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A little bigger; maybe a little better?

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
I chose this section arbitrarily as there doesn't seem to be one for this topic.

As I have commented before, I rarely use my Canon EOS system (except for making the record pix of Carla's paintings, and maybe an occasional snap-shotty portrait).

That was largely brought on by the intersection of two factors:

• The rigs are too heavy and bulky, a matter that is more telling now that I have come under the spell of what is known in Texan as "a hitch in my gitalong", an orthopedic dysability attributed by the wonks to spinal stenosis.

• Most of my output is destined for delivery in blogs, on social media sites, and in e-mail messages, where the need for high image quality is not really present.

Thus, of late most of my work has been done with two quite nice cameras:

• Canon Powershot G16.

• Panasonic FZ200.

The G16 is nice because I can carry it in my pocket. The FZ200 is nice because of its large focal length range (25-600 mm ff35 equivalent). (For the G16 it is 28-140 mm ff35 equivalent.)

But notwithstanding what I said earlier, we are still aware of the limitations in image quality of both these machines, this largely arising unavoidably out of their really quite small sensors (9.5 mm diagonal for the G16, 7.7 mm diagonal for the FZ200).

So we have looked into the possibility of taking on another machine for cases where we look for a bit better image quality, but still one that is fairly small and light. And we concluded that it should have a substantial focal length range (perhaps 24-400 mm ff35 equivalent). Yes, of course there are considerable optical compromises in such.

We contemplated various sensor size families, including:

• 16.5 mm (the so-called "1 inch" size, under the accursed Vidicon bottle diamater convention)
• 22 mm (the "four thirds" system)
• 27 mm (the so-called "APS-C" size - just as in our EOD 40D)
• 43 mm (the kleinbild, or "full-frame 35 mm" size, or often just "full frame")
• Something bigger ("bigger than full frame")

After our accustomed combination of careful technical analysis and emotional leaning, we decided to think in terms of the smallest of these, the 16.5 mm ("1 inch") size.

The result is that Carla has bought for me as a gift on the occasion of our 16th wedding anniversary (yes, that was in June, but this machine wasn't available then) a Canon Powershot G3 X camera. This has a 16.5 mm sensor (20.2 Mpx) and a focal length range of 24-600 mm ff35 equivalent.

As you know, I am a big fan of electronic viewfinders, so she included a Canon EVF-DC1 in the deal (the G3 X itself has no eyepiece viewfinder of any kind).

The machine is back ordered, so it may be a week of two until we have it. But when it gets here, I'll let you know how it works out.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
Congrats Doug and Carla for walzing through that wedding anniversary landmark! It's wonderful to have a companion in life, easily appreciated every day and also especially as the journey does from time to time get more tolerable when there are two people to have insight into one's own behavior, good and bad!

I ish you both many many years of love, respect, caring and pride in your bonds!

Asher
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
• 16.5 mm (the so-called "1 inch" size, under the accursed Vidicon bottle diamater convention)
• 22 mm (the "four thirds" system)
• 27 mm (the so-called "APS-C" size - just as in our EOD 40D)
• 43 mm (the kleinbild, or "full-frame 35 mm" size, or often just "full frame")
• Something bigger ("bigger than full frame")

This has always been a challenge for me too! The Canon G series, from the earliest times had great wide apertures of 2.0 and great noise processing when there was little light to work with. Eventually I discovered that for a slight increase in weight one could get a tiny APS-C sized sensor with seemingly more robust to processing files than their corresponding, (relatively bulky), Canon G models of the current year.

So I began my love affair with the Sony NEX series of cameras, adored one, but returned And instead began a deep attachment to the amazingly well made Ricoh GR 28mm digicam. I then added the 21mm supplementary conversion lens with simple jaw-dropping react linear rendering of interiors and landscapes. For more versatility I added the Ricoh GXR with the 50 mm APS C module- such a brilliantly capably macro lens and that was my stable of digicams for several years. Eventually I purchased the siing module for the GXR, 38-85mm, but it has hardly been used.

With the appearance of the Sony "full frame" cameras the Sony A7 R has replaced my total usage of Canon DSLR bodies. IDII, 5D, 5DIi and 6D are unused. All lenses, however from so many brands get used routinely on the Sony A7R. Almost all pictures are done with manual focus these days, except on rare occasions I might use the 55mm 1.8 Zeiss a stellar performer.

Once the selected mirrorless sensor is pretty well "perfect" for most of one's needs, all one has to do is choose the right lens for that job! Here, IMHO, there are three principal choices: Full frame Sony bodies, APS-C sized Sony siblings or the micro 4/3 systems of Olympus and Panasonic. The added advantage of APS-C models is that with Metabones speed booster, one gains at least one extra stop on one's battery of lenses, giving both improved "bokeh" and more light for the shot! That factor aside, the choice is between the micro 4/3 system and the full frame Sony if just one camera is needed.

