Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I Really Sent It Back - More of a Reflection on My Shooting Style Than Lens Quality

Image Source: shop.panasonic.com
Well, my Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 is on its way back. It just didn't fit my shooting style.
I'm spoiled by my excellent prime lenses. Now, I really can't wait for that Olympus 75mm f1.8 to arrive!

To Zoom or Not to Zoom - That Is A Question - The New Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 - Is It A Permanent Part of My Kit?

Cooling Off, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 Lens at 31mm
iso 200, f7.1, 1/2500 sec
I just spent a long weekend at a music festival with the new Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 Aspheric lens attached to my Panasonic DMC-G3. So what do I think? I'm conflicted to tell the truth.
First off - it was very nice to not have to change lenses much. The lens worked very well for shots of the crowd, dancers, vendors, and those types of things. It also did fine with wide shots of the bands. But, let's talk about that for a second. In shooting a full-stage image of a performing band, I needed to stop down at least a little - f4 at least, more likely f5.6. In daylight performances, not an issue at all. After dark, that required a little flash. But the real point is, if I'm using the lens in this way, why does it matter that it has a maximum aperture of f2.8? The answer is, it doesn't matter at all. I could have done just as well with my Lumix 14-140mm f4-5.8 lens. In fact, I would have had a much more useful focal length range. Yes, it's true that I'd lose the 24mm full frame equivalent field of view of the wide end, but that's not common territory for me anyway.
And that brings up another point. As I mentioned previously, the 12-35mm is just a little short of being a great portrait lens.
(Click Here) for my intial thoughts on the 12-35mm for candid portraits.
Now portraits are where the f2.8 can become important. But, at 35mm maximum focal length, f2.8 just doesn't quite do it.
Finally, I've become spoiled by my primes. At "normal" focal length, my Lumix 20mm f1.7 and Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4 lenses are so fast, f2.8 seems a little slow (in light gathering capability). I'm about to become even more spoiled, when my Olympus 75mm f1.8 prime shows up.
So, as you can see, I'm pretty far along in talking myself into returning the 12-35mm f2.8.
I think I would rather carry two camera bodies, and a couple of extra lenses, rather than accept these tradeoffs. I though that the 12-35mm may be important for event and travel photography for me. This weekend told me that I would be happier with primes at events. For travel, the 14-140mm f4-5.6 is still a great option for well-lit scenes. It has enormous focal length range, too.
Just for balance, you may be interested in reading a post on ePhotoZine about the joys of zoom lenses.
(Click Here) to read one author's experience of reducing his Nikon DSLR kit size with a super-zoom (Nikkor 28-300mm).
Just imagine the benefit this author would get from Micro 4/3 gear. Weight becomes negligible with a single body, single zoom approach.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Is the Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 a Portrait Lens?

Festival-goer, by Reed A. George
Festival-goer, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix G Vario 12-35mm Aspheric f2.8 Zoom at 35mm
iso 160, f3.2, 1/800 sec
This is a pretty good example of a picture that I want to be able to take at music festivals. It's not a head shot style portrait. Perhaps it's wide enough to be called an "environmental portrait." It gives some context to the subject. However, I really want to be able to separate the subject from background with shallow depth of field.
It is a matter of physics that Micro 4/3 lenses will have more depth of field at a given field of view, because of the crop factor and sensor size. That is, in the shot above, which was shot at 35mm focal length on Micro 4/3, has the same field of view as a 75mm lens on a full frame 35mm sensor. The Micro 4/3 lens has more depth of field in this shot than if I had shot it with a 75mm on full frame at the same f-stop (f3.2 in this case). All this adds up to less ability to separate your subject from the background with the Micro 4/3 format at a given field of view and aperture.
While I like this shot very much, I would prefer to have the background blurred more. Yes, I should have shot it at f2.8, which would have narrowed the field of view a little more, but that's only a half-stop wider, and would not have made much difference.
So, my preliminary conclusion is that no, this is not the perfect lens for these types of shots. I could have done better with one of my prime lenses - either getting closer with the Summilux 25mm f1.4 or using the Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro-Elmarit. Actually, the 45mm f2.8 may have been about the same, since I would have had to move away from the subject, which increases depth of field. The true best would be an Olympus lens - either the 45mm f1.8 (which would have been perfect for this shot), or the 75mm f1.8, which would have required me to be further away. I don't own either of the Olympus lenses, yet. The 75mm is on order.
I must say that I've enjoyed using the new Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 lens this weekend. However, I am close to concluding that I prefer to shoot primes. I've been very careful with this lens over the past couple of days. I have in my mind that it may go back for a refund. I haven't decided yet, and need to look at more results.
Don't get me wrong. It's a very capable lens. I just think I prefer primes.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 - My First Results - Portrait of the Artist

Portrait of the Artist, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 Lens at 19mm
iso 400, f4, 1/500 sec
I saw this guy painting on-site at the Floyd Festival. He told me that his canvas had accidentally gotten a hole in it after he started the painting. Rather than worry about that, he added a few more. He was in the process of gluing on artistic features to the back, which will show through the holes. I couldn't resist, and had to ask him to take this pose for me.
I used the new Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 lens all day yesterday, and must say I'm impressed. I think it's going to spend a lot of time on my camera.
I am finding that the focal length is a little short for portraits, at least my type of candid portraits. I feel that I have to get pretty close, even at 35mm. The 12mm end is a very nice wide angle.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Another Vicarious Travel Set - This Time, Bali, Indonesia, by choongmin63 on dpreview Forum

choongmin63's Picture from Bali
Bali, Indonesia, by choongmin63 on dpreview.com
Image Source: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=41873175
Member choongmin63 has posted a few excellent pictures from Bali, Indonesia on dpreview.com.
(Click Here) to see the post on dpreview.com.
I can't see any information on what lenses were used, but the title indicates the pics were taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3. Every time I see something like this, I remind myself that if I hold back on gear purchases, I can afford trips to amazing new places. I'd like to see Indonesia first-hand.
Thanks, choongmin63, for sharing your vision with us.

