Jonathan Fleming's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘sample images

First Shots: Canon G1 X Mark II

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I’ve been shooting with Canon’s brand new flagship Powershot camera this week, the G1 X Mark II. The original G1 X didn’t really interest me at all. This camera, however, is a different story.

I’m still assessing its abilities, but right off the bat I’m impressed with the image quality. The RAW files respond well to one of my favorite VSCO presets, Velvia 50, which I used to process most of these shots.

The video mode isn’t very robust, but the quality is pretty good. Footage below was shot hand-held with the camera set to 1080/30p. You can check out more footage on my Youtube channel as well.

I’m really liking this camera so far. It’s pretty quick and responsive, I love the dual control rings, and the 24-120mm f/2-3.9 lens is fast and flexible. Can’t wait to spend more time with this thing!

 

Written by Jonathan

April 21, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Around Town With The Sony RX100 II

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Spent some time behind Sony’s hot new RX100 Mark II over the last couple of days. I’m still waiting on RAW support so I can really see what these files have to offer, but even the JPEG files from the camera that I’m posting here look pretty good to me. For a camera that easily slips into a small pocket, I’m very impressed.

The above shot of the Bay Bridge was taken hand held at about 1/15 of a second at ISO3200. That’s a pretty sensitive 1″ sensor they packed into this little guy. The RX100 II is so good that I’m pretty sure I could take it on a trip as my only camera and be perfectly happy. This is a serious imaging machine!

All Images: Sony RX100M2

Written by Jonathan

July 31, 2013 at 7:21 am

More Nikon V1 Impressions

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Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/320 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

Sunday was such a beautiful day in the city. The weather was perfect, and as is typical in the winter time on days like this, the light seems to have a crisp, dramatic look all day long. A walk in the park was a must.

I keep forgetting how large Golden Gate Park is. We started at the south-east corner and trekked our way to Spreckels lake, which is a little less than 3/4 of the way to the west entrance that intersects Ocean Beach. The entire journey took us between three and four hours, covering around five miles. We loved every minute of it, and Suki,  who unlike her human companions could have easily walked the length of this park a dozen times over,  was especially happy.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/160 sec, f/8, ISO 100

Spread out among the large, open recreational spaces are dense areas of trees and local plant life. Small gardens, large groves, tons of areas to explore. Places where light takes on even more drama, where your image data gets slammed into either end of the histogram. Places where you wrangle your camera’s EV dial and white balance settings. I love these places.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 180


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 18mm | 1/60 sec, f/4.5, ISO 400


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 24mm | 1/80 sec, f/5, ISO 200


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/60 sec, f/5.6, ISO 360


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm | 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 11mm | 1/250 sec, f/4.5, ISO 100

I love working with the RAW files from the V1 because the experience is so familiar to me as a Nikon shooter. Every manufacturer has its own look, its own way of handling colors, and the V1’s files are decidedly Nikon. Therefore, much of my work flow in handling the V1’s output is nearly identical to how I process my D700 files. Awesome!

The ability to easily carry an entire system on a trek this long is one of my favorite things about the V1. I had a camera body, flash unit, and three lenses covering a 27-297mm equivalent range in my bag with room to spare, and I could barely feel the weight on my shoulder the entire time. I couldn’t possibly carry that range with my DSLR system without destroying my back. When I do head out with the D700, I usually select only one lens to bring along in order to keep weight and bulk to a minimum. No compromise in that regard with the V1. Take it all!


Nikon V1 +  1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 10mm |  1/125 sec, f/3.5, ISO 100

Running into other Shibas is always a treat, more so for us than for Suki, who was only mildly interested in this five month old puppy.


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/160 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

As the sun continued to fall, beams of light became more and more visible in areas with densely packed trees. Right after I took the shot above I thought, “there’s something missing in this frame….”


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor VR 10-30mm f/3.5-5.6 at 30mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 100

Ah yes, a Shiba Inu. =)


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 | 1/640 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

With the lenses currently available for the 1 system,  you won’t be throwing backgrounds way out of focus, though getting in close with the 10mm pancake can deliver some pleasing results.  Nikon is said to be releasing some fast primes for the format soon. I want them yesterday!


Nikon V1 + 1 Nikkor  10mm f/2.8 | 1/800 sec, f/4, ISO 100


Nikon V1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 at 110mm | 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 140

Lens changing is pleasantly fast with the 1. Large, easy to see lens markings line up at a 12 o’clock position at the mount, and the rotation required to lock the lens into place is much shorter than I expected. Going from a wide shot of the lake with the 10mm and quickly changing to the 30-110mm for a close up of the duck felt just like switching things up with my F-mount system, only on a much smaller scale.


Nikon V1 + 1 NIKKOR VR 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 at 110mm | 1/400 sec, f/2.8, ISO 100

Small cameras have come a long way. Using the V1 system lately has made me realize that for a lot of what I shoot, a DSLR can often be too much camera than I actually need or am willing to carry. These smaller systems will only get better and better, and I personally am much more excited about the future of cameras like the V1 than I am about what’s next in the DSLR realm.