If I didn't move to the Sony mirrorless system the very next best would have been the micro 4/3 camera by Olympus or Panasonic. The Olympus, with built in image stabilization, means that once again one can have a beautiful sensor one gets to know very well and the versatility of using the right lens for the job. There are incredibly high quality and lightweight zooms getting all the way to 600 mm that would leave the Canon digicam in the dust! I would, in your shoes, cancel the Canon and simply get the Olympus with either their telephoto zoom it the one by Panasonic. Since it is back ordered, you might want to look again at some of Robert Watcher's work here as his use of the telephoto zoom lens is pretty impressive.

Just my idea. In fact, you could get a previous model of the Olympus body and it will still match or best most competitors for versatility and function.

Just my opinion!

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

Congrats Doug and Carla for walzing through that wedding anniversary landmark! It's wonderful to have a companion in life, easily appreciated every day and also especially as the journey does from time to time get more tolerable when there are two people to have insight into one's own behavior, good and bad!

I wish you both many many years of love, respect, caring and pride in your bonds!
Thank you so much.

It has been, and continues to be, a wonderful journey. I am so lucky to have this amazing woman in my life.

Carla continues to amaze me with all she does, and so well. Yesterday she was working as a carpenter's helper as we did some work in my office, the day before as an electrician's helper as we installed an AC-powered natural gas detector. Today she was doing more work on a model car she is building to go in a competition at the upcoming Red Hat Society International Convention, this year to be held in Indianapolis and thus the "car" theme for many activities.

When she flies back from Indianapolis, she will have a two-day turnaround and then will drive to Durango, Colorado for an special event of a regional Red Hat Society group.

She will be 77 next week but you would never know it!

Here she is with her son,. Larry, as we prepare to go into the ceremony celebrating his retirement from the US Army after 26 years of service:



Douglas A. Kerr: SFC Lawrence R, Henry, USA, and his way cute mama
Canon G16​

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

• 16.5 mm (the so-called "1 inch" size, under the accursed Vidicon bottle diamater convention)
• 22 mm (the "four thirds" system)
• 27 mm (the so-called "APS-C" size - just as in our EOD 40D)
• 43 mm (the kleinbild, or "full-frame 35 mm" size, or often just "full frame")
• Something bigger ("bigger than full frame")

This has always been a challenge for me too! The Canon G series, from the earliest times had great wide apertures of 2.0 and great noise processing when there was little light to work with. Eventually I discovered that for a slight increase in weight one could get a tiny APS-C sized sensor with seemingly more robust to processing files than their corresponding, (relatively bulky), Canon G models of the current year.

So I began my love affair with the Sony NEX series of cameras, love one and then got a Ricoh GR 28mm digicam which had become an almost constant companion. For more versatility I added the Ricoh GXR with the 50 mm APS C module- such a brilliantly capably macro lens and that was my stable of digicams for several years. Eventually I purchased the siing module for the GXR, 38-85mm, but it has hardly been used.

With the appearance of the Sony "full frame" cameras the Sony A7 R has replaced my total usage of Canon DSLR bodies. IDII, 5D, 5DIi and 6D are unused. All lenses, however from so many brands get used routinely on the Sony A7R. Almost all pictures are done with manual focus these days, except on rare occasions I might use the 55mm 1.8 Zeiss a stellar performer.

Once the sensor is pretty well
Perfect, all one has to do is choose the right lens for the job!

If I didn't move to the Sony mirrorless system the very next best would have been the micro 4/3 camera by Olympus or Panasonic. The Olympus, with built in image stabilization, means that once again one can have a beautiful sensor one gets to know very well and the versatility of using the right lens for the job. There are incredibly high quality and lightweight zooms getting all the way to 600 mm that would leave the Canon digicam in the dust! I would, in your shoes, cancel the Canon and simply get the Olympus with either their telephoto zoom it the one by Panasonic. Since it is back ordered, you might want to look again at some of Robert Watcher's work here as his use of the telephoto zoom lens is pretty impressive.

Just my idea. In fact, you could get a previous model of the Olympus body and it will still match or best most competitors for versatility and function.

Just my opinion!
Yes, I have watched with great interest your movement through various cameras.

We had in fact looked seriously into the Panasonic FZ1000, a rather direct competitor to the G3 X, but finally settled on the G3 X for various reasons.

I don't know about (a) "digicam" or (b) "dust"! I wonder when a digital camera is a "digicam" and when it isn't.

Maybe it's like "point and shoot". My EOS 40D is seemingly a point and shoot camera. If I don't point, I don't get the image I want; if I don't shoot, I don't get any!

Thanks for your insightful observations.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
It is interesting to consider the pixel resolutions of our camera displays.

In contemplating the Canon EVF-DC1 electronic viewfinder that I will have with my Canon G3 X, I was at first a little disappointed to learn that its display resolution is "only" 1024 × 768 pixels.

That's 0.78 Mpx, although sadly much oi the advertising literature reports the resolution as 2.36 Mpx (whereas it is actually 2.36 M dots).
But then I did a little reckoning with regard to the back panel display of the G3 X, and find that its pixel resolution is apparently 900 × 600 pixels.