Friday, July 27, 2012

It's Here - And I Think I Like It

Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 Power OIS Zooom
Image Source: http://shop.panasonic.com/shop/model/H-HS12035
I received the lens right before leaving for the music festival I'm at now (Floyd Fest 11).
(Click Here) for Floyd Fest
I used it all day yesterday, but haven't uploaded images yet. I will have lots of samples for you after the festival ends on Sunday.
It was really nice to be able to minimize lens changes yesterday.
I am surprised that Panasonic beat Olympus in delivery (I'm still waiting on the Oly 75mm f1.8). These companies don't need to learn or compete with each other on delivery - they need to learn from a fast company. I understand - they have to announce products early for advertising purposes - but are we really happier as customers in the end, having to wait months after making that impulse purchase? I'm not.
Anyway - look for some samples coming up soon!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Music Festival Photography - Timely Piece on ePhotoZine

"The Shakedown," by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 14mm f2.5
iso 200, f5.6, 1/60 sec
There's an entry on the ePhotoZine blog about festival photography. This is timely, as I'm heading out to Floyd Fest starting tomorrow (by the time you read this, I'll be at the festival).
(Click Here) to see the Floyd Fest webpage.
It's a five hour drive from home, and I'll be staying for three nights.
Okay - so what does ePhotoZine have to say about festival photography? Here are the main points:
  1. Get a high vantage point if possible.
  2. Arrive early - good advice for any event.
  3. "Good Zoom" - this means to be ready to use a range of focal lengths to me, not necessarily a zoom. They also mention waterproof cameras or cases at this point. I'll be bringing my Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 underwater camera to this show; I hope I don't need it.
  4. Steady hands - some tips on minimizing vibration when shooting
  5. Have a plan - this one is a must, especially at a large festival. There is no way that I'll cover all the bands at Floyd Fest. In fact, there's no way that I'll cover the whole day, every day, during a four day music festival. My goal is to see the bands that I know and like, and hopefully add a few new favorites.
(Click Here) to read the original piece on ePhotoZine.

My plan for this show is to take only Lumix gear, plus maybe one film camera. I will take two DMC-G3s, Lumix 12mm f2.5, Pana-Leica 25mm f1.4 and 45mm f2.8, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 and Voigtlander 75mm f2.5 manual focus Leica Thread Mount (LTM) lenses, and Nissin flash. I am receiving my new Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 zoom today. If I'm comfortable with its operation, it may replace all the primes for this trip, but I doubt it. It's never a good idea to rely too much on a new lens on a trip.
In terms of a film camera, I'm planning to carry a Leica CL and adapted LTM 3.5cm Elmar f3.5. I hope to use that for candid shots of festival-goers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Member Blue Esprit on mu-43.com Shares Some Spooky Images with Lumix DMC-GF2, Lumix 14mm f2.5, and Wide Adapter DMW-GWC1

Blue Esprit's Picture from mu-43.com
Skull as Focal Point, by Blue Esprit on mu-43.com
Image Source: http://www.mu-43.com/gallery/data/500/Spooky_5.jpg
Member Blue Esprit on mu-43.com shared a series of cool monochrome images taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2, Lumix 14mm f2.5, and DMW-GWC1 wide angle attachment.
(Click Here) to see the whole post by Blue Esprit on mu-43.com
These are the first user results I've seen with the DMW-GWC1 wide angle attachment. The image above is my favorite from the series. I love how the skull is the focal point, even though it takes up only a tiny portion of the field of view, due to the 11mm-equivalent wide angle view achieved with the DMW-GWC1 attachment.
Earlier, I had actually ordered the DMW-GFC1 fisheye attachment, but cancelled, thinking it was too much money for a lens converter. I must say that the wide converter seems to be a nice addition to the 14mm lens, based on Blue Esprit's results. One of the advantages of converters is that they take up less space in your camera bag.
For my purposes, though, I think I'd rather have a wide angle lens. Right now, my widest is the 14mm f2.5 Lumix. I do have a 12mm f5.6 Voigtlander lens in Leica thread mount, which I can adapt to my Micro 4/3 cameras, but at f5.6, the usage applications are pretty limited. Maybe I will get out and give it a try, though. I've just never pursued it. Hmm. Sounds like a worthwhile effort.

Oh, Man, I Can't Wait For That Olympus 75mm f1.8 to Arrive!

Image Source: http://www.mu-43.com/f38/olympus-75mm-f1-8-first-thoughts-29556/
Member 938mm on mu-43.com has posted their initial thoughts and some results, shooting the new Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens for Micro 4/3 on the new Olympus OM-D.
(Click Here) to read the original post on mu-43.com.
938mm seems quite pleased with the handling of the lens, and the results speak for themselves.
Mine is on order from Amazon, but is not yet shipping in the US.
938mm mentions that one challenge with such a fast lens is that to use a wide aperture in bright sunlight, you may need to use a neutral density (ND) filter. This is probably something I will want to do. The filter diameter is 58mm, so I'll have to add another filter to my kit.
On the subject of NDs, many people are now purchasing extremely expensive variable ND filters. These allow you to adjust the density and resulting effect of the filter across a wide range of exposures with a twist of the wrist. So far, I have decided to go the less expensive route, sticking with a 3-stop filter for my Lumix lenses. In my opinion, that has not been a difficult compromise. I find that if I need an ND, 3-stops is usually sufficient.
Some photographers have complained that 75mm (equivalent to 150mm field of view on full frame) is too long for portraits. I wholeheartedly disagree, especially when you consider that you have to go a little longer on the Micro 4/3 sensor to achieve shallow depth of field. I have always leaned telephoto, so 75mm is going to work great for me.
Looking forward to sharing some results with this lens on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, just as soon as it arrives!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Inspiration Requires Patience

