Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Compact Camera Of The Year

2014 has been a good year for my photo blog!

Most of my blog followers realised that I am mainly interested in testing point n shoot compacts, I still believe strongly that the heavy, bulky DSLR days are numbered ;)

Thanks to our friendly, local Photo Warehouse, I have the chance to try out some of the best compact cameras around!

Among the memorable compacts I had a chance to try out...

The very impressive Lumix LX100.

The Lumix TZ60 with a whopping 30X Leica DC Vario-Elma 24-720mm in 35mm equivalent zoom.


      The smallest compact with interchangeable lens, the incredible Lumix GM1.

                      The versatile and just as compact Sony RX100-3.

                  The slightly larger but able to change lens, the Sony A6000.

                                 The bulky Canon G1X Mkll.

Out of these SIX compacts, which one do you think I will pick as my COMPACT CAMERA of 2014?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dynamic Range of LX100 & GM1

A friend who is really keen to purchase the latest Lumix LX100 asked me if it's dynamic range is as wide as the GM1.

Afterall, he concluded, the LX100 "crop" the 16MP sensor to 12 but the GM1 utilises the full 16MP M43 surface!

So, in real life; the little GM1 should have WIDER dynamic range than the much larger (physically) LX100?

Smaller but better dynamic range? The little GM1, right and the latest LX100
Guess what?  I CANNOT give a confirm answer to my friend's question!  The reasons being, of the two days I was loan the LX, I do not have the time to compare the dynamic range of the two cameras.  And now I cannot repeat the test because I do not have the LX100 any more :(

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Awesome Lumix LX100 !

The waiting is finally over!

In mid September this year, Panasonic announced their "most sophisticated COMPACT featuring an MFT Sensor and 4K Video, BUT it took them nearly THREE MONTHS before the LX100 reached The Land of The Long White Cloud!

Last weekend, thanks to our local Photo Warehouse, I had the pleasures of assessing if this much anticipated compact is really Panasonic's best.


The LX100 is a solidly build camera, holding it in your hand, you can feel the heft; it is 393 g (13.9 oz), my favorite GM1 is only 274 g (9.6 oz).

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Is PICCURE + a Good Sharperner?

Capturing a REALLY SHARP digital image depends on the following...

a) A high quality lens with minimum optical aberration and defects.

b) A fast shutter speed to combat camera shake.

c) Able to focus accurately on your intended subject.

However, sometime; you thought that you have fulfilled all those three requirements BUT your picture still look "a little soft". Especially when you view it at 100%!

What breaks?

Let us examine those three conditions again...

a) 99.99% of photographers, including you and me, CANNOT afford a $4,000 lens with minimum optical aberration and defects. Most of us use the kit lens, at less than $300, you get what you pay for ;)

b) Fast shutter speeds? No problem, or we can use a tripod!

c) With modern digital camera, accurate focussing is a given.


To counter condition a), enter PICCURE+

According to them...

"piccure+ is a new software program capable of correcting optical aberrations that cause a lack of sharpness in your images. With piccure+, it is possible to recover much sharper images."

Sound very impressive and being one of the "tester" in the last few months, I find the software impressive too. How come, then, they were getting some negative feed back after last week's launch?

I decided to give piccure+ another go, to find out once and for all if it is a good image sharpener.

My first image...

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Can piccure+ Turn Your Kit Lens into "L" Lens?

Some of you might have read my posting about piccure a while back, in my conclusion of that story, I said...

PICCURE  ROCKS!!

From my test I can see PICCURE did an incredible job of removing camera shake induced artifacts and blurriness!

I think those guys at the Intelligent Imaging Solutions might give Photoshop a run for their money in this area.

Like any beta release, there are a few issues to iron out; like it crashed sometimes when the image is a TIFF and more than 70MB.

Instead of just being a PLUG-IN, I personally feel that PICCURE also should include a stand alone application; not everyone have Photoshop!

It has been an interesting test, I look forward to testing the official release!

Well, the "+" version is officially launched today!


According to them, "piccure+ is a new software program capable of correcting optical aberrations that cause a lack of sharpness in your images. With piccure+, it is possible to recover much sharper images."

During my beta testing, I was told that piccure+ can virtually make your $300 lens performing like a $3,000 lens!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Is Lumix TZ60 a Good Travel Camera?

My colleague Martyn love pixels, the more the merrier!  He also adores large sensor in his DSLR, full-frame; no less! Oh, did I say he also uses only "L" lenses for his 5D Mk3?

Imagine my surprise when Martyn came back from his long Australia holiday and told me how impress he was with the LUMIX TZ60 he took with him!

LUMIX TZ60?

You kidding me?

That is an 18-megapixel small 1/2.3-inch sensor point n shoot!

Look at the lens, a 30X Leica DC Vario-Elmar 4.3-129mm f/3.5-6.4 zoom (24-720mm in 35mm equivalent).  A whopping 24-720mm?

Serious?

The really compact TZ60 with the 30X Leica zoom lens
Martyn's enthusiasm got my attention alright, so when he offer to let me play with his TZ60 for the week end; would I refuse?  Duh!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Adiós DSLR!

I have friends who go on extended travel lugging their big bag of photo gear, usually a DSLR and two or three zoom lenses. Don't laugh, I use to be like them because 5 years ago DSLR give you the best performance; that was before, how about now?

During our last gathering, my DSLR die hard friends were shocked when I told them I only took my little Lumix GM1 when we went to Malaysia and Taiwan this year!

They all sneered at the small wonder, to them, nothing but their HEAVY DSLR can give them the travel pictures they are proud of!


Mind you, as you can see from the picture above, I still have my DSLR; a Nikon D300 that I bought 5 years ago. The zoom lens attaches to this once the Camera Of The Year, a Nikon 12-24mm f/4 AF-S DX , this Nikon has an equivalent field of view of an 18-36mm lens.

When you are on a shoot-n-run travel, to me, this is the best lens to have on your DSLR!

On the left of the heavy weight D300 is my feather weight Lumix GM1 with the
Panasonic 7-14mm f/4 ASPH LUMIX G VARIO ultra wide zoom.  This incredible optics behave like a 14-28 mm equivalent!