There is also an aspect ratio issue. The "native" image format of the G3 X is 3:2 (following the kleinbild format), unlike many "lesser"" PowerShot cameras whose native aspect ratio is 4:3. We will have to see how the pixel dimensions of the EVF-DC1 view (we believe with a 4:3 aspect ratio) are used to cope with that.

Interesting.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Tom dinning

Registrant*
Bugger the camera! Carla is some woman, Doug. More than enough pixels there.
Congratulations on your good fortune. Gifts such as that are to be treasured. And I'm still not talking of the camera. After all, it's just another camera.
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Tom,

Bugger the camera! Carla is some woman, Doug. More than enough pixels there.
Congratulations on your good fortune. Gifts such as that are to be treasured. And I'm still not talking of the camera. After all, it's just another camera.
Well said. Thanks.

By the way, Carla's middle name is Christine.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Our plans with respect to a medium format digital camera (that is to say, one with a so-called "one inch" sensor) have changed.

We no longer plan to procure a Canon PowerShot G3 X and EVF-DC1 electronic viewfinder. Rather we have ordered a Panasonic DMC-FZ1000.

The change was motivated by several factors:

• I have seen many wonderful sample images taken with the FZ1000. The sample images so far available for the G3 X (admittedly few) are not that impressive.

• There is of course very little information from which one can judge the performance of an electronic viewfinder. Nevertheless, I was struck by the comment (hopefully correct) in one review that the EVF-DC1 was inferior in performance to the inbuilt viewfinder of the FZ-1000, largely because of a smaller image size (or maybe lesser magnification - this was not clear).

• I had become concerned about the inconvenience of a separately-mounted EVF, with a substantial risk of damage should the camera be bumped.

• Finally, not a pivotal factor, but a collateral consideration, the cost of the FZ1000 (USD 699) was substantially less than the G3 X + EVF-DC (USD 1245)!

Countervailing considerations against the FZ-1000 included:

• It is a bit larger and heavier than the G3 X itself (it is hard to know how to reckon the "size" impact of a surmounted EVF-DC1.)

• It lacks a nice feature had by the G3 X: a button which will temporarily force the zoom to full wide angle to assist in locating the subject when the operating focal length is large.

• The maximum focal length is 400 mm ff35 equivalent vs. the 600 mm of the G3 X. On the other hand, we may benefit from better optical performance as a result of the less extreme focal length range.

• The EVF on the FZ1000 does not tilt, as does the EVF-DC1. The tilt is handy when shooting with the camera a bit below eye level.

Another difference between the two cameras, but not a real consideration in our choice, is that the back panel screen of the FZ1000 fully articulates, while on the G3 X it only tips, upward and downward. One or the other arrangement is most convenient, depending on what you are trying to do, If the issue is shooting with the camera held above or below eye level, the G3 X arrangement is in fact the most convenient.

The FZ1000 was ordered from 42nd Street Photo (I had not thought about them for perhaps 50 years!) Their price was USD 100 less than at B&H. Their free shipping for the camera is "by barge", as we say (UPS ground), and I placed my order during shabbat (when their online ordering is said to be inactive, but wasn't), so I don't know yet when I will receive the camera.

You will be among the first to know.

In any case, the fat is in the fire.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Here is a link to one of the fascinating sample images taken with a Panasonic FZ1000 (from the Flickr FZ1000 photography group):

https://www.flickr.com/photos/43312810@N04/15022853891/in/photolist-oTw45g-oRKCEd-oVAEz4-fKiF1v-oTMimM-oTQFN5-oTKSGL-fL59eT-oUE7dt-oTvPWT-oBivsp-oBi8if-oBi7Uj-oDnPeE-oBhRJ1-oTMv18-oBhCYR-oDoeR2-oBhDYh-bWi47g-oTKGq3-oTMwdZ-oVAH4x-oVQuvj-oBi9gN-oTMwx6-oCqLTg-oTvNnk-oBhU8Q-oDnjUT-oBiamc-oVSk6X-oVAFo8-oVSxYv-oDnjuV-oBismK-oTMvnF-oTKGjb-oBhGyX-oVAEeK-fLX6Vk-ozoAxh-ozoz21-ccUyaC-fL5gFc-bVw33n-fKiCxB-oDnjaM-oVQuY3-ccTii7/

I have no idea how much enhancement this image received. The Exif metadata on the downloaded file does not suggest any attention by PhotoShop or such.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
I have been interested in the processing of raw files delivered by the Panasonic FZ1000 (and, as a parallel matter, from the Panasonic FZ200, the "little brother" of the FZ1000, which is already on hand here).

The latest version of ACR that will go into my version of Photoshop (SC5) does not accommodate the raw file (.RW2) from the FZ200.

The Adobe raw converter will nicely make a DNG file from a Panasonic raw file, but in then processing that DNG file I have need for a lens profile to guide, for example, lens distortion correction, and those are unhad.

Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape tells us that the applicable lens correction information is embedded in the Panasonic raw files, but I suspect in a way that does not make it into the DNG file (perhaps there is no way for a DNG file to carry such - I need to do further research into that).