I just read an excellent piece on Kirk Tuck's Visual Science Lab regarding how patience leads to inspiration in photography. His example is a commercial shoot of water treatment facilities.
(Click Here) to read Kirk's thoughts on the subject.
I once found a very sad and interesting place, a Mennonite Cemetery in Oklahoma,on the site where their church used to stand. It is now an open field, with only a few headstones, and the old church stairs.
Mennonite Church Stairs, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24mm f2.8D Lens
iso 400, f2.8, 1/100 sec
It is a sad place, in my opinion. These people were buried near their church, a place that felt like home to them. The church has been moved and restored, which is nice, I suppose. But, the graves are now left in this desolate place.
Anyway, this was an example of when it took me a good hour on the site to begin to capture pictures that I hope share how I feel about the place. This was no "swoop in, shoot it, be gone" situation. My tripod was a necessity to allow me to think and compose. Somehow in the end, it worked.
Sunset Over Mennonite Cemetery, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 24mm f2.8D Lens
iso 400, f2.8, 1/2000 sec
Unknown Mennonite Grave Marker, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.2 AIS Manual Focus Lens
iso 400, f2, 1/500 sec

Monday, July 23, 2012

New Lumix 12-35mm f2.8 In Stock! - One Left at Amazon

Image Source: shop.panasonic.com
Amazon has the lens in stock now! According to the page, there's one unit left, but more on the way.

I've Ordered It - My First Olympus Lens. Final Check - Will It Be Compatible With My Panasonic Bodies?

M. ED 75mm f1.8
Olympus 75mm f1.8 Micro 4/3 Lens
Image Source: http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/product.asp?product=1622
I have preordered the new Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. My understanding and belief is that all of the native Micro 4/3 lenses will exhibit full compatibility with my Panasonic bodies.
First, the lens. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I'm lusting over both this lens and the new Lumix 12-35mm f2.8. I have also posted some examples of images I've recently taken with my Voigtlander 75mm f2.5, which have helped to convince me that 75mm is the best focal length to add to my kit. The improvements of a full stop of extra light gathering (f1.8 is really fast), and autofocus, are enough for me to take the leap.
I'm not that far along with the Lumix 12-35.
In terms of compatibility, I found a nice reference on the Panasonic website. It shows the compatibility of both native Micro 4/3 and 4/3 lenses, viewfinders, and flash units, to the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1. Since my workhorse kit is two DMC-G3s, I am convinced that compatibility will be the same. These are very similar cameras.
(Click Here) to see the compatibility story for the Lumix DMC-GX1 on Panasonic's site.
So, now it's just a matter of waiting for Amazon to ship the 75mm f1.8!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Airshows - Blue Angels and More

Image Source: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1041&message=42009156
Member LTZ470 posted a series of shots of the US Navy Blue Angels practicing over on dpreview.com. All were shot with the Olympus OM-D and Panasonic 100-300mm f4-5.6 lens. I absolutely love that lens!
(Click Here) to see them all over on dpreview.
Also, be sure to visit my friend Rob's flickr sets (username robsv) to see many more AWESOME airshow shots, including the Blue Angels and many others.
Vapor, by Rob Svirskas
Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/robsv/5155953876/
Nikon D300, Nikkor 300mm f4 AF-IF Lens
These amazing technical marvel aircraft test the limits of photographic equipment. It is absolutely amazing to see the detail that modern cameras can capture at-speed on the distant beauties.
While Rob is a Nikon user, Micro 4/3 is now at the point where you can carry an equivalent 600mm field of view lens without the need for a heavy tripod, and get very acceptable shots at airshows. And, the 100-300mm f4-5.6 is fast enough for these normally-bright outdoor events! LTZ470 proves the competency of the lens for the application!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

DMC-365 is Giving Away a Free Sony eReader! Enter Your Picture on Flickr!

DMC-365 Giveaway Prize!
Sony Reader PRS-950 - Enter on Flickr!
Let's have a little photo contest here on DMC-365!
The prize is a barely-used Sony Reader Daily Edition (PRS-950), with these features:
- Touch screen
- Wifi and 3G
- Audio player built-in
- Compatible with Sony Reader Store, Adobe pdf, other formats (not Amazon Kindle, however)
The reader works fine; I've just changed to the Kindle format, even though this one's compatible with many formats, and cost me $300 a little over a year ago!
You'll need to have a flickr account to enter (it's free).
To enter the giveaway:
1. Post a picture in the flickr group at this address:
or (Click Here) to go directly to the flickr group.
Pictures must be taken with a Panasonic or Leica-branded Panasonic camera. Deadline is midnight 8/4/2012.
2. Include the tag "DMC-365" in your picture's tag list.
3. Leave a comment here (below), telling me that you've added the picture.
Enter up to ten images. There is no restriction on photo subjects (just have to be safe for all to view). Will only ship the prize to a continental US address.
The lucky winner will be contacted through flickr mail, and posted here. The Reader is completely free, and I'll pay to ship it to you (all entries must have a shipping address in the continental US).
I'll announce the winner and show the winning image by 8/11/2012.
Good luck!

Cool Olympus EM-5 Shots of Kayakers In Action!

