half press on the shutter release and images are INSTANTLY in focus with all current Panny lenses; so fast that it doesn’t seem possible ..but there is, of course, plenty of computing power inside the GX1.

As with the previous GF series, pushing IN on the magnify/shrink left-right thumbwheel on playback (after zooming in) lets you click back and forth to previous and later images at the same degree of magnification – a feature of the Leica M8/9 and Canon 5DII, etc – which is handy for comparing a series of images at great magnification. No need to zoom out before moving to the previous or next image. Pressing IN with manual focus lenses, in shooting mode, magnifies the centre of the image, quicker than the double-push needed with Olympus PENs. (Magnification is automatic when Manual Focus has been pre-selected.) Pressing IN in shooting mode with autofocus lenses also – like the GF series – swaps from adjusting, say, Aperture (in ‘A’ mode) to adjusting over/under-exposure. Pressing IN again reverts to Aperture selection (or Shutter speed in ‘S’ mode). That dual-mode thumbwheel – as on previous GF series cameras – is twice as useful as the simpler, separate magnify and shrink buttons on the PENs. (But then again, with the Oly E-PL1, for example, once you’ve pressed the ‘Magnify’ button, there’s a continuous magnified view on the rear screen or EVF, whereas half-squeezing the shutter button on a Panny then drops the view back to full frame, and the magnified view disappears.)

Keeping architectural verticals vertical on the GX1 with an OM-1 35mm Shift lens and OM-to-m4/3 adaptor. Afternoon glow, 1600 ISO.

The GX1′s 4-way keypad buttons (up-down-left-right) have engraved metal icons to show which button does what, and they’re nowhere near as legible as the printed legends on the previous GF1, GF2 and GF3, though which button does what becomes instinctive after a while. It’s a real shame that the info engraved on each keypad button is pretty near invisible! Minus five for uselessness, Panasonic!

In ‘Palette’ mode (chosen on the Mode dial, offering Hi-Key, Low-key, Sepia, ‘Retro’ colours, etc) the push-IN thumbwheel allows Aperture adjustment, giving fine control over what’s in focus and what isn’t ..a real improvement over previous GFs, and really making use of that push-IN facility. However, Black-&-White has been dropped from the choice of creative colours. But ‘Monochrome’ is always available by pressing the Menu button and choosing from ‘Photo Style’ (Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, Portrait, Custom, Standard) and each of the Styles may be varied by altering Contrast, Sharpness, Saturation, Noise Reduction to plus-or-minus two steps of adjustment each way.

This makes it far simpler to select colour, or creative, modes on the GX1 than on the previous touch-screen GF cameras, and is a small, but really useful, improvement over the original GF1.

The Voigt 25mm at f1.4 and 160 ISO, and the Summicron 25mm at f1.4 and 1600. No more visible ‘grain’ at 1600 than at 160 (but the Panny/Leica Summicron won’t focus as close as the Voigt 25mm).

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The GX1′s handling is easier than the Olympus PEN E-PL3, which has no integral flash, and has slow and (to me) awkward menus. (The Oly E-PL1 and E-PL2 do, however, have a built-in flash, and are altogether more versatile than the E-PL3 ..in my opinion.)

The GX1′s handling is FAR faster than the larger-APS-sensor Sony NEX 5n, which has no top-mounted selection dial, so its one rear-mounted dial must be constantly reconfigured for different purposes via a Menu button, choosing otherwise by scrolling through touch-screen options. And there’s no pop-up flash on the 5n.

The GX1 has a dedicated button or dial for almost everything you may need to change quickly while shooting: ISO, White Balance, Single/Multiple/Self-timer shooting, metering mode, focus mode, aperture, over/under exposure – all without searching through menus. The beauty and usefulness of the GX1 is that everything you may want to change is instantly at your fingertips ..with four customisable buttons, and two dedicated pre-settable Customised Settings on the Mode dial, too!

Results:

1600 ISO, Panny 14-140mm zoom at 140mm, out-of-camera jpeg. Split-second accurate autofocus at maximum zoom and maximum aperture.

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1600 ISO, Panny 7-14mm zoom at 7mm, fading light. Great range of subtle tone at 1600 ISO.

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1600 ISO at sunset. 7-14mm zoom at 14mm.

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 Dusk, 1600 ISO. Excellent autofocus, maximum zoom, maximum aperture. Great range of tone without grain.

The GX1 – like the GF cameras – has no built-in steady-shot ..which the Olympus PENs do have. Various Panny lenses have optional stabilisation built-in, but not the shorter, wider-angles like the 7-14mm. There’s no stabilisation available for third-party primes, such as the Voigt 25mm or the Panny/Leica 25mm ..or, indeed, any Leica or Olympus OM or other-brand lens. Other-brand lenses which DO have stabilisation (e.g; Canon 28-300mm) may not be able to run off the GX1′s power for their stabilisation; it depends upon the contacts available within any relevant mount adaptor.

In the magic 10 minutes after dusk, 7-14mm zoom, wide open at f4 and 7mm. With a little addition of greater Definition (black and edge sharpness) and Highlight reduction in iPhoto to bring out the details of the shop window and the splash of highlight below the signpost. ISO 1600. 1/5th sec.

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Man runsfor bus. Ditto. 1/4 second.

Without stabilisation you need steady hands at slow speeds in dim light. But wobble and shake are no more noticeable than with other non-stabilised cameras like the M9 or other mainstream SLRs.