But the Panasonic FZ2000 came with a rather nice Raw development tool, a special (Panasonic-only) edition of the Silkypix Development Studio from Ichikawa Soft Laboratory. It appears to have very extensive capabilities, and is accompanied by what looks to be a very thorough user manual, accessible from inside the program (in lieu of a conventional Help facility).

The program prompts and manual have made it about 90% of the way in being translated into English, but serve quite well.

The version supplied with the FZ200 (3.1) does not cover the FZ1000 (of course was not even extant at the time the FZ200 package was put together), but I believe that the FZ1000 will come with a later version of the program that suits it.

Meanwhile, we patiently await the escape of our FZ1000 from Manhattan. Although it seems that B&H Photo springs into action as soon as the sun goes down on shabbat, it looks more as if 42nd St Photo lurches into action alter coffee on Monday. But their very kind representative assured me that the camera (its status has been, for much of two days, "Being Picked") would be on the way today.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
The following is from a forum or blog called "The DAM Book" (Peter Krogh, presiding)

************

DavidFriedman:

From Peter's latest blog entry:

"...new functionality has been added to the DNG specification (and to the latest version of Camera Raw) that can do new tricks to the pictures. For instance, there is now a way for Adobe (and others) to remove lens distortion from the image. Since this is a new function, it's necessary to make a new version of the spec that details how to save and apply the instructions."

Is this simply in the specification for future use, or is there software that actually does this now and saves the adjustment data in DNG files? Is this a soft announcement/confirmation of a feature for Lightroom 3?

David

peterkrogh:

David,

It's not a Lightroom 3 announcement, and I still don't have clarification as to which cameras and features are included here.

One thing I can talk about is the use of Opcodes in the DNG spec and lens distortion. The Opcodes that are now supported are basically chunks of code from manufacturers. One of these is from Panasonic/Leica for the camera LX3. There is a lot of lens correction that is done to fix barrel distortion. Part of the condition set by the manufacturer to use the Opcodes is that the files are never displayed *without* the lens correction.​

"No! I must never appear without my Spanx!"

The new DNG spec allows for this, since it incorporates the Opcode in the decoding of the LX3 file. The problem is that older DNG software does not know what to do with the Opcode, so saving the DNG as a regular DNG would violate the agreement with Panasonic. What backward compatibility does, in this case, is to linearize the DNG, with the lens correction built into the source image data included in the DNG.​

I suspect that means "applied to".

Now older software will only see the image with correction applied.

Unfortunately, this also means that some of the rawness is gone from the file.

Does that help to clear it up?

You can make any guesses you wish about future features of ACR.

Peter​

Very interesting.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

You wrote earlier:

There are incredibly high quality and lightweight zooms getting all the way to 600 mm that would leave the Canon digicam in the dust!
Do you mean with just with a maximum focal length of 600 mm ff35 equivalent or actually having a focal length range of, for example, 25-600 mm ff35 equivalent?

If the latter, what would examples be of some such lenses?

Thanks.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Well, it turns out that the FZ1000 for USD 699.00 from 42nd Street Photo was for an "imported" one. Of course they are all imported - that is a euphemism for "gray market", with no warranty. He said that item was intended for purchase by overseas buyers. I said the listing didn't say anything about that. He said, well, the other one would have said "with US warranty". Yeah, yeah, yeah.

But the rep said they did have it with the US warranty for USD 799.00 (the same price as everybody else).

I told him to cancel the order and that I would buy it from B&H, where the shipping would be faster anyway.

He was of course anxious to preserve the sale. He said, ah yes, the Panasonic rep had left some coupons good for a USD 50.00 rebate, which would make the price USD 749.00, and he would bump the shipping to a mode that would get it here by Friday, and he noted that the memory card I ordered was a slower transfer speed than recommended by Panasonic for this model (especially pertinent to video, I suppose), and he would substitute that card for the one I ordered, at the same price.

So I said, yeah, let's do that.

Oy vey iz mir!

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
The Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 arrived early this afternoon, a day earlier than expected. First impressions are very favorable.

It is quite a handful, certainly not "pocketable" by a long shot, rather more approaching the size of a "small" DSLR, but still much smaller (and lighter) than my EOS 40D with an EF-S 18-200 aboard. (Recall that this has a 16.5 mm sensor (so called "one inch" size).

Again based on limited use so far, the EVF seems to be really superb.

I've spent most of the time do far getting the various options set to suit me and setting up a Downloader Pro script to take its files in and rename them under my system. Fortunately, the directory and file naming conventions are precisely parallel to those of the FZ-200, so that turned out to be a very simple task.

Here is the first actual shot with the new machine, "Hattie", a hat stand made by Carla at a crafts session of her Red Hat Society chapter that she led (Carla, unfortunately, is not available to model, she being in Indianapolis at the Red Hat Society international convention):



Douglas A. Kerr: Hattie​

This was taken under a mixture of fluorescent light (CFLs, 5000 K CCT) and late afternoon daylight, the latter coming in through a window behind me to my left and being reflected off the more-or-less white walls of the room.