Image Source: http://www.mu-43.com/f57/kayakers-over-falls-29351/
Member jon595 on mu-43.com posted a great series of kayaker pictures - all shot with the Olympus OM-5 and Panasonic 45-200mm lens.
(Click Here) to see the rest on mu-43.com
Apparently, they were dropping off a 20' fall.
While I very much like the feeling of being right there with the kayakers that was accomplished with the telephoto lens, I would also love to see more wider angle shots, including the scale of the drop. Maybe that vantage point was inaccessible? Anyway, these are great.
Here's one of my own, shot from high above the Potomac River at Great Falls, Virginia. I was not able to get closer to them.
Kayaker, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor AF-S 70-300mm f4-5.6
iso 200, f8, 1/500 sec

Friday, July 20, 2012

User Report on Steve Huff Photo - William Jusuf Uses a Lumix DMC-GF2 and Leica R 50mm Summicron For a Couple of Months!

Breads and Cakes by William Jusuf on stevehuffphoto.com
Image Source: http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/07/10/user-report-my-journey-with-the-panasonic-gf2-and-leica-50-summicron-r/
Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2, Leica 50mm Summicron R
William Jusuf presents a user report based on his concentration on using a Leica R-mount Summicron 50mm f2 on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2.
(Click Here) to read the whole post on stevehuffphoto.com and see the other awesome pictures.
Here William shares a wonderfully non-technical, image-inspired review of the fun he's having with this adapted legacy lens on a Panasonic Micro 4/3 body. Of course, the Leica Summicron is world-renowned for its image quality, but the R-mount version is significantly less expensive than those made for the rangefinder M-mount. William puts it to great use.
I love seeing this kind of variety in results from such a limited equipment choice. Many would say that the 100mm equivalent field of view on the smaller Micro 4/3 sensor ruins the performance of the Summicron. Not only does it now act as a medium telephoto due to the crop factor, but the out of focus areas ("bokeh") will not be as pronounced, as the smaller sensor produces deeper depth of field than the original 35mm film would have.
I would say that William has done a beautiful job of showing just how capable this combination is. Do go look at the original post - there are many more great pictures there.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lest You Think I'm Asleep at the Wheel... Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5

Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5
Image Source: http://www.dpreview.com/products/panasonic/slrs/panasonic_dmcg5
Yes, I have seen the announcement(s) of the new G5. Yes, it looks interesting. Just don't want anyone to think I'm not paying attention.
At this point, I will remain quiet on this camera, until I have a chance to learn more. For now, I will rely on the excellent information source, dpreview.com.
(Click Here) to see what dpreview knows about the new DMC-G5
I find it interesting how it's being market as the mid-level Micro 4/3 solution. I can certainly see how it's higher than the GF series. I suppose they mean it's lower than the GH series (which is due for a GH3 announcement). At any rate, this camera has a good chance of replacing at least one of my DMC-G3s in coming months, especially if the new sensor really is better, as is being preliminarily reported.
Looks like writing a new eBook may be in my near future... Or at least an update to the G3 eBook posted here on DMC-365.
Stay tuned!

Panasonic Announces New Top-Line Compact DMC-LX7

Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX7
Image Source: www.dpreview.com
Panasonic has announced the successor to the wonderful compact camera DMC-LX5, the Lumix DMC-LX7. I am a long-time LX series devotee, having owned the LX2, and now the LX5. If you haven't looked at the LX series before, you should. I've written before how well the LX5 works as a street photography camera, for me. It's tiny, flexible, has a great feature set (including the ability to lock the f-stop and zoom position when you turn the camera off), all manual controls, and raw file capability.
(Click Here) to see my post about the LX5 as a street photography camera.
As with all cameras, there are tradeoffs. The LX series cameras have small sensors. The immediate effects are: 1) decreased performance at high iso (noise), and 2) inability to produce shallow depth of field. The LX5 does pretty well up to iso 400, acceptable for small prints (and definitely for viewing on the monitor) at iso 800, after which noise becomes a real issue. The fast zoom allows you to produce a reasonable portrait at the long end of the zoom, wide open. This gives decent shallow depth of field, but nothing like your full-frame fast lenses.
(Click Here) to read about the new DMC-LX7 on dpreview.
I had heard rumors that the LX7 would have a larger sensor than the LX5, which could have improved the camera in both respects. As it turns out, the sensor on the LX7 is a little smaller. The lens is about a stop faster, so that allows you to shoot at lower iso, which will help with noise. Reportedly, the new sensor also has better inherent signal-to-noise, which should also help. The faster lens also helps with producing shallower depth of field, when it's desired.
So, for me this is a mixed bag. While I believe that the new sensor and faster lens will help in these areas, I would have appreciated a bigger sensor more. Also, I tend to use the LX5 for street shooting, which in my own style does not require shallow depth of field. I like to set it on f4 or f5.6, fix the zoom and focus point to give a large depth of field, and shoot what I see on the street. For that, the LX7 offers little for me personally. If the noise performance is really better, which will be challenging with a small sensor, I may change my mind.
Part of what I'm saying is that I'm already quite pleased with the LX5. It's really a special little camera. The LX7 is at least as good - I'm just not sure I'll be upgrading anytime soon.
Note - apparently, Panasonic will delay preorder capability until 30 days before the camera will actually ship. I admit that I HATE waiting for a new camera that I've already ordered, and waiting, and waiting. I did this with the Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4, waiting for several months. I'm doing it again now with the Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens. But, delaying preorder only serves as a band-aid. What these companies really need to do is produce faster. If they must make the announcements to keep up with the Joneses, then they need to be ready to deliver. Thanks for letting me rant a little.
Here's the DMC-LX5 (not LX7) on Amazon:

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Civil War Reenactment - Frederick Maryland, Shot with Lumix DMC-G3

Union Troops Emerge From Cornfield, by Reed A. George
Union Troops Emerge From the Cornfield, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 at 188mm
iso 400, f5, 1/1000 sec
We're well into the sesquicentenial of the US Civil War, and there are lots of great events in my area. Northern Virginia was a center (the center?) of activity, as neighbors and even brothers within the same family picked sides, sometimes opposite sides. It's a great time to take on a project in photographing civil war history and reenactments.
My latest, shown here, are from an event at Rose Hill Manor Park, in Frederick, Maryland. In this case, they were reenacting a battle that actually took place up the road in Sharpsburg (Antietam). One of the famous landmarks of that battle is "Bloody Lane," a sunken farm road and split-rail fence line that was hotly contested and finally won over by Union troops.
Flag Against Flag, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 at 136mm
iso 400, f5, 1/1600 sec
I was able to walk directly onto the battlefield, well inside the spectator lines, for two reasons: 1) I arrived early, and 2) I was careful to be courteous, staying out of the way of the reenactors and out of view of the general spectators. This provided me with an excellent vantage point from which to shoot.
The reenactors were characteristically helpful, and even told me what to expect to see in the battle, including the final confederate retreat. I appreciated that very much.
Confederate Dead on the Fence, by Reed A. George
Confederate Dead on the Fence, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6 at 150mm
iso 400, f8, 1/640 sec
On the photographic details, first off, I made a mistake. Planning to go very light, I grabbed what I thought was my Lumix 14-140mm f4-5.8 zoom, and Lumix 20mm f1.7 lenses. Upon arriving, I realized that in fact I had brought the Lumix 100-300mm f4-5.6. So, I had an enormous focal length gap, from 20mm to 100mm. In the end, I think it worked out pretty well, but that was lucky. The only real problem was that during the retreat, I had to change lenses quickly in order to capture the soldiers running right by me.
I was able to carry a single DMC-G3 body, both lenses, batteries, and cards in a small belt pack (Lowepro Photorunner). I did not take a tripod, since it was a very bright, sunny day. Oh yeah, I also carried two bottles of water in my pockets.
I was able to set the camera at iso400, aperture at anywhere from f5-f8, and use aperture priority.
These Eyes Have Seen War and Defeat, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 20mm f1.7
iso 400, f2.5, 1/1250 sec
In post-processing, I converted the raw images to black and white, used a lightly saturated reddish tone to the highlights in split toning. I also added some grain to give a nice texture.
I hope you enjoy these images!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

New Panasonic Website - panachallenge.com

Image Source: http://www.panachallenge.com/challenge/show_entries.php?challenge=140&cat=Main
I just discovered this new website! They host photo challenges, and have forums, centered on Panasonic (and related Leica) cameras. I always like to find more Lumix-focused activity!
(Click Here) to go to panachallenge.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

What a Great Project! Memories Bought and Sold

Memories Bought and Sold, by Gloria Baker Feinstein
Image Source: http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/29/memories-bought-and-sold/#/1/
While holding an estate sale in preparation for a move, Gloria Baker Feinstein felt like she was selling her memories. So, she decided to photograph each item as it left, with its new owner. This resulted in an amazing set of images.
(Click Here) to read the story and view the images on the New York Times blog: Lens.
I find this truly inspired. It is what I hope to develop as a photographer - the ability to capture life's moments that mean something to me, but would not mean anything to someone else, unless I could describe them in pictures. This kind of project is genius, in my opinion.
How does one develop the ability to recognize an opportunity and develop a non-event into a meaningful collection of images? Many of my projects begin by "going out to take pictures." I don't think that often leads to a project like this. In this case, I'm pretty sure Ms. Feinstein did not start out with the goal of creating a photo project. Maybe it's like most other things - you have to be "not looking" to find it.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Little Identity Crisis Going On Here At DMC-365.blogspot.com

Image Source: http://www.47project.com/2009/08/10/facebook-excavating-our-identity-crisis/
More on the identity crisis that DMC-365 is currently going through.
First off - thanks to the respondents on the poll I posted yesterday about shifting the blog focus to Panasonic and film. The results were even between "stick to Panasonic" and "make it Panasonic and film photography." In the end, I need to decide what I want this blog to be and go for it.
For me, the experience of the Film Challenge really was transformational, and gave me the feeling that focusing on Panasonic Lumix equipment, which has been challenging yet fun for the first six months of 2012, may be too limiting for me. As you've seen, I have not been strict in that focus. However, if other types of equipment and photography are going to be regularly included, perhaps I didn't state my focus correctly in the beginning. So, I'm working through how to restate it now.
I thoroughly enjoy all types of photography, but everyone knows that a general photography site quickly becomes just one in a million. So, I want to retain some focus.
The film challenge reminded me how much I love shooting film and Leicas, in addition to my mainstay Panasonic equipment. Well, Leica and Panasonic have a partnership at some level, so why not focus in that way? Perhaps I will. But then I think of my Nikon kit, which still gets fairly regular use. And how about that new Fujifilm XPro that I'm interested in trying out? I think you can see where the identity crisis is coming in. It's nothing new; I've been a multi-kit user for a very long time.
I also enjoy many styles of photography - music, history, nature, street...
So, please bear with me while I sort this out. One thing I can assure you - DMC-365 will not lose its focus on Panasonic equipment and how I and others use it. It's just a question of how far to stray in my musings.
And then there's always the obvious. Chill out. Stop worrying about it. Just keep the Panasonic focus and add in anything that I find interesting and useful. Sort of like it has been so far, but with potential for some further exploration of non-Panasonic subjects.
As I said at the beginning, this blog has been challenging and fun for the first half of the year. I'm just working to keep it that way. I appreciate the fact that I have a strong readership, as evidenced by the page views. In other words, I appreciate YOU!
Comments and suggestions always welcome!