Out in the garden in fading light, here are some shots at 3200 ISO with the GX1, and then the Olympus E-PL1, with the Panasonic 100-300mm stabilised zoom (with in-lens-stabilisation turned OFF when used on the Olympus!) to see [a] how in-lens and in-camera stabilisation compare, [b] to see how the GX1 16mp and E-PL1 12mp sensors compare at 3200 ISO ..all pics are RAW, at 1/60th sec. 1st the Panny, then the Oly..

GX1, blackbird, jpeg, 3200 ISO, Panny 100-300mm at 205mm f5, 1/60th, in-LENS stabilisation on

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Oly E-PL1, RAW, 3200 ISO, Panny 100-300mm at 120mm f4.2, 1/60th, in-CAMERA stabilisation (not lens)

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Oly E-PL1,3200 ISO, Panny 100-300mm at 218mm f5.1, 1/60th, in-CAMERA stabilisation (not lens)

In the three shots above, the stabilisation (in-lens with the GX1, in-CAMERA with the Olympus E-PL1) gives non-wobbly shots at 1/60th. Without stabilisation of either sort it would have needed about 1/200th or 1/250th to get a sharp shot. Both types work equally well (in-lens & in-camera) and give at least 2 stops’ worth of stabilisation. Notice, though, that the GX1 16mp shot is far less grainy than the two Olympus 12mp shots (all at 3200 ISO). Dim-light high-ISO noise is much reduced in this GX1 compared with the Panny GF and Olympus models.

The GX1′s little pop-up flash (Guide number 7.6 in metres, at ISO 160) has wide enough coverage to almost match the full width of the 7-14mm zoom (equivalent to 14-28mm on a 35mm full-frame camera).

Certainly good enough for fill-in flash, even at 7mm!

You’d expect that finely detailed GX1 images would not be up to the higher standard of APS-sensor cameras, or full-frame sensors, whose images can generally be cropped or magnified far more than the m4/3 pics before losing detail. Nevertheless, the variety of different lenses available for m4/3, the great low-light capability of the GX1, and the easy-to-use versatility of this Panny and its compact lenses, make it a far better ‘general purpose’ fast-focusing compact tool - for me! – than a single-lens APS, or an interchangeable-lens APS, or a bigger SLR or rangefinder.

My usual quick’n’dirty test for stability, clarity, sharpness and contrast is to shoot a set of noticeboards about 200 yards (metres) away, and to see how legible the results are. Here are the results, shot at maximum zoom with two lenses; Panasonic’s 100-300mm stabilised zoom, and a Tamron 18-270mm zoom (intended for EF-S-fit APS-sized Canon SLRs). The small m4/3 sensor, with 2x crop, means that these provide the equivalent of 600mm and 540mm on the GF/GX1 and Oly E-PL1 cameras, and about 430mm on the 12mp APS-size Canon Rebel T3/1100D. (The Panny zoom doesn’t fit on the Canon, as it’s designed for the smaller m4/3 sensor.) Without electrical connections on the Canon-to-m4/3 adaptor, the Tamron was focused manually on the Pannys and Olympus. With the Panny lens’s own stabilisation left switched on when used on an Oly E-PL1, stability was NOT achieved (the lens’ own stabiliser and the camera’s in-built stabilisation confounded each other). All cameras were on a tripod and fired on a two-seconds self-timer to avoid shutter-button shake.

All shots were taken at three steps down from the camera’s maximum ISO, to avoid digital noise.

GX1

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CAPTION: GF1

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CAPTION: Oly E-PL1

 

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Canon Rebel T3/1100D. The 1st shot of each pair is taken with the Panny zoom, the 2nd with the Tamron.

 

And the winner of that rough test is.. well, it’s a very close call between the new GX1 and the original GF1! The GF1 RAW file with the Tamron lens is fractionally clearer and more legible than the GX1 pics and even the Canon with the APS-sensor.

Will I now use the GX1 instead of the GF1, or stick with the original? The GX1 is slightly easier to handle (a little smaller, but with a bigger grip), has a higher max ISO, has a slightly higher pixel count (but that didn’t mean a lot in this test) and has a FAR better clip-on EVF, far faster automatic focusing, four configurable buttons, and the handy artificial horizon.

So I’ll migrate to the GX1 and leave the GF1 & GF2 behind.. continuing with my existing stash of m4/3 lenses.

Summary:

The GX1 is easier to handle than the (predecessor) GF series, and with a great mixture of the combined features of the GF1 and GF2. Like the Olympus PENs, it has NO swing-out tilt-&-twistable rear screen, so can only be shot straight-out-at-arm’s length (via the rear screen) or with the tilt-at-up-to-90-degrees hi-def clip-on finder (bought separately).

As m4/3 cameras go, it’s very fast to use, with a great assortment of creative options, high-end lenses, high ISO and good resolution (though only slightly better resolution than the original GF1).

The many dedicated buttons for instant access to shooting parameters, without having to first press a Menu button, make it quicker to use than most compact APS-sized cameras. Enormous attention has been given to rapid ‘usability’.

The rear screen (and EVF) show what appear to be better contrast & resolution than the same pics when viewed on a computer monitor, so some tweaking (in Silkypix 3.1 for GX1 RAW pics, Viveza 2, Lightroom, Aperture, Photoshop, iPhoto etc) may be needed to bring them up to the vividness which the camera’s display appears to show.

Rear-screen and EVF magnification with manual lenses is far simpler with the Pannys than with Oly PENs. However, the Pannys (including the GX1) have no built-in stabilisation, so in dim light an Olympus may be a better option (with its in-camera stabilisation). [Note that in-LENS stabilisation must be switched OFF for best results when using Olympus in-CAMERA stabilisation!]