This image is ex camera except for cropping to an aspect ratio of 4:3 (the native aspect ratio of the camera is 3:2, and I take the JPEG output that matches that) and downsizing to 800 px wide for presentation here, that done by ImageMagick under the guidance of my adaptation of Bart's famous script, with "50%" post-downsizing sharpening. (The cropped image was 4851 px × 3648 px.)

Here are the technical particulars of the shot itself:

Sensitivity: ISO 400
Aperture: f/3.2
Shutter speed: 1/250 sec
Focal length (ff35 equivalent): 46 mm
White balance: Automatic

So far it looks very promising.

Later tonight I will indulge my infamous obsession and test the shutter release delay and the effective shutter release delay (which takes into account the effect of finder delay).

I'll have some further technical observations a little later.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Well, the saga of the Panasonic FZ1000 has taken another twist - perhaps not a surprising one, from what I have heard.

Last night, as I tidied up the complicated carton to retain it in case I needed to return the camera, I noted on the label with the exact model number, serial number, and so forth the marking "PAL" in a little rectangle. Was this a "global" version that recorded video in the PAL TV standard rather than NTSC, as would be appropriate here?

I looked through the menus to see if the recording standard could be changed. No. And the parameters of the various available recording modes confirmed that we were were in PAL-land.

But there was a setting for video output with two choices, "PAL' and "NTSC". And it was set to "NTSC" as I received the camera. Curious. If this were the "global" (PAL) model, why would the factory default for video output be NTSC?

First thing this morning I called the agent at 42nd St Photo who had handled the order. He said, oh, no, that camera records in NTSC. I pressed him as to why the label said "PAL". I gave him the specific model number, with suffix "GN", from the label. (What do you bet "G" there stands for "global"!)

He said, "Let me go check and see what they sent you". (The invoice said "USA" after the model description.) He was back in about 20 seconds (like a car salesman who had to go and ask "the manager" if the price being discussed was OK) and said, "Wow, they by mistake sent you the global model instead of the US model." He apologized profusely, and said they would issue an RMA (Return Material Authorization) and send me a prepaid shipping label so I could return the camera at their expense and they would give me a full refund.

I said, "OK, but I would rather have the proper camera." He told me that when we discussed the order they in fact had the US model in stock, but they sent me the global model instead, and now, sadly, they are sold out of the US model. Fancy that!

So to get this little refugee ready for its trip back to NYC, I formatted the SD card to "clear" the data on it and set the camera back to the factory settings (there is a memory item to do that). Then I looked at the "factory" camera output setting, and guess what: it was "PAL".

So they had opened the carton (in fact, when I first opened the carton I noticed signs that it had been opened before) and set the camera output to "NTSC" so I wouldn't think that this was a "global" model.

Oy vey iz mir!

Another curious thing is that when the camera is first started up, it asks to set the "home region" (in part to get the correct time zone), and the default is Eastern Australia and Guam. One would expect it to be, perhaps, GMT. And curiously enough, the included paper "basic" manual (and it is quite detailed), which says "GN" on its front, has at the rear a Limited Warranty (Australia Only), referencing Panasonic Australia Pty. Limited.

By the way, on the 42nd street sirt, there is not, as we will sometimes see on the B&H site, separate listings for the "US" and "imported" flavors of an item. There is no evidence on the site that 42ns St actually offered the "US" version. But the one item listed gives no indication that it is "imported"(i.e., "gray market"). The 42nd St agent, during our earlier conversation, said, "Well, if it was the 'US' version, that would be mentioned, so of course this item was not. Sorry for the misunderstanding."

When I earlier discussed this proposed purchase with Will Thompson, and said I was looking into ordering the camera from 42nd St Photo (because of what at first seemed to be their very advantageous price, USD 100.00 less than , for example, B&H), he cautioned me about that, mentioning their apparently infamous "checkered past", including various lawsuits for "bait and switch" techniques. Will, you were right.

I may order the camera from B&H, but some other thoughts are flickering around in my head. Stay tuned for the next chapter.

It's always something!

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Well, since I wrote, this has happened:

• I decided I really don't need this camera.

• But it is really lovely.

• And I really want it.

So I ordered it from B&H, on a negotiated "price match" basis for USD 757.95 (their posted price is USD 797.99).

I should have it by next Thursday.

Meanwhile, I can learn more about it with 42nd St's Aussie illegal immigrant (I have to wait until the shipping label arrives before it can go back).

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
The tale of the tape

The title of this thread is "A little bigger; maybe a little better?" By "a little bigger" I was referring to sensor size. But it is interesting to consider the size and weight of the camera we settled on, the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000.

It is basically the largest of the three currently-available "superzoom" cameras with "one inch" sensors, the FZ1000, the brand new Canon G3 X, and the Sony DSC-RX10 (and now the RX-10 II). But it is a little hard to know how to reckon the size of the Canon G3 X with its external EVF perched atop the body proper.