Written by Jonathan

December 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Olympus PEN E-PL2: First Impression

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My entry into digital photography began with a high-end compact camera (Lumix LX3). I still have one in fact: The excellent Canon S90. I love it, but there’s no way around that tiny sensor. You have very limited control over depth of field, and detail suffers at higher ISOs in even the most advanced point and shoots. Naturally, I progressed to a DSLR, with a D700 as my main weapon of choice these days. There’s only one problem with the otherwise wonderful imaging machine that is the D700, however: It’s huge!

I’m the kind of person that carries my camera everywhere I go, and in many cases, especially if I’m going out with the purpose of photography, the D700’s mass doesn’t really bug me. On all day outings, simple trips to the store or on other errands, or just grabbing some dinner with friends, however, it can start to feel like a burdensome anchor over my shoulder after a while. I’ve been wanting something smaller for such occasions.

Ever since Micro Four Thirds cameras started appearing on the market, I’ve been pretty intrigued by the concept of a small, lightweight, large sensor (compared to a compact), interchangeable lens camera system. The technology has matured somewhat now, and these little cameras have become quite popular.  For me, the appeal is simple: compact body, DSLR-like image quality. A camera that I can grab when the size of my DSLR may not practical for a given situation, but that at the same time gives me more than my point-and-shoot does as far as image quality. Recently, I met up with a friend who let me take a look at her Panasonic GF-1. After playing with the camera for a few minutes, I was sold on the m4/3 system.

Enter the Olympus PEN E-PL2

I ordered the E-PL2 together with the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 lens, which gives me a 40mm full-frame equivalent angle of view through the viewfi—uh, LCD. I must say, the lens looks pretty slick on the camera’s silver body.

This little “first impression” review will cover a few of my thoughts about the camera since I received it last week. This is not a review unit. I carefully considered which camera I wanted to acquire to fill the gap between my point and shoot and my DSLR, and finally added the E-PL2 to my gear bag. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the camera continually in future blog posts.

The EPL2 is a modest update to the recently released E-PL1, a camera that seemed to bring mirrorless interchangable lens cameras to the masses by offering a model at a much lower price point than the flagship E-P2. From what I’ve read, there’s not a whole lot of difference between the E-PL2 and E-PL1. I won’t bore you with an exhaustive list, but there are some key updates that do matter to me:

One difference is the rear LCD screen. Size and resolution have been bumped up to 3 inches, 420k dots. Can’t hold a candle to the 920k dot screen on the back of my D700, but it still looks great and I have no problems using the LCD for manual focus. The AP2 port (covered by the hot shoe cover above) accepts some pretty neat accessories, most notably a high-resolution electronic viewfinder that I didn’t order just yet for myself. I’m not one of those “I must have an eye-level viewfinder or I can’t take pictures” photographers. Maybe all my iphoneography has weened me off of the concept =)

Another change is the addition of a clickable command dial around the OK button on the back of the camera. Unfortunately, this is one aspect of the camera I’m not entirely thrilled about. For such a critical control point, the command dial feels a little fiddly. Likely to make room for the larger LCD, the dial is placed very close to the edge of the camera body, making it somewhat awkward and cramped to use at times. Not a deal breaker by any means, but rather a design quirk that takes some getting used to.

The E-PL2 comes kitted with an updated standard zoom, the Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 MSC (Movie and Still Compatible) lens. I have a feeling I won’t be using the zoom all that much. The 20mm f/1.7 is faster, more fun to use, and is more compact.

However, the kit lens does seem to perform pretty well optically, and focuses surprisingly fast. Zoom and focus ring action, as well as internal focus mechanisms, are smooth and silent in operation, preventing lens sounds from finding their way into the audio track of your videos.

This is my first Olympus camera since my film days! I’m actually planning on purchasing the Olympus OM to m4/3 mount adapter, which will allow me to use the F. Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 (shown right) on my E-PL2. Pretty exciting to be able to use legacy lenses on this new camera.

I didn’t want to spend all day on these product shots, but here’s a quick photo of the E-PL2 between my Canon S90 and Nikon D40. The E-PL2 is certainly not pocketable like the S90 is, but its size and weight make it perfect for either a large coat pocket or small bag.  With the 20mm pancake mounted, the size and weight of the E-PL2 feels similar to that of a high-end compact like the Panasonic LX3/5 or Canon G12. I keep mine in a little messenger bag, and walking around town I can’t even tell it’s in there.

The built in pop-up can remote-command off-camera flash guns. The strobist in me is very intrigued by this feature…

A slightly fiddly command dial aside,  the E-PL2 operates very well ergonomically. The grip is comfortable, and the camera feels solid and very well made. Performance is also very snappy, making the camera a joy to use overall. Ok, enough about the camera itself. I didn’t spend all weekend staring at it, I was out taking pictures! Below are a few samples. Enjoy!