The GX1 gave great results with the following lenses: Panny 7-14mm, Panny 20mm f1.7, Voigt 25mm f0.95, Panny/Leica 25mm f1.4, Panny 14-45mm, Panny 14-140mm HD, Panny 100-300mm, Leica-fit Canon 50mm f1.4, Leica-fit Leitz 75mm, Olympus OM 35mm Shift, Canon 28-300mm zoom. I didn’t use any Olympus m4/3 lenses.

Autofocus is faster, and more accurate, than with many Canon lenses on a Canon Rebel T3 (also known as an 1100D in Europe) APS-sized model, and faster than any lenses on a Canon 5DMkII (though they generally have further to travel when focusing) ..and is faster and more instantaneously accurate than any comparable-size camera.

A full-frame camera – such as an M9, or 5DII – can provide softer, melt-in-the-mouth disappearing background ‘bokeh’ at normal distances than the GX1 – or any m4/3 camera – because [a] the larger 36x24mm sensor uses longer focal length lenses for equivalent shots as an m4/3 (e.g: 50mm on full-frame = 25mm on an m4/3), [b] many m4/3 lenses don’t have such wide apertures as are available for, say, the M9 (for which there are several f1.4 lenses). Note that the Panny/Leica 25mm f1.4, although having the equivalent focal length to a 50mm (on a full-frame camera) has two stops DEEPER depth-of-field than a 50mm f1.4 on an M9, because the m4/3 25mm lens – being a 25mm lens – has greater d-o-f no matter what the aperture. (The Voigt 25mm f0.9 wide open on m4/3 has similar d-o-f to a 50mm f1.8 on a full-frame camera.)

GX1 PROS:

Large range of useful m4/3 lenses and adaptors for non-m4/3 lenses

Extremely fast and accurate autofocus

Comfortable to hold, carry and use

Excellent add-on hi-res EVF (fits above the stereo mics without impeding audio)

External EVF locks in place (doesn’t slip out, as on previous Pannys & Olympus)

Built-in flash and also dedicated hot-shoe for external full-size flashgun

Higher ISO than previous models, up to 12,800 (but, realistically, 6400)

RAW and .jpeg files

Double-action thumbwheel, like previous Pannys, providing Aperture adjustment in various modes

Easier access to ‘creative’ functions than GF series and Olympus models

16mp sensor

GX1 CONS:

Engraved metal keypad buttons have almost INVISIBLE legends

Compared with Olympus m4/3 models – no in-camera stabilisation

Presently no external stereo audio input for video (might evolve as clip-on accessory)

For a little micro-four-thirds ‘system’ camera, with many different lenses to choose from, the GX1 is the absolute best value available today (though things change month by month, of course) unless you’re likely to need the in-camera stabilisation of Olympus models for shooting in very low light, say at wedding parties. But for those, you should be using a camera with a bigger and more sensitive sensor anyway!

 

Dec 302011
 

Panasonic GX1 vs Olympus E-P3 – Part 2 – Out of Camera JPEGS, Color and AWB

Continuing from yesterdays PART 1 with the high ISO testing between the Panasonic GX1 and Olympus E-P3, today we will take a look at out of camera JPEG quality as well as the color output from each camera. Also, the way each camera renders the white balance using auto white balance. Basically, I shot these scenes one after the other, same aperture, same lens. The lens I am using for these tests is the new highly praised Panasonic/Leica 25 Summilux 1.4. I am enjoying the lens quite a bit but how will it do on each camera? One having the latest sensor tech from Panasonic, and one with the old faithful 12MP Olympus sensor.

You can clearly see the color differences below, and this test is ONLY for out of camera color and JPEG QUALITY. I used each camera how it would be used by a potential owner. Each camera was set to evaluative metering, and for almost every images below the cameras were both set to “NATURAL” color. I did one or two in Vivid .

Let’s see how it went.

1st up, the GX1 with the 25 at f/8 – JPEG set to NATURAL color in camera. You can click the image for the full size OOC JPEG, saved a “10″ quality.

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Below is the file from the Olympus – same light, taken 15 seconds after the Panasonic. F/8, NATURAL color set in camera. Again, click the image for  the full size file. 

I prefer the Olympus rendering here, and again, we are talking only about out of camera JPEG color and quality. Without tweaks, the E-P3 does very good with exposure, color and sharpness. The Panasonic is a bit flat and dull and softer.

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Panasonic 25 at f/4 this time…BASE ISO 160

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Olympus same aperture – BASE ISO 200

Look at these full size (open each one in a new tab) and look how much more sharp the Olympus is on the hoses. Olympus has the default sharpening higher obviously.

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Panasonic GX1 at f/8 – natural color – AWB seems off when compared to the Olympus below..

The color is off here with the Panasonic, which gives off a yellowish cast…

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Olympus E-P3, f/8, NATURAL – I like the way this one was rendered. Better color, AWB, and sharpness

The Olympus is just about how I remembered this scene, from the red to the green

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The Panasonic GX1 with the 25 at f/2.2 – VIVID

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The Olympus at 2.2 with the 25 – VIVID – I prefer the way the Olympus exposed this over the Panasonic

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Another set to VIVID – Lens set at f/4 with the GX1

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Olympus, F/4 – VIVID. Again, the Oly is a bit more “punchier” out of the camera.

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One more that shows again that the Panasonic outputs duller looking JPEGS. Natural color, f/3.2

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Again the Olympus shows it can put out a great JPEG. Detailed, great color and exposure. 

