Jonathan Fleming's Blog

A Photography Blog

Posts Tagged ‘lumix

Camera Shopping in Japan

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While in Kumatori, Osaka, Bridget and I went shopping at a local Aeon center, where I got a chance to take a look at some yummy camera equipment. One of my favorite reasons to come to Japan is to get my hands on Japan-exclusive gear, like this white Lumix GF-1 (above), which I absolutely fell in love with. It controls very similarly to the Lumix LX-3, so it felt right as soon as I started using it, although I simply can’t imagine using a compact camera that doesn’t have dual control rings like the Canon S90 anymore (control freak!). What impressed me most about the GF1 was its very speedy performance for a mirrorless camera. The auto-focus speed, in particular, is incredibly snappy for this class of camera.

The store also carried the very newly released Olympus EP-L1 (above). I liked the size of the camera, but found the controls to be a little awkward to use. The rear LCD is also kind of…meh.

On the other hand, I liked the GF-1 so much that I had a very difficult time resisting the temptation to walk out of the store with the 20mm f/1.7 and the “storm trooper white” body, Japanese menu system and all. Reason, however, prevailed over gadget-lust in the end. I can’t really see a place for this camera in my bag right now. Sure is a nice piece of gear though!

Top Image: Canon S90 at 10mm f/2.8 ISO400 1/400 second

Bottom Image: Canon S90 at 6mm f/4 ISO80 1/30 Second

Written by Jonathan

April 4, 2010 at 1:22 am

Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X 535 PRO DX

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(Taken with my Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3)

My wife is keenly aware of my equipment wish list, and came home from work yesterday with several photographic goodies for me, including this fast telephoto from Tokina. My fast zoom kit is now complete, with three constant aperture lenses covering an 11-135mm (16.5-200mm full-frame equivalent) range.

What I love about my three-lens system is how compact the optics are compared to their full-frame counterparts. This 50-135mm f/2.8, for instance, is a lot smaller than I thought it would be at 5.32 inches in length, weighing 1.86 lbs. To get similar focal length coverage with a constant aperture on a full-frame Nikon camera, you’d need a lens like the $2400 Nikkor 70-200mm VRII, which is a whopping 8.1 inches long at a hefty 3.2 lbs. To me, this is a big advantage of the DX system: smaller, lighter optics that make for better mobility and portability. Not to mention affordability: I picked up all three of my third-party constant aperture zooms for less than the price of the new Nikkor 70-200 VRII alone (Tokina 11-16, Tamron 17-50 VC, Tokina 50-135).

I shot a bunch of images last night to make sure I had a good copy of the Tokina 50-135, and am astounded at the results so far. This is one sharp optic! It relies on my camera’s focus motor to drive focus, so it doesn’t focus as fast or as quiet as an AF-S lens. I find the focus motor in my D300s to be pretty fast, however, and had no problems tracking my dog around the house in low light.

(Nikon D300s + Tokina 50-135mm f/2.8 at 85mm f/5 ISO400 1/60 Second)

Like my Tokina 11-16, this lens features very high quality construction, with a rugged all-metal casing and exceptional fit and finish. The zoom and focus rings are well-damped and move with buttery-smooth precision, and the included (but not removable) tripod collar is also a plus for me. What’s missing? VR and AF-S, but at the price I (er…the wife) paid, I think I can live without those features for now. I really hope Nikon releases some DX lenses in this range, but I’m not holding my breath!

There’s relatively little information on this Tokina on the internet incidentally, which I find strange since it’s so excellent. In fact, from the research I did before receiving it as a gift, it appears that Tokina discontinued this lens.

Update:

Want to see more images taken with the Tokina 50-135mm? Head on over to my Flickr page. I just got back from a trip to Japan, where I used this lens extensively. You can view my Japan set by clicking here. Enjoy!

Suki’s Favorite Spot

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Welcome to Suki’s favorite spot in the whole house. She spends so much time looking out the window, ever fascinated by what’s going on outside. It is here that she watches me come and go from the house, observes neighbors and passerby, and basks in sunlight throughout the day. I was watching TV this afternoon when she perched by the window. I grabbed my Nikon, but the battery had run out. Whoops! Good thing my Lumix LX3 was handy.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3 5.1mm f/2.5 ISO80 1/4 Second

Suki has finally stopped shedding (for now), and has grown her full winter coat. She looks a tad bigger as a result, but she’s much more snuggly and huggable now!

Written by Jonathan

November 26, 2009 at 8:11 pm

Metric Concert, San Francisco

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Panasonic DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

I’m a big fan of the group Metric, a really cool Canadian indie rock group. Last night, my wife scored some last-minute tickets to go to a secret show in San Francisco where they played some of my favorite songs from their latest albums. The lead singer Emily Haines is really cute, and put on a very electrifying and energetic performance.Unfortunately, while I had my Lumix LX3 with me, I had left my memory card in the car, and I only figured it out when I started taking pictures as the show started! Fortunately, the LX3 has a small amount of built in memory that let me take about 10 pictures, but it meant I had to keep deleting photos during the performance as I continued shooting! The lighting was pretty dim on the stage (they played at the famous Bimbo’s in North Beach), making sharp shots difficult, even at the camera’s maximum f/2.0 aperture.

I kinda like the shot above, despite the awkward crop. I think it really gives a sense of the energy that was on stage during the performance.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Here’s a blurry, grainy image that I really love for some reason. I think it’s the lighting and the sense of movement in her hair. I would have loved to be in the front row, but I got to the venue a little later than I wanted to. Oh well!

Metric 3

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX3

Being behind other people meant having to lift the camera into the air to get a straight shot of the stage….not the most steady way to hold  a camera! After shooting for about 10 minutes, I decided I didn’t want to keep deleting photos to make room for more. I grabbed a drink, and enjoyed the rest of the performance without the camera.

Written by Jonathan

November 8, 2009 at 6:48 am