Light Painting - Fun Photography Anywhere It's Dark

Light Painting by emptysensor at mu-43.com
Image Source: http://www.mu-43.com/f88/first-experiment-light-painting-images-attached-28789/
Poster emptysensor posted a couple of shots he made with "light painting." Light painting involves opening the camera shutter for a long exposure (25-30 seconds in this case) in a dark area, then using a light source to paint any picture you like. emptysensor used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 and Lumix 7-14mm f4 zoom.
(Click Here) to see the original post on mu-43.com.
My favorite light painting image ever was Pablo Picasso, drawing a centaur, in 1949.
(Click Here) to see Picasso's image on life.time.com.
(Click Here) to see a great site, dedicated to light painting (lightpaintingphotography.com).
I have done some light painting of my own. I have not spent the time to perfect it, but can see that I could really develop a nice project around it.
Here's a fun little example, where Darth Vader agreed to light the candles on my daughter's birthday cake. He's nice that way.
Happy 10th Birthday, from Darth, by Reed A. George
So, if it's as hot where you are as it is here, don't despair. Grab a flashlight, pull the shades, and get to work!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

I Finished the July 7 Day Film Challenge - and LOVED IT!

Sunrise Watering, Hinton, Oklahoma, by Reed A. George
Leica M4-2, Leica Summicron 50mm f2, exposure unrecorded
I finished up the "one roll per day for seven day" challenge this week. The challenge was posted on the rangefinder forum.
(Click Here) to read more about it.
I was able to complete it between July 3 and 7, but it was not easy. First, it was challenging to find enough interesting things to shoot on regular workdays. Then, I got very ill on the trip to Oklahoma where the image above was shot. On two consecutive evenings, I got up at 11:30PM in a fevered haze and shot pictures around my Mom's house, just to make sure I stayed in the challenge. As it turned out, those pictures are very meaningful to me, and really remind me of exactly how badly I felt. Not exactly pretty pictures, but full of feeling for me.
I shot Leica film bodies the entire time. I shot a 3.5cm Elmar f3.5, 50mm f2 Summicron, 90mm Elmarit f2.8, and Canon 50mm f1.4.
So, now I'm considering becoming the "Panalog Photographer," mainly focusing my digital work on Lumix as before, but including a lot more analog (film) photography. Just for fun, I've posted a poll at the top of the blog page. Let me know what you think of that idea.

None of this is exclusive, and you'll still see my work with Nikon and Leica digital from time to time. The main change is that you'll see film work much more often.

So, I hope that sits well with my readers. I'm very excited about the idea.
I'll post my selected three images once I submit them to the challenge forum page.

Andy Hendriksen Reports Why He Sold His Nikon DSLR In Favor of the Olympus OM-D

Olympus OM-D
Olympus OM-D
Image Source: http://www.olympusamerica.com/cpg_section/images/product/1583/360/000_000.png
Andy Hendriksen has written a full report on why he has made the shift completely away from DSLR to Micro 4/3 equipment.
(Click Here) to read Andy's report on The Phoblographer.
Andy explains how the advent of the Panasonic DMC-GF1 a few years back immediately drew his attention (and a purchase), but was not enough to convince him to sell his Nikon DSLR. This had to do with two major points: 1) performance of the GF1 itself, particularly low light performance and autofocus speed, and 2) a lack of a complete lens set. That said, Andy indicates that he thoroughly enjoyed the GF1, and took it many places that his DSLR would not have gone.
Andy feels that the Olympus OM-D represents the tipping point in performance that allows him to replace his DSLR with Micro 4/3 equipment. Timing is also right for him, as there is now a nearly complete stable of lenses available.
Like me, Andy was intrigued by the Fuji XPro1 camera, which is a mirrorless system camera, but not Micro 4/3 format, but decided not to go that way because of some performance points, and because there are less lenses available.
Andy settled on the OM-D body and the following lenses: Olympus 12mm f2, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4, and Olympus 45mm f1.8. He sold his Nikon kit. So far, he's very pleased with his decision.
I have not gone as far as Andy. My choice of bodies was the DMC-G3, which I am still quite pleased with. I find the autofocus to be very fast, the options myriad and useful, and the low light performance a giant step up from my previous DMC-G1 and GF1. I should say that both the G1 and GF1 are great cameras, but the new generation surpasses them. My lens kit is not far off from Andy's, either. I lean heavily on primes, most notably the Lumix 14mm f2.5, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4, and Pana-Leica 45mm f2.8 Macro-Elmarit. I thought the Summilux would not replace the excellent Lumix 20mm f1.7 for me, but it all but has, even though they're quite different lenses.
I am planning to add an expensive new lens to my kit, which will be my first Olympus lens - the 75mm f1.8, as soon as it's available.
All that said, I am not ready to sell my Nikon D700 DSLR. In fact, last weekend, I shot both kits at a music festival, and each has their merits. They are not interchangeable. I shot the G3s all day long, then switched to Nikon for the evening shows. Part of this was because I have longer lenses in Nikon, and used my 300mm f4 Nikkor quite a lot. Thinking this way, the new 75mm f1.8 from Olympus would have allowed me to leave the much heavier and more obtrusive Nikon kit at home.
Jack Pugh, by Reed A. George
Jack Pugh of Jake and the Burtones, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3
However, any way I look at it, the D700 still significantly outperforms the G3 in image quality, and several other aspects. When I look at some of those images from the D700 over last weekend, the quality is astounding. So, no, my D700 isn't going anywhere.
Iron Horse, by Reed A. George
Iron Horse Band, by Reed A. George
Nikon D700, Nikkor 300mm f4 AF-IF
I have come to consider my Micro 4/3 kit (DMC-G3 and a few primes) as my new 35mm film equivalent kit. The Nikon D700 is my medium format film equivalent. I fully believe that it provides every bit as much image quality as my medium format film cameras ever did.
Don't get me wrong - this is not an advertisement of full satisfaction with the Nikon DSLR. If it were, this blog would not be about Panasonic and Micro 4/3 gear. The Nikon gets a tiny fraction of the use of my G3s, in large part due to weight and size. But, one does not replace the other. I'm not sure it ever will.
This does leave me wondering exactly where to draw the lines of lens selections for Micro 4/3. The case in point is the new Panasonic Lumix 12-35mm f2.8. This lens is very expensive, especially for Micro 4/3. I don't know if I'm ready to drop that kind of money on a fast zoom for Micro 4/3, or whether I will stick primarily with the excellent prime lenses I already have, plus the new Olympus 75mm. No question, the primes are great. The zoom could be an excellent solution for travel. I'm not sure where I'm going with this one, but my wallet is warming up in my pocket as I write...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Photographers Appreciate Local Musicians