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The GX1, f/4, NATURAL color

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Same aperture of f/4 but this time with the E-P3

Once again, to my eyes, the E-P3 puts out a more “pleasing” JPEG. The Panasonic looks like it has a haze over it in comparison.

All of the above images are full size out of camera JPEG files. You can download them and tweak them and see how they do for you when editing if you like. If shooting RAW (and I did shoot RAW as well) you could tweak the Panasonic to look just as punchy as the Olympus but if you are looking for a great JPEG camera and do not like shooting RAW then the E-P3 would be the better bet between the two. So far, the GX1 kicked the pants off of the Oly in the HIGH ISO test yesterday, bit this time the Olympus beat out the Panasonic for JPEG output and color AND white balance accuracy. I have to say, side by side in actual use I also prefer shooting the Olympus E-P3. It’s more substantial, feels a little more solid to me, and I like the ergonomics. BUT the little GX1 is a great feeling camera as well and has all the controls you need easily accessible.

Either way, this 25 1.4 lens appears to be very good, with a slightly different “richer” signature than the 20 1.7. What are your thoughts on the JPEGS? RAW performance coming tomorrow!

Dec 272011
 

First thoughts on the Panasonic GX1 and 25 1.4 Summilux Lens

There is one camera that was slated to be released at the end of December 2011 that excited me when I read about it, and this is it.  After Panasonics last couple of fumbles with their GF2 and GF3 they have seemed to return to their roots with the all new GX1. This new GX1 is something special mainly because it has once again taken the shape and form of the now considered classic GF1, the one that garnered high praise among mostly everyone in the photo world. I loved the GF1 as it had the style and shape of a rangefinder but the usability of a DSLR (almost), all in a small size and discreet package. There are many people still using the GF-1 today because it is that good.

The tiny teeny GF2 and GF3 were cameras that did NOT follow the design of the GF1 as Panasonic pushed to make these camera smaller and they ended up dumbing them down a bit to appeal to the point and shoot crowd. They were assuming that smaller was better, probably because Sony hit the market with great success when they released the NEX line of cameras. What Panasonic failed to realize is that almost everyone was waiting for the new and improved GF1, which they did not release until just now with the GX1.

The GX1 brings with it the same style and shape as the GF1, though it is a little bit smaller in size, though nothing like the GF2 and GF3. It’s big improvements are its faster AF, a much better and newer 16MP sensor, much better high ISO performance, better LCD and longer battery life. Also full HD video. Panasonic calls the AF “Light Speed” AF which implies it is crazy fast. Hmmmm. Can it beat the E-P3′s “Fastest AF in the world” that Olympus boasted?

“The DMC-GX1 features 0.09 seconds of Light Speed AF, which is achieved by reducing the detection time for focusing by the synchronization of the lens and the sensor at 120 fps. Not only the accuracy, but also the speed, surpasses high-end digital SLRs with phase-difference AF with the advanced contrast AF system in the DMC-GX1″

I received the GX1 as a body only kit but already had the new Panasonic 25 1.4 lens as well as a couple other M4/3 lenses. When it arrived I was excited to check it out and did so immediately. First impressions? I am disappointed that Panasonic did NOT put in an EVF. Fuji has done it with their HUGELY successfull X100. Nikon did it with their big hit, the V1 (the V1 is selling very well), Sony included one with their state of the art NEX-7 and I have a feeling the next Olympus PEN will indeed have a built in EVF. Why did Panasonic release a new EXTERNAL EVF and make everyone who wants to use one shell out another $250 for it? The GX1 is pricey as it is with the “body only” coming in at $699. Add in a lens and an EVF ad you are well over $1000. I think they should have popped in a viewfinder but nope! If you want one you will have to buy this new EVF they released.

The Olympus E-P3 is about the same cost as a GX1 with kit lens ($799) so I am hoping that the GX1 will be a better all around camera than the Olympus since it is newer, and I really like the Olympus. I will be reviewing this camera over the next 7-10 days, shooting it and evaluating its usability, speed, quality, high ISO, movie quality and just about everything else that matters when testing a camera.

I will even try my best to do a head to head against the E-P3 to see which one takes the crown in the micro 4/3 arena because in my opinion, the best M4/3 camera to date is the Olympus E-P3. Why do I think that? Well, the images I got with it were of GREAT quality. The new Oly lenses rock, and the build, features, LCD, feel, and speed of the E-P3 make it a joy to shoot. The out of camera JPEGS from the PEN series is also quite good. So if the GX1 can beat it then I suspect it will be “the” M4/3 camera to get. Of course there is still the Panasonic G3 if you like a DSLR shape and EVF.

So look for my review soon of this camera and lens combo, the GX1 and 25 1.4. Below tare a few “1st shots” I snapped with it over the past two days. Nothing fancy but can give you some idea of what to expect. Still, I wish this had a built in EVF! It would have ROCKED when shooting in the full AZ sun. I can say that the Nikon V1 I have has been my goto camera and more pleasurable to shoot than any other mirror less so far. Mainly due to speed, EVF, OOC color/quality and build/feel. On that note I will wait to write more until the official review. Enjoy the 1st samples below. This is NOT the review, that will be up soon and I look forward to shooting this camera over the next week or two!