The "body" of the FZ1000 is in fact not as big as our Canon EOS 40D, but not by a great deal. We can see the comparison in the following shot. In it, the lens on the FZ1000 (focal length range: 25-400 mm ff35 equivalent) is "deployed", but is at its minimum focal length (and thus almost its minimum "deployed" protuberance). The 40D is fitted with an EF-S 18-200 (focal length range on the 40D: 29-320 mm ff35 equivalent), which we see at its minimum focal length (and its minimum protuberance).



Left: Panasonic DMC-FZ1000—Right: Canon EOS 40D with EF-S 18-200 mm lens​

(Sorry for the bad focus. I';m not sure what went wrong there!)

Weightwise, the FZ1000 weighs in at 831 g; the 40D body at 835 g and the 18-200 at 545 g, for a total for the rig of 1430 g.

If we replaced the 40D with one of the newer Rebel models, the body size difference is very little, and the weight difference for the whole rig is not so very much

Another interesting comparison, in the photo below, is the FZ1000 against its smaller brother, the FZ200.



Left: Panasonic DMC-FZ1000—Right: Panasonic DMC-FZ200​

Weightwise, again the FZ1000 weighs in at 831 g, while the FZ200 weighs 588 g.

So the FZ1000 doesn't look much bigger than the FZ200, but the difference is pretty noticeable "in person".

It is interesting that the FZ1000 is really pretty big compared to some of the smaller Micro Four Thirds machines, even though their sensors are about 33% larger than that of the FZ1000 (linear dimensions). That is of course especially true if we consider MFT machines with no EVF.

Well, that's the tale of the tape.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
On the clock

Many of you know of my earnest interest (some would say "obsession") with the matter of shutter release delay. In fact it was largely this matter that propelled me into the world of Canon dSLRS. I was using a rather nice integrated camera, the Fujifilm F602 Zoom. I was doing a lot of shooting at civic events, and I found that the shutter release delay of that machine made it difficult to catch the speakers' gestures. Our Canon 300D ("Digital Rebel") solved that problem nicely.

There are of course two measures of shutter release delay that can be of interest. One is the absolute delay, measured from the time the shutter release button is put to full press (we assume though all this that we have done pre-focus at half press) to the time the shot is actually taken.

The other measure is effective delay. Imagine that I am observing the scene through an electronic viewfinder or on the monitor screen. Suppose I put the shutter release button to full press precisely when I see a certain event. The time of interest is the time, in the real wold, from that event to when the shot is taken.

Simplistically, the effective shutter release delay is the absolute shutter release delay plus the lag in the view through the viewfinder (or on the monitor).

The absolute delay is generally only of interest if we are using an optical viewfinder or are working in the "sports finder" mode (viewing the scene directly, over the top of the camera). Otherwise, it is the effective delay that is of interest.

So now its time to put the clock to the FZ1000, in particular a special clock I built many years ago for the purpose. It has a hand that rotates once per second, with a large face calibrated in 10 ms minor divisions (readily readable to 5 ms).

It is conceptually easy to measure the absolute delay if we have our clock arranged to trip the shutter at zero through a switch or such, either by operating a solenoid that presses the shutter release button or (if this turns out to be the same thing) to trip the shutter through the remote release interface.

Sadly, I do not have any provision for this on my test clock. I have to press the shutter release button when the clock hand passes zero. But to help this, my clock is fitted with a little metal "ramp" such that the clock hand rides up on it as it approaches zero and then, just at zero, fall off its edge, striking an edge below and making a sharp "snap" I find that if I establish a mental cadence based on this train of "metronome clicks", I can press the shutter release button with an accuracy of about 5 ms.

For the effective shutter release time, I can't have any similar clue - the reference time is when I see the hand pass zero through the viewfinder. (For this phase of the operation, I move the little "click ramp" out of the way.) So there I just need to practice, and take multiple measurements.

The absolute delay for teh FZ1000 is very small. I put it at about 8 ms (recognizing that there is considerable opportunity for experimental error in this whole rather agricultural process).

I put the effective delay at approximately 25 ms.

One is tempted in these matters to think that the viewfinder delay would be about equal to the refresh period of the viewfinder display. Often that doesn't work out that way, but here it seems to. I have the viewfinder display operating at a refresh rate of 60 Hz, so the refresh period is about 16 ms. Added to the 8 ms absolute shutter release delay that would suggest an effective delay of 24 ms, which comports well with the observed 25 ms (again taking into account the ample opportunity for experimental error).

This by the way compares very favorably with the shutter release delay of a typical dSLR (absolute, which also turns out to be the effective value if we are operating through a reflex optical viewfinder) which may be in the area of 15 ms (less for really spiffy cameras, of course, but it is very hard to get data on this).

In any case, it looks as if the FZ1000 will be able to, as we used to say, catch the councilman's hand while it is still on the mayor's knee.

Thus is the turn of the clock.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Well, there are two conclusions here:

• The Panasonic DMC-FZ1000 is a very capable machine.

• I really don't need a camera of this kind just now. My situation is that I can't reasonably go on "photo expeditions", and in any case, all my work goes to destinations that do not exploit the better image quality I can get with the FZ1000 (compared to my G16 and FZ200).