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/4, 1/400 second, ISO200

Note that as of the writing of this post, Adobe Camera Raw does not support the E-PL2’s raw image files, so I don’t have the ability to process the raw image data from the camera in Lightroom 3 just yet. I guess it’s good that I did my recent JPEG experiment! All of these images are therefore processed in-camera. I’ve heard great things about the Olympus JPEG engine, and I must say, the E-PL2’s JPEG output does not disappoint. I love the way it renders colors, particularly blue skies:


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/3.5, 1/320 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5.6, 1/800 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5.6, 1/800 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/6.3, 1/1000 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/4.5, 1/500 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/6.3, 1/1000 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/9, 1/400 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/8, 1/320 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/10, 1/620 second, ISO200 (-0.3EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/6.3, 1/1000 second, ISO200

Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 21mm, f/10, 1/400 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5.6, 1/800 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/3.5, 1/320 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5, 1/500 second, ISO200

Metering is very dependable, consistent, and accurate. I very rarely have to nudge the camera with any exposure compensation.

Some Closeups:


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 42mm, f/11, 1/100 second, ISO200 (-0.3EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/125 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/2500 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/500 second, ISO200 (-0.3EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/250 second, ISO200 (-0.3EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/125 second, ISO200 (Monotone)

ART FILTERS:

Since I’ve never really shot with an Olympus digital camera, this is my first experience with in-camera Art Filters. You could dismiss this feature as a gimmick I suppose, but I found the filters to be incredibly fun to use.

The filter effects are overlayed onto the view screen in real-time as you compose, giving you a preview of the Art Filter’s effect before you take the shot, and multiple filters can be stacked. It’s really cool!

I found myself gravitating towards the Pin Hole Filter:


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5.6, 1/500 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole, -0.7EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/25 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/8, 1/400 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole, -0.3EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 27mm, f/11, 1/400 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/9, 1/500 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/6.3, 1/1000 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/9, 1/500 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/8, 1/400 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5.6, 1/800 second, ISO200 (Pin Hole)

Another neat Art Filter is Diorama, which gives your images that tilt-shifted, miniaturized look:


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/10, 1/500 second, ISO200 (Diorama, -0.7EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/3.2, 1/250 second, ISO200 (Diorama)

Perhaps my favorite would be Grainy Film. This filter gives you that high-speed, black and white film look:


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/125 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/13 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/1250 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film, -0.3EV)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2.8, 1/200 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/4, 1/400 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 33mm, f/5.6, 1/100 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/5.6, 1/800 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/2.5, 1/800 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)


Olympus EPL2 + Olympus M.14-42mm F3.5-5.6 II | 14mm, f/6.3, 1/250 second, ISO200 (Grainy Film)

I haven’t used this one that much yet, but here’s a couple snaps using the Pop Art filter, which boosts color and contrast to almost ridiculous levels:


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/125 second, ISO200 (Pop Art)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/4000 second, ISO200 (Pop Art)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/400 second, ISO200 (Pop Art)

One new filter that I haven’t shown here is Dramatic Tone. I have yet to take a picture using this filter that doesn’t look positively ghastly. I’ll keep trying ;)

Low Light Shooting

Over the weekend, someone asked me why I chose the E-PL2 over the Panasonic GF2, or even the highly regarded GF1. Indeed, it was the GF1 that got me hooked on the idea of a m4/3 system in the first place, so what gives? For me, there is one critical feature missing in the Panasonic GFs that is built into all of the Olympus digital Pen cameras: in-camera, sensor-shift image stabilization.

With a stabilized body, any lens you stick on the E-PL2, from a modern zoom to an old manual prime, gets the added benefit of stabilization. Combining a stabilized body, therefore, with a fast prime like the 20mm f/1.7, allows you shoot at wide apertures while using impossible-to-hand-hold shutter speeds. To get a better idea of what this can mean for low-light photography, check out some samples below, all taken hand-held. Note the shutter speeds as well as the ISO settings on each image:


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/13 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/20 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/10 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/10 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/30, second ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/13 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/13 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/10 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/4 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/8 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/20 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7,  1/20 second, ISO200

Notice that I’m hand-holding the camera at shutter speeds down to 1/4 second and getting getting clean, detailed night shots without having to boost ISO beyond base level.  I don’t expect the high ISO abilities of the E-PL2 to be anywhere near what my D700 is capable of, so the extra help I get from the sensor-shift stabilizer to keep my ISO as low as possible when hand-holding in low light is really appreciated.

Shots of Suki

Of course, no post would be complete with out some shots of Suki. The E-PL2’s continuous auto focus is not quite fast enough to keep up with Suki if she’s moving erratically, but you can still get shots of your pet with this camera.


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/6.3, 1/1000 second, ISO200

Can a fox become man’s best friend? Of course! My best friend is a fox =P


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/1000 second, ISO200

She IS a fox. =)


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/1250 second, ISO200


Olympus EPL2 + Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 | f/1.7, 1/80 second, ISO200

I absolutely love this camera so far. I find the image quality to be excellent, and the size and weight are refreshing. The E-PL2 is easy to carry around all day, it’s inconspicuous, and best of all, it’s downright fun to use. I can see myself traveling with just this camera and one lens and be completely satisfied. Stay tuned for more images, and some video testing as well! I’m off to do more shooting with the E-PL2.

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Product Shots: Nikon D700 + Nikkor AFS 24mm f/1.4G | Nikkor AFS 24-120mm f/4 VR II