 

You can click the image for the full size file – Shot with the Panasonic/Leica 25 1.4 at 3.2

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same lens, at f/5.6 – click image for larger version (crop)

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At f/4.5

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and wide open at 1.4 – this one was shot as a JPEG

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f/8 – This lens has a rich quality..can already see it

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one more – 100% crop embedded – shot at f/8

The Extensive feature set of the Panasonic GX1

16.0Mp Live MOS Sensor
The 16.0Mp Live MOS sensor plays a big role in high quality image rendering. With the dedicated circuit, which reads out signals with minimum noise, the level of noise is significantly suppressed by more than 66%. In shooting at high ISO setting, S/N (Signal-to-Noise) value is improved by approx. 200% compared with the conventional 12.1 megapixel sensor. The sensor performance improves by 6db at ISO 3200 and max. 9db at ISO 6400, resulting in the dramatically flawless image without noise
High-Sensitivity Shooting Up to ISO 12800
Taking full advantage of the Live MOS sensor and Venus Engine, images can shot in low-lit situations at with clarity and quality. The 12800 high ISO sensitivity setting is stunningly clear with sharp resolution
Venus Engine
In addition to the high-speed signal processing, thanks to the 3 CPUs, the image processor Venus Engine boasts its excellent performance with an adoption of noise reduction technology for an even higher quality image. By separating chromatic noise from luminance noise even more accurately by applying the optimal noise reduction to each, you can capture clear and beautiful images even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity levels
Micro Four Thirds System Standard
By adopting the Micro Four Thirds System standard, the DMC-GX1 features a mirrorless structure that eliminates the mirror box and optical viewfinder unit. This carefully preserves the image quality while maintaining a compact profile, and provides you with even higher levels of performance in a digital interchangeable lens system camera
LUMIX G / Leica DG Lenses
The main appeal of an interchangeable lens system camera is the ability to achieve a wider range of expression by changing the lens. The DMC-GX1 lets you use the versatile lineup of Micro Four Thirds System standard lenses, including the LUMIX G / Leica DG lenses
Intelligent D-range Control
The Intelligent D-range Control offers even more natural looking images by optimizing the exposure for each part of a photo, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully, including the blue color of the sky. An automatic backlight compensation function is activated whenever the camera detects the subject in backlight
Intelligent Resolution Technology
With the Intelligent Resolution technology, 3 areas – outlines, detailed texture areas, and soft gradation areas – are automatically detected. Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology, Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way for a particular area. As a result images are naturally clear and crisp in both photo and video recording
Sophisticated Design, Functional Beauty
  • One: Panasonic crafted a mode dial that is supremely easy to grip and turn. Additionally, the characters are laser printed, making them easy to see and able to stand up to the test of time.
  • Two: The ergonomically designed grip fits the DMC-GX1′s flat profile, yet is easy to hold. Its tactile feel offers the shooter comfort thanks to its resin construction
  • Three: Optimum layout of control buttons and the mode dial, turn-and-press dial, and dedicated function buttons make the operation of the DMC-GX1 smooth and easy
Thoughtfully Designed Camera
As a camera from the premium GX line of the LUMIX G Micro System, the external design of the camera has been developed with no compromising in any detail. Available in silver and black, the DMC-GX1 offers luxurious comfort for the shooting experience with stunning performance and a host of functions
Level Gauge
The Level Gauge lets the camera detect the horizontal / vertical angle of view with its internal level, which works with the acceleration sensor. Photos shot in a portrait aspect will be automatically displayed vertically no matter which lens is used
Built-In Flash (GN7.6 Equivalent)
In spite of its compact size, the DMC-GX1′s built-in flash has a light intensity that is equivalent to GN7.6, and you can adjust the intensity within a range of +/-EV 2 in 1/3 EV steps. It also lets you use 1st curtain sync. flash and 2nd curtain sync. flash to capture nightscapes with a natural flow of light
Customization for Comfortable Shooting
Meticulous attention was paid to operating ease when designing the DMC-GX1. The body design allows you to freely customize settings. The DMC-GX1 provides uncompromising performance, and delivers the ultimate in intuitive operation and shooting
Touch Screen Operation
The DMC-GX1 gives you smooth touch control shooting. When recording, you can operate the auto focus and shutter release at the same time with just a touch. When playing back, you can drag the image across the screen with your finger
Touch Zoom
Zoom operation can be controlled with touch when the Power Zoom lens for the LUMIX G Micro System is attached. Speed of zooming can be adjusted in 2 steps
3.0″ High Resolution LCD
The DMC-GX1 has a 3.0″ 3:2 460,000 dot LCD with a 100% field of view. Additionally, it has a wide-viewing angle that lets you frame your shot in a variety of ways for both shooting and review. LUMIX’s acclaimed Intelligent LCD function also automatically adjusts the brightness in 11 steps, according to shooting conditions. It lets you share the fun of viewing images with family and friends, too
Double Live View for the LCD and the Optional LVF