Musicians by Steven
Musicians, by Steven on mu-43.com
Image Source: http://anotherguywithacamera.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v14/p127639138-6.jpg
Poster Steven on mu-43.com shared a couple of nice environmental portraits of musicians at the park.
(Click Here) to see Steven's post on mu-43.com.
For the image above, he used a Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 and Lumix 20mm f1.7 lens.
I think this shot has a very nice color balance, sharpness, and composition. It does make you wonder what they're looking at...
Here's a street musician shot of my own, from downtown Frederick, Maryland. His name is Willie Barry, and he plays a mean guitar.
Willie Barry, by Reed A. George
Leica M8, Canon 50mm f1.4 Leica Thread Mount Lens
Here's to the local musicians that add their music to our experiences.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Incredible Deal on Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX1 on Amazon

This is the best price I've ever seen on this camera:
I am quite tempted to buy one myself at this price.
Get it while the price is low!

Unique Composition of Familiar Subject

Brooklyn Bridge by phatning
Brooklyn Bridge by phatning
Olympus Pen E-PM1, Lumix 14mm f2.5
Image Source: http://i654.photobucket.com/albums/uu264/tkning/120615%20NYC%20Photowalk/P6150270-2.jpg
I have read and heard it said that the ultimate photographic challenge is to make a unique picture of an often-photographed familiar subject. Well, phatning has posted the shot above on mu-43.com. I think it accomplishes that goal quite well.
(Click Here) to see the post on mu-43.com.
When I saw the post entitled "Brooklyn Bridge," I didn't have high hopes. I think this picture delivers. Just my opinion, of course.
There is an old bridge on the property where I work. I walk there often, but have yet to make a unique image of it. This gives me hope. I will have to try again.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I Would Have Thought It Was April Fool's Day, But Here's a New Polaroid Instant Camera - Digital!

Polaroid Z2300 - Instant Digital Prints!
Image Source: www.amazon.com
Well, I suppose it had to happen someday. Polaroid is back in the instant camera business. The newly-announced Z2300 uses a digital sensor and has an integrated printer, which makes 2"x3" prints on the spot.
Pretty cool. Retails for $159.
(Click Here) to read the same story I did on ePhotoZine.
(Click Here) to read about it on Polaroid's site.
I sort of see this like an iPhone camera with a printer attached. It would be great for parties. I think it's great to see the combination of digital imaging and instant printing in such a small package. Gimmick? Perhaps. But, I bet the original Polaroid instant films were seen the same way, and they sure found more serious uses, such as for setting up large format images before committing to regular film.
Anyway - certainly something different, and that's worth something today.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

THEME Interview with Leica Product Management Director Stefan Daniel

Leica M Monochrome
Image Source: http://us.leica-camera.com/photography/m_system/m_monochrom/
The photography website THEME (the.me) posted an interview with Leica's Product Management Director, Stefan Daniel.
(Click Here) to read the whole interview at THEME.
Among the many points discussed in the interview, I found these most informative:
  • Leica continues to make film cameras (the MP and M7) at a low but constant rate.
  • Mr. Daniel believes that the reasons that some photographers continue to use film are not technical in nature. Nor are they to avoid the cost of digital equipment. He states that especially with the advent of the new Leica M Monochrom, there is no longer any technical advantage to shooting film. Black and white image quality was one of the last remaining technical benefits of film; now the Monochrom has fixed that.
  • When asked if Leica are planning to remake and reissue any of their classic lens designs, Mr. Daniel pretty clearly said that they are not heading in that direction. They don't want to redo what they've already done.
  • There is a big Leica factory expansion going on in Wetzlar, Germany.
  • In regard to why the M system still offers only manual focus lenses, Mr. Daniel indicated that lens compactness is the driving factor. He basically says (my words, not his) that anyone can achieve compact lens design with small sensors (e.g. Micro 4/3 format), but that the challenge is to pair small lenses with big sensors. Manual focus is currently the only way to achieve that at the level that Leica prefers.
So, this leads me to believe that if Leica were to come out with a new interchangeable lens system camera, it would proably not be Micro 4/3 format. I would think it would be APS-C or larger sensor size, but would incorporate autofocus. Total speculation on my part, of course.

Another personal opinion - Leica would lose a lot of their nostalgic buyers for M system lenses if they shifted to autofocus. I can honestly say that manual focus makes me feel much more of the photographic process. When I think of the photography that I love, my left hand forms the shape of a lens barrel and focus ring.