So I have canceled my order with B&H for a "US" FZ1000, and the "Australian" one will go back to 42nd St. Photo tomorrow.

I has been a great opportunity to learn more about this noteworthy machine. And on the way I have learned many useful and beneficial things about my FZ200, the little brother of the FZ1000.

In the immediate future, when I do have a situation that requires improved image performance, I will draw upon my Canon EOS 40D and our modest but capable stable of lenses for it. I may even before long augment the EOS stable with a 70D (now that the Canon xxD line has passed in and out of its dumb period).

It is by the way interesting that in some comparative tests in the past few days that the FZ1000 (as we would expect from its greater pixel resolution) produced some images with slightly greater resolution than the 40D. But they certainly were not "better images" overall (as we might expect).

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Some more forensic observation on the Panasonic FZ1000 provided by 42nd Street Photo:

The actual full model number as shown on the label on the carton is DMC-FZ1000GN.

An Internet search on "Panasonic" plus that model number (with the "GN" suffix) brings up mostly references to Australian and New Zealand camera sellers.

The "US" version offered by B&H includes a charger just like the one I have for my FZ2000, with an inbuilt US-style plug. The charger provided with the 42nd Street unit has a demountable cord (understandable for an "international" unit, so a cord with a plug to suit the local style can be included).

A perfectly nice cord with a US style plug (the Australian style plug is different, with angled prongs) was included with the 42ns Street camera unit.

Therefore I believe that this Australian camera was "naturalized" by 42nd Street Photo thus:

• The video output format was changed from PAL (the factory default) to NTSC. (But the machine still only records in PAL).

• Set the location to Eastern US (EST/EDT). (The factory default is Sydney/Guam.)

• Replaced the charger power cord (presumably with an Australian plug) with a US-style power cord.

Verrrry interesting!

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
I reported recently that I had made a wise and prudent decision to forgo a new camera (the Panasonic DMC-FZ1000) at this point.

I have since relented and decided that it is so nice I need to have it anyway. I have ordered it (again) from B&H. (USD 759.99.)

So we in fact will be in the 8.8 mm high sensor business. On a sensor height basis (which I now feel is the best premise for such reckonings), under the repugnant "Vidicon bottle diameter" convention, this sensor would be considered a "0.9 inch type". (If we use the "sensor diagonal dimension" premise, then this sensor would be a "1.0 inch type", because of its 3:2 native aspect ratio. Now in furlongs . . .)

That is 2/3 the height of a conventional Four-Thirds system sensor (13 mm).

I will let you know more of the FZ1000's adventures when it arrives.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
By the way, for those with a thing for red dots, the Leica V-Lux (Typ 114) is identical to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 except for the markings, a small difference in the shape of the grip, and modest differences in the design of the control knobs.


The two cameras are the same size; these photos are slightly different in scale.

The price at B&H (taking into account a rebate) for the Leica is USD 1188.00 vs. USD 757.99 for the FZ1000 (taking into account a "price match" discount, not shown on the Web site - you have to press a rep).

The Leica price, however, includes a license for Adobe Lightroom.

Best regards,

Doug
 
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Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Well, the FZ1000 (the real US version) is in hand as of Monday, 2015.08.24 (a day earlier than originally scheduled). There was a logistic adventure I won't bother you with, except to mention that it eventually meant meeting the UPS driver in a local dentist's parking lot..

Before I talk about this machine, I need to note, in all fairness to 42nd St Photo, which had gotten (deservedly) a rather bad rap in this thread, that the "Australian" FZ1000 I sent back (at their expense for shipping) also arrived at 42nd St on Monday, and later that same day they issued a full refund to my PayPal account. Kudos, guys, you "did the right thing".

Now back to the "US" machine, whose full model number has the suffix "P" (vs. "GN" for the Aussie machine), and whose video operations are wholly dedicated to NTSC-based standards. Here are some random observations:

• I hadn't really paid much attention to this with the "Aussie" version while I had it here, but when operating in the "mechanical shutter" mode, the shutter sound is substantially greater than in its little brother, the FZ200 (yes, I have the revolting simulated shutter sounds turned off). It is of course still very much quieter than, for example, my Canon EOS 40D. But shooting last night in a quiet theater, with the camera at my face, I was quite conscious of it.

It turns out that the shutter sound occurs at the end of the exposure. I have no how the shutter works in these machines - whether it uses only the aperture iris or whether there is a separate actual shutter. The shutter closing sound is rather a "pop" (sounds almost like a small flash unit firing - of course that is not the case here).

There is an alternate "electronic shutter" mode, which is essentially completely silent. When you shoot, the only sound is the aperture iris changing at half press (almost imperceptible).

There is also an "automatic mode" where either the mechanical or electronic shutter mode is used deepening in the situation. I don't just now know the criteria for that decision.

• A really nice feature, rare among cameras, is a separate small knob for "drive mode". This allows, without visiting the menu system, changing from ordinary single-shot operation to burst operation, bracketing mode, self-time mode, and intervalomater operation. That is only one of two actual knobs, the other being the familiar "PASM" mode dial.