Both the LCD and the optional DMW-LVF2 (Live View Finder) give you a Full-time Live View of what you’re shooting, with a field of view of approximately 100%. The viewing method can be selected to match your shooting conditions and composition, which makes them ideal for active shooting. You can confirm the depth of field and shutter speed effects by pressing the function button, if you select the preview mode
Dust Reduction System
If dust or other foreign matter gets inside the camera when you’re changing lenses, it could cling to the image sensor and show up as a spot in your photos. The Dust Reduction System in the DMC-GX1 helps eliminate this possibility by placing the Supersonic Wave Filter in front of the Live MOS sensor, between the low-pass filter and shutter. Vibrating vertically around 50,000 times per second, the filter repels dust and other particles effectivelyFlow of the Dust Reduction System:
1. Power off
2. When the camera is turned on, the filter vibrates to shake off dirt and dust
3. The dirt and dust adhere to the absorption part to prevent it from appearing in the sensor image
Extended Battery Life
With further optimization of the electric design, the DMC-GX1 excels in energy consumption and features approximately 11% longer battery life than the DMC-G3, which complies with the same battery pack, yhe DMW-BLD10
Compatible with UHS-I Standard SDHC/SDXC Memory Cards
The DMC-GX1 is compatible with the UHS-I standard for SDXC/SDHC memory cards, taking advantage of its high-speed data transmission
0.09 Second Light Speed AF
The DMC-GX1 features 0.09 seconds of Light Speed AF, which is achieved by reducing the detection time for focusing by the synchronization of the lens and the sensor at 120 fps. Not only the accuracy, but also the speed, surpasses high-end digital SLRs with phase-difference AF with the advanced contrast AF system in the DMC-GX1
High-Precision Contrast AF System
Compared with the phase-difference system AF, the contrast AF of the DMC-GX1 boasts higher accuracy even when shooting at a small F value. The phase-difference AF system is susceptible to mechanical margin of error. However, in the contrast AF system, focusing is controlled by the image sensor so that no mechanical margin of error occurs, resulting in precise focusing
Full-Are Focusing with Touch AF
The DMC-GX1 incorporates full-area focusing which makes it possible to set focus on any point in the field of view
A Variety of AF Modes Featuring Pinpoint AF
The contrast AF system gives the DMC-GX1 a variety of AF modes. There’s an option that’s just right for any shooting situation. With the AF mode button, you can choose the focus mode you want smoothly
Touch AF in Video Recording
The touch AF in video recording lets you enjoy professional-like rack focusing. Just by pointing at the subject the focus is shifted to it, causing it to be stand out as the center of attention
AF/MF Setting
The AF/MF mode button lets you quickly change the focus mode (AFS, AFF, AFC) to maintain sharp focus on moving subjects, or while using manual focus
AFF Focusing Mode
The AFF focus mode (AF Flexible) locks the focus on when the shutter button is half-pressed, however, if the subject moves, the focusing is reset to obtain the best results
MF Assist
You can enlarge part of the photo by just a touch to select 1x, 4x, 5x or 10x and smoothly move it by dragging it on the screen. The 4x enlarged view is displayed on the framing screen making it possible to set fine focus while composing the whole picture at the same time
Quick AF
The ordinary AF is activated when the shutter button is pressed half-way, while the Quick AF starts operating as soon as the camera is pointed toward a subject. This dramatically reduces the shutter delay time and lets you take images quickly
AF+MF Function
The AF+MF function provides more efficient, more precise focusing. After focusing with AF, simply turn the focus ring manually for even finer control
High-Speed Consecutive Shooting
The Live MOS sensor helps to realize high speed burst shooting. You can take a series of shots, then choose the ones you like the best and delete the rest
4.2 fps with 16.0Mp High-Resolution
The DMC-GX1 can fire off up to 4.2 fps in full 16.0 megapixel resolution with its mechanical shutter. Great for capturing fast subject motion, such as sports scenes or birds in flight
20 fps with 4Mp Resolution
Even higher-speed burst shooting is possible with the DMC-GX1 when the electronic shutter is used – 20 fps at 4-megapixel resolution. Great for capturing race cars and other subjects that are difficult to capture with the naked eye
1920 x 1080 Full HD Video
The DMC-GX1 is an advanced photographic tool for recording not only great photos but also beautiful full HD 1,920 x 1,080 videos in AVCHD (MPEG-4 / H.264) format. The AVCHD format features almost twice the recording time in HD quality than the conventional Motion JPEG and excels in the compatibility with AV devices like HDTVs or Blu-ray Disc players
MP4 Format Recording
The DMC-GX1 can record videos in MP4 format. This format is suitable for editing videos on a computer or uploading those to websites. Resolution can be selected among 1,920 x 1,080 (20Mbps), 1,280 x 720 (10Mbps), and 640 x 480 (4Mbps), all at 30p (NTSC) / 25p (PAL)
Still Image Recording in Video Recording with 11.5Mp High Resolution
While shooting an HD video simply press / touch the shutter button and the camera will shoot a photo with 11.5 megapixel high resolution as it continues to record your video. This makes sure that you don’t miss those decisive moments with either photos or videos, or bothStill Picture Priorities
  • Images will be recorded with the set picture size and quality
  • Up to 8 still images can be recorded in the video recording mode
  • The screen will go dark while recording images. A still image will be recorded in the video during that period, and audio is not recorded