Monday, July 9, 2012

How About an HDR Competition?

Inside the Stone House - Manassas Battlefield, by Reed A. George
Inside the Stone House, Manassas Battlefield, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Lumix 20mm f1.7, f6.3, HDR
mu-43.com is hosting a salon competition - hurry - it closes on July 18.
(Click Here) to enter!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

World Pentax Day Entries - Got Out With My Pentax Spotmatic!

Officer On Field, by Reed A. George
Pentax Spotmatic SP, Takumar 35mm f3.5
June 23, 2012 was World Pentax Day. So, I made sure to get out with my trusty old Spotmatic and a few favorite lenses.
(Click Here) to see the World Pentax Day gallery.
I took my daughter and her friend to a civil war reenactment at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, on the Bolivar Heights battlefield. An eleven year old girl with her friend, out in the heat, at a civil war event. You may be able to guess that I had a very short time window. But, all was not lost. We actually timed our arrival perfectly, with the final cannon blast happening just a few minutes after we arrived.
Firing Orders, by Reed A. George
Pentax Spotmatic SP, Takumar 35mm f3.5
Officer's Sabre, by Reed A. George
Pentax Spotmatic SP, Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4
It's nice to have any reason to get out and shoot a good old camera. World Pentax Day worked for me!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Better Than Halfway Through the July Film Challenge!

T. Rex, Smithsonian Natural History Museum, by Reed A. George
Leica M4P, 50mm Summicron f2
I am on day five of the seven day film challenge, started on Rangefinder Forum.
(Click Here) to read more about the challenge.
I have been shooting Leica film cameras exclusively for this one, beginning with a Barnack-designed Leica IIIa(G) from 1937. I am visiting my parents now, shooting with a Leica CL and 3.5cm Elmar f3.5, and a Leica M4-2 with Summicron 50mm f2 and Elmarit 90mm f2.8.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the experience of shooting with film for several days in a row. The experience has been different every day. Starting out, on a regular work day, I was challenged to find enough to shoot to finish a roll. Now, that problem has passed. For example, I went to the rifle range with my step-dad this morning, and shot several exposures there.
Anyway, part of the challenge is to select three favorites, and write about the experience of using film for seven days. Hopefully, it will be hard to select three favorites. We'll see.
So far, so good.

ePhotoZine Posts Sample Shots From Olympus 75mm f1.8 on OM-D

ePhotoZine's Oly 75mm f1.8 sample
Olympus 75mm f1.8 on Olympus OM-D, iso 320, f1.8, 1/160 sec
Image Source: http://www.ephotozine.com/article/olympus-75mm-m-zuiko-digital-f-1-8-lens-sample-photos-19553?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Ephotozine+%28ePHOTOzine%29
I am thinking very hard about reasons for and against buying the new Olympus 75mm f1.8 lens for Micro 4/3 cameras (like my Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3). Having shot with my Voigtlander 75mm f2.5 lens in Leica Thread Mount on the G3 recently, I'm pretty convinced the focal length is what I need for music photography.
(Click Here) to see my concert pics with the G3 and Voigtlander 75mm f2.5 Color-Heliar.
Because the new Olympus lens is so fast (in light gathering, f1.8), I wondered if the depth of field at that f-stop would be so shallow as to not be useful for portraits and people pictures. Depth of field is reasonable on my Voigtlander lens at f2.5, but what about f1.8? Well, ePhotoZine's picture above answers that question. It seems to have just the right amount of depth of field at f1.8.
It doesn't look good for me talking myself out of the new Olympus lens. :)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Before and After - Tutorial by Roel on roel.me

Roel on the website roel.me has produced a very nice tutorial entitled "Before and After." In this piece, he presents pairs of images, each explaining a photographic challenge he has encountered ("Before") and his solution ("After").
(Click Here) to see the full tutorial on Roel.me

Before, by Roel

Roel's "Before"
Image Source: http://roel.me/before-and-after-improving-your-photography-part-1/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+roelme+%28roel.me%29

Roel's After
Roel's "After"
Image Source: http://roel.me/before-and-after-improving-your-photography-part-1/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+roelme+%28roel.me%29

Roel has done a very nice job here. In the example above, he's making the point that you should consider including context around your subject. Yes, the bike is the subject. Most of us have been trained to focus closely on the subject, removing anything that is not essential from the frame. In this example, Roel shows that the Chinese characters on the wall near the subject really add to the composition, making it easier to understand the setting of the bicycle.
In other examples, Roel makes the following points (see the link above to see Roel's pictures for each):
  1. Change your perspective to get a different picture, emphasizing the most interesting part of the scene.
  2. "Shoot what cannot be shot." I find this description a little misleading. What Roel really did in this example was to focus on the interaction of a mother and son, rather than placing them within the context of a market.
  3. Understand your real subject - in this example, Roel focuses on the hands of a worker in a Chinese silk factory. This is a wonderful example.
  4. Focus on finding interesting light first - a good picture will follow.
  5. Frame your subject. This one is striking as well. Roel uses a window frame in his hotel room to make a harbour scene in Hong Kong much more interesting.
  6. Tell a story. We all know this. We must all be reminded of this.
Roel's bicycle example (shown above) reminded me of a shot of my own. In the shot below, it was the way that the plants had overgrown this old scooter that caught my eye. I am fond of this image. However, I am now wondering if there was any context that would have placed it as being taken in Japan. Hmm. I may get the chance to see this one again, as we go to Japan every spring to visit family. Maybe I'll have an "after" shot next year?

"Before" Shot?, by Reed A. George
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G3, Pana-Leica Summilux 25mm f1.4
iso 160, f5.6, 1/160 sec