• There is a nice switch, on the lens barrel, for turning the optical image stabilization on or off. Interestingly enough, with the switch set to off, there is still a continuous (but not very loud) little "growling" sound that would seem to be the stabilizer operating.

• There is only one thumb/finger dial, on the rear of the body (yes, where your thumb would be). In most situations, it can be used to set two parameters, for example:

- In "P" mode, it can set either exposure compensation or program shift.

- In "M" mode, it can set either aperture or shutter speed.

- In "A" mode, it can set aperture or exposure compensation

- In "S" mode, it can set shutter speed or exposure compensation

You press the wheel in momentarily (it clicks - reviled by the video users) to toggle between its two functions in the current mode. There is a clear display on the monitor or in the viewfinder of which mode the wheel is in at the moment.

There much griping in the cybersphere about this arrangement, but I find it very workable.

• There is a large ring on the lens barrel that can be used either to control the zoom setting or for focus in the manual focus mode (or manual focus "tweaking" in the AF mode). The choice of function is made with a nice switch on the lens barrel. It seems to work well (once you get the hang of it). There was some griping in one review that when using it for zoom control it did not change the focal length smoothly but rather in increments. That is true, but the increments are very small - one mm at the low end, and, for example, from 115 to 118 (these all indicated in ff35 equivalent terms).

The operation of the ring is somewhat speed-dependent. For example, if you move it very slowly, you can turn it as far as you want and nothing happens.

• There is a nice little lever on the back (surrounds the AF/AE lock button) for switching between two AF modes (simplistically, "tracking" or not) or MF.

• There is an "eye detector" that will switch the display from the monitor panel to the eyepiece viewfinder (EVF, or as Panasonic now calls it, LVF - the "L' standing for "live" - go figure). One can force the choice to stay with either organ. The EVF is superb.

• The intervalometer mode allows the user to set the starting time (any clock time in the next 24 hours, with a precision of one minute, or "now") the interval between shots (1 second up to 99m59s, with a precision of 1 second ), and the the number of shots to be taken (1-9999).

You can also use this in the movie mode.

************

I'll have some observations on its actual photographic behavior and performance, at a theater rehearsal last night, in a bit. But just I need to take my morning ration of medication and then start to prepare breakfast (Carla is still out-of-town - actually just now driving back to Alamogordo from Durango, Colorado).

Best regards,

Doug
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
I suspect that the reason for the continuous "growling" in the F1000, whether the optical image stabilization is on or off, is this.

Probably, the correcting element group in the lens is not mechanically "caged" when the OIS is inactive. That requires a complicated and delicate mechanism.

Rather, perhaps, in this camera, with the OIS inactive, they still use the servo that moves the correcting element group to hold it in the "neutral" position. This servo function is susceptible to hunting, and so it has to continue to "fiddle" to hold the correcting group in that neutral position (much like an acrobat standing on a ball, or a unicycle rider at a "standstill").

It is interesting to note that in the FZ200, the "little brother" of the FZ200, if we turn off the OIS (has to be done there from a menu), we can hear the growling, over a period of a couple of seconds, gradually decline in amplitude to a lower, but still perceptible, level.

************

An interesting related story regarding the Tamron 18-200 IS of some vintage is this. Again, they did not want to have s a separate caging mechanism for the correction element group. Rather, the articulation of that group servo was spring-biased to one end of its travel in each direction, so with the servo powered down the group would rest on its end stops in each direction..

Of course, with the OIS active, and no "vibration" of the camera, the servo held the group in the center of its travel. When the OIS was inactive (and that would mean including after a period of no shutter press), the servo was just shut down, and the correction element group went to a nice stable position, resting against its stops, at the end of travel in each direction.

Of course the problem with this is that the view of the camera was offset, when the OIS was inactive, from where it would be with the OIS active. If I was sighting on a prospective target and the OIS was inactive, and then half pressed the shutter, starting the IS, the servo sprung into action and my aiming point shifted by a considerable amount.

I found this very nikulturniy, and sent that puppy back to B&H.

All very interesting.

Best regards,

Doug
 

Asher Kelman

OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
In practical terms, Doug, if the images are superb, then why not accept the "growling"? After all we do that with out best friends!

Asher
 

Doug Kerr

Well-known member
Hi, Asher,

In practical terms, Doug, if the images are superb, then why not accept the "growling"? After all we do that with out best friends!
Well, indeed we do!

In any case, it is barely perceptible - just a little "anomalous".

I will be shooting the company head shots for the program for the play we are in at The Theater on the Hill early this evening with the new machine. We will do a test run here (Carla just got back from Durango), which in fact will be how my head shot gets done.

She is exhausted from having so much fun over two weeks! She drove straight through from Durango (about 7 hours) except for a stop at the Owl Cafe in San Antonio, N.M. for a green chile chicken sandwich. She wanted to be able to go to tech rehearsal tonight, as she has had to miss several rehearsals. The show opens this coming Friday night.

Best regards,

Doug
 
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