Video Priorities

  • Images will be recorded with a picture size of [S] (2Mp)
  • Up to 30 still images can be recorded in video recording
  • Only JPEG images are recorded when quality is set to RAW+Fine, RAW+Standard or RAW. (When set to RAW still images will be recorded in Fine quality)
High Quality Sound: The Power of Dolby Digital Stereo Creator
A stereo microphone, featuring Dolby Digital Stereo Creator, on the upper body records dynamic, true-to-life stereo audio that brings out the power of your HD videoMic Level Adjustment
The DMC-GX1 lets you adjust the audio input level in four stepsWind Cut
The Wind Cut function is available to block out most of the noise from background wind. This gives you higher quality sound when taking images on breezy days
Touch AF in Video Recording
Touch AF in video recording also lets you enjoy professional-like rack focusing. Just by pointing at the subject the focus is shifted to it, causing the subject to stand out
Creative Control and Photo Style
You can use the Creative Control and Photo Style functions for shooting videos. They render highly unique expressions by matching the colors to your subject and surrounding. In Miniature Effect mode the video recorded is played back in 10x fast-forwarding, making it more comical to watch
iA (Intelligent Auto) Mode
Even video beginners can record excellent videos with the DMC-GX1 because the iA (Intelligent Auto) mode is also available for video recording
Video Divide
You can divide a single video into two parts using only the camera. This is handy for compiling memorable scenes, and deleting unwanted scenes to free up space on your memory card while you are traveling
Included Software
The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 7.0 HD Edition and LoiLoScope (trial version), which are well suited for playing and editing videos, come bundled with the DMC-GX1. The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 7.0 HD Edition lets you sort and organize images with quick start-up and image loading. Video clips can be uploaded directly to YouTube. Additionally, the LoiloScope lets you experience high-speed HD video editing
VIERA Link
Photos or videos recorded in AVCHD on the SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV. Simply insert the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card slot) on VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc player to playback your content. Alternatively, you can use an optional HDMI mini cable to output photos and videos you took from the DMC-GX1 directly to the TV for VIERA Link. Most of the control is possible by using only the TV’s remote control
Creative Control
The Creative Control lets you enjoy making your images more expressive. In addition, the DMC-GX1′s Creative Control mode enables you to adjust the effect and defocusing area just by moving the slider with your finger
Touch Defocus Control
In the iA Plus mode and the Creative Control mode the range of defocus can be adjusted by just moving the slider with your finger
Photo Style
You can manually choose from 6 color types to get even more detailed image settings, or to match the shooting situation. In addition, the contrast, sharpness, saturation or noise reduction for each mode parameter can be customized in 5 steps and stored in memory. In Custom Mode, finely customized settings can be stored for easy recall and useColor types include: Standard, Vivid, Natural, Monochrome, Scenery, and Portrait
Expandability with Optional Accessories Featuring the LVF (Live View Finder)
You can equip the DMC-GX1 with an optional 1,440,000-dot equivalent Live View Finder (LVF) DMW-LVF2 featuring a magnification of approximately 1.4x (0.7x) and 100% field of view. Because it displays the same information as the LCD, it is effectively used in situations where the LCD is difficult to see, such as under bright sunlight. The LVF is also handy for low-angle shots because it can be tilted vertically from 0 to 90 degrees
Scene Mode Featuring Peripheral Defocus Mode
The Scene Mode function lets the camera make the optimal settings for you automatically, so anybody can take superb photos and videos with ease. The Peripheral Defocus Mode for still images automatically adjusts the focus to match the AF area you positioned while gently defocusing the foreground and background to emphasize the subject
Select from 4 Aspect Ratios
The DMC-GX1 lets you shoot in aspect ratios of 4:3, 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1 mode. The 1:1 mode gives you unique, square-shaped photos. Being able to match the aspect ratio to your subject and shooting intent gives you even greater expressionShading Compensation
The shading function on the DMC-GX1 corrects vignetting to give you clear images with uniform brightness overall
Extra Tele Conversion Function
The Extra Tele Conversion function virtually extends the zoom range when recording images not in the full-size. So you can take telephoto shots even with lenses that don’t normally allow zooming
RAW Format Compatibility
You can get original image data, recording the image directly from the Live MOS sensor without any image processing. The SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.1 SE software utility lets you develop RAW data files. For example, you can develop RAW data to create an image with the effect you were trying to capture when you took the shot. You get high-level basic image processing abilities that give you control over such things as unnatural edges from saturated color borders, false colors in structures with intricate detail, and chromatic noise in photos taken at high sensitivity settings. This utility provides a unique combination of high resolution and extraordinary color separation performance. In addition, the DMC-GX1 allows consecutive shots to be taken at up to 9 fps in RAW format. Shooting continues even while the image data is being stored in memory
Detailed Setting Functions
Full-time Live View on the DMC-GX1 lets anybody use its easy-to-understand and detailed setting functions. Setting functions include:Exposure Meter Guide: The One Push AE adjusts exposure with a single press of the Fn (Function) button when it is over/under exposure. It is especially useful for shooting outdoors with an open aperture or indoors with a fast shutter speed
Finely Detailed White Balance Setting: The DMC-GX1′s 2-axis adjustment feature gives you a finer white balance adjustment for Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Shade, Incandescent, or Flash conditions. It can also be used when adjusting the Color Temperature Setting or White Set function. You can adjust with a reference to the horizontal axis for amber to blue and the vertical axis for green to magenta. You can recall the adjustment conditions quickly by pressing the WB button
White Balance Bracket: The white balance bracket function shots 3 consecutive photos with slight changes to the white balance setting of each photo in both the horizontal (amber to blue) and vertical (green to magenta) axis, by simply pressing the shutter once
Auto Bracket: The Auto Bracket function records several photos at varied exposure levels in a compensation range of +/- EV 3 in 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, or 1 EV steps. The DMC-GX1 will record up to 7 images with a single press of the shutter button
Movable Guide Lines: With the DMC-GX1 you can move the guide lines according to the subject’s position. This is handy when you want to take extra care in framing, especially when using a tripod
Movable Histogram: The histogram display makes it possible to check exposure and contrast in real-time. With the DMC-GX1, you can freely move the histogram to a position where it will not block the subject on the screen
Exposure Compensation +/-5 EV: You can adjust the exposure compensation within a range of +/- EV 5 in 1/3 EV steps. In P/A/S modes you can retrieve the exposure compensation value and manually adjust it directly
Long Shutter Noise Reduction: The camera automatically removes noise generated when taking photos at slow shutter speeds, such as nighttime shooting, always giving you beautiful images
ISO Limit Setting: The maximum sensitivity setting is applied to the Intelligent ISO Control and ISO AUTO functions. This ensures that you’ll get the level of image quality you want by letting you set your own limit for ISO sensitivity
ISO Sensitivity Setting: You can set the ISO sensitivity to Auto, Intelligent ISO, 160, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200, 6400 or 12800. When the ISO sensitivity step is set to 1/3 EV the number of ISO sensitivity setting options increases, allowing you to make fine adjustments and achieve the level of image quality you want
iA (Intelligent Auto) Plus
In the iA mode, the camera does all the work, leaving you free to compose your shot and capture the moment. You just press, aim and shoot. Once you’ve selected the iA Mode, the detection and correction functions go to work to give you beautiful photos and videos with maximum ease. In addition, the iA Plus Mode enables you to adjust the defocusing area, exposure compensation, and white balance by simply moving the slider with your finger
Useful, Convenient Shooting-Assist Functions
Shake Detection – Power O.I.S. / MEGA O.I.S.: The POWER O.I.S. and MEGA O.I.S. (Optical Image Stabilizer) that’s built into Micro Four Thirds lenses detect and compensate for blurring caused by hand-shake, so you can get sharp, clear shots every time you shoot
Face Recognition: The Face Recognition function remembers faces that have been registered in the camera and provides the faces with optimal focus and exposure
Face Detection – Face Detection AF/AE: The Face Detection function detects faces anywhere in the frame and automatically chooses the optimal focus and exposure. The Face Detection also features the Digital Red-eye Correction (Red-eye Removal)
Subject Detection – AF Tracking: Once you focus on your subject, the AF Tracking automatically and continuously tracks it and keeps it in focus and properly exposed.
Motion Detection – Intelligent ISO Control: The Intelligent ISO Control function detects subject movement and automatically adjusts the ISO setting and shutter speed to best suit light conditions and movement
Scene Detection – Intelligent Scene Selector: The Intelligent Scene Selector senses the ambient conditions and automatically selects any of the Scenery, Portrait, Macro, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, or Sunset modes accordingly
Touch Screen Operation: Once the subject is touched, the camera judges the optional settings and automatically switches to the appropriate shooting mode
Light Detection – Intelligent D-range Control: The Intelligent D-range Control offers natural looking images by optimizing the exposure for each part of an image, preventing blocked shadows and blown highlights and helping ensure that gradation and details are reproduced beautifully including the blue sky
Intelligent Resolution Technology: Apart from the uniform enhancement of sharpness, the innovative technology Intelligent Resolution precisely performs signal processing pixel by pixel in the most effective way according to the area. As a result, images are naturally clear and crisp
Optional 3D Shooting
The compact, optional 3D-capable interchangeable lens, LUMIX G 12.5mm/F12 allows easier handling and instant 3D shooting with cameras without a special structure for 3D shooting. It produces 3D images without distortion or time lag between left and right images, even for moving objects. The 3D images, even close-up shots, taken with this lens are easy on the eyes when viewed on VIERA 3D TVs
3D Image Viewer / VIEWER Link
Photos or videos recorded in AVCHD on the SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards are easy to view on a Panasonic VIERA TV. Simply insert the card into the VIERA Image Viewer (SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot) on an optional VIERA TV or DIGA Blu-ray Disc player to review your content. Alternatively, you can use an optional HDMI mini cable to output the photos and videos you took from the DMC-GX1 directly to the TV for VIERA Link. Most of the control is possible using only the TV’s remote control
PHOTOfunSTUDIO 7.0 HD Edition
The PHOTOfunSTUDIO 7.0 HD Edition makes it possible to sort and organize photos – not only those that were newly taken, but also those stored in your computer – with quick start-up and fast read-in of images. The Face Recognition function that recognizes the faces in the picture automatically sorts the photos by the registered facesYou can also enjoy slideshows with a variety of effects and use your iTunes music library for background music – burning it onto a DVD disc in MPEG2. It is easy to create an edited short video just by selecting the photos and video clips you like with Short Movie Story function. Photos and videos can be uploaded to Facebook or YouTube via the same interface
SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.1 SE
The DMC-GX1 records original image data in the RAW file format, which allows images to be developed according to your liking. A number of highly advanced functions can be applied to these RAW images by using the SILKYPIX Developer Studio 3.1 SE software utility, with its unique combination of high resolution and extraordinary color separation performance
LoiLoScope (Trial Version)
You can easily edit, convert and manage videos that you took in AVCHD format. There are many effects to choose from. This helps to create the kind of videos you want!
Playback Functions
Just press the playback button on the camera back to switch the DMC-GX1 to playback mode. You can enjoy crisp, clear images on the 3.0″, 460,000 dot LCD. Images are bright and easy to see, even outdoors on a sunny day. Along with the ordinary playback screen, there is a variety of information screens. You can also mark images as favorites and keep them protected so they don’t get accidentally erased
Scene Modes
Still Image Scene Modes: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Architecture, Sports, Peripheral Defocus, Flower, Food, Objects, Night Portrait, Night Scenery, Illuminations, Baby 1, Baby 2, Pet, Party, SunsetVideo Scene Mode: Portrait, Soft Skin, Scenery, Architecture, Sports, Flower, Food, Objects, Lowlight, Party, Sunset
Languages
English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Russian, Chinese (Traditional), Chinese (Simplified), Dutch, Thai, Korean, Turkish, Portuguese, Arabic, Persian, Japanese, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Vietnamese
Creative Control
(Still image and Motion image) Expressive, Retro, High Key, Low Key, Sepia, High Dynamic, Toy Effect, Miniature Effect
© 2009-2014 STEVE HUFF PHOTOS All Rights Reserved
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